Praying In The Spirit

2 Corinthians 1:10–11
On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 
as you help us by your prayers.

The apostle Paul expressed his sufferings he experienced, but he relied on God for deliverance, rather than his own strength.
The persecution was so severe that he and his companions “despaired of life itself” (2 Corinthians 1:8).

But Paul was encouraged by the prayers of believers since their prayers mattered and God heard them.
The Lord has chosen to use our prayers to accomplish His purpose and God wants to hear our prayers.
We can pray for one another and be strengthened with hope and assurance as we stand firmly in the Lord.

"On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us"
God's will is for us to pray with one mind and in one accord knowing that his promises are faithful.

Paul really thought that he was going to die at Ephesus, but he trusted that God was able to deliver him.
He knew that the prayers of Christians linked with God's grace saved him from certain death. 

"as you help us by your prayers"
What the Church needs is not new organizations or methods, but believers whom the Holy Spirit can use.
When we pray, it's better that our hearts be without words than our words be without heart.
Let us all pray for our families, for our churches, for our pastors, for our nation, and for those who don't know Christ.


A Gracious Invitation

Matthew 22:9
Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find. 
So the servants went out into the streets 
and gathered all the people they could find.

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.
There was an important job to do and Everybody was asked to do it.
Everybody was sure Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry because it was Everybody's job.
Everybody thought Anybody would do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it.
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

(by Charles Swindoll)

"Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find"
The main purpose of the church is evangelism and discipleship, and inviting people to church is only a part of it.

This is a most interesting parable of a real invitation to a real celebration which also speaks to us.
In this Bible verse, the King is the Father who wanted his Son's wedding feast to be well attended.
Those who were invited refused to come and the Jewish leaders realized Jesus was talking about them.
The Lord still gives personal and gracious invitations to people to come to Him.
First He invites us to come and know Him, then to come with Him to win others to Christ.

"So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find"
Even though the invited guests were the Jews, God is calling people to come celebrate His Son.
The invitation was sent out, but the question is, who will respond?
God calls all sinners, but some recognize their spiritual need and some do not.
This is unbelievable when they paid no attention and went their own merry way.
It’s harvest time and we need to reach out the people who are lost without God and without hope.


Eternal Life

John 10:28
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; 
no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Phil and Jolene Smith used to be members of our church, but they had to move to the state of Texas.
Jolene had a kidney transplant a long time ago, but the kidney did not work after a while.
Her husband, Phil, volunteered to give Jolene one of his kidneys and the kidney was successful.
Kidney donors are very important heroes to us because of their gift that they're giving to someone else.
It's very emotional and something very special to receive new life through an organ transplant.
How much more should we as Christians be grateful for receiving eternal life in Christ Jesus.

"I give them eternal life"
How can we know if we have received eternal life?”
We can know that we have the gift of eternal life if we believe in Jesus as your only Savior.

To believe in Jesus means to commit our eternal destiny to what He did for us on the cross. Rather than trusting in our own good works, we need to trust that Jesus’ death paid the penalty for our sins.

"they shall never perish"
If it is eternal life and Jesus says that we will never perish, then it is eternal life.

We are members of Christ’s body and no one is able to cut off a member of His body.
If Jesus and the Father promise to keep us from the enemy, then our salvation is secure.
It doesn’t depend on our performance, but rather on the Lord's promise and on the Father’s power.

"no one will snatch them out of my hand"
The Allstate Insurance Company has the slogan: “You’re in good hands with Allstate.”
The Lord’s sheep could not be in better hands and no one could be more secure than in the Lord.

Here John emphasizes the relationship between our Lord’s sheep, the Good Shepherd, and God the Father. He makes it very clear that the
Our salvation and eternal security comes from the Father who chose us to be given to the Son.
No one overrules Him, nor overpowers Him, no one takes away those He has purchased and belong to Him.


Seeing the Light

Isaiah 9:2
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; 
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

When we used to live in south Texas before moving to Washington state, there were a lot of cockroaches everywhere.
Every time we would turn on the light in the house at night they would run and hide.
On one occasion as a young boy I went to church with my aunt and while sitting in the pew she opened her Bible.
She was so surprised to see several small cockroaches scrambling out of her Bible and running down the pew.
She was so embarrassed and mortified when those little buggers started to scramble all over the place.
Immediately, she closed her Bible on the rest of them before they could escape. 

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light"
The prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus by proclaiming the good news.

God's heart has always been for the salvation of the jewish people, including the entire world.
Jesus is the light to the people who were walking in "darkness", a reference to their sin.

Jesus began to preach repentance which is crucial for a faith relationship with God.

We need to watch for common situations as an opportunity to witness about the Lord as the Light of the world.
Arguments do not lead people to the Savior, even if you win the argument.
Jesus witnessed to a samaritan woman and He did did not argue with her, but kindly corrected her errors.

When it comes to sharing our Christian faith with others, look for ways to talk about spiritual things.
Whether we call it witnessing, sharing our testimony, or evangelism, we are obeying a simple command.
If your neighbor's house was on fire and he was in danger, wouldn't you tell him? 
That's just the case here spiritually.
Many of the people we meet every day are living a life that will perish in darkness unless we share the hope of Christ with them.


Easter Brings Hope

John 11:25
I am the resurrection and the life. 
The one who believes in me 
will live, even though they die.

If you ask 100 different people what is the greatest day in history, you would get 100 different answers.
There is a book written that has a very interesting title of ''The Greatest Day In History'' about World War I.
But the most important event of all human history is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Easter is a great day to get together with family and friends.
But it's not about brightly colored eggs, or just another holiday of the year to celebrate.
Easter is about the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Death is not the end of life and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ proves this glorious truth.
The Resurrection of Jesus is the earthly culmination of God's atoning work on the cross.
In other words, it was God’s intention to save people by His Son’s death on the cross.

"Christ is risen!" has been the church's Gospel affirmation throughout the centuries.
You and I are privileged to declare this good news as the basis of our faith in Christ.
On the third day, Jesus Christ rose from the dead and that is the truth of our Crhristian faith.
One time my college professor said that Jesus was not even mentioned in history.
But history records the existence of a man named Jesus of Nazareth by Josephus and Tacitus.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were witnesses to the events of His life and recorded what they saw.
The New Testament says that Jesus procaimed the kingdom of God to many thousands of people.

The very existence of the Christian church bears witness to the transformed lives of many believers.
The first day of the week is the day of resurrection, the Lord's Day which is Sunday.
There's no promise of life beyond this life if Jesus is not risen, but now in Christ we have the hope of the resurrection.
Whoever believes in Him will not die, but has eternal life.


Acts 8:35
Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture 
and told him the good news about Jesus.

In the conversion of the Ethiopian, Philip was led to this man in a remote location in the desert.
There could be no mistaking it. God intended to save this one individual.

He was an Ethiopian, a high government official, but God was looking for this man who had a question.
Philip’s message was tied the passage the eunuch was reading, and the question which he asked.

