Unity Through being Christ-Like – 8-17-22

and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:23-24 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Ephesians chapter 4 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Walk in Unity

I, therefore, the prisoner [a]of the Lord, [b]beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in [c]you all.

Spiritual Gifts

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says:

“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”

(Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also [d]first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the [e]edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

The New Man

17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as [f]the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Do Not Grieve the Spirit

25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give [g]place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary [h]edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, [i]clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Footnotes
a. Ephesians 4:1 Lit. in
b. Ephesians 4:1 exhort, encourage
c. Ephesians 4:6 NU omits you; M us
d. Ephesians 4:9 NU omits first
e. Ephesians 4:12 building up
f. Ephesians 4:17 NU omits the rest of
g.
Ephesians 4:27 an opportunity
h.
Ephesians 4:29 building up
i.
Ephesians 4:31 loud quarreling

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 8:1

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

I hope you are enjoying this book as much as I am. Although I am bound to it as my duty to Christ. I must do this because God asked me to and I am committed to and you all are expecting to see it – I am a prisoner of the Lord in this work.
Paul was a prisoner in Rome, but not a prisoner to Rome – even under house arrest with armed guards his commitment to Christ to teach the church was the only bondage he felt. In Christ we are free and when in bondage to His work, more free!

1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,”

I’ll be the first one to admit we cannot do this without the help of the Lord – but do not be trapped by that, because the Lord is willing and able to help. We still have the obligation to hold up our end of the relationship. We’ve entered into a relationship with Christ. And just like we must hold up our end of our relationship to our friends and spouse – we must also work on and hold up our end of the relationship with Christ. That is a huge part of walking worthy. We own our responsibility in this – even though we need help with it, we still do it.

with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Lowliness is humility. Gentleness is pretty self-explanatory. Longsuffering is not really suffering, but it is an endurance type of patience. Bearing means carrying. One another in LOVE – and that is the unconditional love that loves without reason or condition, as God is love.
Do you remember what Peace is? Peace is the resolution of the conflict of enmity with God – and that is Jesus. Jesus did that. He did that at the cross when grace transformed a sinless man into our sins, then death, then victory into life.  Therefore to keep unity in the bonds of peace – we must not just recall the work of the cross, but also recall the experience we had with grace that transformed us and compelled us in love to be bound to it – to do all good works.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;”

Therefore if one suffers under oppression, we are suffer. If one suffers from blindness, we are suffer. If one needs deliverance, we all suffer. There is but one body and we are all members.  Do you see why we should lay hands on the sick and oppressed, and those afflicted – because we need to tend to ourselves to keep us whole and healthy.  It is in this same unity that we are called.
Yes – one hope of our callings. When you see another called and working for God, even if their calling is the same as yours, bring them in and let God use you both. Then find more and bring them in. God is in charge of his work, so He will make it complement each other. This is not about people who are called – this is about the people who are healed, set free, delivered, and disciple. We all have the same mission and calling – Go ye therefore: tell them about Jesus and make disciples, and often times that requires healing, delivering and setting people free.

one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

We are one body, with one calling, one hope because we all serve one and the same Lord.
Paul said in other books we’ve studied, about baptism being a sharing in Christ’s work of the cross and our death to our fleshly desires. But Paul now takes it a step further and as we bear each other’s burdens we have died with each other in our baptisms and came back up out of the water together in unity.
And one Father who is everywhere, including in us. So our spirit bears witness.

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.”
(Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

Yes, Jesus descended and fought sin and death and rose again – but he did not stop at coming back to earth! Nope! Because if he was here then he could not send His spirit to come dwell in each of us. The battle would have been lost! He has to ascend – and to heights far above the heavens! There is power in the name of Jesus because he is ABOVE all things! And we are not bund to one language so the same power is in the English version of His name and the Hebrew version and every pronunciation and version. We are a people who serve a God of every tongue (which he created at the tower of Babylon) and every spiritual tongue poured out in Acts. Because it is not the word, it is the authority of having been raised up above the heavens! Above all things.
Even above us who he has raised up to sit in heavenly places.

Before we accept our gifts, before we stand fast in who we are in Him, before we enter God presence and worship and bring petitions, we must know where Jesus is – above all at the right hand of the Father and we are seated in heavenly places. Take your position and do not forfeit it, give it up, or be tricked out of it, as the enemy is trying!

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,”

I’ll admit, the idea of apostles being for now is something foreign to me. I grew up in a 4 fold ministry church without Apostles. Since then the governing body has also said there are not prophets and no evangelists. But some have prophetic gift and missionaries have evangelists’ gifts. And suddenly things are muddy – and boy do I hate the word of God muddied. (And missionaries are not even on this list! They are evangelists!)
In the days (in the Old Testament) when Babylon was coming to take them captive and into the captivity – there was an out pouring of the prophetic gifts and many prophets rose up: Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Zephaniah and Zachariah, to name a few. Today, with our captivity at hand there is AGAIN another outpouring of the prophetic. And we all know, I have been burned and I am leery and pray and fast and seek God about ALL prophetic words! But the Prophet is definitely for NOW!
Let us agree together to say, believe and declare and decree that: it is written, “He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers”

 “12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”

To equip us – to edify us… until. Yes – verse 13 says “till”. So there is an end to these gifts? Yes. There is a potential end. Because the gifts are here for a reason.

13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

The gifts are here to make new believers and grow up perfect Christians. Therefore once we are all perfect believers without sin – AND everyone is saved, we will no longer have the gifts.
You say: but that will never happen here on earth. And I think Paul agrees with you. We will always have these gifts in the earth we know. But in heaven and in the new earth, we will no longer need these gifts and no longer have them.

17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

Repent. Walk away from it. I know it is hard. I get the flesh on me all the time. We must be good repenters. We must work on this daily with the help of our Lord.

20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”

So we strive to be holy when it is impossible? Kinda. There is a point to it. We can follow Paul as he followed the Lord (the bible says). He was pretty darn close. He was not obsessed with holiness and following laws and rules for sanctification. He was obsessed with Jesus and freedom. So if we seek holiness – seek Jesus. If we seek sanctification, seek Jesus!
If we have needs in our finances, health, heart and mind – SEEK JESUS! If we seek the anointing, SEEK JESUS!!

25 Therefore, putting away lying, Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.”

Lying is of the devil and a liar is his child and not a child of God.

26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,”

It is not wrong to be angry and I thank God for this! He gave us this feeling and said that it is not wrong – but how you CHOOSE to respond to this feeling can be right or wrong. Be angry – but do not hate, do not curse, and do not sin!

27 nor give place to the devil.”

I have so many things to say about this verse. Do not give place to the devil. You give him a speck and he builds a stronghold. YES – even Christians, even Christian leaders… you believe a lie of his and boom there is a strong tower of the enemy! Don’t run into that tower for protection!
I know from working with women that their looks are often the area that they surrender to the devil. Vanity will kill you, because once the enemy has ground it is easier to grab more ground. Let’s take me. I have always accepted myself and liked the way I looked. I also liked playing with it with makeup and changing my hair – but it was for fun and was not a trap for me. My weight was a struggle until I realized I was ill and it was caused by that – so I began and continue to pray for complete healing.
Now, I lost my hair to covid and being sick caused me to gain weight. I do not like the way I look, moreover, I do not recognize myself. However God made me. And I have to trust His process. And if he is making me to look different physically, He has the right to tell His story through me any way He wants. I will surrender. Besides I have no one to impress but Jesus.
That being said – I forgot to put on my makeup this weekend when I was out with friends and left it in the car. So I returned to the car and put it on. Man was I teased about how I look good without makeup and I do not need it and so on. Ok. But I still like it. It is ok to wear makeup if it is not vanity. I am an artist, a painter, you really expect me not to paint my face and my jewelry and my clothes and scarves and so on and so forth!

28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.”

