Nit-picking

Nit-picking

Nit-picking

Luke 6:1-11 NIV “One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. [2] Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” [3] Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? [4] He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” [5] Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” [6] On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. [7] The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. [8] But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there. [9] Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” [10] He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was completely restored. [11] But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.”

Merriam Webster’s definition of the word, “Nit-picking,” is: “minute and usually unjustified criticism.” Is that not what the Pharisees were doing to Jesus and His disciples? Does not the same spirit attack us today? We are scrutinized and criticised for everything. We are dubbed as haters though we love mankind. But that’s ok. It is mandatory that we be treated the same way Jesus was. A slave is not greater than his master. Such close scrutiny and attacks is proof that we have God’s Spirit:

1 Peter 4:12-16 KJV “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: [13] But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. [14] If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; FOR THE SPIRIT OF GLORY AND OF GOD RESTETH UPON YOU: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. [15] But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. [16] Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”

Yes, to be picked on for nothing really means something when it’s done because you’re a Christian. This is proof that THE SPIRIT OF GLORY and THE SPIRIT OF GOD IS RESTING ON YOU. Think for a moment abouT that.

IT DOES MAKE SENSE

When people come at you sideways get out of the habit of saying, “This doesn’t make sense,” because it does make sense, just not good sense on their part. Jesus said,

Matthew 10:24-25 KJV “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. [25] It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?”

See, Jesus says that it does make sense. Jesus is the master of God’s house. Look at how they treated Him and even called Him Beelzebub which means Satan. If this is how the leader of God’s house was treated (and is still treated today) how can the servants or members of His house expect to be treated any better? It makes plenty of sense when people nit-pick and attack you. They did the same thing to Jesus all the time. But instead of dwelling on their attacks focus on what it all really means: YOU ARE A MEMBER OF GOD’S HOUSEHOLD!!! YOUR REWARD IS ETERNALLY GREAT!!! If we hold on to our faith we will reside with almighty God forever. And that makes plenty sense indeed!

Matthew 5:10-12 KJV “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [11] Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. [12] Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

Being, “blessed,” is what Jesus says it means; that you’re a follower of Him, and as a result are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. How truly blessed we are! But we don’t always feel like it because evil words and actions hurt sometimes. When folks attack you try to stay focussed on just how blessed you are to share in Christ’s sufferings. And don’t forget to praise God for the privilege of sharing in the sufferings of Jesus.

1 Peter 2:21-23 NIV “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. [22] “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” [23] When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”

Acts 5:40-42 NLT “They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go. [41] The apostles left the high council REJOICING THAT GOD HAD COUNTED THEM WORTHY TO SUFFER DISGRACE FOR THE NAME OF JESUS. [42] And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah.”

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A Muddied Spring

A Muddied Spring

Proverbs 25:26 NIV “Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked.”

A Muddied Spring

It starts with a little compromise here and a little compromise there. “If you say something they’re gonna think you think you’re all that,” is whispered in our ears. Fear tries to seize us. “You’ll lose your job, your house, your friends, your spouse, if you do or say something,” are the voices we hear. Listening to these suggestions will make us give in to the wicked. We will have become a muddied spring or a polluted well; good for nothing at all:

Matthew 5:13 HCSB “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men.”

It is dangerous to give in to the wicked. Some have done so to the point of no return. They can’t be made salty again. If we feel remorse for giving in to the wicked this is a good sign we can repent. But for those who will not repent there’s only the following:

2 Thessalonians 2: 11-12 NIV “For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie [12] and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”

Romans 1:28 KJV “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate [rejected] mind, to do those things which are not convenient.”

Hebrews 10:26-27 HCSB “For if we deliberately sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries.”

There are people on earth who have blown it with God and think they’re alright. And others who think there’s no hope for them when there really is. If you feel remorse for giving in to the wicked you can repent. But for some when left by themselves to think; meaning there are no more drugs or alcohol to numb their senses, or other distractions to get into, they are horrified because they know the terror of God’s coming judgment. Yet they are not moved to repentance. That’s why they have to stay busy all the time. They must keep their minds off of it (God’s Judgment). Fun and entertainment assist in this. Imagine feeling like you have to get drunk, or do drugs, just to keep your mind off of your past and what you know is coming. Imagine getting to the point where you lie to yourself and believe that nothing bad will happen to you for your wrong actions. God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe these and many other lies. (2 Thessalonians 2: 11-12)

‘How does a person get this way,’ one might ask? With some it was just a little compromise here, a little compromise there (so it seemed). Many of them once stood for righteousness (so it seemed) but gave way to the wicked. Why? Because they wanted to be accepted by them in order to receive something evil they desired.

