Category Archives: Devotions

The man who knows Jesus!

It’s time for the church to stop praying. It seem’s that God is hearing the prayers and messing up my plans. Last Sabbath I confessed that I really hated my neighbors. I know I ought to witness to them but truth be known I really hate them.

Well apparently some one in church took it upon themselves to pray for me. So Let me tell you what has happened.

I was sort of enjoying being mad, plotting how to get revenge, how to be downright petty and all …

Then today some Little 4 year old boy Lost his ball over our fence. I could hear it all happening. The older boys took the little boy’s ball and threw it over, Laughing and telling him he’d never get it back. Which is actually more true than not.  We usually don’t throw them back.  Bad experiences doing that in the past, besides I really don’t like them.

Well, the gang of older boys took off and I could hear the little boy sobbing.  So I grabbed the stupid ball, climbed into the back of a pickup, (no easy feat for me) and peered over the 12 foot fence.  I asked the boy what happened?  He said his ball is over the fence and he will never get it back.

I asked him what would happen if his ball was inside Jesus’ back yard?  The boy said, “Jesus would give it back.”  I told him I was friends with Jesus.  I know Him.  And I threw the ball back to him.

Later I was riding my Scooter doing a perimeter check, and I heard the little boy yell, “Gramma, that’s the man that knows Jesus!

Wow! Thanks a lot Church!  Now I can no longer plot revenge and be petty.  Now I have to live up to the reputation as “The man who knows Jesus!”

Have a blessed week!

Be On Your Guard

Be On Your Guard

Psalms 39:1

Fellow-pilgrim, do not say in your heart, “I will go here and there, and I will not sin,” for you are never so out of danger of sinning as to boast of security. The road is very muddy; it will be hard to pick your path so as not to soil your garments. This is a dirty world, and you will need to stay alert if you are to keep your hands clean. There is a robber at every turn of the road to rob you of your jewels; there is a temptation in every mercy; there is a snare in every joy; and if you ever reach heaven, it will be a miracle of divine grace to be ascribed entirely to your Father’s power.

Be on your guard. When a man carries fireworks in his hand, he should be careful that he does not go near a candle; and you too must take care that you do not succumb to temptation. Even your everyday activities are sharp-edged tools; you must mind how you handle them.

There is nothing in this world to foster a Christian’s piety, but everything to destroy it. How concerned you should be to look up to God, that He may keep you! Your prayer should be, “Hold me up, and I shall be safe.” Having prayed, you must also watch, guarding every thought, word, and action, with holy jealousy. Do not expose yourselves unnecessarily; but if called to exposure, if you are called to go where the darts are flying, never venture forth without your shield; for if once the devil finds you without your armor, he will rejoice that his hour of triumph is come and will soon make you fall down wounded by his arrows. Although you cannot be killed, you may be wounded.

Be sober-minded; be watchful–danger may befall you at a time when everything seems to be secure. Therefore, pay attention, stay alert, watch and pray. No man ever fell into error through being too watchful. May the Holy Spirit guide us in all our ways, so they shall always please the Lord.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Proverbs 1

verse 2 2 Corinthians 13

An Invitation from Jesus

Centuries ago, ancient merchants originated a phrase which came to serve as the universal rule for trade and commerce: “The value of anything is determined by how much it can be traded for.” Ironic as it may seem, one of the greatest illustrations of this principle comes from the tragic story of Christ’s betrayal by one of his own disciples. Judas, who was also the treasurer for the twelve, traded his loyalty to Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. Judas simply traded Christ for something which was of higher value to himself. What a shame, that after being with Jesus daily, witnessing the miracles and the wonders, to Judas the Lord of the universe was only worth a mere 30 pieces of silver!
The infamous downfall of Judas, is really a story of warped values — he simply didn’t recognize the true worth, the vast preciousness of Jesus Christ. “Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced” (Matt. 27:9).
Twisted values are not uncommon in other Biblical accounts, such as in the story of the twin brothers, Jacob and Esau (Gen. 25). A special blessing and inheritance from their father Isaac belonged to the first-born son, Esau. But Esau lacked a full appreciation for his inherited birthright. In contrast, Jacob realized its astronomical value and coveted his birthright. He eventually found a scheme to transfer its rights to himself. At a time that Esau was famished, Jacob offered him a bowl of lentils in exchange for the birthright. Although this offer was in no way equitable, yet amazingly, Esau agreed to trade his birthright for a single meal. What stupid, distorted values Esau had!

