Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

TRUTH: Who’s Your Potna (Partner)

February 15, 2018

Dictionary.com defines partner as a person who shares or is associated with another in some action or endeavor; sharer; associate. In the vernacular, partner has often been stated at “potna”. It usually denotes a person with whom you associate with and care for in some degree but certainly more than a general sense. We know that words have multiple means, but for the purpose of this post, we will limit partner to those parameters . TRUTH: Who’s Your Potna (Partner)

When I was in elementary school, the cafeteria had a slogan saying “You are what you eat.” My mom related that to who you hang around, relate to or associate with. She said you will either become like them or they will become like you. The importance of who one surrounds himself/herself is stressed in schools all the time. As we know, we learn a great deal about socialization in school as a child. Some learn the valuable lesson of associating themselves with like-minded people. 1 Corinthians 15:33 expresses it like this – “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.Proverbs 22:24-25 tells us “24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, 25 or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.” TRUTH: Who’s Your Potna (Partner)

In Ephesians, the Apostle Paul was providing instructions on how to live the new life for those who had trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Ephesians 5

For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord.

Whether from a parent, a teacher, or the bible, the commentary about a “Potna” is the same – do not become an associate, an endeavorer, a sharer, a partaker or anything in close relationship with people who do not regard the triune God as supreme. If the person rejects Jesus, they are rejecting you. Now, Christ is clear that this admonition does not include isolating yourself. For we know He interacted with sinners as a means to share the truth of God with them. Yet, it was not His group with whom He called friends or shared His purpose and plan for being. He reserved that for those who truly believed. The one who would betray Him was allowed in that circle, so God’s purpose, plan and prophecy would be fulfilled. TRUTH: Who’s Your Potna (Partner)

If you call yourself a believer, God is calling you to choose wisely with whom you align yourself with. Paul said, “Let no one deceive you with empty words”. There must be evidence of the lordship of Christ in the person’s life in order for you to be obedient to this command. Make an assessment and live the TRUTH: Who’s Your Potna (Partner)

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TRUTH: Improper Behavior = No Inheritance

February 13, 2018

In regards to an inheritance, Billionaire Warren Buffett has been quoted as saying that the inheritance should be “enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing.” Wealthy parents have concern over whether their grandchildren or children will make sound decisions or whether they can be trusted with huge sums of money. Since I don’t from a financially or materially rich family, I do not have to worry about that, but I do know that wealthy grandparents and parents often attach conditions for which a child must comply in order to receive their inheritance. One popular vehicle to accomplish that is a trust. In a trust, making sound financial decisions are put in the hands of someone else called the trustee. The trustee ensures that the child holds to the conditions. TRUTH: Improper Behavior = No Inheritance

In spiritual terms, the Apostle Paul outlines how God assesses our behavior to determine whether we will receive a spiritual inheritance. In Ephesians 5, Paul continues to express how a true follower of Christ lives as opposed to those who are not true followers. One’s behavior reveals whether one is a true follower of Christ, a true child of God; thus, whether the inheritance will be given.

Ephesians 5

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.

While behavior appears to be the only condition that one will receive a spiritual inheritance, I want to assure you that the Word of God maintains that a person is justified by faith apart from the works or by solely obeying commands. TRUTH: Improper Behavior = No Inheritance

In the context of text, Paul has established and is presenting that a new man or new woman results out of being born again. That is why the term is used. He was explaining to the Ephesians the changes of heart and mind that occur and the resulting changes in behavior that follow. We all would agree that none of us is perfect; however, we also would agree that if we continue in behaviors after promising to stop or curtail them that we lie or deceive ourselves. That is why he calls for them to “let no one deceive you with empty words”  Paul was quite clear that with no change of heart, mind and actions that the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient. TRUTH: Improper Behavior = No Inheritance

TRUTH: Improper Behavior = No Inheritance. The person who professes to follow Christ and does not imitate Christ cannot partake in the inheritance of eternal life. In Matthew 16:24, Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” In Ephesians 1, Paul had established how believers obtain their inheritance. He said, “13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” This points to the fact that the true believer in Christ is indwelt by the Holy Spirit who is a pledge of our inheritance by convicting us concerning sin, and righteousness and judgment. (John 16:8)

As such, it is impossible for the true follower of Christ to continue on in the same sin and have been saved, redeemed, regenerated, restored, etc. Have you assessed your level of obedience? Have you checked to see if you regard God’s call to holiness as real in your life?  TRUTH: Improper Behavior = No Inheritance. 

