“The Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ” 12/18/2016 written by bruce r. mills

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org/

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

Written by bruce r. mills @  www.Godsmanforever.com

 

                       

      “The Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ” 

                              (Revised from 7/11/2013)

Here is the truth about sin, and how God’s grace through saving faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ is given by God, to those who understand and obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…

Romans 5:12… Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (NKJV)

 

Most people believe sin began in the Garden of Eden, but it didn’t.  Sin began when God’s top angel Lucifer, decided to flex his power, and wanted to become equal to God…Isaiah 14:12-14

Sin, by its very nature, is born into every human being, since Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden, to the serpent’s (Satan’s) temptations.  This natural sin nature is part of everyone’s natural make-up, from the time they are young children, until the time that they pass on from this life.

That 3 year old, who is told NO by their parents, goes right ahead and disobeys their parents at the first chance they get.  This rebellion against their parents turns into rebellion against God, as a child grows older.  God hates sin, because it is independent rebellion against God; and will devastate the lives of everyone that remains living in sin…in bondage to Satan and the ways of the world…1 John 2:15-16

The sad truth about sin, is that it blinds the unbeliever…

2 Corinthians 4:4… whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (NKJV)   (More about “the light of the gospel” of our Lord Jesus Christ, later)

Satan is the father of sin (John 8:44), and a master of disguise.  The Apostle Paul warns us about false prophets, and Satan himself, in...

2 Corinthians 11:12-14… For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. (NKJV)

Thank goodness God sent His Son Jesus Christ, born to the Virgin Mary (Matthew 1:18)…who’s shed blood on the cross at Calvary, will cleanse the sins of those who are first drawn in by God…

John 6:44… No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. (NKJV)

Upon understanding and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, the sins of the unbeliever will be replaced with the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:9…&…2 Corinthians 5:21)…as God’s free gift of grace, through saving faith alone in Jesus Christ, fills the heart, mind, and soul of the new redeemed child of God.

Ephesians 2:8-9… For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. (NKJV)

There is nothing an unbeliever can do on their own merit.  No amount of good works done in the name of the Lord, can cleanse away sins.  All of our own righteousness is absolutely worthless…Isaiah 64:6…  Jesus warns those who falsely believe that their good works done in the name of the Lord (like going to church every week), will forgive sins…when Jesus warns those around Him (and us) about this, in.

Matthew 7:21-23… Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (NKJV)

Having one’s lifetime of sins forgiven, is pure grace given to the unredeemed sinner by God.  God’s grace is given by God to those who seek Jesus Christ to become their personal Lord and Savior, through a personal one on One relationship, that is established between the unredeemed sinner and Jesus Christ.

This is accomplished through saving faith alone in Jesus Christ, through obedience to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, when the sinner realizes they can in no way save themselves, and turns to the Lord to receive God’s grace… (More about obeying the Gospel of Christ later)

So why should you desire to become a redeemed child of God ??  Very simply, to be in-dwelt with the Holy Spirit by God, to be supernaturally empowered to defeat Satan’s temptations, and our own carnal fleshly desires constantly urging us to sin… 1 John 2:15-16

The Holy Spirit living with-in the “born again” Christian, has been given to them by God to guide and direct EVERY facet of the redeemed child of God’s life…  It is the Holy Spirit that helps the Christian grow and mature the fruit of the Spirit, which the Apostle Paul pens, in…

 

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  (ESV)

Look at this list of attributes the Holy Spirit will empower you with !!

Love, Joy, and Peace, are the most important of these 9 fruit of the Spirit…

How would you like to have a supernatural love that surpasses your mortal knowledge (Ephesians 3:19)…  A love empowered by the Holy Spirit that will enable you to love even someone screaming in your face, as Jesus tells us to do, in…Matthew 5:43-44

And how about having a supernatural  joy that enables you to go through life’s most difficult trial, and still be able to find joy…  The Apostle James tells us about this joy, in…James 1:2-4

 

 And wouldn’t you like to have a supernatural peace that will allow you to look upon your own death…knowing without a shadow of a doubt that you will be face to face with Jesus in heaven, the instant you breath your last breath here on earth !!  (2 Corinthians 5:8)

This supernatural peace surpasses our mortal understanding, as the Apostle Paul pens, in…

Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God,which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (NKJV)

 

All of these God given blessings will be given to you by God, if you understand and obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…  How is this done ??  You must pray to God, with what some call “the sinners prayer”, that should go something like this…

 

“Father I am sorry for my lifetime of sins…  I believe with ALL my heart, that Your Son Jesus suffered and died on the cross, shedding His blood to cleanse away all of my sins…  I believe that Jesus was buried, and rose again in 3 days…  I repent and turn from my sins with godly sorrow and a repentant heart…seeking Jesus Christ to come into my heart to direct my life…  Father, hear my plea to receive Your grace…  Grant me eternal life with You…  Fill me with the Holy Spirit…and I thank You and praise You in Jesus’ most precious name…Amen”

