Abide in Him

Waiting on the Lord involves trusting in who he is, in his word, in his many promises, and in his power, sovereignty and grace in our lives to work out all things in our lives according to his plans and his purposes. Life doesn’t always make sense, and sometimes it may even seem unfair and unjust, yet God has a plan and a purpose for all things we go through in this life. He will give us all we need to make it through, and the wisdom and discernment to do what is right. We just have to trust him, and we have to rest in him.

The way in which we are able to do this is through abiding (remaining; being steadfast) in him and through having his words live within us. Our faith is not a religion, a ritual, or just a belief system, but it is a relationship with Jesus Christ. He asks of us, that we might be one of his followers, to die daily to sin and self, and to follow him in obedience (See Lu 9:23-25; cf. Ep. 4:17-24). Then he will live within us, and he will live out his life through us. And, in all that we go through in this life, he will fill us with his comfort, his peace and his healing.

Abide in Him / An Original Work / July 31, 2013

Based off Ps. 27:14; Is. 40:31; Jn. 14-15

If you wait for the Lord,
Put your hope now in Him,
He will give you His strength
And endurance within.
He will renew your strength,
So you will not lose heart.
You will soar on wings like eagles,
Never depart.

“If you abide in Me,
And My words live in you,
You will walk with Me daily
And follow what’s true.
I will live now in you;
Give you peace now within,
If you obey My teachings
And turn from your sin.”

“If you listen to Me,
And do all that I say,
I will give you My comfort;
Be with you always.
I will heal all your pain;
Life with Me now you’ll gain,
If in fellowship with Me
You always remain.”

A Good Soldier

Monday, June 29, 2015, 6:30 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Your Servant Witness.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Timothy 2:1-7 (NASB).

Be Strong (vv. 1-2)

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Timothy was a pastor, a minister of the gospel of Christ, a disciple of Paul’s, and a leader in the church, so he was in a position of spiritual authority within the church. Thus, not everything Paul instructed Timothy to do is applicable to every follower of Christ, yet much of it is, and what isn’t, we can still learn from in principle, for “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17NIV).

We should all be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and we should daily put on our spiritual armor with which to fight off Satan’s evil attacks against us (See Eph. 6:10-20). And, all followers of Christ are the Lord’s servants, his messengers and his witnesses. We are the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and we are to all let our lights shine before people. We are all to make followers of Christ of all people, teaching them to obey Christ’s commandments. And, we are to speak the truth in love, one to another, and to use the spiritual gifts we are given by the Spirit of God, and to fulfill our God-ordained roles within the body of Christ, for the building up of the body in love, and for their edification, encouragement and strengthening in the Lord (See: Eph. 4:1-16; Ro. 12:1-8; 1 Co. 12).

As a Soldier (vv. 3-4)

Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.

As well, we are all soldiers of Christ in his spiritual army, though we do not wage war as the world does, nor do we use the weapons of this world. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Co. 10:3-5; cf. Eph. 6:10-20). Amen!

As soldiers in our Lord’s spiritual army, we don’t entangle (ensnare) ourselves in the affairs (business) of this earthly (physical) life. We don’t get twisted together or deeply involved in or caught up in things which have little to no eternal value. For instance, I believe Christians should not involve themselves in politics, spending vast amounts of time, energy, and devotion to political parties and to defending political platforms which are designed by sinful human beings, and often for sinful, evil and deceptive purposes, of which we may not even be aware. I see many Christians get so caught up in following a particular political party that they will argue and fight with other believers, and will passionately defend the positions of sinful human beings, and for what purpose? God never called us to do this.

We don’t demolish Satan’s strongholds by defending and supporting what are his strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that is raised up against the knowledge of God by living godly and holy lives, and by daily putting on the armor of God, fighting off Satan’s evil attacks with the spiritual armor we have been given by God. And, we do so by spreading the message of the gospel of our salvation so that people can hear the gospel and can be saved. This is where people will find true freedom, liberty and justice for all – in Christ Jesus, our Lord, not in humans. If Christians spent the time and energy they spend following political parties, and vehemently defending their political platforms, instead, in following the Lord Jesus in service to him and to his gospel, and in spreading the message of the gospel throughout the world, we could shake this world for Jesus Christ!

