Tag Archives: Christ

What is the Most Critical Problem….

2cor 11 how perceptive are you2What is the most critical problem that Christ followers must face head on? It is spiritual adultery which is being disloyal or unfaithful to our Beloved Savior. Paul remarked to the Corinthians in chapter 11 that his biggest fear was, like Eve, they would be “led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”  This was not just a Corinthian problem as we see in Galatians: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are following a different gospel.” In fact “there are some who are disturbing you and wanting to distort the gospel of Christ.”  Spiritual adultery happens when we lose our first love or are unable to “discern both good and evil.” We must guard against “false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.”

Beloved, we must recognize this is a real and present danger and the imposter(s) will be looking for weaknesses in our armor. We have been given the Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness. Guard against “quench[ing] the Spirit” and “griev[ing] the Holy Spirit of God.” Prepare ahead of time. Be in the Word daily. Memorize and pray scripture. Be like the Bereans who were “examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if these things were so.” Beloved, “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”


Therefore…..Not Condemned….Romans 7

rom 8 nothing separate2A TV series was aptly titled “As the World Turns” and so it is with those whose lives are bound up by the adversary the Devil. They live in hostility against a holy God whose “wrath…is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness,” [Rom 1]. But we who are in Christ Jesus are no longer under God’s condemnation! “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him” [Jn 3]

Beloved, we have received this sacrificial gift of redemption! Even when our adversary comes bringing a Scarlet Letter to hang about our neck to condemn us we have this truth: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  We no longer need to be “afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” [Mt 10] Instead we can recite the words of Micah “I will wait for the God who delivers me..” And this why we can echo “If God is for us, who can be against us?….[we are] “convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

War Ain’t Pretty But….

Nope, war is ugly and there are more victims than victors. but, spiritual wars are even uglier. Let me explain:

Here’s what it looked like. Ephesians 6 battle mind2

Before I began this post I experienced an onslaught of the powers of darkness overshadowing me. It was more powerful than I have experienced in a long time. That is what happens when you come against these strongholds of the “enemy” Satan. But, just as Paul prayed for the Ephesians I began to pray: Strengthen me Holy Spirit in my inner man for Satan is my enemy and he does not want me to write this nor to share it. Just as quickly as the forces of darkness began to diminish. How often do we not utilize the tool of prayer in such strong words. But, Jesus and the Holy Spirit were interceding for me and I must believe that this is why Satan’s or his demon’s powers were thwarted. And now precious ones to the post!

This is War and It Ain’t Pretty!

ephesians 6 armor2This is the truth regarding a believer’s battle! This is real war Beloved lest we think otherwise!

Paul was all too familiar with walking in the flesh as well as walking in the Spirit and what lay ahead for the Ephesians. Recall what he told the Ephesian elders: “after I am gone fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.” Jesus said “I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves.” Who better than Peter to remind us that Satan himself roams about seeking whom he may devour and audaciously demands that we be sifted as wheat for he experienced it in real life. BUT, just as Christ prayed for Peter that his faith not fail, he sits at the right hand of God interceding for us. In addition, the Holy Spirit “intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings.”

Take heart Beloved and prepare for the spiritual battle you will face daily moment by moment. Pray boldly that God would “grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person” because the real battle begins in the mind.[See above for my real life experience today!] Our real enemy is not flesh and blood but spiritual forces that are invisible to the naked eye. Yet, Satan cannot vanquish: truth, righteousness, the good news of peace, faith, salvation and the word of God. Be conscious that a spiritual battle is raging; be knowledgeable of Satan’s schemes of deception and untruths. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Imitate Christ, put on your armor!

Compassionate Warning

col 2 complete in him2

Paul’s compassionate heart is revealed in ch 1 for two women who are struggling. Now in ch 2 he reveals his “soft side” once again but it is for the church as a whole and not just the Colossian church but also the Laodicean church. Paul notes that they are currently living Christ-like lives but he warns that danger is ahead. It is in Revelation ch 3 and the letter to the Laodicean church that we find out what happens when we fail to obey the warning signs.

