If in Fact

Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 6:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “My Jesus, I Love Thee.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 8:1-17 (ESV).

Flesh and Spirit (vv. 1-8)

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – came to earth, took on human flesh, suffered as we suffer, and was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. He healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, cast out demons, fed the hungry, comforted the sorrowful, and preached repentance for the forgiveness of sins. He confronted sin in sinful humans, called for repentance and faith in himself, warned of judgment and the consequences of sin, and promised hope, healing and eternal life for all who would follow (obey) him.

Yet, although some people did follow him, many hated him, especially the religious leaders within the Jewish temple. They hated him because he confronted them with their sins, he exposed their hypocrisies, he didn’t follow their rules (traditions and ceremonies), and because he claimed to be God, which is who he is. So, they plotted his death, and they had him hung on a cross to die. But, it was God’s will even before the creation of the world that Jesus would be our sacrificial Lamb to take away the sins of the world in his death, and in his resurrection. For, when he died our sins died with him, and were buried with him, and then he rose from the dead triumphant over sin, hell, Satan and death – all on our behalf so that we might be saved.

Jesus’ purpose in dying and in being resurrected back to life, though, was not just so we would not be condemned to hell, and just so we could go to heaven when we leave this earth. He died in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk (in lifestyle) not after the flesh (in sin) but according to the Spirit. The law demands death for sin, but Jesus came to give us new life in him. So, for us to be “in Christ Jesus” and to not be condemned, we must walk (conduct our lives) according to the Spirit and not according to our sinful flesh. Yet, this is not something we do to earn our salvation, but this is the result of our salvation, that we should now walk in Christ’s righteousness and no longer to please our sinful desires. All this is done in the power of God’s Holy Spirit within us.

For, if we continue to set our minds on what our flesh desires, and to live (in lifestyle) according to our sinful flesh, the end result is eternal separation from God in the fires of hell, not eternal life in heaven with God. In other words, we are not free from condemnation just because we said some magic words, or just because we made some public declaration of faith in Christ. True faith is evidenced in our lives by how we live. If our minds and our actions are set on what our flesh desires, then our minds are hostile toward God, not in union with him, because we do not submit to his law, nor can we do so. For, if we live according to the flesh, we cannot please God.

If the Spirit (vv. 9-11)

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

In this passage of scripture, the word “if” is mentioned at least 3 times… if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you… if Christ is in you… if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you. It is not assumed, in other words, that everyone who professes Christ as Savior or who gathers together with the body of Christ is, in fact, truly in Christ Jesus by faith in him. So, this passage of scripture is intended, at least partially, to show us what it means to be “in Christ Jesus” so that we don’t end up thinking we are saved from our sins when we are not, but in order that we might truly know that we are saved and bound for heaven. If we want assurance that we are saved from our sins, then we need to know what it means to be in Christ Jesus, and then to live it in the power of the Spirit within us.

So, IF in fact the Spirit of God does dwell in us through faith in Jesus Christ, it should result in us no longer being, living, walking or thinking according to the flesh (in lifestyle). This does not mean we will not ever battle the flesh in our minds, for we will still face temptation to sin, and we are still in flesh bodies, but what this means is that we will no longer be controlled by the flesh. It will not define who we are or how we live, but we will live and think and be what the Spirit of God desires for our lives. If we are in Christ Jesus by faith in him, our bodies should be dead to sin, and alive to righteousness, not the other way around.

We are Debtors (vv. 12-17)

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

I hear so many people these days say that God requires nothing of us at all other than some nondescript “faith” in him, but which does not surrender to him, does not submit to his law, and which does not repent of sin. This is just not scriptural! We are debtors, but not to the flesh, to live according to it, but we are debtors to God, for Jesus bought us back for God with his shed blood. We are no longer our own, because we were bought with the price of his blood, but we are now the Lord’s, and he is our owner-master, and we are his bondservants, to do his bidding. God demands obedience, surrender, submission and repentance (turning away from sin to follow Him). For, if we live according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. Yet, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity.