What a thrill it must have been for Philip to hear the eunuch reading aloud from the prophecy of Isaiah.
Philip began with this text, proclaiming Jesus to him.


The Anointed One

John 1:45
Philip found Nathanael and told him, 
"We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, 
and about whom the prophets also wrote-
Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."

After Jesus invited Philip to follow Him, the apostle immediately told his friend Nathanael about Jesus.
When Nathanael doubted, Philip didn’t argue, or give up on his friend. He just invited him to meet Jesus.

"Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one", that is, the Anointed One.
What makes people hesitate to share their faith?
The biggest problem is the fear of how the other person would react, like rejection.

A lot of people have made a personal commitment to Christ through a Bible study at home.
One of the greatest compliments a nonbeliever can give a believer is to say, “What is it about you that makes you different? You have peace and joy.”
This opens the door for conversation and if we want to win some, then we need to be winsome.

As ambassadors for Christ, we become the bridge between the Lord and the world.
We don't just win people for Christ; we also disciple them by teaching them the Word of God.
We are also called to stand in the gap for those who have not yet found salvation in Christ.
We cannot stand still while Christ is still a stranger to many around the world. 

How do we change our conversation from talking about everything to talking about spiritual things?
Questions that people ask us will initiate conversations that could be used for personal witnessing.
When we share our faith in Christ with people, we can start with questions like:
How is God working in your life?
Do you think God has a plan for your life?
Have you read much in the Bible?
Do you understand the Bible when you read it?
The Holy Spirit empowers us to invite others to have an encounter with Christ through our own personal witnessing.


Jeremiah 33:3
Call to me and I will answer you 
and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.

When everything seems to be against us and all hope is lost, we can always pray for the Lord’s guidance. 
Sometimes it seems we’ve tried everything we can think of and still we come up empty.
“Call to me and I will answer you”
It is precisely at times like these that we need to overcome in prayer for great and mighty things from the Lord.

Jeremiah was commanded to pray for great and mighty things from the confinement of prison. 
We may feel that certain things are too difficult to resolve, but nothing is too hard for the LORD.
We can trust God that He has the power to deliver what He promises!  

“and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know"
When we call upon our LORD and pray to Him, He will certainly listen to our request.

Hebrews 4:16 says,“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”.
God always makes good on His promises to us and we will receive, not only mighty things, but also Great Things!


Matthew 7:7
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; 
knock and it will be opened to you.


Keep on asking. Keep on seeking. Keep on knocking. They talk about a perseverance.
So there is a sense in which we are really involved sacrificially, even in our own prayers.
Why does God want us to persevere? because the more we're involved in fellowship with Him, the greater the relationship becomes.
The deeper, the richer, the more meaningful communion we have with Him. 

These are commands which speak of habitual, lifestyle commands.
It is important that one balance human persistence with God's responsive character. Believers cannot force God to do that which is not good for them.
However, at the same time, they can bring any need to the Lord.
Jesus prayed the same prayer in Gethsemane three times.
Paul also prayed about his thorn in the flesh.
But the great thing about prayer is not that one receives a answer to his request, but that we spent time with the Father.


The 5K Run

1 Corinthians 9:22
To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. 
I have become all things to all people 
so that by all possible means I might save some.

There was church that organized a 5K (kilometers or about 3 mile) run and invited people from the community to participate.
Since it was a large city, over a thousand people showed up to run.
The following Sunday, the pastor had several people come up to him and ask, “Pastor, what was the purpose of that race?”
He told them, “We had some people who were not members of the church, including unbelievers.”
Before and after the race, it was a great way to reach people for Christ.

"To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak"
Whatever it takes and whatever the means, we need to be reaching out to people for Christ.
Think of creative ways we can reach out with the Gospel and make a huge difference.


A Fruitful Witness

John 15:5
If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; 
apart from me you can do nothing.

A Sunday school teacher wanted her first-grade class to know about the different types of sin that could be committed.
So she asked her students, “Does anyone know what the sins of commission are?”
A little girl said, “That's when you do something your mom tells you not to do.”
The teacher said, “Very good. Does anyone know what the sins of omission are?”
A little boy waved his hand and said, “Those are the sins you are supposed to commit, but you haven’t committed them yet.”

"If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit"
To whom did Christ give the Great Commission?
He gave it to ordinary peope like you and me who believe in Him, not only to the 12 apostles.

Jesus said the secret to spiritual growth is abiding in Him so we can bear much fruit.
If anyone is in Christ, he will know what to do and that is to be obedient and fruitful in the Great Commission.

"apart from me you can do nothing"
Some international workers might minister to a few people, but they bear much fruit.

Many think that if a ministry is big and involves a lot of people, it is fruitful.
The Lord started with twelve disciples and He worked with only twelve of them.
Winning people for Christ is a type of fruit according to the New and Old Testament.
Proverbs 11:30 "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise wins souls" (NASB).
The way to be an effective soul winner for the Lord is by abiding in Christ.
We may not always see fruit immediately, but fruit will be there, nevertheless.
William Carey spent thirty-five years in India before he saw one convert.
Some people think he led a fruitless life, but almost every convert in India to this day is fruit on his branch.
Matthew 29:18 says, "go and make disciples" and one of the biggest obstacles in witnessing is getting going.
Our Lord has already commanded us to go tell the good news to all who will listen.
Let's not wait for them to come to us, but rather we need to go to them.


Anxious For Nothing

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, 
present your requests to God.

In our world of technology online ordering, like on Amazon, they keep track of our highlights.
When e-book owners mark sentences, the online retailer knows and makes note of it.
Recently Amazon released a list of the most popular passages in some of its bestselling books.
Also released, was the most highlighted passage in the Holy Bible and that is Philippians 4:6-7.
One would expect to see the most favorite Bible verses such as John 3:16, or Psalm 23, but that was not the case.
It is surprising that Philippians 4:6-7 is more read than the other ones which shows us the importance of prayer in our lives.

"Do not be anxious about anything"
Worry is not constructive and does not contribute to the solution, but becomes a part of the problem.
The word "anxious" refers to worry or great concern that is unhealthy and even destructive.
Anxiety is a distraction that undermines our faith and doubts God’s goodness, grace, and power in our lives.
This does not mean to have a complete lack of concern, nor does it mean we are to be careless.
Instead, it means that we can speak directly with God who is in total control of the situation. 

"but in every situation, by prayer and petition"
God already knows our needs, but He wants us to acknowledge and communicate them to Him.
Prayer is an antidote to worry and anxiety. It's not wrong to be concerned about things that are important.
But anxiety is not productive, but counter-productive in dealing with our concerns.
Prayer acknowledges our weakness and dependence upon God by taking our burden to the Lord.

"with thanksgiving, present your requests to God"
The more thankful we are, the more God's peace will rule our hearts and minds.
Included in this is “thanksgiving”, an expression of gratitude and assurance for answered prayer.
Prayer is taking these concerns to God and looking to Him for the solution.
Addressing problems in our lives should begin with prayer thanking God for what He will do.