Yet, politics is not the only “affair” of this physical life of which we are not to entangle ourselves. Many, many followers of Christ spend vast amounts of time, energy and devotion in being entertained and in entertaining others, including within the church. Those of us who grew up with TV in our homes, and then were later on introduced to personal computers, and then tablets (like IPads), and then smartphones, and the like, are being regularly bombarded with so many different ways in which to be entertained, and to entertain. Thus, we might often also be distracted from what really matters, from the things of God – of his righteousness and holiness – and from the callings of God on our lives to be his servants and his witnesses to the world around us, which is falling apart at the seams.

A good soldier of Jesus Christ is a follower of Christ who is concerned with pleasing his or her Lord, instead of being tangled up in the affairs of this world (of our earthly lives). Obviously people have to have jobs, pay bills, shop for food, cook, clean, take care of kids, etc. Those are necessities, though even these things can be taken to extreme, as well, and can become our idols, if we are not careful to seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness. The important thing here is that we make Jesus top priority in our lives, and we follow him in obedience and in surrender to his will for our lives all the time, whether we are working a secular job, or we are in full-time Christian ministry, or we are at home taking care of small children. We are to be servants of the Lord wherever we are, and in whatever we are doing, and when we have “free time,” we are still his servants, to do his bidding.

According to the Rules (vv. 5-7)

Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

Rules? Many say, “I thought rules were done with now that we are no longer under the law but under grace.” They think we don’t have to follow any rules now, but that we are free to live however we want, for Jesus set us free. But, Jesus didn’t free us to live our lives the way we want. That is not true freedom, for that is still slavery to the flesh of man. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (See: 1 Pet. 2:24). He freed us from the slavery of sin so that we might become slaves of righteousness (See: Ro. 6-8). He died that might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave himself up for us (See: 2 Co. 5:15). This is true freedom! And, it comes with rules, which are written down for us in the New Testament books of the Bible. Without rules, we have chaos, and disorder.

Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self), and follow (obey) Jesus. He said if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), we will gain eternal life (See: Lu. 9:23-25). Jesus died that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. If we walk according to the flesh, we will die, but if, by the Spirit, we are putting to death the deeds of our sinful flesh, we will live (See: Ro. 8:1-14).

Only those who are believing (present tense) in Jesus Christ have the hope of eternal life (See: Jn. 3:16). Jesus’ followers know his voice, they listen to him, and they obey him, and they are the ones who cannot be snatched out of God’s hands (See: Jn. 10:27-30). If we say we have fellowship with God, but we continue to walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (in sin/evil), then we are liars, and the truth is not in us (See: 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

There are rules for the Christian life, and some of them are critical to whether or not we have eternal salvation. This is not works-based salvation, as some would have you to believe, otherwise Jesus and the apostles would not have taught it. This is not following a set of rules to gain or to earn salvation. Yet, obedience to Christ and to his Word is essential to us having eternal life with God (See: Jn. 8:51; Heb. 5:9; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; 3:24). That is because true faith in Jesus Christ is both repentant and obedient, not in absolute sinless perfection, but in walking (conducting our lives) according to (agreeing with) the Spirit.

When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we die with Christ to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to new lives in Christ, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Eph. 4:17-24). Sin should no longer be our master, because we are not under law, but under grace. We have been set free from sin, and have become slaves of righteousness. When we were slaves to sin, we were free from the control of righteousness (See: Ro. 6). So, let us walk in the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh, so that we might live holy lives, pleasing to God, and be his true servant witnesses.

Your Servant Witness / An Original Work / March 13, 2012

Humbly I bow, Lord, before You,
Bringing my requests to You.
May I listen; hear You speaking.
May I follow You in truth.
Gently lead me in Your service.
Guide my steps and strengthen me.
Fill me with Your love and mercy.
May I live for Thee!

