Following Jesus

Luke 9:23–If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
If any man will come after me…follow me–In order to follow Jesus we must live our life as He lived His. We must live our life in and for the will of our Father. Jesus repeatedly put emphasis on the fact that He did not come to do His own will, but the will of the Father. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed”? (Amos 3:3). If we walk with the Lord today it will be because we are walking in accordance with the will of the Father.  If we are to follow Him to heaven, we must first follow Him here on earth, and day by day.

Let him deny himself–To follow Jesus we must deny self. This goes beyond denying habits and desires for outward things of this world. It is a denial of Self. It takes in all the scriptures that refer to the old nature, the old man, and the flesh. It means to refuse to follow ones own thinking, ones own will and ones own emotions. “Put off the old man with his deeds; and put on the new man” (Colossians 3:9-10). “They that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8). “Walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).

Let him take up his cross daily–”Our old man is crucified with him (Jesus), that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6). “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24). Each and every day we must crucify the old man so that we do not serve sin through affections and lusts. Each and every day we must crucify self “that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:10). “For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:11). This is the result when we are filled with the Spirit, and walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh.

Let him follow me–To follow Jesus is to accept His authority over us and to walk in obedience. It is to accept His teachings and to live accordingly. It is to go where He is leading us and to carry out what He is leading us to do.  It is to continue in His mission of seeking and saving the lost.  It is to carry out the Great Commission–Teach (Evangelize), Baptize them, and Teach (Disciple them–to do all that He has told us to do).  He said, “I will be with you always, even to the end of the world.”  It is to “walk with the Lord in the light of His word and to experience the glory He sheds on our way.”  “While we do His good will He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey.”  Amen!

Envy, Strife, Divisions, and Carnality

1 Corinthians 3:3–Whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
Let us first make sure we have a clear understanding of the following words.
Envy–A feeling of discontent and ill will because of another’s advantages, possession, etc.; Desire for something belonging to another.
Strife–Quarrel, fight, contention; Disputes especially ones marked by anger and resentment; A breaking up of friendly relations.
Divisions–Divided because of a difference of opinion; disagreement.
Carnal–In or of the flesh; worldly, not spiritual.

Characteristic of some individuals–In our churches you will often find certain people who are more often than not in the middle of conflict within the church. Envy, strife, and divisions are a common part of their life. These people have little joy and peace. These people walk in the flesh and are not spiritual. They are babes in Christ, spiritually immature, and are not able to receive and digest the meat of God’s word. They cannot receive the deep things of God and absorb them in their life. They live their life as if they were not Christians at all.

Characteristic of some churches– There are some churches that have so many of these types of individuals, the church itself is characteristic of this spiritual immaturity and are constantly in strife and divisions. Often in churches where new people come in and begin to get fired up spiritually and begin to become a part of the inner circle of leadership, you will find people who have been in positions of leadership but have been carnal stirring up strife and divisions because of envy. There are many other examples of this in our churches but I don’t have the space to deal with them here.

The cure–This is what you might call a spiritual disease and requires a cure or remedy. The only cure is repentance. There must be a Godly sorrow. “For Godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Godly sorrow is a sorrow that is produced by God through the convicting work of the Holy Spirit and is spiritual in origin and in its nature. This kind of sorrow produces repentance. This sorrow produces such regret that it results in a change of the mind, the will, and the emotions and brings them under the control of the spirit. The worldly sorrow while it might cause some regret does not produce a change in the person’s life and if it does, it will only be for a short period of time.

God’s Love For Us

Romans 8:35–Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Romans 8:38-39–For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord or the love of Christ Himself. None of the things mentioned in the scriptures above can separate us form God’s love. These include things that are visible and invisible. They include physical things and beings and spiritual beings.

God wants us to know this–He wants us to know that we are secure in His love. He wants us “to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19). This very “love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5). If we are sensitive to the Holy Spirit, He will reveal to us God’s love for us.

More than conquerors–Because of His love and watch care over us, He makes sure that we are more than conquerors when we have to deal with these things and beings (Romans 8:37).  This conquering is not in our own strength.  We must be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  We must be filled with the Spirit, for He dwells in us and is greater that he that is in the world.

Thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57

When The Righteous Face Troubles And Afflictions

Psalms 34:15–The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
Psalms 34:17– The righteous cry, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.
Psalms 34:19– Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
These promises are for the righteous, so let us first see who these righteous ones are. They are described in Psalms 34:13-14.

Psalms 34:13-14–The righteous are those who keep their tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. The righteous are those who depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. These are the qualifications for receiving the promises of God.

Psalms 34:15–The Lord is near and watches over the righteous ones as they live out their lives on this earth. Each and every day; as He said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee”. Not for one moment will we be without Him. His ears are open to the prayers of the righteous.

Psalms 34:17–When the righteous pray the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles; sometimes from them and sometimes through them.

Psalms 34:19–Mankind faces many afflictions in this world in which we live. It is a part of life and both the wicked and the righteous face these sufferings, distresses and pain. The difference is that the Lord is with the righteous and delivers them out of them all.

Amos 3:3–Can two walk together, except they be agreed? If we want to walk with the Lord then we must be in agreement with him.

God’s Instruction And Direction

Psalms 32:8-11–I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusts in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about. Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.
God will instruct us and teach us in the way we should go–We will have the direct teaching and leadership of God Himself. His Spirit indwells us and the New Testament tells us that He will perform these things for us. “I will guide you with mine eye” speaks of His personal watch care over our lives. We do not walk alone.