James 1:14-15 NET “But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. 1:15 Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death.”

Ezekiel 33:12-13 NET “And you, son of man, say to your people, ‘The righteousness of the righteous will not deliver him if he rebels. As for the wicked, his wickedness will not make him stumble if he turns from it. The righteous will not be able to live by his righteousness if he sins.’ 33:13 Suppose I tell the righteous that he will certainly live, but HE BECOMES CONFIDENT IN HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS and commits iniquity. None of his righteous deeds will be remembered; because of the iniquity he has committed he will die.”

This passage demolishes the argument for, “Once Saved Always Saved?”

Jeremiah 3:12-13 NET “Go and shout this message to my people in the countries in the north. Tell them, ‘Come back to me, wayward Israel,’ says the Lord. ‘I will not continue to look on you with displeasure. For I am merciful,’ says the Lord. ‘I will not be angry with you forever. 3:13 However, you must confess that you have done wrong, and that you have rebelled against the Lord your God.”

DON’T CONSENT TO EVIL

You and I will be tested again and again to give in to the wicked. Temptation will come in many forms and subtle ways. People will seek to control you. They will try to make you feel uncool for not going along with them in their destructive courses. They will make it their life’s work to get you to sin. Be willing to stand out like a sore thumb for doing what is right. There is a great promising reward for doing so: 😉

Matthew 10:32-39 NET “Whoever, then, acknowledges me before people, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 10:33 But whoever denies me before people, I will deny him also before my Father in heaven. 10:34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword. 10:35 For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, 10:36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. 10:37 “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 10:38 And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 10:39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life because of me will find it.”

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Why Fear Men?

Why Fear Men?

Jeremiah 1:17-19 NET “But you, Jeremiah, get yourself ready! Go and tell these people everything I instruct you to say. Do not be terrified of them, or I will give you good reason to be terrified of them. 1:18 I, the Lord, hereby promise to make you as strong as a fortified city, an iron pillar, and a bronze wall. You will be able to stand up against all who live in the land, including the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and all the people of the land. 1:19 They will attack you but they will not be able to overcome you, for I will be with you to rescue you,” says the Lord.”

What a promise FROM ALMIGHTY GOD!!! You think this promise is for Jeremiah alone?

Psalm 34:7 NET The Lord’s angel camps around the Lord’s loyal followers and delivers them.”

Daniel 12:1 CEV “Michael, the chief of the angels, is the protector of your people, and he will come at a time of terrible suffering, the worst in all of history. And your people who have their names written in The Book will be protected.”

Isaiah 37:36 ESV “And the [one] angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.”

Hebrews 1:14 ESV “Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?”

Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead ofyou. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Proverbs 29:25 “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety.”

How dare we fear men? 😉

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Seek Glory

Proverbs 19:11 NET “A person’s wisdom makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”

Seek Glory

Imagine the glorious moment when an athlete wins the Superbowl? Or the NBA championship? Or the Stanley Cup? Or the World Series? Or the glory of winning the Fifa World Cup? Now imagine yourself looking that triumphant to God and all His angels when you avoid arguments, when you overlook others that offend you, and when you obey God by choosing to forgive. Yep, these are our glorious moments to Almighty God.

It is counted as glorious to us when we don’t allow ourselves to fall into the anger traps of men. This pleases God very much. This is winning to Him. Having a meek and mild spirit; being slow to anger, makes us God’s Champions. Doesn’t it feel at times like we’re in a great contest of sorts? That’s because we are. Only this one is for an eternal crown, and it involves our souls:

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NIV “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. [25] Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. [26] Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. [27] No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

Proverbs 15:1 NET “A gentle response turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath.”

Instead of wanting to look tough in the eyes of others, instead of wanting to please men, we care to please God by giving gentle responses to angry people. Remember, when we do this we are glorious in God’s sight. We are winning! When we give in to anger we lose. Who would you rather receive glory from; who do you wonna please, God, or men? (Luke 16:15)

John 5:44 NIV “How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?”