Let me be Your servant witness,
Telling others of Your grace.
May I always share the gospel
With those I meet face to face.
May I show the love of Jesus,
Caring for the needs of men;
Be Your servant witness always
For my Lord, Amen!

My desire to be like Jesus,
Living for Him ev’ry day.
May I obey all His teachings
Given me, so I’ll not stray.
Love You, Jesus, Lord, my master.
You are the King of my heart;
Follow You where’er You lead me;
Not from You depart!

Retain the Standard

Monday, June 29, 2015, 6:31 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Your New Life.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Timothy 1 (NASB).

Sincere Faith (vv. 1-5)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus,

To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy. For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.

What is sincere faith? It is genuine, honest, pure, unpretentious, unaffected (unpersuaded) by false (humanistic) teaching, and it is serious about God and his Word, trusting in the Lord Jesus with child-like faith. It believes that the Bible (Genesis-Revelation) is God’s God-breathed words to us, inerrant in its original form, and that the teachings of Christ and those of the apostles are the foundation for our Christian faith and practice, which believers in Jesus Christ must adhere to. It submits to God, takes God at his word, trusts in his promises, and seeks to know God in all his fullness. It hungers for truth, and it demolishes arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and it takes captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (See: 2 Co. 10:1-5).

For example, I am a believer in Jesus Christ because God ordained that I should be, i.e. because he chose me even before the creation of the world to be one of his followers. I am a believer in Jesus Christ because God the Father drew me to Jesus Christ, and because the Spirit of God moved me to obey my Lord and to believe in Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. I am a believer in Jesus because of God’s grace to me (to all of us) in sending Jesus Christ, God the Son, to the earth to die for our sins, and to be resurrected to life so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his stripes I am healed! All glory, praise, and honor belong to God, and to God alone for my (for our) salvation.

Although God uses us, his servants, to spread the good news of the gospel of Christ so that people can be saved, we are just servants, through whom people come to believe. We are not to be raised above anyone else, for we, as followers of Christ, are God’s fellow workers. One plants and another waters, but it is God who causes the growth, i.e. he is the one who makes certain the seed, which was planted, grows into mature faith. Our salvation is not of men, but of God. Our salvation is the working of the Spirit of God in our lives. In our society today, in the church, so many people make a big deal out of men (or women) who are the ones to “seal the deal,” i.e. to lead someone in a prayer to receive Christ, but God uses so many people in our lives to plant the seed and to water it, and we are all just servants of the Lord, so all the praise, honor and glory for our salvation belongs to God, and God alone.

So, what this means is that I get my direction from the Lord Jesus, from his Word, and from his Spirit within me, and not from human beings. My faith and practice are not based off the teachings, practices and traditions of humans, but are based in the Word of God, in Jesus Christ, and in the witness of the Spirit within me, who has been given to me to teach me all things, and to remind me of all that Jesus taught when he was on the earth.

Kindle Afresh (vv. 6-7)

For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

Paul instructed Timothy to “fan into flame” the gift of God within him. The English translations do not specify what he meant by “the gift of God,” so I looked at other scripture references using that same exact phrase. In Romans 5, “the gift of God” is a reference to the Holy Spirit, to God’s grace, to Jesus Christ, his righteousness and to our salvation. In Romans 6:23 we learn that “the gift of God” is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. In Ephesians 2:8-9 we learn that it is by grace we are saved, through faith, and this not from ourselves, “it is the gift of God…” In Eph. 3 Paul said he became a servant of the gospel by the gift of God’s grace. And, in Romans 12 and in 1 Corinthians 12 we learn about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as teaching, exhortation, healing, prophecy, helps, tongues, etc.