But is this any different than the petty, inferior things that many people trade for spiritual things? Let me ask you a hypothetical question. What if Jesus sent you a letter and promised to personally meet with you and His other followers at a restaurant on Sabbath morning. But let’s say Sabbath comes, and you feel like sleeping in instead. Or maybe it’s such a beautiful day, you prefer to go on a picnic, or perhaps there’s a football game on TV you don’t want to miss. Wouldn’t you say that whatever you selected to do, instead of meeting with Jesus, would say something about the insignificance of your relationship with Him? Wouldn’t it mean that, like Judas, you have established your value upon Christ? Wouldn’t it mean that a TV show has higher worth, that a picnic is more important, or a little extra sleep means more to you than meeting with Jesus Christ, the Lord of the universe?
But you may say, “Jesus hasn’t sent me such a letter. He’s in Heaven and won’t be at a restaurant this Sabbath!”
However dear friend, Jesus promised that whenever believers gather in His name, He will always honor that gathering with His presence. “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20). In other words, He gave His word to be present whenever two or more believers come together in His name.

So do Christians really believe His Word? Many must figure that Jesus doesn’t tell the truth, because Sabbath after Sabbath, many professing Christians snub the Lord Jesus by not showing up where He promised to be. Either they must figure He lied and won’t be at church, or else they have simply established a low estimate of Jesus’ worth. Yes, that’s right! The things that keep you away from church is the value you have placed on the presence of Jesus — they declare what spiritual things are worth to you.

Thank God there are believers who have such a high value on their meeting with Jesus that it takes something urgent or awfully important to pull them away. Some have no choice but to work at their jobs during the times that some church meetings occur. Some might not come meet with Jesus because of an emergency, sickness, road conditions or car trouble, etc.

Although nothing in this world can assume a higher priority than our relationship with Jesus, at least the Lord understands our situations and knows our heart — that we rather would meet with Him and our brethren if it weren’t for similar urgencies. However, how could we expect the Lord to be pleased if we stay away from His meetings for less serious excuses?
What does it say about our spiritual values if we’re absent due to the special sale at Sears, the football game, watching the late show the night before, or are simply too lazy to get up on time?
Remember, the reasons which keep people away reflect the value that they take place upon the Lord, spiritual things, their brethren and the church.

Why does the scripture connect the neglect of church attendance to sin? Mere absence from a church meeting is not in itself a sin, however a pattern of absence from church always leads to, or has a relationship to sin and displeasing God. “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (Heb 10:25-26).

Why Unfaithfulness to Church Displeases God
(1) It keeps us away from a spiritual influence that would encourage us and keep us from falling away from the Lord (Heb. 3:12-13).
(2) It keeps us away from encouragement toward repentance and reconciliation should we fall into sin (1 John 1:9, Gal. 6:1).
(3) Prevents our faith from being built up by hearing the Word preached (Rom. 10:17).
(4) It keeps us from obeying the Lord’s command to demonstrate love for our brethren, which keeps us from falling (1 John 2:10, John 15:12).
(5) It prevents us from receiving correction or submission to spiritual authority (Heb. 13:17).
(6) It expresses unbelief and disobedience to God’s Word which tells us to fellowship and assemble together (1 John 1:7, Heb. 10:25).
(7) It shows disregard toward the call to worship the Lord collectively as His body (Psa. 22:22, 35:18, 107:32).
(8) It shows our lack of discernment of the Lord’s body (Matt. 25:14, 1 Cor. 11:29).
(9) It demonstrates a lack of self-sacrifice and discipline (Luke 9:23).
(10) It shows a disregard for the Lord’s presence (Matt. 18:20). (11) It is a sin of “omission,” in that we know it’s “good” to be faithful to church (James 4:17).
As for Esau, the value he placed on the things of God was only worth the price of a bowl of lentils which he traded in exchange for his birthright to his brother Jacob. For Judas, the things of God were worth only a slightly higher price — thirty pieces of silver which he exchanged for the betrayal of Jesus.
How about you? What is your worth you have placed upon the things of God? What price will it take to keep you away from your church or spiritual things? A favorite TV show? A sale at the shopping mall? A mosquito bite? A boo-boo on your little toe?
What do you suppose that God thinks about the value you have placed upon His church and His fellowship? If you ever thought that being a Christian was something that you could do out of “convenience” you were greatly mistaken. God isn’t interested in your “leftovers.” He must be the highest priority in your life, or else He becomes worthless.
In order to serve Christ it will require sacrifice on your part — sacrifice of your time, money, convenience, popularity… and even your life. “…nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing…” (2 Sam. 24:24).