 

I can only tell you from my own personal experience…that I made this prayer seeking salvation several times, before God graced me with salvation.  It’s not the prayer that saves us; it is a changed heart that is regenerated by God Himself…  God knows our heart, and He will only grant saving grace to those who seek Jesus with ALL of their heart, mind soul, and strength…

God finally graced me with salvation when I prayed with true godly sorrow and a repentant heart…and I absolutely knew beyond any doubt, that I was just then a redeemed child of God…(Romans 8-16) It is   God’s decision, and God’s perfect timing, to grace someone with eternal life with Him in heaven.

Failure to obey the Gospel of Christ before you die will result in eternal separation from God, and you will forever forfeit your place in heaven…

 

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9  in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,  (NKJV)

All Christians who are Walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), should absolutely, positively know for sure, that they are indeed a redeemed child of God.  The Apostle Paul tells us this, in…

 

Romans 8:15-16…  For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”  16 The Spirit Himself  bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (NKJV)

There should be no doubts for the Spirit filled Christian about where they will be headed upon their death.  No wondering if they are good enough to get into heaven.  Because none of us are good enough…

Romans 3:23…  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (NKJV)    

The power of the Holy Spirit can and will conquer sin, by those who without question, have placed their lives in the hands of the Lord.  The Apostle James says this best, when he penned this, in…

James 4:7-8… Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (NKJV)

 

My friends, these blessings of spiritual fruit are totally indescribable, and have to be experienced to be believed !!

For those who have been graced with salvation…we must do our best to remain walking in the Spirit…  We see this penned by the Apostle Paul, in…

Galatians 5:16…   I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  (NKJV)

We as Christians can only remain filled with the Holy Spirit (as the Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:18-20), if we live in obedience to God’s will and God’s ways…  Any unconfessed sin will leave us in a state of broken (or at least hindered) fellowship with God…

 

To become righteous again in God’s eyes (from a practical standpoint, because we are always positionally righteous before God), we must confess our sins before the Lord…repent of them…and turn from them… We see this very clearly, as penned by the Apostle John, in…

1 John1:9… If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness(NKJV)

Living for the Lord, with the Holy Spirit in total charge of your life, is a blessing that I pray everyone will come to experience…

Heavenly Father, Your Word is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword…Hebrews 4:12-13… I pray Lord, that You would draw to Yourself those that don’t yet know You as their personal Lord and Savior…John 6:44…  And that the truth from Your Word through obedience to the Gospel of Your Son Jesus Christ, would set them free from Satan’s chains of bondage to sin and shame…John 8:32…  I pray for this fullness of Christ in all of our lives, in Jesus’ most precious name and for His sake…Amen…

 

Blessings in Christ, bruce r. mills

 

(Message me here, or send me an e-mail @ brucermillslast@comcast.net with any questions)

P.S.  For those who still believe they can earn their own way into heaven, listen to John Piper’s audio on… “Can My Good Works Outweigh My Bad?

https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/can-my-good-works-outweigh-my-bad

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Enough Is Enough!” 11/20/2019 Written by Pastor Randy Burbank for “Kingdom Pastor”

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

Written by Pastor Randy Burbank  for “Kingdom Pastor”  @  https://kingdompastor.wordpress.com

Original post @  https://kingdompastor.wordpress.com/2019/11/08/enough-is-enough/

 

Enough Is Enough!

The time has come for us as Followers of Jesus to become known for what we are FOR rather than what, especially WHO we are AGAINST.

After my first cup of coffee and morning worship music, I begin my morning devotions. The first one I always read is from J.D. Walt. (You can find it at https://www.seedbed.com/daily-text/ ). This morning’s title was Are You a “For” Person or an “Against” Person? (You can CLICK HERE to read it). Here is the first paragraph:

Let me ask it another way. What are you for? Many people (if not most) cannot answer this question with any sufficient or satisfying detail. Over the course of life and time, people slowly become cynical about their ideals, hopes, and aspirations (and even their faith) and wind up becoming more defined by what they oppose than what they are for.

J.D. Walt (Seedbed Daily Text)

And immediately, this thought hit me hard: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

ENOUGH of being ugly towards other people. ENOUGH of the negative comments about this, that or the other. ENOUGH pointing the finger of blame at this person or that group. People, HEAR ME! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

The time has come for us as Followers of Jesus to become known for what we are FOR rather than what, especially WHO we are AGAINST. I’ve seen and heard too much of it already. And, I shamefully confess before you the reader, I’ve been guilty of this!