I also looked up the Greek word in the Greek-English Interlinear. The Greek word for “gift” is “charisma: a gift of grace; an undeserved favor; xárisma (‘grace-gift’) divinely empowers a believer to share God’s work with others, i.e. Spirit-empowered service to the Church to carry out His plan for His people; (but not limited to) ‘spiritual gifts.’ xarismata (the plural form) literally means ‘grace-endowments.’]” – http://biblehub.com/greek/5486.htm

I wanted to understand the biblical role the laying on of hands played in the life and ministry of the church, too, as taught in scripture, so I did some research on the subject. I did a search on “laying on of hands,” and, although it is biblical, and it was practiced in the early church, and encouraged for the ministry of healing, I saw no directive in scripture requiring this in order for believers in Jesus to be saved, or to be filled, empowered and gifted of the Holy Spirit. As well, it did not seem to always be practiced or required, either, for healing or for filling of the Spirit, or in the receiving of gifting of the Spirit. So, although in the case of Timothy, where he did receive the gift of God through the laying on of Paul’s hands, this laying on of hands by a minister of the gospel is not required for us to receive the Spirit of God or to receive his anointing, empowerment and gifting.

The Spirit of God is the one who has gifted me (all believers), as He determined, and it is God who has given me my assignment within the body of Christ, which he had chosen for me even before he created me. Sincere faith means that I am not a worshiper of man, but a worshiper of God. I give the proper respect and adherence to those in authority, as God designed I should do, but my allegiance (loyalty, devotion) is to God, and to God alone. It means I am a working part of the body of Christ, necessary, and needed, as we all are, and that I have something to add, as we all do, in ministry in the Spirit, one to another, to encourage and to strengthen one another in the faith. Yet, it also means I test what I hear, read and see against what I know of God, and of his divine character and will for mankind, and against His Word found in the Bible, and as witnessed to me by His Spirit, and that I don’t take the word of another human as gospel, unless I first test it against God’s word.

There is a movement in the institutional church to raise men into positions of authority in the church to a level not intended by God, which places them almost at a level equal with God in that their words and actions are naturally assumed to be of God, and to be followed or adhered to, when they may or may not be of God. So, we must be very discerning of error, and not fall prey to following after humans, in place of following after God. We don’t owe our salvation, or our Christian heritage, or our gifting to the works of humans, but all glory, honor and praise belong to God for what he has accomplished in and through our lives by his Spirit. Men are not our God. So, we should not treat them as such.

Not Ashamed (vv. 8-14)

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

When we stand on the truths of scripture, holding on to a sincere, child-like faith, which takes God at his word, and does not follow the teachings of humans, we will be persecuted, even within the church, because so many who claim to know Christ have left their first love to follow after humans and humanistic philosophy and the idols of humankind. They want us to join in with them in their dissipation, and when we don’t, they hate, disdain, ridicule and/or mock us for being out of touch with reality, or extremist, or holier-than-thou, etc. Yet, we are to stand firm in our faith, and not be ashamed to testify about Jesus Christ and his true gospel of salvation, even if it means our heads are on the chopping block.

We are to retain the standard (pattern) of sound words (teaching) as was taught us by Jesus Christ and the apostles, which we can read in our New Testament, if we are blessed with having the word of God available to us, as we are in America presently. If we don’t have access to Bibles, but we are believers in Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit within us to teach us all things and to remind us of all that Jesus taught his disciples. We need to spend time in the study of God’s word, and in listening to our Lord speak his truths to our hearts, and not engross our minds in the philosophies of this sinful world or in teachings of men, much of which are twisting the truths of scripture to their own advantage. We must test what we hear, read and see against the Word of Truth and the nature of God, because not all that calls itself holy and of God is really holy or of God. This calls for much discernment.

Obey your leaders as God directs us to do, in the realm of their authority over us, but don’t get caught up in false teaching, or in becoming followers of humans, or in raising human beings to godlike status to where we follow what they say without making sure what they are telling us to do is of God, or is required by God. And, never ever obey what is sinful.

