Monday, November 22, 2021

What Does it Mean That Our Body is the Temple?

1 Corinthians 6:9-20   v19

 

We are to use our bodies to give God glory in all that we do. In these first few verses, Paul was portraying the qualities of unbelievers. He does not imply that these individuals are automatically and permanently prevented from going to heaven. Christians come from all foundations, including these. They might continue to battle with malicious longings; however, they ought not to proceed in these practices. Paul unmistakably expresses that even the individuals who sin in these ways can have their lives changed by Christ. The individuals who say that they are Christians yet continue to endure these practices with no regret "shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Such individuals need to reconsider their lives to verify whether they really do trust and believe in Christ.

In a lenient permissive society, some Christians can easily ignore or endure some shameless practices while staying infuriated at others. We cannot participate in wrongdoing or support it in any capacity, nor should we be specific with regards to what we censure or excuse. Avoiding commonly acknowledged sin is troublesome, however, it is no harder for us today than it was for the Corinthian Christians. God calls for his followers in any age to have and live by higher standards.

Paul proclaimed God's activity in making the people new. The three parts of God's work are all essential for our salvation: our transgressions were washed away, we were separated for exclusive use, and we were deemed innocent for our wrongdoings. Every one of the three individuals from the Trinity give the capacity to our changed lives.

Obviously, the church members were citing and twisting the words "all things are lawful unto me.” Some Christians in Corinth were pardoning their transgressions by saying that (1) Christ had removed all wrongdoing, thus they had total autonomy to live however they wanted, (2) what they were doing was not rigorously illegal by Scripture. Paul addressed both of these reasons with (1) while Christ has removed our wrongdoing, this does not give us the prerogative to continue doing what we know is not right. The New Testament explicitly restricts many sins (6:9-10) that were initially denied in the Old Testament (Romans 12:9-21, 13:8-10). (2) Some activities are not wicked in themselves, but they are not fitting since they can dominate our lives and lead us away from God. (3) Some activities might hurt others. Anything we do that harms rather than helps other people is not right.

A large number of the world's religions think the spirit or soul is significant and the body is not, and Christianity has here and there been impacted by them. In truth nonetheless, Christianity is extremely physical. We love the God who made the world that is physical. He even said that it was good. He guarantees us another earth where genuine individuals whose physical lives have been changed. They are not bodiless spirits floating on a pink cloud listening and playing harp music. At the core of Christianity is simply the account of God taking on flesh and coming to live with us, offering both physical and spiritual healing.

 

Just like Adam, we are a people from the dust with a soul. Similarly, as our spirits influence our bodies, so do our actual bodies influence our spirits. We cannot submit sin and transgressions with our bodies without harming our spirits. Why? Because our bodies and spirits are indistinguishably joined. In the new earth, we will have restored bodies that are not damaged by transgression. We will then be able to partake in the fulness of our salvation.

Freedom is a characteristic of the Christian faith, independence from transgression and culpability, and freedom to utilize and appreciate anything that comes from God. Yet, Christians ought not man-handle this opportunity and hurt themselves as well as other people. Drinking a lot of prompts liquor abuse, overeating leads to becoming overweight. We are to be cautious that what God has permitted us to appreciate does not develop into an unfortunate quirk (bad habit) that controls us.

Fornication (sexual sin) is an enticement we cannot get away from. In films and on TV, sex outside marriage is treated as an ordinary, even alluring, part of life, while marriage is regularly displayed as binding and dreary. We can even be peered downward on by others when we are associated with being unadulterated and pure. Nevertheless, God does not prohibit sexual sin just to be troublesome. He realizes its ability to annihilate us spiritually and physically. Nobody should disparage the force of sexual sin. It has crushed incalculable lives and obliterated families, networks, and even countries. God wants to shield us from harming ourselves as well as other people, thus he offers to fill us with himself from our sinful desires and unhappiness.

This instructing about prostitutes and fornication was particularly significant for the Corinthian church in light of the fact that the sanctuary of the goddess Aphrodite was in Corinth. It utilized in excess of a thousand prostitutes, and sex was a piece of the worship custom. Paul unmistakably expressed that Christians are to have no part in fornication, regardless of whether it is easily obtainable and well known in our way of life.

As Christians are allowed to be everything we can be for God, we are not liberated from God. God created sex to be a delightful and fundamental element of marriage, yet sexual sin, sex outside of the marriage, consistently harms somebody. It harms God since it shows that we are inclined toward following our own longings rather than the Holy Spirit. It harms others since it disregards the responsibility that is so important to a relationship. It regularly carries infection to our bodies, and it profoundly influences our characters, which react in pain when we hurt ourselves spiritually and physically.

