An Effective Disciple.

Do you consider yourself to be a disciple of Christ?  Perhaps we should first define the word  Disciple:  a pupil or follower, especially of Jesus Christ.  Yep, that’s me!  But, do I have the discipline to be an effective disciple?

Discipline can mean:

1.  punishment for bad behavior, or

2.  the practice of training intended to mold, correct, or perfect the behavior, mental faculties or moral character of a person, or

3.  self-control.

Self discipline come from listening to the Spirit’s leading voce in our lives.  Divine discipline comes when we do not heed that voice, and disobey god’s will for our lives.  Hebrews tells us about divine discipline in chapter 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

To be an effective disciple of Christ self-control is a must.  To have a successful Christian walk, the wants and desires of the flesh must be kept under control.  Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 9 of his liberty that he enjoys as being a disciple of Christ, but also of the responsibility that comes with it to keep himself under subjection.  Verse 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. He knew the importance of practicing what he preached, and of the dangers of losing his witness with the people around him.

God gave us bodies that are full of desires.  They are all good and to be enjoyed within limits.  Nothing that God has given us is bad until it replaces Christ as our top priority.

What can we expect to happen if we lose our self control?

1.  We begin to step out of God’s will for our lives.  We realize that we are making a bad decision, but we let the flesh control us.

2.  We become defensive about our sinful lifestyles.  We may begin to not attend services, and when someone is concerned about our absence we get mad and think the person is being nosey and judgmental.

3.  The desires of the flesh may start to affect our health.  Indulgences in food, alcohol, smoking or sexual gratifications can have devastating effects on our bodies, which is the temple of God.

4.  We may fall into debt trying to feed our addictions.  Credit card companies are thriving because of undisciplined people.

5.  Most importantly, our witness may be destroyed.  How can we be effectual witnesses if we cannot contain our own bodies?  What good is it to claim to be a Christian disciple if we do not reflect Christ in our lives?  I believe this is what the 3rd commandment means.  Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Most seem to believe this is just tangling the name of God up with profanity, but there may be a lot more to it.  I live in Illinois, therefore I am called an “Illinoisan”.  We as Christians are said to be in Christ Jesus, or in other words we live in Him, making us “Christ-ians”.  To take the name of God who was Christ in the flesh, (Christian), in vain means that we take His name and then do absolutely nothing for Him or the Kingdom.  To do anything in vain means to do something with no results.  How dare we take His precious name and do nothing in return!

We are called to be disciples; do then the work of a disciple.  Do not take what Jesus did for us in vain.

Take my word for nothing; to the Source and read it for yourself.  And as always to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be all the Glory forever.

When the Enemy Attacks.

Have you ever felt like the enemy has you surrounded; that all around you forces were gathered to steal your joy and destroy your life?  We know who this enemy is and that he is always on the prowl to see whom he may devour.

Our Scripture today is from 2 Chronicles where the king of Assyria is trying to invade Judah, and take its people captive.  But God has other plans for His people.

2 Chronicles 32:1 After these things, and the establishment thereof, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fenced cities, and thought to win them for himself.  Satan is always looking for a way to come into our lives and “win them for himself”.  We need to ensure that our “cities” are “fenced” with the Word of God.    Only through His Word will we be strong enough to stand against an attack from the enemy.

2 And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem, 3 He took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city: and they did help him. 4 So there was gathered much people together, who stopped all the fountains, and the brook that ran  through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water?   Hezekiah knew that his city and his people were under attack; that is the first thing we need to do is realize the attack is happening and to know who the enemy is.  If the attack is too big for us to handle alone we need to consult with other believers as Hezekiah did here.  This is why a church family is so important. They are the people you can call on to help strengthen us in our time of attack.  The prayers of God’s people carry a lot of weight.  Next we must cut off any source in our lives that may be aiding the enemy.  Are there things in my life that are giving fuel to the enemy?  Hezekiah’s enemy needed water to sustain them; Satan needs some unconfessed sin to get a toe-hold in our lives.  Perhaps we hold onto friendships with people who do not hold the same convictions that we do.  Many a Christian has been led down the wrong path by a so-called friend.