Your New Life / An Original Work
Based off the Gospels / May 15, 2014

Go and make disciples of peoples,
Teaching them to obey their Savior.
Do not fear, but go where He sends you.
Tell them all of what you have heard.

The kingdom of God now is upon you.
Come, and follow Jesus, your Lord.
He will make you fishers of man.

If the people Jesus desire,
They must die to sin and to self-life.
If they want to hold on to their lives
They will lose them forevermore.

Surely you heard that coming to Christ
Means a new life in Jesus, your Lord.
Follow Christ wherever He leads.

Love the Lord with all of your heart, and
Love your neighbors as you would yourself.
Preach the gospel to all the nations.
Do not worry what you will say.

Proclaim the freedom for all the captives.
Share the light with all who are blind.
You are ministers of our God.

Our Awesome God

5/25/11: I was sitting on the sofa this evening, spending some quiet time alone with God before I went to bed, and I was asking him to speak to my heart whatever he might want to say to me. The words to one of the Psalms began going through my mind about praising God, so I walked over, sat at the keyboard, and the Lord gave me this song about praising our awesome God. As the Lord gave me the words, I sang them back to him in worship and in praise. The words read just like a conversation, which I was having with my Lord in which I was thanking him for who he is and for all that he has done for us in saving us and in providing us with the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and our counselor.

Our Awesome God / An Original Work / May 25, 2011

I praise and adore You, Father,
I worship and praise You, Lord.
You are such an awesome God,
Who loves us so much, You implore
Us to follow You each moment
Of the days we have on earth,
So that we might live forever
With You, ‘cause of our new birth.

I praise and adore You, Jesus.
You died on a cruel tree,
So that we might be forgiven
Of our sins; You set us free
To love and obey You only,
While we bow on bended knee,
As we humbly walk before You,
Serving freely; You to please.

I praise and adore You, Spirit,
You came in to live with me.
Jesus sent You to abide
Within us, and our comfort be.
You guide and direct and counsel
Us in all of our God’s ways,
So that we can live for Jesus,
To follow Him all our days.

Myopic

If these spiritual qualities of goodness, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love we possess, by the Spirit, and if they are increasing in measure in our lives, they will keep us from being ineffective or unfruitful in all practical knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ – in all intimacy of relationship, and in applied truths (obedience). In other words, if we supplement our faith with these qualities, we will live lives which are effective in testimony, service, character, relationship, lifestyle, and in result (fruit).

Nonetheless, if we lack these spiritual qualities (listed above), we are nearsighted (myopic) and blind. A nearsighted person in this sense is lacking in foresight, prudence, insight, precaution, discretion, wisdom and good judgment. And a blind person is unable – due to being nearsighted – or is unwilling to perceive or to understand his own spiritual condition. He is lacking in both purpose and good sense. A nearsighted (and blind) person will thus walk right into sin because he or she did not have the forethought, wisdom and discernment to guard his or her heart against it. He or she has not taken advantage of all that God has given to us by his divine power for life and godliness, but has instead decided to go his or her own way and to follow after his or her own evil desires.

Myopic / An Original Work / August 19, 2013

Based off 2 Peter 1:3-11

Jesus has given ev’rything
Needed for life and godliness.
His great and precious promises
Free us from our sin and distress.

Add to your faith His goodness;
Knowledge; patience; godliness;
Brotherly love and mutu’l affection;
Kindness and unselfishness.

If you possess these qualities,
Growing in your maturity,
They will keep you from vanity.
You will bear fruit effectually.

Nonetheless, if you lack them;
Forget you’ve been cleansed from sin,
Nearsighted are you; you can’t see Jesus.
You have closed your heart to Him.

Therefore, beloved, confirm, then,
Your calling and your election.
Do this by showing diligence:
Obey your Lord; be repentant.

Practice all these qualities
God provided on a tree.
He died for our sins so we’d be given
Life with Him eternally.

Conforming to Godliness

Sunday, June 28, 2015, 4:09 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Full Release.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Timothy 6:3-16 (NASB).