Now, it is true that when we believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of our lives, and the Spirit of God comes to live within us, that we become children of God and fellow heirs with Christ, yet PROVIDED we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Jesus said that if any of us would come after him, we must deny self, take up our cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. 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. He also said that unless we eat his flesh and drink his blood, i.e. unless we are crucified with him in death to sin so that we might live with him to righteousness, we have no hope of eternal life with God (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Jn. 6:35-66).

And, while it is true that, through genuine faith in Christ Jesus, we become children of God, and he becomes our Daddy, this does not negate that Jesus is our Lord (owner-master), and that we are his bondservants. When we were children, and we lived with our human fathers, we did what they said or we paid the consequences. We were subject to our fathers, in submission to their will for our lives, and we were under their authority and obligated to obey them. If we had loving fathers, who nurtured, protected, trained, and disciplined us, for our good, then we should be able to relate to the father-child relationship we now have with God. If we did not, though, it is more difficult to relate, but not impossible. We can see God in terms of the father we never had, but not as a permissive father who lets us do whatever we want, but as a gracious dad, and compassionate, who will discipline us for our good, but who also holds us close in his arms and comforts us with his love. And, because of this, we ought to walk in his love.

My Jesus, I Love Thee
William R. Featherstone / Adoniram J. Gordon

My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
For thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight;
I’ll ever adore thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

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His Grace to Us

Sunday, August 13, 2017, 2:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Full Release.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ephesians 2:1-10 (NASB).

Dead in Sins (vv. 1-3)

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

The Bible teaches us that ALL have sinned and have come up short of attaining God’s divine approval (Ro. 3:23). Not one of us is righteous before God in our own merit. We can never be good enough to gain eternal life with God. In fact, we cannot even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to His Son (Jn. 6:44). Without Christ we are spiritually dead, without hope, and without God. Our destiny is eternal damnation in the fires of hell, no matter how many good deeds we might do in this life, or how seemingly kindhearted we may be towards other people.

In our sin natures, we are drawn towards sin, and towards doing even what we know is wrong. We are under the control of Satan, not of God. We are of this sinful world, not of the kingdom of heaven. And, we are under the influence of the world, not conformed to the image of God. We are bound towards disobedience rather than obedience. We live and walk (conduct our lives) according to our sinful flesh, and not according to the Spirit of God. And, we indulge ourselves in the desires of our flesh, rather than resist Satan, flee temptation and sinful desires, and draw near to God in full assurance of faith.

This is what an UNSAVED life looks like. So, if you profess to be a Christian, but this is what your life looks like, then something is terribly wrong.

By God’s Grace (vv. 4-9)

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

But, thanks be to God, he did not leave us bound in our sins, without hope. He provided the way for us to be saved from our sins, to be delivered out of slavery to sin, and to become bondservants of his righteousness. Jesus Christ, the Son of God (and God), came to earth, took on human flesh, suffered like we suffer, and was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering (Is. 53). And, those who hated him saw to it that he was crucified on a cross, thinking that would be the end of him.

Yet, it was God’s will that he should suffer and die for our sins. He who knew no sin became sin for us on that cross in order that we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. Jesus Christ “gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Tit. 2:14; 1 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Pet. 2:24). Yet, Jesus did not remain dead. God the Father resurrected him from the dead. And, he rose victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death on our behalf.

So, by God’s grace to us in sending his Son to die on a cross for our sins, and to be resurrected back to life, we can also die to our sins and be given new lives in Christ Jesus, our Lord, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. When we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives, we repent of (turn from) our sins, and we turn to God to follow him in his ways. We are forgiven our sins, and we are given eternal life with God in heaven (See: Acts 26:16-18; Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24). All this is the working of the Spirit of God in our lives, and nothing we do in our own flesh to earn or to deserve our own salvation.

For Good Works (v. 10)

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Many people who quote this passage of scripture in Ephesians 2 stop at verse 9, and they assume that good works are not required at all of us. Yet, although it is true that we are not saved by our own fleshly works, and that we cannot earn our way into heaven, our salvation is not absent of good works. We are saved not just FROM something, but we are saved TO something. In other words, we are saved from sin, but we are saved to righteousness.

When we become children of God, it is not just so we can escape hell and go to heaven when we die. When Jesus died on that cross for our sins, and he put sin to death, on our behalf, he bought us back for God with his blood, so that when we trust in him to be our Savior and Lord, we are no longer our own, to do with our lives what we want. He is now our Lord (owner-master) and we are his bondservants (his workmanship). And, he has good works which he created us to do, and which he prepared beforehand that we should walk (in lifestyle) in them.