What did Paul mean when he said “know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ, and ye are not your own?” Many individuals may say that they reserve a privilege to do anything they desire with their own bodies. In spite of the fact that they might feel that this is freedom, they are truly subjugated to their own cravings. “For ye are bought with a price” alludes to slaves bought at an auction. Christ's death on the cross liberated us from wrongdoing, yet in addition, commits us to serve him. In the event that we live in a structure claimed by another person (as in an apartment or a rental property), we do not abuse the structure rules. Since our body is owned by God, we should not disregard the standards that he has set for living. At the point when we become Christians, which is when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit fills our hearts and lives inside us. In this manner, we as of that point do not own our bodies. Our bodies belong to God.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Why Are We Told to Grow Where We are Planted?

 1 Corinthians 7:17-24

 Believers should be content where they are.

It takes time to get to where God wants us to be. If we are faithful in what God has called us to do, we will be brought up (budding). God has a plan, and he is preparing for us to bloom. God brings us through trials in order for us to blossom. We are to wait on him to get us into the condition we are to be in.

In this scripture, Paul urges the Corinthians to be less concerned with changing their states of life, than with answering God’s call where it finds them. The Corinthians were prepared to make full changes without thoroughly considering the consequences. Paul was writing to say that Christian’s ought to be Christians where they are. We can take care of God's work and show our faith anywhere that we are at. If an individual becomes a Christian after marriage, and the spouse is not a believer, that individual does not need to be married to a Christian to live for Christ. Stay married. Try not to expect that we are in some unacceptable spot. We might be exactly where God needs us to be.

He says in this passage that God is the person who has appointed these specific spots in the life of His children when they were called into the faith. God plans to utilize every one of us. That implies serving and complying in the specific positions and connections we were in when He called us. A few, obviously, are called to go or move, either genuinely or socially. In any case, which is not the situation for everybody. The principal openings for apprenticeship, administration and submission might be right where we are.

Circumcision was a sizable portion of the Jews' relationship with God. Indeed, before Christ came, circumcision was directed by God for all who professed to follow him (Genesis 17:9-14; Leviticus 12:1-3). However, after Christ's passing, circumcision was not, at this point essential (Acts 15; Romans 4:9-11; Galatians 5:2-4; Colossians 2:11). If a person was a Gentile, they should not try to be an Israelite (circumcision practice). Pleasing God is a higher priority than noticing traditional ceremonies (Romans 6:14; Galatians 5:6; Colossians 3:11).

1 Corinthians 7:20, Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

Paul is repeating what he said in verse seventeen. This does not mean Christians should decline to permit any progressions to their life or conditions. Given the circumstances, he is cautioning them not to stress over changing their status, or to transform it for some unacceptable reasons.

For what reason may another Christian look to make a quick, uncommon change to their conditions? Why should a Christian surge head-first into chastity, to leave a job, divorce a spouse, be circumcised, or break their responsibility as a bondservant?

One misguided explanation may be an endeavor to make oneself more satisfactory to the Lord. As Paul wrote in the first chapter, numerous people who came to Christ in Corinth were not considered good by the world. Few were customarily insightful or affluent or of honorable birth (1 Corinthians 1:26-27). Maybe, once saved, they wanted to become more decent by some quantifiable norm for Christ to accept them.

One more justification for needing to change conditions subsequent to coming to faith in Christ, they might want to be viewed as more spiritual or commendable by fellow Christians. Paul had previously commented on the proud and critical perspectives of the Corinthians. Maybe they were contending to look more spiritually qualified to one another. Once more, Paul clarifies this is a useless objective.

We can become so worried about what we could be doing for God elsewhere that we pass up on the incredible opportunities that God has for us right where we are. Paul had said that when a person becomes a Christian, he ought to proceed with the work he has recently been doing, if it is not corrupt or unethical. We may be right where God wants us to be.

Every type of work can become Christian work when we understand that the motivation behind our life is to respect, serve, and stand up for Christ. Since God has set us where we are at, we are to search cautiously for opportunities to serve him there. Be content where we are at and let God produce the growth that he wants for us (Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 6:6; 1 Peter 2:16).

Slavery was regular practice all through the Roman Empire. A few Christians in the Corinthian church were slaves. In today’s society, the idea of slavery brings about visualization of kidnapping, abuse, shackles, and racism. People often sold themselves as bondservants to pay off debts.