The Majority vs The Minority

Isaiah 6:8 
Then I heard the voice of the LORD saying, "Whom shall I send? 
And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

I went to see the doctor, whom I have known for several years, for my regular checkup.
Before I left the clinic, I handed to him a gospel tract and said to him, "Read this in your private time when you feel lonely and blue". Even though he has heard about the Gospel, I have witnessed to him over the years.
Millions of surveys taken around the world indicate that about 97 percent of Christians do not introduce others to Christ.
That means only three percent had introduced another person to the Lord which is mind boggling.
If you are in the 3 percent category, it's never too late to start witnessing to somebody.

"Then I heard the voice of the LORD"
In a vision Isaiah saw the Lord, “high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple”.
The Lord had a message to deliver to the nation of Judah, and Isaiah prays that he would be the messenger.

Isaiah was aware of his own unworthiness and was painfully aware of his own sinfulness.
He was broken about it, but God was preparing Isaiah for his cleansing and commission.
Isaiah could not remove his own guilt as a man of unclean lips, so God had to make atonement for him.

"Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
The word "us" implies the heavenly council of the Triune God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Isaiah, through a vision from the Lord, begins his ministry service by volunteering for God.

"And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!' "
It is only after Isaiah is cleansed of his sin that he says, “Here am I; send me.”

Once he was forgiven, he immediately desired to serve the Lord in whatever way possible.
Without hesitating, the prophet was available and willing to go when he said, "Send me".
This was Isaiah's response to God's question and it clearly reveals his willingness.
One wonders of the "divinely sent one" as typological of Jesus as "the sent One".
Also, according to John's Gospel, believers are His "sent ones" commissioned to go into the world.
God wants willing volunteers in His service, and for the rest of his life, Isaiah served the Lord who had forgiven and saved him.
God is still reaching out to people all over the world through Christ's embassadors like you and me.


A Fishy Encounter
Jonah 2:2 

He said: "In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.

In 1983, a US Air Force captain disappeared from Albuquerque, New Mexico, without a trace. Thirty-five years later, authorities found him in California.
The New York Times reported that he was depressed about his job, and he simply ran away.
Can you imagine, thirty-five years on the run? He spent half of his life just hiding.

The prophet Jonah is well known for running from God to avoid preaching to the city of Nineveh.
The only problem is he could not outrun God since the Lord was already waiting for him there.

Jonah wasn’t going to volunteer in any way by taking the message of repentence to a lost people.
Even though he was going the opposite direction, God wasn't going to let go of him. 

"In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me"
The good news is, "and he answered me" because God heard his earnest prayer.

“From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help”
This does not mean that Jonah actually died, but that he may escape from certain death.

I am sure that being in the belly of the fish seemed like the end for Jonah.
God had to do this to get Jonah in a position to obey His request.

"and you listened to my cry"
Notice, the word "cry". This means that the prayer was like a pleading with God to forgive him, and remove him from a great fish.
Later Jonah expressed praise for his deliverance from "the realm of the dead".


The Greatest Power In The World

Mark 3:14
He appointed twelve that they might be with him 
and that he might send them out to preach.

There’s a saying: “If two people are agreeing on everything, one of them is unnecessary.”
If two people are trying to do exactly the same thing, one of them is unnecessary.
God has given each of us different gifts, abilities, and talents in the ministry of the Gospel.
Not everyone needs to be a Billy Graham, but we do all need to learn from his example.

By having an unshakeable faith and walking closely with the Lord, we can make a huge difference in our community
We need to ask ourselves, How can I help? What can I do to contribute to God's kingdom?

Inviting people to church isn’t about just growing in numbers. It’s about growing relationships between Jesus and people.
It’s easy to get caught up in the desire to be a big church, but our main goal is for people to hear the Gospel.
Small churches who want to grow in number, feel like they’re too small to really make an impact.
But small numbers can make a huge impact. Jesus began His ministry with just 12 disciples. 

"He appointed twelve that they might be with him"
Let's not forget to invite someone to church so they can hear the Gospel of salvation.

"and that he might send them out to preach"
Good church growth does not necesarily mean that it's a sign of God’s favor.
The only evaluation that matters is the evaluation of Jesus Christ when it comes to sharing the Gospel
We should never evaluate a church or our own spiritual lives on the basis of erroneous criteria
God's Word tells us the way to grow a church is through the message of the Gospel, the greatest power in the world.


Somebody Is Praying For You

Romans 8:34
Christ Jesus who died--more than that, who was raised to life--
is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Jesus is praying for you and me by interceding on our behalf before the Father in heaven (Heb. 7:25).
The Lord is constantly praying for us and we usually don't think about this wonderful truth.

" Jesus at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us."
Jesus is our Advocate pleading our case and for those who have put their trust in him
(1 John 2).
The Lord's intercession is based on his authority to be our eternal and perfect high priest.
Jesus is our Representative before God since He sits on the right hand of the Father in heaven.
He is our Mediator by presenting Himself between God and us, and makes himself responsible for us.
The Lord is the Lawyer of lawers and Attorney of attorneys, and He never loses a case from heaven.
Jesus is still praying for us right now, even as we speak, by talking to the Father about everything in our lives.
The prayers we pray are not just coming from our own heart, but from His heart because we abide in Him.
Why does Jesus intercede for us in heaven?
Jesus understands our human weaknesses and temptations, and defends us against the constant accusations of the adversary.



Psalm 85:6
Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?

When I was stationed at an Air Force base in Long Island, New York in 1968, I bought a used 1965 Chevy Corvair car.
It had the motor on the back and the trunk was in the front.
As the years took their toll on the car, oil started to leak quite a bit from the motor.
I would frequently put oil in it and there would be large spots of oil wherever I parked.
Every time I pulled into a gas station I would fill it with oil and check the gas!
That car sure needed a restoration.

"Will you not revive us again...?"
In some other Bible versions it says, "Restore us, O God of our salvation".
It was a time of restoration when the Israelites returned from Babylon after 70 years of exile.

They had been punished for rebelling against God and now His people plead for revival and restoration.
Thank God He has unlimited resources to restore people who are hurting and have broken hearts.
We may think that something broken is beyond repair, but God is in the business of restoration.
It's never too too late when things look so messed up and life may seem beyond repair.
It is not over until God says it’s over and settled by His power and grace.

"that your people may rejoice in you?"
No matter how dark our situation may look, with Christ we have a bright future with peace, joy, and hope.

Our God is a God of restoration, a God of new things, a new life, and a new beginning.
Some people may given up on us, but the Lord delights in healing when we get sick.
The good news is that God will never give up on you and me since He is not like people.
He will be with us through the thick and thin despite our faults, weaknesses, and failures.
The Lord specializes in fixing situations that seem hopeless and there is nothing beyond his power to do it.
God can forgive, and heal a broken heart, and lift that heavy burden that seems to be unbearable.


Out Of Whack GPS

1 John 2:5
But if anyone obeys his word, 
love for God is truly made complete in them. 
This is how we know we are in him.

