Monday, June 30, 2014

Hebrews 11:1

Hebrews 11:1 – Now Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

           We all have faith and this is the best description of faith that I know. The bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Why is that? It is primarily because we cannot become God’s children without faith.
           In my blog post for Hebrews 10 we discussed “the hope we profess,” and how we are to hold to it. We talked about how that hope is Jesus. It is in Him and the promises that come through Him that we put our hope.
Now, in this verse we see that “faith is being sure of what we hope for.” So if we are hoping in Christ that means we are putting our hope in what He did and the promises of God that come through Him. Faith is taking that hope one step further and believing that it has happened, even though we cannot see it.
As we spend time reading the Word we come to the realization that we are His children. With that we begin to become familiar with all the things God has promised us as His children. So we know that we can have health, wholeness, joy, prosperity, eternal life and all the other things that go with this position in God’s family. This comes to all who believe. Put your faith to work in a positive way and believe in Christ.
Romans 10:9-10 gives us the most basic instructions: “If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be save.” That is all it takes and then Christ does the rest, or rather, already did the rest. After that we are told we have abundant life through Christ and that is also received by faith. Our lives depend on faith. Faith is what makes your hopes and dreams reality. What do you have faith for?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hebrews 10:23-24

Hebrews 10:23-24 – Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward Love and good deeds.

         “Hold unswervingly to the hope we profess.” What hope do we profess? We profess the hope of Christ! It is the hope of the new life that we receive by putting faith in the promise of God. There are many promises that we cannot rely on because they are from unreliable sources, but our source is different. Every promise that we receive from God is worth believing, because we know that it will come to pass.
       God is faithful. We know that whatever He says will happen. When He says that Christ has redeemed and sanctified us, we can put our hope in that. And this hope we have in Christ is what spurs us on to Love God and Love people. As we put our hope in Him we will see an increasing desire within us to do what is right and try to please God.
       Now as this desire increases within us we must not keep it to ourselves. It is our responsibility to spur one another on to Love and good deeds. How do we do this? Give them encouraging and uplifting words. Remind them of the hope that we hold onto. We live according to this hope and do not swerve from it. It is what gives us the drive to endure through whatever comes our way. As we share what we have with others they too will be able to endure through any hardships and troubles.
       This is an ongoing thing. We must surround ourselves with other believers who will help us in our journey as we help them. As we continue to endure together we will be able to spur each other on. There is never a time when we will stop encouraging each other. As believers we must constantly Love and encourage each other.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Hebrews 9:14

Hebrews 9:14 – How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the Living God!

         In this chapter the writer is comparing the blood of animals to the blood of Jesus. Before Jesus came to earth the people of God had to sacrifice animals to “cleanse” themselves from sin. This sacrifice, however, did not cleanse a person’s heart and mind. It only offered a temporary cleansing that did not go beyond the surface. So God’s people were temporarily cleansed, but their hearts were still full of sin.
       Then Jesus came. He was a sacrifice of a different sort. Jesus offers more than any animal ever could. Because Christ did not deserve death He was able to die for us. He was spotless and unblemished; the perfect sacrifice.
        Christ knew no sin, yet He became sin for us, so that we could become the righteousness of God. He cleansed us; He washed us and made us pure. Unlike the sacrifices before Him, His sacrifice cleansed us, not just on the outside, but on the inside. Our hearts have been made new and our minds are being renewed. We are now a new creation, the old is gone, the new has come. 
       While we were once full of sin, which leads to death, we are now filled with Christ and the life that comes with Him. This new life is eternal and we can serve God with that eternity. Don’t hold onto the sin of your old self, but join with Christ in the new life that He has given you and serve God.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Hebrews 8:10

Hebrews 8:10 – This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people.