THEREFORE I resolve to immediate resign from the “I’m Against Committee”. But this isn’t enough. I resolve to be, in J.D.’s words, a FOR PERSON. Here are some of the things I am FOR:

  • First, and foremost, I am FOR Jesus and I will reveal this through my thoughts, attitudes, words and actions.

  • I am FOR kindness and compassion.

  • I am FOR helping people any way I can, regardless if they “deserve” it or not.

  • I am FOR saying and doing things that builds up others rather than tear them down.

  • I am FOR seeing the beauty around me, especially in the chaos around me.

  • I am FOR being grateful for everything I have.

  • I am FOR being both sincere and authentic, warts and all.

  • I am FOR holding the door open for others.

  • I am FOR listening to others with all my attention.

  • I am FOR forgiving others regardless of the offence or depth of the wound.

I could keep going on and on, and you would give up reading my list of what I am FOR. So let me leave you with Paul’s thoughts about what to be FOR.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

    Philippians 4:8 (NLT)

And be sure you love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to HIM!

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P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com/

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

 

 

Posted in Daily Devotion, Enough Is Enough! | Tagged , | Leave a comment

“Are You a Christian in God’s Eyes…or Just in Your own Mind ??” 11/19/19 Written by bruce r. mills for “God’s group”

“Our Daily Bread”  http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie  http://www.harvest.org/devotional

Image result for image God's saving grace

Written by bruce r. mills for “God’s group”  @ www.Godsmanforever.com

“Are You a Christian in God’s Eyes…or Just in Your own Mind ??”

 

 

 

I write this post with this provocative title, with absolute love and concern for the eternal destiny of family, friends, neighbors, old CBC Youth Group kids (now young adults,) and all those in my circle of influence who are not yet “born again” Christians in God’s eyes….

This title, and the truth I share with love, I pray will be used by God to raise the eyebrows and open hearts and minds to the truth, of those who falsely believe they are a Christian in God’s eyes…when sadly they are not…  ☹ 

I know from my personal life experience how easy it is for Satan to blind the eyes and confuse the minds of unbelievers…

2 Corinthians 4:4…   In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  (ESV)

You see, I thought I was a Christian for almost 52 years, before God drew me in (John 6:44); and God, yes God alone…graced me with salvation, and filled me with the Holy Spirit…  How is this possible you ask ??  Read on, and I will tell you !!

If you are not 100% sure you’re a “born again” Christian…positively knowing you are heaven bound after you draw your last breath…I pray you spend the time reading why you might not be a Christian in God’s eyes…

There are many people that say they are a Christian…  They say they believe in God…  But even Satan knew who God was…  If you are interested in these scripture verses, you will see God/Jesus speaking with Satan, in…  (Job 1:7-12…&…Matthew 4:1-11)

Becoming a “born again” Christian in God’s eyes is absolutely the most important thing that can happen in your life…  If you aren’t 100% sure you are heaven bound when you draw your last breath, you are either only a Christian in your own mind, without a heart changed by God (called heart regeneration)…or you’re “born again,” saved by God’s grace, but not walking in the FULL power of the Holy Spirit…  Satan can cause doubts in the “born again” Christian’s mind…  It is only by Walking in the power of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16), that you will 100% KNOW that you ARE heaven bound when you die !!

Becoming a Christian is God’s will (which I will expound upon below)…not because you were raised by Christian parents, or because you say you want to become a Christian… You are not necessarily a Christian in God’s eyes because you made a prayer to God in a Youth Group 3 day weekend Christian rally at “Snow Camp”…up at the Word of Life Bible Institute, in  Pottersville, NY… I have a lot of respect for the Word of Life Institute…  My daughter was saved there by God’s grace, on a Youth Group weekend rally… They preach the gospel of Christ 3 times, over this 3 day weekend… But one of the ways they preach the gospel of Christ…has them telling these teenagers they are going to hell for an eternity, if they don’t accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior…  Of course some of these kids might make a prayer to God for salvation out of fear…   And those that profess to have been graced with salvation by God, are given a Bible with the date they were saved…   But if this is only salvation in their mind, (because God never regenerated their heart)…they falsely believe they are a Christian, when sadly they are NOT

And you don’t necessarily become a Christian in God’s eyes, when you heard the famous Billy Graham preach the gospel of Christ at a Boy Scout rally when you were 16; and you prayed what some call the “sinners prayer” to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior…  If you made a profession of faith, you were called forward and congratulated on becoming a “born again” Christian…  But you might falsely believe (sometimes lifelong,) that you are a true Christian in God’s eyes…without any of the good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them…AFTER we are saved by God’s grace…  These good works done AFTER our salvation, are proof we ARE a Christian in God’s eyes, if they were works prepared by God beforehand…

Ephesians 2:10…  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  (NKJV)