Whatever the case, Paul said that even though they were captives to men, they were liberated from the power of transgression in their lives. Individuals today are captives to sin until they submit their lives to Christ, who alone can vanquish sin's power. Sin, pride, and dread at this point do not have control over us, similarly as a slaveowner no longer has control over the slaves he has sold. The Bible says we become slaves to Christ when we become Christians (Romans 6:18), yet this really implies we acquire our freedom since wrongdoing no longer controls us (1 Corinthians 6:20).

Paul closes this passage, rehashing for the third time that the Christians in Corinth ought to stay in whatever condition or circumstance they had when they came to faith in Christ. This incorporates being single or married, whether uncircumcised or circumcised, and either as a slave or as a free person. This is not expressed as an order: "you should stay as you are." Rather, it is Paul's consolation that Christians are not committed to look for any of those situations with spiritual reasons.

Indeed, Paul has included conditions under which it is reasonable for a Christian to search out a change their status. Single individuals who "get overwhelmed with emotion" ought to, truth be told, get married (1 Corinthians 7:8-9). Those wedded to unbelievers ought not battle their adjustment of status if their life partner requests a divorce (1 Corinthians 7:15). Slaves who have the chance to be liberated should take it (1 Corinthians 7:21). At the end of the day, Scripture's order here is certainly not a sweeping limitation on changing from one circumstance then onto the next, ever.

Paul knew how to be content wherever God had him. We should stop focusing on a move or promotion and learn how to grow where we are currently planted. God is teaching us how to trust in him in all our circumstances. Every step in our life is preparing us for the next step. Stop complaining and be a blessing. (Romans 12:4; Philippians 4:11-13)

 BudBloomBlossom wherever we are. Be blissful wherever we are. 

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Are We on The Road to Castaway Island?

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Many have read and undoubtedly heard this Scripture countless times. It speaks of someone running a race. But we need to see the spiritual aspect of this road that we are on.

The Apostle Paul concludes Chapter 9 with a plea for self-disciple and self-denial in the Christian life. He compares himself to the athletes in the Isthmian games, which was well known by the Corinthians. In any case, in the Christian race, all may run in order to obtain the prize.

First Corinthians 9:24-27 forms an analogy looking at Paul's previous opportunities, to win individuals to faith in Christ, or with a competitor preparing to win a prize. Both intentionally surrender things to which they are entitled. That requires generosity and an intense way to deal with one's own sentiments. They do this for triumph. Yet, the competitor can win just a wreath that will rapidly die. Interestingly, Paul expects to win a prize that will live for eternity. He likewise prepares himself in this manner to abstain from being excluded prior to reaching the finish line. (Hebrews 12:1)

Paul dispatches into another allegory in this passage, however, his subject is still ready to set aside individual privileges and opportunities to benefit others. This text keeps on arguing that the Christians in Corinth ought to quit any pretense of eating meat that had been given to idols, despite the fact that they are allowed to do as such if it will cause the individuals who are more fragile in the faith to stagger (1 Corinthians 8:1-7).

In that specific situation, the readers would concur that in any race, just a single runner wins. Why take an interest in running if you are not going to attempt to win? Paul urges them to take the necessary steps to win. His point is not that only one Christian can succeed, speaking spiritually. Or that we are in a challenge against our brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul is alluding just to the work and commitment displayed by the competitors: that is the thing that the devotee should copy in their quest for Christ.

There is the best consolation to endure with vigor and stamina. The individuals who ran in these games were kept to a strict diet and they put themselves through many hardships. Undoubtedly, they practiced and prepared themselves all the time. Those who seek after the interests of their souls must battle hard with their physical desires. The body must not be left free to rule people’s lives.

Paul stresses this to the Corinthians. He sets before himself and them the risk of yielding to physical wants, spoiling the body, and its desires and pangs of hunger. Sacred fear of himself was expected to keep an apostle steadfast: how much more is it needful for our preservation. Let us now learn from humility and caution, and to watch against perils that encompass us while in the body. (1 Timothy 6:12)

Winning a race requires reason and order. Paul utilized this illustration to clarify that the Christian life takes arduous work, self-denial, and overwhelming planning. As Christians, we are running toward our heavenly prize, an eternal crown of life. (2 Timothy 2:5; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:11)

The basic orders of supplication (prayer), Bible study, and worship, furnish us to run with stamina and power. Do not simply watch from the sidelines; do not simply end up jogging a few laps every morning. Diligently train, your spiritual growth relies upon it. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

 

There are times when we need to give up something we see as good so that we do what God wants us to do. Every individual’s unique obligation decides the order and refusal he must accept. Without an objective, discipline is only self-discipline. With the objective of satisfying God, our denial appears as though nothing compared with the eternal prize that is our own.

