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Who Was King Ahaz And What Can We Learn From Him?

2 Chronicles 28: 1 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. He did not do what was pleasing in the sight of the LORD, as his ancestor David had done. 2 Instead, he followed the example of the kings of Israel. He cast metal images for the worship of Baal.

It’s amazing what we can learn from just the first two verses. Right from the get-go, we learn that Ahaz was only 20 years old when he became king and reigned until he was 36. He was the twelfth king of Judah since King Solomon and he’s the father of a much more famous king named Hezekiah.

Kings are usually classified as “good” or “bad”. According to the history books, 1-2 Kings and 1-2 Chronicles, the authors make it clear whether a king was pleasing to the Lord or not. Each king was defined by his obedience to God. My assessment of this observation is that this is what God valued most about their reigns.

But this principle doesn’t just apply to kings…

Luke 12: 48 But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.

One thing I love about the Bible is that in so many occasions we read a principle in the New Testament such as Luke 12: 48, and see it illustrated in the Old Testament. This is why it is just as important to read the Old Testament as it is the New Testament. The Old Testament illustrates much of what the New Testament teaches.

In this case, we see a king who has been given the kingdom of Judah and is responsible for all the citizens. Since a king is given much, much is required of him. God entrusted His people to these kings and they were held accountable to God accordingly.

Our disobedience will eventually affect others

With King Ahaz, we read that he did not do what was pleasing to God. Let’s find out how his lack of obedience towards God affects his kingdom.

Let’s keep reading about King Ahaz’s practices:

 3 He offered sacrifices in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, even sacrificing his own sons in the fire. In this way, he followed the detestable practices of the pagan nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. 4 He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the pagan shrines and on the hills and under every green tree.

And the penalty for this?

 5 Because of all this, the Lord his God allowed the king of Aram to defeat Ahaz and to exile large numbers of his people to Damascus. The armies of the king of Israel also defeated Ahaz and inflicted many casualties on his army. 6 In a single day Pekah son of Remaliah, Israel’s king, killed 120,000 of Judah’s troops, all of them experienced warriors, because they had abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors.

Did you catch that?

Because of his sins God allowed a foreign king to defeat them. Do the words “they had abandoned the Lord” sound familiar?

Psalm 73:
27 Those who desert him will perish,
for you destroy those who abandon you.

Just as reading the story of King David gives us an idea of what to strive for, the story of King Ahaz poses as a great example of what not to do. This is just what the apostle Paul talked about in 1 Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 10: 11 These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.

Isn’t it amazing how God uses these stories from long ago to encourage us and warn us of how to live our lives today?

We are encouraged when we read about how God fights the battles for King David and warned when we read about how God allowed destruction come to King Ahaz’s kingdom because he did not love God or even attempt to love God.

It is my prayer that the words in this message will persuade all readers to come to the same conclusion that Joshua did:

Joshua 24: 15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

 “Dear Lord, thank you for the wonderful words you’ve given us to read in these Scriptures. They are precious. They are the words that give eternal life when we apply them to our lives and seek you diligently when reading them. Thank you for the knowledge you’ve given us and help us to understand the responsibility we have for this truth that we know. There are people in our lives that do not know you and you’ve entrusted us to be like Christ in the flesh to these people. Lead us to be responsible servants so that we can truly please you with our lives. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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If you desire a closer walk with Jesus, just want more fellowship or "Bible Time" come join us at TheBibleTeam.com. We have weekly calls where our sole focus is spending time in God's Word.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

How Will You Spend Your Time In 2019?

Did you catch last week’s message, “What Do You Want From Him?”, it has a lot to do with transformation if you’re into that sort of thing. 🙂

One Thing

If there was just one thing you could focus on that you knew would please God the most, what do you think that would be?

Luke 10:  25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”
27 The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”

In my opinion, the expert asked the most important question anyone could ever ask. It was a great question. He got the Master’s attention and possibly thought to himself “This man is so popular, I’ll only have time for one question. Hmmm….  I know what to ask!”  And so he did. “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”

Of course, it’s a two-fold answer; it seems that it’s a package deal. As though God made sure that the two are inseparable. The other references found in Matthew and Mark both say “The second is equally important”.  They are both considered “the greatest commandment”.

What’s harder to do?

Personally, I don’t know what the greater challenge is, loving an invisible God or loving my neighbors (others). I find both to be very difficult at times.  The one thing I am certain of is that I absolutely cannot love others unless I love God. If I do not love God, I do not have it in me to love others. On top of this, Jesus issues another commandment in John 15:

John 15: 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends

Whoa! That’s literally impossible for me alone, and it turns out that I am right:

John 15: 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

Have you ever asked yourself “What can I do to love God more?”

After all, it is the greatest commandment.  How do we love an invisible God? Good question.

How do we love anybody? I’m not an expert by far, but I know some of the basics of loving someone include:

  • Getting to know them
  • Investing my time with them
  • Being attentive to them
  • Giving my heart to them

This is, at the very least, what He wants. Not only that but in comparison to loving others, we are to love Him much more:

Luke 14: 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.

Talk about a “challenging passage!”

This hasn’t always been easy for me to read. At first glance, it is disturbing to me. The key words here are “by comparison”. Restated, using my words: “If I am to be His disciple, I must love God so much that I hate others, even my own family, by comparison”. It’s still tough for me to comprehend, but I think the more I love God, the more I will understand it.

