YOU WERE DEAD!

“Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world… he raised us from the dead along with Christ” (Ephesians 2:1-2, 6).

Spiritually dead people cannot do anything to save themselves! It is all by the grace of God that He raised us from our deadness to new life in Jesus. Those of us who know Jesus only know Him because our Father drew us to Jesus (John 6:44). It is only when He drew us to Jesus that we called on Him for salvation (Romans 10:13). There is a line in The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis that says— “’You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,’ said the Lion.” We would have never called on the Lord Jesus except it be Him calling to us! Praise God! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLIJxrJoWOk&index=56&list=PLcHqC9YNzSaD-O-rkP9o8hDA9jJ_oja4l

As followers of Jesus we must understand we are no better than anyone else in this world. It is all by God’s grace that we are what we are (I Corinthians 15:10). Let us remember where we came from and yes, with great joy may we rejoice in what the Lord God Almighty has done for us. But let us also never “look down” on anyone who is still dead in their sins and being held captive by the devil. Instead, let us seek to serve them, share the gospel them and love them them in the hopes that they will come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil who is holding them in prison to do his will (II Timothy 2:26).

There are broken lives all around us. Remember where we came from. May we reach out to someone that the Lord God Almighty puts in our path today. Yes, as a follower of Jesus, may we encourage someone today.

Dear Father, this world is full of broken people. Please help me to be sensitive to who You would have me talk with today. May I speak the words that You would have me speak in the authority of Jesus and by Your Holy Spirit’s guidance. May it be so!

YOU HAVE AN INHERITANCE!

And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him. —Ephesians 1:13-14

If you know Jesus then you have been adopted by God! (Ephesians 1:50). The Holy Spirit of God identified us as God’s when we believed the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD6khv6pGkw He is also “God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised.” Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit because He has bought us at a price— the precious blood of Christ (I Corinthians 6:19-20; I Peter 1:18-19).

Did you get that— guaranteed inheritance from God! “We are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). Wow… do we understand this? Well, surely not fully, but this is mind stretching! Talk about the grace of God extended to us— “”No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (I Corinthians 2:9). “No mind has imagined!” We cannot comprehend the wonders that God has ahead for us. All this was guaranteed by God when we believed the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and were sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). Fellow follower of Jesus this is one guarantee that is truly 100% guaranteed! Rejoice fellow follower of Jesus— the unimaginable best is ahead of us! Press on! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYpBgJHmGmw

Dear Father, I so look forward to being with the Lord Jesus in Heaven with all those who love Him. May I shine the gospel of Jesus to many that they too may have this joy ahead of them in the authority of Jesus and through Your Holy Spirit’s power.

SERVE, DOING GOOD AND DON’T GIVE UP!

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith. —Galatians 6:9-10

How are you serving the Lord Jesus Christ? Be faithful because in due time you will reap a harvest. The key is to not give up. We need to be expectant that the Lord will keep His Word and bring a harvest as we do good! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBJJJkiRukY

I was told this story at the State Prison small group last night… There are a number of men involved with hospice at the prison. One man, dying of cancer, was not a follower of Jesus and was greatly afraid of dying. He would hold his head in his hands, weeping in fear of death. Being a former science professor he had put all his hope in pseudo-science which leaves no room for the Lord God Almighty. One of the men had the opportunity to share the gospel with this man and he trusted the Lord Jesus. I was told that from the time this man called on the Lord for salvation from sin and new life in Him that he never feared death again. Shortly thereafter he died.

These men who follow the Lord Jesus as the State Prison and are involved with hospice faithfully served this man, did not give up and saw a harvest. Whatever the Lord has you doing, whoever He has you serving… don’t give up. There will be a harvest of blessing… at the right time!

Dear Father, please help me to serve You faithfully knowing that You will bring about a harvest in the time You have set for it. May I serve in the authority of Jesus and by Your Holy Spirit’s wisdom and guidance. May it be so!