The purpose of partaking in a race is to win and winning takes work. Competitors who desire to be serious should practice extraordinary disciple over themselves "in every way." This would incorporate actual preparing, yet additionally, severe eating regimens, rest plans, going without unsafe medications, and alertness in their conduct. Through everything, they would maintain their emphasis on dominating the race and getting the prize: a wreath. At the games in Corinth, it was a pine wreath put on the top of the champion like a crown. In case Paul was composing this today, he may allude to the gold medal at the Olympics.

 

Paul has moved his illustration a piece to make himself the point. He has been depicting how a competitor should deal with dominating a race, including the activity of incredible restraint. The preparation programs for competitors in Paul's day included responsibilities to go without explicit food, drink, and exotic encounters to be prepared to contend at the most significant level. Paul had called attention that they did all of this to win a wreath that would rapidly die. Paul considers himself to be contending to win souls for Christ and to get an everlasting acknowledgment for that work. Such a "crown" would be undeniably more significant.

Paul now turns the focus on his own preparation for this prize. He demands that he does not run erratically. His work is exceptionally deliberate. Then he incorporates one more typical rivalry of the day, boxing. Paul composes that he does not prepare so he can pound the air. Fighters extensively use "individualized sparring" as a preparation instrument, where they duck and strike against an envisioned adversary. That is a preparation device, nonetheless, not the ultimate objective of one's preparation. Paul intends to win the battle, to land some genuine blows on his rival. He disciplines himself for an actual contest.

Paul's obligation to put aside his privileges and freedoms was not a simple exercise. He is vying for acknowledgment from Christ for how well he battled to win individuals to trust in Jesus. He is living this way deliberately. This is with regards to the primary subject of his allegory: that Christians ought to be focused on trust similar to a committed competitor to their game.

1 Corinthians 9:27, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

When Paul said he may be pronounced ill-suited and ordered to stand to the side ("a castaway"), he did not imply that he could lose his salvation, yet that he could lose his benefit of educating others regarding Christ. It is not difficult to advise others how to live and afterward not accept our own advice. We should be mindful to try to do what we say others should be doing. Practice what we preach.

He was not afraid of losing his salvation, but of losing his crown for failing to do God’s bidding. Paul is looking at the judgment seat of Christ. That is when rewards will be given for our service (the race). Paul states he is on the racetrack of life so that he could obtain a reward.

Every Christian should work for a reward; not salvation, which is a free gift. If we want a reward, then we should be out there “running the race” so that we may obtain that reward. (2 Corinthians 13:5)

The Road to Castaway Island is lined with Disobedience, Deception, Division, and Discontent.

 

 

 

Are We Being Spoon Fed or are We Feeding Ourselves?

John 6:22-40

Key 6:31-35

 

John 6:22-40 portrays the underlying outcome of Jesus' feeding of the thousands the day previous. The people’s real longing is for another extraordinary and supernatural scene and all the freer food. In this entry, Christ starts to clarify the genuine significance behind His wonder and His service. This incorporates the first of seven ''I AM'' explanations in the Gospel of John, where Jesus proclaims His divinity. Jesus explains that actual physical things, for example, bread are intended to be images of spiritual truth. In the accompanying portion, the group will quit looking and seeking and then begin their whining and complaining.

Jesus condemned the individuals who followed Him just for the physical and worldly advantages, not on the grounds that they were hungry for spiritual things. Numerous individuals use religion to acquire notoriety or solace. Be that as it may, those are egotistical thought processes. Genuine believers follow Jesus basically in light of the fact that they realize His direction is the correct way to live.

Numerous true searchers of God are confounded about what He wants them to do. The religions of the world are humankind's endeavor to respond to this inquiry. Be that as it may, Jesus' answer is brief and straightforward: we should have faith in Him whom God has sent. Fulfilling God does not come from the work we do, yet from whom we accept. The initial step is accepting that Jesus is who He professes to be. All spiritual growth is based on this confirmation. Announce in supplication to Jesus that "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God," and begin on an existence of conviction that is fulfilling to our Creator.

