Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Goodness Of God

Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men! (Psalm 31:19)

He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord (Psalm 33:5).
Goodness is one of the attributes of our Father God. One of the definitions that I found for goodness is moral excellence that reaches out to meet others’ needs. Our God is a God of Goodness. He is morally excellent. His heart of compassion reaches out to all of creation.

You can see the goodness of God in splashes of color displayed during the fall season. You can see the goodness of God displayed in the varieties of smells, tastes, textures, shapes, colors, and in all the various created things that we experience every day of our lives. He thrives on blessing His creation. God is good. All the time!
When we’re born again, a measure of this goodness is placed within us by the Holy Spirit. One of the spiritual fruit is goodness. This goodness enables us also to display moral excellence that reaches out to meet the needs of others.
Goodness is manifested as salt and light in the believer. Jesus said that salt is good (Mark 9:50). Salt protects, flavors, and hinders.
Jesus told us to have salt within ourselves. Salt enhances flavor. That means that we are to allow this goodness to season our lives. The influence of the Spirit of God within us changes the atmosphere wherever we go. A room full of people is affected by your presence. Let the salt called goodness loose within you and allow it to influence others for God and for good.
Salt protects. Meats can be preserved with salt, needing no refrigeration. Bacteria have a difficult time growing in the atmosphere of salt. So does sin.
Salt also hinders. Armies in antiquity would sow the fields of conquered nations with salt. Salt will allow nothing to grow in the soil. While the church is on earth, we hinder the growth of evil. It’s our job!
Goodness is also expressed as light in the New Testament. Notice Matthew 5:16 (Amplified): Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven. Our works display the goodness of God to others. When they see our works, they should be drawn to our Savior.

Listen to Paul elevating the importance of our after salvation works: This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men (Titus 3:8). And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful (Titus 3:14). Our works don’t save us, but they should show others how wonderful and Holy our God is.
Let the attribute of God called goodness exude from your life today. Allow the salt and light of Jesus to manifest in your words, attitudes, and actions. Others are watching you. Let it shine!

Monday, October 12, 2015

How To Stay Full Of The Holy Spirit

Be Filled With the Spirit!
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
The Message Paraphrase of this verse reads, Don't drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him.  And Weymouth’s Translation declares, Do not over-indulge in wine--a thing in which excess is so easy- but drink deeply of God's Spirit.
The Greek verb in this verse is in the continuous present tense. It should read: be being filled with the Spirit, indicating progressive continuous action. When a person is born again, the Holy Spirit enters his or her body and changes their spirit from spiritual death to spiritual life; from darkness to light; from the power of Satan to the power of God.
When a believer receives the baptism with the Holy Spirit, that person enters into a closer relationship with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit immerses the person into Himself!
There is only one experience of the indwelling of the Spirit that we receive in the new birth. There is only one instance in a person’s life of receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit. But there should be many instances of a believer being filled with the Spirit!
We leak. As we go through life we use up our spiritual energy reserves. They must be replenished. Being filled with the Spirit needs to be a daily experience for all of us!
Here’s how. Get alone; go into your “closet” where you privately fellowship with the Lord (a long, walk, a secluded room, just a real private place). Begin to worship, singing songs in English and singing in tongues! Tell the Lord of how wonderful He is and how thankful you are that He has and is transforming your life. Sing some more. Pick up your Bible and read a passage out loud. Lift your hands and praise some more. Sing some more in tongues. And just keep this regimen going for a while. Then pray, pouring your heart out to the Father, mentioning the things that trouble you to Him. Go into great detail, and ask Him to help you! Talk to Him about your personal weaknesses, and ask Him to help you overcome them! Then, lift your hands and sing and praise some more. Sing songs that you know, and sing in tongues. You may not “feel” it, but you’re being refreshed and filled with the Spirit as you do this!
Make the previous paragraph a daily thing! Be being filled every day! Speak to yourself in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make melody in your heart to the Lord! Stay close to Him. Mediate the Word. You’ll stay filled with the Spirit, and the devil will run and hide when you show up!  He will sense the power of the Greater One that has risen within you!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Am I Going To Heaven Regardless Of How I Live?