My wife and I made a trip to Seattle not too long ago and we took the GPS with us, so we wouldn't get lost.
On our way back home in heavy traffick we came to a fork where I had to turn to the right or to the left.
The problem is that the GPS didn't say anything about which way to go, so I turned left and we got lost.
Our GPS Is awesome until we got lost, but after a while, it was helpful in finding our way back home.
I try to be extra careful with it when traveling because it’s not always 100% accurate
The thing is, a GPS is not always 100% accurate and I don't want to end up in Death Valley, California.

Without God's Word, we would all be lost in spiritual darkness.
The Gospel of John says God’s Word is to be the standard by which you and I go the right way.

In life many people feel like they are lost and they don’t know which way to go.
But God's Word is like a compass and guides us in finding our purpose and meaning in life.
When we read the Scriptures God will give us direction through the Holy Spirit without getting lost.
It will help us to know which direction to take and avoid the obstacles that come at us in our life. 

"But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them"
Those who obey His Word demonstrate that they truly know Christ and love Him.
It's not just reading the Bible, but those who walk in Christ give evidence that they are "in" Him.

"This is how we know we are in him."
We live in a world where a spirit of hate is so rampant that it has reached epidemic proportions.
But God's love is the single most important sign which the world uses to identify a Christian.

Those who love their fellow brother show they are "in the light" just as Christ is the Light of the world (John 8:12).
What is determining your destiny in life? God’s Word?


Why Study The Bible?

2 Timothy 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,
a worker who does not need to be ashamed
and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Which of the following statements are in the Bible?

Cleanliness is next to godliness.
God helps those who help themselves.
Confession is good for the soul.
Money is the root of all evil.
Honesty is the best policy.

None of them are!

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved"
Another way of saying this is "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God."
That means
to be proven worthy after testing to stand before the holy presence of God.
The goal is not to please men, but to stand beside God approved that we may please God.
Timothy was a diligent student of God’s Word, interpreting it rightly and proclaiming it without distortion.
He avoided “word-wrangling,” which does not edify, but tears down the faith of the believer.

"a worker who does not need to be ashamed"
This is the picture of a hard worker who is so committed to the Word of God and sound doctrine.
The reason is that we will never be ashamed when sharing accurately the word of truth with others.

If we misinterpret the Scriptures and confuse people with human reason will be cause for shame.
It means to give maximum effort to do our best, to be eager to give our whole life to it.

"and who correctly handles the word of truth."
The King James Bible says, "rightly dividing the word of truth."
We need to read and study God's Word so that the gospel will not end up with stillbirth instead of new birth. 
The heart of it all is how we handle the word of truth accurately when sharing the gospel with people.
Our duty is to be diligent so as to become workers in the way we can handle the truth.


Peace Of Mind

Psalms 16:8
I have set the Lord always before me. 
Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shake

The story is told of a monastery in Portugal on top of a cliff 3,000 feet high and accessible only by a ride in a basket.
The heavy basket is pulled up with a single rope by several men.
One American tourist who visited the site got nervous halfway up the cliff when he noticed that the rope was old and worn out.
He was very concerned and he asked the monk standing by, "How often do you change the rope?"
The monk in charge replied, "Whenever it breaks!"

There are many things that can trouble our lives, but none that can shake us loose from the grace of God.
We are reminded that in the presence of God there is fullness of joy and peace.

"I have set the LORD always before me"
It is when we "set the Lord before us" that we receive the benefits of His Presence.

if our eyes are ever toward God, our hearts and souls will always rejoice in him.
A close and intimate relationship with the Lord through our daily prayers is a two-way communication with God the Father.
God yearns for us to draw close to Him through song, prayer, and His word in which we have mutual fellowship.
We can express confidently every concern to Jesus for forgiveness, blessings, mercy, and grace.

"Because He is at my right hand I shall not be shaken (or moved)"
We shall not be moved since nothing will shake us from our trust and confidence in the Lord.

Only through Christ can we find our source of strength and peace in times of trial and hardship.
God has revealed many things to the believer through His Spirit who dwells in him.
We need to learn of His will and His purpose for us in this life which will determine our eternal destiny.
It is only through Divine revelation that God has made His Will fully known in the Scriptures.
Jesus used it to overcome Satan and God's Word is the source of our peace and strength in Christ.


Ask the Man Who Owns One

Psalm 66:16
Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.

When I accidentally backed up my car on the garage door that was half way open, I damaged the door and broke the car's rear light.
I went on line to order the broken part for the car with the name of the business as Discount Body Parts. When I first saw the name of the business, it sounded like human body parts.
But then I thought about a better name for it such as Discount Auto Parts.
In the early 1900s, the Packard Motor Car Company came up with a slogan to attract more buyers.
The company came up with a catchy slogan for their luxury vehicle, “Ask the man who owns one”.
With a satisfied customer testimony, the public is exposed to a product with a powerful endorsement.

When we share our personal experience how God changed our lives, we also make an impact on others.

"Come and hear, all you who fear God"
The psalm finishes with the leader telling the people about the things that God had done for him.
God responds to those who respond to Him, but notice the condition, "all you who fear God."

"let me tell you what he has done for me."
When some people are asked if they have ever given their personal testimony, they say they don't know how.
It is simple to give a testimony by telling people about the difference that Jesus has made in our life.

Every testimony is different and it might be that we received healing and God touched our heart.
It could be that the Lord saved us just in time and we will never be the same.
When we witness to others, we are telling them not only what He has done for us, but how He will do the same for them.
The hymn that we sing, "To God be the glory, great things He hath done" is a great testimony of the Lord's goodness.
The Lord has done marvelous restoration on the hearts of many people who were hurting.
God’s plan all along has been for His people to point all people to Him.
Mark 5:19 "tell them how much the LORD has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you."


Losing Your Focus

Colossians 1:18
And he is the head of the body, the church: 
who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; 
that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting of the, “The Last Supper,” went through several revisions before it was finalized and approved.
According to a story, on one occasion da Vinci was almost finished with the painting when he asked a friend to come by and give his opinion on the masterpiece work.
The man looked at the picture for a while and finally said, “The cups are magnificent.
The details you put on them are some of the best I’ve ever seen!”
Then da Vinci went to the canvas and painted over those cups so they wouldn't show.
It wasn’t the cups Leonardo wanted the world to see. It was Christ

"And he is the head of the body, the church"
The way to walk with Jesus is to keep our eyes on Him, even with all the distractions around us.
Our focus should not be on our failures, nor even on our accomplishments and victories.

The way to walk a tightrope is to keep our sight on the goal, not on the ground or what is behind. 
The goal of the Christian walk is to keep walking with Jesus until we finish the race.
In our modern Hi-Tec society, it's easy to get distracted and lose sight of our true purpose in life.
Don’t let the small details become our focus, but rather let's make Christ our focus in life.
We need to remove our focus from “earthly things” since we have died to self, and Christ is our very life.

"that in all things he might have the preeminence"
We need to commit to reading the Bible because Jesus said, “The Scriptures testify about me” (John 5:39).

