Abide in Christ Tuesday, Jun 24 2014 

The Vine and the Branches

15 1-3 “I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.

“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.

5-8 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.

9-10 “I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.

11-15 “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.

16 “You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.

17 “But remember the root command: Love one another.

True Confessions Thursday, Jun 19 2014 

If you think back to the tiniest little white lie you told and go to the throne of grace and lay it down and confess to God and ask forgiveness. It doesn’t matter to God how big it is because that little sin to him is as big as the empire state building.

1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

True confessions starts with pouring out your heart to your heavenly Father. He cares for you.

2 Corinthians 7:9 yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.

Once you’ve confessed it is only natural for you to feel godly sorrow. Repentance means to turn around and go the other way. Don’t go back to your old ways. You are a new creature in Christ.

Ephesians 1:

to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,

It’s in the blood, people. The blood of Christ is like acid to sin. It eats it up. Destroys it. Love covers a multitude of sins. As far as the east is from the west has he removed our transgressions from us. It is not anything we do. It is a free gift from God.

This forgiveness, this redemption is from the creator of the universe.

Romans 3:

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[a] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

It is by grace you have been saved through faith. His grace is sufficient for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:

22 reject every kind of evil.

23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

So the attic is swept clean and you are full of God’s Spirit of truth.

We have no need to go back to the steps of salvation: confession, repentance, forgiveness, atonement, justification, sanctification, but we can move on.

Hebrews 6:1-3Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death,[c] and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites,[d] the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.

The working out of your salvation is actually done by the Spirit of God in you.

Jude:

24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

The whole purpose of this salvation, which is a free gift from God is for his purpose for you to be fulfilled.

Joshua 1:

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

 

 

Sweeping the Attic Tuesday, Jun 17 2014 

You know we all have thoughts.

Try not having one.

We are not only suppose to rid our minds of violence, vengeance, and vacillations but destructiveness, divisiveness, and delusions.

There are all kinds of brooms out there to pick from. There are the broad based ones used in industrial jobs all the way down to little “whisk brooms”. Some even have pointed edges for corners and crevices. And now you can use electronic brooms with rotating bristles. And for the really tough jobs if you are “plugged in” you can use a vacuum.

The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

So the whole purpose of this ‘cleaning’ is to make room for some new “furniture”. Instead of clutter and disorganization, you’ll have organization and peace.

The point is there will be no room for God’s peace until you clear your hearts and minds of all the negative thoughts about misfortune, misgivings, and mischief. Just imagine replacing those with joy, justice, and goodness.

We are here to change our minds.

In 1 Corinthians 3:

10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble.

Jesus becomes the main focal point of our thoughts. He is the first thought every morning and the last thought every night.

We have a choice of what we think about every day, every hour, every minute. Dwelling on things that you can’t change like the past can deter you from enjoying your present. The present is the only time you have, just this one instant. Better forgiveness and forbearance than bitterness and regret.

Some of the very best thoughts are scriptures.

Isaiah 55:

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Matthew 15:

18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Romans 2:

14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

1 Corinthians 3:

19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

21 Therefore let no man glory in men.

I cannot stress how important it is to get control of your thoughts because: once spoken…

Matthew 12:

35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.

36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walk (Humbly) Monday, Jun 16 2014 

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly[a] with your God.

Israel’s Guilt and Punishment

Listen! The Lord is calling to the city—
    and to fear your name is wisdom—
    “Heed the rod and the One who appointed it.

This is it. The calling of God’s people is to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.

Acting justly includes fair weights and measures. God hates when people are cheated. This is an abomination to him.

In fact in the very next verses he says so:

10 Am I still to forget your ill-gotten treasures, you wicked house,
    and the short ephah,[c] which is accursed?
11 Shall I acquit someone with dishonest scales,
    with a bag of false weights?
12 Your rich people are violent;
    your inhabitants are liars
    and their tongues speak deceitfully.

You may think it is alright to cheat someone but God doesn’t agree with you. If you’ve ever been robbed you know how it feels. This is something you would never do to another person. That is why God gave us the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That means don’t cheat. Don’t cheat God. Don’t cheat others. And most of all don’t cheat yourself.