OK, so now that we can see how much we are to love God and how important it is, let’s discuss how we love Him. Since He is invisible, how do we get to know Him?

Colossians 1: 15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.

That helps. From this, we know that Jesus is God in the flesh. So then, how do we get to know Jesus?

The gospel of John starts out like this:

John 1: 1 In the beginning the Word already existed.
     The Word was with God,
     and the Word was God.

14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

Now, this is cool.

This equates Jesus to the Word of God and that the Word is God.  To me, this means that the Bible’s ultimate message is the written representation of Jesus, “the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come” Revelation 1: 4

My logic then concludes that spending time in the Word of God equates to spending time with Jesus. The Word is really all we have. Any book that is written about the Word or that uses the Word, is not the Word, but simply a by-product of the Word.

I think I’ve said something like this before. If you really wanted to get to know someone, let’s say someone named Chris, would you read books about Chris, spend time with people that know Chris, or would you spend time with Chris? The first two options are not bad, but what if the books about Chris were a bit off-base and you couldn’t really trust the author. Or what if someone talked about Chris as if they really knew Chris, but it turns out they don’t know Chris at all?

Do you see where I’m going with this?

If we really want to get to know Jesus, we need to read straight from Him. He is our daily bread:

John 6:  32 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. 33 The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.”

35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Along with establishing a habit of reading the Word, two other practices should also be developed in order for our love to grow.

Two Other Activities

The first is prayer and the second is close fellowship with other believers, people who are just as excited about spending time with Jesus as you are.

Prayer opens up the necessary dialogue that should always continue to grow and develop. This is not easy, but necessary and invaluable. Pray that God will reveal Himself to you and that He will help you to discern His Word. After spending some time in the Word, the ability to understand it increases as long as our hearts remain soft.

The fellowship with others is necessary to stay grounded in the Word and to practice our love on others.

Get this right, this is foundational

These three activities of reading, praying, and fellowship are foundational and essential for true, sustaining growth. Notice how they each require time, are personal attention. It is through these disciplines that we will learn how to love God and love others, practicing the two greatest commandments and putting us on His path.

Psalm 32:
8 The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
     I will advise you and watch over you.
9 Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
     that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
10 Many sorrows come to the wicked,
     but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.
11 So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him!
     Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!

According to what we learned earlier, these 3 activities need to be prioritized higher than anything else we do. This is seeking Him first.

Matthew 6: 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

New habits are not easy, but well worth it

Just like starting any new habit it is not easy, especially when the devil will do anything he can to keep you from getting closer to God. But this is one habit that will put you on the road to a peaceful and satisfying life that only Jesus can offer. Will you seek Him?

Hebrews 12: 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Here is a brief list of other verses about the Word itself:

Psalm 119: 105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
     and a light for my path.

Isaiah 40: 8 The grass withers and the flowers fade,
     but the word of our God stands forever.”

2 Timothy 3: 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

Hebrews 4: 12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

Will you learn to love God in 2019?

Dear Lord, I want 2019 to be different. I want to do all that I can to get to know you more. I know how distracted I’ve been and those distractions have come between me and you. Please help me live a life that is truly pleasing to you.  You are all the really matters and I’d be crazy to let anything get in the way of loving you more. Thank you for bringing me to this realization and helping me to prioritize things differently from here on out. In Jesus name, Amen.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash



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If you desire a closer walk with Jesus, just want more fellowship or "Bible Time" come join us at TheBibleTeam.com. We have weekly calls where our sole focus is spending time in God's Word.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Will You Miss Out In 2019?

Will You Miss Out In 2019?

We are only a few days away from the New Year and sometime between now and then would be a good time to reflect on how the year went. Give yourself some time with a journal and consider asking yourself questions such as these: “What went right?”, “What went wrong?”, “Did I grow closer to God in 2018?”, “Did I work too much or too little?”, “Did I spend enough time with those I love the most?”, “Did I read enough?”, “Do I know the Bible anymore now than when I started the year?”

If you have never done it, this is a great time to stop and think “Where is my life heading?”, “If I continue on the path that I’ve been on in 2018, where will that lead me?”, “Am I living a life that is glorifying God?”, and here’s the question I like the best:

“What can I do in 2019 that will lead me to a closer relationship with Jesus?”

Can we ask ourselves a better question than that?

Luke 10: 38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught.40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”

 41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

“my sister just sits here”

By reading verse 42 I think it’s a great question to ask. What was Mary doing exactly?…

“Her sister, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught.”

And what was Martha doing? “But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing.”

Jesus was present. Mary had her priorities straight and was focused. Martha was distracted.

Mary “just sits here”, and Martha is “worried and upset over all these details”.

I can think of so many other things to be concerned about and I am sure that you can too, but Jesus makes it clear:  “There is only one thing worth being concerned about.” And in the NASB: “but only one thing is necessary”

Remember who Jesus is?

 This is Jesus speaking, Son of the Living God. Shall we do a quick review of just who this man is?

Colossians 1:

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

Is that clear enough for you?

Let me get this straight as I review what the Bible is telling me:

Jesus, the Head of the Church and Supreme Being over all. The One who made all things seen and unseen is telling me that the only thing worth being concerned about and the one thing that is necessary is to just sit and listen to what He teaches.

Did I get that right? Read it again, I’ll wait.

