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From that time on Jesus began to inform his disciples that he had to go to Jerusalem. There he would have to suffer a lot because of the leaders, the chief priests, and the experts in Moses’ Teachings. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be brought back to life.

Peter took him aside and objected to this. He said, “Heaven forbid, Lord! This must never happen to you!”

But Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get out of my way, Satan! You are tempting me to sin. You aren’t thinking the way God thinks but the way humans think.”

Matthew 16:21‭-‬23 GW

Jesus answered them, “I can guarantee this truth: Whoever lives a sinful life is a slave to sin. A slave doesn’t live in the home forever, but a son does. So if the Son sets you free, you will be absolutely free.”

John 8:34‭-‬36 GW

I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key to the bottomless pit and a large chain in his hand.

He overpowered the serpent, that ancient snake, named Devil and Satan. The angel chained up the serpent for 1,000 years.

He threw it into the bottomless pit. The angel shut and sealed the pit over the serpent to keep it from deceiving the nations anymore until the 1,000 years were over. After that it must be set free for a little while.

Revelation 20:1‭-‬3 GW

If you want to make sure something gets done what do you do?

You do it yourself.

Why?

Because you can’t trust anyone else to do it the way you would do it.

You could hire someone or force someone to do it, but the minute your back is turned, they’ll be off screwing around and messing things up.

If you want it done right, do it yourself.

That’s how I think.

And I think in God’s mind it’s the same way.

His will is that all people be saved.

So He did it Himself.

He died on a cross, providing His Son as the perfect blood sacrifice.

Jesus is the atonement for our sins.

He died to set us free.

Now, freed from our sins we don’t have to walk in them anymore.

Deliver us from the evil one.

That’s the unheard heart’s cry of the people.

A lot of people point fingers at other people accusing them of being the evil one.

They’re just pawns in a game of spiritual chess.

We already know that Jesus put the devil in checkmate.

Victory is assured.

So let’s start walking in victory.

What’s going on in the Church currently?

Growing pains.

The Church is maturing and unifying on mission to fulfill the Great Commission while at the same time rightly representing the heart of God in our fallen society.

We’re becoming more like the Bride that we were created to be.

God’s Spirit is marrying His Church.

They are becoming one.

In that process, we all must die to ourselves.

Love, submission and obedience will rule and reign.

It actually might appear foreign to some local bodies who have been deceived into legalism and religion.

The Church is coming alive.

If you want to die to yourself, you need to do it yourself.

Say no to the things you want and pick up your cross daily.

Sure, God will send people and situations to help speed that process along, but ultimately you’re the one who decides how you’re going to think and act.

Are you going to think and act like a human?

Or are you going to think and act like your Father in Heaven?

We have the mind of Christ.

We are the Body of Christ.

Seems like we should be Christ-like.

Or Christian.

It’s time we took back that word and started being proud of being called a Christian.

Don’t call yourself a Christian.

Only godless fools honor themselves.

Let praise come from someone else’s mouth.

Call yourself what you are.

A sinner saved by grace.

Someone who follows Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

A worthless slave who only did what was expected of them.

You’re either a slave to sin or a slave to God.

You can’t have it both ways.

You are a slave to whatever controls you.

You’re a bondslave when you’ve been set free but realize that you’re better off staying and serving your master.

Jesus set me free.

But there’s no place I’d rather be than in His Holy Presence.

And in His grace I’ll abide, so help me God.

Amen.

Love Opens The Door

Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will go to them and make our home with them. A person who doesn’t love me doesn’t do what I say. I don’t make up what you hear me say. What I say comes from the Father who sent me.”

John 14:23‭-‬24 GW

Jesus answered, “My kingdom doesn’t belong to this world. If my kingdom belonged to this world, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. My kingdom doesn’t have its origin on earth.”

John 18:36 GW

We can go to God with bold confidence through faith in Christ.

Ephesians 3:12 GW

How do you enter someone’s home?

You go through the door.

While here on Earth, our physical bodies are the home for our souls and spirits.

No matter where you go, you’re going to be at home in your body.

We’re limited by our bodies.

We can’t be everywhere at the same time.

Not even the devil can do that.

But there is One, who is everywhere.

God is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient.

He’s everywhere, all-powerful and all-knowing.

He’s truly awesome.

And He wants to make Himself at home in your body, too.

What’s it like to be home?

You do what you want, when you want.

Everything belongs to you and you have the authority to say how things get done.

God wants to be the head of your household.

That’s only possible when you submit to His headship.

Otherwise, you’re in rebellion.

And rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.

Witchcraft is gaming the system to get your own way.

Could you be participating in witchcraft and not even know it?

Quite possibly.

There’s a lot of strong delusion floating around.

The devil’s played a dirty trick on legalistic believers.