I was taught all my life in my denominational church that once you’re a believer, your eternity is secured, and you never have to be concerned about it again. The idea of eternal security and then the other extreme of falling from grace and being eternally lost has been a theological bone of contention for hundreds of years.
This contention really got its start in the 16th century with two men. Jacobus Arminius and John Calvin graduated from the same institution of learning but each held opposing views. Jacobus Arminius believed that if you commit the smallest sin you are lost, and need to be saved all over again. John Calvin – father of “Old School Calvinism” believed that you were predestined to be saved – “what is to be will be.” They believed that you could only be saved if God gave you a repenting heart. Today, we have “new school Calvinism,” which basically believes the doctrine of eternal security, or what we call “once saved, always saved.”
So, who is right? The answer lies somewhere in the middle. The philosophers say that truth is the mean between two extremes. And that is a wise way to progress on this subject. We must balance the sovereignty of God with the free will of man. There are as many scriptures for eternal security as there are against it in the New Testament. On the other hand, we certainly don’t want to walk in eternal insecurity, where we’re constantly afraid of losing our salvation.
Here’s the bottom line. As long as I want to be saved from sin, I am! As long as I have a repentant heart that is full of faith in the redemptive work of Christ, I’m secure. But there is no scripture that promises that if I am born again, and then choose to live a rebellious, sinful lifestyle  void of repentance and confession of sin, that I will inherit heaven as my eternal destiny.
Every believer will at some point commit an act of sin. That’s different than choosing a lifestyle of unrepentant sin. If I as a believer commit a sin, thank God that I have the blood of Jesus that cleanses me when I confess my sins (1 John 1:9). Thank God that we have a lawyer that has never lost a case (1 John 2:1)! Thank God, that when the Father forgives sin, He forgets that we ever committed it, and chooses to never remember it again (Isaiah 43:25; Hebrews 10:17)! The Father removes our sin from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12)! Jesus is our eternal lawyer with the Father when we miss the mark!
But there is no scripture in the New Testament that promises that God will keep a person in His care eternally that chooses sin as a lifestyle. Not one promise offers this. Not one. In this hour of looseness and liberty, let us be careful to walk closely with the Lord, and not allow sin to harden our hearts to the point that one day we could say, I just don’t care anymore. Believer in Christ, never play with sin. It will harden your heart, and in the end, its wage is death.
I’ll leave you with these quotes:
He that is merciful to sin is cruel to his own soul (Ralph Venning).
He that loves a tree hates the worm that consumes it; he that loves a garment hates the moth that eats it; he that loves life, abhors death; and he that loves the Lord hates everything that offends Him (William Cowper).
I would rather have a moderately small meeting of earnest Christians than to have it packed with thousands of careless people (D.L. Moody).
Jesus Christ came to make the great laws of God incarnate in human life; that is the miracle of God’s grace. We are to be written epistles known and read of all men. There is no allowance whatever in the New Testament for the man who says he is saved by grace but who does not produce the graceful goods. Jesus Christ, by His redemption, can make our actual life in keeping with our religious profession (Oswald Chambers).
If God were not my friend, Satan would not be so much my enemy (Thomas Brooks).
Give me one hundred men who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I will shake the world (John Wesley).