WOW! I re-read it too. It seems to me that Martha didn’t get it. As far as Martha was concerned Mary was “just sitting there”. She saw no value in it. What she was doing had to have been far more important, or so she thought. After all, she was “working” to please the Messiah (Think of the self-righteousness here). I think Martha understood who Jesus was, but she was clearly missing out by being distracted.

Psalm 51: 16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not want a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

This message is about as “counter-cultural” as you can get today. Even within the church, it seems to be all about service/working and I don’t hear “sit and read/or listen” enough.

Psalm 46:  10 “Be still, and know that I am God!
I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world.”

 11 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
the God of Israel is our fortress.

Being still is required

I don’t think this verse 10 can be overstated. In order to be transformed into “Christ-like” individuals being still is required.

Do you realize that we have the opportunity to sit and learn from Him every day? That is if we focus and purposefully make the effort to be with Him. The more I do this the better off I am. The more peace I have. I learn just a little more about Him each day. The more I can tell others about Him because I have a greater conviction and a better testimony.

It’s not like I spend all day reading His Word, but it is taking care of the one thing worth being concerned about and everything else throughout the day, as it turns out, is of little concern in comparison.

The great thing about reading the Bible daily, spending time with Him, is that every night when you lay your head on the pillow you can say to yourself “At least I did that which is most important, thank you Lord!” and you won’t miss out.

Did you miss out in 2018?

It is for this very reason that TheBibleTeam.com was created. The website has tools and tips to help the individual excel in this area. While the tools and tips are great, it will take a commitment from the disciple to “do the work”, which is to sit still and read, placing a higher value on it above all else each day.

http://thebibleteam.com

I know that for most, it is an ambitious goal to read through the Bible in a year, but it is so worth it. If it’s too much, there is a month to month plan or you can customize your own reading plan using the Reading Plan Creator.

http://thebibleteam.com/PlanMaker.asp

We also host a conference call once a week that gives readers an opportunity to discuss what they’ve been reading. This time of fellowship is priceless and goes a long way to ensure the disciples’ success with staying plugged in.

http://thebibleteam.com/news.asp

Will you sit still and read with me in 2019?

“Dear Lord, I am in awe of you. You constantly amaze me. When I read about what you like and dislike I learn more and more about you and how I can please you. I apologize for perhaps not taking you seriously enough in 2018. I commit to spending more time with you in 2019. Will you help me? I know that it will not be easy and that the devil will try even harder to distract me with things I might think is more important. Thank you, Lord, for the hope I have in the coming year. Please draw me near you and reveal yourself to me. In Jesus name, Amen.

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If you desire a closer walk with Jesus, just want more fellowship or "Bible Time" come join us at TheBibleTeam.com. We have weekly calls where our sole focus is spending time in God's Word.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Are You Eating Right?

Are You Eating Right?

Before we discuss “eating right”, my last post, “What are you focusing on?” , was about the need to focus on Jesus rather than the law. The difference is day and night, white and black and according to the Apostle Paul, life and death.

Galatians 5: For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.

In the same way, in the natural world, if we desire better health, we’ll put more focus on healthier food choices, which brings us to our topic today.

Everyone should know the concept of eating right for their bodies, right? The well-known saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” has a lot of truth to it, or at least there is good logic to it, given that it is “eating right”. What if we changed that saying to be “A candy bar a day…”? It wouldn’t end the same, would it? 🙂

Aside from getting hit by a bus, all things considered, I believe most will agree that the healthy diet leads to a healthy lifestyle, where the person lives longer, has a higher quality of life, and fewer ailments than those that don’t eat as well. I try to eat healthily, but I admit that most decisions I make are more for flavor than for health. I’ll choose bacon over broccoli any day of the week (not that I don’t eat broccoli at all), but I stay away from most fast food and do not drink sodas. But that’s just me!

Now let’s get to the good stuff, spiritual food.

Consider this passage from the Apostle Paul when giving advice to his apprentice:

1 Timothy 4: 7 Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. 8 “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 9 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. 10 This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.

Keep in mind that they did not have fast food those days (at least as we know it), so it wouldn’t have been mentioned. But apparently, they did have physical training. Here Paul gives value to physical training, but clearly values “training for godliness” much more. So I no longer worry myself over what people put in their physical bodies, but I am concerned about what people feed their souls with. Sure I want people to be physically healthy, but there will be physically fit people separated from Christ and unhealthy people meeting with Jesus on good terms.

Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.

While reading Ephesians I ran across some great verses that support the idea of living our lives with intention. You see if we wake up every day and commit the day to God, saying “Today I will commit myself to you, Lord”, that sets the tone for the day. And suddenly, before your day even begins, you have volunteered to serve Him and do as He pleases for the duration of the day. Would that change things for you?

Ephesians 5:  1 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

…  10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.

…  15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.

Do you get the idea here that God wants you to put thought into your day and think about what you ingest spiritually?

What is your great “distraction”?

Take music for example. I like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Rush, The Eagles, and Van Halen (today’s classic anyway), just to name a few. I grew up listening to these bands and I can easily play their tunes in my head. While I used to think of this entertainment as neutral I no longer do. God’s given me a conviction about this and I am much more careful about what I listen to. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not telling you to destroy all of your secular music unless God has convicted you as well in this area. I’m not saying “Don’t listen to this music.”, this is just my personal conviction, 

Romans 14: 22 You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. 23 But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.