The Bible is clear, for those that have called themselves a Christian for quite a while…that faith without works is dead faith…  We see this twice, in scripture written by the apostle James (Jesus’ half-brother), in…James 2:17…&…James 2:24 & 26

James 2:17…   Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  (NKJV)

James 2:24 & 26…  You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.  26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.  (NKJV)

John 15:4-5…  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing (ESV)

A brand new “born again” Christian is saved by God’s grace alone, based upon the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross…through saving faith alone, by God’s grace alone…Ephesians 2:8-9…  There is no good works needed to be done for the Lord to be saved by God…  A good example of this would be the thief on the cross, that did no good works for the Lord his entire life…  The thief believed Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and said this, in…

Luke 23:41b-43…  but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”  43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”  (NKJV)

And you don’t become a Christian in God’s eyes, with a guaranteed room in God’s mansion when you die (John 14:1-4), just because you go to a church and comply with all the Sacraments your church tells you that you must fulfill, in order to be graced by God with Salvation…   You can go to church every week, and fulfill all the other works based requirements of the church…  But these good works won’t get you past the pearly white gates of heaven after you take your last breath here on earth…  We see clearly, in these two possibly eye opening pieces of scripture seen below, that it’s not your good works that you do in the name of the Lord, that are required for you to be graced with salvation by God…

 Ephesians 2:8-9  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. (NKJV)

There is nothing an unbeliever can do on their own merit to be saved.  No amount of good works done in the name of the Lord, can cleanse away sins.  All of our own righteousness is absolutely worthless…Isaiah 64:6…  Jesus warns those who falsely believe that their good works done in the name of the Lord (like going to church every week), will get them into heaven…when Jesus warns those around Him (and us) this, in…

Matthew 7:21-23Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me,you who practice lawlessness!’” (NKJV)

I never knew you; depart from Me is Jesus telling those who want to enter heaven after they die, that He never knew them as His redeemed “born again” child…  They were never truly saved by God’s grace, and thus were never a Christian in God’s eyes…

These good works in the life of a true “born again” Christian, that are evidence after their salvation that they are truly a Christian…should include, (but not be limited to,) praying to God every day… The apostle Paul tells us we should pray without ceasing, in…1 Thessalonians 5:16-18…  And we should be spending time reading and digesting God’s Word (the Bible,) hopefully every day…  Being spiritually fed from God’s Word, is every bit as important as eating food and drinking water…  You cannot grow spiritually apart from reading, studying the Bible, and applying God’s Word to your life…  Jesus tells us twice in…Matthew 4:4…&…Luke 4:4…that we need to be spiritually fed in order to grow in what is called progressive sanctification… [See reference 1 below for a good description]

Matthew 4:4…  But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”  (NKJV)   This Word from God (the Bible), is given by inspiration of God, as men were empowered by the Holy Spirit, when they wrote the 66 books of the Bible… (See – 2 Timothy 3:16-17…&…2 Peter 1:21…)

Attending a Bible believing and teaching church (hopefully every week) to use your spiritual gift(s), is also a sign that you MIGHT be heaven bound as a “born again” Christian when you die… God gives EVERY “born again” redeemed child of God a spiritual gift(s), that they are to use in a local church “to edify the whole body,” (the body of Christ)…

1 Peter 4:10… As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

And we read this scripture on the need for attending church hopefully every week, as penned by the writer in…

Hebrews 10:25…   not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (ESV)

There is an excellent link with many scripture verses and reasons for attending church to use your spiritual gift(s), that you can read about, in reference 2 below…

Yes, the truth about “becoming a Christian in God’s eyes is the most important thing you can do in your entire life… And the Bible is clear that a “born again” Christian is a new creation in Christ…  Your life will change dramatically !!    2 Corinthians 5:17…   Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  (NKJV)

We also see that it is ALL God’s will and God’s work to be “born again,” in the following scripture penned by the apostle John, in…

John 1:12-13…  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  (NKJV)

Did you catch the most important words from this scripture… “to them He gave the right to become children of God”

We also see Jesus telling us this very important point, that happened to me as I mentioned above, before I was justified as righteous in God’s eyes…

John 6:44…  No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.  (ESV)

We can only be saved by God’s grace by knowing God with a One on one relationship as our heavenly Father, which occurs after understanding and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…[See reference 3 below]  We read this very clearly when we read about those who fail to seek the Lord while He may still be found (Isaiah 55:6,) in this scripture penned by the apostle Paul, in…

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9…  in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus ChristThese shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,  (NKJV)

I must tell you about the amazing benefits God gives to His “born again” children…  God indwells every new redeemed child of His with the Holy Spirit…  And the Holy Spirit is the Helper and Comforter of the believer…who will guide, protect, and empower God’s children in ways that have to be experienced to be believed !!  The Holy Spirit can open doors and accomplish things in the life of God’s redeemed children, that they could never do by their own strength or merit…  We see this in the following scripture, in…

Ephesians 3:30…  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,  (NKJV)

My friend…maybe you want to be a nurse…  Why limit your potential, when God may want you to be a doctor ??  The Holy Spirit is God’s power that works in us,”  that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think !!”   When we understand God’s will for our lives…and we do our best to live in His will by obeying the leading of the Holy Spirit…our lives will flourish is so many ways !!