What was Paul warning these precious new believers about? It appears that there were those who were lurking in the church that wanted to captivate these believers with empty deceitful philosophy which was nothing more than “self-imposed worship and false humility.” Paul reminded these precious believers that all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are found in Christ. Beware of those who come seeking to lead you astray by wanting to add elemental spirits of the world, mystical visions and ecstatic experiences to the simple gospel message! They are much like Timothy Leary who advocated psychedelic drugs so one could “know God.” They seek to “deceive you through arguments that sound reasonable.” Beloved, we must be Bereans! We must examine the scriptures to see if what they are saying is truth so we can be discerning!

Sadly, the Laodicean church failed to heed the warning signs; Christ noted that they were negligent and found wanting. Beloved cling to this; in Him you have been made complete. Therefore, remain firm in your faith, discerning truth from error, loving the brethren, bearing fruit, and growing.

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Jesus-Believer’s Transformation

1Thess 1 transformation3In Thessalonica Paul preached the truth of the gospel from the scriptures “explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, saying, “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” [Acts 17] But his stay was short lived and as Paul left hurriedly he had visions that his work was of no value as it seemed that the word of the Lord had fallen upon deaf ears. How often do we proclaim and think that what we have shared has done the same? It is then that we must remember it is NOT about you or me, but it is the power of the gospel, the power of the Holy Spirit that changes lives. It must have been almost more than Paul could take when he heard that the Thessalonians not only heard but received and now were living as Jesus-Believers. They were transformed!

Three things stood out in the lives of the Thessalonians that we can take to heart. First their transformation was evident to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia so much so that the message of the power of the gospel was echoing everywhere. Does our transformation by Jesus do the same? It was evident in three ways: ‘work of faith and labor of love and endurance of hope.’ They put faith; words and their belief into action. The world is looking for the reality of transformed lives. Are we living out the gospel so much so that even our “trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold –“?

How does your life and my life look to the outside world?

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How to Love Thy Neighbor….

Discipline is hard for parents and for children but this keeps both accountable and keeps the family living peacefully with one another. Paul has been acting as the parent to these precious Galatian babes in Christ who are dividing the gal 5 and 6 love neighborf2Galatian church by their childish actions of snapping and arguing and had fallen for the bait of the “Thou Shalt be Circumcised and Obey the Mosaic Law” legalists. Paul asks those who had had not swallowed their bait to take on a mighty task of restoring gently those who were the back biters, devourers and provokers so that the church is once again united in Christ.

However, before they or anyone takes on this task there is are two steps that must be adhered to: “First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” And secondly, be living by the law of Christ which means living out the character of Christ step by step. Both of these require self-examination so as not to be self-deceived and quench and grieve the Holy Spirit. The only thing that mattered was: faith working through love and demonstrating that one is a new creation in Christ. This is how you love your neighbor as yourself.

Are we mature enough in the Lord to do this? This can only happen by immersing oneself in the Word, meditating upon it so you can discern truth from error. Only then can one bear the burdens another carries.

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Struggling against the tide

john 3 16 gal 1a2This is where I am at this point in time after a discouraging evening with the evangelism team and as I struggled through Galatians 1 thinking. Here is the struggle….

One of the prevailing answers to the faith question in our culture today is this: we are all on different roads and they all lead to the same destination: heaven. Is this true? If so we might have to discard Jesus’ words “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” In fact, Jesus Christ gave himself for our sins to rescue us. It is therefore an astonishing thought to think that one who received the pure gospel message would so quickly desert and follow another gospel which is not really a gospel at all. The reason it is not a true gospel is because it is not the good news but rather one that seeks to put one into the bondage of faith plus works.

Why is that? It is because the true gospel is offensive to our human nature, our pride and our wisdom. We want/need to be in control and are offended when it is God’s way only. Our pride is offended to know that a man died in our place. That removes our self-sufficiency. And it offends our wisdom to think that God would use this humiliating disgraceful death to save us. But the truth is this: “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures.” That is the truth of the pure gospel message and although the world considers it foolish God chose that so that we might know that His grace is the all sufficient, all wise way and there is no other way. Which gospel are you following—one of grace alone or one that says grace plus works?

