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            “And the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:2-3 NASB

     John, the Beloved Apostle, repeats and rephrases in verse two and verse three pretty much what he already said in verse one. This may seem redundant, but how many of us do that when we feel we need to get a point across? How many of us do this with our kids when we want to be sure that they understood what we were saying before we let them go off with friends, or to employees before we cut them loose to go handle a job?

     Before we dismiss this as John simply repeating himself, we have to ask why is he repeating himself? What is his point for doing this? I think that we would be right if we said that his point was to be clear that Jesus manifested in the flesh, among the physical, material world, after having stepped down from outside of time, from that eternal life that He had always known with the Father, to ensure that we may have a relationship with God by believing and having faith in the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. That is what John is saying. Most definitely. However, I think that his point in rephrasing this and saying it again also goes back to who John was in hisfellowship with Christ.

     Think about it. Like I shared in The Word of Life, John was with Jesus from pretty much the beginning of our Savior’s ministry. What John is sharing is NOT speculation, conjecture, or mere hyperbole, he’s not saying this while being all smiley gladhands with a donation bucket in our faces. No. His words are based on what he experienced in his fellowship with Christ through it all; and by through it all—I mean through the ministerial Life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

     In fact, when John says: ‘testify and proclaim eternal life’, we know that John saw Jesus as a living, breathing, eating man. We also know that he saw Jesus in His eternal state, as well, after being resurrected from the dead. So, when John repeats and rephrases this, I think that it is safe to conclude the Apostle wanted to make it very clear to his readers, both then and now, for God knew and spoke through John’s writings to that generation and everyone who has read the Word since, that Jesus is exactly who Jesus claimed to be and that all of the Apostles letters likewise testify Him to be.

     So, for me, I think that he is trying to stress to us that Jesus is the real deal. As I have read and reread this, it’s made me think of what Jesus had to say to Thomas in John’s Gospel: “Thomas answered, ‘My Lord, and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see me, and yet believed.” (John 20:28-29 NASB). Thomas and John both got to see, firsthand, all that Jesus did and fulfilled, we get to read about it and have faith. We are among those that Jesus was referring to when speaking to Thomas. Makes me wonder, in the Infinite Glory of our God, did our faces cross His mind when He said those words?

     What about you? Do you struggle as Thomas did before he touched Jesus’ wounds? Can you read John’s words and know that God is reiterating that Jesus is who they and the Bible claim Him to be? Do you know that faith in the atoning blood of Christ is what gets you into the Kingdom? Read 1 John 1:1-3 and let the Apostle’s words sink in! How blessed are we?!

Until Next Time,
God Bless

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“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and our hands have touched, concerning the Word of Life—” 1 John 1:1 NASB
     
     This is such a profound verse to me. John was one of the 12 Apostles. He is the John, writer of the Gospel of the same name and the brother of James, both of whom are sons of Zebedee. We first meet John in a boat with his father and brother, tending to the nets (Matthew 4:21); and we realize that John and his brother James, were also partners with Peter (Luke 5:10). Yeah. The Peter. Which would mean that John knew the Apostle Andrew well, too, because, he was Peter’s brother (Matthew 10:2). So, here is a man, an entrepreneur, who was there, in the boat working as a fisherman with his brother James, his father Zebedee, and their partner Peter, and Peter’s brother Andrew at the very beginning of Christ’s ministry.

     John was called out of that boat, which was his very livelihood and he was one of the one’s Christ told would be a fisher of men. John was there throughout Jesus’ ministry. Even when Jesus called Matthew, the tax collector, John was present, eating with his three friends and Christ in Matthew’s house. The Scripture does not say but wonder which of the tax collectors present there was the one responsible for taking the four business owners money?

     Let’s not forget that John witnessed all the miracles. He saw Jesus feed the 5,000, make the demons flee, the lame walk, the blind see and he observed his friend, Peter, step out of the boat to walk toward Jesus who was Himself walking on water. John even called himself the Apostle that Jesus loved. Sure, perhaps that was more John projecting his tightness with the Lord, but then again, perhaps that was really how John felt. Let’s also not forget that John was there when Jesus was arrested, and he was there when Thomas touched the wounds of the resurrected Savior.