Romans 2:7 NIV “To those who by persistence in doing good SEEK GLORY, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.”

We who seek glory that comes from the only God and not the approval of men are God’s champions. Angry people will not have the glorious pleasure of living in the presence of God forever. They are losers. I know, there are many mean spirited people out there who have amassed worldly success and call themselves winners. But at what cost?

Mark 8:36 KJV “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

All of man’s worldly achievements have an expiration date attached to them. What do you gain if you live for a few years or 80 or 100 years in luxury, but after that you die and must spend ETERNITY IN POVERTY, and the lake of fire? What smart businessperson would make such a trade? Would you trade a trillion dollars for $80.00, or $100.00? Are we not just as stupid to throw away eternal life to live in luxury for a little while here?

Matthew 6:24 NET “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

WE ARE GOD’S CHAMPIONS

By our faith in Jesus Christ alone we have already triumphed over Satan and his world. GLORIOUS is what God sees when He looks at us:

1 John 5:4 NET “Because everyone who has been fathered by God conquers the world. This is the conquering power that has conquered the world: our faith. 5:5 Now who is the person who has conquered the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

1 John 2:13 NET “I am writing to you, fathers, that you have known him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young people, that you have conquered the evil one. 2:14 I have written to you, children, that you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, that you have known him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young people, that you are strong, and the word of God resides in you, and you have conquered the evil one.”

Did you notice the, “ed,” at the end of the word, “Conquered,” in these passages? That’s right, it’s past tense. It’s already happened. GOD SAYS you have ALREADY CONQUERED this world, and the god of this world; the evil one, Satan the Devil. (1 John 5:19 John 14:30) That’s right, that’s what He said. AWESOME!!! Let’s not get it twisted though. Let’s not get puffed up with pride because of this fact. Remember:

1 Corinthians 10:12 NET “So let the one who thinks he is standing be careful that he does not fall.”

Philippians 2:12-13 KJV “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. [13] For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

It is God who gives us the power to be victorious. It is God who drew us to His son Jesus Christ and made us His champions. It is God, it is God, it is God!!! Never forget this. We must remind ourselves of it constantly. If we forget that IT IS GOD who makes us victorious Satan will get a hold of us through pride, and eat us for lunch. Remember, it was pride that destroyed him.

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The Meaning Of Life

The Meaning Of Life

The Meaning Of Life

Ecclesiastes 12:13 KJV “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

Mark 12:29-31 KJV “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: [30] And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. [31] And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

There is the meaning of life! Keep God’s commandment to love. It’s just that sweet and simple. There is no greater commandment than this: Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor as you love yourself. That’s right, you’re supposed to love yourself (not be IN LOVE with yourself). This is the meaning of life. This will sound too sweet and simple for some. But those who obey God’s command to love know the real benefits of living this way.

Those who follow God’s command to love are not depressed, suicidal, angry, resentful, insane, etcetera. This does not mean they never get down. Or that they never miss the mark when it comes to loving others. Lovers of God and people in today’s world are viewed as crazy by those who reject God (the really crazy people). Yet they’ve learned the mystery to the meaning of life; the secret to spiritual, mental, and physical well being. It’s been well documented that those who live a life of love are far more healthier, happier, and enjoy life more than those who are filled with resentment and hatred. Though there are medicinal advantages to letting love fill your heat that’s not why we do it. We learn to love because it is God’s greatest commandment. It just so happens our heavenly Father always tells us to do things that only help us. 😉

WHAT IS LOVE?

1 John 4:8 HCSB “The one who does not love does not know God, because GOD IS LOVE.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NET “Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. 13:5 It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. 13:6 It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. 13:7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 13:8 Love never ends.”

GOD IS LOVE! And 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 describes what love or the character of God is: patient, kind, not braggadocios, not arrogant, not rude. God is not self-serving, He serves and provides for everyone (the whole world), whether they know it or not. He doesn’t get easily angered, and is not resentful. He hates injustice, and rejoices in the truth. There is no situation God cannot handle or get us through. Love is perfect and will never end. Because God is perfect and will never end. 😉

“Are you kidding me?” someone may ask, “Do you really think people can live like that? Like God?” I know, that much goodness seems impossible for mere mortals, doesn’t it? But with God all things are possible. God can give us His Holy Spirit; His character, so that we can obey Him and live a life of love:

Ezekiel 36:26-27 NET “I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh. 36:27 I will put my Spirit within you; I will take the initiative and you will obey my statutes and carefully observe my regulations.”