So here’s the thing…

My flesh enjoys this secular music. It seduces me. When I listen to the Eagles “New Kid In Town”, it takes me to another place, and if I let it, it dominates my mind. Sometimes I can’t get the music out of my head. Am I the only person that this happens to? I can play an old tune that I loved 30 years ago and three days later it’s all I can think about! Is that crazy or what? This is what began to convict me; when I realized that this secular music dominated my mind.

I thought to myself “What if I could fill my mind with praise and worship music?” and that’s what caused me to reconsider what I intentionally listen to. I took this conviction seriously as though God was telling me “Larry, perhaps you shouldn’t be listening to so much secular music.” It’s like anything else that can dominate your mind, such as movies, TV, food, sports, exercise, shopping, work, sex, drugs, money, video games, etc.

“I am humble and gentle at heart” – Jesus

What I love about following Jesus is that He’s done this gradually and gently. First, it was my love for the New York Yankees; they used to dominate my mind. When I started to take God seriously, reading His Word gave me peace, more than I ever thought possible. Then April rolled around and Baseball season was in full swing. Just like an instinct (doing something without putting thought into) I started to follow the Yankees (just like every year prior). If they won, “Woo Hoo! the Yankees are awesome! ”, I was sky high. If they lost, “I can’t believe those stupid Yankees lost that game!, I am so bummed.” Keep in mind that there are 162 games in a season and the Yankees performance each day would determine my mood.

Isn’t that insane? It was an addiction for me. I would even watch the game online (simulated), waiting for every pitch! And this happened during work hours. That wasn’t healthy and this insanity started to rob me of the peace I was finding from spending time with God. So I could hear God nudging me “It’s time to distance yourself from baseball.” So I did. I am still a fan of the game, but a former Yankees addict. I am healed of that, but I know very well that I could get right back into it if I allowed it. They were clearly an idol to me, but no longer.

Isn’t that exciting how God changed me? 

Do you see how God has been gently working on me? He didn’t convict me of everything all at once. I have a long way to go and as I submit to Him daily in prayer and continue to read His Word and meet with other believers I’m certain that He will continue to work on my faults and what I spend my time doing. I have a long way to go as I have many faults still, but knowing what I know now, He will continue doing what He’s been doing.

Philippians 1:  6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

This change that I speak of was totally from God. I simply gave him myself each day in submission and read His Word diligently and this act of obedience has given the Spirit of God fertile soil to work in which led to spiritual growth.

Will this nourish me or harm me?

The things that fill our lives, whether they are relationships, books, activities, and substances we consume, can be either toxic or nourishing to our soul. Toxic is anything that leads us away from God by either poisoning our minds or taking the focus off of God. This is why baseball and secular music can be toxic for me. Nourishing is anything that leads us closer to God and promotes spiritual growth. This will include daily devotionals, sermons, Christian music, godly books, the Bible and genuine fellowship.

Just like certain plants need daily watering for growth, I believe we need to be nourished daily as well.

John 6: 32 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. 33 The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”  34 “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.” 35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

What will you purposely use to feed your soul?

Just like food, “Will you eat the Twinkie or the Taco?” Although Tacos might not be the best food (depending on how they’re made), they are certainly better than Twinkies.

Likewise, if there was only one source to choose from on a daily basis, would you consume Motor Trend/Field & Stream/a James Patterson Novel/People/Good Housekeeping or the Word of God?

I am convinced that if you are not in the Word of God each day, then you are, at the very least, missing out.  Don’t you realize that there are people in the world that crave the Word of God and don’t even have access to it? But here in the US, we have Bibles that collect dust, while we rely on daily devotionals, a sermon once a week and “The next great Christian book” (if we read at all). I think daily devotionals can be good, but it’s the Word of God interpreted through the mind of man. This can be great, but I think God wants you to learn to feed from His hand directly.

Matthew 23: 8 “Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters.

Great habits are difficult to develop

That being said, I know that it is not easy to pick up the Good Book and just read. For those not accustomed to it, it is an acquired taste. Once you start the habit and develop it over time the Word of God comes alive. The more you read it, the more you’ll want to read it and the more you’ll know Jesus. The more you know Him, the more you’ll love Him. If it is a challenge to understand it, then find someone that might help you or send a message to me at Larry@KeepSeekingJesus.com and we can discuss it. Your spiritual growth depends on it.

My friends, this is “eating right” and feeding our souls daily from an organic source, which will lead to spiritual growth and produce much fruit. If you seek Him, you will get to know God in a way that you’ve never thought possible.

I’ll leave you with this:

Colossians 3: 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.

Will you eat with me?

“Dear Lord, help me to get to know you more. Thank you for all that you have taught me so far and thank you for giving me a voracious appetite for your Word. Also, thank you in advance for what you’re doing in my life and where you plan on leading me. I want all that you have to offer me and I rejoice in this relationship with you. You are my Teacher and my Creator and I will praise your name. In Jesus name, amen.

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What Is Holding You Back?

What Is Holding You Back?

Luke 2:49 49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (NKJV)

Last week I wrote about volunteering for service. On second thought, is it really volunteering? Forgive me for this great misunderstanding. Perhaps He is looking for volunteers for special assignments as was the case in Isaiah 6, but for the purpose of our discussion of general service to God, He’s given us a clear commandment:

Matthew 22: 37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

At this point when we willingly respond to His love and actively pursue Him we are only being obedient and doing what we are told.

Psalm 32:
8 The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you and watch over you.
9 Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
10 Many sorrows come to the wicked,
but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.