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Give Yourself A Spiritual Checkup

We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him (1 John 5:18).
IF you’re going to walk closely with the Lord, you must guard or “keep” yourself. We must be vigilant to continue to do the things necessary to keep our walk with the Father strong and robust.
The writer of Hebrews said it well: Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away (Hebrews 2:1). Lest we drift away could be translated run out as leaking vessels. We have a leaking problem! It’s so easy to become slack and not be diligent in the things of God.
To be a strong believer today, I must continue to do the things I’ve done in the past to allow God to be strong in me. Too many believers become slack and let down their defenses and drift from the place of safety in God. Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he fall [into sin]( 1 Corinthians 10:12 - Amplified).
Keep guard over yourselves, so that you may not lose the results of your good deeds, but may receive back a full reward (2 John 8 – Weymouth)
During their wilderness wanderings, God graciously gave the Israelites daily food called manna to sustain them physically. The manna would appear on the ground at night and they were to pick it up the next morning before the dew dried. And they could only get a one day supply with the exception of the day before Sabbath, where they could pick up an extra day’s supply for the Sabbath rest.
Some lazy Israelites tried to pick up an extra day’s supply on a weekday, and the manna bread worms and begin to stink! You see, we can’t live on yesterday’s time with God, and we can’t depend on what has happened in our past to sustain us today in God. The blessings of yesterday won’t sustain you in the challenges of today! We must maintain a real time fellowship with the Father in the Word and in prayer every day. Smith Wigglesworth said: Pay attention to life’s inflow. Outward service will dwindle if inward energies are not renewed.
I’ve seen so many believers over the years become satisfied and slack! And I’ve watched as the spiritual fire and zeal slowly left their lives. Don’t let that happen to you. Don’t become complacent and think that you’re safe. Take heed!
Within myself I keep this thought: just because I was spiritually strong yesterday, and just because I have a record of God using me in the past, is no indication that I will be strong today. I could fall away unless I keep doing the things necessary to stay close to my Father. Honest assessment guards against slackness.
Ask yourself the following questions. Do I take time each day to “feed” on the Word? Do I maintain a daily private life of prayer and communion with the Father? Do I judge sin in my life immediately? Or do I just let it go and think that the Father understands me and my “weakness?” Am I as close to the Lord now as I was a year ago? Are my personal habits pure? Do I guard my thoughts and refuse to think on unseemly things? Do I readily forgive all offenses? Am I selfish? Do I spend my time wisely?
A wise believer keeps careful guard over himself. Keep yourself. Give yourself a regular spiritual checkup.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"My Life"

You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day. Your thoughts — how rare, how beautiful! God, I'll never comprehend them! (Psalm 139:15-17)[1]
I was born on Tuesday, October 7, 1958. At 8:20 AM, I breathed my first breath of life. I was born a basic barbarian with a nature of sin in my spirit and with a mind empty and clueless about life.
As a child I absorbed my surroundings. The influences of my father and mother set patterns in my life. Some were good, others were hurtful, and in later years had to be broken. My young mind gained concepts of self, of how to relate to others, and thankfully I was taught that there as an unseen God that reveals Himself through His word, and that we should worship Him and honor Him with all we do.
My mother taught me to read the Bible, to pray, and to respect others and their property. My father taught me the value of honesty, integrity, and of being truthful always. He taught me to work hard, to spend my money wisely, and to tithe. Mom and Dad taught me by example the golden rule: do unto others what you would have them do to you.
As I aged I learned that I am responsible for all my actions and the choices they produce. In a large measure, God gives us what we draw to ourselves as a result of our choices. Some influences I had no control over when I was young, but I learned that I must choose to resist and change the ones that produce hurtful effects in me and towards others through me.
Near age 18, I fully committed my life to Jesus, being restored to fellowship with Him, and then receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit. The principle purpose of my life changed from self-centeredness to seeking to live to please the One who redeemed my life from hell now and later.
At age 18, the Father called me to preach His Word. Since then the passion of my life has been to obey Him. Though I fail Him often, I ask Him for His grace to help my weaknesses, and His power to enable me to fulfill His will.

He created me as an eternal human spirit. One day, He will call me to Himself to live with Him in heaven, either in the rapture of the church or through the doorway of physical death. My goal in life is to be pleasing to Him, and to hear Him speak over me the words, well done, good and faithful servant.

[1] (from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Commit To A Life Of Purity and Holiness!

