Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Responding to New Ownership

Chuckle: "Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on."
Quote: "After we bow our heads seeking Divine Guidance, we often bow our necks in resistance to His will." --William Arthur Ward

". . . you are not your own. For you are bought with a (high) price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are (belong to) God's" (1 Corinthians 6:20 KJV).
When I was about to go away to college, and later to enter the U. S. Army, my dad asked me to remember to whom I belonged -- to God first and then to our family. He counseled me to "keep my feet on the ground," which was his way of saying I should remain rooted in the Christian principles I had learned at home and in church. I should live my live in such a way as to bring honor to my Savior and to my earthly family. This wise counsel helped me to avoid yielding to many temptations and served as a constant reminder of the price Christ paid for my salvation and my inclusion in the family of God.
We live in a society that says "everything is about me and what I want." "I don't belong to anyone and am not obligated to anyone." Our passage refers to slaves being purchased at auction. Using this analogy, Paul reminds us that we have been redeemed from slavery to sin and that the price of that redemption was the life of our Lord freely given on the cruel cross of Calvary. The terrible price paid for our salvation reminds us of God's indescribable love for us and also reminds us of our obligation to serve Him and bring honor to Him by the way we live.
Perhaps now, or sometime in your life, you have lived in a rented apartment or house. While living there, you were obligated to take care of the dwelling and follow the owner's rules because it belonged to someone else. When we accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, we become Christians and our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies take on new ownership. We belong to the One who purchased us and tells us that our bodies are the temple (dwelling place) of God's Holy Spirit. In other words, God owns the body (dwelling) in which we live, along with His Holy Spirit.
"Or don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God" (vs. 19). Because of what God has done for us, our sacrifice of obedience is a small price for us to pay. Because our bodies belong to God, we should never violate His standards for holy living. We should take care of our bodies as the temple of God and never forget the One who purchased us and to whom we truly belong.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Monday, July 30, 2018

Rejoicing in Heaven

Chuckle: Another excuse for an accident: "An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my car and vanished."
Quote: "You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." --C. S. Lewis
"In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (Luke 15:10 NIV).
If you have ever doubted God's love and concern for you, these words of Jesus should dispel such doubts. Here, Jesus uses a parable to teach His followers how important each eternal soul is to our Lord. A woman possessed ten silver coins and she lost one of them. She did everything in her power to locate the lost coin, and when she found it, she rejoiced and asked her neighbors to rejoice with her because that which was lost had been found.
At the time of Jesus ministry on earth, it was the custom to give Palestinian women ten silver coins as a wedding gift. To lose a single coin was much more alarming than that which was warranted by only its monetary value. These coins were precious for their sentimental value, and to lose one was extremely distressing.
Each individual is more precious to God than we can comprehend. He grieves over the loss of even one eternal soul and likewise He rejoices whenever one of His children is found and brought into His kingdom. Jesus used the rejoicing of a woman who found her coin to teach His followers (us) about the importance of a single soul to the God of the universe. How does it make you feel to know how much God loves you and how important your eternal destiny is to Him.
Christ's love and compassion for people is revealed in His words to an unrepentant Jerusalem. "O Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" (Luke 13:34 NIV).
"This is how God showed his love among us; He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him" (I John 4:9 NIV). "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36 NIV).
Wow! Can't you sense the love Jesus has for each and every person? That love includes you! No one is outside God's circle of love. When we begin to comprehend God's love, it makes complete sense that there would be rejoicing among the angels in God's presence when you gave your heart to Christ -- when that which was lost was found.
“Several years ago one of the astronauts who walked on the moon was interviewed and asked, ‘What do you think about as you stood on the moon and looked back at the earth?’ ‘The astronaut replied, ‘I remembered how the spacecraft was built by the lowest bidder.’“ --Illustrations for Biblical Preaching; Edited by Michael P. Green
We Christians have every reason to rejoice with the angels in heaven when the work of salvation has been completed in a person’s life and performed by God, the only bidder, and He did so without error or deficiency.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Sunday, July 29, 2018

