Take the time to view this short film. Then ask the Lord what He would have you do…
Take the time to view this short film. Then ask the Lord what He would have you do…
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome
So imitate God, as his dear children; 2and live a life of love, just as also the Messiah loved us, indeed, on our behalf gave himself up as an offering, as a slaughtered sacrifice to God with a pleasing fragrance. 3Among you there should not even be mentioned sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity, or greed; these are utterly inappropriate for God’s holy people. 4Also out of place are obscenity and stupid talk or coarse language; instead, you should be giving thanks. 5For of this you can be sure: every sexually immoral, impure or greedy person — that is, every idol-worshipper — has no share in the Kingdom of the Messiah and of God. 6Let no one deceive you with empty talk; for it is because of these things that God’s judgment is coming on those who disobey him. 7So don’t become partners with them!
Imitating God leaves no room for what he calls sin; missing the mark of right living; the kind of living his people were created to live. Everyone enjoys peace, encouragement, success, having plenty, being loved and accepted. There are two methods to use to attempt to live in that place. One is a constant effort, often at the expense of others; the other allows one to achieve that lifestyle in spite of others and circumstances; even In the midst of the storms. Trying to get the ‘good life’ on your own efforts falls short of the goal; which is defined as a sin. Never satisfied; always needing more. Following God’s plan; utilizing his power brings one to a place of fulfillment even if it looks lacking. A paradox? Yes. Also, following God’s plan is beneficial to others, not at their expense, pain or hurt.
Pray – Keep me, O God, on Your path. May my life, what remains of it, be spent following Your commands and in that, may it be beneficial to those around me.
Repent – I repent for my short-comings; for those times I missed the goal because I was trying to achieve in my own abilities.
Ask – God, in Your grace, have mercy on me; in Your great compassion, blot out my crimes. Wash me completely from my guilt, and cleanse me from my sin.
Yes – You say, “Whoever offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice honors me; and to him who goes the right way I will show the Salvation of God.” Thank you!!
Sources: Ephesians, Psalms 50
Therefore stripping off falsehood, let everyone speak truth with his neighbor, because we are intimately related to each other as parts of a body. Be angry, but don’t sin – don’t let the sun go down before you have dealt with the cause of your anger; otherwise you leave room for the Adversary.
The thief must stop stealing; instead he should make an honest living by his own efforts. This way he will be able to share with those in need.
Let no harmful language come from your mouth, only good words that are helpful in meeting the need, words that will benefit those who hear them. Don’t cause grief to God’s Ruach HaKodesh, (Holy Spirit) for he has stamped you as his property until the day of final redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, violent assertiveness and slander, along with all spitefulness. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted; and forgive each other, just as in the Messiah God has also forgiven you.
Wow, a to-do list. Those actions will naturally follow in one who loves. ” Love God,” ‘ love your neighbor” are two commands to wake with, go out and come in with, speak sitting down and getting up, place in the mind, heart, doing of the hands and going of the feet. Truth reigns in all that is said and done. Jesus is truth and truth is found in Scripture.
Emotions belong to the individual, are felt but are not in the driver’s seat. Therefore anger, the most destructive of emotions, must be dealt with, or the enemy has a toehold into the relationship and it quickly becomes a stronghold of bitterness driving believers apart.
Basic principles of good living follow with advice to work with one’s own hands and be able to assist others as a result. Speaking only what will encourage and help others grow, showing kindness and forgiveness, all are actions that demonstrate a love for God and neighbor. They are actions that are beneficial to the receiver and giver both. The ‘stamp’ God places identifies who is his and can be seen by others. It is seen by way of the actions, words and thoughts.
Pray – I pray for truth to be evident in my life. I pray that Your stamp on me be obvious to others through my words and actions toward them.
Repent – I repent for using a sharp tongue to respond when it could have been a gentle tongue spoken with love. I repent for the times I allow stress and fatigue to rule instead of Your love.
Ask – I lie prostrate in the dust; revive me, in keeping with Your word. I told You of my ways and You answered me; teach me Your laws. Make me understand the ways of Your precepts, and I will meditate on your wonders.
Yes – Father God, I praise You that the reason Jesus came was to destroy the work of the enemy. I acknowledge that the one who keeps on sinning is from the enemy for they do not bear Your stamp. You say no one who is born of God will continue to sin because Your seed has been planted in him. I will make the right choices to demonstrate how much I love you and transfer that love to my neighbor as well.
Sources: Ephesians and Psalms
To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you
always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.
For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—
that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.
I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.
I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.
So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
What a lovely way to open a letter, with love and good will.
“…Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. …”
Much like the opening to the Lord’s Prayer in recognition of who God is and praise and adoration for him. Do we include one another in our prayers as Paul did?