         God has made a new covenant with us. The old is gone, the new is come. In order for us to understand how much better the new covenant is, we must first look at the old. God set up the old covenant to show His people what sin was. Its foundation was the law.
        Now, the law was good in its intent, but the result ended up being devastating to us. It was meant to bring life, but instead it brought death. When set up, it was supposed to protect us and keep us from sin, but since we could not obey, it brought condemnation and death. It showed us our sin and offered no means of getting rid of it.
        That is why the new covenant was needed. God did not want us to die, so He made a plan for life. See, the new covenant provided an answer to sin. Jesus is the foundation of the new covenant. He is the answer.
        Where the law brought death to us, Jesus brings life. He came and obeyed the law, so the law declared Him perfect. Because He was perfect He did not deserve to die, but He died for us. Jesus took all sin upon Himself. “He who knew no sin, became sin for us, so we could become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
        Jesus fulfilled the law and became the law. Now He is in our hearts and minds and He gives us the strength to say “No” to sin and “Yes” to righteousness. Because of Him we are God’s people; God’s children.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hebrews 7:18-19

Hebrews 7:18-19 – The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

           What is the former regulation that is talked about in this passage? The former regulation is the law. When the law was set up it was set as a means to make men perfect. It pointed out sin and told the people what they could and could not do. If you obeyed the law you would be perfect; if you did not obey you would receive the consequences, or would have to sacrifice an animal to receive a temporary covering for the offense.
           There was a problem with the law, however. It did a great job of pointing out sin, but there was no one who could follow it. There was no one who could be obedient, so as a result everyone deserved death.
           This was not God’s plan. He did not want His people to die. His Love created another way. God couldn't allow us all to die, but He is also a Just God, so sin had to be punished. So a better plan came into play. This plan would get rid of sin once for all and would allow us, His children, to walk with Him again.
           This new plan is Jesus. Jesus is the “better hope” that is talked about in this passage. He is the one by which we are able to draw near to God. Through Him all sin (past, present and future) is taken care of. He paid the price so we don’t have too.
           Jesus did what the law could never do; He made us perfect before God. Now we are able to stand before God blameless and set free from sin.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hebrews 6:10

Hebrews 6:10 – God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the Love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.

           We are told to Love God and Love people. That is our mission, and by doing so we will uphold everything that God has told us to do. If you Love God you do what you can to serve Him; if you Love people you will do what you can to help them. In saying this we must never tire of doing what is right, even when it seems as if no one notices. Maybe they do notice and just aren’t saying anything, or maybe they don’t notice at all. What does it matter anyway? Are you serving God or man? Who are you looking to for affirmation?
           Even when we are serving people we need to keep in mind who we are really serving, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not man (Colossians 3:23).” We need to devote all we do to God and serve others as we would serve Him, giving our best all the time.
           Now we come back to this verse in Hebrews. We are reminded that God will not forget your work and on top of that we see that when you are helping His people you are showing Love to Him. Continue helping. Work to meet the needs of those around you. In doing so you are Loving God and Loving people.
           Then in Colossians 3:24 God promises that He will reward you for what you do. Never tire of doing right and don’t look to people for affirmation or reward; look to God. He will give you what you need to make it through and give you the energy to keep up the good work.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hebrews 5:7

Hebrews 5:7 – During the days of Jesus life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save Him from death, and now He was heard because of His reverent submission.

         Jesus is our example. When He came to earth He showed us how we are to live. Jesus is God, yet in humility He became a man. He was subjected to all things on earth that we are; temptation, hurt and pain. You name it, He experienced it.
         Being a man He lived as a man should. He was constantly in communication with God. We are told in 1 Thessalonians to “pray continually,” and that is just what Jesus did. He offered up prayers and petitions to God and God heard Him.
        God didn't hear Jesus because He was anyone special, though He was; God heard Him because of His reverent submission. He came humbly as a man and gave reverence to God. God deserves respect and Jesus gave it to Him. He lifted God up in awe and reverence, and He submitted to the plan that God had for Him.
        Jesus submitted to God to the point of going against His wants and desires. We see when Jesus was praying in the garden He said, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26.39). Jesus was overwhelmed with sorrow about what He was getting ready to do, but He submitted to God.
        Thank God that Jesus lived in submission to God. If He didn't we would have no hope. He was obedient, though, and now we have a hope and a future and an example to live by.
        We must follow Jesus example and give God the glory in all we do, all the while submitting to His will for our lives. Rest assured that as you submit reverently to Him, He will hear you. Give Him your wants and needs and then submit to what He tells you.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hebrews 4:12