As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, Be holy, for I am holy (1 Peter 1:14-16)
Now is the time for believers to show the world what our God is really like. He is Holy. The Israelites introduced the surrounding sex -crazed pagan cultures to their Holy God by keeping themselves pure as they outwardly obeyed the Ten Commandments. We have the law of God written on our hearts. This enables us to be living epistles known and read of all men. And in this day of looseness, we have a tremendous opportunity to shine!
It’s time to pursue holiness! Notice 2 Corinthians 7:1: Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Not only will your fellowship with your Holy Father deepen, but you’ll begin to be noticed by those around you as different, and that’s a good thing!
Sensuality is on the rise everywhere. It’s the spirit of the age. Watch your media viewing and don’t compromise! The internet is full of filth. Magazines and newspapers are filled with risqué pictures and articles that just don’t need to be written! Be wise!
If you don’t make an on purpose decision to be Holy or separated from the perversion that abounds today, you’re likely to yield to it or be hardened by it. Notice what Peter says to us: So, since Christ suffered in the flesh for us, for you, arm yourselves with the same thought and purpose [patiently to suffer rather than fail to please God]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [has stopped pleasing himself and the world, and pleases God], So that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living by [his] human appetites and desires, but [he lives] for what God wills (1Peter 4:1-2 – Amplified).
Paul says it so well in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, J.B. Phillips Translation: God’s plan is to make you holy, and that means a clean cut with sexual immorality. Every one of you should learn to control his body, keeping it pure and treating it with respect, and never allowing it to fall victim to lust, as do pagans with no knowledge of God. You cannot break this rule without cheating and exploiting your fellow men. Indeed God will punish all who offend do offend in this matter, as we have plainly told you and warned you. The calling of God is not to impurity but to the most thorough purity, and anyone who makes light of the matter is not making light of man’s ruling but of God’s command. It is not for nothing that the Spirit God gives us is called the Holy Spirit.
Stand before the Father today and pledge to Him your devotion and love by committing to a life of holiness and purity. Refuse to compromise God’s standards by yielding to the low standards of the world. Our nation’s future depends on our morals. If we lose our morals our nation will certainly fail. History begs us not to repeat it!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Compromise Costs!

Jacob then gave Esau some bread and some of the bean stew, and when Esau had finished eating and drinking, he just got up and left, showing how little he thought of his rights as the first-born (Genesis 25:34 - Contemporary English Version).
The story of Esau despising his first-born birthright is an excellent example to us of how yielding to the flesh can cost us the blessings of God.
Esau was born struggling. Before he and his brother were born, they were wrestling in the womb. When He was born, his twin brother Jacob had grasped his heel. Jacob means deceiver, schemer. These brothers were always disagreeing and fighting. Their personalities were opposite extremes. Jacob was a shepherd and stayed close to home. Esau was a hunter and loved the open field.
Esau came in from hunting one day and was overcome with hungry. He asked Jacob for a bowl of the soup he had made. The aroma had filled the house. Jacob was only willing to give Esau the soup if he would trade his firstborn birthright to him. Esau so little regarded his birthright that he gave it away for a simple bowl of soup!
The firstborn birthright meant that when his father died, he received two-thirds of the inheritance. The one-third was divided among all of the rest of the siblings! This birthright was both an honor and a great responsibility! And Esau gave it away for next to nothing. He despised it.
As believers, we have a great heritage. We are heirs of God, and equal heirs with Jesus! We have inherited every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). We have God’s delegated authority, His favor, His nature. The Greater One lives within us. The gifts of the Spirit are available to us. Healing belongs to us. The Father has promised to prosper us as we honor Him. We have such a rich heritage!
But if we yield to the flesh and refuse to walk in the spirit, we stand to lose it all. It’s just like Esau giving away his inheritance!
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21).
It’s just not worth yielding to the flesh to stand losing all that Jesus made available to us. Don’t allow Satan to dangle the carrot of the flesh in any area before your eyes! Just like the forbidden fruit, it may look good and taste good to your flesh, but it’s not worth the end result! Let’s respect our God given inheritance and walk in the spirit today!