TRUTH: Improper Behaviors

February 12, 2018

As a little boy, my mom regularly told me that when I go out into this world that I represented her. She told me to make sure that I represented her well and according to how she raised me. Parents all over the world have identified what is proper and improper behaviors for their children. Businesses are similar. Most businesses have core values that they espouse and demand of their employees. Today’s post is of similar ilk regarding the TRUTH: Improper Behaviors.

In Ephesians 4, Paul began telling us the TRUTH: How to Put on Your New Self. In Ephesians 5, he extends the types of behaviors that are befitting and proper for the person who claim to have surrendered their will and lives to follow Jesus Christ as the example. Listen to what Paul says in the first few verse of chapter 5.

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

First, there is the call to follow God’s example, Jesus Christ, by walking in the way of love by sacrificing your life to God. Jesus, like the rest of us, had a choice. He could have chosen to carry and die on the cross, or He could have balked at that notion of dying on the cross. If He had, man would not have any means to be forgiven of his sin and was perpetually doomed to face the wrath of God.

Since Christ did offer Himself as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God, we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, through Him. For those who surrender their live to Jesus in exchange for that forgiveness and eternal life with God, we are to follow Jesus’ example by living in obedience to God the Father’s expectations just as we do for our earthly parents. We need to know and obey the Word about the TRUTH: Improper Behaviors.

The text tells us “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” If we were to take those three in totality, we would be talking for days. Let’s look at the behaviors God expects of us regarding sex. The Word tells us there must not be a hint of sexual immorality – that is for married or unmarried people. For married persons, that would be adultery. For unmarried people, sex would be termed fornication. In either case, God has boundaries for us all.

The TRUTH: Improper Behaviors refers to us all. Once again here, sex is the issue. God says there must not be a hint. The NASB and NKJV says that sexual impurity must not even be named among you. I favor how the NIV says it by hint. As it causes me to remember Matthew 5:28 in which Jesus says, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Jesus said the hint here is what we have thought is a sin. We know that a thought produces an action. James 1:14-15 tells us that “14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” That death there is sin. Jesus came that we might life and life more abundantly; therefore, He tells us to avoid sin.

The TRUTH: Improper Behaviors is that followers of Jesus should not engage in behaviors that bring death i.e. sinful thoughts or actions. It is extremely hard to check our thoughts, but that is the level of expectation by God. He expects our thoughts to be pure and holy for He is holy. Peter says it for us – 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” We are called to follow Jesus’ example. Jesus was holy, so we too must be holy. 

David, who like us had many flaws, shows us the way to clearing our thoughts. First in Psalm 51, He asks God to “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me…13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.” In Psalm 119, David also poses the question “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word… 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

Addressing our hearts and our minds is the key to live the TRUTH about Improper Behaviors. 

TRUTH: How to Walk: In the Way of Love

February 8, 2018

In the post TRUTH: How to Put on Your New Self II, we listed the attributes that were reflective of the new self from Ephesians 4. They were the things that we were to do or not do. Now, as we transition to the next portion of text in Ephesians 5, we see Paul transitions from the “what” to the “be” to reveal the TRUTH: How to Walk: In the Way of Love

Ephesians 5

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

We are called to follow God’s example. Who or what was God’s example? In talking the the Father, Jesus said, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” John 17:18 In Matthew 16:24, Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Now Peter, one of the 12, said, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 TRUTH: How to Walk: In the Way of Love

We see the Father, the Son and one of the 12 agree that Jesus Christ is God’s example. Consequently, as followers of Christ, we are to imitate or follow Christ’s example. This is what Paul is reiterating. Remember, walk regards the way we live our lives. Paul tells the Ephesians to “walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Our lives, out of reverence and allegiance to Christ, should first be characterized by love.  This love is not merely an emotional attachment, but it is agapē which is affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love. Moreover, it is a love that results in action on behalf of the object of the love which should be mankind. TRUTH: How to Walk: In the Way of Love

We see that lived out through Jesus’ example. Paul makes sure to point this out to us – “just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Love gives to the recipient at the giver’s expense. Jesus game himself up for us to God. It was His love for God that allowed Him to humble Himself to become incarnate, man, and to die on the cross for our sins. Who are we willing to die to ourselves for? Are we willing to die for another out of our love for God. Jesus did not regret loving Judas, Peter or any other because His ultimate purpose in giving of Himself was out of His love for God. That’s the TRUTH: How to Walk: In the Way of Love.

