Sin Equals Ruin

Sin Equals Ruin

Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.  (Ezek 18:30b)

I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me! 14 I was on the verge of total ruin, in the midst of the assembly and congregation.  (Pro 5:13-14)

The righteous God wisely considers the house of the wicked, overthrowing the wicked for their wickedness.  (Pro 21:12)

A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it, and a flattering mouth works ruin.  (Pro 26:28)

These verses from the Bible demonstrate to mankind that sin (iniquity, transgression, wickedness) brings about the devastation and destruction of a person’s life.  Continuous unrelenting sin can wreck homes, relationships, health (mental, physical, spiritual) as well as financial stability.

Whereas the blessings for righteous living can be found throughout the Scriptures.  Here are a handful of those blessings:

  • Stability and ever increasing strength (Job 17:9)
  • God defends the righteous and surrounds them with His favor (Ps 5:11-12)
  • Long life; God hears the prayer of the righteous; grants deliverance from trouble; and the Lord guards their very bones. (Ps 34:12-20)
  • Deliverance from death, and the upright will never be allowed to famish.  (Pro 10:2-3)  Famish means:  to suffer for lack of something necessary (essential for life).

Those who have made Jesus Christ their Savior and Lord are made righteous in Christ  (Ro 1:17; 4:5; 10:4; 1 Cor 1:30; 2 Cor 5:21) and are entitled to all of the blessings of the righteous.  We are also privileged to obey and to live according to the moral teachings of Jesus Christ, our Savior.

There’s Power in the Blood, Part 2

There’s Power in the Blood, Part 2

This is our second article about the power of the blood of Jesus.  Here are some Scripture passages on the topic with my comments following:

For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.  (Lev 17:11)  We all know that the life of any flesh, human or animal, is in the blood.  And the Lord shed the blood of animals and brought the animal skins to cover Adam and Eve’s sin when they sinned in the Garden of Eden.  Therefore, we may reason that the blood of Jesus sustains our spiritual life, as well as cleanses us of sin.

. . . without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.  (Heb 9:22 ESV)  The Old Testament model of shedding the blood of animals to cover sin, is the basis of this verse in Hebrews.  In the New Testament, we see that Jesus is the sinless, spotless Lamb of God (Joh 1:29) and that His shed blood washes us from our sins. (Rev 1:5)

. . . the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.  (1 Joh 1:7)  Jesus’ blood cleanses us from all sin—not only once—but on a continual basis as we lead our daily lives.  Glory to God most High!

Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.  (Ex 12:13)  The Israelites were instructed by God to put lamb’s blood on their doorposts, and when the avenging angel came by, he would not visit the homes that had the blood on the lintels.  In spiritual terms, the blood of Jesus protects us from plagues, illnesses, disease and destruction.

And they overcame him [the devil] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.  (Rev 12:11, parenthesized text added)  We can overcome every temptation of the enemy when we are covered by the blood of Jesus, and when our testimony coincides and agrees with what God says.  Our testimony must always be:  “I am redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ.”

. . . how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience . . . (Heb 9:14)  Jesus Christ is the Lord, our righteousness (Jer 23:6; 1 Cor 1:30); and because He is, we have a purified conscience.

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus . . . (Heb 10:19) The blood of Jesus enables us with faith and confidence to enter the presence of the Lord in thanksgiving, prayer and praise.  (Heb 4:16)

Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.  (Heb 13:12)  We are made holy by the blood of Jesus poured out on Calvary, as are all who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

We have every reason to rejoice in our salvation!

How Do We Take Thoughts Captive?

How Do We Take Thoughts Captive?

Our thoughts are central to our lives because we act upon our thoughts.  (see Pro 23:7a; Mk 7:21)

When we consider our ways, it’s wise to turn our hearts to God’s Word.  (Ps 119:59)  God’s Word is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts; and it will reveal our true motives to us—something that we all need.  (Heb 4:12)

We should reject our own thoughts and carnal ways; and turn to the Lord, who will forgive us and will renew our thinking.  (Isa 55:7; 65:2)

God understands our thoughts and knows our works.  (Isa 66:18)  But God’s thoughts and God’s ways are higher than ours.  (Isa 55:8-9)  That’s why the Bible tells us that we’re being changed into His image day by day.  (2 Cor 3:18)  We need to be changed.