Trust the Lord in the spiritual dangers we face on a daily basis for His deliverance.
The darker the world is to us, the more clearly the light of Christ will stand out.
There are so many distractions competing for our attention in the daily grind of life.
If we keep the Lord in the number one spot in our lives, the distractions will disappear.


When We Hurt

2 Corinthians 4:16
Therefore we do not lose heart. 
Though outwardly we are wasting away, 
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

When I looked up some landmark buildings locally on the internet, our church building came up first on the list.
This building is over 100 years old with some repairs and renovations over the years.
The repairs are worthwhile because we don't owe anything for this building that was paid off many years ago.

What’s true of buildings is also true of us since our bodies will eventually wear out.
But there’s good news in that while we gradually wear out physically, our spirit is being renewed day by day.

"Therefore we do not lose heart."
The apostle Paul himself admitted that there were times when he and his co-workers were very close to losing heart. 
This passage is about not losing heart, becoming discouraged, or 'throwing in the towel' in serving the Lord. 
We need to depend on the Holy Spirit and His power by submitting to His guidance.

"Though outwardly we are wasting away"
A cousin of mine became very sick while in the ministry, but people were encouraged by her faith in Jesus.
Her body was wasting away but she was being inwardly renewed until she passed away.
The power of the Scriptures worked out day by day in her own personal life.
Her last years had been a great testimony to the sustaining strength of the Lord by witnessing to others. 

Outwardly we are wearing out and there's no way to stop that because our body is just a temporary dwelling.

"yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day."
Paul appeared to be a sick old man, but inwardly he was being transformed and renewed every day. 
He says that inwardly we have the part of our being that has already been made eternal.
Every single Christian is also making daily progress in the new life by trusting in God.
We are renewed on the inside when we read and study the Bible, the Word of God.


Yes, We Can

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.


Mariano Rivera was a professional baseball pitcher who played in the Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees.
He spent most of his career as a baseball pitcher and he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
He had some setbacks in his career including injuries on his right elbow and shoulder.
He also had some losses, struggles, and even career worsts throughout his excellent baseball achievements.
But Mariano didn’t let his failures stop him, and neither should we! 

Let's forget our faults and failures since they are not final, but we need to learn from them.
“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:17).
When God promises to bless you for your faithfulness and dedication, He isn’t necessarily guaranteeing you success in everything you do. 

"I can do all things through Christ"
Philippians 4:13 does not say that we can do anything we want to do. 
When we have Christ, we have everything. It doesn’t matter if we’re rich or poor, successful or defeated, sick or healthy.
If we take this verse in context, we’ll see that it was actually talking about something else.
Paul said, "Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."
The secret is contentment in everything and the ability to rejoice in all situations.

"who strengthens me."
Sometimes God uses problems to catch our attention with fiery trials for testing our faith.
People are like teabags if you want to know what's inside them, just drop them into hot water!

This is not saying that Christians will never go hungry or lack anything, or that God will protect us from all harm.
Unfortunately, most people fail to see how God wants to use problems for good in their lives.
Others complain and resent their problems rather than pausing to consider what benefit they might bring.
Proverbs 16:3 "The Lord honors those who commit their works to Him and who strive for excellence in everything they do."


Who Is This Man? 

Luke 8:25
In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? 
He commands even the winds and the water, 
and they obey him.

Our culture presents us with so many different versions of Jesus that are misleading and false.
 Jesus was not a great political leader, a religious leader, nor a great reformer.

What do we learn from this passage of Scripture?
Following Jesus requires from us faith and faithfulness that we need to rely totally on Him.
Only then we will know the great calm and the the great peace that comes after a stormy experience.

"In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this?"
Christ has this peace to give, but his disciples did not have it and they had more fear than faith. 
Christ asked His disciples "Why are you afraid?". Many times fear comes due to the unknown.

Our faith will be tested from time to time, but there’s comfort in knowing that he is there in the midst of our crisis.
God reminds us of our need to depend on his power and grace in our time of need.
Their fear was natural, but it was not right because the Lord was with them in the boat.
Jesus responded to His disciples by giving them a gracious rebuke, and then rebuking the storm.

"He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."
Jesus tells them the real cause of their fear by calling them "O you of little faith." 
We should have a healthy fear for dangerous situations, but not being paranoic about it.
An ungodly fear does not trust God's care and security for our life that cannot be shaken.
Even if a storm takes our life, the Lord will preserve our soul and spirit.
Even from the blackest terror at the bottom of the sea our prayer will reach God at all times.
The great storm became a great calm for the disciples and in their little faith they became great believers.


The Complaint Department

Numbers 11:6
We have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!

Does your dog or cat get bored eating the same food every day?
Just imagine eating the same meal as the Israelites did for forty years!
Each morning they gathered the sweet manna God supplied and they cooked it one day, baked it the next day, and boiled it the following day.
We see God’s faithful provision to the Israelites, causing them to trust and depend on His care each day.
Manna means “what is it?”
the Israelites had livestock with them in the desert, so those should have provided some relief from “manna monotony”.
Imagine them eating manna in the morning, manna in the evening, and manna at supper time.

"We have lost our appetite"
Some of us can live life with patience, endurance and faith, while others can't stand the way things are going.
Sometimes times we complain about many things that we don't like.
Let's face it. We all complain about a job, little inconveniences, or the state of the world.
Real life is never perfect. Some of us are blessed, some of us struggle and some of us suffer. 

"we never see anything but this manna!"
God has given us prayer and we are able to talk to Him about our concerns and worries.

Some of us pray for God to address our complaints and we pray for God to change situations that rub us the wrong way.
There is a purpose for everything and God wants us to grow in our faith journey with Him.
There will be times when God will test our faith.
We need pray for the things we can't change and give thanks to God because has a godly purpose in these things.


Church Without Walls

2 Peter 3:9
The LORD is not slow in keeping his promise, 
as some understand slowness. 
Instead he is patient with you, 
not wanting anyone to perish, 
but everyone to come to repentance.

After surveying 10,000 people, the Institute for American Church Growth concluded that 79 percent began attending church after receiving an invitation.
Only 6% were attracted by the sermon, 5% by the Sunday school and 0.5% by an evangelistic crusade.
(Focus on the Family 1984.)

If we have a heart for people who are unchurched, we must be a people whose heart God has moved.

"The LORD is not slow in keeping his promise"
Do you know why there’s the delay? It’s not because the Lord is slow about His promise.

Some Christians apparently believed that God was delaying out of indifference, or unwillingness.
The reason He’s delaying is patience for people to repent. He doesn't want anybody to get lost.

Every church can be a soul winner, but the power to win people to Christ comes from the power of God.
If we trust God to do a great work through us, we will witness the power of God in action.
We need to pray for our family members, friends, neighbors and be obedient to God’s calling. 
We need to share Christ with them in season and out of season.
Let's trust in God's power, not in our own strength and wisdom, to win people to Christ.

"Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish"
The certainty of the coming of Christ should motivate us to share the Gospel with other people.
Bear in mind that our Lord's patience is a call for repentance unto salvation (2 Peter 3:15).
God is using His time to express His patience and His grace that people might be saved. 
When the time of the Gentiles comes to an end and the last person is saved, the Lord takes away His church.
Then His patience will have finally ended and His judgment will come like a thief in the night.


The Chosen Ones

John 15:16
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you 
so that you might go and bear fruit.

Jesus said this to the eleven apostles, and to every believer who has been saved by the message of the Gospel.
This fruit includes the quality of fruit God desires and his disciples should produce good works and fruit that endures.
God wants the fruit to endure within ourselves and witnessing to others so that the church grows.

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you"
What does that mean, chose me for what?”
The word "Chose" comes from the word “elect.” It’s the doctrine of election.
We are all called to participate in the work of the church if we have been chosen by the Lord.

This places the responsibility upon us of producing fruit as members in the body of Christ to Glorify God.
Then He says this: “And appointed you that you would go.” that's not just salvation, but also a commission.
The commission is to go and bring people into the kingdom of God and our life will have an eternal impact.
This is like a preview of the Great Commission to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

"so that you might go and bear fruit."
Fruit is righteousness in every way, especially winning people to Christ by sharing the gospel.
What does it mean "go and bear fruit?” it means to go and proclaim the gospel.
It means to go and bring people to the knowledge of Christ, so that our fruit may remain and abide.


The Lord Of The Fish

John 21:6
He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat 
and you will find"

We know Peter had a boat and he went back to his own boat and his own nets.
He was discouraged about going to fish for men with the gospel.
One thing he could do was to catch fish and the other disciples went with Peter also.
That night they caught nothing because the Lord wanted to show them something better.

"He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat"
When they saw Jesus, He told them what to do and they filled two boats with fish.
Peter fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, ‘Go away from me Lord, for I’m a sinful man!’”
He knew who he was dealing with: the Lord God, and he saw his own helpless condition.

"you will find"
When it comes to bringing people to Christ, God may lead us to a ministry where we are catching fish like crazy.
On the other hand, He might put us in a spot where we don’t see anyone come to faith for a very long time.
But unlike fishing, you can’t just pack up and go somewhere else.
We have to stay true to the ministry where God has called us.

So whether we see large or small numbers of people come to faith when you share, remember that God has called you to a certain ministry.
The Lord is the one who will give that ministry fruit.
Our responsibility is to be obedient to His calling on our life.


From Weeping To Rejoicing

Psalm 126:5–6
Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. 
They weep as they go to plant their seed, 
but they sing as they return with the harvest.


I wonder if we will look back on our lives and say, “I should have shared my faith with more people”
When we get to Heaven, it could be that we will wish we had done more in this life. 

“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy."
There is joy and happiness in telling others about Jesus.
Our task is to sow the seeds of the gospel and make disciples.

"They weep as they go to plant their seed"
Notice that the sower goes out to sow and at the same time he is weeping and shedding tears.
Why does he weep?
Because he has a burden for the harvest and for the lost.

He wants to see the seed multiplied so that his people might be saved and have eternal life.
There was a day when we were lost without hope and without God.
This ought to be enough to drive us out into the world to tell others about the Gospel.
The Bible says that many more people will die lost than will be saved.

"but they sing as they return with the harvest."
The sower went to the fields, he worked and he sowed, now he returns with rejoicing because of the fruits of his labor.
He has a great harvest to show for the investment of his time and his tears.
We need to commit to taking the precious seed of the Gospel and seeing that it is sown where it is urgently needed.


The Thanks Giver

Luke 17:15-16
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, 
praising God in a loud voice. 
He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him.

A man who was lost and walking in the desert for days came to the home of a preacher.
The preacher gave him food and water, and then loaned him his horse to get to the nearest town.
The preacher told the man that his horse could only understand the words "Thank God" to make it go and "Amen" to make it stop.
The man got on the horse and he says, “Thank God” and sure enough, the horse starts walking.
A little later he says louder, “Thank God” and the horse starts trotting.
Then he said REAL loud, “THANK GOD!” and the horse was up to a full run!
Then he was heading straight towards a cliff and yells “Whoa, Stop, Stop!”, but the horse did not stop!
Finally, he remembered to say “AMEN!” and the horse comes to a screeching halt right before the edge of the cliff.
The man was panting and gasping for air, and he says with relief, “THANK GOD!”
Guess what the horse did!

Throughout the Bible we see Scripture of praises and thanksgiving as we walk with the Lord.

"One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God"
Why did only one cleansed leper out of ten return to thank Jesus?
The following reasons are suggested as to why the other nine did not return:
One waited to see if it would last.
One waited to thank Jesus later.
One forgot to give thanks.
One took it for granted.

We can only speculate why 9 of the 10 lepers who were healed by Jesus did not return to give Him thanks.
There are many excuses for not having a spirit of thanksgiving for God's blessings in our lives.


The New Generation

1 Peter 2:9
You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, 
a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him 
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

The New King James Version Bible says, "But you are a chosen generation".
"But" is a very strong word, or "on the other hand" we are a chosen race, a new generation.
In other words, we are different from those who don't believe and of their rejection of Christ.

"You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God"
We've been chosen to be on God's team to declare God's praises to those who don't know Christ.
The things that once belonged only to Israel like their election, priesthood, and calling are now no longer only for them.
These blessings also belong to every Christian, and we have them in a greater and spiritual sense.

"a royal priesthood"
Not only are we a chosen people, but also a royal priesthood and the emphasis here is on the royal.
Priests are one thing, kings are another thing, but to combine the two is remarkable, a special privilege.

The legitimate offices of royalty and priesthood were in Israel, but in Christ they have been given to His people.
God takes ordinary people to work in them, and they are chosen for God's glory.
We are a royal priesthood in Christ so that we have complete access to God's presence.
We are a holy nation as God's possession, and so we are actually indwelt by God Himself.


Run Like Crazy

1 Corinthians 9:24
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, 
but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

The apostle Paul asks his readers to follow his example and “run in such a way as to get the prize”.
A Christian must compete with others and discipline is required for the winner to receive the prize.
Only one may win an earthly race, but all may win the heavenly. The earthly reward is perishable, but the heavenly reward is eternal.

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run"

Like disciplined athletes, our running should be for the victor’s crown which God bestows on us.
We win it by sacrificing our lives to make Christ known while trusting on His power to do so.
Paul talks about self-control and if we are going to really limit our liberty, it’s going to be self-discipline. 

"only one gets the prize?"

If we are in this race to win souls, then we are going to have to run to win it.
In the Greek contest there could only be one winner and in the Christian life the prize is open to everybody.
The prize is not salvation; it is winning people to Christ, so let's run as hard as we can.

"Run in such a way as to get the prize"

In order to get into the finals in a competition, self-denial comes first when contestants go through painful training.
The goal is to win incorruptible crown, a crown that the Lord is going to give us.
And the way we win it is by wining souls, and the way we win souls is by self-control and discipline.
Let's be in it to win it.