Hebrews 4:12 – For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

           Some would try to say the Bible is just a book. That it’s full of stories and maybe some good teaching, but nothing more. I agree that the Bible has great stories and good teaching, but it is so much more than that. 
The Bible has power; power to the point we can say, “I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” Then here in Hebrews we see that “the Word of God is living and active.”
           God’s Word is life to those who are dying; it will take a person from death to life, bringing salvation to everyone who believes in it. Then it goes on. After salvation, God’s Word continues as an active part of each of our lives. It cuts into us, penetrating to the heart to bring change. As we read it and believe what it says we see it making us new.
           The Word will change you, because it brings conviction to your heart and will show you what needs to be cut out of your life. And that is not all. As you get more of the Word inside of you it becomes your tool to help those around you and your weapon to fight off the temptation that comes before you.
           Don’t take the Bible for granted. It is not “just a book.” Within it there is power to change lives and make us right before God, because it holds the Truth of what Christ Jesus did for us. All you need to do is believe.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Hebrews 3:13

Hebrews 3:13 – But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.

           Life hardens us. Each of us has experienced something in our life that has hardened us. Sometimes it is the death of a Loved one, or betrayal of a friend or maybe it just seems like no matter what you do everything is against you. Eventually you get to the point of not wanting to trust anyone but yourself. You think that you are on your own and if you are going to make it you are the only one you can count on. Trust me, I’ve been there. In fact sometimes I still end up there.
           That hardening comes due to us believing the lies of sin. We must turn to God and believe the Truth of His Word. God’s Word will soften our hearts and teach us to trust and rely on Him. That, however, is easier said than done. To say, “Trust in God”, is easy, but to actually do it is a different story. It is hard to let go of all your worries and stress. That is why we need to help each other.
           When you come along and encourage someone it will help them break free from the lies of sin. It doesn’t take much, maybe just a, “You can do it,” or “I’m here for you if you need it.” This does a couple of things. It brings in another voice to come against the negative ones in our heads. For all the negative voices people hear we need to be the positive one that shines light in the darkness.
           Speaking encouragement also lets the person you are speaking to know that they are not alone. No matter what they are going through they can know that they have a friend that will be with them and believe in them through it.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hebrews 2:11

Hebrews 2:11 – Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.

           There are many Christians who do not understand the Truth this verse provides. They know that God Loves them and that Jesus saved them, but beyond that there is no revelation.
           First we must understand that this verse starts off by talking about Jesus and us. “The one who makes men holy” of course refers to Jesus. He is the only one who can make people righteous and holy before God. Then we see the verse referring to “those who are made holy.” That is talking about you and me and anyone else who has accepted Christ as Savior.
           So we established that Jesus makes us Holy, but then we see this verse go to an entirely different level. It goes on to tell us that we are in the same family as Jesus. And on top of that Jesus is not ashamed to call us brother and sisters.
           We are in the family of God, we are His children and Jesus is our brother. When we look at God and Jesus it is hard to picture that we are right there with them. If God had a family portrait above His fireplace you would be in it.
           In Romans Paul talks about how we as the church are the body of Christ and we are seated with Him in heaven. That means we are seated next to God. It doesn’t get any better than that.
           If you have not come to a complete revelation of this truth, pray that God opens your eyes to it. In today’s world there are so many without family. Parents abandon their children; children run away from their parents; there are broken families everywhere. You name it, it’s out there, but now you are welcomed into the family of God. This is a perfect family.
So whether you came from a broken family or a pretty good one, come to God and be welcomed into His family. He has a place for you no matter what your earthly situation is and He calls you His children.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Hebrews 1:3

Hebrews 1:3 – The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful Word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the majesty in heaven.