Be not without understanding–Be not as the horse or mule that must be held in check and guided by force. We are to listen when He teaches us and follow when He guides us in the exercise of our free will. God does not want to use force with us. He wants us to be eager and responsive to His teaching and guidance and to be obedient in regards to both.

Trust in the Lord–Many sorrows will be to the wicked but if we trust in the Lord we shall be surrounded with the mercy of God. This means that we shall receive from God that which we need. To trust in the Lord is to be eager and responsive to His teaching and guidance and to be obedient in regards to both as we have stated above. Our obedience to His teaching and guidance is the expression of our faith and trust in Him and makes us righteous and upright in heart.

Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, and shout for joy–This is reserved for the righteous and the upright in heart. To be righteous and upright in heart is to do as we have stated above. We will be blessed to where we are glad in the Lord, and to where we rejoice and shout for joy.

Letters From God–Book of Romans 13:11-14

My child, you need to recognize the times in which you are living. It is time for you to wake up for your salvation is nearer now than when you first became a believer. This day of salvation is near, so get rid of the things that belong to the dark and the flesh and take up the things that belong to the light and the Spirit. You must live decently, as My child, not in wild parties, drunkenness, sexual immorality, promiscuity, quarreling and jealousy. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, live your life in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Do not give in to the flesh, to satisfy its lusts and desires. Romans 13:11-14

God’s Word

God's Word

“Every word of God is pure”–Proverbs 30:5.

“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God”—Luke 4:4.

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby”–1 Peter 2:2.

Is Anything Too Hard For The Lord?

Genesis 18:14–Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
Is any thing too hard for the Lord?
God asked Abraham this question in relation to him and Sarah having a son when they were well past the age of having children. God had made a covenant with Abraham as stated in Genesis 17:1-8. Abraham’s part of the covenant was to walk before God in complete maturity and wholehearted devotion and service to God. In return God promised to multiply him exceedingly and that he would be the father of many nations and that he and his descendants would receive a promised land.
We must ask ourselves the same question. “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). “With God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37). “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27). We also have a covenant relationship with God. Jesus said, “This is the new testament (covenant) in my blood which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20). Our responsibility in this covenant relationship is the same as Abraham’s. We are to walk before God in complete spiritual maturity and wholehearted devotion and service to Him. In return God will be there for us in whatever we face in this life. He will either deliver us from the difficult things and times or He will deliver us through the difficult things and times. Remember, “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). If He chooses to deliver us through the difficult things and times instead of from them, we can rest assured that He has a purpose in us going through those things and times. He will not only help us through them but will work them for good either in our life or in the life of others and all to His honor and glory.

Walk in faith. What things are impossible with men are possible with God. We can place our faith in what man can do but we must stretch our faith to embrace what God can do, and we must do it regardless what other think or say.

Those Born Of The Spirit

John 3:8–The wind blows where it lists, and thou hear the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
The wind blows where it lists–The wind blows where it will. It brings various results. It can be a cooling breeze to comfort us in the heat. It can also be a destructive force causing great damage.

Thou hear the sound thereof–We can hear the wind blowing. We can also see the results of the winds with our eyes including the movement of trees and plants. We can also see the destruction of the winds. We can feel the wind against our skin. If it was not for the 5 senses associated with the flesh we could not detect the wind and its movement.

You can not tell where it comes from, and where it goes–We can’t tell where it begins, where it ends or where it blows in between.

So is every one that is born of the Spirit–The movement of the Spirit and his results can not be detected with the 5 senses of the flesh. The Spirit brings various results. One of the results is His creative action resulting in our spiritual birth. He can have a calming effect to overcome our fears and anxiety. He can produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives and He can manifest Himself through us in the gifts of the Spirit. He can teach us and guide us into the truth and He can lead us and give direction in our lives.

Like the wind, the Spirit operates where He will. Unlike the wind, the 5 senses are ineffective in detecting the moving of the Spirit. The natural man (unsaved man) can not detect the movement and operation of the Spirit.

Everyone that is born of the Spirit, when functioning under the influence of the Spirit is like the Spirit. The natural man and those Christians walking in the flesh cannot detect where the Christian is coming from or where he is going. These people will have a hard time understanding what this Christian is doing or why.

The wind and the other things of this physical world impact us through our 5 senses of the physical flesh. However, the Spirit indwells our new spirit, operates through our spirit, and can be detected by our spirit.

The Necessity Of Prayer

Luke 6:12–And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
Luke 9:28–He took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.
Luke 18:1–Men ought always to pray, and not to faint.
Prayed alone–He went out into a mountain to pray. It was a regular part of His life. We too should regularly get alone to pray.

Extended prayer–He continued all night in prayer to God. Like Jesus we should schedule extended times of prayer. However extended times of prayer takes practice. Begin in small amounts of time and work your way up in time.

Prayer with His inner circle (Luke 9:28)–Jesus had three circles of influence. He had many followers, he had the 12 disciples, and he had Peter, James, and John. Jesus took the three up into a mountain to pray. We should have 2 or 3 intimate prayer partners.

Men ought always to pray (Luke 18:1)–Prayer is the key to our relationship with God. Through prayer we have fellowship, and receive knowledge and wisdom. We also receive strength and guidance.

Lord teach us to pray and how to pray. Amen.