Jesus called it “My Father’s business”. Being a part of the “Body of Christ” is more than just being another family member. As anyone should know, when we grow up there are certain responsibilities that come along with being a family member. God’s family is no different!

Think of it as a business that is family owned and operated.

God is the Father/Proprietor and Jesus is the Son/Foreman or more commonly known as the Master. Then we have the Holy Spirit who is our assistant/Advocate and the angels have special roles such as messengers and guardians. Our title, at least the one that applies to all of us is Ambassador and we are joint heirs (Romans 8:17). I realize that some of us may wear many hats, but we are all Ambassadors.

2 Corinthians 5: 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

I believe this role by itself if taken seriously, should have enough prestige and responsibility to make us excited about getting out of bed in the morning.

Those ambassadors in Washington D.C. have nothing on us. We are ambassadors of God Most High and we are joint heirs to His kingdom, so we should live the part.

Hebrews 3: 6 But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.

Hebrews 10: 35 So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! 36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

Obedience starts by making a conscious decision to meet with Him daily.

If we want to work in this family business it is imperative that we spend regular time with the Master long enough to know what He likes and dislikes which helps us make godly decisions more frequently. It really is that simple. For example, we will learn that when we pray a prayer, such as this little gem, in the face of great enemies…

2 Chronicles 14: 11 And Asa cried out to the LORD his God, and said, “LORD, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O LORD our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!”

God listens and is willing to rescue us…

12 So the LORD struck the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. 13 And Asa and the people who were with him pursued them to Gerar. So the Ethiopians were overthrown, and they could not recover, for they were broken before the LORD and His army. And they carried away very much spoil.

Isn’t that an awesome prayer? Read it again. Here was a man that seemed to know his God and relied upon Him. They fought the Ethiopians in His name as we should be conducting our lives, in His name.

Here’s another example. We can learn a lot from these 3 verses:

Psalm 40
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
3 He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.

The Lord heard his cry and helped Him immediately. Wait a minute, did I read that wrong? Oh yes, I got it wrong indeed, David waited patiently, and then the Lord turned to him. David was in despair, can you relate? Out of that despair, God lifted him out and gave him a new song to sing. How exciting is that?! Not only that but in the process “Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.”

We must realize and embrace the fact that our service to Him starts with our character. God wants to first change us so that we can be like Christ on earth. Have you ever served in ministry with “Christian complainers”? It’s not fun, is it? I think God would rather have His complainers go home than be poor examples and spoil others.

Numbers 14: 29 You will all drop dead in this wilderness! Because you complained against me, every one of you who is twenty years old or older and was included in the registration will die. 30 You will not enter and occupy the land I swore to give you. The only exceptions will be Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.

Judges 7: 3 Therefore, tell the people, ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave this mountain and go home.’” So 22,000 of them went home, leaving only 10,000 who were willing to fight.

The Owner is very particular about how things operate so He gave us quite a large Employee Manual in order that we can have knowledge and understanding of His business.

Just like any other family run business, it is crucial to know all we can so that we can be successful and please the Owner.

Joshua 1: 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.

This is getting on the Boss’s good side, what happens when we don’t put the effort in to know about His business:

Hosea 4:
6 My people are being destroyed
because they don’t know me.
Since you priests refuse to know me,
I refuse to recognize you as my priests.
Since you have forgotten the laws of your God,
I will forget to bless your children.

This is quite sobering, isn’t it?

I think it is very important to keep these words from our Master in mind which tend to put things into perspective:

John 6: 27 “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” (NASB)

Will you join me in His on the job training program?

“Dear Lord and Master, thank you for hiring me. I pray that I will show myself to be a faithful and trustworthy servant. Please help me to speak good words, not worthless words so that I might influence others and not be influenced by them. Give me endurance Lord, so that I might not get faint or grow weary. Help me to make better choices so that I can wisely put your business first, which leads to eternal rewards. Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord and God Almighty; just and true are thy ways O Lord, for you are the King of Saints. I am humbled before you and at your service. In Jesus name, I pray, amen.”

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
What Have You Been Called To Do?

What Have You Been Called To Do?

God had it all set up. Long ago, some 400 years prior to the exodus God let Abraham in on His plan to have His people sent to Egypt for 400 years of slavery.

Genesis 15: 13 Then the LORD said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years.

Over 400 years go by and sure enough, the Israelites have been in bondage long enough, so they cry out for God’s help. It’s time for the big event. The plan that was devised so long ago was ready to happen. But wait, what’s missing? God’s ambassador to the Egyptian Pharaoh, of course. His plan includes a key person to go before Pharaoh to request that the slaves be set free. It’s now time to call him into action…

Exodus 3: 1 One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. 3 “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.”
4 When the LORD saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
“Here I am!” Moses replied.

You can almost see the expression on his face when he says “Here I am!”. So far so good, God got his attention. But what happens when Moses is told to actually do something?

10 Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?”

As if a burning bush is not enough!

In spite of seeing God’s miracle and being addressed directly by the Angel of the Lord, He questions his Creator.

God responds…

12 God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.”

OK, fair enough? Not quite. Even after getting all his objections and questions answered, Moses still doesn’t want to participate…

Exodus 4 10 But Moses pleaded with the LORD, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.”
11 Then the LORD asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the LORD? 12 Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”
13 But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.”

Moses is still unwilling!

In other words, “You got the wrong guy, Lord!”. If I was reading this story for the first time I would think that God would go to His plan B, right? But God doesn’t have a plan B. Instead, God offers to send his brother Aaron as well and that was that, done deal.