         Jesus said, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.” In this passage we see Jesus described as “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.” Think about that: we were created in the image of God, but Jesus is God. You look at Jesus and you see God. They are unified to the point of being one and the same. They are all powerful, and sustain all things by their Word.
         Jesus represents God here on earth. Without Him we would have nothing. He sustains everything by His Word and through Him we receive purification from sin. All the sins of the world, both past and present, were placed on His shoulders and He went to the grave. When resurrected the sin was gone and Jesus sat down at the right hand of God.
        Now that Jesus is in heaven His earthly role falls to us. I’m not talking about purification for sin, that’s already been taken care of. I am talking about reflecting God’s glory. Ephesians tells us we are to “be imitators of God.” Now we cannot be an exact representation as Jesus was, but through Jesus we can still represent Him.   We must strive to imitate God and reflect His glory in all that we do.
       So if Jesus, the Son, is the radiance of God’s glory, we must be like the 'moon' and reflect the glory of the Son.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Philemon 6

Philemon 6 – I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.

           I want you to take a look at how Paul words this prayer that he prays for Philemon. First Paul prays that he may be active in sharing his faith. That is important for all of us, but Paul doesn’t leave it at that. He explains why he is praying for active faith. It is so that Philemon will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.
           To put it plainly, if we are not actively sharing our faith we will never understand all that we have in Christ. Why is that? To answer that question we need to look at faith. We know that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see” (Hebrew 11:1). It takes faith to believe in Christ, because we cannot see Him or what He did for us. We must believe in what is unseen to receive Christ and all He has done for us.
           In the Bible we also see that we have abundant life through Him, but again, we can’t always see this. Sometimes our life doesn’t seem so abundant; yet we receive it by faith. Then from James we see that faith without works is dead, because our action is what proves our faith real.
           So when Paul says we must be actively sharing our faith to come to understand what we have in Christ it starts to make sense. You don’t fully understand something until you have gone through it or received it, and you don’t start receiving anything until you act on what you believe. So yes, we must believe, but it cannot stop there. Actively share what you believe so you can see it come to fruition in your life.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Titus 3:4-5

Titus 3:4-5 – But when the kindness and Love of God our savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

           If you have accepted Christ as Savior you have been saved. There is nothing you could ever do to earn this salvation. It is all because of God; because He Loves us. In Romans we see two sides of God. There is “sternness to those who fell and kindness to you, as long as you continue in His kindness” (Romans 11:22). In this verse we see God’s kindness and His Love.
           It is due to the Love that He has for us, that He shows us His kindness through salvation. When you receive salvation you are able to see God’s Love and His kindness. Without God we would never be saved. We cannot measure up; we cannot earn righteousness. In fact, if God did not show us mercy we would receive death. That is what we deserve.
           Instead, when we call on Him, we receive salvation. This comes to us through God’s grace and mercy. He washes us and renews us and we are born anew in Him. This is what it all comes down to; this is the bottom line. God’s desire is for everyone to be saved and come to know Him. He wants to show you mercy; He wants to show you His Love and kindness. If you have not made a decision to follow Him, don’t wait any longer. Turn to God and let Him save you and make you new by His Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Titus 2:11-12

Titus 2:11-12 – For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.

           Without grace we would have nothing. According to the law we have to be obedient to achieve righteousness. We cannot do that, we will always fall short. There is no way that we could be righteous before God on our own. That’s where grace comes in.
           Grace is defined as “Unmerited favor.” That means it is favor from God that we could never earn and don’t deserve. God’s grace overrides the law and salvation is made available to everyone. This time we don’t have to earn it. Salvation does not come to us by what we have done, but by what God has done through Jesus.
           Grace now appears before everyone, giving us all an opportunity to receive salvation. And grace does not stop there. It continues on in our lives and teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions. Before we received grace we would attempt to say “No” to achieve righteousness, but now we say “No” because we are already righteous.
           Now, because we are recipients of God’s grace we not only receive salvation and righteousness, but are able to live the lives that He called us to. We can be self-controlled, upright and godly. So through grace we are able to do what was beforehand impossible. We are able to truly live in the unmerited favor of God. Now we are obedient, not because we have to be, but because we want to be.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Titus 1:15

Titus 1:15 – To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.