If you find yourself getting angry, regretting and/or feeling foolish for loving, perhaps you did not love out of your love for God for the welfare of that person alone. This could true for a spouse, a child, a parent, a sibling, a friend or a stranger. We are called to be sacrificing and benevolent to others out of our love for God. That reveals the TRUTH: How to Walk: In the Way of Love

TRUTH: The True Reveal

February 6, 2018

Whether Love it or List it, the Property Brothers, Fixer Upper, or Extreme Makeover, the element of the show that is the climax is the reveal of the changes that makes their home new. A reveal is an unveiling, uncovering, or a disclosing of what was previously unknown.

In life, there are things that are ever before us; yet, we do not see them many times. rabbit-duck-illusion-psychologyOften, it takes someone to reveal it to us before we can see it. For example, most of us have seen the optical illusion pictures such as the rabbit or duck. Likewise, seeing the one true and triune God is often a prime example of how one can be “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
10 Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull
    and close their eyes. (Isaiah 6) There seems to be a need for the TRUTH: The True Reveal.

This thought has been on a repeated loop in my mind since I heard and read the passage below.

Luke 10:21-22

21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

22 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

The TRUTH: The True Reveal surfaces in that passage. The Greek word for reveal is apokalyptō (ä-po-kä-lü’p-tō) which means

  1. to uncover, lay open what has been veiled or covered up
    a. disclose, make bare

  2. to make known, make manifest, disclose what before was unknown

Jesus says that He, through the Father, is responsible for revealing the Father to people. In effect, Jesus says that it is He that uncovers, lays open, makes known or discloses what was previously unknown. It is our responsibility to share Jesus with people, but their response is between the triune God and them.

The TRUTH: The True Reveal also surfaces when we manifest the character of Christ in the lives and interactions with our neighbor like the Samaritan. God has chosen to reconcile man to Himself through His church who should proclaim Christ’s sacrificial life for those who should believe. Where are you? Do you see Christ as King, Savior and Lord? If you do not, ask Jesus to reveal the Father to you, so you can experience the TRUTH: The True Reveal.

TRUST: Putting on Our New Self: Offerings and Sacrifices

February 2, 2018

In the post TRUTH: How to Put on Your New Self II, we listed the attributes that were reflective of the new self from Ephesians 4. They were the things that we were to do or not do. We also learned that participation in the ministry of reconciliation is the TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian.

Today, we move into Ephesians 5 where Paul continues to expound upon the instructions for Christian living.

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Remember Jesus’ Words to his disciples. He said, ““Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23  Here, Paul picks up on that mandate as well as to tie the new self or new man with imitating Christ. After all, the word Christian means a follower of Christ; to be Christ like or like Christ. Paul is clear in the imperative – Follow God’s example. TRUST: Putting on Our New Self: Offerings and Sacrifices 

Paul equates Jesus as God and rightly so. We are told to walk in the way of love. Then Paul qualifies what the way of love really means – just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. To walk means to live like. The way of love means to give yourself up as an offering and sacrifice to God. Ultimately, we are not doing anything for anyone else other than God. Our allegiance, our focus, our commitment must be to God and God alone. TRUST: Putting on Our New Self: Offerings and Sacrifices 

This explains how Jesus could know Judas would betray Him, Peter would deny Him and the other disciples would distance themselves from Him; yet, He remained resolute in His commitment to die on the cross for the redemption of those whom God had given Him. TRUST: Putting on Our New Self: Offerings and Sacrifices 

How many times have you gotten mad at someone because they did not appreciate your sacrifice? Our offering and/or sacrifice to someone should always be out of our commitment to God as we imitate Jesus. Remember the post, TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian. Ephesians 4:23-24 describes the new life as “23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” We learn from Peter “15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16

TRUST: Putting on Our New Self: Offerings and Sacrifices calls for us to follow God’s example which was to love us and give himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Will you do the same for God today?

TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian

February 1, 2018

From birth to 17, I grew up unchurched. I only visited a church when I went to my grandmother’s house and that not often as she lived almost three hours away. My knowledge and understanding of biblical matters or of the Christian lifestyle was informed and shaped by what I heard and what I saw in those who claimed to be Christians.