Some of these good works are specific to all of us who believe in Jesus, whereas some of them are specific to each of us as individuals. What I mean by this is Jesus not only has a purpose for all of our lives, which applies to all his followers, but he also has individual callings, giftings, and assignments he has for us to do (See: Ro. 12; 1 Co. 12; Eph. 4). And, we would do well to seek his face concerning what purpose and calling he has for our individual lives, and then to be about doing what he had prepared in advance for us to do, and to live the lives he had marked out for us, all in the power and working of his Spirit now living within us, and to his glory!

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.

Reaching Forward

Friday, July 28, 2017, 7:22 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Oh, To Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Philippians 3 (NASB).

Beware of Dogs (vv. 1-6)

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.

Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.

So, what is meant here by “dogs”? The term “dog” is used of humans who are contemptible and spiritually unclean, and/or who are false teachers and persecutors of Jesus’ followers. It is used as a term of reproach. These are those who may profess faith in Jesus Christ, but it is profession only. They do not have the promise of eternal life with God, but a fearful expectation of hell’s fires. Yet, since they often disguise themselves as apostles of Christ, and as servants of righteousness, we must be very discerning so as not to get trapped in their snare, for they can be very charming and convincing.

Some of these dogs will add human rules on to the gospel message, and others will remove critical components from the gospel message. Whether adding or subtracting, still what they teach is based in human philosophy and not in the Word of Truth. They will include much of the truth, though, but will twist it to their advantage. But, truth mixed with lies is still lies. We can do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. No amount of external works of the flesh can add anything to our salvation. Yet, our salvation is not absent of works, but they are the works of God’s Spirit in our lives, which he prepared in advance for us to do (See: Eph. 2:8-10).

So, if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk in darkness (sin), we are liars who do not live by the truth. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. His grace to us is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt or remorse. His grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await his return (1 Jn. 1:6; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; Tit. 2:11-14).

Counted as Loss (vv. 7-11)

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

It doesn’t matter how smart we are, or how gifted and talented, or how much Bible knowledge we have, or our social or financial status in life. What matters to God is that we have been crucified with Christ in death to sin so we might live with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (See: Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24). For, this is why Jesus gave his life up for us on the cross. He did not die merely to give us the hope of heaven when we die or to deliver us out of the pit of hell. His purpose in saving us from our sins was that we would no longer be slaves to sin, so that we could now become bond-slaves of his righteousness.

Press On (vv. 12-16)

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.

When we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives we do not become instantly perfect so that we never sin again (See: 1 Jn. 2:1-2). Yet, lack of perfection should never be used as an excuse for continued and willful sin against God, for if we walk according to our sinful flesh, we will not have the hope of eternal life, but we will die in our sins. But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity (Ro. 8:1-14).

Our salvation is not a one-time experience where we live however we want, and then one day we go to heaven when we die. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present), and we will be saved (future) when Jesus Christ returns to take us to be with him forever. We are being sanctified and made holy. We are being conformed into the likeness of Christ. Daily we die to sin and self and we follow (obey) Jesus Christ with our lives. By the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh. And, we walk, not according to our sinful flesh, but we walk (conduct our lives) according to the Spirit. It is a process, yet if we keep practicing sin, we are not part of that process, for we don’t have the hope of eternal life with God (Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-6).

How we Walk (vv. 17-21)

Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

It is a sad reality here in America that we don’t have many preachers of the Word we can emulate today. So many professing Christians, or those who are in positions of spiritual authority within the church, have fallen prey to deceiving spirits and are themselves teaching what is false, i.e. a diluted gospel and a false grace which gives free license to continued sin against God. So many of the “greats” of the faith here in America have died off, and there has been such a rise in the number of “dogs” now serving in positions as pastors (shepherds) of church congregations. So, we must be careful that we don’t follow the wrong examples, thinking we are doing what is right.