Here’s how to take thoughts captive [confined; caged; enslaved]:

  1. Recognizing when they are spiritually unhealthy; worthless; unpleasing to God; and not in agreement with the Word of God;
  2. Stopping them in their tracks by determining that they did not originate in our own thoughts or hearts;
  3. Rejecting them outright and robbing them of any power over us; and
  4. Replacing them with Scripture verses that the Holy Spirit brings to our minds to counteract them and to minister comfort to our hearts.

It’s important to understand this process because the Lord tells us to take our thoughts captive in 2 Corinthians 10:5:  

. . . casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ . . .

Our goal is to bring our thoughts into obedience to Christ, our Savior.  We willingly offer our thoughts to the Lord Jesus, who alone is able to confine them. 

As mentioned above, the types of things that we would want to take captive are those that are:

  • Spiritually unhealthy (fearful or sinful);
  • Unproductive to the Kingdom of God;
  • Unpleasing to God;
  • Worthless;
  • Originating from the evil one (disparaging of self or others; lonely; discouraged; depressed; lustful thoughts; mulling over past hurts; etc.);
  • Not in agreement with the Word of God.

We are blessed because we have the freedom and ability to choose what thoughts to entertain and what thoughts to utterly reject.  We have spiritual weapons (2 Cor 10:4) at our disposal that will assist us in the battlefield of the mind.  Several of those spiritual weapons are:  prayer; confession; praise; the Word of God; fellowship with other believers; and the power of the Holy Spirit.

As we are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2), we become engaged in the battle against pretense and the arrogant philosophy of the world. Trusting Christ and rightly dividing the Word of God (2 Tim 2:15), we take every thought captive, pull down the strongholds, and, by the grace of God, set ALL of the captives free.  Hallelujah!

Eternal Salvation

Eternal Salvation

And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him . . . (Heb 5:9)

Jesus Christ has purchased our eternal salvation, and there is ample testimony to this truth in the Scriptures.

This one who is life from God has been shown to us, and we guarantee that we have seen him; I am speaking of Christ, who is eternal Life. He was with the Father and then was shown to us.  (1 Joh 1:2 TLB)

Jesus has been shown to the whole world as our Redeemer and Savior.  He said about Himself that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  (Joh 14:6)  Faith in Him is the way to reconciliation and peace with God, our Father.

For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.  (1 Cor 6:20)

The price given for our salvation was Jesus’ life, suffering, death, and resurrection.  Jesus paid that price, and for this we give glory to God!  We are literally called to glorify God through our lives and how we spend our lives in His service.

. . . who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.  (Tit 2:14)

The Lord desires for us to be fervent and intense about performing good works.  What exactly are “good works” according to the Scriptures?  Good works are such things as:  feeding the poor; visiting prisoners; helping the homeless; preaching the Gospel; ministering to widows and orphans; etc.  With so many families fractured by living in different states and by relational hurts, these things are very necessary in these days.

. . . knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.   (1 Pet 1:18-19)

Honor the Lord by realizing the importance and value of the gift of salvation that Jesus paid for with His own, precious blood.

Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world . . .  (Mt 25:34)

Good Things to Know

Good Things to Know

Greetings, friends!  Here are some lessons I’ve learned along my way.  These are applicable to and useful for all who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord.