We eat bread to fulfill actual physical hunger and to support real life. We can fulfill spiritual hunger and support spiritual life simply by a right connection with Jesus Christ. It is no big surprise that He called Himself the Bread of Life. In any case, bread should be eaten to give life, and Christ should be welcomed into our day-by-day walk to give spiritual life.

Jesus did not work autonomously of God the Father, yet in association with Him. This gives us considerably more affirmation of being invited into His presence and being secured by Him. Jesus' motivation was to do the desire of the Father. We ought to have that equivalent reason.

 

It seems that sometimes in our lives, we become so dependent on the pastor or a preacher to feed us that we have forgotten how to feed ourselves. Why is that, especially for mature Christians? And I am not talking about those of physical age, yet to those of spiritual age. New Christians, or new converts, are ‘Babes in Christ’, they do not fully understand and know the Word of God. They are fed the milk of the Word, that which is easy to digest and to understand.

The older Christians or I should say the mature Christians, should be obtaining their spiritual nourishment from the meat of the Word of God. That is the portions that are more in-depth which takes deeper study and understanding of the Word of God.

The older believers should be helping to nurture the new converts, as well as to each other. And, as the new converts begin to grow in spiritual maturity, they should learn to feed on the meat of the Word. This means getting into a more in-depth study of God’s Word. Granted, we all need something to help wash down what we are feeding on, so we should on occasion, take in a little of the milk of God’s Word.

Sometimes new converts are left to learn on their own. They may not know how to apply that learned knowledge from a Bible study or from Sunday school. They have not truly learned to obtain the Word on their own, or maybe it is that they only get the Word on Sunday. Lord forgive us! Older Christians should be ashamed and embarrassed about this.

As babes, parents must feed their young children until the children learn to feed themselves. In doing so, the children learn what is good for them. When the children (new converts) are ready for school, they do not go through school without doing some type of homework. That same concept applies to their spiritual growth. New converts need to learn to take responsibility to study the Word and to do so mature Christians need to guide them.

If the only spiritual food is taken in on the Sunday morning service, by the next week that person is starving spiritually. Some may not be physically able to attend multiple services during the week, which should not prevent people from reading the Word and from studying the Word. Turn off the distractions. It may be a good idea to take the Word to those that are shut-ins.

Mature Christians need to learn that there is more to do than just “winning souls”. Do not think that just because we led someone to Christ that the job is done, especially if that new convert stays within our local church body. And for those new converts that may not be in our local church body, we need to point them in the right direction.

 

John 6:48, I am that bread of life.

John 6:51, I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

John 6:58, This is the bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

2 Timothy 2:15, Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

 

Jesus is speaking on the subject that He is what we need to sustain our spiritual growth. But how could Jesus give us His body as bread to eat? To eat living bread intends to join ourselves to Christ. We are joined with Christ in two ways: (1) by having faith in his death and resurrection and (2) by dedicating ourselves to living as He requires, relying upon His teachings for direction, and confiding in the Holy Spirit for power.

We must take heed to what the preacher is giving us (spoon-fed) from God, but do not try to live our lives solely on that. We need to learn to feed ourselves in between the “mealtimes” (worship services).

We eat breakfast, but before lunchtime, we may get hungry again. Do we just wait, or do we go get ourselves a snack? If the only spiritual meals that we take in is at Sunday morning service, Sunday evening service, and possibly a Wednesday evening service, the rest of the week we are doing without spiritual food unless we have learned how to feed ourselves. Fasting from spiritual food is not the same as fasting from physical food. Doing without spiritual food makes one weak.

We need to learn to belly up to the spiritual table when the spiritual meal is prepared for us but also, we need to learn to snack on the spiritual goodies until it is time for that next full spiritual meal.

Am I a Whitewashed Christian?

Luke 18:9-14

This is the story of two men who prayed. Undoubtedly many have read or at least heard of this story. So why did I title this sermon Am I a Whitewashed Christian?  Well first, let me ask this, what is a Christian? A Christian is one who follows Christ and has taken on the instructions, directions, guidance, and characteristics that Christ gave to us. Secondly. what is whitewashed? It is concealment or covering of flaws, failures, blemishes, or unpleasant facts.

The Pharisee did not enter into the Temple to appeal to God yet to report to all inside earshot about how great he was. The tax collector went in perceiving his transgression and was asking for leniency, he begged for mercy. Self-righteousness is perilous. It prompts pride and makes an individual loathe others and keeps the individual from taking in and learning anything from God. The tax collector’s petition ought to be our supplication since we as a whole need God's benevolence consistently. Try not to let our accomplishments and achievements cause pride to enter in and cut us off from God.