Those we want to follow are those who are walking (living) according to the teachings of Christ and of his NT apostles. I am certainly not saying that they must be absolutely perfect, but that their lifestyles should be evidence of a walk of holiness and righteousness, i.e. that they should be above reproach. They should not be those who are caught up in the world or who are, themselves, captives (addicted) to sinful practices. And, they should not be those who are teaching people they don’t have to repent of their sins or that they don’t have to obey God, and that God is pleased with them no matter what they do.

Yet, more importantly than finding human beings we can follow, and who will most likely let us down at some time or another, is that we need to be those who emulate Christ, who desire to be like him, to walk in his ways.

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Thomas O. Chisholm / W. J. Kirkpatrick

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

Live for Him

Sunday, July 16, 2017, 5:22 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Your Grace Divine.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read various scriptures (in the NASB) on the subject of living for Jesus.

Dead to Sin; Alive to God (Ro. 8:12-14; cf. 1 Pet. 2:24; Gal. 2:20)

So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

If we are to live for Jesus, we must first of all die with him to sin and self (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14; Eph. 4:17-24). If the old man has not been crucified with Christ, the new man (person) cannot exist. It is when we die with Christ to sin that we are reborn of the Spirit of God, and thus we can now live and walk in the Spirit and no longer according to our sinful passions and desires. Yet, this death to sin and living to Jesus is not a onetime salvation experience, but it is our daily walk with Christ Jesus, as well. For, it is not those who claim to have had a salvation experience who are the children of God, but it is those who are being led by the Spirit, who are following the Lord Jesus with their lives, who are his sons and daughters.

For the Lord (2 Co. 5:14-15; cf. Ro. 14:7-9; Phil. 1:19-21)

For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

Jesus Christ did not die on the cross for our sins merely that we might escape hell and have the hope of heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, our lives are no longer our own, to live however we want, for we were bought back for God with the price of Jesus’ blood, shed on the cross for our sins. So, we are to honor God with our lives. He is to be our Lord (owner-master), not just our Savior. And, we are to be his bond-servants, slaves now to righteousness (Ro. 6:1-23). And, each day we should inquire of him as to what he wants, and then follow his lead in doing, being, and saying what and going where he desires.

In Contentment (Phil. 4:11-13)

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

I know, too, what it is like to be poor, and to not have much at all, and I know what it is like to have more than what we need so that we have enough to share with others, and so we could enjoy some of the conveniences and comforts of having more physical space and provisions. Yet, we have always had a roof over our heads, clothing on our bodies, and food in our stomachs, so we don’t really know yet what it is like to go hungry or to be in want of shelter or of clothing. But, that time is most likely to come, too, if we live long enough. Yet, some of the poorest of times taught us to live by faith and to trust the Lord for everything. And, some of the more affluent times provided us the opportunity to use what we had been given to minister God’s grace and mercy to and to be a blessing to others. I can live in any of these ways through the strength God gives me.

To Deny Ungodliness (Tit. 2:11-14)

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

Some people have the notion that faith in Jesus Christ means merely to acknowledge who he was/is and what he did for us in dying for our sins, and to accept his forgiveness for our sins. Yet, there is no death to sin or living to righteousness in that (Ro. 6:1-23). Thus, there is no new birth or heart transformation of the Spirit of God. As well, there is no true salvation from sin, but only a false hope of heaven when one dies, only to face the reality of one-day hearing God say “Depart from me, I never knew you!”

Truly God’s grace, which brings salvation from sin, is not just to forgive people of their sin, but it is to turn them from darkness (sin) to the light (truth, righteousness, Christ), and away from the control (power) Satan had over their lives to God, to walk daily in his righteousness and holiness. Then, they can receive forgiveness of sins and have a place among those who are sanctified (made holy, purified) by faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 26:16-18). God’s grace is not a free license to continue in willful sin against God, but it directs us to leave our lives of sin behind us and to follow our Lord in obedience and in surrender to his will for our lives.

On Every Word (Matt. 4:4)

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”

In order for us to live for Jesus, we need to know him and we need to know his Word, so that we can obey him and his Word. For our physical bodies to live, we need food and water, but for us to live spiritually we need to feed on the Word of God. And, remember that Jesus is the Word (See: John 1). So, every day we are to be in God’s Word, listening to what God – the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit – has to say to us, and doing what the Word says. His Word is our guide, counsel, teacher, instruction, encouragement, and urging for us to live holy lives pleasing to God, as well as it is our warning against idolatry, spiritual adultery, lusts of the flesh, and worldly living, etc. In keeping (obeying) God’s Word, there is great reward (Ps. 19:11).