Our behavior as followers of Christ is paramount to the reconciliation of those who have yet to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It through Christ that man is reconciled God being forgiven and cleansed of his (man) sins. It is through man that God chose to make this life known. When we do not live a life worthy of our calling, we cause others to be dissuaded from surrendering to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Holiness, being distinct and set apart, is absolutely paramount for those who claim to be followers of Jesus. It is also the TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian

We have been in Ephesians and there is where we will stay to make that point obvious. In Ephesians 4, Paul begins to tell the believers in Ephesus some attitudes and conducts to put off and some to put on. Listen to the rationale:

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

I have spent the last few posts talking about putting on the new self and taking off the old self. In verses 23 and 24, Paul makes it real clear about the TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian. We have heard that salvation is free. I do not agree with that. While not in the same degree but in the same manner, salvation costs us the same thing it cost Jesus to provide it – our lives. As a follower of Jesus, we forfeit our “right” to live how we want to live. Paul said it poignantly in Galatians 2:20 where he said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Translation, since I gave my life to Jesus, I have to live how He says for me to live not on my own accord.

This same Paul is making this point in Ephesians 4:22-23 – the TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian. We have to be made new in the attitudes of our minds. Then, we have to put on the new self which he explains from the rest of the chapter through the end of chapter six. Nevertheless, we have clarity for the TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian at the end of verse 24. We were “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” While it is clear throughout the gospels and the epistles that true righteousness can only be attained through Jesus, it does not absolve us of making every effort to live righteously. That is to have integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting. On the other hand, holiness is piety towards God, fidelity in observing the obligations of piety, holiness i.e. being distinct and separate. If a believers looks like an unbeliever, what is the point? What is the difference?

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” “(1 Corinthians 1)

Jesus’s sacrifice, the salvation of others and our participation in that process is at stake. That is the TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian, so when we live how we want to live, that is what we desecrate. Now, will you consider the impact of how you live as a believer? Remember, as it was with me, someone’s knowledge and understanding of biblical matters or of the Christian lifestyle is being informed and shaped by what they hear and what they see in you.

 

 

TRUTH: Putting on Our New Self: Kindness, Compassion and Forgiveness

January 31, 2018

In the post TRUTH: How to Put on Your New Self II, we listed the attributes that were reflective of the new self from Ephesians 4. They were the things that we were to do or not do. To remind us, let me give you what Paul outlines as some of those new attitudes to apply to our lives. Today, we transition to things to put on rather than to take off. TRUTH: Putting on Our New Self: Kindness, Compassion and Forgiveness

As we see below, Paul outlined a number of behaviors that were reflective of our old self that must be put off.

  • v 25 – put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor
  • v 26 – do not let the sun go down while you are still angry
  • v 27 – do not give the devil a foothold
  • v 28 – do not steal any longer, work to give/share with those in need rather than taking
  • v 29 – do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but speak only what is helpful for building up others in conjunction with their needs. Also speak what is beneficial to the listener
  • v 30 – do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption
  • v 31 – get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice
  • v 32 – be kind and compassionate (tender-hearted) to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you

Now, Paul begins a series of attributes any professed follower of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior should embrace and emulate. As a reminder, Paul says, “ You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Sinful attitudes and behaviors corrupt us while Christ-like attitudes and behaviors lead to righteousness and holiness. Verse 32 communicates three attributes of Christ, our new self, that we should live out the TRUTH: Putting on Our New Self: Kindness, Compassion and Forgiveness.

The imperatives are to be kind, be compassionate and be forgiving.

kind – chrēstos (khrā-sto’s) means

  1. fit, fit for use, useful

    1. virtuous, good

  2. manageable

    1. mild, pleasant (as opp. to harsh, hard sharp, bitter)

    2. of things: more pleasant, of people, kind, benevolent

compassionate – eusplagchnos (yü’-splänkh-nos) means

well compassioned, i.e. sympathetic:—pitiful, tender-hearted. M-W.com says it is easily moved to love, pity, or sorrow

forgiving – charizomai (khä-rē’-zo-mī) means

to do something pleasant or agreeable (to one), to do a favour to, gratify

  1. to show one’s self gracious, kind, benevolent

  2. to grant forgiveness, to pardon

  3. to give graciously, give freely, bestow
    a. to forgive
    b. graciously to restore one to another
    c. to preserve for one a person in peril

Those are attributes that one cannot fake. James Allen Lane is attributed with saying “Adversity does not build character, it reveals it.” Under pressure or in the moment, we reveal what is in our hearts and minds. If we have not committed to being kind, compassionate and forgiving, it will not manifest itself. Galatians 5:22-23 say, “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” For the believer, the key to demonstrating the new self is to live according to the Holy Spirit.