He tricked them into thinking that if they keep the law, then they’re safe.

They’re so bound up with religious spirits, or demons, that they have no relationship with God.

They love their rules but the love of God is not in them.

Unfortunately, without the Spirit of God, you’re a dead man walking, so to speak.

Playing it safe won’t get you anywhere.

God commands us to be strong and courageous.

What’s the purpose of being courageous if you’re not doing anything that requires courage?

Like stepping out of the boat.

Think of it this way: the local church fellowship is the boat.

All the believers are together.

They’re going on a faith journey together.

We all have to do our parts, otherwise we’re stowaways.

Stowaways are freeloaders.

When discovered, they’re either put to work, locked in the brig or thrown overboard.

What about all those people outside the boat?

They’re drowning in sin.

Who will save them?

Who’s going to throw them a life preserver?

Who’s going to share the Gospel with them?

Who’s going to bring them onboard?

Who’s going to disciple them?

Evangelism is really about search and rescue.

Find the lost souls and bring them into the Kingdom.

How do you get out of the safe interior of the boat?

You open the door.

Sure, we can rest all safe and warm enjoying the comforts of home while sailing through this crazy world, but what good would that do?

We’re not here for our own physical gratification.

That’s a worldly temptation that the enemy uses to tempt us into becoming irrelevant and useless.

Is fasting for our own pleasure?

Or does it bring our flesh and souls into subjection to the Spirit?

There’s many doors that need to be opened.

They’ll never open unless someone knocks.

God wants to come in and make His home with you.

Home is where the heart is.

God wants to make His home in your heart.

How do you start?

By loving Jesus.

And doing what He says.

If you do what He says without loving Him, you’re just going through the motions.

You’re an actor.

And actors are just professional liars.

And liars have no inheritance in the Kingdom of God.

We need to get our hearts right.

And then everything will be alright, even when it doesn’t seem that way.

God is in control.

Love that.

Don’t rebel against it.

Guard yourselves from idols.

Guard your hearts above all else.

Whatever you let into your heart will control you.

Either you will love God or you will love money.

There’s not room enough for two.

Bring Them To Me

A heart that turns ⌊from God⌋ becomes bored with its own ways, but a good person is satisfied with God’s ways.

Proverbs 14:14 GW

“But even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart— with fasting, crying, and mourning.”

Tear your hearts, not your clothes. Return to the Lord your God. He is merciful and compassionate, patient, and always ready to forgive and to change his plans about disaster.

Joel 2:12‭-‬13 GW

My brothers and sisters, if one of you wanders from the truth, someone can bring that person back. Realize that whoever brings a sinner back from the error of his ways will save him from death, and many sins will be forgiven.

James 5:19‭-‬20 GW

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

Who is the accuser of the brethren?

The enemy.

God wants us to save people not judge them.

God waits until we’re dead to judge us.

That gives us every possible chance to repent and surrender our hearts to Our Creator.

It’s us versus them.

Us is the Body of Christ.

Them is the unsaved, the lost, the rebellious, the backslidden.

Our job is to win their souls back to the Kingdom.

How do we do that?

Like Jesus.

We love them right where they’re at and speak the truth in love.

It’s always too soon to judge and declare the case closed.

Everyone’s one touch from God away from a revelation of Jesus Christ.

I fell away after I was radically converted to the faith.

Years were lost, wasted on carnal living.

Yet, I never lost my faith.

I just wasn’t walking it out in my daily life.

I was a man who belonged nowhere.

Too righteous for the sinners.

Too sinful for the saints.

I had to get to the end of myself to realize that I had nothing to offer, nothing to give.

The only good in me was the Christ in me.

I can’t take any credit for that.

Only God’s mercy, love and grace kept me alive long enough so that I could experience true repentance.

My heart changed.

And when that happened, everything else changed.

It starts with the heart and ends with the heart.

God is after our hearts.

He already loves us with a love incorruptible.

He just wants us to mirror it back to Him.

Why do people lose their faith?

Because they’re tired of people letting them down.

Our faith isn’t in people, it’s in God.

God’s people will be recognized by their love for one another.

I met a couple of homeless guys in the park this morning while walking my dog.

The Lord told me to give Eric five dollars.

I had already left so I had to turn around and go back.

I told him and offered him the money.

He said he couldn’t take it, that he works hard collecting cans to pay for what he needs.

I told him the Lord was taking care of him and to stay cool.

He took that five dollars I offered him.

His older friend said, “Have a blessed day.”

We are ambassadors for Christ.

We are His hands and feet on this Earth.

Wherever we go, we carry the message of the Kingdom.

Don’t judge a book or a person by the cover.

Only God knows who the saints and sinners are.

Bring those sinners to Me, says the Lord.

Bring them to Me.

And I will restore.

To God be the glory, forever and ever, amen.