Yes & Amen

You were indeed called to be free, brothers and sisters. Don’t turn this freedom into an excuse for your corrupt nature to express itself. Rather, serve each other through love.

All of Moses’ Teachings are summarized in a single statement, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

Galatians 5:13‭-‬14 GW

Once you were separated from God. The evil things you did showed your hostile attitude.

But now Christ has brought you back to God by dying in his physical body. He did this so that you could come into God’s presence without sin, fault, or blame.

This is on the condition that you continue in faith without being moved from the solid foundation of the hope that the Good News contains.

Colossians 1:21‭-‬23 GW

However, the wisdom that comes from above is first of all pure. Then it is peaceful, gentle, obedient, filled with mercy and good deeds, impartial, and sincere.

A harvest that has God’s approval comes from the peace planted by peacemakers.

James 3:17‭-‬18 GW

The Gospel brings peace.

It’s Good News that Jesus Christ has freed us from the punishment for our sins.

I was recently water baptised again.

Third time’s the charm.

Let me tell you, I am so glad that I took the plunge.

My past is dead and buried, nailed to the Cross of Christ.

In baptism, we identify with the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord.

We clothe ourselves with Christ.

It’s weird because it’s just a symbolic act of our confession of faith.

But that symbolic act is followed up with the blessing of the Holy Spirit.

Expect a miracle.

All those damning voices that would try to hold my sordid past against me have been silenced.

I have the power to resist temptation.

What would have tripped me up in the past is now nothing.

The snares the devil throws my way look increasingly feeble.

I can see through the lies.

I just feel free and happy and full of life.

If I died tonight, that’d be perfectly alright.

I know where I’m going.

Into the light.

And yet, I get to live in that light in the here and now, too.

God’s propelling me forward into my destiny in Him.

I’m seeing the connections.

I’m connecting the dots.

Everything makes sense now.

I thought I was a screw-up and a failure.

I was.

My life in my hands was a complete mess.

I gave it to God once before and amazing things happened.

But then I took it back into my hands.

The self-willed life is no life at all.

There is freedom in surrender.

God knows best!

Obedience is better than sacrifice.

Obedience is the cart.

Faith is the horse.

Religion puts the cart in front of the horse.

That won’t get you anywhere.

Believing in the sacrifice that Jesus made once and for all puts you on the horse.

Hold on tight and don’t let go.

He will carry you.

All the good works will follow.

Let your heart be your guide.

Assuming, of course, that you love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.

At the center of your being must abide an undying love for your Savior.

Always express your gratitude to God for rescuing you from your sin.

That’s freedom worth celebrating.

Let your whole inner being love God.

Let His light shine throughout your entire thought life.

Take every thought captive and make it obedient to the knowledge of Christ.

The Hebrew concept of humanity is dualistic.

There is an inner person, who you really are, and an outer person, what others see, your reputation.

Man looks at outward appearances, God looks on the heart.

Use all your might to live a life led by your heart for God.

When you understand how Christ suffered to set us free, when He was blameless, you can’t help but see the need to pick up your cross.

We must bear one another’s burdens and thus fulfill the teachings of Christ.

Return to your first love.

Return to the One who makes you come alive.

Bow down in reverence to the King.

Obey the commandments.

If you love Him, you will obey.

If you’re disobedient, it shows where your heart lies.

Purify your hearts and cleanse your hands.

Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father’s will and He has the highest position.

Follow the leader.

Follow His example.

Follow Jesus.

And live.

May the God of all glory strengthen you by His Spirit to live a life that has God’s approval.

A life of faith.

All praise, worship and glory belong to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen.

A Place Called Grace

The person who doesn’t love doesn’t know God, because God is love. God has shown us his love by sending his only Son into the world so that we could have life through him.

1 John 4:8‭-‬9 GW

Now, the effects of the corrupt nature are obvious: illicit sex, perversion, promiscuity, idolatry, drug use, hatred, rivalry, jealousy, angry outbursts, selfish ambition, conflict, factions, envy, drunkenness, wild partying, and similar things. I’ve told you in the past and I’m telling you again that people who do these kinds of things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the spiritual nature produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There are no laws against things like that.

Galatians 5:19‭-‬23 GW

So when you give to the poor, don’t announce it with trumpet fanfare. This is what hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets in order to be praised by people. I can guarantee this truth: That will be their only reward.

When you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.

Give your contributions privately. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you.

Matthew 6:2‭-‬4 GW

Can I let you in on what one of the enemy’s main strategies is?

Isolation.

Think about it.

If you are living in isolation, separated from other living beings, how can you love and receive love?

Even worse, if you do not have a relationship with God, perhaps you’re estranged, you are in spiritual solitary confinement.

Even in the natural, being sent to the hole is the worst form of punishment other than physical death.

Now, look at the wide world of consumer products.

They are designed to isolate and enslave you.

I was recently out on the streets, feeding and serving the homeless with a bunch of other believers.

At one point it seemed like almost everyone who came to serve was watching the scene unfold through their cellphones.

We have this digital filter on our lives.

If I can’t post it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, did it really happen?

The homeless getting food weren’t posting pictures of their delicious meals and drinks, freely provided by the grace of God and His humble servants.

Nope.

They simply enjoyed them, shared with their friends, and told others about the blessings they had received.