What Are You Thankful For?

Psalm 9:1
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; 
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.

God has blessed us, but we may not think so if we’re measuring blessings in terms of health, wealth, and happiness.

But may our hearts be filled with gratitude giving thanks to God in all things.

Thank Him for spiritual blessings, for simple blessings like water, food, and shelter.
We are so blessed. 

Let's rejoice in the presence of the Lord, His power, His provision, His peace, and do everything with thanksgiving.


The Greatest Gift

 Luke 3:5–6
The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. 
And all people will see God’s salvation.

God is openning new doors for us to reach people around the globe with the good news of the gospel.
Christmas is about the Gospel. 

Christmas is also a time of year that is full of opportunities to share this good news.

"And all people will see God’s salvation"
Sharing the free and greatest Gift, Christ, is what really matters this Christmas.


Perfect Timing

Galatians 4:4-5
When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman,
born under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.

God waited until history reached his appointed time and sent Jesus.
He was sent at just the right time, the perfect time.
God sent his Son to be a woman's son, so He could send a redeemer to us.

The gospel of Matthew also talks about a sign given to us and the name Immanuel means, "God with us
We know what that sign was - Jesus coming to live as God with us and His life is God's sign.
The miracle of his conception is God's mystery.


The stars Of Stars

Jeremiah 29:13-14
You will seek me and find me 
when you seek me with all your heart. 
I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.

Suppose you could give a gift to Christ, what would it be?
How could you possibly select a gift for the One who not only has everything, but who made everything?
The Wise Men did. 

While we are giving, let's give God our heart, our time, and our worship.
Before the wisemen gave God their presents, they gave Him their presence. 

It’s likely that these men traveled as long as two years before locating the prince of heaven. 
Before they knelt before Jesus, the wise men spent many months searching for Him.

Just as the wise men devoted themselves to seeking the Savior, so can we.
“You will seek him and find him when you seek him with all your heart” (Deut. 4:29).


God's Incredible Gift

2 Corinthians 9:15
Thanks be to God for His "Indescribable Gift!

Our scripture this time is a short verse, only 8 words long.

Have you ever received an indescribable gift?

Have you ever received a gift that was beyond description?

The only purpose that Christ was born was to die on the cross because of his love for us.
Jesus came into the word from the cradle, to the cross, to the grave, and to the resurrection.
Apart from this Gift, we would be helpless and hopeless, waiting for the judgment of God.

Paul changes his attention from human gifts to God’s gift, but he cannot find words to describe it.
God Himself is the first gift-giver and Paul called Jesus indescribable because of His purpose in coming to earth.


Get Past Your Past

Philippians 3:13
I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind 
and straining toward what is ahead.

Welcome to 2020! Happy New Year! 

Whatever may have happened in 2019, now we can start new with our eyes focused on Jesus.
Every year is a new year and we can look forward with hope for what God has in store for us.

If God did something wonderful in our life in the last year, let's be thankful for that. 

“But one thing I do”

A new year is before us with many new opportunities. So press on for what God has for us.

"Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead."

The Christian life is not a piece of cake. It’s a battle. Paul was "straining" to move forward.
These words are for every follower of Christ. So let's press on toward what God has for you and me.


The New Creation

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, 
he is a new creature: old things are passed away; 
behold, all things are become new.

With God there are no "do-overs" or renovations, since He makes things new again.
Some people are totally changed, forgiven, and set free with a new purpose in life by the power of God.

Only the Lord can heal our brokenness, our mistakes, and our weaknesses because He is the God of new starts.

When a person comes to the Lord Jesus by faith, he becomes a new creation, a new person.


More Than Conquerors

Romans 8:37
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors 
through him who loved us.” 

Maybe at some time or another we might feel like we are in a spiritual wilderness for some time. 
You're not alone because we all feel that way at times not feeling as overcomers.

God felt more and more distant because we think we are not doing enough.
Or we might even experience feelings of defeat and inadequacy.

We may not feel like conquerors every day.
As time goes by you might feel weary, unnoticed, and tired.

"we are more than conquerors"
The truth is that we are MORE than conquerors in the midst of our disappointments.
We are meant to be more than “Overcomers” as part of our new name.

"through him who loved us.”
We are not forgotten and forsaken because we are still being used for God’s glory.


Waiting Patiently

Psalm 40:1
I waited patiently for the LORD; 
he turned to me and heard my cry.

Every fall when some turtles sense the winter coming, they go to the bottom of the pond and bury themselves in the mud.
Their heart rate slows down until they stop breathing and they just wait and wait for about 4 months.
They wait patiently for a long time and finally they come out, and breathe again. 

Have you ever waited for something without any impatience, frustration, or anxiety?
Maybe some of us have been waiting for a long time for deliverance from a difficult situation. 

"I waited patiently for the LORD"
We wait in heavy traffic, we wait for things to get better, or wait in a waiting room.
We are no good at waiting and want to get moving, especially when the clock is ticking fast.

"he turned to me and heard my cry."
If we trust the Lord that He will answer our prayers, He will finally bring it to pass.
Patience is mentioned in the Bible as a “fruit of the Spirit".


Take Up Your Cross

Mark 8:34
"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves 
and take up their cross and follow me."

Many people think that taking up our “cross” is about a sickness, hardships, trials, and tribulations that we suffer.
However, a cross is something that we willingly and sacrificially do for the Lord.

"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves"
Jesus willingly laid down His life for us and He calls us to do the same in the sense that we follow Him no matter what.

"and take up their cross and follow me."
Our cross is when we willingly die to ourselves by saying no to sin and self, and yes to Christ.
Maybe you have been facing a lot of challenges in your life and you're wondering: "Why is the Christian life so hard?”

The Christian life isn’t hard; it’s impossible! We can’t live it in our own strength.
There’s no way we can follow Christ on our own. Only God in us can do that.


Pray and never give up 

Luke 18:1
"Then Jesus told his disciples a parable 
to show them that they should always pray and not give up."

This is a parable told by the Lord Jesus, a simple story with a profound spiritual message.
He tells his disciples the need to pray at all times and not lose heart, or not get discouraged.

There was a judge who did not fear God, did not respect man, and he was so evil and corrupt.
Also, there was a widow who kept coming to him constantly pleading for justice on her opponent.
Finally the judge couldn't take it anymore and did justice to the poor widow.

This parable teaches that God’s will is touched by persistent prayer.
It says that God will answer the prayers of his chosen ones, in other words, He will answer the prayers of the believers.


Do Not Be Deceived

Colossians 2:8 "See to it that no one takes you captive 
through hollow and deceptive philosophy, 
which depends on human tradition..."

I keep getting scam emails in my inbox asking me to verify my Internet provider account, or US Bank account which I don't have.
Some of these bogus emails are so badly written and hard to understand.
You can tell right away that many come from other foreign countries. 
Yet other scammers send emails that look very legitimate to deceive people.

Paul warns the Colossian believers against being taken captive.