In verses 11-12:

The Pharisee was proud of himself – (I am not as other men are) (look at what I am not). The Pharisee professed of himself and proclaimed of his possessions – (I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all I possess) (look at what I do, look at what I have).

Basically stating, the Pharisee was self-righteous, he was sanctimonious, and he was spurious (fake).

Romans 14:10, But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

Every individual is responsible to Christ, not to other people. Commonly some Christians base their ethical decisions on assessment, individual aversions, or social inclination instead of the Word of God. Dislike the sin, not the sinner.

Matthew 6:5, And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

A few people, particularly the religious leaders, needed to be viewed as heavenly and holy, and public petition was one approach to stand out enough to be noticed. Jesus saw through their pretentious demonstrations and instructed that the quintessence of prayer is definitely not a public style yet private correspondence with God. There is a spot for public petition, however, to supplicate just where others will see you means that your genuine crowd is not God.

In verse 13:

Here the Publican realized his place (standing afar off). He realized his position (would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven) (for he was lowly). He realized is penitence (God be merciful to me a sinner).

The Publican was separated, he was sincere, and he sought salvation.

Matthew 23:12, And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

Jesus tested society's standards. As far as he might was concerned, a good reputation comes from serving and giving of yourself to help God and others. Service keeps us mindful of other people's needs, and it prevents us from zeroing in just on ourselves. Jesus came to earth as a servant. What sort of significance do we look for? Can we not see that the Pharisee had a ‘whitewash’ on himself so that he would ‘look’ appealing to other people?

 

Do we:

Lack the ability to receive correction?        

I know what I am doing. I do not need help. Who do you think you are trying to tell me how to do this?

See wrong in others but not ourselves?

Well Sister So & So was not dressed properly, Brother So & So did not help, Sister So & So did or did not do this or that.

Feel we have been appointed to fix others?

Brother So & So needs to do this and not do that.

Feel closer to God than others?

Sister So & So is not where she needs to be. I am closer to God than she is.

Seek recognition for what we have done?

Look at what I have done, I fixed this.

Have righteousness without a relationship with Christ?

Praise the Lord I am so good. I am much better in church than they are.


Is our:

Prayer life mechanical?

God is great, God is good.


Are we:

Critical of the Holy Spirit?

Lord, you know you should have done something about this issue.

Too busy polishing our lamp that we cannot be a light to some soul?

Look at how my light shines so brightly. It is no wonder people come to me about everything.

 

Luke 14:11, For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Whom are we attempting to impress? Maybe rather than focusing on glory, we should search for where we can serve. When God wants us to serve on a more extensive scale, he will welcome us to assume a higher position.

James 4:6, But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

Pride makes us narcissistic and leads us to assume that we merit more than what we have. It creates a greedy appetite for far more than we need. By humbling ourselves before God, we can liberate ourselves from being self-serving.

1 Peter 5:6, Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.

We frequently stress over our position and status, trusting we will get legitimate acknowledgment for what we do. Peter encourages us to recall that God's acknowledgment tallies more than human applause. God is capable and able to favor us as per his own timing and planning. Comply and obey God and pay little heed to current conditions. God, in his own good time, either in this life or the following, will lift us up.

 

So, I must ask:

Have thy affections been nailed to the cross?

Is thy heart right with God?

Dost thou count all things for Jesus but loss?

Is thy heart right with God?

Is thy heart right with God,

Washed in the crimson flood,

Cleansed and made holy, humble, and lowly,

Right in the sight of God?

 

What is Having a Purpose Without Power?

What does it mean to have a purpose without power? Are we talking about having power or having a purpose? Or is there power in purpose? Sounds a bit confusing, does it not? There is an old story from roughly over 20 years ago about an elementary teacher. I do not know who the author is, so let me tell you my interpretation of the story and then we will go from there.

 

            His name was Mr. Ed, and as he stood in front of his fifth-grade class on the first day of school, he told the children a lie. Like most teachers, he looked at his students and said that he loved them all the same. But that was impossible, because there, in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Tommy Sullivan.

            Mr. Ed had watched Tommy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children. His clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. Tommy could be a bit unpleasant at times. It had gotten to the point to where Mr. Ed would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red marker, making bold X’s, and then putting a big red ‘F’ at the top of his papers.

            At the school where Mr. Ed taught, he was required to review each child’s past records and he put Tommy’s off till last. However, when he reviewed his file, he was in for a surprise.