Your Grace Divine
An Original Work / November 6, 2011

All I have is Yours, Lord.
You gave all to me,
When You died at Calv’ry
On that cruel tree.
Crucified for my sins;
You paid what I owe,
So I’d be forgiven;
My God come to know.
All I have is Yours, Lord.
You gave all to me,
When You died at Calv’ry
On that cruel tree.

Lord, I am so thankful
For Your grace divine.
I invited You, Lord,
In this heart of mine.
I have been forgiven
For all of my sins,
So I’d live with Jesus;
His grace flow within.
Lord, I am so thankful
For Your grace divine.
I invited You, Lord,
In this heart of mine.

Growing in Your grace, Lord;
Live for You each day;
How I love to worship
You throughout my day.
Sitting at Your feet, Lord,
List’ning to You speak,
Leads me to love You, Lord,
More throughout the week.
Growing in Your grace, Lord;
Live for You each day;
How I love to worship
You throughout my day.

A Voice Cries

Thursday, June 1, 2017, 8:40 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Only to Be What He Wants Me to Be.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 40:3-8 (ESV).

Prepare the Way (v. 3)

A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”

Wilderness – “an empty or pathless area; wild, natural or uncultivated state” (M-W). Spiritually speaking, this is talking about our lives outside of faith in Jesus Christ – in our sin nature, void of God in our lives, and going nowhere.

As ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are to prepare or make ready the way of the Lord for the people. The way of the Lord is the way of holiness, not just the way to forgiveness of sin and the promise of heaven when we die. John the Baptist prepared the way of the Lord for the people by preaching repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus preached the same message, as did his NT apostles.

So, we tell people the truth. We tell them that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, not just so we can be forgiven our sins. We share with them that coming to Christ means we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are risen with Christ to new lives in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. We inform them that if we make a practice of sinning, i.e. if we walk (in lifestyle) according to our sin nature, we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we have the hope of eternal life with God (Ro. 8:1-14).

We are to also make straight in the desert a highway for our God. This highway is the road we are to travel, the path we are to follow, and it needs to be straight, not crooked. Straight – honest, above-board, upright, pure, and unadulterated (unmixed, undiluted) by the world of sin.

It is the way of holiness, and to be holy means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world, because we are being made into the image of Christ. We are not to immerse ourselves in the culture of our societies or to blend in with the world in order to be accepted by them, for God called us out of the world. If we love the world like we are supposed to love God, then the love of the Father is not in us. God’s grace to us is not carte blanche (free rein) to do what we want. His 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 his return (Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 2:15).

Shall Become Level (vv. 4-5)

“Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

My husband and I moved into a high-rise apartment complex a year ago, right after he retired. Right after we moved in, a major renovation of the property, inside and out, was under way, and it is still not completed. For the past year we have watched all kinds of earth moving equipment dig up the old and replace it with the new, as well as we have witnessed multiple trucks hauling stuff in and out as the old has been taken away and has been replaced with what is new – new paint or wallpaper on walls, new ceiling tiles, new lights, new carpeting, new doors, new security system, new landscaping, upgraded parking lots, and remodeled party rooms and lobbies.

When we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, via death to sin and resurrection to new lives in Christ Jesus, born anew of the Spirit of God, our Lord puts to death our old lives of living for sin and self, and he gives us completely new lives in him, which are to be lived to him and to his righteousness. The old is taken away, and the new has come, just like in our building and on the building’s property, only spiritually and perfectly done by God, and not physically removed and replaced by human flesh. Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, in his death on a cross became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (2 Co. 5:21; Tit. 2:14).

Yet, it is not as though God just zaps us and we instantly become perfect, and that we have nothing to do with it at all. We must exercise the faith he provides, and we must cooperate and participate with the Spirit of God in the removal of the old and in the replacing of the old with the new (See: Eph. 4 – the whole chapter, Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14 & Lu. 9:23-25). We must humble ourselves before God, acknowledge and repent of (turn from) our sin, and turn to God/Christ to follow him in his ways and in his truth, so we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ (See: Acts 26:16-18).