           If your mind is pure and your heart is pure, then your actions will be also. We know that God looks beyond the actions of a man and looks at the heart. He judges the motive behind the action. Knowing that brings light to this verse.
           James tells us “wash your hands you sinners and purify your hearts you double minded.” We were sinners. We were corrupt and nothing in us was pure. Our mind, our heart, even our conscience, which is supposed to tell us right from wrong, was corrupted. Now we are different; we are changed. God has rescued us from that state.
           When we accept Christ into our heart and mind and receive Him as our Lord and Savior we become a new person. The old is gone; the new has come. God has taken our impure heart and purified it. Then we renew our mind with the Word and watch as our life transforms to become a reflection of God’s glory.
           Now we must guard our hearts. We have to protect what goes in. God has made it pure and we don’t want to let it be corrupted again. Our life flows out of our heart so it is important to keep it pure so that we can live a pure life.
           So, to sum it up, you are no longer corrupt because you believe. And as long as you keep your heart and mind pure everything you do will be pure.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

2 Timothy 4:2

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.

           You don’t have to be a preacher to preach and you don’t have to be a full time minister to speak the Word. God gave us all the Word. It is there for us to use in every part of our lives. We must apply it to our own lives, and then use it to correct, rebuke and encourage those around us.
           As we know from 2 Timothy chapter 3 “All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, correcting, rebuking and training in righteousness.” Every Word in the bible is from God. There is not one part of it that we cannot use. And we must be ready. “Be prepared in season and out of season.”
           There will be opportunities for you to speak the Word. God will open doors and prepare the way, but it is up to you to take advantage of it. You must be familiar with the Word. We are told that the Holy Spirit will bring the Word to our remembrance when we are in need of it, but you cannot remember something that you never knew. Spend time in the Word; become familiar with it.
           When God opens a door into someone’s heart you want to make sure that you are ready. You don’t want to miss the opportunity. Use the Word for correcting, rebuking and encouraging.
           This passage continues on to remind us that we must exercise great patience and careful instruction. When you are correcting your fellow brother or sister, don’t get frustrated. Instead, be patient, understanding the difficulties of change. Be careful to instruct them and show them where they messed up so they can make it right. And most of all do this in Love. If you Love them you will correct them in a way that is encouraging and uplifting, instead of tearing them down.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

2 Timothy 3:16-17

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

         You either believe the Word of God or you don’t. If you don’t believe I pray that in time you come to see it as Truth. If you do believe you must believe all of it. “All scripture is God breathed.” You can’t just take part of it and you also need to read it in context. Too many times you see people base their life off one scripture that is taken out of context.
         When we read the Word we must take it as a whole. I’ve also heard people explain away certain parts of scripture due to the fact that man had a part in translating it. That sounds reasonable enough because we all know that man can misinterpret and misread the bible, but if you do that, then when do you stop making exceptions. Pretty soon you are making up your own doctrine and that’s dangerous.
        Then think about God. Do you think that God, who created the heavens and earth and all that is in them, could control what makes it into His Word? We must take all scripture as truth. Know that God put it in the Bible what He wanted in the Bible and He wants to speak to you through it.
Read the Word, pray that God speaks to you through it, and apply it into your life. Then follow this verse and use the Word to teach, to rebuke, to correct and to train in righteousness. The Bible is our tool to equip the saints to do good works.

Friday, June 13, 2014

2 Timothy 2:11-13

2 Timothy 2:11-13 – Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him. If we disown Him, He will also disown us; if we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.