A Different Doctrine (vv. 3-5)

If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.

There are some, or many doctrines of the Christian faith today which ignore the teachings of Jesus Christ, found primarily in the four gospels, and some of these different doctrines ignore other New Testament books or passages, as well. They claim that Jesus’ teachings were under the Old Covenant, and were prior to his death and resurrection, and therefore they believe they don’t apply to the church today. Yet, Jesus did not bring Old Covenant teachings, which is one of the reasons he was hated and killed. He brought New Covenant teachings, which is why the Jewish leaders were continually antagonistic towards him.

Jesus told his followers that, after he died, was resurrected, and ascended back to the Father, that the Father would send them the Holy Spirit, who would remind them of all the things that Jesus taught them (See: Jn. 14:26). Before Jesus left this earth to return to the Father, he told his followers, by the authority he was given from the Father, that they were to go into all the world and to make followers (disciples) of Christ of people of all nations, baptizing, and teaching them to obey all that Jesus Christ commanded them (See: Matt. 28:18-20). And Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said that if anyone advocates a different doctrine that does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing.

These doctrines, which ignore the teachings of Jesus, claiming they are not relevant to the church today, largely also teach the gospel of Jesus Christ absent of the cross of Christ in our lives. They teach that we don’t have to repent of our sins, and that we don’t have to obey Christ and his commandments, even though Jesus said we did, and so did his apostles. So, they also do not teach a doctrine conforming to godliness, but rather they teach that forgiveness is available to all who believe Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and was resurrected, and believe God forgave us, for Christ’s sake. James said, though, that even the demons believe, and they shudder. He taught that faith, without works, is dead. Jesus taught that we must deny self, and take up our cross daily (die daily to sin), and follow (obey) him, if we want to be one of his disciples. He said that if we hold on to our old lives (of sin), we will lose them for eternity, but if we die (with Christ to sin), we will gain eternal life. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24-25).

Jesus told his followers:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.” (John 6:53-58)

Jesus gave his flesh and his blood on the cross for our sins so that we could go free from the curse of sin, be set free of slavery to sin, be given eternal life with God, and be set free to now walk daily in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. Jesus died, not just so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die, but so we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us (See 2 Co. 5:15). He died so we would no longer walk according to the flesh, but so we could now be empowered of the Spirit to conduct our lives according to the Spirit (See Ro. 6:1-23; 8:1-14). He “gave himself up for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (See Tit. 2:11-14).

So if we eat his flesh and we drink his blood it means that we participate with him in his death by dying with him to our old lives of living according to sin and self, and by submitting ourselves to the cross of Christ and to the Holy Spirit’s work of grace in our lives, so that we are being transformed in heart and mind, and so we now daily walk in the Spirit in Christ’s righteousness and holiness (See Ro. 6-8; Eph. 4:17-24; Gal. 2:20). If we don’t do this, we have no life in us; we don’t have eternal life with God. If we do this, we remain in Christ, and he in us, and we do have eternal life. Yet, many of Jesus’ followers rejected this teaching as “too hard,” and so many of them turned back and no longer followed him. And, that is where many people are today, even among those who claim to know him.

Love of Money (vv. 6-10)

But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

There is another “different doctrine” today which teaches “health, wealth and prosperity.” They are the “name it and claim it” people who often teach that we can have whatever we want if we just have enough faith to believe it is ours. Yet, that is not the gospel according to Jesus Christ and the apostles. Jesus and the apostles taught humility and contentment with what we have, or with the basic necessities of life. If we pursue wealth, instead of pursuing Jesus Christ, we are in danger of falling into temptation toward giving in to many foolish and harmful desires, which lead to ruin. Yet, this does not teach that money is the root of all evil, but that the love (desire for) money is at the root of all sorts of evil, and to go after such may lead some people to wander from the faith. We read in James 4:1-10:

What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

Pursue Righteousness (vv. 11-16)

But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.