When we are obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit, He helps us grow and mature the fruit of the Spirit, we see penned by the apostle Paul, in…Galatians 5:22-23…  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  (ESV)

Look at these amazing, supernaturally empowered, “Christ like” attributes the Holy Spirit will help you with !!  Carefully look at each one, [love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control], to see where you may need real help… I just can’t imagine going through my day without the help of the Holy Spirit keeping me on track to live for Christ !!  A good example of the  Holy Spirit’s power helping us, would be when you can tell someone screaming in your face that you still love them !!  (See Matthew 5:43-44)

And the Holy Spirit can give you a supernatural peace, even with the death of a loved one, if you know they are now in heaven with the Lord… (2 Corinthians 5:8) This spiritual peace goes beyond our mortal comprehension, as we see in the following scripture, in…

Philippians 4:6-7…   do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (ESV)

God wants to take over your burdens and give you rest; and God promises to never leave you, nor forsake you, if you are one of His redeemed children…  We see this scripture spoken by Jesus Himself, in…

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  (ESV)

Now for all of you “born again” Christians that have lost the fire you once had for the Lord after being saved by God’s grace…when you were focused on doing your best to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit…  Don’t you think it’s time to stop trying to live your life your way ??   God wants you to come back to Him, and allow the Holy Spirit to again take FULL charge of your life… (Ephesians 5:18-20)   You need confess, repent, and turn from any and all sins (including the sin of not placing God first in your life…known as a sin of omission – James 4:17)…

1 John 1:9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (NKJV)

 

Once all sins are confessed before God…God will be free to bless you in so many ways !!  The fruit of the Spirit shown above (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control,) will once again grow and mature, as the Holy Spirit is left to guide and direct every facet of your life…  Since God doesn’t make any mistakes…why not allow Him to direct your every move ??

Proverbs 3:5-6…  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.  (NKJV)

By this time I am hoping the Holy Spirit has been working on your heart if you are “born again”, urging you to come back under His control… And if you’re not a “born again” Christian, I pray you are urged to learn more about how you can become a redeemed, child of God…  Just open the link you will find in reference 3 below…  This is the gospel of Jesus Christ (the word gospel means “good news”)…which God uses to tell those who want eternal life in heaven with Him, what it means to understand and obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…

Gracious God and heavenly Father, I thank You and praise You for who You are…  I pray Father, that You would draw in those non-Christians who falsely believe that they are Christians in Your eyes, when they are not…  I pray that the Holy Spirit would work on their heart, and that they would seek Your Son Jesus Christ to become their personal Lord and Savior by understanding and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…  I pray for those “born again” children that have wandered away from You, to come back under the control of the Holy Spirit by confessing and turning from their sins…  I pray for many lives to be changed by You in the blink of an eye, in Jesus’ most precious name and for His sake…Amen…

Blessings in Christ,  Bruce

Refrences:

         1.Progressive Sanctification –  https://www.gotquestions.org/progressive-sanctification.html

2.“Why attend Church” –  https://www.learnreligions.com/the-bible-on-church-attendance-701991

3.The gospel of Christ –  https://godsmanforever.com/2016/12/19/the-gospel-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-12182016-written-by-bruce-r-mills/

 

Picture credit:  https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1SQJL_enUS832US832&sxsrf=ACYBGNRSa9AYxvII5hY_1prdrCVQjGwBuA:1570554103158&q=image+God%27s+saving+grace&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjA_Kz7kY3lAhVFlVkKHZ4aDuIQsAR6BAgFEAE&biw=1047&bih=695#imgrc=Wssz9isxK55okM

 

 

 

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“Is Your Church Struggling to Navigate Rough Waters In a Post-Christian Sea?” 11/18/2019 Written by Keith Haney for “THE LIGHT BREAKS THROUGH”

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org/

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

Image result for Image God calms rough waters

Written by  Keith Haney for “THE LIGHT BREAKS THROUGH” @ https://alightbreaksthrough.org

Original post @  https://alightbreaksthrough.org/navigating-rough-waters/

 

 

Is Your Church Struggling to Navigate Rough Waters In a Post-Christian Sea?

14 Nov 2019  Keith Haney

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The problem with our declining churches is not that the Word of God has lost its effectiveness. It has the same power to save today, in this culture, as it has through all eras of human history.