5 Ways to Silence the Voice of Satan

5 Ways to Silence the Voice of Satan

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Satan is a liar. He comes only to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He has spent too much time in the minds of Christians trying to convince us that we don’t have power in Jesus Christ.

Let’s begin shutting him up and refuse to let him run rampant in our thoughts. Below I am sharing five ways to silence the voice of Satan.

Silence the Voice of Satan

1. Tell Him to Shut Up in the Name of Jesus

Start here. Get in the habit of simply telling him to shut up in the name of Jesus. We have power and authority in the name of Jesus to shut him up. (Philippians 2:9-10)

When you recognize a thought in your mind that you know isn’t from the Lord, just begin shutting it up.

Say out loud or in your head, “shut up Satan”, and then refuse to continue to think on that thing.

I’ll catch myself thinking about a conversation I had with someone 6 months ago and suddenly feel annoyed with them all over again. This isn’t the Lord, it’s Satan, and we need to shut him up!

If the thought pops up again, later on, shut him up again. He’ll start to learn your mind is no longer a place he can root his evil thoughts.

The more you do this, the more readily you’ll recognize him and will be able to shut him down quickly.

You’ll be amazed how drastically your thought life will improve just from this one practice.

Paul tells us this in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things and the God of peace will be with you.”

If your thoughts aren’t lining up with this, shut them down and say in your mind and heart, I WILL think on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. Let’s stop allowing Satan to run rampant in our thought life by shutting him up in the mighty name of Jesus. This will take practice, but it is possible to no longer let Satan rule your thoughts.

James 4:7 tells us that when we resist the devil, he must flee from us, so let’s start resisting his attack on our thought lives and refusing to think the thoughts he’s planting in our minds.

2. Fill Your Mind and Heart with the Word of God

It’s been said that an idle mind is the devil’s playground, so we need to fill our minds with good thoughts, rather than bad thoughts or no thoughts at all.

Filling our minds and hearts with the powerful Word of Jesus is a great way to take control of our thought life. Start with memorizing Philippians 4:8, you don’t have to know it word for word.

I often just say, “whatever is true, whatever is lovely, whatever is noble I will think on these things”. It’s all out of order, but that’s usually how it comes to my mind and it’s the gist of the scripture.

Find scriptures that resonate with you and then begin to meditate on them rather than the old thoughts you previously meditated on.

Psalms tells us over and over again to meditate on the word of God. Find a scripture first thing in the morning or one that’s just resonated with you your entire life and begin to meditate on it throughout the day.

When you catch yourself daydreaming or festering up old thoughts, silence Satan and then go back to meditating on your scripture. Again, I highly recommend starting with Philippians 4:8. The word of God is a weapon against the enemy, use it!

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3. Meditate on the Goodness of God

He is so, so worthy of our thought life. The true, lovely, and noble that Philippians 4:8 is referring to, is our sweet Jesus.

He is true, He is lovely, He is noble, and we can spend our days meditating on Him, rather than all the crazy thoughts Satan sends our way.

Think about the many blessings He’s graciously given you, think on the mercy and grace He’s granted you throughout your life, think on all that is to come!

Psalm 145:5-7 says, “I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works. Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, and I will declare Your greatness. They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness and shall sing of Your righteousness”.

Begin to fill your mind and heart with the goodness of God.

4. Make a Gratitude List

When Satan is running rampant in your thoughts, stop and make a gratitude list. Making a gratitude list is a great way to shift our thinking and remind us of the goodness of God.

What blessings are all around us that often go unnoticed? If you find yourself drifting back into old thought patterns, stop and make a list of 10-20 things you are grateful for and then spend time thinking on the many blessings of God.

“Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” Psalm 107:8-9

5. Fill Your Mind with Praise

Turn on praise and worship music. There is nothing quite like turning on praise and worship music to shut up the enemy.

We can literally fight our battles by praising the Lord. Next time Satan begins filling your mind with thoughts you know are not from the Lord, turn on worship music, and begin praising our great God.

“I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies.” 2 Samuel 22:4

In Conclusion

We CAN turn our thought lives around through the power of Jesus. Even if you’ve spent years meditating on the wrong thoughts, make up your mind today to begin meditating on the right thoughts.

Ask God to give you the strength to apply the strategies above and you’ll be well on your way

Second Generation Fallout

by Charles R. Swindoll

2 Kings 18-21

A curious phenomenon has plagued families for as long as there have been families.  It’s that age-old problem of second-generation fallout that breaks the hearts of godly moms and dads.