14 Then the LORD became angry with Moses. “All right,” he said. “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he speaks well. And look! He is on his way to meet you now. He will be delighted to see you.

I think that is a beautiful way to make everybody happy. God gets His man, Moses’ gets to work alongside his brother, and Aaron gets a role in the plan and works with his long-lost brother. My friends, only God can do this and Israel is saved as a result!

This is just one example of a person being drafted into service, but I also think God asks for volunteers:

Isaiah 6:  8 Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?”
I said, “Here I am. Send me.”

At this point, God was no stranger to Isaiah as Moses was initially and by this time Isaiah was ready. He enlisted himself and became willing. When the time came for an assignment, Isaiah was ready. What’s important to note, however, is that Isaiah prepared his heart for this.

God is still looking for volunteers.

He does not overemphasize this in His Word because He wants us to seek Him and learn how to love Him so that it is purely voluntary on our part. He doesn’t want you to work for him if your heart isn’t into it. What kind of witness is that anyway?

2 Chronicles 16: 9 The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

You see? He’s ready to give you strength when you commit yourself to Him!

What assignment does He have? Here’s an example of what I would consider His universal work:

John 4: 34 Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. 35 You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. 36 The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! 37 You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. 38 I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”

Jesus was always about His Father’s business, as should we.

Here we read that His workers are paid good wages and much joy awaits.

Here is a clear message that God is looking for more volunteers:

Matthew 9:37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

“The harvest is great”

So “wake up and look around” as Jesus says here. Do you see people in bondage? Do you see the hurt and the needy? How about the spiritually lost? Do you think perhaps, with the knowledge and passion that God has put in your heart, that He’s called you to be a part of His grand plan?

Some of you may already be participating and acting on His instructions while others may be clueless as to what God’s called you to do. Perhaps God has already called you to get involved with a ministry found in your church bulletin or maybe He wants you to start a new one. This is between you and Him and don’t let anyone tell you what you should be doing for God unless He’s already told you.

1 Kings 13:  23 After the man of God had finished eating and drinking, the old prophet saddled his own donkey for him, 24 and the man of God started off again. But as he was traveling along, a lion came out and killed him. His body lay there on the road, with the donkey and the lion standing beside it. (Read the entire chapter to understand the context.)

The key is to be able to hear God’s voice and respond to Him. If you make yourself available to Him consistently over time, you will learn to hear His voice and He will give you work to do.

This isn’t a science.

It is simply an effort on your part, devotion if you will, to seek your Creator in such a way that He becomes your closest friend and the one person you learn to rely on the most. If He is not already, then you are not a true disciple.

Luke 14: 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison–your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.

 If you are not giving God a chance to speak to you or you are not available to Him through reading His Word, praying and regular fellowship, then you are not even in the game. You would be on what I call the “Inactive Reserve” list. To me, this is being apathetic, complacent, or indifferent to God. Perhaps this list would be compared with those described in Revelations 3:15-16. Please do not be associated with those people.

Psalm 105
4 Search for the Lord and for his strength;
continually seek him.
5 Remember the wonders he has performed,
his miracles, and the rulings he has given,
6 you children of his servant Abraham,
you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones.

Are you ready to be called?

Will you pray this psalm with me?

Psalm 26, A Psalm of David.
1 Declare me innocent, O LORD,
for I have acted with integrity;
I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
2 Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me.
Test my motives and my heart.
3 For I am always aware of your unfailing love,
and I have lived according to your truth.
4 I do not spend time with liars
or go along with hypocrites.
5 I hate the gatherings of those who do evil,
and I refuse to join in with the wicked.
6 I wash my hands to declare my innocence.
I come to your altar, O LORD,
7 singing a song of thanksgiving
and telling of all your wonders.
8 I love your sanctuary, LORD,
the place where your glorious presence dwells.
9 Don’t let me suffer the fate of sinners.
Don’t condemn me along with murderers.
10 Their hands are dirty with evil schemes,
and they constantly take bribes.
11 But I am not like that; I live with integrity.
So redeem me and show me mercy.
12 Now I stand on solid ground,
and I will publicly praise the LORD.

 Can I get an AMEN?

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Who Are You Leading People To?

Who Are You Leading People To?

Thank you for reading my posts. If you are one of the two people that read my posts then thank you! I greatly appreciate it. I pray that what I write not only interests you but moves you. If what I write does not lead one closer to Jesus and/or His Word then I haven’t done my job. If you have benefitted from any of my posts, please drop me a line and let me know. You can send an email to Larry@LarryPittman.com or comment below.

Please take a few moments and read Jesus’ famous last words…

Matthew 28: 18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

It’s never about the Church. When I say Church I am referring to the Body of Christ. The people that have faith; whose hearts are sincerely seeking Him and “believe that He rewards those” because of it (Hebrews 11:6). Of course, if you are a part of the Body, then you know that it has flaws, just as you have flaws.

Romans 3:23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

Do you lead people to church or the Head of the Church?

With that being said, who are you pointing people to? Do you direct them to your church, as in the local body of believers that regularly meet down the street? Or are you leading them to the Holy One, the One who will never disappoint or deceive? Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great churches around, but who would you rather place your neighbor or friend in the hands of? A flawed body of people who can come across as weirdos sometimes or the person of Jesus Christ whose very words are perfectly placed in that big, dusty book on your shelf?

The Holy Word of God never disappoints.