     In that light, 1 John Chapter 1 means a lot more, doesn’t it? John was a man that went from being a business entrepreneur, content to do his job, living his life with his friends and family, to then following Jesus. He got to partake in the ministry of Christ. He was also burned with oil for it and then exiled to the island of Patmos where he received the Revelation of Jesus Christ, knowing that all of his friends were dead, murdered by the Roman Empire. Even that one convert they didn’t trust in the beginning, Paul.

     When we look at the opening verse of 1 John 1, can we see it through the eyes of the man who really saw all of this? Who heard the Pharisees try to trap Jesus? Who looked at his Savior resurrected and witnessed Him ascend to the right hand of the Father? Do we understand that this man, one of the original 12, gave up everything to follow Christ with no promise of being blessed on this side of eternity? John was not given the Revelation of Prosperity on Patmos. No, John knew that he was most likely going to die penniless and alone on an island that served as his earthly prison. Would this change your love for Christ?

     Yet, John LOVED Jesus to the end. John even told us what Jesus had to say while on his island prison, destitute and alone:    
            “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Revelation 22: 12-13

     What reward will you get from Christ? How are you following the Alpha and Omega? From the heart? Or by words and lip-service alone? Have you truly accepted the Word of Life? Would you be willing to give up your business and ignore everyone who nay-sayed to follow God?  Tough questions, I know; but, when we look at Scripture, and the truth it contains, sometimes what we find does not line up with the memes and popular opinion of the world. In fact, the Gospel of Christ almost always runs contrary to what the world teaches us to accept as gospel.

Until Next Time,
God Bless

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“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”—Ephesians 4:31-32 NASB

     In our culture today, as well as some of us within the Body of Christ, these two verses can smash some toes. I know that for me, I have struggled with being hateful towards people who come across as arrogant, better-than or snobbish. When I was younger, I straight up clamored against and was deliberately irreverent towards those who tried to impose their will on my life. Where I grew up, we called that having a little buck in us.

     We all struggle with these things on some level. Whether it is the resentment toward a person who gets to work a part-time job while we have to hold down three jobs and are killing ourselves to get by; or being envious that someone has a gift or talent that we don’t and talking smack about them to feel better about ourselves; or becoming bitter because we are not the center of attention or had an idea first so we then speak ill about someone behind their backs so as to detract from the good of what they are doing in their life.

     Or, how about the way we post on social media, or chain messages?…clamor is actually defined as a crying, an outcry, a notifying tumult… as believers, let us not be deceived into thinking that we are pleasing God when we air all of our grievances with a person on social media for everyone to read. That is not the Biblical model for handling a problem with a fellow believer. Further, while some of us ask for prayer because we believe in prayer, some of us like to use prayer requests as a way to spill on other peoples issues as if this makes what we are doing okay!

     God knows your heart. If you are finding ways to spread your malice and bitterness, by slandering and gossiping about others through “just saying” and prayer requests, you are not resting in the Word of God because He clearly tells us NOT to do these things. In fact, He tells us to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving toward each other, just as God has forgiven us. Have we forgotten that we are to forgive as God has forgiven us? If we hold onto unforgiveness, we will also be unforgiven by God. That is pretty clear in Matthew 6:14-15.

     Further, let us not deceive ourselves. If you say you have forgiven but are still bringing it up, that shows you have not let it go. You have not forgiven. That unforgiveness can then lead to bitterness, envy and more slander as you attack everything that person you forgave sets out to do. If we are doing this and call ourselves believers, we need to repent.

     So, what can you do to be in line with the Word? First, be kind to people, be gentle and affectionate in the way you treat others. Don’t badmouth people! Don’t hate on people because you simply don’t agree with them. Also, consider the company you keep. If you are dealing with a non-believer, love them through it and try to guide the conversation to positive places and a more positive perspective. If it is you or a professed believer, repentance is necessary.   

     We can achieve putting away slander, bitterness and wrath, and not being contributors to malice, envy and the airing of other people’s stuff by choosing to let go of pettiness, letting go of being in control of other people’s lives and surrendering the need to manipulate so that others are viewed in a negative, while we are seen in a positive. We can choose to look for the good in the situation and in others, while lovingly going to those who wrong us using the Biblical Model in Matthew 18:15-17.

     I know. These can be tough Scriptures to look at and look at ourselves through. Where can you improve? How might you be guilty of not abiding in God’s instruction?