Flesh is Grass (vv. 6-8)

A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.

A lot of people these days, though, who are sharing what they believe is the message of the gospel, are not preparing a way of holiness, i.e. the way of the Lord, which is straight (unmixed with the world). They are not making the uneven (potholed, irregular) ground (terrain) level (straight, upright).

Instead, they are preaching a message which is adulterated with the world of sin, and which gives its adherents the impression that they can merely acknowledge Jesus’ existence, accept his forgiveness for their sins, and that they now have salvation from sin, escape from eternal damnation, and the promise of heaven when they die, which can never be taken away from them. Many of these “preachers” of the “Word” tell them that they don’t have to repent of their sins, and they don’t have to obey Jesus, because, they say, God requires nothing of us other than to “believe,” which is made out like a mere intellectual or emotional acknowledgement of what Christ did for us, but absent any teaching on death to sin and living to righteousness.

What this also does is give the impression that one who “believes” in Jesus is now set for life no matter what he or she does from this moment forward. This false (adulterated, diluted) gospel gives its followers the notion, too, that they can continue living in sin, that they can continue sinful practices, and that God’s grace just covers it all, so no worries.

But, that is not what scripture teaches, and we need to know what the Word teaches, because these men or women are flesh, and they will die, but it is the Word of God which stands true to the very end. And, it is the ONLY WORD we can really depend on. It says if we say we have fellowship with God, and we walk in darkness (sin), we are liars. It also teaches us that if we practice, if we walk in sin, we don’t have the promise of eternal life with God (See: 1 Jn. 1:6; Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14; & Gal. 5:19-21).

Only to Be What He Wants Me to Be
Norman J. Clayton

Only to be what He wants me to be,
Every moment of every day,
Yielded completely to Jesus alone
Every step of this pilgrim way…

What’s Our Mindset?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017, 7:23 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Full Release.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 8:1-14; Galatians 5:16-24 (Select vv. NASB).

Flesh and Spirit (Rom. 8:1-8)

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

If we are in Christ Jesus, by God’s grace, through God-given faith in him, we are free from eternal condemnation, i.e. we are free from the punishment of sin which results in death (eternal damnation). We are free, because when Jesus died on that cross, he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Co. 5:21). So, when he died, our sins died with him. In his death, he took the punishment of our sin on him so that we might be set free from the punishment of sin, and be set free from slavery to sin, too. Yet, lest we might be tempted to take verses 1-3 out of context, and apply them across the board to anyone who professes to have believed in Jesus Christ, we must be careful to read and to interpret them in context, and to compare them with other similar scriptures, too.

Notice with me here that in verse 4 it says, “He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” The law demanded full obedience to God’s moral laws or death. Yet, not one of us could obey the law perfectly. So, we were condemned to die. So, Jesus paid the price for our sins that we might be made righteous in him. And, God even gives us the faith to believe in him, but this faith is not human faith, but spiritual, in that it is divinely persuaded as to God’s perfect will for our lives. Since God is the giver of such faith, it is in conformity with his righteousness and holiness. So, this results in us, his followers, walking not according to our sinful flesh, but according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God.

This is not optional, though. It is not as though we can be in Christ, and still live according to our sinful desires. If our minds are still set on the flesh, it results in death, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God, it does not subject itself to the law of God, and it cannot please God. But, if we are truly in Christ Jesus, through God-given faith in him, our minds should be set on the Spirit, which results in life and peace with God.

Under Obligation (Rom. 8:12-14)

So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

And, this here is the clincher. So many people today say that God requires nothing of us other than some generic “faith,” i.e. they say he demands no repentance (turning from sin to God), no obedience, and no submission to Christ and to his cross. Yet, the righteous requirement of the law is fully met in us who walk, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. And, we ARE under obligation (duty, requirement) to not live according to the flesh, but to live according to (in agreement with) the Spirit. Why? Because, if we are still conducting our lives (in lifestyle) in the ways of our sinful flesh, we will die in our sins, no matter if we prayed a prayer to receive Christ Jesus as Savior or not (See: 1 Jn. 1:6; cf. Lu. 9:23-25).