We need to be students of the Word of God, taken in its context, so that we can be discerning about what are false doctrines, which teach what is in opposition to the teachings of Christ and those of his apostles, and then we need to flee (run away from) what is clearly false doctrine, and no longer give what is false a foothold in our lives. We need to be followers of God, and not followers of humankind and of their “different doctrines.”

We also should be content with what we have, and we should not run after wealth, as though having more material wealth and possessions will somehow bring us greater happiness or fulfillment in this life. I don’t believe God is opposed to us having money or having possessions, but he is opposed to us seeking after what is of this world and of this earth, and running after those things, instead of us running (chasing) after God and his righteousness, holiness and godliness. He is also opposed to us being stingy and us storing up wealth for ourselves while lacking in compassion and generosity toward others who are in need, and/or as a means of trying to control our own destiny, while not trusting in God for our future. I don’t believe God is opposed to us making reasonable provisions for our lives, but he is opposed to us spending our time on this earth storing up treasures on the earth, when we should be spending that time and energy storing up treasures in heaven.

Instead of running after what is of this earth, or after false doctrines which tickle our itching ears, we should pursue (chase after) righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. God’s grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (See: Tit. 2:11-14). God’s grace is not a free ticket into heaven so that we can continue in sin, free from guilt and remorse. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we continue to walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (sin, evil), we are liars (See: 1 Jn. 1). So many people are teaching a false doctrine of grace which requires nothing of them in the way of godly or holy living, but gives them the false notion they can be saved (past), live their lives how they want, and still go to heaven when they die. Scripture says differently. Don’t believe the lies. Believe what Jesus and his apostles taught. And, follow Jesus.

Full Release / An Original Work / April 15, 2012

Walking daily with my Savior
brings me joy.
Loving Father; precious Jesus;
He’s my Savior and my Lord.
Gently leads me; follow Him.
I’ve invited Him within.
Now abiding in His presence,
oh, what peace.
From my self-life
He has brought me,
By His mercy, full release.

Hope and comfort,
peace and safety Jesus brings
When I daily bow before Him;
Obey freely; do His will.
Follow Him where’er He leads.
Listen to Him; His words heed.
Now obeying his words fully,
oh, what love
That He gives me
through salvation,
By His Spirit, from above.

Loving Father; precious Jesus,
He’s my friend.
With my Savior, by His Spirit,
I will endure to the end.
Share the gospel, tell what’s true.
Witness daily; His will do.
Tell the world of how their Savior
bled and died.
On a cruel cross He suffered
So that we might be alive.

Child-Like Faith

5/24/11: I was sitting at the keyboard with my one year old grandson. He was playing and I was playing. Then he pushed one of those rhythm buttons on the keyboard, so I began playing a melody to fit with the rhythm. I told my grandson that I should write a song about him, and then the Lord brought to mind this passage about how we need to come to him with the humility and faith of a child if we want to enter the kingdom of heaven. So, this is not just speaking about literal children, but it is speaking about those who come to the Lord with that child-like faith. If we welcome such as these, we welcome the Lord Jesus.

Yet, if we lead one of Jesus’ followers, who have come to him in humility with a child-like faith, to sin against God, then we are in serious trouble with God, because he is very protective of those who are his. As well, he does not want any of us to be lead in to sin, so he asks us to examine our hearts and lives to see what might be leading us to sin. Then we are to rid ourselves of those things that are causing us to stumble, so that we can walk in child-like faith and obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Child-like Faith / An Original Work / May 24, 2011

Based off of Matthew 18:1-9

Child-like faith He requires of us all:
“Who is greatest in God’s Kingdom?”
“Unless you change and humble yourselves,
His Kingdom you will never enter.”

“Whoever welcomes a little child
Like this in My name, he welcomes Me.
If you cause a believer to sin,
You stand in danger of God’s judgment.”

“Grief to you ‘cause of what causes sin.
Grief to the man through whom these things come.
If some part of you leads you to sin,
Throw it off, and never give in.”