BE FIRM IN FAITH

Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm. —Isaiah 7:9

Will you believe? Are you ready to truly trust Him? Jesus is the “way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwsvqVmFV6Y Trust Him to be saved from sin and to live a life with Him. Have a firm faith as He leads you each and every moment of every day for the rest of your life! Jesus can be fully trusted!

Can He make you stand today? Yes, if your faith is firm. Will He be able to make you stand tomorrow, next year or ten years from now? Yes, if your faith if firm. If your faith is on the Rock, regardless of what storms arise in life, you will stand (Matthew 7:24-27). Yes we can fully trust Him. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_aVFVveJNs

Dear Father, I am so grateful to know I can fully trust the Lord Jesus Christ. May I faithfully walk through today according to Your desires. Help me to be sensitive to the people I come into contact with and share the good news with them. May it be so in the authority of Jesus and by Your Holy Spirit’s power!

JESUS IS ALL I NEED!

Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.” —Galatians 2:16

What is it that is enough for you? Christ is enough! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fZ-tBR7LJ0 No amount of works, no amount of trying to do good is enough. It is Jesus and He alone that saves a person. Obedience to the law cannot save anyone. Justification comes only through Jesus. Now, fellow follower of the Lord Jesus let us keep “our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” (Hebrews 12:1). No one else or nothing else is the answer. Jesus is the answer for us. He is enough for me! He is enough for you!

Dear Father, thank You for all You have done for me through Jesus. Now out of gratitude may I live for you and proclaim the good news of Jesus to others. May this be so in Your Holy Spirit’s power and in Your Son’s authority. May it be so!

NO OTHER GOSPEL AND NO OTHER JESUS!

I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ. Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed. Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. —Galatians 1:6-10

Beware of those who bring another Jesus and another gospel. Satan is the great deceiver along with the fallen angels, the demons— “But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed” (II Corinthians 11:3-4).

Satan is a subtle deceiver. Just “a” inserted into God’s Word changes all that Jesus is. John 1:1 says that “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” The Jehovah Witnesses’ translation inserts “a” and reads like this: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was (a) god.” This changes Jesus from being one with the Father and equal to Him to being a lesser god, a god that was created and not eternal. It changes all that took place at the cross and changes the gospel.

Sin is an eternal issue and it took someone eternal to resolve the issue. Jesus, the eternal Son of God was that One that came to resolve that issue at the cross and through the resurrection. This is denied by the Jehovah witnesses and so many others who bring a false Jesus and a false gospel.

There is a very dire warning to those bringing a false gospel. Paul says to let God’s curse fall on them! Wow, I would not want to be in that situation. Those people who bring a false gospel are in danger of judgment and Hell! Fellow follower of Jesus let us proclaim the gospel of our Lord Jesus and not be swayed. May it be so!

Dear Father, as Your gospel goes forward be pleased to draw many to Your Son, Jesus. Oh, may Your Word blossom in those who have heard the gospel. May it be so in the power of the Holy Spirit and by the authority of Jesus.

YES!

Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. —I Corinthians 13:11

Am I full of joy because of the grace of God in my life? Am I growing in maturity for His service now and for what He has for me in the future? Am I encouraging others with the comfort that He has comforted me with? Am I living in harmony and peace with others through my words and actions? If that is the case then the love and peace of God will be with me! Am I experiencing His love and the peace that only He can give?

We who know Jesus are surely greatly blessed! Take time to praise and thank Him. Rejoice in knowing we will be with Him soon! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlWPGWfIvwU&index=33&list=PLcHqC9YNzSaD-O-rkP9o8hDA9jJ_oja4l

Dear Father, I am grateful for the time You have for me on this planet. May I be faithful with it. But, I surely look forward to being with Jesus in Heaven and with all who love Him!

HIS GRACE IS ENOUGH!

I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. —I Corinthians 12:7-10
Knowledge can cause pride— “But knowledge puffs up while love builds up” (I Corinthians 8:1). With the great revelations given to Paul the Lord allowed Satan to “torment” him with “a thorn in” his flesh to keep him from becoming proud. Pride… the downfall of many a person— “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (I Corinthians 10:12).