The church is struggling to adapt.  It’s strategies outdated.  God’s unchanging Word has the power to meet these new challenges. It still brings those people outside of God’s grace into a saving relationship with Jesus. We have good, faithful, doctrinally sound congregations carrying out their mission. We have gifted, caring, mission-minded pastors, who have good intentions but lacking the knowledge and expertise to adapt.

Church leaders and pastors have seen the ship hit the iceberg. They feel helpless to stop the boat from sinking or save the scared and frightened passengers.  I will try and give you some warning signs your congregation may be taking on water and a few ideas to combat that.

Your church has become internally not outwardly focused.

  • There is concern over how we will continue/thrive.

  • The majority of meeting time is on budget issues or control.

  • We have reduced ministry to transactional relationships.

My Story

I served the majority of my parish ministry in urban at-risk congregations.  I recognize the signs. I understand the fear that drives the meetings. I dealt with the frustration and asked the uncomfortable questions. There were several times when our congregation reached the breaking point.  They had the mindset of when all else fails, point the finger of blame at the pastor. As groups struggle with diminishing attendance. Struggle with declining church offerings.  As the population ages, the stress level rises from a warning yellow to crisis red.

As the issues become, more intense the usual tendency is to double failing efforts.  These problems focus the leaders even more intensely inward. Internal questions such as How do we get more people and more money? How do we get members to grow deeper in their commitment?  We know that our members are overtaxed and overly committed.  But we need to demand even more, or we will not survive.  So we are forced to do a guilt-ridden stewardship campaign.

Here we reminded the faithful of how much Christ gave up for them. That should move them. That is a misuse of Law/Gospel preaching and is entirely ineffective. When used the law in this manner it does not motivate, it only condemns. The thinking is if we let members know how dire our situation is maybe we can raise enough funds to keep things going a little longer.

The Struggle is Real

Another tack is to go after the lost inactive members. So we spend precious time, and the low energy our people have ongoing after people who have written off the church for whatever reason long ago. The success rate on this is less than ten percent. We invest all our time and energy on internal solutions. Meanwhile, the church keeps taking on water, and the passengers become even more restless and frightened, and the ship keeps sinking.

Making a Paradigm Shift

Would it be better to focus our time and energy on those who are outside our walls? Who doesn’t have a history with us? Who as Jesus described as sheep without a shepherd? Imagine getting back to the reason the congregation was founded to reach those far from God? You can do that by using your existing ministries but doing things like this:

  • Sing at Nursing Home > Build relationships with residents

  • Feed my starving children > Interview local food shelf about local needs

  • Jump Rope/Hearts > Have EMT and first responders share how faith factors into their work

  • Sister schools > Share testimonies with students from other schools

  • Junior High > Bring back Freshman to discuss faith challenges

  • Church has left the building > do good to the neighbors around you, rake leaves, pick up trash, have a block party, do mercy ministry

Your solutions to problems focus on human strategy, not divine wisdom.

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For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom….” 1 Corinthians 1:25

I remember early in ministry walking into several of my congregations and littering the pastor’s old library were tons and tons of binders. It was a binder graveyard of all the workshops he had attended and all the ideas the church was going to employ to jump-start explosive growth. All good stuff. It was the best of what some other church had done and put down on paper and now graciously shared with the church world. The problem is that it is hard to reproduce how God worked in that unique congregation at that unique time with its unique leadership. You cannot easily replicate God’s movement among His individual groups. I have tried to reproduce the results of Peter’s sermon and the results in Acts 2 forever with nowhere near the results.

The Road Ahead: A Hopeful Conclusion

41 Those who accepted Peter’s message were baptized. God brought about three thousand people into the community on that day. Acts 2:41

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You can guess that never happened since I didn’t lead workshops nor did I produce a binder. Learning new things is excellent, attending seminars can be inspiring, but in the end, the questions come down to this:

  • Where is God leading you?

  • What opportunities has he placed before your unique congregation and its unique leadership?

  • What does he have in mind for you to accomplish in that location?

You find that out by first understanding the community in which he has called you to serve. One good option is to engage your local leadership in conversation, gather from them what are the needs of our community and ask how we can partner with you to accomplish something great for God.

Once you find out who you are called to serve, then you discover how your current congregation can serve those needs. You have all the gifts in your group right now to meet the needs of those outside of God’s grace. That is why they are there. Nothing God does is an accident. Look at what you have through the eyes of God to determine the mission of God for your ministry. The ship may be taking on water, but she hasn’t sunk yet. God is still Lord of the Church, put your trust in him.