5 Also he strengthened himself, and built up all the wall that was broken, and raised it up to the towers, and another wall without, and repaired Millo in the city of David, and made darts and shields in abundance. We must strengthen ourselves against the attack.  Once the weak spot is revealed and purged from our lives we can then go about building up our “wall that was broken” down by our sin.  With every failed attempt on the Christian’s life by Satan come a renewed strengthening of the soldier of God.  Our past battles only prove to build us up against the next attack, and trust me, there will be another attack.  Just as the people of Judah made “darts and shields in abundance” we too can add ammunition to our reserves. Remember that the only weapon our Lord used in His fight against Satan was the Word of God when He was tempted in the wilderness.  Matthew 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

6 And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably to them, saying, 7 Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: 8 With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.  Just as Hezekiah told his people, God is telling us today to be “strong and courageous” and to “be not afraid nor dismayed” when the attack comes our way.  But do not aid the enemy!  If there are weak spots in your defenses or holes in your walls where the enemy might gain entrance, shore them up with the Word of God.  It worked for Jesus when He was face to face with the Devil and it will work for us today!

Take my word for nothing; go to the Source and read it for yourself.  And as always to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be all the Glory forever.

Nothing But the Blood!

In my estimation there is not a better church song than Nothing But the Blood of Jesus.  It seems that churches today are getting away from the old tried and true songs of the redemptive power of the blood of Jesus.  What can make me whole again?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

Jesus was God’s perfect sacrifice to Himself.  Let’s try to wrap our minds around that one for a minute.  God sent His Son (who was actually God in the flesh) to die for us.  He needed the satisfaction for sin that only giving of Himself could bring.  Peter said it best in 1 Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

We are redeemed by His blood:

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

We are justified by His blood:

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

We are forgiven by His blood:

Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

We have peace by His blood:

Colossians 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

We have an entrance into the Holy of Holies:

Hebrews 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

We are cleansed by His blood:

Revelation 7:13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

For my pardon this I see, NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS!

Take my word for nothing; go to the Source and read it for yourself.  And as always to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be all the Glory forever.

Take It To The Lord.

Every day we are faced with decisions.  Some are small like what clothes we choose to wear; some are life altering: should I take that job?, should I accept his proposal?, should I have that surgery?  The list could go on and on.  We can most likely handle the small decisions on our own, but the ones that are sure to have an impact on our lives should be made only after prayerful consideration.

How many times have we heard someone say, “You know, something told me not to do that but I thought it would all work out ok.”  The secular world calls that a “gut feeling”, but we know that something is actually a SOMEONE, the Holy Ghost.  It’s that little voice that tells us right from wrong.  God spoke to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:12 in a “still small voice” but His message was clear.  So, how can we fin tune our hearing to be aware of the voice of the Lord?

Paul tells us in Romans 12:1 I Beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  2 And be not conformed to this world: But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.     The renewing of the mind is an ongoing process; being consistent in our study of the Word and our prayer life will enable us to see the will of God in our lives.  Once we are able to move ourselves out of the way and let the Lord lead us, the more peace we will have after the decision has been made.

Philippians 4:6  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know unto God.  7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  When we take our need for decision to the Lord for guidance, we will not be “careful” or anxious about anything.  Those who trust in the Lord have a peace that the world around us cannot understand.  Our minds and our hearts are kept through the grace of Christ Jesus.

Do you have peace in your mind and heart?  Go to the Lord in prayer before all your important decisions are made.  No problem or decision is too big or too small for our Lord.

1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.   What a wonderful loving Lord we serve!

Take my word for nothing go to the Source and read it for yourself.  And as always to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be all the Glory forever.

I Know Who I Am! I Am Free From Any Charge Against Me!