The scenario goes something like this. A man and woman fall in love and get married.  They also love Christ and desire to serve Him with all their hearts. As their children come along, they teach and train and pray that God will get hold of their little lives and use them for His glory.

But what about the now-grown kids? Ah, there’s the rub. Somewhere along the way God got pushed way down on their list of priorities. Disciplines like prayer, church attendance, tithing, serving, and serious Bible study got lost in the shuffle.

I recently stumbled upon one of those father-son stories that still speaks volumes. The dad was Hezekiah, a king who took the throne when he was twenty-five and reigned until he was fifty-four. All the while, his heart remained warm toward his God, and God prospered him. What a man! When Hezekiah was forty-two, he and his wife, Hephzibah, had a son, Manasseh. But you’d never know he came from Hezekiah stock. According to the inspired historian’s account, he seduced the people of Judah “to do evil more than the nations whom the LORD destroyed” (2 Kings 21:9). What went wrong? Why didn’t Hezekiah’s righteousness and passion pass to his son? I believe there are at least three reasons:

First, Manasseh had a will of his own as we all do and with that will he stubbornly and deliberately refused to respond to the Lord (2 Chron. 33:10). Second, he was weak-willed and overly influenced by ungodly and wicked associations (2 Kings 21:3, 6). And third, he was neglected by his preoccupied, busy father. The king was at the zenith of his reign when Manasseh was born, and there is every indication that the prince saw little of his father during the formative years of his life. Hezekiah simply never took the time.

Sound familiar at all? While you still have your children under your roof, take time to talk together, to play together, to relax together . . . just to be together.

It is amazing how powerful first-generation presence can be when it comes to curing the second-generation plague.

Trouble Ahead

Notice that I didn’t title this “IF troubles come…” If you’re breathing, trouble will NOT be a stranger to you!

The notion that following Jesus equals an easy, comfortable, pain-free journey through life is one of the BIGGESToldest and most dangerous of misperceptions. False expectations, in general, set us up for disappointment; but this one can crush our spirit and even our faith if we’re not careful.

Often when a hard time hits, when a crisis hits, when a tragedy hits, we want out. We ask God for an airlift out of our problems. But many times God wants us to learn in the midst of those difficulties—and to learn especially about His love for us:

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?…No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. (Romans 8:35, 37 NLT)

Notice that phrase “all these things.” This passage isn’t saying we won’t face some of these struggles, but that in them we’re “more than conquerors.”

If you’re seeking to obey the Lord, expect opposition. Expect obstacles. Expect difficulties. But also expect God to see you through.
~ Excerpted from Beyond by Greg Laurie

Joseph is a prime example! (Genesis 37, 39-50) Betrayed and sold into slavery by his brothers! Falsely accused by his employer’s wife and tossed into prison. Forgotten about by a friend after helping him understand a dream.

From our Lower, earthly perspective we could easily conclude that God had forsaken Joseph. But twice – when he arrives in Egypt as a slave and when he is thrown in prison, it clearly states that “the LORD was with Joseph.”(Genesis 39:2, 21)

God sustains Joseph and we eventually learn that all of this was used by God to further His  kingdom agenda.

How can we prepare our hearts to trust God when troubles come?

Just Getting Started

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.
 
— Ecclesiastes 3:11

When I look back on my life at the things God has allowed me to do and the opportunities He has opened up, I can see the wisdom of His perfect timing.

Our tendency is to rush things. But just because something hasn’t happened in your life today doesn’t mean it won’t happen tomorrow. Just because it doesn’t happen tomorrow doesn’t mean it won’t happen a month from now or a year from now. Maybe one phase of your life is ending and another is beginning. Maybe everything that has happened to you up to this point in your life has been preparation for what is still ahead.

Moses didn’t get going until he was 80. Then there was Caleb, another Israelite who left Egypt in the Exodus. Along with Joshua, Caleb came back full of optimism and belief when they were sent to spy out the Promised Land. But when the Israelites believed the pessimistic report of the ten other spies, God was so displeased that He refused to allow them to enter the land.

Years later, when Joshua led a new generation of Israelites into the Promised Land, Caleb was among them. And at 80 years old, he said to Joshua, “So give me the hill country that the Lord promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found the descendants of Anak living there. . . But if the Lord is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the Lord said” (Joshua 14:12).

Joshua gave him his little segment of land as was promised, and Caleb drove out all of its inhabitants. Caleb believed God’s promises, and God was faithful. We need to do the same.