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P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com/2016/12/19/the-gospel-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-12182016-written-by-bruce-r-mills/

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

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“Laid Low in the Dust” 11/17/2019 Posted by David Kitz for “I Love the Psalms”

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

                Image result for image James 4:10

Posted by David Kitz for “I Love the Psalms” @  https://davidkitz.wordpress.com/

Original post found @  https://davidkitz.blog/2019/11/12/laid-low-in-the-dust/

 

Laid Low in the Dust

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Reading: Psalm 119
ד Daleth
(Verses 25-32)

I am laid low in the dust;
preserve my life according to your word.
I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
teach me your decrees.
Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me and teach me your law.
I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I have set my heart on your laws.
I hold fast to your statutes, L
ORD;
do not let me be put to shame.
 I run in the path of your commands,
for you have broadened my understanding 
(NIV).

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Fallen leaves laid low in water — Tsawwassen, BC — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
Humility is not a character quality that is natural to man; on the contrary, a proud and haughty spirit is all too common. We may do our best to disguise our pride, but often it’s there just below the surface. Usually we are blind to our conceit and arrogance. We flatter ourselves too much to see our own faults. There are a number of scriptures that say just that. The rich are wise in their own eyes; one who is poor and discerning sees how deluded they are (Proverbs 28:11).

We smarten up when we are laid low. The psalmist begins today’s reading from the lowest point—from the dust. Why does he begin from such a low point? We are given a clue in the second verse of this psalm portion: I gave an account of my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees.

When we are called to account, we like to put on a brave face and set our best foot forward. This may work well in human circles, but it’s not the best strategy when we are called to account before God. The positive spin we put on our sins and shortcomings doesn’t impress God in the least.

God sees us as we truly are. We are always naked—morally naked before Him. We can hide nothing from the LORD. When God answers us, we are brought low; we are laid low in the dust. We were taken from the dust and God formed us into who we are. Any success we have had is due to Him—entirely due to Him. That problem-solving mind was formed by Him. That pretty/handsome face was shaped by Him. That strength and athletic talent came from God. My talents are gifts from God.

We get a right understanding—the best understanding from our knees—the laid low position.

Response: Father God, you are right to call me to account. I humble myself before you. Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me and teach me your law. I want to please you. Amen.

Your TurnAre you putting a positive spin on your relationship with God or has humility triumphed?

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P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com/

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

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“Fellowship with the Lord” 11/16/2019 Written by Louis Mize, a Facebook friend

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

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Written by Louis Mize, a Facebook friend  @  https://www.facebook.com/louis.mize

 

“Fellowship with the Lord”

 

Therefore I speak to them in parables, because they seeing see not, and hearing, they hear not, neither do they understand.
Matthew 13:13

The disciples asked Jesus why He spoke to the religious leaders in parables in verse 10 of this chapter. Jesus answered their question in verse 13. There is nothing more tragic in a person’s life than to be spiritually blind and spiritually dead. These conditions cause a man to not be able to understand or comprehend the things of God. And it is even more tragic when those who have this condition are the religious leaders.

Jesus spoke in parables to help us to grasp His righteous principles. Some refused to see or listen to the Lord Jesus Christ. Hard, calloused hearts of unbelief are the root cause of these conditions. You see my friends, you and I can NEVER grasp the things of God until we accept His will for our lives.

Often God is showing and telling us His will, and in our rebellion, we refuse to either see or listen. This morning I asked God to help me to see Him and to hear Him clearly. For I understand that in my life, when His will is accomplished, I will be able to fellowship with Him, and experience the abundant life that He desires for us to experience. How about you?

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P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com/2016/12/19/the-gospel-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-12182016-written-by-bruce-r-mills/

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

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“By His Sovereign Choice” 11/15/2019 Posted by Alister Begg for www.truthforlife.org

Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

Image result for image john 6:44

 

Posted by Alister Begg   for   www.truthforlife.org

Original site  @  https://info.truthforlife.org/devo-nov15-2019?ecid=ACsprvvna40PugCeVdznNNd3Qm98CS8W5XO_qZjq3_gljFzzqUFqBVZibnjd5Tx4gVopB4H3H0Gn&utm_campaign=Daily%20Devotion%20Emails&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=79406247&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–0Mw7sB5CQLovrXUSlAunfM99rSGbjxFVXUG04R7FfmU5NKyDTlTxeqOXuG00zASYTo99Hq0W2HQ7dJfPl6ToJkOip5p-VtSF6YaarZn–_DMTnaA&_hsmi=79406247

 

By His Sovereign Choice

But the Lord’s portion is his people.

 Deuteronomy 32:9

How are they His? By His own sovereign choice. He chose them and set His love upon them. He did this completely apart from any goodness in them at the time or any goodness that He foresaw in them.

He had mercy on whom He would have mercy and ordained a chosen company to eternal life; in this way, therefore, they are His by His unconstrained election.

They are not only His by choice, but by purchase. He has bought and paid for them completely, and so there can be no dispute about His title.