Romans 8:33 “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”
Have you ever been accused of something you did not do? There are probably a lot of us at some point or another in our lives that have been victim of a slanderous remark. In these days of disregard for another’s feelings, barbed accusations are thrown about carelessly. Once an accusation has been made public even if it is false, the effects can be devastating. Anyone can make an accusation, but it is God alone who has the authority to condemn or that “justifieth” or return the person to a right standing with Him. Since Christ “died, yea rather, that is risen again” He has been given the job of making “intercession” or pleading our case as a defense lawyer would.
All accusations attributed to the saints of God come from Satan who is called the accuser of the brethren. Revelation 12:10 “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” But we know what his end is going to be! Every time Satan opens his mouth against one of God’s own Jesus is there to plead His blood as our atonement that imputes His righteousness to us. Jesus said in John 8:36 “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Free from ALL charges that anyone may make against us, be they true or untrue. Does that mean we can do whatever we please? Absolutely not! But, God knows that we are weak and will occasionally stumble in our walk with Him. The key is to get back up, repent, and get back on the right path and we shall be forgiven. Jesus died to do this for us! Have you thanked Him today for His amazing grace?
Take my word for nothing; go to the Source and read it for yourself.  And as always to our Lord and Savior be all the Glory forever.

I Know Who I Am! I Am Free Forever From Condemnation!

Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
Condemnation is the state of being condemned or found guilty for our actions. To get a clear picture of just how bad it is to be condemned let’s read what the thief on the cross said: Luke 23:40 “But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?” There were 3 people hanging on crosses that day. Two were guilty and deserved condemnation, and One was there taking our condemnation for us. BUT.. because of Jesus this guilty man made a last minute confession that Jesus is Lord which made him too free forever of condemnation!
There is only one other place in the Bible where the “Spirit of life” can be found and that is in the book of the Revelation. Revelation 11:11 “And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them (the Two Witnesses), and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.” Without the life the Spirit gives, there would be nothing after we die physically.
“The law of sin and death” was also dealt with on Calvary. Colossians 2:13 “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” There was a great victory won the day our Lord was nailed to the cross. What Satan thought was a triumph for him was actually the day that he died, and Jesus was the Victor. Satan was the head of the “principalities and powers” that were spoiled forever so that you and I would never have to be in a state of Condemnation ever again. Satan is still weaving his web of deception where he can, but his time is short. The only place he has access to us is in the physical state we are currently in. He cannot touch us spiritually. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:21 “Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” Praise God for His wonderful love that frees us from Condemnation!
Take my word for nothing; go to the Source and read it for yourself.  And as always to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be all the Glory forever.

I Know Who I Am! I Am a Member of the Body of Christ!

1 Corinthians 12:27 “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”
Just as our physical bodies have many different parts for many different functions so are the believers that make up the body or church of Christ. Nothing happens by chance or happenstance; our God is in control of all! He gives different gifts to different people so that the entire church body may be made strong. If everyone had the same spiritual gift the church would be lacking in some areas. God in His infinite wisdom had given a good balance of gifts to His people. We all need each other in order for the church to thrive. This should not be an occasion for some that are gifted to boast over someone of a differing gift. We have had people to tell us that if we do not “speak with tongues” that we do not have the gift of the Holy Ghost. Some act as if it is some secret society that only a few are admitted into, making them somehow better than the general body of Christ. I believe Paul plainly states here that not all will speak with tongues, yet we are all members of the body of Christ. God gives us the gift that we can readily use for HIS purpose. Whatever gift He has given us we should ALWAYS remember that it came from Him; therefore we have no need to boast of anything. Psalm 44:8 “In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever.”
Take my word for nothing; go to the Source and read it for yourself.  And as always to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be all the Glory forever.

I Know Who I Am! I Am the Salt and Light of the Earth.