This verse can also be read to let him to do any sin, do that sin no more. Paul is clearly saying repent. Often we ask forgiveness of our sins and forget that we must STOP doing them. What is crazy is that this includes sins that are also bondages, and demonic strongholds like addiction. As I told you before I used to smoke and prayed for forgiveness over and over and over. I quit for 3 years that was and instantaneous freedom. I just didn’t even want to smoke. I picked it back up again and when I tried to quit – it was harder. God again gave me supernatural instantaneous freedom from it but he did not remove the cravings nor did he protect me from the lies of the devil. When I was freed, I had to put it down. I had to stop. I have to resist the devil. I had to take part and fight for the freedom God gave me.
We need to NOT sin. And we have the power to NOT sin. We have to put it down.

29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”

This past weekend with my friend, we went to hear a preacher who touched on idle words. And in the car after I made a joke that was negative in nature. Just that fast! Corrupt words, negative idle words, thoughtless words… these things do damage. Bless ONLY.  I had to repent.
God convicts me of this often. And points it out when others do it also, because he is working on it with me. But above and beyond what I notice and repent of… I had not even noticed in the car when I did it and my friend pointed it out. I thought, it would be great if she followed me around everywhere keeping me accountable! Lol She was worried she’d offend me. NOPE! I love it. I want to do what is right, and it is hard to. God is good. And He is my helper. We cannot even guard our mouths without him.

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

I have heard that grieve the Holy Spirit means to take the Lord’s name in vain. I am sure that would grieve him – but he is HOLY and wants to dwell within you and if you are sinning… well, holiness and sin cannot occupy the same space. So the Holy Spirit is evicted from the space where sin is. That is pretty grievous and the next verse does talk about putting down other sins!

31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Put down the sin and close the door. Give it no space. Can you imagine what would happen if there were 10 people in your church who gave no space to the enemy, kept their position in heavenly places, with humble confidence, and put down all sins. Become like Paul. He was not asking us to do something he couldn’t. He succeeded and he was just man. We can to with the help of Jesus.
And even just 5 Paul like people in our local churches could change the whole world! I know, because just one Paul did change the world.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

The Mystery – 8-16-22

that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Ephesians chapter 3 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

The Mystery Revealed

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— if indeed you have heard of the [a]dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.

Purpose of the Mystery

To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the [b]fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things [c]through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the [d]manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the [e]principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. 13 Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

Appreciation of the Mystery

14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father [f]of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes
a. Ephesians 3:2 stewardship
b. Ephesians 3:9 NU, M stewardship (dispensation)
c. Ephesians 3:9 NU omits through Jesus Christ
d. Ephesians 3:10 variegated or many-sided
e. Ephesians 3:10 rulers
f. Ephesians 3:14 NU omits of our Lord Jesus Christ

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 8:1

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Revelation and purpose of the mystery as well as appreciation are the sub-titles that the New King James Bible places on this chapter – the chapter of mysteries. I have heard many pastors ask the question of what is the mystery and then try to answer it. I have heard many answers and ideas of what the mystery is. And the truth of the matter is that in almost 2000 years there is NO definitive study that settles it so solidly that everyone came into agreement of it and therefore it is universally taught. Although, many do default to a similar vein of teaching. Usually, I would inform you of all of those and let you prayerfully figure out what God is teaching you. Not today. Especially NOT with this chapter. When Jesus spoke vaguely, it was because some needed to hear it and some did not need to. Paul speaks vaguely today and I think we can let God reveal what he has for each of us, much the same way.

As I said in the beginning of the study of this book – let us look at this book with the fresh eyes of the Holy Spirit. That Jesus is trying to teach us about the spirit world and the Holy Spirit and His indwelling in us and what that means to us and how that empowers us! Let’s continue in that perspective and assume the mystery must be something spiritual.

1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:”

I know I am breaking up Paul’s sentences and it will make it confusing if you have not already read the text through. (I hope you did.) But I wanted to drop this letter back into the original time period where the fact that gentiles could have a relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was a huge revelation of a mystery – That mystery was the promise to Abraham that all nations could be his children and worship his God.
But if that was the ONLY thing Paul was speaking of, then he would have said that – but he said mystery and that leaves it open to mean so much more!

But it is critical in OUR time period that we understand that even though God was doing a new thing then AND He is obviously doing a new thing now – he is none the less the same yesterday, today and forever and none of it is really new – there is nothing new under the sun. (Anyone enjoying Ecclesiastes on weekends?) Which means, when someone comes to add to the canon or subtract to the canon and say it is God’s new thing – be warned. God’s new things including the mystery of the gentiles were all written in the book and were hidden from the eyes of man until the Holy Spirit came in Acts 2 and suddenly mankind can read the scriptures with enlightened eyes and opened understanding.

This past weekend I met a very controversial pastor.  He is under a hate attack by Christians and witches and occult members alike. (Christians should always question when they agree with the occult as well!) I will not say who he is, and I did not expect to meet him. I shook his hand and held on too long – I was praying for him and what he is under. But this chapter came to mind in that moment.
I know the word and he is not deviating from it – but his eyes have been enlightened and he is looking at scripture as if for the first time, having been recently filled with the Holy Spirit.  And my spirit bears witness – He has the right spirit. He is human and fallible – me too – you too. He is being accused of adding to the scriptures and going crazy and getting into Spiritism while abandoning the word. Anyone who says that does not know the word.
I have watched him grow and go through a road to Damascus experience and I know God looks at that flawed man with overwhelming loves and so proud of him for taking the steps and obeying and stepping into the fullness of God. Yet – with all that is new with this preacher – it is all written. Every word is written in the Bible. He has not added – he just finally understands it.

I pray this experience for all of us. Let us understand God’s word in the fullness. Where each time we read we get something more and new to us! Let us be humble in our lack of knowing and Bold and Courageous in walking in our new understanding. Knowing those who are blind will not sit by quiet – but will be convicted by their lack of knowing and will become modern day Pharisees attaching and slandering and accusing. Is it the Christ-like love of God that compels them to crucify him?

Let us be strong in humility.

that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.”

Love and grace equal effective working power of God. Occasionally Paul had righteous indignation and Jesus certainly did in the temple when he cast out, drove out and sent out the money changers and vendors! But even righteous anger is motivated by a deep unconditional love. That kind of love that is the power that causes grace to be actionable and transformative! The kind of love that is God – God is love. It IS the effective working of His power!

To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,”

Christ and all that He is and was and will be and stands for and ALL of his promises and all of his works and all of his plans are RICH. They are full of Riches! They are full of spiritual depths and blessing, physical depths and blessing and financial depths and blessings. AND ALL these riches are part of Jesus and IN HIM they are ours and they are so many they are unsearchable – Paul has only taught us a small measure!

and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;”

We can fellowship in this mystery – hang out in and bask in it to get revelation and and ponder it to get it in our hearts.
John wrote that Jesus was the creator of all things. Paul and John had limited interaction and Paul came to the same conclusion. The scriptures confirm themselves.
And when the Jews studied the Torah in Hebrew School they read ‘The Red Thread’ (the prophecies and symbols of Jesus) and studied them daily – but it was not revealed until Jesus.
I studied end time prophecy as a teen and thought ‘pharmakeia’ (translated into our Bible as witchcraft but also means drugs) was going to be some symbol and not literal and in plain sight!  Yet – we have a vax that they say does not work but we all must have it – it certainly sounds literal.  And other very literal things like organization with 666 in the logo and use of terms for a one world government. Hidden things are not just revealed to those who believe but are obvious to all – but some are still blind and even though it is obvious, they cannot see.

10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,”

“Manifold wisdom of God”. “Made known by the church”. And although the church as a whole failed there is a remnant rising up and standing in our place – seated in heavenly places. Strong and bold yet humble and loving. Being IN HIM – in all authority sealed on our being!!!
“by the church to the principalities and powers.” We are to stand against the enemy and having done all stand! We are to stand fast therefore! We are to stand firm and be unshakable. The battle around us is great – but it must be and we must learn to stand it in because if we are to go to heavenly places and declare this to the ‘principalities and powers’ we better be well verses in standing in the storm and even walking on water during the storm!

11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,”

Keeping our eyes on the eternal purpose – already accomplished and playing out in front of us – knowing we have the victory! It is accomplished!

12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.”