Until Next Time
God Bless

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      “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”—Ephesians 4:30 NASB
           
     At some point we have all struggled with areas of our lives that either grieve the Holy Spirit, or certainly tiptoe the line. I know that I have tiptoed the line and grieved the Holy Spirit with some of my choices and decisions. While I am not where I was 12 years ago, and I am certainly a long way from where I was just last year, back in February of 2018, I still have moments of frustration and anger that I have to turn over to God before I allow myself to sin. After all, the Word says be angry but do not sin! Wasn’t that just a few verses before this one?

     However, I know that getting angry and saying something harsh grieves the Holy Spirit, just as drinking to drunkenness, smoking marijuana (as it is illegal and we are commanded to obey the authority of the land), looking at porn (the statistic is 92 million viewers a day, most seeing nothing wrong with it—although consider that sex trafficking is one of the leading contributors to the billion dollar industry and the people on the screen may be doing what they are by force), having affairs, as well as having abortions, lying on or about others (slander), dishonoring parents and setting people up so that they may stumble and sin—definitely all of these are pretty clear examples of grieving the Holy Spirit.

     Yet, we may not understand how we are grieving the Holy Spirit or what it means to grieve the Holy Spirit in other situations of our lives. We may be inclined to say we are living right and aren’t grieving the Holy Spirit. But, if we examine our lives, I am sure we will see where we might be if our hearts are not hardened stones.

     So, what does it even mean? According to Lexham’s Theological Wordbook, grieve means to distress, to have hurt feelings, to make one feel sorry, and feeling deep sorrow. Now, to make one feel sorry is not someone needing to feel apologetic. It is actually more along the lines of the guilt-trip side of things. It is weird to think about guilt-tripping God, but when we hurt others by guilt-tripping them, I think of what Jesus said regarding what we have done for the least of these, we have likewise done for Him, too. If the good we do to and for others applies to Christ, logically, the bad we do to or for others can also be looked at as being done to Christ Himself, as well. Their hurt, His hurt, their pain, His pain. Gives us pause doesn’t it?
            
     God commands us here through Paul to not grieve the Holy Spirit. Essentially, he is saying, don’t make the Holy Spirit feel deep sorrow for your choices, decisions and behavior. Basically, he is asking us not to break God’s heart by choosing selfishness and the sinful side of things. Ergo, if it hurts someone else, because it is done out of spite, selfishness, pride, ego, arrogance, control, or vengeance, then it is safe to say it has grieved the Holy Spirit.

     Now, to avoid grieving the Holy Spirit, there are a few things that you can do. The first is to spend time in the Bible so that you know what a true relationship with Christ is, because He is not vague on what to do and not do. In fact, I would recommend reading the New Testament, particularly the Gospel of John and Romans. Further, to avoid grieving the Holy Spirit, the Golden Rule is a great instruction as you read, seek God in prayer and grow deeper in your understanding of the Lord.

     As believers who have been sealed for the day of redemption, there are a few things that we can also do to help each other not grieve the Holy Spirit. We can choose forgiveness, humility and kindness; we can show love, mercy and extend grace. We can refrain from inciting others or stirring the pot. We can choose to encourage, be supportive and understand we are all human. We all make mistakes and we all have caused hurts for others. Some much greater than others. However, choosing to repent, ask God for forgiveness and doing what He requires is a step in the right direction. Especially when you pause to ask yourself: “Would this grieve the Holy Spirit?”

Until Next Time
God Bless

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            “Let no unwholesome (literally: rotten) word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”—Ephesians 4:29 NASB

     Summer is hectic. Added to that, having a four-year-old that struggles with authority and is awaiting pediatrician referred testing for ADD and ODD, simple outings can turn into wars. As a parent, this can be very trying. I am not a doctor; I am not qualified to diagnose my son. However, I am intelligent enough to know that he has behavioral issues that have at times caused me to give pause and wonder if he is on the spectrum or possibly does have ADD or ODD. We’ll only know for sure when the testing ensues, and he is diagnosed by a licensed psychiatrist.

     Yet, it makes for difficult times. For example, yesterday I went to get my car’s oil changed and tires rotated. My kid was good for a while but then he started to get bored, wouldn’t sit still, wanted this and wanted that—all the typical four going on five-year-old things. I gave him my phone to watch Veggie Tales for a little bit. When he started acting up and wouldn’t listen, I took it from him and would not give it back.