God's Solution to Our Quarreling

Chuckle: "The only people who listen to both sides of a family quarrel are the next door neighbors."
Quote: “When we quarrel, how we wish we had been blameless!” --Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:2-3 NIV).
Paul wrote our passage to Christians in the church. But the attitude Paul is stressing is one that will serve us well not only in our church fellowships but in our homes, workplaces, classrooms, etc. Some of us will be receptive to this message and some will turn a deaf ear, or won't believe it. It's so simple -- the solution to quarreling and fighting is one little word: "Humility."
Look at James 4:6 again. ". . . God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." If we humble ourselves, He gives us His grace. His grace gives us the power to change -- the ability to deal with the problem of wanting to be right -- the strength to bring our lives into line with Him. Here are some steps each of us can take to eliminate quarrels and disputes in our lives.
1. Submit yourself to God. "Submit yourselves then to God" (James 4:7 NIV). Before I can humble myself before others (fellow-church member, wife, child, co-worker, etc.), I must I humble myself before God. Colossians 3:15 says: "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." Without God's grace, we can never change. "Submit" means to take a rank under someone else -- to take a lesser position -- to give God first place in your life. Isn't it interesting that when we are not right with God, we aren't right with our wives, husbands, children, friends. Submitting is not something we really want to do. But, it's the key. Books, seminars, counseling won't do it without submission.
2. Resist the Devil. Notice the order: "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7 NIV). Once we have submitted ourselves to God, He will provide us the strength to resist the evil forces seeking to control us. Who is it that whispers in your ear about demanding your rights. Ephesians 4:27 NIV, ". . . do not give the devil a foothold." Don't give him something he can use against you in your marriage or in your church fellowship.
3. Draw near to God. "Come near to God and he will come near to you" (James 4:8 NIV). Jesus said, "Remain in me, and I will remain in you" (John 15:4 NIV). There's a promise - God will draw near to you. To remain in Him and draw near to Him requires time spent with Him in submission and humility. Drawing near requires time in prayer, Bible study, and in the wise counsel of Godly people.
4. Deal with the sins in your life. "Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded people" (James 4:8 NIV). To wash our hands means to change the way we act. To purify our hearts means to change the way we feel -- our attitudes. Of course, we must allow the Holy Spirit to make these changes. We must get our attitudes and actions right if we are to be right with those around us.
In summary, if you want good relationships, humble yourself before God and that person with whom you're having conflict. It doesn't matter whose fault it was that the rift has occurred -- we must submit our wills. As Christians, humbling ourselves should not be dependent on someone humbling himself/herself to us. If you want a good relationship, isn't it worth it? "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up" (James 4:10 NIV). Will you say, "Lord forgive me" and restore to me wholesome relationships devoid of quarrels.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Thursday, July 26, 2018

More Reasons We Quarrel

Chuckle: "You may easily play a joke on a person who likes to argue -- agree with him." --Ed Howe
Quote: “A little explained, a little endured, a little forgiven, the quarrel is cured.” --Mary H. Waldrip