You can be bold and confident in him without puffing your chest and losing your humility and love. I have been hearing this in my spirit often lately. Because sometimes we get so hung up with remembering to NOT give place to pride – that meekness because a weakness. But humility and meekness are not the same thing. Besides you can be meek and strong as well! And by strong – I mean bold and confident!!

13 Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.”

And do not lose heart at your own tribulations which is God’s glory in you! Like the battles that rage around you – are for the Glory of the Father as it sharpens you, strengthens you and teaches you how to fight the good fight.

14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,”

I pray this prayer over all of you who read this. I speak it over myself as well. That we’ll be visited by revelation and knowledge with understanding.

16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,”

Our inner man be strengthened, yeah that is what seems to happen when we go through these battles. But we will be strengthened according to the abundance and endless supply of the riches of His glory – which includes spiritual, physical and financial riches – and since the prayer is for the inner man expect any finances to be for the service of God with our inner man. But careful not to rob God. Which leads to also not robbing Him when he is generous with spiritual and physical riches as well. Be a wise steward.

17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,”

Yes – back to love – God is love. And all good things come from love.

18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

That you and I can comprehend the width and length and depth and height… And I cannot help but think of Ezekiel’s visions. Of the angel measuring and measuring and still I am not able to completely comprehend it.

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,”

“WHO IS ABLE”! No matter what you are facing or going through – HE IS ABLE. No matter what you see with your eyes in the physical realm – HE IS ABLE. No matter what lies the enemy is telling you and which ones you have bought – HE IS STILL ABLE.

And when you receive – look for the exceedingly abundant. Because if it is not exceedingly abundantly done, then He is not finished!

According to the power that works in us. Well, now! If you say no to signs and wonders, then there is not a whole lot of power working in you and there will be no signs and wonders. And when there are signs and wonders you’ll miss them – because they are not for you.  So do not hinder yourself.
I went to a service this past weekend. I saw demons cast out, salvations, deliverances, healings and God anointing and touching and changing people. Others went and did not see a single thing. They had no idea those things were even happening! Just like there was a small security breech that was handled quickly and quietly – yet everyone I spoke to was amazed that there were no incidents.
If his power and love is working in you – you’ll have the revelation and then the exceedingly abundant because He is able!

21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

To Him we are thankful! Let us be one of the ALL generations to point to Him, to give Him all the Glory and Credit and teach others to as well!

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

By Grace Through Faith – 8-15-22

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” Ephesians 2:8 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Ephesians chapter 2 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

By Grace Through Faith

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the [a]course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Brought Near by His Blood

11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Christ Our Peace

14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

Christ Our Cornerstone

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Footnotes

a. Ephesians 2:2 Gr. aion, aeon

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 8:1

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,”

As we have discussed many times over the years – sin causes death and we are never truly alive until Jesus breathes life into us when we enter a relationship with Him. Sometimes we buy the lie that we are ok and we stop growing and progressing and slowly we become dead again. Back-sliding is not always a dramatic fall into some sin that mankind thinks is worse than the others. Sometime it is simply falling asleep, drying up, lack of movement and vivacious fire, and a slow death that is never noticed while the enemy continually sings you a lullaby and convinces you that you are fine, right where you are – dead.

But God is not waiting for you to find a way to come back to life. It is through Him just like the first time he brought you to life.  
So today, while we read this chapter we must first know if we are alive or dead of starting to die… and then we can make the right steps to get where we need to get.

13 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. 14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’” Ezekiel 37:13-14 NKJV

This prophecy is for NOW, because the Jews have their own land, Israel.  And Jesus said to the Disciples that He was sending His Spirit – and it happened in Acts 2. And later in Act Peter learned that gentile are included and separately Paul learned it to and now 2000 plus years later I am a spirit filled gentile believer who was dead and has been brought to life AND I know that I KNOW, THAT I KNOW, THAT. I. KNOW. That He is the Lord and HE has spoken it and HE has performed it. He is still alive and working and completing His word in our lives TODAY!

I can with confident speak to the dry bones and say: “Thus saith the Lord: ‘I will put MY spirit in you and you shall LIVE!’”

in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

We SHALL have a testimony to glorify the FATHER! We were once dead in sin. Paul gives that section 2 verses. Make sure, when you speak your testimony, that your testimonies do not glorify the sin, that they do not speak more of the sin than of the Lord.
I was dead fulfilling the lust of the flesh – THEN I had a transformative experience with GRACE – transforming me in faith – and I have NEVER been the same again! I have never been the same again! AND I WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN – all Glory to God. And it is because GOD was merciful and God saved me and God changed me and DO NOT BE PROUD OF ME – I cannot even touch an ounce of the credit. I could not even begin to do the parts I had to do without GOD changing me and working in me and through me to do my part – so ALL GLORY GOES TO GOD! ALL. ALL.

God did this great thing in me and can in you (if he has not already) because of His great love for us. Please make a special note that these next verses do not describe a love because of any reason. It is a love without a “because”, a love without a reason. I sometimes say because He made us, but this is also wrong (and I must work on not repeating this lie I bought at one time). I am an artist and blessed with the ability to create things. And sometimes I make something and look at it and say – wow that is really bad – I hate it. Humans do not automatically LOVE everything we make, including our children (sadly). God’s love is not because He made us, or else anyone who made a bad drawing in elementary school and were embarrassed by it in class would easily doubt God’s love, knowing you can hate something you created. God loves us period. Without fail and without reason. We do not need a reason to love and we need to break free from conditional love!

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

At the point of justification or salvation, before consecration and sanctification is even complete – we are made alive TOGETHER with Christ and raised up together and sit together in the heavenly places. Do not get proud about this – it was by grace and not anything you did. But today by Jesus’s revelation spoken into your life you may understand that you do not sit on your sofa in your house, or in a chair at your table or desk. You SIT TOGETHER with Christ in HEAVENLY PLACES!
When we finally understand, by the Spirit of the Lord, opening our understanding, emboldening us and helping us to, humbly yet firmly, stand in our true position – we cannot fail, the Lord is within us!

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,”

By grace which I ALWAYS say if NOT just defined as “God’s undo favor on us”. You will only say that if you have NEVER experienced grace. If you experience it you know it is actionable, powerful, and transformative. Grace is the spark that ignites sanctification and consecration and set your heart a blaze to know Him!
All you need to do is believe, have faith. But you cannot even do that unless the Lord gives you a measure of faith to use.

not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

There is an age old question all of mankind asks themselves at some point (well, maybe not all – but many): what is my purpose? It is usually followed up with other questions about existence and a desire for deeper understanding. And the answer is we are created to do good work. From Adam created to manage this planet to Eve created to support him – and all of mankind commissioned to manage the earth and love to Moses reminding the world through his Mt Sinai experience – with commandments and laws – that as we work we need to LOVE (as love is the summary of the Law). And then Jesus saying that while we manage the earth, and work the soil and tend to the animals – do not forget to Go ye therefore and LOVE (aka work and love). And here we are with Paul saying our purpose is good works – combining the love and the work.

We are created to do good works in Christ, but even that we cannot do until we are touched by grace’s transforming power and transformed! We cannot love without condition – until we experience love. Experience God. And IN HIM, we can fulfil our purpose of good works – by GOD working it in and through us!

11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Let the Lord reveal the depth and power here. And while we are seeking the power of the clean word – let’s take a moment to speak on the BLOOD. This past weekend I was so humbled to be part of an amazingly powerful service with God. During a part, God was delivering people and we were speaking in LOVE in AGREEMENT by THE NAME OF JESUS. That is authority. You cannot cast out by the blood. The blood does not hold the authority, the name does.
We did plead the blood to cleanse all sins – that is where we apply the blood! We did plead the blood into every wound and pain and illness – because that is where it is applied. And as the enemy left the people they were not brought near to God. Then we washed them, cleaned them, made them whole by pleading the blood – Jesus cleaned them. And that act, brought them near to God. But we did not leave them empty – we shut every evil door and prayed with them until they were filled in God’s spirit overflowing.
I have simplified this to just the bullet points in order to show how the blood, and NOTHING but the blood washing our sins away after we repent and ask forgiveness can permit us to be in the presence of the Lord. And we do not even have to ask for Him to draw near HE comes running, missing us and longing to be near us and finally he can once we are purified by the blood.