     Of course, he had a fit and persisted, arguing with me and demanding that I give him the phone back. I stood my ground and settled in on the ‘no’ I had told him. Now, there are those—particularly: complete strangers—that would be quick to say to someone in this situation, “I would…” or “If he was my…” followed by an unsolicited parenting technique. Some may even passive aggressively say aloud, “spoiled brats need to not have the rod spared.” None of which really edifies, only adds stress to an already stressful moment.

     Now, I know that there might be those that quickly jump to the fact that edification means to enlighten and educate. Oxford Dictionary says that it is the instruction or improvement of a person morally or intellectually. In the Greek, Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible says that it was meant, in the New Testament, as the act of building up. Not really the same thing as rubbing another person’s nose in the self-aggrandizing heap of personal accomplishment as their child pushes them to their wits end.

      As a father and a believer, I read Ephesians 4:29 and see so many applications. I mean, as a father, edify is akin to positive reinforcement and the familiar Christianese speak life notion—Build them up. However, I have told my son, “You get what you get, and you don’t pitch a fit.” Or, “Sorry, it is what it is, and that is what we’re working with.” To some that may not be very speak life. But, he understands it.

      In an everyday application, though, for those of us who are believers, for those of us who say we believe in Christ, perhaps wading into a situation with our unsolicited advice is not the best answer. In fact, I have been blessed to experience edification in this area when someone reinforces what I am teaching my son by saying, “You have to listen to your dad.” Or, “You know, the best way to honor your dad is to listen to him.” The best yet was when my son told me that I was not the boss, God was the boss, and a friend piped up, saying, “That is right, God is the boss, and He made it so that your Daddy and Mommy are the boss of you, so they are your bosses, too.”

     This is one example out of so many that we could look at when considering the application of this verse. But, what about you? Can you see how you can improve the world we live in by building others up according their need and not from your own selfish need to prove how good you did it or said it? What are some ways that you see others could build up and speak life into your own situation and how can you harness that to do unto others?

Until Next Time
God Bless

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“He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one has need.” –Ephesians 4:28 NASB

     The Scripture is pretty cut and dry here. Any time I hear the word steal it makes me think of thief. Growing up, I often heard my elders say, ‘Nobody likes a liar or a thief.’ Looking back, I get what they were talking about. If you can’t trust a person not to take your things, then that creates a rather uncomfortable situation. If a family member or a friend helped themselves to your wallet whenever you visited, that would create tensions and resentments. Personally, I would love them regardless and just lock my valuables in the car while praying they grew out of that season of life. However, at the heart of the matter stealing creates an environment of distrust.

     Interestingly, the Greek word for steal is klepto. That is the same word we use today to describe someone who is addicted to stealing; and kleptomaniac is the very word that psychologists use to diagnosis someone with the compulsion to take things that do not belong to them.

     The first time I read through this verse and prayed on it, I imagined Paul addressing the folks at Ephesus and being like, “Stop being lazy. Don’t take things that do not belong to you! If you want something be willing to bust your rear-end for it.” This is something that is definitely applicable today. Whatever we do, we are commanded to work hard for it! Whether we are in construction, landscaping, cutting hair or even if we are in ministry. We are to give all of ourselves while we are toiling. Further, anyone who has had something taken from them knows that feeling that pierces the heart when something has been stolen. There is a sense of violation that is left inside a person that is awful.  

     Yet, as clear as all of that is, the fifth or sixth time that I looked at this passage, God began to unpack something for me that I had not considered. I mean, I see that God commands us to live according to His word, and to meditate on His principles and I can see how we may allow ourselves to get distracted and take away from praying to God, studying the Word, which in its own way is stealing from our ability to glorify God. However, that is not what began to make sense the fifth or sixth time I read through this verse.

    God commanded us to stop stealing, to start working hard and performing with our own hands what is good—not for all the reasons that I could come up with for why stealing is bad—but so that we might have something that we can share with someone else who is in need.

     Think about that. Are we studying the Word the way that we should so we can share the Gospel to those who have need of it? Are we working hard on our own tongues so that we aren’t speaking lies and discord into other people’s lives? Are we putting in the work to look at ourselves in the mirror, rather than pointing out everything someone else is doing wrong? What about you? Where are you hardly working? What could you work harder on so you can give to someone who has need?