John 1:  14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

People accept Him or reject Him. For those people in your life that you identify as seekers, you can direct them to the Word of God today!

2 Corinthians 6:2 2 For God says,
“At just the right time, I heard you.
On the day of salvation, I helped you.” (Isa 49:8)
Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.

First of all, I think that many people are much more receptive to the Living Word than a strange and sometimes creepy place, with sometimes creepy people. Let’s face it, visiting a church for the first time is intimidating even for believers, let alone the uninitiated.

You don’t have to wait for Sunday services or Wednesday youth night when you can get them reading the Word of God today!

John 1: 45 Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.”

After your friend meets God, He will lead them to His Church, that’s one thing we can be sure of.

Are you becoming more like Christ?

What is your testimony anyway? Is it “This is what the Church has done for me!” or is it “This is what God, the Creator of all things has done for me!”? A person with an open heart will meet God every time they read the Good Book, but will they meet Christ in church? Maybe.

Very Important: 

If Christ is in you, then your friend or relative will meet Him through you. If their hearts are receptive then they will be open to reading (or listening to) the Word. If their hearts are hardened then you will probably hear every excuse under the sun as to why they will not go to church with you.

If you are not regularly consuming the Word, then I think it’s time to ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I want to grow in the Lord?
  • Am I meek enough to expose myself to the convicting Word of God daily?
  • Should I consider learning a little more about God every day?
  • Is my faith in God important to me? Why?
  • What am I currently valuing more than God?

For the person that is not actively seeking God through the regular reading of the Bible: If you’d only realize what you’re missing out on. God wants you to get to know Him better and pursue Him. He will transform your life if you make yourself available to Him daily.

Don’t get me wrong

Just one more thing: If God lays it on your heart to invite someone to church, do it. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t. What I am saying is that we should take our relationship with God seriously and when that happens, we become like Jesus and those seekers will be drawn to us and we will not have to wait for Sunday morning to introduce them to Him.

Acts 2: 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

Will you pursue Him?

“Dear Father, help me to know you more so that I can lead people to you. Give me the right words to say and a boldness to speak to others about you. Thank you for teaching me new things and helping me grow. In Jesus’ name, Amen”

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What Do You Believe About God?

What Do You Believe About God?

Why do you read my messages? Why do you read the Bible? If you are a Christian, why? Why do these things matter to you?

I know one thing, if I stop reading the Word, hang out with the wicked, watch a lot of TV, regularly read periodicals such as the newspaper, Newsweek, National Geographic, Self, or People, my belief in God will become more and more irrelevant. The Bible will become meaningless to me. Pretty soon I might either believe that all “paths” lead to God or that there is no God at all.

Do you read the Bible to be good, or to be “made right with God” and learn how to love Him?

Are you aware that some people believe that there is no God?

Psalm 14: 1 Only fools say in their hearts,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their actions are evil;
not one of them does good!

Do you know that some people believe that “God is everything and everything is God”?

Genesis 1: 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Have you been informed that some people worship the universe, nature, the sun, and the moon?

Job 31: 26 “Have I looked at the sun shining in the skies,
or the moon walking down its silver pathway,
27 and been secretly enticed in my heart
to throw kisses at them in worship?
28 If so, I should be punished by the judges,
for it would mean I had denied the God of heaven.

Has it ever crossed your mind that some people believe that there are many gods?

Old Testament answers:

Deuteronomy 4: 39 “So remember this and keep it firmly in mind: The Lord is God both in heaven and on earth, and there is no other.

1 Kings 8: 60 Then people all over the earth will know that the Lord alone is God and there is no other.

2 Kings 19: 17 “It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. 18 And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. 19 Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O Lord, are God.”

Isaiah 45:
18 For the Lord is God,
and he created the heavens and earth
and put everything in place.
He made the world to be lived in,
not to be a place of empty chaos.
“I am the Lord,” he says,
“and there is no other.

New Testament answers:

Romans 3: 29 After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. 30 There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles.

1 Corinthians 8: 4 So, what about eating meat that has been offered to idols? Well, we all know that an idol is not really a god and that there is only one God.5 There may be so-called gods both in heaven and on earth, and some people actually worship many gods and many lords. 6 But we know that there is only one God, the Father, who created everything, and we live for him. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom God made everything and through whom we have been given life.

1 Timothy 2: 5 For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.

Isn’t the Bible clear enough about who God is? What do your friends and relatives think about God? Does it matter to you what they think?

Romans 14: 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

What do you think would happen if they started to read these “life yielding” words?

Have you even considered that this special knowledge that you have comes with it special responsibility?

Luke 12: 48 But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.

What will you do with what you know?

“Dear heavenly Father, You alone are God. Thank you for giving us your Word so that we may know the Truth. Help me to know you more so that I can share your greatness with those around me. Reveal yourself to me so that I may know that you are God. Give me the strength and courage to speak up when you ask me to. This world is defaming you constantly, help me to spread the Word about your true nature and set the record straight. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.”

Photo By: Robin Benad



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Whose Side Are You On?

Whose Side Are You On?

When you were younger, were you ever forced to take sides on the playground? Perhaps two older kids, maybe bullies, wanted a “side-kick” and that put you in a pickle. If I choose to hang out with Billy, Micky might get angry, and vice versa. Those are hard decisions. For me, I just wanted to run and hang out with people that were less demanding.  I was not a fighter and went out of my way to avoid fights. It is the same with confrontation, I avoid it as much as possible.