14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made [the middle wall of separation]…, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.”

I had to reread this a few times to make sure I covered it all. I did not want to break it up, because it is harder to understand broken up.
Jesus is our peace. Peace is described loosely as a spirit, as a warring angel, and now as Jesus Himself. SO what is peace? Well, Jesus is our peace because He made a way to the Father. There is peace like the calm quiet night, but that isn’t what the Bible is referring to. That is a shallow man made quiet – not true peace. Peace isn’t even a confidence in a storm that God is in the storm with you – knowing it will be ok is faith, not peace. Peace is the solution to the conflict of enmity with God – and that is Jesus! And once we start applying the correct definition of peace to the Bible – peace is no longer a passive hippy word or confused with faith that is strong enough to calm you.
In Matthew 5:9 when Jesus blesses the peacemakers and calls them the children of God – because they are acting like Jesus solving enmity with the Blood of Christ making a way for God to have a relationship with His children! No wonder he called them children! So now read peace correctly!

17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.”

The conflict of enmity is resolved for both Jew and Gentile.

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

The temple is a symbol we always pay special attention to knowing its depth and meaning – especially since we are called the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are each the temple, we are building the temple kingdom with sword in one hand and tools in the other like Nehemiah and at the same time we are literally a brick in the wall all connected to the firm foundation and corner stone which is Christ Jesus!

Paul calls us bricks in the wall in a few books and I usually do not say much about it because secular music from the late 1970s early 1980s has given that image a negative connotation and made that wall a prison – wherein being the temple that is a brick in the temple is an inception of the indwelling, acceptance, belonging, and love to be part of something larger in the spirit which is freedom. Isn’t it just like the enemy to take freedom and twist it into a prison?  

But by grace, through faith – we are made free again!

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

WEEKEND READING – 8-14-22

Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 NKJV

The truths in Ecclesiastes have always been, but never more applicable in the days we live in. It seems most people spend their days toiling for useless and selfish pursuits and do not even care for their own family or friends. Loneliness is everywhere, especially in groups. SO the next time you enter a church, look around – really look! Because in that group, and surrounded by others – is loneliness. It is a problem you can reach out and help solve. Alone we are not as strong against the enemy – and this is what he wants. But we can overcome!

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Ecclesiastes chapter 4 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).  

The Uselessness of Selfish Toil

Then I returned and considered all the oppression that is done under the sun:

And look! The tears of the oppressed,
But they have no comforter—
[a]On the side of their oppressors there is power,
But they have no comforter.
Therefore I praised the dead who were already dead,
More than the living who are still alive.
Yet, better than both is he who has never existed,
Who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

The Vanity of Selfish Toil

Again, I saw that for all toil and every skillful work a man is envied by his neighbor. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

The fool folds his hands
And consumes his own flesh.
Better a handful with quietness
Than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind.

Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun:

There is one alone, without [b]companion:
He has neither son nor brother.
Yet there is no end to all his labors,
Nor is his eye satisfied with riches.
But he never asks,
“For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?”
This also is vanity and a [c]grave misfortune.

The Value of a Friend

Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Popularity Passes Away

13 Better a poor and wise youth
Than an old and foolish king who will be admonished no more.
14 For he comes out of prison to be king,
Although [d]he was born poor in his kingdom.
15 I saw all the living who walk under the sun;
They were with the second youth who stands in his place.
16 There was no end of all the people [e]over whom he was made king;
Yet those who come afterward will not rejoice in him.
Surely this also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

Footnotes

  1. Ecclesiastes 4:1 Lit. At the hand
  2. Ecclesiastes 4:8 Lit. a second
  3. Ecclesiastes 4:8 Lit. evil task
  4. Ecclesiastes 4:14 The youth
  5. Ecclesiastes 4:16 Lit. to all before whom he was to be

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 8:1

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

WEEKEND READING – 8-13-22

“Moreover I saw under the sun: In the place of judgment, Wickedness was there; And in the place of righteousness, Iniquity was there. I said in my heart, “God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.” I said in my heart, “Concerning the condition of the sons of men, God tests them, that they may see that they themselves are like animals.” Ecclesiastes 3:16-18 NKJV

We most certainly live in a time where our hearts cry out – how long?! How long, oh God, will you let the wicked prevail over the righteous? But it is possible that the righteous are corrupt as well?! Only God knows. He is giving them all time to repent. But when His allotted time is completed, He will Judge. I have been saying for 3 years on here that judgment is coming! On the just and unjust. On the righteous it will look like vindication and blessings and on the wicked it will look like God’s wrath (to which ever degree, He judges necessary).  Well, that time is now. It has begun. We’ll be in this season for a while, while we are tested and tried and shaken to see who still stands and who falls. If you stumble and fall, then quickly repent and get back up. Don’t give up – fight the good fight of faith.  

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Ecclesiastes chapter 3 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).  

Everything Has Its Time

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time [a]to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.

The God-Given Task

What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? 10 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

12 I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, 13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.

14 I know that whatever God does,
It shall be forever.
Nothing can be added to it,
And nothing taken from it.
God does it, that men should fear before Him.
15 That which is has already been,
And what is to be has already been;
And God [b]requires an account of [c]what is past.

Injustice Seems to Prevail

16 Moreover I saw under the sun:

In the place of [d]judgment,
Wickedness was there;
And in the place of righteousness,
[e]Iniquity was there.

17 I said in my heart,

“God shall judge the righteous and the wicked,
For there is a time there for every [f]purpose and for every work.”

18 I said in my heart, “Concerning the condition of the sons of men, God tests them, that they may see that they themselves are like animals.” 19 For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. 20 All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust. 21 Who[g] knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth? 22 So I perceived that nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his [h]heritage. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?

Footnotes

  1. Ecclesiastes 3:2 Lit. to bear
  2. Ecclesiastes 3:15 Lit. seeks
  3. Ecclesiastes 3:15 what is pursued
  4. Ecclesiastes 3:16 justice
  5. Ecclesiastes 3:16 Wickedness
  6. Ecclesiastes 3:17 desire
  7. Ecclesiastes 3:21 LXX, Syr., Tg., Vg. Who knows whether the spirit . . . goes upward, and whether . . . goes downward to the earth?
  8. Ecclesiastes 3:22 portion or lot

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 8:1

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Spiritual Wisdom – 8-12-22

that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,” Ephesians 1:17-18 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Ephesians chapter 1 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Greeting

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Redemption in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He [a]made us accepted in the Beloved.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and [b]prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, [c]both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who[d] is the [e]guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom

15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your [f]understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality[g] and [h]power and [i]might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Footnotes

  1. Ephesians 1:6 Lit. bestowed grace (favor) upon us
  2. Ephesians 1:8 understanding
  3. Ephesians 1:10 NU, M omit both
  4. Ephesians 1:14 NU which
  5. Ephesians 1:14 down payment, earnest
  6. Ephesians 1:18 NU, M hearts
  7. Ephesians 1:21 rule
  8. Ephesians 1:21 authority
  9. Ephesians 1:21 power

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 8:1

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Welcome to the Book of Ephesians, a book wherein if applied correctly, you will never read through it and come out the other side the same. Like the book of Romans where the walk through the valley of death bring us closer to understanding Jesus and grace – Ephesians will walk us through exercises that will sir the Holy Spirit in us a set us on fire, or rekindle the fire or stoke the fire (depending on where you are in the process).

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:”

The Apostle Paul wrote this book as a letter to the church in Ephesus.  It is believed that Paul wrote this letter while in prison in Rome around 62ad around the same time he wrote Colossians (which has many similar points) and Philemon.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Who were the Ephesians? In Acts 18 Paul spent 3 months or so there and Apollos (and Priscilla and Aquila) carried on the work there. Paul was believed to have visited again a year later and then stopped by on his way to Jerusalem where he was arrested. Paul wrote the letter to encourage the Ephesians.