As a former IT worker, I know the dark underbelly of the beast.

Nothing is secure.

Everything is being monitored.

You’re basically opting-in to 24 hour surveillance so that corporations can better target ads to you so that you will buy more products and services.

Consumerism is an addiction.

Being chained to your phone or computer is an addiction.

If you get anxious when you can’t use your phone, perhaps you have a problem.

Jesus isn’t on Facebook.

He’s on the streets.

There’s a benefit to having ministry resources available online, don’t get me wrong.

But the real work of ministry is in loving people not creating content and consuming information.

It’s time to wake up and get back to basics.

I don’t have a television.

I don’t have Internet in my home.

God has already given us everything we need for life and for godliness.

It’s time to put digital on the back burner and start living the analog and spiritual life that God created you for.

Technology has to keep innovating to remain profitable.

Competition, pride and greed drive it.

It’s an unsustainable system and it will fail.

This isn’t Star Trek, where some new technology will save the day.

Jesus saves.

Remember why you’re here.

To live a life that has God’s approval, not the most likes and retweets.

Honestly, the world is going to hate you.

If they crucified our Lord, and He was the perfect expression of God in man on Earth, what more can we expect?

The Kingdom of God is where love, mercy and grace rule the day.

You enter by faith.

You remain there by obedience.

When you disobey, you fall away.

When you repent, you get restored.

All of the promises of God contain conditions.

They are like if then statements in programming.

If you turn from your wicked ways and acknowledge God, then He will bless you.

Else, you’re out in the cold.

In the dark.

All alone.

Like a homeless and hungry person on the cold, dark and damp streets of Anytown, USA.

That’s someone’s son.

That’s someone’s daughter.

God loves them.

They aren’t trash.

They’ve been treated like garbage.

Love them unselfishly.

Give to their needs.

They can’t repay you.

But God in Heaven knows what you’re doing and He will reward you when you get home.

Your home is in Heaven.

It’s a place called Grace.

None of us deserve to be there.

But God, in His infinite love, saw it fit to have Jesus die in our place so that we could inherit eternal life in Paradise.

May the love of God guide you in all that you do and say, today and always.

And may His Grace abound even more everyday.

In Christ’s Name, we pray.

Amen.

Unique Identifier

“I’m giving you a new commandment: Love each other in the same way that I have loved you. Everyone will know that you are my disciples because of your love for each other.”

John 13:34‭-‬35 GW

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

Colossians 1:15 GW

Let the person who has ears listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. I will give some of the hidden manna to everyone who wins the victory. I will also give each person a white stone with a new name written on it, a name that is known only to the person who receives it.

Revelation 2:17 GW

The Christian faith is unique among the religions of the world in many ways.

We serve a God who saves us.

Jesus Christ Himself came to serve and not be served.

He washed His disciples’ feet.

The feet are the lowest part of the body.

They touch the earth.

Jesus uses the truth to wash away the influence of the world.

Those same feet, now clean and holy, carry the same message to the rest of the world.

That is how we are known.

We love one another and rejoice in the truth.

It’s a lot different from what the world teaches.

The world teaches us to serve our own selfish interests and to conceal the truth and present a false front.

That is not the way of Jesus.

Jesus is unique.

He is identified as the Son of God.

He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in a virgin’s womb.

God truly is His Father.

And yet, we too, when we become born again have the same Father.

Faith in Jesus and the finished work of the Cross, birth us into the Kingdom of God.

We don’t get born again as mature Christians.

As in the natural, there is a development process.

But let me tell you, even a baby Christian is more powerful than the wisest unregenerate man.

You hear a baby cry?

Someone will feed and care for that baby.

Our spirits cry out to God with groans too deep to be heard.

We yearn for the liberation from our bodies.

Yet, we persist.

Living temples.

Living stones.

A word of the Word.

Each one of us uniquely made and purposed by our Creator.

We will never achieve our purpose in Him while we’re seeking our own selfish ambition.

We must lay our lives down to truly live.

Another unique identifier of the Christian faith is prophecy.

More specifically, fulfilled prophecy.

In times past and even today, God speaks and reveals things to His servants.

Jesus fulfilled Messianic prophecies, some of which were uttered hundreds, if not thousands of years before His birth.

I don’t remember the specific facts and figures but I did read the research and I was more than convinced.

Of course, I came to faith when I was alone with no outside influence except for the Spirit of God.

But it’s good to build your faith.

God knows each one of us individually.

He’s not a cold and distant God.

Quite the contrary, our God is a consuming fire.

He takes everything that we were and have, and uses it to glorify Himself.

Why do I have struggles?

So that through God I can overcome them.

God knows those that are His.

He knows just how to get your attention.

He knows just how to get His message across.

His message is the Cross.

Jesus has made peace for us.

Who doesn’t want peace of mind?

A true peace, not the false peace that hooks you to consume more and more to get less and less of a reward.

We do not know yet what we will be.

But as we walk in obedience, we get closer and closer everyday.

Jesus commands us to humbly serve others.

Service motivated by love.

Want what’s best for them and give it to them.

It starts with the truth.

Do not be ashamed to share the Gospel.

It has the power to save.

God is in control.

He will work everything out in time.

We just need to be faithful and obedient.

Our eternal future is secure in Christ.

Spread the word and share the love of Jesus with everyone you meet!

Amen.