Matthew 5:13 (Jesus said) “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”
These verses were taken from the famous Sermon the Mount speech that Christ gave while surrounded by a multitude of followers. Jesus had a way of taking the ordinary experiences and concepts of everyday life and relating them to the Heavenly. Here He compares the life of the Christian disciple with that of a common seasoning for food. Having Christ in our lives can make what would otherwise be a pointless existence into one of lively hope, just as salt awakens the flavor of our food. “But if the salt have lost his savour” or saltiness what purpose does it have? It is then “cast” or thrown out. This is not to imply that the Christian has lost his/her salvation, but rather that they have become useless to the work for the kingdom. To be “trodden under foot of men” seems to be implying that we will not stand out for the kingdom; we will have lost our witness for Christ.
“Ye are the light of the world.” In this world that seems to be growing increasingly darker with sin abounding all around us, the Christian stands like a beacon “set on a hill” for all to see by. There is a small flashing light on the edge of my computer that can’t possibly even be 1/2 a watt of brightness. But every night before I go to sleep I have to turn that light the opposite direction of my bed so it will not keep me awake. Even the smallest of light can shine brightly in a darkened place.
Jesus is the Son of God and like the sun in our sky that is reflected by the moon; so should we be. Our job is to be a reflection of the true Light of the world, and to flavor it with God’s love!
Take my word for nothing; go to the Source and read it for yourself.  And as always to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be all the Glory forever.

I Know Who I Am! I Am a Saint (set apart for God).

1 Corinthians 1:2 “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:”
This is part of the opening greeting of Paul to the church at Corinth. The church was physically located AT Corinth, but it is “sanctified IN Christ Jesus” or set apart to His work and will. My home church is at Mill Creek, but we are IN Christ Jesus. The church building is set apart for the worship services; it is the people who attend the church who are IN Christ Jesus.
We talked yesterday in our Scripture verses about yielding our bodily members to Jesus because He is in us, but for Him to be in us we must first be in Him. The only requirement for that is to “call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord” and He has promised that we shall be saved. Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Notice that He first “called us to be saints”, then we “call upon” His name. John 6:44 (Jesus said) “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” It is the work of the Spirit of God that calls us to be saints set apart or “sanctified” to be IN Christ Jesus.
The saints of God will hold a special place in the day of judgment. God will avenge those who have persecuted the ones who have kept their garments pure and white. Revelation 14:12 “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” The saints of God will enjoy eternal rest from their labor for the Kingdom, while those who persecuted them will have their part in the Lake of Fire. This is why the Bible tells us time and again to not be distressed when the time of persecutions come. We are fortunate to be living in a country where we need not fear being called a Christian, (yet). But, we probably have all had some sort of persecution if we think on it. I have been told that I am “too Jesusy” whatever that means! There have been some that have deleted me from their Facebook friends list because of the things I post; doesn’t sound like much on the surface, but it is a form of persecution. Praise God that is all it has been! But this should not surprise us. 1 John 3:13 “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. 14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.”
We have been rewarded with life eternal with the Father, and no one can take that away!
Take my word for nothing; go to the Source and read it for yourself.  And as always to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be all the glory forever.

I Am Bought With a Price and United With the Lord!

I Know Who I Am!
1 Corinthians 6:15 “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
In this 6th chapter of 1 Corinthians Paul is admonishing the church at Corinth about living a godly life. This particular set of verses is dealing with sexual misconduct.
“Know ye not…” that Jesus paid a ransom for your soul and body when He gave His life for ours? He bought or paid the price for our freedom from death and eternal separation on Calvary. So we are to yield our “members” or our hands, arms, legs and feet to the service of the Lord. If Christ is dwelling in our hearts in the form of the Holy Ghost then wherever we go and whatever we do Christ is there with us. If Christ were physically standing beside us, would we be ashamed to take Him along to some of the places our feet tend to lead us? Paul uses the example of the flesh of a man being joined with the flesh of a harlot in the sexual intercourse. If our bodies are now the residence of the Holy Ghost, we certainly should not want to submit our bodies to fornication. We would not only be defiling ourselves but also the temple of God. That is what WE should not do. Now, here’s the good part; if wherever we go He goes, then everywhere He goes, we go!
Jesus told us in John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Jesus left this sinful world and went to be with the Father in Heaven where He has promised to “prepare a place” for us! Some of the newer translations say there are many ROOMS in the Father’s house, well friend, I have rooms now; I am going to have a mansion just like my Bible tells me! He has promised to come and “receive” us into the place where He now lives and reigns. I will not make Him ashamed to go places with me, so that I will not be ashamed when I meet the Father!
Take my word for nothing; go to the Source and read it for yourself.  And as always to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be all the Glory forever.

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