So why not start with a glorious decree of The Good News:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”

“with EVERY spiritual blessing” – Woe! That means EVERY. ALL the promises in the Bible – ALL the blessing God has ALL, EVERY.

We were made to be holy and blameless – sanctified in love. Adopted. Made by Him, acceptable, to glorify Him, and to praise in grace.
“According to the good pleasure of His will” We are something God takes pleasure in! Good pleasure. And it is His will that we bring Him pleasure. We think about pleasing Him, but not because he demands it – but because He delights in us! Such love! Such GOOD NEWS! But wait, there is more:

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”

This is where we apply the blood = to wash and cleanse us. We do not cast out by the blood, but by the name of Jesus!

which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,”

“Having made known to us the mystery of His will” let’s talk about that. You see we know the Holy Spirit guides us and lets us know God’s will for our lives. God delights in sharing His will with us – He never says He is happy leaving us in the dark. No, He wants to shine in the light. God’s light! And here is exactly what I feel Ephesians is all about. Paul is trying to show us a deeper understanding – lead us to those mysteries. But only those with eyes to see and ears to hear get to the understanding that this book is about a stronger relationship with the Holy Spirit.

10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.”

But TIME has not yet been fulfilled, leaving us only knowing in part, even with the revelations of His will for our lives. But we can have faith that he works all things for the good – according to the purpose – according to the counsel of His will. So as we read this book, pray all the more that God will reveal more. Pray in the Spirit while reading this book so that your spirit man is engaged.

13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”

You see, the moment we surrendered ourselves, repented and began this journey – we were sealed with the Holy Spirit promise and ALL these things, and great exploits, and signs and wonders…. And so much more that we cannot fully know – but it is all there inside us waiting for God to redeem this purchase – bring us home to the praise of His glory!

Paul really understands what God sees in humans. Sometimes we look around and I think, why does God love us? We are a mess. But love has no conditions therefore there is no why. And once we begin to comprehend this love that motivates God – we too will be compelled to love others and be motivated by God’s will.

15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:”

Paul is thanking God because the fruit that is showing in the Ephesian church shows maturity and a deeper understanding of the spirit.

And now the prayer I pray daily over all of you:

17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”

Go ahead read that a few times. I am sure by now you all know I am completely unable to reveal the depths of Jesus and salvation to anyone! But it is Christ who reveals and the Holy Spirit who teaches. But even they cannot unless your eyes are open and you are ready to hear from God and hungry to go deeper. Without your eagerness – nothing will work.
But then Paul gets carried away with describing the greatness of Jesus, whom we serve.
When was the last time you tried to describe Jesus – or the last time you got carried away with His greatness? It is something you might want to give a try at. Because it is really wonderful to express your love and worship in that way.

22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

And finally, Jesus is the head of the church.

I could get carried away with this book. I may. Meanwhile, have a blessed weekend and enjoy the weekend reading. We will pick back up with Ephesians on Monday!

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Sow Humility – 8-11-22

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” Galatians 6:7 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Galatians chapter 6 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Bear and Share Burdens

Brethren, if a man is [a]overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.

Be Generous and Do Good

Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Glory Only in the Cross

11 See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand! 12 As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13 For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by [b]whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.

Blessing and a Plea

16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

17 From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.

18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Footnotes

  1. Galatians 6:1 caught
  2. Galatians 6:14 Or which, the cross

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 8:1

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.”

Overtaken? And an over-reach?!

I thought about adding to Tuesday’s post, but it fits better with today.
Last night (Or Monday night in your world), the FBI raided the home of the former president of the United States. If it was President Obama’s home there would be riots happening. President Trump has been cooperating with every investigation and game and jumped through every hoop he has been asked to and we are ALL (even the dems) tired of tax payer dollars being wasted and our ears being clogged with whatever rabbit hole they are on now. But Even Hillary Clinton’s house was not raided by the FBI when she confessed to the private email treason.
This is nothing short of weaponizing a law enforcement agency for political game. Moreover it is overreaching – and if Trump isn’t save, then none of us are! They can raid any of our homes!
It is time for a call to prayer and fasting. It is time to stand up for our rights and call our leaders to let them know we protest this lawless Nazism!  
If you say it will do no good – you may be right. At the very least we need to fast and pray and ask God for direction. It’s Christian Soldiers’ boots to the ground kind of moment! If you aren’t already in this – it is time to jump in! I am sure, though – that most of you are in this already. I am sure you are fasting with me and praying with me and fighting for truth, freedom and souls. I know many of you do not live in the USA – but you know that what happens in the USA can affect the whole world. We’ve become such a mockery – “The great Christian Nation” is now the court jester. But thank you for sharing in our burden and praying for us!

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

Once upon a time our burdens looked like prepping for the church fellowship and convincing our children’s friends to come to church.
Now our burdens are food prepping, freeing political prisoners, and whatever it will look like to defend Trump and keep the government from raiding civilian’s homes.
You think I am being overly dramatic? A line was crossed. This is how Nazis convinced high powered people to turn to their side (or, eventually, those who didn’t disappeared). Pray for Trump.

For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”

I know I am no one and I am always amazed that you all read this! But since you do – join me in being a no one – no one who has a voice! The more humble the more power we have! Not only is it the keys to the kingdom, but they cannot humiliate or abase us if we are already humble!
(And for those of you who have been reading for a few years – you knew I couldn’t resist an opportunity to say: “Get humble and repent! The Kingdom of heaven is at hand!” And maybe you all are starting to understand why I repeat it and why I feel such urgency!)

But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.

While the message of grace frees us from selfishness and causes us to bear each other’s burdens – at the end of the day, we must each examine our own self. The Roman’s chapter one or Galatians chapter 5 type of examine and make sure you are where you need to be between you and God! Because you must bear your own load when you meet Jesus face to face to answer for your every word, thought and deed.

Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.”

Verse 6 seems to be the intro for verses 6 through 10. It is often separated and here I just did it as well. But I did in order to point out the connection it has with the rest.
Students and teachers have special relationships wherein – if the teacher is successful it is because the student is, and the student can only be successful if the teacher teaches successfully. Paul is acknowledging this. And as Paul is also a teacher of Jesus, he know how in teaching, the teachers learns and becomes a student – and in learning and asking questions the student teaches the teacher.
So in Matthew when Jesus says “Go ye therefore” he said to teach and make disciples. Yes, we must share the good news but we must also engage in the goodness that is in a mentoring or discipleship relationship.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”

This is such a powerful verse. If we sow goodness in a teacher/student relationship we will reap a strong victorious body of Christ.
One day in prayer I burst out in repeating only the first portion of this verse. Over and over. I prayed that God would explain it to me. I was trying to pray against some witchcraft happening in the local church and this verse in full did not seem to make sense. Only the first part – seems to be a threat against the witch. But never quote out of context and God never quotes out of context. So I pray about it for years. Then God revealed it. God was speaking to the chain of authority, to the teacher of the church and how he did not cast out the witch, but thought he could teach the demons out of her.

The teacher and student relationship is one of authority by being under authority, a key component to our spiritual battles. You see it is the teacher that is sowing into the student – and the teacher also reaps from the student. This verse it for all of us who “Go ye therefore”. To be wise in instruction and discipline to reap strong disciples who also Go!

For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”

If your teacher walks in the spirit – and teaches you to step out into the spirit and walk there – dead to your fleshly desires – then, both of you will reap everlasting life.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

SO you say this passage is not for the teachers – but who is it who is “doing good” and should “Not grow weary”? The teacher, the go’er and the disciple maker! Isn’t this ALL of our jobs! So YES, the passage is for all of us, but specifically in reference to making disciples.

10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Do good – teach by example. However not because we are a superb teacher, nor the head of the church (not even the pastor can say that = Jesus is the head of the church). But lie I said above wise teachers learn from their students. This levels the playing field and some of us become the foolish things that confound the wise and some just confounded.

So with the encouragement that comes from flattening us all to the same level – Paul begins to wrap things up.

11 See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand!”

And it would seem that Paul has something going on with his eyes.