Until Next Time
God Bless

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“Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and yet do sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” –Ephesians 4:25-27 ESV

     Knowing as verse 24 says that I am to put on the new self that is created in the likeness and holiness of God, Paul following up with this verse makes sense but can also step on a lot of toes. It’s easy to get caught up in telling lies. Some of us do it through white lies in order not to hurt people’s feelings. Some of us do it in fear of people seeing us for who we truly are, so we lie on others or about situations so that we may be seen in the best light. The reasons for and the levels of the lies are not of importance here. What is important is where and whom it is from.

     Jesus makes it clear that the Devil is the father of lies, and those who were against Christ were of their father, the Devil. Consider that the Devil pitched the big lie to Eve in the Garden and facilitated mankind’s fall. It was not an elaborate, crafty lie, either. The Devil took part of the truth and stretched the rest to fit his ends. Yet, it still had disastrous effects.

     The Word says that up from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks and here it states that we are to speak truth—that is truth, true, sincerity, integrity—and it is ok to be angry with people, but we are not to let the sun go down on our anger and we are not to give the Devil an opportunity. Some manuscripts read—a place. It is not a coincidence that these verses are together. As Christians, we are told we are members of one another and to be honest with one another. We are also told that it is ok to be angry, offended or provoked but not to let the sun set on our anger. Essentially, don’t give your anger an opportunity to fester into a resentment. Thus, we are to be honest with each other (that is not a license to be malicious with the truth, either), as well as deal with our feelings in a manner that is worthy of Christ’s sacrifice.

     Ultimately, lies and vengeful anger—these are more representative of an individual’s heart condition. If we are putting on our new self in the holiness and image of Christ, then we are putting all that behind us and moving forward in the fullness of God. If we are clinging to lies, unforgiveness, and grudges then are we really pursuing our Holy Father God? Or, are we still stuck in the devil’s deception? This stirs to mind what Jesus said, that we cannot serve two masters.

     What about you? How does this apply to you? In what way can you make changes in your own life so that your words and heart match that which Christ did for you on the cross?

Until Next Time
God Bless

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Word Servant - 2M ago
“They have become  callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about Him and were taught in Him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:19-24 ESV

These six verses speak volumes. While our old self is gone when we profess Christ as Lord, I read this and started looking at putting the old self away and taking up our cross daily as being part of the same perpetual ritual. Both of which work toward renewing us from within, transforming our minds so that we can have a deeper relationship with Jesus.

Think about the spirit within us. Yes, we have a spirit and a body; but, I am talking the life God breathed into man— that is the breath of God within us. As believers, we also have His Holy Spirit working within and through each one of us who professes Christ as our Lord! Think about our minds! Some define that as our faculty of thinking, but how many of us realize it is also defined in Greek as reflecting an attitude?

We should be putting off that old man and that old woman on a daily basis. We should be renewing the way we view things, we should be reaffirming an attitude of Christ—both in our dependence on Him and in our desire to be like Him as we fight the good fight, EVERY SINGLE DAY!!

In that old mentality, that old self, that old lifestyle—we each have had our areas of callousness; we each have had our areas where we lacked self-control. Some of us have become so callous that we lost our sense of shame, we were insensitive to anyone but ourselves. Some of us have succumbed in that old lifestyle to excesses, to self-abandonment, to catering to whatever gives us selfish pleasure. In these verses specifically we are called to put that away.

The first step of renewing ourselves in Christ was recognizing we needed a Savior. The next step is realizing where we are still clinging to our former self-indulgent life so that we may turn from it and cling to Christ. We are not called to profess Christ and continue on as we always have. There is no doctrine that says we are allowed to profess Christ and then willfully persist with the selfish, self-centered, arrogant, vengeful and hateful attitudes we used to have before being saved. It is clear, we are to change. To be transformed. To be renewed. We are not called by Christ to be Sunday seat-warmers. We are called, in Christ, to be Everyday Spirit Reformers!