            Tommy’s first-grade teacher wrote, “Tommy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners…he is a joy to be around.”

His second-grade teacher wrote, “Tommy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his father has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.”

His third-grade teacher wrote, “His father’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his mother doesn’t seem to show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.”

Tommy’s fourth-grade teacher wrote, “Tommy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class.”

By now, Mr. Ed realized the problem and he was ashamed of himself. He felt even worse when his students brought him Christmas presents, wrapped in nice ribbons and colorful paper, except for Tommy’s. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mr. Ed took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when he found a rhinestone tie clasp with some of the stones missing. But he stifled the children’s laughter when he exclaimed how nice the tie clasp was as he put it on his own tie.

After the children left Mr. Ed sat solemnly with tears in his eyes for at least an hour. On that day, he quit teaching the basics and instead began really teaching the children. He paid particular attention to Tommy. As he worked with him, Tommy’s mind seemed to open up. The more encouragement he gave, the more Tommy’s mind seemed to come alive. By the end of the year, Tommy had become one of the smartest pupils in the class. And despite what he said about loving them all the same, Tommy had become one of the teacher’s pets.

A year later, Mr. Ed found a note on his desk from Tommy, telling him that he was still the best teacher he ever had in his life.

Six years passed before he received another letter from Tommy. In this letter, Tommy wrote that he had finished high school and that he was still the best teacher he had ever had.

Four more years passed, then he received another letter. It said that although things have sometimes gotten rough, he stayed in school and that he would soon graduate from college with high honors. He assured Mr. Ed that he was still the best teacher that he had ever had.

Four more years passed and then another letter came. This time it explained that after he had finished college, he went further. It still read that Mr. Ed was the best teacher that he had ever had. It was signed, Dr. Thomas Sullivan.

The story does not end just yet. You see, there was another letter that came. Tommy said that he had met a young lady and was to be married. He explained that his mother had died recently and was wondering if Mr. Ed would sit at the seat that was usually assigned to the parents of the groom. And of course, Mr. Ed did, while wearing the tie clasp with the missing rhinestones.

Dr. Sullivan gave Mr. Ed a hug and thanked him for believing in him and making him feel important and showing him that he could make a difference.

Mr. Ed replied, “Tommy, it was you who taught me that I could make a difference. I was not truly teaching until I met you.”

 

Now this story may sound a bit outlandish but there is a point to it. But you see God has a purpose and a plan for all people. though we may face problems that may go against God’s plan, there should not be walls to prevent us from believing in his Word. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

God’s purpose cannot be defeated. Regardless of if we choose to admit it, do not use what we do not understand as an excuse for not trusting in God. (Job 42:2)

God’s purpose endures. Man will make plans based upon decisions and motives that he has determined for himself. Many times, these will lead us in the wrong direction. Regardless of whether we choose to or not, God’s plans are what prevails in our lives. (Proverbs 19:21)

Every Christian has a purpose. When we accept Christ as our personal Savior, a purpose for us is planted. We may not know and understand what it is. But as we grow in the knowledge and in faith in Christ, that purpose will be revealed. (Proverbs 20:5)

God’s purpose is brought to fruition. To transform our desires to be more like to Christ, we need the power of the Holy Spirit (1:19), the impact of loyal Christians, dutifulness to God's Word, and to serve sacrificially. (Philippians 2:13)

God’s purpose is fulfilled regardless of the situation we may face. The Christian’s goal is to be like Christ (1 John 3:2). As we become increasingly more like him, we will find our true selves. We can be seen in his image by the reading and the studying to his Word, by examining his life on earth through the Gospels, by being filled with the Holy Spirit, and by performing the Lord’s work here on earth. (Romans 8:28)

Paul changes from the suffering for the gospel to the blessed life to which Christians are called. Both Paul and Timothy had been saved and were given a calling to serve others in ministry. Salvation is not based on our extraordinary deeds, yet by God’s power (Ephesians 2:8-9). This is also true for those for a calling to serve others in the ministry: it is not due to the aftereffect of our efforts. The calling of each individual who serves in a ministry is backed by God’s grace and purpose. (2 Timothy 1:9)

Monday, November 8, 2021

A Recipe for Apple Pie

A favorite dessert for most people is good old apple pie. It is common at many family gatherings. It can be prepared in several ways. You can purchase the ready-to-eat pies, or purchase the pie fillings and frozen crust to combine and bake quickly. You might even grow your own apples to cook. You could roll out a made from scratch dough for a flaky crust. Best of all, you could add all of the tasty "extra" ingredients and serve a homemade fresh apple pie.

