Friday, February 28, 2014

God's Word through Paul in Galatians 5

In Galatians chapters 5:13-6, Paul teaches the Fruits of the Spirit and tells us to “walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (5:16).

Good works do not save,
but a Christian must have the desire
to produce good fruit,
obey God’s Law
and live a holy and righteous life
in the eyes of God.
With the Holy Spirit's guiding Christians can live this redeemed life.

Paul's words to us:

For, dear brothers,
you have been given freedom:
not freedom to do wrong,
but freedom to love
and serve each other.
For the whole Law can be summed up
in this one command:
“Love others as you love yourself.”

But if instead of showing love among yourselves
you are always critical and catty,
watch out!
Beware of ruining each other.

I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions.
He will tell you where to go and what to do,
and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things
your evil nature wants you to.

For we naturally love to do evil things
that are just the opposite from the things
that the Holy Spirit tells us to do;
and the good things we want to do
when the Spirit has his way with us
are just the opposite of our natural desires.

These two forces within us
are constantly fighting each other
to win control over us,
and our wishes
are never free from their pressures.

When you are guided by the Holy Spirit,
you need no longer force yourself
to obey Jewish laws.

But when you follow your own wrong inclinations,
your lives will produce these evil results:
impure thoughts,
eagerness for lustful pleasure,
spiritism (that is, encouraging the activity of demons),
hatred and fighting,
jealousy and anger,
constant effort to get the best for yourself,
complaints and criticisms,
the feeling that everyone else is wrong
except those in your own little group—
and there will be wrong doctrine,
wild parties,
and all that sort of thing.

Let me tell you again,
as I have before,
that anyone living that sort of life
will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives
he will produce this kind of fruit in us:
and self-control;
and here there is no conflict
with Jewish laws.

Those who belong to Christ
have nailed their natural evil desires
to his cross and crucified them there.

If we are living now
by the Holy Spirit’s power,
let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading
in every part of our lives.

Then we won’t need to look for
honors and popularity,
which lead to jealousy
and hard feelings.

 The Living Bible

Thursday, February 27, 2014

To God be the glory...

For the Lord, "a jealous God"

For the Lord, whose name is jealous, is a jealous God.’ Exodus 34:14

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Kings 10:15–31

How careful should we be when we do anything for God,
and God is pleased to accept of our doings,
that we never congratulate ourselves.

The minister of Christ should unrobe himself of every rag of praise.

‘You preached well,’ said a friend to John Bunyan one morning.
‘You are too late,’ said honest John, ‘the devil told me that before I left the pulpit.’

The devil often tells God’s servants a great many things
which they should be sorry to hear.

Why, you can hardly be useful in a Sunday School
but he will say to you ‘How well you have done it!’

You can scarcely resist a temptation,
or set a good example,
but he will be whispering to you
‘What an excellent person you must be!’

It is, perhaps, one of the hardest struggles
of the Christian life to learn
this sentence—
‘Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us,
but unto thy name give glory.’

Now God is so jealous on this point that,
while he will forgive his own servants
a thousand things,
this is an offence for which he is sure to chasten us.

Let a believer once say, ‘I am,’
and God will soon make him say ‘I am not’.

Let a Christian begin to boast, ‘I can do all things,’
without adding ‘through Christ which stengtheneth me,’
and before long he will have to groan,
‘I can do nothing,’ and bemoan himself.

Many sins of true Christians,
I do not doubt,
have been the result of their glorifying themselves.

Many a man has been permitted by God
to stain a noble character and to ruin an admirable reputation,
because the character and the reputation
had come to be the man’s own,
instead of being laid,
as all our crowns must be laid,
at the feet of Christ.

You may build the city,
but if you say with Nebuchadnezzar,
‘Behold this great Babylon that I have built!’
you shall be smitten to the earth.

The worms which ate Herod
when he gave not God the glory
are ready for another meal;
beware of vain glory!

For meditation:

The temptation to pat ourselves on the back
should be the cue
for us to recall
how the Lord Jesus Christ
instructs us to think
and speak about our good deeds.

Any glory resulting from them
should go to God.

Sermon no. 502
27 February
Preached 29 March 1863

by Charles Haddon Spurgeon
from the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit!

365 Days with C.H. Spurgeon, Vol. 2.
A unique collection of 365 daily readings from sermons
preached by Charles Haddon Spurgeon
from the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wednesday's Answers to Life's Questions ~ How can I get to "really know" God?

 Psalm 27: 4, 8
v4~One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: 
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, 
To behold the beauty of the Lord, 
And to inquire in His temple.   

v8~When You said, “Seek My face,” 
My heart said to You, 
“Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

Did you know God wants to show you 
more of Himself every day?

Are you seeking after God with all your strength?

Does your time with the Lord revitalize you,
or does it feel more like a ritualistic experience?