But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity (Cf. Lu. 9:23-25). This is not saying we have to live in sinless perfection, though (See: 1 Jn. 2:1-2). If that were even possible for us to never sin, Christ would not have had to die. But, it is saying that, not only must we walk (in lifestyle) in the ways of the Spirit of God, and according to God’s Word, but we must daily die to sin and self. We must actively, by the Spirit, be putting the deeds (acts) of the flesh to death in our lives (See: Eph. 4 for put offs and put ons). And, we must be being led by the Spirit of God in order to qualify as being children of God. We must be listening to our Lord Jesus, and doing what his Word teaches his followers they must do, and be going where he sends us (See: Jn. 10:27-30).

By the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-24)

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

If we are walking (in lifestyle) by the Spirit, i.e. if by the Spirit we are conducting our lives in agreement with God and his Word, we will not carry out the desires of our sinful flesh. Amen! We can’t be casual about our relationships with God and defeat sin in our lives. Yes, Jesus put sin to death on the cross. Yes, he defeated sin not only in his death, but in his resurrection to life. But, we are still in flesh bodies. We still have the propensity to sin against God. Sin will still try to trap us, which is why daily we must put on the armor of God, resist Satan, flee sinful desires, and draw near to God in full assurance of faith.

We must understand here that if we make a practice of sinning against God, such as by committing adultery (includes lust and viewing pornography), or by making a practice of participating in impurity, sensuality, idolatry, strife, outbursts of anger, drunkenness, and other things like what are listed here, we will not inherit the kingdom of God, even if we profess faith in Jesus Christ. I am not making this up! This is what God’s word teaches here, and in other similar passages of scripture (1 Co. 6:9-10; Eph. 5:5). If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we lie and we do not live by the truth (1 Jn. 1:6).

So, what is the solution? If we walk (conduct our lives) by the Spirit (in agreement with the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit), we WILL NOT carry out the desire of the flesh. Again, this does not mean we will never sin, but that sin will no longer have mastery over our lives, for Jesus delivered us from slavery to sin. When we trust in him as Lord and Savior of our lives, we die with him to sin so that we might live with him to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24; Ro. 6:1-23; Gal. 2:20). This is the working of the Spirit in our lives in regeneration (new birth of the Spirit), but we must yield to the Lord in this. Jesus already conquered sin in our lives, if we are truly his, so there is absolutely no reason why a born again believer in Christ should still be under the control of sin. We just have to apply to our lives what he did for us in putting sin to death so that we might walk with him in holiness.

So, when we walk in the Spirit, and not according to our sinful flesh, instead of the works of the flesh being the fruit that we bear, the fruit of the Spirit will be primarily what is evident in our lives, i.e. it will be the wheel which drives us, moves us, and motivates us to do what we do and to live how we live. Instead of being those who practice sin, we will now be those who make a practice of righteousness (1 Jn. 2:29; 3:7, 10). Remember here that those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. So, don’t be misled. God’s grace is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse. His grace 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 (Tit. 2:11-14).

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.

Pure Minds

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 – I woke this morning around 2:00 a.m. The passage of scripture from 2 Peter 3:9 was in my mind, concerning God’s patience toward us, he being willing that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance. I believe the Lord put that scripture in my mind because he wanted me to read that chapter this morning. He also, once again, put in mind the song “Bless This House.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Peter 3 (NASB).

Stirring Up (vv. 1-2)

This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.

Do you ever need to be reminded of things? I know I do. Especially the older I get, the more forgetful I get. I have to write things down or I know I will forget them. Sometimes spiritually we get forgetful, too, and thus we need to be reminded of the promises of God, and also of his provisions for us. It is essential, at times, to have our memories jogged, as well, with regard to his purposes for making us who we are, and the reasons for which he called us to his service, and for which he saved us by his grace.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. ~ 2 Pet. 1:3-4 (ESV)

God has given us everything we need to live godly and holy lives on this earth, to resist Satan, to flee sin (or the temptation to sin) and to draw near to God in full assurance of faith. When we believe in him to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. The old has gone. The new has come. There is absolutely no reason why a born again Christian should still be trapped in sin and still living to please his sinful flesh. Jesus set us free! We just have to believe that, and we have to take the way of escape he has provided for us.