Not with corruptible things like silver and gold, but with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord’s portion has been fully redeemed.

There is no mortgage on His estate; no lawsuits can be raised by opposing claimants. The price was paid in open court, and the Church is the Lord’s estate forever. See the blood-mark upon all the chosen, invisible to the human eye but known to Christ, for “the Lord knows those who are his.”1

He forgets none of those whom He has redeemed from among men; He counts the sheep for whom He laid down His life and remembers carefully the Church for which He gave Himself.

They are also His by conquest. What a battle He had in us before we would be won! How long He laid siege to our hearts! How often He sent us terms of surrender, but we barred our gates and built our walls against Him.

Do we not remember that glorious hour when He carried our hearts by storm, when He placed His cross against the wall and scaled our ramparts, planting on our strongholds the blood-red flag of His omnipotent mercy? Yes, we are indeed the conquered captives of His omnipotent love. As those chosen, who have been purchased and subdued, we know that the rights of our divine possessor are inalienable: We rejoice that we can never be our own; and we desire, day by day, to do His will and to declare His glory.

1) 2 Timothy 2:19

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. Copyright © 2003, Good News Publishers and used by Truth For Life with written permission.

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P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com/2016/12/19/the-gospel-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-12182016-written-by-bruce-r-mills/

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

Picture credit:  https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1SQJL_enUS832US832&sxsrf=ACYBGNREz_Q_3s5xxpZLyID8aSVR0Ec59Q:1573820693783&q=image+john+6:44&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiajJL7muzlAhWDpFkKHTyDBLMQsAR6BAgJEAE&biw=1291&bih=922#imgrc=h4Q4ovsvC7ZOvM:

 

 

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“Seeing the God Who Sees Me” 11/14/2019 Written by Beth Andrews for “Deeper Roots”

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

                     Image result for image God is faithful

Written by Beth Andrews for “Deeper Roots”  @  https://dbethandrews.wordpress.com

Original post @  https://dbethandrews.wordpress.com/2019/10/29/seeing-the-god-who-sees-me/

 

 

Seeing the God Who Sees Me

See the source image

The angel of the Lord found Hagar…”Genesis 16:7

You know the story of Abraham and Sarah – childless and old, God promised them a son, but in the waiting, they grew impatient and Abraham slept with Sarah’s maid Hagar, and she conceived. But their act of faithlessness caused tremendous grief for the Egyptian slave-girl. Twice Hagar wound up in the desert, weary, hungry and frightened. On her first excursion, Scripture tells us “The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert” (Gen. 16:7). The Hebrew word for “found” means “to cause to encounter.” God purposefully put Himself in Hagar’s path to cause her to have an encounter with Him. He set Himself right where He knew she was going because His heart was tender to her.  Hagar gained precious insight into who God is.  Realizing that the God of her master was very much aware of her and her plight,  She named the Lord El Roi – “the God who sees me”  (Gen. 16:13)

After the birth of Ishmael (which- by the way – means The Lord has heardGen 16:11) Hagar and her son were forced to leave their home with Abraham and Sarah.  When their meager supplies of food and water ran out, Hagar recognized their inevitable deaths.  She put Ishmael under a tree and walked away, so as not to watch her weakened son die.  She and the boy were both crying, and God once again came to Hagar and assured her that He was aware of their plight.  Genesis 21:19 says, “Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water.”  Oh, do you see the beauty of this passage? El Roi – the God who saw Hagar, now opened Hagar’s eyes so she could see.  He showed her a well of life-giving water that would minister to their bodies and to their spirits.

You may find yourself in some difficult places and very hard circumstances, but I can assure you that you have never been out of your Heavenly Father’s sight.  There is no place you can go that God will not be.  Whether they are physical places, emotional pits, and spiritual dark caves – God has promised, “I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5The truth is, it’s often in those hard places that we see the God who sees us. Had Hagar not been lost in the wilderness, running from the hard hand of her mistress, she would have never encountered the Lord and come to know Him.  I know this to be true in my life.  So often I have discovered aspects of God that I would have never known had I not been in difficult circumstances.  When I was unable to put food on our table, I discovered Jehovah-Jireththe Lord who Provides (Gen. 22:8). When I was desperately ill I found Jehovah RaphaThe Lord our Healer (Ps. 103:3). When I was discouraged and fearful, Jehovah ShalomThe Lord is Peace (Jud. 6:23-24) and Yahweh-TsuriThe Lord my Strength (Ex. 15:2) came to encourage and strengthen me.  If you are in a difficult season, look for God to reveal Himself to you in a new and encouraging way.

Beloved, if He was faithful to a frightened, lost Egyptian slave girl, and He will surely be faithful to you.

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P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com/2016/12/19/the-gospel-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-12182016-written-by-bruce-r-mills/

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

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