  • As soon as you receive an assignment from the Lord (which might come through your Pastor; the person who is your spiritual covering; or the Holy Spirit), you’re anointed to fulfill it!  (Isa. 61:1; Luke 4:18)  Anointed = empowered or enabled to act; set apart
  • Jesus is the Lord of your spirit, soul, and body.  (Acts 2:36; 1 Cor. 8:6; Phil. 2:11)
  • Your anointing is sufficient for your life and your world.  (2 Cor. 1:21, 22)
  • We’re anointed to KNOW things.  (1John 2:20)
  • Decree and agree with what the Bible says about you.  (Numbers 22:35, 38; Mark 11:23)
  • Guard your heart.  (Prov. 4:23-27; Phil. 4:7)
  • Pray in the Spirit.  (Romans 8:26; 1 Cor. 14:13-15; Ephes. 6:18)
  • Walk in love; faith works by love.  (Gal. 5:6)  Daily life will test your love. 
  • A disciple of Christ performs signs and wonders.  (Acts 2:43; 4:30; 5:12; 6:8)
  • Meditation upon the Scriptures transforms our belief system!  (Ps. 19:14; 49:3; Phil. 4:8; 1 Tim. 4:15)
  • You are delivered from the POWER of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of Jesus Christ.  (Colossians 1:13, 14)

Enjoy your extraordinary, spiritual journey, friends!

Being a Witness Where You Are

Being a Witness Where You Are

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”  (Mk 16:15)

Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.  (Ps 96:3)

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.  (Mt 24:14)

The Bible tells us in 2 Peter 3:9 that the Lord is not willing that any should perish.  Jesus obediently fulfilled His assignment to the fullest, and has purchased our salvation.  We are instructed by the Scriptures to share our Good News with others! 

We don’t need to embark on a mission field in some far-flung country to do this.  We’re called to be witnesses of God’s goodness right where we are!  We may do that in a variety of ways:  by serving our neighbors through acts of kindness and mercy; by being helpful and considerate; by sending a card, making a meal, or visiting someone who is not feeling well.  God has made us to be creative, and every individual can think of creative ways to be a light in this world—thereby bringing glory to God.

Sharing the Good News isn’t about preaching at someone or beating them over the head with verses from the Bible.  It’s not about condemnation, but love.  It’s about lovingly reaching out to those we know, and interacting with them in ways that are meaningful to them.  And while we’re doing that, we take opportunities to share our own life experiences with them.  We may quote a succinct Scripture to support a comment, or share a brief testimony of answered prayer.

Being an effective witness for the Kingdom of God means connecting with our friends and neighbors during good and bad times. (Eccl 3:4)  As a witness, we should also strive to be a good citizen and neighbor—a good example.  (2 Cor 5:20)  We need to speak from our hearts, and show respect and sympathy towards others.

Witnessing means being genuine with our friends and neighbors, and even admitting when we may be struggling with something.  (2 Tim 1:8)  As we are open with others and allow them to see God resolve our circumstances for us, our life becomes a window into how the Kingdom of God operates.  This style of candid testimony affirms our authenticity.  Other people can sense how deeply we honor Christ and value our relationship with Him as they see us trust Him to work out the difficulties that we encounter in life.  (1 Pet 3:15)

As we live this way, the Lord will faithfully open the ears, minds, and hearts of those with whom we interact.  He will allow others to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, and His Spirit will then be able to move upon them to minister to them. 

All we need to understand is that the Lord will draw the unsaved to Himself through us—if we’ll cooperate with Him.  Praise God!

Did Jesus Truly Show His Love?

Did Jesus Truly Show His Love?

Ponder this:  did Jesus truly show His love for mankind?  Do you have assurance of God the Father’s love for you?  Here are some Scriptures for you to consider:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  (John 3:16)

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  (Romans 5:8)

. . . nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:39, underscoring added)

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  (Galatians 2:20)

All of these Bible verses talk about the love of God for us and the love of Jesus for us.  It is very easy to understand it through these passages.

Jesus, our Savior, demonstrated His great love for mankind and for His Father by offering His own life and blood in order to reconcile all of mankind to our Father God.   Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.  (Joh 15:13)  Jesus absolutely loved us—He gave His life for us!

With this understanding of Jesus’ love, which is a reflection of God the Father’s love, I believe it should seem like a reasonable service for us to put God in first place in our lives.