           Here we see two sides of the same coin. We have a choice to make. Our position with God depends on that choice. First we see the good side of things. If we join with Christ in His death we will also join with Him in life. No, the death part may not look too appealing in itself, but life with Christ is amazing. To think about living life hand in hand with Jesus is the best motivator to endure through dying to ourselves.
           When we endure we also receive this promise from God: we will also reign with Him. It is written that trouble may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. As we push through the hard times we know that we have a great joy waiting for us on the other side, because God is always faithful.
           Even when we are faithless, God still remains faithful. That His nature; that is who He is. We do, however, also have to look at the other side of the coin. In verse 12 we are told that is we disown Him He will also disown us. Don’t turn your back on God. That is the only thing that can separate you from Him: a conscious choice to leave. He will not leave; He is always there; He is always faithful.
If you have turned your back on God it is not too late. Turn back to Him and know that He Loves you and wants you to reign in life with Christ. It’s your choice. Make the decision to return and join into life with Christ today.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

2 Timothy 1:7

2 Timothy 1:7 – For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of Love, and of self-discipline.

       Do not be afraid. In our lives we often let fear make decisions for us. There is a fine line between being cautious and living in fear. I’ve heard fear described with the acronym “False Evidence Appearing Real,” and that is pretty accurate.
       Fear comes when you let the danger of something become your focus. If you watch people you will notice the ones that are most afraid of something are the ones that have the bad experience with that thing. That’s because they are putting their faith in that fear. Faith is a powerful thing. Whatever you put your faith in will come to pass. If you put your faith in your fear you will make it come real.
       Again I say, do not be afraid. Do not let fear rise up in your life and take over. God has given you what you need to counter fear.
       First He gives you a spirit of power. You have power over fear, power over the enemy, and power over your thought life. When fear comes up in your life use that power to look it in the face and tell it that you will not give in.
       We also have a spirit of Love. Love brings meaning to everything we do and that same Love will push you past your fear. Let Love rise up in your heart and be the motivator behind all you do.
       Last we see a spirit of self-discipline. This is where your control comes in. You have the ability to control your mind and tell fear it has no place in you. Discipline your thought life so that you dwell on the Word of God instead of fear.

You have the power to get rid of fear. The longer you let it linger in your life the bigger it will become. Take hold of it and toss it aside; let Love rule in its place.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

1 Timothy 6:12

1 Timothy 6:12 – Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

       “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” This is our fight. It’s not in the physical, but in your mind. We have to look at the things in our life that appear real and believe something different. Faith is taking hold of the victory that looks impossible.
       If we already have something or can see it in the natural we don’t need faith to receive it. That’s why Paul describes faith as a fight. We may have to fight against what all our senses are telling us.
       Take the second part of this verse for example: “Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.” Is eternal life something that we can see? No. In our eyes we see people get born, get old, and die. That’s the progression of life as we can see it in the natural. We can feel ourselves getting older and our bodies not working the same as they used too.
       We can’t see what happens to a person after death. There is no evidence that anything happens to them, but we know different. Faith is believing in life after death. It is taking hold of the eternal life to which we were called when we received Christ in our lives.
You don’t have to do anything for it, except believe. Jesus already has the victory. Eternal life is already waiting for you. Take hold of it by faith, no matter what the world tells you.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

1 Timothy 5:24-25

1 Timothy 5:24-25 – The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. In the same way good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not cannot be hidden.

           We are known by our actions. What we do is the fruit of who we are. As we watch people, both those we know and those that we do not, we form opinions about them based on what they do. This is not always right, but that does not change the fact that it is true. It’s like the old saying, “Fool me once; shame on you. Fool me twice; shame on me.” We make judgment calls on people based their actions. It’s natural.
           This verse is talking about reputations. It goes beyond forming an opinion about someone based on something that they just did; it talks about forming an opinion based on a pattern of deeds. It tells us that men’s actions may reach the place of judgment ahead of them.
           Take Paul, for instance. When he was still known as Saul he had a reputation of persecuting Christians. Some he would throw in jail and others he would see killed. When he was on the road to Damascus the Christians that were there already knew that he was coming. Then, after his conversion, God asked Ananias to visit him and Ananias actually questioned God to make sure they were talking about the same person. This is an instance of sin building a reputation for a person, but what about good deeds.
           Jesus is the best example of good deeds reaching a place before He actually does. When Jesus would enter into a city there were already people waiting to hear Him. His reputation of good deeds and miracles had traveled ahead and prepared the way for Him.
           This concept works for you as well. Your deeds will create a reputation for you. People will form an opinion based on what they see and hear about you. Now your situation may not be to the extreme like these two examples, but the principle is still the same. It reminds us here that even those deeds that are less obvious will be revealed.
It is important that we act in accordance with what we believe. Do good all the time, whether people are watching or not. What is your reputation? What do your deeds say about you?