False Promises

These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts.
 
— Jude 1:16–18

A common characteristic of false teachers is the offer of false promises. You see them promising, for example, that God will prosper those who give $10 with a hundredfold blessing—multiplying that amount and returning it to them. This is a false message, however. We should never give to get.

If I were to give an amount of money to God’s work, thinking it would multiply a certain number of times and would ultimately return to me, that would be a wrong motive. God will not honor it. It is also a false promise.

All believers should give, on a regular basis, of the resources and income that God has given to them. On the other hand, we don’t give to get something. The Bible says that God loves a cheerful giver (see 2 Corinthians 9:7). We give because we have received. We give because we recognize that all that we have comes from God. We give because we want to share in the eternal reward of what God is doing by investing in the work of His kingdom. We give because God has commanded us to do so.

Jude wrote his epistle to refute those who were teaching that the grace of God gives people a license to sin. And Paul wrote in Romans 3:8, “And why not say, ‘Let us do evil that good may come’?—as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.”

In other words, there are those who say, “Go ahead and do wicked things, and God will bless you, because you are covered by grace.” Paul was saying that this is a perversion of the teaching of the grace of God.

GODS DELIVERY SERVICE

DEVOTIONS

by Charles R. Swindoll

1 Corinthians 2

I don’t know where you are today, but I have a sneaky suspicion that you, like me, might have a few intruders crowding into your life and could use some divine reinforcements. If so, don’t hesitate to call for help. Tell your Father that you are running out of hope and energy and ideas . . . that you need “not . . . words taught by human wisdom, but . . . those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. . . . For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:13, 16).

You may have cancer. So what can you do? You dial Heaven 911 and you tell God you have an emergency need: “I have cancer, Lord, and I need wisdom.” And at that very moment He will begin to make His deliveries.

Amazingly, you soon discover that your greatest enemy is not the disease but subtle, slippery feelings of despair, the thief of peace. And so you rely on God’s daily delivery service to get you through that one day. And then the next.

When Dan Richardson, an enthusiastic believer in Christ, lost his battle with cancer, the following piece was distributed at his memorial service.

Cancer is limited . . .

It cannot cripple love,
It cannot corrode faith,
It cannot eat away peace,
It cannot destroy confidence,
It cannot kill friendship,
It cannot shut out memories,
It cannot silence courage,
It cannot invade the soul,
It cannot reduce eternal life,
It cannot quench the Spirit,
It cannot lessen the power of the resurrection.

You cannot deny that you have the disease, but you can deny despair from taking control. Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances, call for God’s daily delivery of wisdom, strength, and grace.

Each morning, slam the door on despair. If you don’t, it will slip in and rob you.
And you’ll soon find a peace missing.

CHRISTIAN LIFESTYLE – UNCHANGED?

CHRISTIAN LIFESTYLE – UNCHANGED?

Called Out, Set Apart,

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

What’s the purpose of living a Christian lifestyle? Choosing to make Jesus Christ the Lord of our life changes our lifestyle dramatically. Friendships, activities, and even health issues receive careful evaluation. While we formulate reasons for the way we live our Christian lives, God’s purpose for our lives never changes.

Power of God?

One example of this disconnect is evident with the question of healing.

I’ve studied what the Bible says about healing for years and years, and two things remain clear to me.  One is that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Another is He said anyone with faith in Him would do the things He did (John 14:12). But the results we’re experiencing in much of the Western church today are far different from those attributed to Him in the Bible. A logical mind can only conclude that something has changed. Since it can’t be Him, that leaves only us.

I’ve concluded that many of us have formed our opinions about healing either from hearsay or personal observation rather than God’s Word, while the Bible tells us to live by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).  To prove my point, count the number of times when you’ve personally witnessed someone being healed. Not heard about, but personally witnessed. If you’re like most people you won’t know of very many, maybe not any.

Maybe we don’t see people being healed because we no longer expect to.  Somewhere along the way there’s been a disconnect to the point where many believers are convinced that without giving us any warning God simply stopped healing people.  Some of those who promote this idea say it happened once the New Testament had been compiled. They base this on 1 Cor. 13:8-10 which says in part:

“…where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.”

The Greek word for perfection in this passage also means complete, so they interpret what Paul wrote to mean that once the New Testament was complete, the gifts of the Spirit ceased.  The problem I have with this interpretation is that it never appeared anywhere in the church record until about 1900 AD when it was used as a rebuttal against the appearance of spiritual gifts in the Pentecostal movement. Many protestant denominations (those where spiritual gifts are not in evidence) hold this view today. It should not surprise us that supernatural healing does not occur in those denominations.