12 As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.”

Or in words for us – those who refuse to be humble in the “Christian community”, will compel you into religious ritual, mandatory ‘offerings’, prayers in exchange for payments, works instead of faith, or even tempt you into evil.
And in our Governments, those leaders who will not lead humbly, and instead with mandated, fear, haughty greed and flesh – they will compel you into compromise and sin, while they too compromise and sin.

13 For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

And there it is – it is a matter of a humble and repentant heart. Anything that takes even a speck of glory from God and places it on self or other man has sinned against God! Only Jesus saves. Not Jesus with something added to it and nothing taken away.

15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.”

And Paul takes that justification and reminds us that the point is sanctification – to be transformed by grace through faith into a new creature that glorifies God and pursues/fulfills His will for your life!

16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. 17 From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. 18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.”

And we will begin the book of Ephesians tomorrow. Please join us for another powerful Book written by Paul.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

And yet it is by Nothing We Can Do – 8-10-22

And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:24 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Galatians chapter 5 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Christian Liberty

Stand[a] fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is [b]a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

Love Fulfills the Law

You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.

11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even [c]cut themselves off!

13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

Walking in the Spirit

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: [d]adultery, [e]fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, [f]murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 [g]gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Footnotes

  1. Galatians 5:1 NU For freedom Christ has made us free; stand fast therefore, and
  2. Galatians 5:3 obligated
  3. Galatians 5:12 mutilate themselves
  4. Galatians 5:19 NU omits adultery
  5. Galatians 5:19 sexual immorality
  6. Galatians 5:21 NU omits murders
  7. Galatians 5:23 meekness

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 8:1

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”

Or in Berean Study Bible = It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be encumbered once more by a yoke of slavery.”

Paul hits the high note right out of the gate today and it only gets better from here! He had been toying around with the concept of freedom leading up to this very crescendo!! And I could spend hours on this verse alone, but I will try to be brief.

“In liberty” “by which” we were made free. So we were in slavery and bondage to sin – born that way, under a curse. And while drowning in that bath of slavery – liberty reached its hands in and wrapped itself around us and pulled us out! Because it was IN liberty we were made free.
Or we can look at other versions which say (and maybe more accurately) “for freedom” we were set free. But buried in death and sin, how can freedom do anything for itself? Except Christ wrapped us in His blood right there where He found us and lift us out of there! To God be ALL glory!

Working with deliverance on a low level – I experienced a lady who was a believer and had backslidden and God was desperately trying to remind her of His goodness. She confessed she did not want to smoke anymore and knew she needed to return to God. I laid a hand on her and declared and decreed her free in the name of Jesus and I felt what can only be described as lightening going through me and into her giving her a jolt! Jesus did a work in her that day. He had done that same work in her many times and so I prayed He would guard it and make her sick when she smelled or went near cigarettes and God brought to remembrance this verse.
I quoted it to her, and warned her she needed to fight for her deliverance to stay. She is free from them, but when temptation or the lie that she still needs them comes, she must resist the devil and he will flee. She must stand and be strong in her new freedom.
Within an hour she caved and lit another cig and fell right back into bondage.
I do not fault her – I had the same battle when I fought for my deliverance from cigarettes. (Evil and hereditary demon!) Correction – my deliverance was a free and instantaneous gift – for freedom, I was freed! But I had to fight to stand fast in that freedom.

It is almost like we are back in chapter one with us still confused and wrapping up justification in sanctification!
Freedom is free and instant – but we must stand firm, unshakeable, and stubborn; unrelentingly tireless in that freedom. No matter how many temptations or lies that we are not really free come. Because if we give in – it profits us nothing. And worst of all Jesus Died for no reason.

Now, you may not have ever been freed from any form of addiction. But maybe you are freed from some other sin. Or just a sin life in general. Or maybe, like me, you’ve been freed from much worse. No judgement here – We all were found somewhere! We have all tasted some freedom.
(And if you have never tasted the freedom of Christ, maybe you should ask Him into a relationship – repent and be free. Taste and see the Lord is good!)
Anyway – we do not have anyone trying to tempt us to get a circumcision. Makes this whole thing seem absurd to us and unrelatable.  We cannot fathom that circumcision (as an adult) could even be a temptation.

But having been delivered from smoking, if I replace the word circumcised with smoker then suddenly things make more sense:

Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.”

If I go back to being a smoker, Christ profited me nothing. I’ve lost my freedom, dignity AND Christ!

And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”

Fallen from grace! Gasp!! Now wait a minute. When I came back to God my deliverance was slow and drawn out because no one was there for me. I had no one explain that I needed to fight for it. I needed to NOT light another cig. I sat shaking, praying, crying out to God – seemingly out of my own control begging for help – while smoking thinking it was against my will.  Did I fall from grace? Did I lose my salvation in that moment?
Let’s all realize that no matter what you are delivered from, swearing, addiction, speeding, or whatever your sin – it is a process because the devil does not want to relinquish that stronghold very easily. And often deliverance is the first step in sanctification after justification. You are saved – but everyone’s transformation takes a different time period.
Some instantly and other will say it is too fast and some transform slowly and others say it is too slow – But no matter what others say, God does it in His time, according to His will. And no you do not fall from grace during the process of deliverance… you fall and get back up, but you still have the grace to get back up. You are wrong, but still saved!

Now then, complete the sanctification process and be on fire for God for a couple years and then decide to get back in bed with your bondage – like smoking. Well now, that is a choice. You’ve been delivered and freed. AND now we understand what Paul is addressing here.
If today I decided to drink, drug, and smoke – I will fall from grace. That is a choice at this point and no longer a slip up as I no longer struggle to be freed – but I am already freed. Already freed – like “in liberty… made free”.

For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

We hope to be the righteousness of Christ – by faith (like we studied in Romans – go read those again for more on the topic) – so Paul threads this over to Love. Why love? Well, standing firm – although a raging war against the evil spirits at work, can only be won in LOVE. Love, true love – because God is love.
I’ll let Paul try to explain:

You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.”

Life and death are in the power of the tongue – but maybe we take that too far and heap too many blessings on the heads of those who are enemies to our salvation! How many times does Paul say to cast out the bondwoman and her child – or deliver such a one to satan, that they might be saved. We might have fewer attacks if we stopped praying against God’s judgment.
God’s judgment should not be confused or entangled with His wrath. NOW is the time of His judgment shaking the church and beyond. We should be like Paul and IN LOVE pray that those who trouble us, hinder our salvation, hinder God’s work and plan in our lives, and those who try to manipulate us for their gain. Our prayer should be fashioned after Paul’s – Lord, let those people bear their judgment! And let us step out of the way, least we be judged with them. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!

In Psalms, David prayed over and over that those with evil plans would cut themselves off, would trip on their own plans, and that their own tongues would expose them! Just read, declare and decree Psalm 64! We’ve lost our backbones in prayer, trying to be Christ-like when Christ flipped tabled in the temple!
Listen, pray the words in scripture they are here for us to pray them: Dear Lord, regarding those hindering us, we pray that they cut themselves off, they trip on their own evil plans and that their own tongues expose them! We pray for your fiery darts of redemption like in Psalm 64! In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.
Just do not pray “if…, then…” prayers or other curses! We are not called to curse our enemies but love them. It is in LOVE we have the power and authority. We can however, according to Psalms, pray that their hexes, vexes, curses and spells return to them and have no effect on us. That is scriptural, and a great way of learning who is the one hindering, if it is hidden from you.

Now back to Paul explaining the power and authority of LOVE and how freedom is accomplished fully in love:

13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!”

Now isn’t that a snare! One to be avoided! Lord, please forgive us of even flirting or participating is such trash! And keep us humble, repentant and full of faith so we can walk in the Spirit and grow fruits – like love. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”

Starting in verse 16 on through the end of this chapter is the abbreviated verse of Romans chapters 1-8. (so if you need help understanding this shortened study – go back and read our studies on those chapters.)
I know I repeat myself often – as often as the Bible repeats itself (which is often). But another quick discussion on walking in the Spirit is warranted. We often retreat into our own minds and say we are in the Spirit – but we are inside ourselves and in our mind. It is quiet there, so we assume, wrongly that it is in the Spirit. But everything we read about Spirit in the Bible it is a loud and active place. There are worship – LOUD PRAISES – and battles raging! There are kingdom building and stronghold collapsing. There are quakes and shakes! And in it all there is a still small voice – that can be heard in spite of the noise (because that is what the Bible says about these things. Now God is not opening the vail and letting everyone walk in the spirit world, although many have seen and visited. My point is merely to get out of your own head – find that secret place with God under his wing (Psalm 91) and dwell there. Dwell in the spirit.