"What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?" (James 4:1 NIV). "For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit , and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature" (Galatians 5:17 NIV).
Our passage says that quarrels and fights (conflicts) are the result of a war inside us between the flesh and the Spirit. If you demand what you want and I demand what I want, conflict is the result. The Greek word "hedone" translated "desires" in verse 1, is the same word from which we get "hedonist." The hedonist's one goal is to satisfy his/her selfish desires.
Have you noticed you don't have to teach children to be selfish? However, teaching them to be unselfish and to share is a full-time job. Some favorite adult sayings in our society proliferate selfishness: "If it feels good, do it." "What's in it for me?" "I have my rights." "Get what you want." "Look out for number one." etc. If we don't grow up as Christians, we continue to be driven by selfish desires of the flesh. If all you think about is what you want, you will have conflict. James mentions some normal desires that can mutate into something destructive.
Desire for possessions: "You want something but you don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight" (James 4:2 NIV). God's plan is for us "to use possessions and love people." But when we "love things and use people," we have rebelled against God and reflect a lack of growing up spiritually. Howard Hughes, once the richest man in America was asked if he had enough. He said "no." He said he wanted just a little bit more. He was never satisfied. If we continually have to have more to be happy, our relationships will crumble and lead to unhappiness.
Desire for Pleasures. "You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your (own selfish) pleasures" (James 4:3 NIV). If everything has to be just like you want it, and it doesn't happen that way, you will go through life as an very unhappy person. Do you focus on yourself and expect everyone else to cater to your desires? When we focus on God first, then self takes its rightful place -- right behind a loving and genuine concern for others.
Desire for Power and Prominence. This can lead to excessive pride. We see this attitude in the Frank Sinatra song: "I did it My Way." Proverbs 13:10 says "Pride only breeds quarrels or arguments." Have you ever been right in the middle of a big argument, and suddenly realize you are wrong -- but you didn't stop arguing? Why did you not stop when you knew you were wrong? You know why -- it's pride. James says this attitude will destroy us. The Bible says: "Pride goes before destruction. a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18 NIV).
The proud are in conflict with God as well as with each other. "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). If you depend on self, you are in conflict with God. I've often found God working in my life to show me my pride and bring me to humble myself before Him. He knows when I'm proud. Pride causes me to miss out on his blessings and the joy of living in a loving relationship with Him.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Why Do People Quarrel?

Chuckle: Some husbands quarrel with their wives, and others have learned to say, “Yes, dear.”
Quote: “In quarreling, the truth is always lost.” --Publilius Syrus
"What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?" (James 4:1 NIV).
You will find that the teachings from the book of James are relevant for our lives today. They show us what it means to be a mature Christian. Every one of us would be wise to hear and digest James' message.
The dictionary defines a quarrel as: "an argument or dispute, especially an angry one." Further, a quarrelsome person is someone "likely to quarrel; fond of fighting and arguing." You have heard the old saying, "it takes two to tango." Well it takes at least two to quarrel. A quarrel will die without willing participants. It feeds on anger, jealousy, bitterness, frustration, selfishness, and a general lack of concern for the feelings of others. "Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out" (Proverbs 17:14 NIV).
History is the story of mankind's inability to get along with one another. We read and hear of disputes among nations, families, churches, and others. Many married couples say they love each other but, for some reason, just can't seem to get along very well. They quarrel a lot. Young people experience a lot of disharmony and disputes with parents, siblings, and friends. All of us have experienced this to one degree or another.
Evidently, quarreling among Christians was a problem in James' day as it is today. When we don't get what we want, we quarrel and fight in order to have it. Conflicts and disputes among believers are always harmful. And, because of the bitterness it brings to our hearts, it also disrupts our fellowship with our Lord, and the cause of Christ suffers as a result. Quarreling and fighting among ourselves gives the critics of Christianity all the ammunition they need to discredit us in the eyes of the world. We leave ourselves open to being called hypocritical for preaching about the love of Christ and all the while fussing and fighting with one another.
James is a wonderful and practical teacher and helps us deal with these disruptive forces in our relationships. Right now, please think about the one person with whom you have the most conflict. As you think about it, ask God to teach you how to deal with this most important issue. The problems of quarreling and conflict can be successfully dealt with and solved with the help of the Holy Spirit. In our passage, James identifies the source of our quarreling and the solution to the problem. Next time we will look more deeply into the question: "Why do we Quarrel?"
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Jesus Forsaken By His Father

Chuckle: After being pulled over, the driver asked, “Why was I pulled over when I wasn’t the only one speeding?” The policeman replied, “Have you ever been fishing?” “Yes,” said the motorist. “And have you ever caught all the fish?”
Quote: "Live as if Christ died yesterday, rose this morning, and is coming back again tomorrow." -- Martin Luther