What could take the Colossians captive? Paul mentions the word "philosophy".
This refers to deep thinking, logic, human philosiphies, and false teachings.

Philosophy is based on anti-Christian principles which are arguments as "deceptive".

Paul wanted these believers to focus on truth, and on Christ, not on human deception.


What Is Truth?

1 Corinthians 2:9
"As it is written: 'What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, 
and what no human mind has conceived 
the things God has prepared for those who love him.' "

There are some Bible verses that we know, but are taken out of context.
For example this verse is not talking about the glorious things in heaven.

Do you find anything in here about heaven?
Paul is not talking about Christians not being able to know what heaven is like.
He is talking about the unbelievers not being able to know what salvation is like. 

God from eternity past prepared some amazing things for the people that love Him.
But the people that don’t love Him cannot know what those things are.
The world with all its technology, wisdom, and quest for truth cannot figure out what’s going on.

"As it is written: 'What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard...' "
What Paul is saying is that we cannot come to the truth from a human viewpoint.
Truth is not observable externally by human observation.

"and what no human mind has conceived”
That means we cannot come to God by human reason.
The truth and the wisdom of God is not discoverable by the human mind, but only by His Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:10
"These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God."


Knowing An Infinite God

1 Kings 8:27
"Will God really dwell on earth? 
The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. 
How much less this temple I have built!”

How can you know an infinite God?
The only way man will ever know God is for God to reveal Himself through the Son, Jesus Christ.

God cannot be limited to one place since He cannot be contained even by the highest heaven.

How big is God? The answer usually given is “bigger than you can imagine!”.
He has no dimensions because God is “spirit” (John 4:24), so He has no physical or material form. 

He is immaterial and therefore immeasurable. He is infinite in every way. 

God is transcendent that we can never fully understand Him.
At the same time, we are made in His image, and He has communicated to us through His Word and His Son, Jesus. 

God is “big” enough to make the universe and “small” enough to know and love us personally.

The Infinite, God, reveals Himself to the finite, that is, mankind.
Only the Holy Spirit knows the mind of God and searches the deep things of God.


You Can Be Renewed

Romans 12:2
"Do not be conformed to this world, 
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, 
that by testing you may discern what is the will of God."

"Do not be conformed to this world"
Other Bible versions say, "Do not be conformed to this age", or "Do not conform to the pattern of this world".

"Do not be conformed to this world" refers to the fallen, unredeemed philosophy of life.
"but be transformed by the renewal of your mind"
Our mind must be given to God.
Before we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice our mind must be renewed. 

The world is the battleground of Satan to promote his sinister goals all over the world.
That's why we should no be conformed to the ethics, the standards, and moralities of our times.

Let's not pattern, or mold ourselves after the world system if we have been renewed in our minds.
People want to do what everybody else is doing, the entertainment, the life style, and they get sucked in.

Let's stop being conformed and start being transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
It's the work of the Spirit who changes us and conforms us to the image of Christ.
The renewed mind is a mind that is saturated and empowered by the Word of God.


One Body

1 Corinthians 12:27
"Now you are the body of Christ, 
and each one of you is a part of it."

How interesting that Paul calls one local congregation the body of Christ.

We, as a local assembly, can manifest the fullness of the body of Christ locally.

This building is not the church, but each one of us is a building of the Holy Spirit.

It's amazing to know that each local assembly of believers represent the body of Christ.

"Now you are the body of Christ"
Paul says, "You all" are Christ's body." Each one of us who are in Christ is a member of His body. 

Just as the parts of a physical body are different in function the diversity is still a unity. 

"each one of you is a part of it."
Not a single person who is in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit is left out.


Do you have a testimony or prayer request that you would like to share?

Salvation is only through faith in Jesus Christ.
Jesus himself said clearly in John 14:6 “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me". 

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 
Romans 3:10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 
It is tough to admit that we are wrong. We may feel we are good thinking we are not as bad as other people.
The truth is we are all sinners and can never be good enough to earn our way to heaven.
God’s Word, the Bible, states that ALL have sinned (done things that are wrong and against God).
God is holy and just. Sins against a Holy God deserve punishment.
We are told in the Bible that the consequences for sin is death—eternal death in hell.

However, a loving and merciful God has provided a rescue plan!
The Word of God says, ‘Repent’. (Matthew 4:17 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 
To repent means to turn away from a lifestyle of sin— to go in another direction.
How can we be led to repentance? The first step toward repentance is true sorrow for what we’ve done wrong. 2 Corinthians 7:10 “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”
Worldly sorrow is more like the regret of a criminal who’s just been caught whereas godly sorrow is the deep conviction that produces a change of heart.
Have you ever felt convicted after doing something wrong? The Bible says that the Holy Spirit is the one that convicts us of our sin. (John 16:7-8) 

John 3:16-17 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
Acts 16:31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 
1 John 3:23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the Name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He commanded us. 
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 
Jesus Christ laid down His life and took the penalty meant for us, dying in our place. He paid the debt we could not pay and delivered us from the power of sin and death.  

Romans 10:9-10 …that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 
God did his part, sending His one and only Son to die in our place. He has offered us a free gift — salvation, the forgiveness of sin, eternal life with Him in heaven.
BUT… we must receive that gift. We must confess our sins (1 John 1:9) and confess (or proclaim) our faith (belief) in the death, burial and resurrection of God’s son, Jesus Christ.
Confessing with our mouth requires an outward and public action.

Well, that’s up to you! If you are ready to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior and want to receive this free gift of eternal life, there is NO reason to wait! God’s Word says,
2 Corinthians 6:2 “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. – [warning] None of us knows how long we have on this earth. Waiting on such an important decision may prove to be a costly eternal mistake. The only opportunity we are guaranteed to have is right now!

Heavenly Father,
I know that I’ve sinned against You. I realize that the penalty for sin is death. Thank you for sending Your Son, Jesus, to die, shedding His own blood on the cross in my place so that I could receive His righteousness by faith. I now confess my sins to You and ask for Your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus died and rose again so that I can be forgiven and live forever with Him. Here and now, I surrender my life, my plans, my goals to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. By God’s strength, I will seek to share about what God has done in my life with each opportunity God brings my way.
In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Remember, the Bible says we are saved by grace through faith… God sees our heart. We are not saved by simply saying some special words in a formal prayer. We are saved when we reach out by faith, admitting our sin, believing on Christ and confess Him as our Lord and Savior. Saving faith produces a forever changed life. If you have prayed this prayer, we rejoice with you. Heaven itself is even rejoicing with you!
Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” 

Nope. Your journey as a follower (disciple) of Jesus Christ has just begun. A newborn baby needs nourishment and care to grow, so too you will need God’s Word, the Bible, to learn and grow in your faith. You should also seek out a church (a group of other believers in Jesus Christ) that believes and teaches the unchangeable Word of God. There you find support and encouragement as your faith grows. There will be battles ahead, but you will not have to fight alone. Let us know that you have prayed this prayer and how we can pray for you!

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