That’s how it’s done guys. God has to do it. He does a literal, spiritual, operation on our hearts, and removes these hearts of stone. Then (and only then) can we live a life of love in imitation of God’s love for us. Basically we must be born again. Born and sealed by the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:13 NET “And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation) – when you believed in Christ – you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit.”

1 Peter 1:23 NET “You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.”

By believing in the gospel message of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we are marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit. This is accomplished by God’s word. A person receives God’s Holy Spirit the very moment they truly believe in what God’s word says. WOW! Right then and there they are born again into God’s eternal family! They have eternal life! Now, they can fulfill God’s command to love. Without the Spirit of God no one can obey God’s commands.

In fact love is the identifying mark that one has been truly converted, or has truly become a true believer in Jesus Christ:

John 13:35 NET “Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.”

Yes, love is it guys! It is the meaning of life. This is the most important commandment and the key to living. It is accomplished through the infallible word of God. Love created all living things. All life comes from love! Just wrap your mind around that for a minute.

LOVE CREATED US

God did not have to make us. But he unselfishly did. Even when Adam and Eve sinned against Him in the Garden of Eden He could have destroyed the entire human race and made some more creatures. But He didn’t. God didn’t scrap us like some old failed project. That’s not His makeup. That’s not the personality of Love. Instead, God had already provided in advance a way out of our dire situation our first parents put us in. He saw to it that we would still receive what he intended for us all along: eternal life. And who says that God is mean and not loving? That way out of a life plagued by sin, suffering, and death, is Jesus Christ:

John 4:6 “Jesus replied, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ “

John 3:16 NET For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

God (who is love) is awesome and amazing! Our words can’t fittingly describe Him! Love created life. And love is the meaning of life. Love gives eternal life to all who believe in God’s love; His greatest gift, His son, Jesus Christ.

WE MUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER

Love for God and love for our fellow believers goes hand in hand. God says:

1 John 4:20-21 NET “If anyone says ‘I love God’ and yet hates his fellow Christian, he is a liar, because the one who does not love his fellow Christian whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 4:21 And the commandment we have from him is this: that the one who loves God should love his fellow Christian too.”

This love must also extend to others who do not believe the way we do, who may not be of our same culture, race, background, etcetera. Jesus illustrated this wonderfully when a man asked Him, “Who is my neighbor?” He told the parable known today as, “The Good Samaritan.” What makes this parable so awesome is Samaritans were viewed as the lower race of people during that time. But is was someone from the lower race that was the only person willing to help a stranger in need. And those of the so-called superior race and superior religious culture did nothing at all to help the man. Here is the famous parable. In it is the meaning of life:

Luke 10:29-37 NET “But the expert, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 10:30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him up, and went off, leaving him half dead. 10:31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, but when he saw the injured man he passed by on the other side. 10:32 So too a Levite, when he came up to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 10:33 But a Samaritan who was traveling came to where the injured man was, and when he saw him, he felt compassion for him. 10:34 He went up to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 10:35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever else you spend, I will repay you when I come back this way.’ 10:36 Which of these three do you think became a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 10:37 The expert in religious law said, “The one who showed mercy to him.” So Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”

Will we drop whatever it is we’re doing when we see someone in need, and spend our precious resources; time, money, efforts, etcetera, to help them? WIll we do this for a total stranger? Even someone of a different culture? Or a different race or background? Oh, and would we be willing to check up on them later even after we’ve initially helped them like The Good Samaritan? If our answer is a true, “Yes!” we have found the keys to life; which is love. As a grand reward God has already given us eternal life. The door to heaven is open to us. All we have do is hold on to our faith in God’s love. And I know, that’s becoming more challenging in an unloving world. But oh the reward is so great! We will get to enjoy the fullness of God’s love as we bask in the very presence of Almighty God Himself, forever!

1 John 4:12-13 HCSB “No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is perfected in us. 13 This is how we know that we remain in Him and He in us: He has given assurance to us from His Spirit.”

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