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?" (Psalm 22:1 NIV).
While suffering extreme agony suspended on a cruel wooden cross on a hill outside Jerusalem, Jesus quoted the first sentence of our passage as His life was draining from His body (Matthew 27:46). Although impossible for us to fully comprehend, an amazing fact remains -- Jesus, God the Son, was forsaken by (separated from) God the Father while He was dying as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. His death on the cross paid our sin debt so that we might be forgiven and receive eternal life.
Down through history, the cruelty of human beings against one another has been on display and often leaves us aghast. In contrast to our more humane and relatively painless executions by lethal injection, history is replete with attempts to devise ways of torturing people to death that maximized and extended the suffering to ensure that death came as slowly as possible. The longer a person suffered before dying the more pleasure it brought to the executioners and those demanding the execution. Crucifixion was one of the most heinous and cruel methods of execution ever devised.
But Jesus' death on the cross was not only agonizing for Him, but it must have been equally agonizing for His Father. It was the Father's fathomless love for us that caused Him to give His Son and forsake Him on the cross. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:15). "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
Because of His great love for us, Jesus took our sin upon Himself and paid the full price which included being forsaken by His Father, in addition to the excruciating physical pain he endured. Although the physical agony was horrible, even more horrible was being separated from God, His Father. God forsaken by God, who can understand it? It's a mystery far beyond our ability to fully comprehend. How could God the Father and God the Son love us so much?
Even though we can't fully understand the dimensions of God's love, we can only accept the benefits of that love by faith, with deep gratitude, and unending praise. When our finite minds contemplate the mystery of God's love, we should rejoice because of the peace and joy made possible by what happened on that cross almost two thousand years ago – followed by Jesus’ glorious resurrection the third day.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Monday, July 23, 2018

A New Creation

Chuckle: “One congregation awarded their pastor a Humility Medal, but took it back when they caught him wearing it.” –Lou Brown
Quote:  “Three things we can all do today: To pause a moment just to pray, To be a friend both tried and true, And find some good we can do.” –William A. Ward 
. . . . those who become Christians become new (creations) persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to himself through what Christ did. (2 Corinthians 5:17-18 NLT).
You and I may have read this passage many times without ever fully understanding the depth and scope of this passage. When a person prays to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, God’s Holy Spirit takes up residence in his or her body and performs a miraculous new creation and transformation in the heart and life of that new believer. Christians become brand-new people on the inside, which manifests itself in the way we think and what we do. God’s Holy Spirit gives us new lives and we are never the same as before. We become new creations living in vital and eternal union with Christ. We do not merely turn over a new leaf but begin a new life with a new heart, a new Master, and a new submissive will.
Let’s focus on what it means to become a new creation. The apostle Paul addresses this question in Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT. “God saved you by his special favor (grace) when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this: It is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things (works) we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece (workmanship). He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” .
It’s important to understand that God saves us by His grace through our faith in Jesus Christ alone. and makes us into new creations with a purpose for each of our lives. Our newly created lives should be radically different  – with new moral quality and new spiritual devotion – because “he or she is a new creation.”
In Summary, those who have been newly created spiritually, are united with our risen Lord forever. The believer participates in the new creation of which Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. Each of us who has been recreated in Christ should rejoice while allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our every thought and every action to bring glory to God.
C.H. Spurgeon is quoted as saying that he was so sure of his salvation that he could grab on to a cornstalk and swing out over the fires of hell, look into the face of the devil, and sing, “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine.”
Love, Jerry & Dotse    