          Contrast the experience of Gomer with that of an earlier Israelite, Hannah (1 Sam. 1-2). Gomer did not care to know God. Yet Hannah sought after God with all her heart. What made the difference? Knowing God.

          In Hosea 6:6, God is clear: "I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings." In order to deepen your relationship with the Lord and remain devoted to Him:

·        You must come to Him honestly.
Confessing your sins and inviting Jesus Christ into your heart requires you to be vulnerable. Although such humility and repentance may be intimidating, accepting Christ is the best decision anyone can make.

·        You must understand your reliance upon Him.
Hannah saw God as her only source of comfort and power: "She, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly" (1 Sam. 1:10). And because she did, He looked upon her with compassion and grace (1 Sam. 1:19-20).

·        You must become interested in what interests Him.
Has your desire for spiritual insight and godly wisdom declined? If so, ask the Lord to restore your longing for Him and for the things that most concern Him.

·        You must know His Word.
By reading the Bible, you open your heart to Him. He has given you the Holy Spirit to help you understand His Word, and He wants you to meditate on it so you can apply it to your life.

·        You must observe His characteristics and ways.
Read the promises God makes in His Word. Ask Him to remind you of how He has already worked in your lifewith all the wisdom, love, and power you will ever need for any challenge you will ever face.

·        You must accept His invitation and follow His commands.
God is constantly inviting you to walk with Him. Give the Lord total control of your decisions, time, talents, and possessionswalking in complete submission to Him. Your obedience will certainly bring great blessings.

     Your knowledge of God grows as you increasingly recognize His love for you. God delights in your joyful praise and worship of Him. Psalm 46:10 says: "Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." As you get to know God on deeper levels, your ability to trust and obey Him will increase. You will find your life's fulfillment when you come to know and exalt the Lord of all creation.

~ page 249 ~

Blog Author's comment:
I highly recommend getting a copy of this Life Principles Daily Bible to use in your own personal study time with God. It is filled with insights about things maybe you always wondered about but did not know who to ask or where too embarrassed to ask because you felt maybe you "should" have already know the answers.

Also, if me....have had trouble "reading through the Bible in a year," then this edition is definitely for you because each day's Bible reading is broken down for you...from the beginning of January until the end of December. It is written in the easy to read New American Standard Bible format...and has insights about what you are reading sprinkled all throughout. I have found it so helpful to me that I often write the insights or comforting verses on index cards and carry them with me or put them beside my bed or reading table to remind myself of God's love and assurances of His promises.

Another book I highly recommend is this little pocket size 
"God's Promises for Every Day." 

I found this book via my Kindle and loved it so much that I ordered a hard copy for myself. I ordered the New Century Version for myself and the New King James Version for my youngest daughter. I don't know about you but, even though my mother took me to church with her every Sunday, I could not call to mind God's promises to comfort me in time of need. I am ashamed to say that...but it is true. My little book of God's Promises brought verses to my memory that I didn't realize were God's promises to me. I knew many of the verses but did not make the connection to use them as comfort to me.

My prayer for you this week is that you may find comfort in God's Promises!!

God began doing a good work in you,
and I am sure he will continue it
until it is finished
when Jesus Christ comes again.

This is my prayer for you:
that your love will grow more and more;
that you will have knowledge and understanding
with your love; 
10 that you will see the difference between good and bad
and will choose the good;
that you will be pure and without wrong
for the coming of Christ; 
11 that you will be filled with the good things
produced in your life by Christ
to bring glory and praise to God.

~ Philippians 1:6, 9-11 ~

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ten Common Sense Ways to Avoid Sin

Be careful where you get your advice...
Psalm 1:1
Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
    Nor stands in the path of sinners,
    Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

Be careful where you spend your time...
Psalm 1:1
Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
    Nor stands in the path of sinners,
    Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

Make a covenant not to look at what you shouldn't...
Job 31:1
“I have made a covenant with my eyes;
Why then should I look upon a young woman [or man]?

If sin is there, get out of there...
2 Timothy 2:22
"Flee also youthful lusts; 
but pursue righteousness, 
faith, love, peace with those 
who call on the Lord 
out of a pure heart."

Thirst after righteousness...
Matt. 5:6
Blessed are those who hunger 
and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.

Do a Spirit-exchange of emotions...
Ephesians 4:30-31
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, 
by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, 
and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.

Let the Word of Christ live in you...
Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly 
in all wisdom, 
teaching and admonishing one another 
in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, 
singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Get rid of the deeds of darkness...
Ephesians 5:11
And have no fellowship 
with the unfruitful works of darkness, 
but rather expose them.

Ban forever the deeds of the flesh...
Colossians 3:5
Therefore put to death your members 
which are on the earth: 
fornication, uncleanness, passion, 
evil desire, and covetousness, 
which is idolatry.

Walk humbly before God...
Philippians 2:5
Let this mind be in you 
which was also in Christ Jesus,

Micah 6:8
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?