TRUTH: Putting on Our New Self: Kindness, Compassion and Forgiveness can only be achieved by denying our natural attitudes and thoughts. In and of ourselves, we are not any good as we are prone to turn away from God. It must be through the Holy Spirit, whom God deposits in follower of Christ, to guarantee our inheritance to the praise of His glory.

God wants us to live the TRUTH: Putting on Our New Self: Kindness, Compassion and Forgiveness. Those are awfully lofty attributes to demonstrate in any day, but through surrendering our will, God, through the Holy Spirit, can live those out in us to the praise of His glory. Ask God today to help you demonstrate kindness, compassion and forgiveness. God commands us to forgive. If you do not have anyone whom you have felt wronged you, you will. When that occurs, forgive them out of reverence for Christ.

Thus Saith THE LORD GOD, the Holy One of Israel

January 25, 2018

I just want to keep my mouth closed and let God speak for Himself because Thus Saith THE LORD GOD, the Holy One of Israel. All I will say is that I humbled by the Almighty God.

Isaiah 7 and Isaiah 30

Isaiah 7

When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.

Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.

Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Launderer’s Field. Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heartbecause of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce angerof Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’sson have plotted your ruin, saying, “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.” Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“‘It will not take place,
    it will not happen,
for the head of Aram is Damascus,
    and the head of Damascus is only Rezin.
Within sixty-five years
    Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people.
The head of Ephraim is Samaria,
    and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son.
If you do not stand firm in your faith,
    you will not stand at all.’”

Isaiah 30

12 Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says:

“Because you have rejected this message,
    relied on oppression
    and depended on deceit,
13 this sin will become for you
    like a high wall, cracked and bulging,
    that collapses suddenly, in an instant.
14 It will break in pieces like pottery,
    shattered so mercilessly
that among its pieces not a fragment will be found
    for taking coals from a hearth
    or scooping water out of a cistern.”

15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
    in quietness and trust is your strength,
    but you would have none of it.
16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’
    Therefore you will flee!
You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’
    Therefore your pursuers will be swift!
17 A thousand will flee
    at the threat of one;
at the threat of five
    you will all flee away,
till you are left
    like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
    like a banner on a hill.”
18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
    therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
    Blessed are all who wait for him!

 

Thus Saith THE LORD GOD, the Holy One of Israel

TRUTH: Putting On Our New Self: How to Get Rid of….

January 24, 2018

In the post TRUTH: Putting on Our New Self: Get rid of all Bitterness, Rage and Anger, Brawling and Slander, along with every form of Malice, I shared that I thought the root of all negative emotions is selfishness which is pride. I have tried to slice it a million ways, but that is the truth. When I put Christ first and not myself, I handle circumstances in a manner that brings glory to God. When I do not, I bring shame to the name of Christ. This is the Lordship decision that we all must make all day every day. It is the challenge of the new self – whether to live according to the Spirit or to our own desires. This gets at the heart of what Paul told the Corinthians when he said, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” TRUTH: Putting On Our New Self: How to Get Rid of….

In the list of attributes that we should put on and take off in Ephesians 4, Paul lists the motherload and shares the TRUTH: Putting On Our New Self: How to Get Rid of….

 

  • v 31 – get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice (NIV)
  • v 31 –  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (NASB)
  • v 31 – Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. (NKJV)

I like the translation in the NIV because it connotes a total abandonment of those behaviors. Get rid of makes me think of throwing away trash i.e. unwanted and unimportant things. All of those attributes are selfish and prideful. In regards to selfishness/pride being the root of this, James‘ text affirms my assertion. Listen to what he says,

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

James is telling us that our selfishness drives anger, bitterness, rage, brawling, slander and malice. These behaviors contrast with the picture of love presented by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 – “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…” TRUTH: Putting On Our New Self: How to Get Rid of….

Finally, Peter says “11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires,which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” TRUTH: Putting On Our New Self: How to Get Rid of….

What is at stake is God’s glory, God’s investment in each believer, and the witness of each believer. God chose to reconcile man to Himself through the church. If we get rid of old self and put on the new self, we show and live the TRUTH: Putting On Our New Self: How to Get Rid of…. all that mars the life of Christ in man.