Sunday, July 22, 2018

What is a Christian? Part 3

Chuckle: Kid's version of the Lord's Prayer: "Give us this day our deli bread! Glory be to the Father and the Son and to the Whole East Coast!"
Quote: "The Christian whose life is all sadness, and whose only hope lies beyond the grave, may be sure there is something amiss in his life or method." --Basil W. Maturin
"You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8 NIV).
The third definition of a Christian is: One through whom Jesus Christ is revealed. The early Christians were Zealous in their telling others about their relationship with Jesus Christ, even under the most adverse circumstances. The power of the Holy Spirit worked miracles in the lives of people as they heard the good news. In Acts 26:27-28 NLT, we find the second occurrence of the term "Christian." Paul was proclaiming Christ to king Agrippa and said: "King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do." Then king Agrippa interrupted him. "Do you think you can make me a Christian so quickly?"
God's plan, as it was in Paul's day, is for us true believers to be no less diligent in proclaiming Jesus Christ to an unsaved world than those in the early New Testament church. It is not an option for Christians; it is a command from Jesus Himself. The most familiar of these commands is the Great Commission, Matthew 28:19-20.
Many believers of today do not choose to share Christ with others as Jesus has commanded. Why is this? We are quick to share other good news. Why not the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Not only are we to reveal Jesus by what we say and how we live, we must also be willing to suffer for Him if necessary.
The last use of the term "Christian" is found in I Peter 4:15-16 NIV: "If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name (Christian)." What are some ways we can reveal Christ to others?
- By our actions. Jesus said: "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5-16 NIV).
- By our love. Jesus said: "By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another" (John 13:35 NIV).
- By our words: Peter and John before the Jewish ruling body, the Sanhedrin, said: ". . . we cannot stop telling about the wonderful things we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:20 NLT).
In summary, A "Christian is: (1) One in whom Jesus dwells. If the Holy Sprit of Christ does not dwell in you and me, there is no way the other two characteristics can be genuine. (2) One whose life Jesus controls. If we know and belong to Christ, every facet of our lives should be under the control of His Spirit. (3) One through whom Jesus is revealed. If we are His, we have an obligation and privilege to reveal the saving power of Jesus Christ to others by words and deeds.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Thursday, July 19, 2018

What is a Christian? Part 2

Chuckle: Kid's lyrics: "O Susanna, O don't you cry for me; for I come from Alabama with a Band-Aid on my knee!"
Quote: “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.” --William (Billy) Sunday
"If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives" (Galatians 5:25 NLT). "Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you" (Ephesians 5:18 NLT).
Last time, we saw that first, a Christian is "one in whom Jesus Christ resides/dwells." Second, a Christian is "One whose life Jesus Christ Controls." The title "Christians" was given by others to the believers at Antioch (Acts 11:26) because their lives and actions showed they were Christ's followers and were controlled by His teachings. They didn't need to go around telling people they were Christians -- people knew it immediately by the way they lived.
Today, many who wear the name "Christian," and maybe even attend church, do not show in their daily lives that they are His and controlled by Him and His indwelling Spirit. A Christian should be loved and respected for whose name he or she bears -- because he or she belongs to Christ.
Let's look a little deeper into what it means to be controlled by the Spirit of Jesus Christ. It means our lives take on the characteristics of Jesus Himself. We begin to think more like Jesus each day as we are instructed in Philippians 2:5. "Let this mind be in you that is also in Christ Jesus." The Holy Spirit wants to control your temper, your tongue, your mind, and your actions. If we fully surrender our lives to the control of the Spirit, He will mold us into the representative of Christ that He desires us to be. Those controlled by the Spirit can be identified by:
Fruit of the Spirit: When we are controlled by the Spirit of Christ, we will exhibit the fruit of the Spirit recorded in Galatians 5:22 NIV: Love, Joy, Peace, patience, kindness, and self-control. These traits give ample evidence that our lives are under the control of our Lord's Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is the spontaneous work of the Holy Spirit as He produces in us the character traits found in the very nature of Christ.
Godly Decisions: When we are controlled by the Spirit, we consult with Him routinely and seek His direction before making life decisions. His control helps us avoid costly and humiliating mistakes. Our decisions reflect the guidance of God's Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Wisdom: "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere" (James 5:17 NIV). If your life reflects this kind of wisdom, it is evidence that you are controlled by the Holy Spirit. We should not be concerned with how much of the Holy Spirit we have but with how much of us the Holy Spirit has.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What is a Christian? (Part 1)