I was talking with an inmate recently and he told me his story of having been in prison for 28 years. Recently he was in transition at a half-way house, working a job. While in prison He spent regular time with the Lord Jesus and had a close relationship. In the half-way house he started to drift. There were many factors that brought him to making bad decisions in that drifting— hanging around the wrong people, expectations, praise from man, anger, selfishness… These led him to even worse choices and now he is back at the state prison. He sought to live life in his own strength and did not depend upon the Lord, trusting in Him and His grace for the situations he found himself in. Now he realizes his stupidity of not sticking close to the Lord, but is glad for the test and seeks to pass the test the next time.

Pride has led to the fall of many believers. Just having knowledge of the Lord is not enough. There needs to be an active relationship with Jesus and all that means—constant communication, speaking with Him and listening to Him— fellowshipping with other believers who love Him— being actively involved in discipleship. Without these basics we may have knowledge of Jesus, but we are living in our own strength and not depending on His Grace. But God’s grace is enough! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpYtYYaTFGQ

Dear Father, I have no strength of my own… none and I acknowledge this. Please help me to yield to Your Holy Spirit and be empowered by Him. May it be so in the authority of Jesus! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbe7OruLk8I

WE WILL ALL APPEAR BEFORE JESUS!

That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad. —Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Now here is a sobering thought— “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (II Corinthians 5:10). Personally, as a follower of Jesus I cannot say that I have done everything to honor Him. My selfish self has been so selfish at times as I have allowed the flesh and not the Holy Spirit to guide me!

Oh, that I would be obedient to Him at all times. That truly is my desire and His Word is clear that “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them” (John 14:21). The greatest command is to love God with my whole being and the second is to love others as I love myself (Matthew 22:37-40). To love Him is to be obedient to what He says, but it is obedience not out of drudgery, but out of gratitude.

We are told that “no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames” (I Corinthians 3:11-15). May we be obediently building with those “materials” that have eternal significance!

Dear Father, nothing is hidden from Your sight, nothing. May I be faithful to Your desires for my life and seek to live according to Your plan. Oh that I would not yield to the flesh, but seek to be sensitive to Your Holy Spirit and do His will. May it be so in the authority of Jesus.

REFLECT

Indeed, how can people avoid what they don’t know is going to happen? None of us can hold back our spirit from departing. None of us has the power to prevent the day of our death. There is no escaping that obligation, that dark battle. And in the face of death, wickedness will certainly not rescue the wicked. —Ecclesiastes 8:7-8

How many birthdays have you had? How many springs, summers, falls and winters have you lived through? How many Thanksgivings and Christmases have you experienced? How many full moons have you gazed upon? How old are you now?

We cannot stop time… tick, tick, tick. We know the end of life is coming… tick, tick, tick, but we do not reflect on this as often as we should… tick, tick, tick… “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). Reflection on the brevity of our lives can help us in wisdom growth, “making the best use of the time” (Colossians 4:5). How are you making the best use of your time? What things are wasting your time? Will you make the adjustments?

Not one person on this planet can keep the spirit from departing their body. Oh, there are “medical advances” that can keep the body alive, but when the Lord says the time has come, then the time has come and nobody can keep that last breath from taking place— “”Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is” (Psalm 39:4). “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16). He is the only one who knows when we will take that last breath. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiRhcR4Vg10

Those who have trusted Jesus and those who have not trusted Jesus will come to that same moment of “obligation” which is the moment of death. I am so grateful I am ready for that day, for that moment because of trusting Jesus. I trust Him now and I will trust Him then and I will trust Him for what is after death. Yes, I will trust Him.

If you have not trusted the Lord Jesus Christ I urge you to do so. You do not know the time of your death. Be ready to meet God! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD6khv6pGkw The alternative to not being ready is terrible!

Thank You my Dear Father in Heaven for the Lord Jesus Christ and His willingness to take the penalty for my sin that I might know Him now and be with Him forever. Father, please, if there are any reading this who do not know You, please speak to their hearts through Your Holy Spirit and draw them to Yourself through Jesus. May it be so!