No matter how you purchase or prepare this favorite dessert, you still have apple pie. It seems that the long recipes taste better than the superfast, heat and serve, store-bought pies. Maybe it is the hands that know how to add the extra ingredients or the "TLC", that help improve the taste.

Apple pie will always be apple pie. If it comes out of a box, or out of Granny Vicki's kitchen, it will still be the same dessert.

Being saved is the same way. You can kneel at an altar in a big or small church, at home, or in a car. The results should still be the same... you CAN be saved. Just do not leave out the most important ingredient to salvation and eternal life. Do not accept a cheap, quick-fix imitation or a "feel good for a while" life. The extra special touch of Jesus Christ, the Savior, will let you know that you have received the "Best of All."

Sis. Vicki

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Angel In The Classroom

A pastor read a letter from an elementary school teacher who attends his church one Sunday morning during the service.

Last school year, her classroom was made up of third graders, every one of which came from either a single family, or a dysfunctional family, was undernourished and/or uncared for, lived in an abusive home, and was either beaten, bruised, or raped by other family members. One little girl's dad died of Aids, and the list goes on. Her heart bled for these kids.

Before this school year started, she and her husband went to her classroom and prayed over each desk in the room. They prayed that God would place an angel behind each and every child throughout the coming year to watch over them and protect them.

A month or so after the year started, she gave the kids an assignment to write about what they would like to be when they grew up. Everybody was busy with his or her assignment, when "Andrew" raised his hand. When she asked him what he needed, he asked how to spell mighty. After telling him how to spell the word, she asked him why he needed to know. Andrew said, "Because when I grow up I want to be a mighty man of God."

When he said this, little "Mark" sitting next to him asked, "So what's a mighty man of God?" The teacher, swallowing back her tears, and knowing that she could not say anything in the classroom, told Andrew to go ahead and tell Mark what it was. So Andrew says, "It's a man who puts on the armor of God and is a soldier for God."

After observing some conversation between Andrew and Mark, the teacher, with a lump in her throat, started to walk away when Andrew motioned with his little finger for her to come closer. He whispered to her, asking if she believed in angels. She told him yes, she did.

Then he asked her if she thought that people could see angels, and she said that she thought that some people probably could. Andrew said that he did and that he could see an angel standing behind each kid in the room...

I don't think that there was a dry eye in the church that morning. We need to remember to pray for all of the teachers, that although there is no prayer in school anymore, that the teachers are dedicated enough to pray for the protection of God's angel's over the lives of the students. It couldn't hurt and it just might help not only the children but others as well.

author unknown

Thursday, November 4, 2021

A Box Full of Kisses

The story goes that some time ago, a man punished his young daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he had become infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree.

Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, "This is for you, Daddy." He was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found the box empty.

"Don't you know that when you give someone a present, there's supposed to be something inside it?" The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said, "Oh, Daddy, it is not empty, I blew kisses into the box. All for you, Daddy."

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl and begged for her forgiveness.

It is told that the man kept that gold box by his bed for years and whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who put it there.

Now think about the love of Christ. It's always there. The best Christmas present that was ever given. How often we receive something, expecting something grand, but God sent something small. You don't realize it, but it was God giving you a small kiss.

author unknow

Monday, November 1, 2021

The Ship Wreck

 A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea. Only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, deserted island. The two survivors, not knowing what else to do, agreed that they had no other recourse but to pray to God. To find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island.

The first thing that they prayed for was food. The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man's parcel remained barren.

After about a week, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife. The next day, another shipwrecked, and the only survivor was a woman who swam to his side of the island. On the other side, there was nothing.

Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, and more food. The next day, like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing.

Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island. The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island.

He considered the other man unworthy to receive God's blessings since none of his prayers had been answered. As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from heaven booming, "Why are you leaving your companion on the island?"

"My blessings are mine alone since I was the one who prayed for them," the first man answered. "His prayers were all unanswered and so he does not deserve anything." The voice rebuked him, "You are mistaken! He had only one prayer, which I answered. If not for that, you would not have received any of my blessings."

"Tell me, what did he pray for that I should owe him anything?" the first man asked. The voice replied, "He prayed that all your prayers would be answered!"

For all we know, our blessings are not the fruits of our prayers alone, but those of others praying for us.

author unknown


Cancel Culture

When is cancel culture going to stop? If you are going to take down statues and monuments from our nation's history, then take down ALL ...