BTW: this will appear on Facebook.com/bible.org on May 1…so any ideas you can offer here would be eagerly anticipated and considered.

Are We Being Transfigured/Transformed?

Jesus chose mark 9 earley unveiled2three disciples out of the 12 to accompany him to the mountain top. Each would later draw strength from this as their message of encouragement to others.  Peter, the denier would later write: “we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” And John would write: “we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father…” James would draw strength as he faced the sword of Herod. God gives us these mountain top experiences as His powerful picture that the goal is not the cross but only its path to glory.

Why did Jesus reveal this to just three of his disciples? Perhaps because he knew that soon Peter would deny him; James would be beheaded, and John would be the one chosen to write the Revelation of the Transfigured Christ. Recently a precious friend left his earthly dwelling and now sits at the feet of Jesus. As I pondered this I considered this thought: Jesus’ Transfiguration has given each of us  a glimpse into what awaits each believer at death which is comforting for those that are now grieving but also a picture of what we can become even now as we reach our mountain top with him.In addition, Paul gave us a glimpse of what will happen at death:  1Co 15:52 in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. Did you grab that thought? We will all be changed just as Jesus was changed on that mountain top and forever changed these men’s lives.

But until then we must return to the valley but are reminded that it is a process as Paul reflected: “And we all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another,” And now the crux of the whole purpose! We return from the mountain top so that we may reflect God’s glory before the world that we inhabit day by day.

Only the transfigured Jesus has the power to change us from the inside out for He is the Messiah, and why we are to “listen to Him.”

PhotoCredit: christianity.about.com


The Compassion of Christ

Mark 1 compassionate christaAs we are walking through Passion Week and soon will celebrate Resurrection Sunday it is important for us to step back and look at the life of Christ and the writer Mark will be our guide. As we begin we see that Mark reveals the urgency of Christ’s message to a world wallowing in sin. He shows us His authority over the physical elements of sin. He shows us His compassion over us who are held in the grip of sin.

It is this last element that grips our hearts this week as we see our blessed Savior hung on a cruel cross because men were blind by choice to who Jesus truly was. He was a man yet he was God in his humanness. He was as the demoniac said “the Holy One of God” to show us His goodness and His love for mankind. He was a man who walked, talked and saw the effects of sin yet with a heart of compassion. It was this character quality we see as he silenced the demons, with gentleness lifted an ailing woman from her sick bed, reached out to a leper to heal him not just because he was able but because he was willing. This is the gospel or good news we are to proclaim this week for we have the message, we have been touched and healed.

Beloved there are people all around us who are wallowing in sin and Christ is the authority who can heal them because He is the Compassionate Christ. May we take time this week to show and reveal compassion to another.

Reflecting Christ in an Unchristian World

1tim 3 reflection2As parents and teachers we often hear the words “why?” when asked to do something. Paul in this chapter gives us the answer to the question before it is asked. “Why” are we to be above reproach within and without the church is the question that surely will arise when we are told to pray for our leaders. It is because leaders have been given a charge to lead the body of Christ, the church of the living God. Therefore, they are held to a higher standard and their behavior both within and without the church must be “irreproachable,” that is faultless.

But, Beloved, it is not just leaders that must hold to these standards. We too are called to be a people of the cross that are holy both in our homes and in the church. So what does that look like? James tells us that we must be not just hearers of the word but also doers. We must look in the mirror and see what is reflected back. When we look do we walk away and forget or do we see ourselves as a people who walk, talk, and exhibit that we are “true children of the faith” and “our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith?”  Beloved, you and I live, move, breathe and exhibit the truth that Jesus Christ was revealed in the flesh; vindicated by the Holy Spirit, seen by angels; and is even now being proclaimed among the nations who come to believe he was the Resurrected Christ! Is this our reflection to a world that is in need of His love and redemption?