Monday, June 9, 2014

1 Timothy 4:4-5

1 Timothy 4:4-5 – For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated with the Word of God and prayer.

           God is good. Everything He creates is good. All evil in the world is just a perversion of God’s goodness. The devil cannot create anything. All he can do is take what God has already made and twist it until it becomes sin. He is a deceiver and that can make it hard for us sometimes. His plan is to make things look good on the outside so that he can trick us into doing them. Then once we are in them it is harder to get out.
           That is why we must look to God. He is good and He is the creator. If it comes from God and we receive it with the right heart it will be good for us. As I mentioned before, it can be hard sometimes, since the devil is trying to lie to us and make things look good that are not. And because everything bad came from something good it can be tricky.
So how do we know the difference? How do we know what is good and what is not? For some things it is obvious, but what about the “gray” areas? Here’s the trick. First we must focus on God. If He is our primary focus then we will be sensitive to His leading and guiding. When our focus is on God we then put this verse into practice: receive everything with thanksgiving. If your heart is in the right place then your actions will be also. Bottom line: Trust God and be thankful!!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

1 Timothy 3:16

1 Timothy 3:16 – Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.

          A great mystery has been revealed to you and me. For many years this mystery had been hidden and only revealed to certain people as God prophesied through them, but now it is revealed to all. Jesus is the mystery revealed. He is the way to godliness. It was Him who showed us the way to live.
           As Paul describes the mystery here we see him describe Jesus, “He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.” So how do we become godly? I think the key lies in taking part in this message. Of course it begins with us believing and receiving Christ into your life as Savior, but there are a lot of “saved” people who do not practice godliness.
          Godliness begins with salvation, but it goes beyond that. We know that Christ appeared and was vindicated and was taken up in glory, but not everyone does. This passage talks of Jesus being believed on in the world, but people can’t believe without hearing. In order for them to believe someone has to preach. Who’s going to preach? That responsibility falls to you and me.
You want to walk in godliness? Believe the message and preach it. And as you are preaching make sure that you walk according to your words. As you do this you will draw nearer to God and be more like Him in true righteousness and godliness.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

1 Timothy 2:3-4

1 Timothy 2:3-4 – This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the Truth.

           In the first part of this chapter Paul instructs Timothy to pray for everyone, including all those in authority. We must make intercession, requests, prayer and thanksgiving for all people. Then Paul explains here why it is so important to do this. We see that it is God’s desire that everyone is saved and comes to know Him. This is important for us to remember.
           When we see people living in sin it can be hard to Love them. Beyond that, it can be even harder to pray for them. We must do this for those around us that we come in contact with every day, but Paul reminds us also that we must remember our leadership as well.
           It is easy to find ourselves joining in with the masses in complaining and tearing down our leaders, especially when their views don’t match our own. Their decisions affect our lives and can make them better or worse. When it is for the worse we find someone who shares our views and complain together.
           It is time to take a stand for truth and pray for those who have been put in authority over us. Stop complaining and pray!! That is often the only thing that you can do to bring change. Pray for wisdom in leading; pray for direction and good decisions; if they are not saved pray for salvation. This will do two things. First, it will help them and second it will help change your view toward them.
           Another thing that will help your view toward your leader is to give thanks for them. Now you might not like everything they do, but find something that you can be thankful for. We are told to “give thanks in all circumstance” and this is no different. God desires all to come to know Him, there are no exceptions.
           We must also remember that this concept applies to all in leadership over us. Pray for your pastor, your boss and also remember your government, all the way up to the President. Just because you don’t agree with them doesn’t mean the prayer should stop, in fact maybe we should be praying more!