First, you’ll need to get humble and repent. Always. And daily! (but hopefully not daily of all sins, hopefully you are standing in that freedom!)

Dear heavenly Father, we come before you to repent – to get humble, so we may be in your presence. You are holy, holy, holy – so please cleanse us with the blood of Christ that we will not be cast away from your purity. Forgive us for any known or unknown involvement – large or small – with the works of the flesh:
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Lord, we pray so that we may draw close to you and be your children and inherit your kingdom. – In the name of Jesus. Amen

Yes, it really does fell like our Study of Romans – first we repented and then we worked on replacing those things which we repented of with good things of God. SO, let us do that part again as well:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

When we enter a battle, when we resist the enemy and cause him to flee (not walk away, not give up, not slow down – but to flee… run away for his dear life) we do so not by swinging our sword all silly-nilly. We do so by having the fruit!  There is a time to swing, do not get me wrong. But Love covers a multitude of sins. And we are on the offensive after the souls of others. And we win souls with fruit!!! Behold God sets a table for us – yes, a table and fruit is on the menu!

24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

And here is the “die to self” lesson from Romans. It really was such a powerful study. I would love to repeat it all here – there is just not enough room!

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

I always recognize other who are in the spirit. There is a deer in the headlights like gaze on their face from being in the presence of glory! They know in whom they believe and know in an intimate way. They worked so hard to make it there, but at the same hand, all of their sacrifices and death of flesh means nothing in the spirit and even though you cannot get there without it – you can only get there by NOTHING you do. Yes – you cannot get there. So it you are there, then it is not you – but God and He alone gets the glory.
After doing that work, some touch the outskirts and before they are emptied and humbled – they somehow think they did it. That they somehow reached God by their works. And pride creeps in and crumbles the house of cards. Yes, you must repent, humble and sacrifice your flesh – yet it is still by nothing you can do – and when you step fully in, you are emptied and undo. You realize how unworthy you are, at the same time how loved and full you are, at the same time…. It is all very indescribable.

And from that comes an unshakable confidence. But other can perceive it as smug, conceited, or proud. And someone else’s pride can come in and disrupt it as well.
So if you walk in the spirit – keep your eyes on Jesus and do not look to the left or to the right or to others in the flesh. Just stay focused. Like Peter walking on water. If you even blink, you can begin to sink.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Children of Covenant – 8-9-22

For it is written: “Rejoice, O barren, You who do not bear! Break forth and shout, You who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children Than she who has a husband.” Galatians 4:27 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Galatians chapter 4 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Sons and Heirs Through Christ

Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born[a] of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, [b]“Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir [c]of God [d]through Christ.

Fears for the Church

But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.

12 Brethren, I urge you to become like me, for I became like you. You have not injured me at all. 13 You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first. 14 And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an [e]angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. 15 [f]What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?

17 They zealously court you, but for no good; yes, they want to exclude you, that you may be zealous for them. 18 But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always, and not only when I am present with you. 19 My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you, 20 I would like to be present with you now and to change my tone; for I have doubts about you.

Two Covenants

21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24 which things are symbolic. For these are [g]the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— 25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— 26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written:

“Rejoice, O barren,
You who do not bear!
Break forth and shout,
You who are not in labor!
For the desolate has many more children
Than she who has a husband.”

28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.

Footnotes

  1. Galatians 4:4 Or made
  2. Galatians 4:6 Lit., in Aram., Father
  3. Galatians 4:7 NU through God
  4. Galatians 4:7 NU omits through Christ
  5. Galatians 4:14 Or messenger
  6. Galatians 4:15 NU Where
  7. Galatians 4:24 NU, M omit the

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 8:1

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Keep the scriptures pure. Speak only Jesus. Really believe this stuff! And become children of God.
Seems simple enough – as simple as one foot in front of the other, yet running a marathon is not easy. As much as you and I are in this for the long haul – there is God who has been planning our redemption and the New Covenant since the days of Abraham. And in His sovereignty knew Abraham would slip up and made it an object lesson for future generations. Nothing we go through is wasted by God – He always turns it for good – even if the good is for our future seed. God is in this for the long game.  He has been trying to save you and me long before he even created us!  Which is so hard to even begin to understand!

1 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”

Back in the first century, a slave would be entrusted in raising the children (much like a modern nannie). When the young master came of age, the tables would turn. Until then, Paul equates it to the old covenant. Then Jesus was born of a woman under the law – and we knew Mary kept the law, because we know she kept the purity law after birth. And the dedication of the baby Jesus. She also made pilgrimage to Jerusalem for feasts. So, Paul begins to explain the New Covenant.

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

And the New Covenant is an adopted child of Christ.

But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.

It is difficult not to jump ahead to where Paul concludes this point in chapters ahead. But Paul often time starts a thought and builds it up circling back to it over and over before coming to a clean, clear verse that states it most concisely. Meanwhile, we are building on the idea from past chapters what our justification sets us free from sin so that we may do the work of sanctification. And that freedom from sin is something should care for or we can carelessly fall back into the bondage of.
And if Paul labored in vain, he implies they forsake their salvation all together! If we are to learn anything from this idea – we should be ever so careful with our salvation.
We are heirs and children of God – not as in something to boast of and be haughty and puffed up. Not to be proud of as it is nothing we did in and of ourselves. But in humility – understanding our justification. Not “just as if we never sinned” – but that we did and God in all amazing wonder somehow can wash it away! And in grace through faith give us life we do not deserve.

12 Brethren, I urge you to become like me, for I became like you. You have not injured me at all. 13 You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first. 14 And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. 15 What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”

These Galatians were once humble and accepting of not just the gospel from Paul while Paul was in an injured state – they quickly became servants of God, producing instant fruit. But seemingly just as quick they are ready to make and enemy of Paul or anyone else who will speak the truth and correct them.

And I cannot help but think of those acting in the Jezebel Spirit and those acting as false prophets in our modern church.

17 They zealously court you, but for no good; yes, they want to exclude you, that you may be zealous for them.”

The enemy’s game plan is so old – it just doesn’t change – yet humanity falls for it over and over again. They want to exclude you from being a true child of God and have you follow them, give them glory, and control the church.

18 But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always, and not only when I am present with you. 19 My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you, 20 I would like to be present with you now and to change my tone; for I have doubts about you.”

It is good to be zealous. Paul obviously has his doubts – but states it none the less. However, he says it is good to be zealous. My first day waling into my current church, a deacon took me aside and told me there would be NO signs and wonders in this church and that I will need to tone down my zealousness! And a few visits later another elder told me not to worry I would soon lose that zeal and fire. It has been some time now, and I have not lost my zeal or fire. I am frustrated by them stopping God’s signs and wonders – but that is God’s battle not mine.

21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— 25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— 26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.”

And there it is – first as are children under the salve, then we come of age and are masters. Then we were once children to the bondwoman and then we are children of the freed woman. Paul is speaking in the classic form of teaching, from back then – in parables. Multiple stories to prove one point. Except Paul is not using stories, he is using examples and scripture.  But I think we are getting the point that if we are children – we should not act like we are slaves.

27 For it is written: “Rejoice, O barren, You who do not bear! Break forth and shout, You who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children Than she who has a husband.”

Many a barren wife, and old maid, a widow, etc. has clung to this promise and became the children’s church leader, Sunday school teacher, and worked in other children and orphanage type services.
But this prophesy is about the New Jerusalem and Jew and gentile all worshiping God like the end of the visions in Ezekiel.  It is about you and I becoming brothers and sister under our Father, by faith in Christ Jesus!

28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.

We are children of God. AND we are free.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Do You Really Believe This Stuff? – 8-8-22

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Galatians chapter 3 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Justification by Faith

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you [a]that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed [b]among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so [c]many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?

Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

The Law Brings a Curse

10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is [d]justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”

13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

The Changeless Promise

15 Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. 16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God [e]in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. 18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

Purpose of the Law

19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.

21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, [f]kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our [g]tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

Sons and Heirs

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Footnotes

  1. Galatians 3:1 NU omits that you should not obey the truth
  2. Galatians 3:1 NU omits among you
  3. Galatians 3:4 Or great
  4. Galatians 3:11 declared righteous
  5. Galatians 3:17 NU omits in Christ
  6. Galatians 3:23 Lit. confined
  7. Galatians 3:24 In a household, the guardian responsible for the care and discipline of the children

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 8:1

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Paul opens this letter, laying out his argument for this letter – purity in truth and the gospel. Then with very little attack on the enemy (aka false teachers, false prophets, and the Spirit of Religion), he separates Justification and sanctification. Justification is the free gift of being cleansed and set free from the chains of sin. Sanctification is a choice which you choose because you’ve experienced the love and freedom of Christ. Sanctification requires we learn, grow, live a lifestyle of repentance, com out from among the world, and strive to be holy because God is Holy!

Every conversion starts with a decision. Not every decision causes a conversion. And today’s message from Paul is simply – be converted.
Many make the decision to follow Christ – then like the parable of the sower, the bird, the rocks and the weeds try to choke it out. And so do those who try to get you under rules, really quick – make a counterfeit conversion. Or worse, those whose rules replace conversions.

Example of getting you under rules so it looks like you were converted: I recall when my siblings and cousins were teens. We invited our rock-n-roll cousin to youth group. He was caught up with the spirit and felt it strongly – he gave his life to Christ!!! It was beautiful and amazing – God was so loving and gentle with him. On the drive to his place after church, my sister told him he had to burn all his records and t-shirts and posters; he had to cut his hair; and he had to give up all of his friends. His response has stuck with me forever. He said he signed up to have a relationship with Jesus and be free, not to be a slave to rules. He never returned to church and he never got along with my sister again after that.
You see – this is NOT Jesus and rules. It is simply Jesus – then let Jesus create a conversion through faith. So the best conversation with a new believer will always be a conversation that builds their faith!

Example of rules replacing: Most common example is you do not have to believe – you have to do. I attended a church once where you needed to serve to so you “believed” – because it did not matter what was inside as long as you did the right things. But I have an even more strange example of this. Those who believe once saved, always saved and skip the idea of conversion and sanctification all together. They continue in sin – because Jesus is the only way and they believe, therefore are secured.

Salvation is a tricky thing – I mean, who really knows the heart of man?! I think that is why we are all much more comfortable when we see a conversion in someone. But let us not fake it.

1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?”

Paul’s sarcasm is splendid! He knows who! And in today’s sleepy church (as a global general whole) it is the skinny jeans, fog machines, and latte’s that bewitch. Can we all agree to stop painting the sanctuary of the building black and give no room to darkness?! As they are bewitched by gay pastors, drag shows in Sunday school, and feel good self-help messages.  Preaching the word of God mixed with poison; adding “acceptance” to Jesus, and stopping at the salvation, justification message – forgetting to preach sanctification for the Glory of God!!

This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”

So when they were saved, they were saved by FAITH – by hearing faith, by having faith and by doing faith.

Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?

If it starts in faith – how do you think you will accomplish it by works?

“5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”

It is popular today for people to say, well, maybe they were never really saved. No. stop diminishing someone experience with grace when there are so many rocks, weeds and bird among you adding rules and corruption to exploit their grace.
My sister meant well, when she told my cousin the “rules” – she had stopped living under the law of Faith and was under the Law. Oh yes, Christians have their very own form of legalism with ritual and “religion” that must be followed.  I think I butt heads with that “religion” ever Sunday!

just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

Ladies and gentlemen, when the world remembers these verses – they are quickly corrupted with all irony to bring about more of the very thing Paul is speaking against!  Many nations and religions call upon “Father Abraham”. But no, He is not a Father to all – Just Jew and those who really believe this stuff. (And that might be fewer than you think!)

 “10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”

I personally think this is more clear than what Paul wrote to the Romans! Paul does not want us cursed – but living by faith.

13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Christ redeemed us from the Law and saved us from hell fire. When our sins are forgiven it is a great experience – and at the edge of all deliverance is the fact that we are redeemed from the law. This means we are freed from the bondage of sin, from the curse, from the inability to stop sinning. We always seem to hold that propensity to be bent towards sin (which Paul contemplates in Romans and concludes we must die to that flesh – but the bonds of sin are gone). 

When I came back to Christ, my experience with grace transformed me like night to day! It was quick and wonderful – but I still needed deliverance from addictions to drinking and smoking and other things. But that followed suit in the coming months and even years. God used it to make me hungry and fervently seek Him for the manifestation of His power.
Imagine what if the Christians around me treated me poorly, because I was still in bondages to sins – or if they questioned my salvation because sanctification happens on God’s time table and is on-going. Yet, even now, old religious fools try to school me on the Bible (the very Bible I can quote back to them in context and cast out that religious spirit)! I am not saying I am above reproach! I am speaking against that haughty spirit which adds religion and rules to salvation and tries to hold the people captive.

15 Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. 16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. 18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.”

Humanity has become careless with the Word of God and His promises. If we know this and if we really believe this we should be ever so much more careful about this. If you are Jewish, yes the means by which you are sanctified is different than if you are a gentile entering into this by Jesus. So Jews keep their covenant and honor the Sabbath and eat their foods. And gentile obtain the portion of the promise where Abraham is a blessing to us; we obtain adoption.

19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.
21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 
22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.”

There it is – the plan, as written out from the beginning.  So many “New Testament” churches just throw out the Old Testament all together. Or when they do speak of it, they replace the word “church” over top of the term “Israelites”.
God was doing one thing for ALL of humanity – His big move: Jesus! (and the work of the cross)
But for His chosen people there is so much more happening. Jews receive more promises and more prophecy and more blessings because they were promised to them and they are STILL His chosen people!
As I type this bombs are going off over there. War and rumors of war and spreading. Oh Lord, you are their Iron dome – protect your children! Bring back peace to Jerusalem. In Jesus name we pray – amen
We cannot forget to keep the scripture in context, uncorrupted.

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

Hold up! For clarification because someone will inevitably twist this around. Paul is NOT preaching Jesus plus baptism. The word baptism mean “public confession”.  And what we call baptism got its name because when we are baptized in water, we make a public confession. When we are baptized in the Holy Spirit we make a public confession. So baptism in Jesus means we made our decision to enter into a relationship with Him (accept), repent and ask forgiveness through faith (believe), and confess Him publicly.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Another warning! Because there most certainly was Jew and Greek in the 1st century church – just try going to the church fellowship dinners back then. Half the church eats kosher and the other half and eating bacon!
And in the 1st century, believing in Jesus did not automatically make you free from your slavery.
And there is most certainly male and female – and a huge NO-NO for a male preacher, teacher, etc. to teach a female one on one – or visa versa. Not to mention, we must have separate bathrooms.
You see we cannot say we are ONE in Christ without the following verse about Abraham’s seed. Paul did not mean we are one when it comes to meat selection, bathrooms, one on one teachings and slavery – He meant God is no respecter of persons.

I look at this growing conflict with China and Taiwan (and Pelosi’s involvement) and I asked God why her plane did not crash – why she didn’t fall down the stairs and die – why he doesn’t just stop her. And I ask God why he hasn’t stopped China and put in Godly leaders. And God does not answer. It is not mine to know. What I do know is all he cares about is if Pelosi is or will turn to Him in repentance. All He cares about is how many Chinese and Taiwanese He can save before they die. He is no respecter of title – He doesn’t care who is in power. He cares about hearts.

So first and foremost – as Paul speaks of faith – do we really believe this stuff? What is the condition of our own heart? And are we working out our sanctification process?
Then if we are – we MUST GO AND TELL OTHERS! Because if all Jesus cares about are our hearts, then how can all hearts be converted unless we tell them?

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Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!