Then there are believers who call themselves mid-Acts dispensationalists. They assert that healing and other spiritual gifts were signs to the Jews that Gentiles could receive the Holy Spirit, and as soon as Israel was officially set aside and the gospel went to the Gentiles these signs ceased. They say the epistle of James, which contains the most direct promise of healing through prayer anywhere in the New testament (James 5:14-16), was not intended for us today but was written only to Jewish believers in the early days of the church.  Some of these folks hedge their bets by assuring us that God can heal people and sometimes does, so we can still pray for healing. But we shouldn’t be surprised it doesn’t happen. Our healing may not come until the resurrection. At least they leave the door open for God to heal someone if He decides to.

Sin In Our Camp…

Judas departure brings about Christ’s glorification (31-32)

  1. To be glorified in this context means to make glorious, adorn with lustre, clothe with splendor; a. to impart glory to something, render it excellent:
  2. It is only after the departure of Judas that the glorification happens.
  3. Perhaps we are not receiving the blessings we are due because we have negative influences around us we are not willing to remove.
  4. Christ’s glorification – brought glorification to the Father.
  5. When we are receiving God’s blessings – these blessing shall cause Christ to be praised, and will cause the Father to be praised. God will in turn glorify Himself and His Son through your blessing.
  6. Bottom line we need to prepare our life’s situation for blessing by removing – our rebellion – our doubt – and the negative factors that prevent our blessing.

Makes me think of the “Sin of Achan”

The first verse in the passage (Joshua 7:1) sums up the whole story. The rest of the passage contains the details of the situation. It is interesting that all of Israel is held accountable for one man’s sin. In modern society we often value individuality to the point that we do not feel responsible, in any way, for our fellow man. God looks at His people individually but also as a group. This becomes very clear in 1 Corinthians 12:12 and following in reference to the Church.

  • To remain connected to God through Jesus Christ (John 15:4–8). A life that’s cut off from God withers and dies — physically as well as spiritually. God desires to reproduce His Son’s life through our fruitfulness.
  • To remain faithful through persecution and to resist false doctrine (2 Timothy 3:12–17). The apostle Paul expected situations to become worse as worldly pressures increased. Our testimony and knowledge of the Scriptures arm us against any deceivers or deceptive ideals.
  • To present the Good News to a lost world (Mark 16:15-16; 1 Timothy 6:12) Like an athlete or soldier, we present our best efforts to further the faith. Our transformed lives compel us to share the Gospel’s impact not just for our “today,” but for our eternity.

Christian Lifestyle – Rules

Are there specific guidelines that constitute a Christian lifestyle? From theologian to theologian, any “lifestyle” list would differ. Drinking, movies, music, dancing, politics, fashion, education . . . to what degree do we shape our choices so we maintain a Christian lifestyle? “Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do…” (Romans 12:2). For one year A.J. Jacobs attempted to obey more than 700 rules and prohibitions found in the Bible. At the end of one year he confessed, “I started the year as an agnostic, and now I am a reverent agnostic.” A Christian lifestyle should never become a list of rules. We must take our attention off mandates and focus on the Man.

To paraphrase, “What did Jesus do?”

  • Communicated continually with God (Matthew 11:25-26; Mark 6:46; 14:32)
  • Acknowledged the significance of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17, 26)
  • Obeyed the will of His Heavenly Father (Luke 22:42; John 6:38-39)
  • Resisted temptation by steadfastness to the Word of God (Luke 4:1-13)
  • Reached out to those considered hopeless and sinners (Mark 2:15-16; Luke 19:5-9)
  • Served others, humbling Himself before His Heavenly Father (John 13:3-5, 12-15)
  • Persevered in faith and love (John 4:34, John 9:4; John 17:23)

Christian Lifestyle – Inside Out
What are the outward and inward evidence of a Christian lifestyle? You can present an outward appearance of holiness daily and still serve as a poor Christian witness (Matthew 23:27-28). To live as a Christian requires having the character of Christ. A transformation must occur, as a result of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling (Galatians 5:24-25).

When we truly practice a Christian lifestyle, the inward evidence becomes obvious. God’s glory and power pours out upon all those around us. Our faith in the midst of turmoil flows from a heart given to a loving Father. Every breath carries words of compassion and affirmation to a hurting world. Those who live the Christian lifestyle live a confident life on the inside and outside.

“This High Priest [Jesus Christ] of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it” (Hebrews 4:15-16)