“…God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers,…”
There is a connection between believers that goes beyond the physical. It is a recognition of brothers and sisters of the kingdom of God, a spiritual kingdom that has power over the physical world.
“…the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,…”
Paul answers the question; what is the gospel?, in this introduction. He states it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. There is freedom from the bondage of a law-document that hoped to get salvation. There is nothing we can do to achieve salvation; that is, redemption from the penalty of sin; death. All that is necessary to receive that redemption and absolution from the wages of sin is to believe that Jesus is the promised Christ and he paid our sin debt for us. That belief ignites the power of God in us and burns the chains of sin from us, setting us free. Good, isn’t it? In this gospel we receive God’s righteousness through Christ and faith in what he has done; that it was done to free us.
“…For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith,…”
Now we do, but not out of obligation and not in hope that we will see God, for all will see God. Now, we do because we receive his spirit and we want to. We too, hear the voice of God in our spirit and follow his will. What we do we do in response to love. All that we do every day, all day, is for his glory.
“…”The righteous shall live by faith.” …”
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
“Wail, ‘Woe to the day!’
3 For the day is near,
Even the day of the LORD is near;
It will be a day of clouds, the time of the Gentiles.
4 The sword shall come upon Egypt,
And great anguish shall be in Ethiopia,
When the slain fall in Egypt,
And they take away her wealth,
And her foundations are broken down.
6 ‘Thus says the LORD:
“Those who uphold Egypt shall fall,
And the pride of her power shall come down.
From Migdol to Syene
Those within her shall fall by the sword,”
Says the Lord GOD.
7 “They shall be desolate in the midst of the desolate countries,
And her cities shall be in the midst of the cities that are laid waste.
8 Then they will know that I am the LORD,
When I have set a fire in Egypt
And all her helpers are destroyed.
9 On that day messengers shall go forth from Me in ships
To make the careless Ethiopians afraid,
And great anguish shall come upon them,
As on the day of Egypt;
For indeed it is coming!”
10 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD:
“I will also make a multitude of Egypt to cease
By the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.
11 He and his people with him, the most terrible of the nations,
Shall be brought to destroy the land;
They shall draw their swords against Egypt,
And fill the land with the slain.
12 I will make the rivers dry,
And sell the land into the hand of the wicked;
I will make the land waste, and all that is in it,
By the hand of aliens.
I, the LORD, have spoken.”
A king is used , with his army, to destroy a proud nation. The forces of nature are brought into the mix and used to exact judgment and lay waste a land that is denying God.
“…I will make the rivers dry,
And sell the land into the hand of the wicked;
I will make the land waste, and all that is in it,
By the hand of aliens….”
God, the master of all, will not tolerate evil in his land. He gives warning, he is longsuffering, he provides mercy, but he is just. His word is yes and amen. We are becoming as this nation; becoming prideful, full of ourselves and confident in our own strength and abilities; becoming lax in living a righteous life because of his longsuffering, thinking he is not concerned with whether we are living right or not; becoming involved in denying his existence and His part in our growth and development, and so, we too, will suffer the penalty of sin. Judgment will fall here. Let us not give up the work of God and continue to combat the evil in our land. We can be a force, one-at-a-time, a voice for Him, strong in His power. As we pray
…Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever, amen.
let us determine individually to be a light in a dark world. Let us live daily as a people who truly love Him and worship Him. Let us be sure to give Him all the credit and worship. And in so doing those who cross our paths will see the difference, will take note and may desire the light instead of the darkness.
What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written:
“That You may be justified in Your words,
And may overcome when You are judged.”
But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world?
For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? And why not say, “Let us do evil that good may come”?—as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.
Mankind loves to generalize. One characteristic, one flaw, one aspect will often be applied to the whole group. So if some who claim the name of Christ do not follow his teachings and so bring criticism upon the whole group does that eliminate those who claim the name of Christ and do follow his teachings? And do the actions of those who do not follow the teachings negate the salvation that Christ brought? ” For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect?” The world mind-set will find fault. Finding fault does not cast doubt on the whole. Yet we see this in everyday life. If one group of business men do business dishonestly, we hear that applied to all business men. Can we be aware of the mind-set when we hear discussions or disparaging statements being made? Can we also thank God that He is faithful regardless of how mankind chooses to view his actions? Paul asked a question that is still being asked; “Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? ” Does God need our approval? His follow-up question: “how will God judge the world?” answers the first. If a judge does not pass judgment to our liking does that cancel his judgment? And so we see that God remains faithful and those of us who question and look for ways to cast doubt on God’s work will be held accountable. Take away: While it is distressing to hear so much said against Christianity as a result of the actions of some, they are not true statements when applied to all. We can take hope and stand in our faith knowing that God is faithful. We can look to our own lifestyle and take care that no one can say when looking at us that we do not follow the teachings of Christ. We will all stand before God one day and give an accounting. Let’s be found among the faithful.
Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.
For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.
This is a contrast between righteous living and unrighteous living. We would do well to take note that the description of unrighteous living begins with judging others! Paul clearly defines that we are judged by God for our actions; what we do and how we treat others. It makes no difference if we are under any kind of law or not, we will be judged regardless. This is clearly in line with what God has demonstrated through time. Punishment for sin came on both the Jew and the Gentile. Paul is also warning of the consequences of unrighteous living. Believer or non-believer, if we sin, if we live an unrighteous life we will be judged for that. Can we see this? When we believe, our actions are to follow in obedience to that belief. It is not enough to hear, we must obey. “for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; ” We will not be judged on what we heard, we will be judged on what we do. It is enough to see to it that we are obeying what we receive from God, there isn’t time to judge another. Once we start that we have left the focus of our sharing, we have strayed from obedience. What is self-seeking? “but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth,” Is it looking to ourselves for answers, it t reliance on our own judgment? Is it setting ourselves up as better than another? It is so important to keep a right and true perspective, realizing our purpose is to do the will of God. In that place there is no room to look at others as a self-appointed judge; rather to see their need for a savior and a relationship that seeks God’s will.
Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”
He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”
And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
And he answered, “No.”
Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”
He said: “I am
‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Make straight the way of the LORD,” ’
as the prophet Isaiah said.”
Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.”
These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Getting ready for the visit from the King, John was busy removing obstacles, flattening the hindrances. He pointed out sin, the need for confession of sin and public announcement of intent to change shown through water baptism. Symbolic cleansing of the soul. When we build a road the earth-movers come in and take down the hills and mountains, straighten the curves in the old path, build-up the low areas with bridges and firm foundations for the new path to rest upon. John sent out a call to repentance, and taught a preparation for a new lifestyle, one dependent upon the Lord. John was busy sending out a call to engage in getting ready, making the path straight. We can respond to that call, and do the same. We can prepare and make straight the path for the Lord, for he is coming again for another visit. What are we doing? It isn’t just are we ready, but what are we doing to answer the call to make His path straight? What about those who face mountains and ravines in their life that hinder them from taking that path to Christ? Let us join that voice crying in the wilderness, this wildness in which we live, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ He is returning, there will be another visit, what will he find?
One day Jesus said to his disciples, “There will always be temptations to sin, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting! It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin. So watch yourselves!
“If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”
“So watch yourselves!” What do we watch for? We are to be careful not to be the one through whom teaching or temptation to sin come. Little ones; whether the young child or the one young in their relationship with the Lord, both need teaching. We teach more through our daily living actions and words than through our teaching words from scripture. This is not limiting the power of the Holy Spirit but giving warning to watch then how we live, for how we live is how and what we teach. When we forgive, we teach. Nothing is said here about the brother changing, It is all about us, what we do. We forgive and in that we teach forgiveness.
“When we walk with the Lord, in the light of His Word…we will trust and obey” Our trust in Him will be evident in our obedience to him. That obedience will do more to teach others to avoid sin through the doing of what is right rather than what is wrong. When we do right, we cannot be doing wrong.
“Until John the Baptist, the law of Moses and the messages of the prophets were your guides. But now the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is eager to get in. But that doesn’t mean that the law has lost its force. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest point of God’s law to be overturned.
“For example, a man who divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery. And anyone who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”
“… that doesn’t mean that the law has lost its force. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest point of God’s law to be overturned….”
“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. ” We recognize His authority and the authority of the law that was given by Him. We also recognize the forgiveness from sin given through the sacrifice of His son. How then shall we live? His Son, Jesus, clearly lays it out for us. The law was not done away with, it was fulfilled. Are we following the commands of Christ? If not, we need the law for we are lawless in that place. Forgiveness remains, done once and offered for all time. The consequences of breaking the law, the need for a constant shedding of blood is covered in Christ’s death and resurrection. But the law hasn’t lost its force. Following the teachings of Christ places us in compliance with the law. The question that arises for each of us to answer, truthfully, honestly between ourselves and God is this; are we following the teachings of Christ?
The answer to that question shows in our daily walk through life. How then shall we live? The answers are seen by all in our conversation, our actions which give proof to our thoughts. How are we known? Can others see Christ in us? Are we His hands reaching, His voice teaching, His feet going, His body of believers doing? Or do we look more like the Pharisee;”…You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God…? …the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is eager to get in…” We are the Good News, do those who cross our paths hear and see it?
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