I Am A Toothpick Tuesday, Jun 10 2014 

Now before you start condemning me for having gone completely off the deep end, let me explain; how it is that I am a toothpick?

Toothpicks are tools used to get things out from between your teeth. They dig down into the crevices and loosen things caught up in there that drive you absolutely nuts until you get them out. Once you get them out, you feel better. When the Holy Spirit is in your life He is that way with sin. He uses whatever tools are available to bring to light just what it is that needs to be removed from the hidden crevices of your heart.

You might be doing some things you shouldn’t ought to be doing. Maybe you go places you shouldn’t go. And maybe you’re backsliding.

If you aren’t going forward with the LORD, you’re probably backsliding with the devil. Don’t make me call out to you what you are doing. You know what it is. I can’t be listing every sin here now. Get with me on this.

In any case, the Holy Spirit uses some of us to shine the light on these things so as to prod you into changing your ways. This nudging is just like a toothpick in your mouth nudging at some big fat piece of meat. Wiggle a little here and a little there and pretty soon it’s gone. Line upon line, precept upon precept. The Word in us cleanses us. But first you have to “fess up”. The English word for that is “confess.” Because if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Not some. “ALL!”

I’m not doing anything special. I’m just a tool that the Holy Spirit uses to get the job done. Matter of fact, if I didn’t do it somebody else would. There’s no special gifting here just a willingness to speak the truth into your life. It isn’t rocket science. No hocus pocus involved. Most people feel uncomfortable telling other people about this sort of thing. John the Baptist used to say, “Repent, and be baptized.”

Same thing really. Different day. I just say there’s one thing different about gluttony. That’s a sin you wear, brother. Everybody knows you’ve been overeating. It’s a hanging off your backside. Ya backslider!

I shouldn’t make light of it, this is serious stuff. It causes diabetes and heart trouble. And tooth decay.

So I am a toothpick. If you’re a toothpick too say “Amen” and have a nice day.

 

Christ’s Gentleness Monday, Jun 2 2014 

2 Corinthians 10:1-3 By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.

I would like for you to know and be at peace with the gentleness of Christ.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

This gentleness comes to you through Christ in you.

Philippians 4:Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

This gentleness becomes a part of who you are in Christ Jesus our LORD.

Galatians 3:

11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

This is a gentleness that you wear as a garment. It is what people see when they look at you. It is a part of your mannerisms.

1 Timothy 6:

10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Final Charge to Timothy

11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Peter 3:14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats[a]; do not be frightened.”[b] 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Your answer should be gentle. Do not be accusatory. For this leads to strife. But instead let the gentleness of Christ rule in your hearts to bring unity to the brethren. We are all His. His handiwork. His tools. His fellow workers having given ourselves for His service.

Say things in such a way that your whole purpose in communicating is unity.

Show others the Christ in you not only by what you say but by the way that you say it. Honor Him through allowing the gentleness of the Holy Spirit that is in you to show itself to others. It is the same gentleness you feel when the Holy Spirit comes upon you that you should exude. Do not stifle it.

 

 

How to Do Difficult Things Sunday, Jun 1 2014 

Isaiah 41:13 For I am the Lord your God
    who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
    I will help you.

Sometimes it is hard to do what we should do. We see a task before us that seems overwhelming. As we step out in trepidation, fear blinds us to the possibilities. We tend to freeze in our tracks. We turn our head away and cry, “NO!”

It is at these times that the only strength we can muster comes from the Holy Spirit within.

“Let me show you what forgiveness looks like. What it can do. How it feels. Why it is so important for you to learn how to forgive. Forgiveness is like gravity. It always, always , works. It can turn your enemies into your friends. It is a healing upon your own heart too. It is important for you to learn to forgive others so I can forgive you.”

Maybe it is learning to swim, or driving at night, or a fear of heights that has its’ hold on you. Maybe you fear change. Whatever it is, God is there to walk you through it.

Psalms 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect:
    The Lord’s word is flawless;
    he shields all who take refuge in him.

God’s way is perfect. As things come at you today, challenges, trials, temptations and the like, just remember who is with you. The creator of the universe is your shield. I pray that you become aware of his presence today. I pray that He will lift you up. I pray that you can find within yourself the courage to forgive. In Christ Jesus our LORD. Amen.