What about you? What might you be clinging to from that former life? Where do you still need renewing?
Until Next Time
God Bless
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“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.” —Ephesians 4: 17-18 (ESV)

Reading and rereading Ephesians 4:17-18, I look at the life I used to live, the man I used to be and then I look at the world as it is and I see this verse. It is easy to get hung up on Paul saying not to be like the Gentiles. If he lived today, he could just as easily have used “Unchurched” or “Unbelievers” or my fave: “Secular Society.”

Any thread on social media that has to do with faith shows what Paul is talking about. Unfortunately , some of us should keep this verse in mind when the anti-Christian naysayers wade in with their posted attacks. We should point them to Christ, embody the love that He is the embodiment of as God in the Flesh, and remember that their understanding has been darkened by their separation from God, while their hearts have been hardened. Essentially, show them Grace, as hard as that may be to do!

As members in the Body of Christ, that is: the Church, the Believers, the non-secular, we are not to walk in futility. I passed over the word futility a dozen or so times before I wondered how Paul meant it. I was surprised to learn that it means vanity, nothingness, deprivation and perverseness. Vanity is probably the word that jumps out first from that list of words. Most often we think of vanity in terms of people who are stuck on themselves. That song, “You’re so Vain” might even come to mind for those of us who listen to 70’s music.

However, deprivation is the descriptor that stuck out to me. We are not to live in the deprivation of our minds as those alienated from God live. The more I meditated on that, the more I started to think in terms of being alienated from a source of oxygen and the agonizing death of oxygen deprivation.

In this context, God is the Living Oxygen, in our lungs is His Eternal Breath, without Him we would surely suffocate and die, both spiritually and eternally. I picture those alienated from God, with their souls in an outer-space-like limbo gasping for breath until their eyes pop out of their heads. Pretty brutal, especially if you are a Sci-Fi fan and have seen silver screen representations of that! Obviously, far worse awaits those eternally alienated from God. The only conception my simple brain can come up with for suffocating in a Lake of Fire for eternity, would be surviving in anguish within the sun, gasping for breath only to inhale radiation and plasma. Horrific.

So, what about you? In what ways are you suffocating in your walk with Christ? Who do you know that needs the fresh air of God? Have you shared the Good News of the Gospel with them? In what areas is your heart hardened? Forgiveness? Mercy? Compassion? Generosity?
Until Next Time,
God Bless
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“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” –Ephesians 4:16-18 NASB (Emphasis added).

     These scriptures remind me of how I have failed at this. Paul uses ‘children’ to indicate the immaturity of a small kid. Anyone who has been around small kids knows what he’s talking about—the back-talking, the temper tantrums, and the promise of being good, of listening only to throw that out the window as soon as a new toy catches their eye in the store. For some kids, it is candy, or not wanting to leave a friend’s home. Whatever it is for the child, there is no doubt it is not unique to one kid.

     Yet, as believers, isn’t that how we have sometimes acted? There are those of us who have misled and lied to make ourselves look better, even at the expense of others. Do not immature children point their fingers at others in the same way so that they may receive praise or even to avoid punishment? There are those who have twisted Scripture to support their spin on doctrine, using the Bible to mislead while cherry-picking verses to make their arguments seem legit; and unfortunately, sometimes they are believers. Some of us even twist the ‘speak the truth in love’ so that we can speak whatever awful thing we want because it is the truth and the only love we are showing is self-love or love of drama.

     If we examine this Scripture, it is not giving us a Christ-stamped license to be a busy-body, truth-as-a-weapon-of-mass-destruction jerk. That is not love. That is immaturity. What we are supposed to be doing is growing up and being mature in Christ. We are supposed to be building one another up, not tearing one another down. The mature of spirit begin to display more and more behaviors like Christ, not treat His sacrifice as a get out of Hell free card while continuing to live like a self-centered brat.

     I don’t know about you, but I have struggled with this in the past. I have been the immature believer, as well as the immature person who feels slighted and wants the satisfaction of getting in my digs. However, that is not who we are called to be as we grow up and start acting the way that Christ and our Heavenly Father expects us to act. We are supposed to be causing growth, not withering and decay.

     What about you? In what way are your actions and words indicating immaturity, be it jealousy, envy and bitterness? How are you feeding the spirit of childishness? Do you tear other’s down, spewing venom while sharing truth that is destructive, not done in love and not done in the corrective manner that the Bible tells us we should do? Examine your heart and ask God for forgiveness and maturity of spirit.

Until Next Time,
God Bless

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