The more I read the Word, the more I realize that I am being called to fight and to choose a side, daily. There is a battle going on, on many fronts, and I don’t think the battle lines could be drawn any clearer than how Jesus said it:

Matthew 12: 30 “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.

This is just like saying if you are not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Have you ever stopped to consider how this verse applies to your daily activities or friends you hang out with?

Here’s another passage that defines the opposing forces:

Ephesians 2: 1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

This passage startled me when I last read it, of course, that is one reason I love the Word. It helped me to look at the world from a different perspective. If I am not obeying God, I am obeying the devil. I obeyed the devil before I came to Christ and even uncle Bob, who is so friendly, but does not know Jesus, is also obeying the devil. (uncle Bob is fictitious, by the way)

These verses make it clear that there is no middle ground.

I don’t know about you but this really changes my expectations of people. What’s most important for me to remember, however, is who the actual enemy is. Although people I know may be obeying the devil, this does not make them the enemy:

Ephesians 6: 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

But you may ask, “How could people be working for the devil and not know it?”

John 12: 39 But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said,
40 “The Lord has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts—
so that their eyes cannot see,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and have me heal them.”
41 Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory.

This is where we come in and where our challenge lies. Knowing that we are called to make disciples and lead people to Christ and ultimately give all the glory to God, what do we do? What does any good soldier do? They make sure they hear what their commander says and carries out the orders. Jesus understood this perfectly:

John 12: 49 I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. 50 And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”

Do you know what God wants you to say? When people belittle the political party you associate with, do you ask God how you should respond? Do you know His commands?

You do know that God wants us to be like His Son, don’t you?

Romans 8: 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

That is good news, isn’t it? I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel pretty secure.

Is it time for you to take a stand? Is it time to arm yourself for the great battle before us?

Ephesians 6: 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

There’s no question in my mind that God has a job for each of us in His army. As the last verse states, our weapon is the word of God.

Do you find yourself taking cover because you have no sword in your hand? Or are you prepared to stand up to the enemy because you know how the war will turn out?

Here is one last verse to encourage you:

Revelation 17: 14 Together they will go to war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will defeat them because he is Lord of all lords and King of all kings. And his called and chosen and faithful ones will be with him.”

Will you take up your weapon and fight?

“God I praise your name. Thank you for calling me to be on your side and opening my heart to you.Please forgive me for not taking this war seriously for so long. Will you please help me develop a daily habit of reading your Word so that I will be properly equipped? Lord, please help me to be a light to others so that I may win souls for you. Help me develop a better prayer life so that I can be more effective for your battles. In Jesus name, Amen”

Photo by Andrew Yardley on Unsplash



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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Are You Pleasing God?

Are you pleasing God? part 2, Loving God, part XXXV

In my last post, “Are you pleasing God? part 2“, we began our discussion of growing our faith, which we learned is essential to pleasing God.

First, let’s give credit to the One who makes our faith grow:

1 Corinthians 3: 7 It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.

How has your faith endured this year so far? Were you able to stand firm by putting your trust in God knowing that He is always there for you? Or was it a difficult year, one without peace? Would you like knowledge of how to grow your faith?  Knowledge that is based on Biblical truths backed by God’s steadfast promises that will rely only on your efforts to seek Him? If this is the case, then read on…

I love this definition of faith:

Hebrews  11: 1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

When someone first comes to God it makes sense that there are few basic requirements which are stated very well in this verse:

Hebrews 11: 6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

We only need a little bit of faith:

Matthew 13: 31 Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”

We are learning how to grow that mustard seed. Isn’t this exciting?

Listen to what the Apostle Peter wrote to the newly converted:

1 Peter 2: 2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

What I love is the words “grow into a full experience of salvation” which I take to mean that salvation is not only a gift, rather it is an experience and something to look forward to when I continue to grow.

 

Continue seeking, growing in faith

I hope that by now you’ve learned that we all share a common purpose of growing in spiritual maturity so that our faith will develop and we will live up to our potential in God’s eyes. Let this purpose be the driving force that causes you to continually seek Him. This is why Jesus says:

John 6:27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”

Speaking of perishable things: Let go of your bills, family issues, tax issues, job issues, school issues, money issues, marriage issues, and every other “fill in the blank” problem of your life and cast these cares on Him. Let go of all of it so that you can focus all of your attention on the One that can truly deliver you into a greater peace. Which leads us to the next practical way to grow your faith. Last week was reading the Word of God and this week is prayer:

Don’t worry about anything

Philippians 4: 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

This is verse is most worthy of putting on your wall, dashboard, nightstand and book marker until it gets burned onto your heart.

It goes without saying that prayer is absolutely essential to develop our faith. We need to continuously turn to God in prayer in order to develop our relationship with Him. This will grow our faith.

Are you praying about everything?

“Dear Lord, you know my heart. You know that I have a great tendency to worry. You are the One who gave me life. You created heaven and earth, and here I sit worrying about you not taking care of me. Help me to grow up, Lord. Change my heart and teach me your ways. I want to look at my life and those around me through your perspective, not mine. May your will be done, not mine. Thank you for the wonderful things that you will be teaching me. In Jesus precious name, Amen.”

Photo by Liane Metzler on Unsplash



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Have you seen my testimony?

If you desire a closer walk with Jesus, just want more fellowship or "Bible Time" come join us at TheBibleTeam.com. We have weekly calls where our sole focus is spending time in God's Word.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.