When we believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith, God’s Holy Spirit comes to live within us (Christ in us) to teach, counsel, convict, spur, remind, strengthen, encourage and to empower us to live godly lives. Yet, we are still in flesh bodies, and we still live in a sinful world, and sometimes we can get distracted by other things and forget the reason for which he cleansed and purified us from all unrighteousness. So, we need to have our pure (unadulterated) minds (thinking, discernment) stirred up (jarred) within us so we don’t lose sight of the reason we are here, and so we don’t fall into error, deceit, hypocrisy, wickedness, and impurity and the like.

He is Patient (vv. 3-9)

Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

I am thankful to God that the day of total destruction of this earth has not yet come, because there are many people who need to be saved from their sins, and there are many Christians who need to have their unadulterated minds stirred up within them so that they remember that they were saved from bondage (addiction) to sin, not just saved so they can escape hell and go to heaven when they die. So, divine discipline is needed, at times, to jar (jog, shake) our memories, so we do remember why he saved us and why he called us, and so we follow him in his ways and in his truth, and so we are not distracted by all that the world is offering us in the way of pleasure.

There is a lot of discussion going on right now among people with regard to the possibility of nuclear war, supposedly because of threats coming from N. Korea, and because the U.S. president appears to be “stirring the pot,” i.e. it seems he is causing unrest and trouble for us, and for the world. Yet, God has allowed this for a purpose, and perhaps it is to “stir up” the purity of our minds, i.e. this may be for the purpose to get the attention of the people of this world, and of Christians, so we take God and his Word seriously, and so we don’t take lightly the prophecies of scripture with regard to these last days before the return of Christ. Just because the end has not yet come, and this earth has not yet been destroyed, does not mean it will not happen. It will, and we all need to be ready (spiritually) for when that day does come.

Holy Conduct (vv. 10-18)

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

With a view in mind of what God has in mind for this earth at the end of time, and that none of us knows exactly when that is going to happen, even though Christians should know when it is near, we should take special note of how we are living (conducting) our lives, for none of us knows if he has tomorrow. Why should we be living as though we think every day will remain as it is, and without regard for the warnings of scripture regarding the fact that those who walk according to the flesh do not have eternal life?

As Christians, God has called us to be holy, to walk in purity, and to be separate from (different, unlike) the world of sin, because we are being conformed to the image (likeness) of Christ. So, why are so many Christians in America living not much different from the world? Why are so many living for their own pleasure, rather than to please God? Why is it so many churches are watering down the gospel to make it more appealing to human flesh and to attract the world to its meetings? Why is the church trying to be like the world to win the world, and to what? Yet, we are to come out from under the influence of the world and to be separate, but not many are. We, as the church, are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, but I fear we have lost our saltiness, and we, as the church in America, are not much good for reaching this world for Jesus Christ and for his salvation.

Too many professing Christians in America believe that once they have secured their salvation, via a sinner’s prayer, that eternal life is guaranteed them, so they can sit back and relax, have a good time, enjoy life, live how they want, and then one day they will be raptured before things get too bad, or else they will die and go to heaven. But, if that were true, then why warn Christians in this way, as is written here in this book of the Bible and in others like it? If Jesus took our place on that cross merely so we would escape hell and go to heaven when we die, and if a sinner’s prayer is enough to secure our eternal destiny, then what difference does it make how we live our lives, or if one day the earth is going to be destroyed?

The danger here is that so many have lost the fear of the Lord, because it is rarely being taught these days. They assume that, even though they profess to believe in Jesus Christ, that their lives are pretty much theirs to do whatever they want, without regard for what God requires of them, because many believe he requires nothing of us at all. If they read their Bibles and pray at all, some of them act as though they are doing God a favor. Yet, Jesus said that if we hold on to our old lives (of living in sin), we will lose them for eternity. Paul said that if we walk (conduct our lives) according to the flesh, we will die (in our sins), but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live (with Christ for eternity) (Ro. 8:1-14).

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. ~ 1 Co. 6:9-10 (ESV)

Bless This House
Helen Taylor / May H. Morgan

Bless the people here within,
Keep them pure and free from sin . . .

Bless us all that we may be,
Fit O Lord to dwell with thee . . .