Chuckle: "Humility is like underwear -- essential, but indecent if it shows." --Helen Neilson
Quote: “Morality does not make a Christian, yet no man can be a Christian without it.” --Daniel Wilson
" . . The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch" (Acts 11:26 NIV).
The term "Christian" is sometimes used indiscriminately. We use terms like Christian nation; Christian family; Christian because we attend church; Christian by association or ancestry. Some may even use the term for selfish reasons to gain stature in the community. Let's see what God's Word says about being a Christian. The term "Christian" is used only three times in the Bible (Acts 11:26, 26:28; I Peter 4:16). Using these and other Scriptures, we will discover what or who is qualified to bear the name, “Christian.” A Christian is first: One in whom the Spirit of Christ resides:
In Acts 10:43 NIV, as he was preaching to the gentiles in the house of Cornelius, Peter proclaimed "that everyone who believes in Him (Jesus Christ) receives forgiveness of sins through His name." In verse 44, we find that "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message." Note the Holy Spirit came without delay, mediation, or condition other than simple faith in Jesus Christ.
In John 14:16-17 NIV, Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit resides/lives/dwells in each of us as believers. "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever -- the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you." This indwelling of the Holy Spirit happens the instant we place our faith in Jesus. Unless we know Him as Savior and Lord, we cannot legitimately identify ourselves as Christians -- no matter how much we want to do so.
In 1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV, we read: "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God." This relationship with Christ is possible only when we repent of our sins, ask His forgiveness, and accept Him as our personal Savior. In Rom. 8:9 NIV, Paul tells us: "And if anyone does not have the (Holy) Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ."
If you have the Holy Spirit of Christ within you, you have received God's gift of salvation and are assured of eternal life in heaven. Remember our initial question: "What, or who, is a Christian? Once you have received Christ, you are 100 percent "saved," but in a matter of speaking, you are one third a Christian. Hang on! Don't get too excited! Our next study will deal with the second and third criteria for a being a Christian: One Whose Life Jesus Christ Controls and One Through Whom Jesus Christ is Revealed.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Christians Have the Holy Spirit, Part 4

Chuckle: A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's word processor. She told him she was writing a story. "What's it about?" he asked. "I don't know," she replied. "I can't read."
Quote: "We parents can often do more for our children by correcting our own faults than by trying to correct theirs."Unknown source
1. "Grieve not the Spirit of God by whom you have been sealed until the day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:30 NIV). You can only grieve someone who loves and cares for you. We grieve the Holy Spirit when we don't heed His call or follow His instructions. We grieve Him when we place our will for our lives ahead of His. We should make a free personal, moral response to the personal Spirit of God. He is with us and is grieved when we sin.
You see, the Spirit doesn't indwell us just to have a place to stay. He lives within us to: ". . . teach you all things and remind you of everything I (Jesus) have said to you" (John 14:26 NIV). The Spirit teaches us by convicting us of our sins, by conditioning our consciences to be our guide in making Godly decisions, and reminding us to let the love of Christ be reflected in us by our words, actions, and even our thoughts.
2. "Do not put out (quench) the Spirit's fire" (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV). This is similar to "grieving" the Spirit. Fire suggests great power that needs to be released in our lives and the life of the church. We quench the Spirit when God's Spirit tells us something or leads us to do something and we ignore Him. The gifts of the Spirit must not be ignored or neglected. We throw cold water on the Spirit's work by our disobedience and apathy.
3. Do not resist the Spirit. "You always resist the Holy Spirit" (Acts 7:51 NIV). This is a warning for the unbeliever and the believer alike. Refusing to follow God's direction for our lives given us through His Word and His Spirit is resisting the Holy Spirit. You may have seen a famous painting by Holman Hunt, "The Light of the world." It shows our Lord standing at a closed door and knocking. "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20 NIV).
The painting shows there is no latch on the outside of the door. It can only be opened from the inside. We are called to avoid resisting the wooing of the Spirit and open our hears from the inside. God will not force himself into our hearts. We must open our hearts to him. The Spirit's purpose is to give you spiritual life. Your body's purpose is to give God's Spirit a home. God will accept you where you are and take you where he wants you to be.
As we close out this series on the Holy Spirit, here are some of the words of Jesus concerning the Holy Spirit which you may want to study further: John 14:16-17; John 16:8-11; John 16:13-14.
Love, Jerry & Dotse