R U Saved? If U die 2day will U go 2 Heaven?

If you ask most Americans (who aren’t atheists) if they are going to heaven they’ll say yes. They’ll tell you that they are good people, they believe, they go to church or they have been baptized. There’s a problem with each of those answers, none of them are the right one.

The Bible is pretty clear that no person is without sin and that we all need the penalty of our sin to be paid. Jesus paid that penalty when he allowed himself to be nailed to the cross. We deserved the death penalty and he paid for it with his life. So just being “good” won’t cut it, because even though we do some good things we also do many bad things and the good doesn’t pay off the bad. Look at it this way; if you robbed a store and told the judge that you were polite to old ladies and nice to puppies would he let you off?

Just believing won’t work either. It’s like Jesus’ brother James said, “Even the demons believe that there is one God, but they tremble.” Most people in America say they believe, but there is little evidence, in the way the live, that they actually do. The demons tremble in fear, but most of the people who say they believe in God have no respect or fear for him. There are quite a few people in the Bible who believed in God, lived however they wanted, and never made it to the Promised Land.

Being baptized when you were an infant or when you were 12 doesn’t mean you saved today. What have you been doing since then?

When Jesus came he offered humanity a chance to have a pretty good relationship with God. He offered us a deal or as the Bible calls it a covenant. Here’s the deal believe in Jesus, that is believe he lived, died as a sacrifice for sin, and that he was resurrected on the third day. In other words have faith that he died for the penalty for our sins.

Just like you have to have faith whenever you make a deal with somebody, you have to have faith when you make this deal with Jesus. It’s like getting married, you wouldn’t get married unless you had faith your spouse would be faithful to you. Likewise you must have faith that God will be faithful and do what he says he’ll do. You can only be saved if you are in this covenant with God and you can only be in covenant if you have faith.

Just having faith is not the only thing in this deal though. There are other things we call conditions. Some of them are be baptized, repent from sinning, love your enemies, forgive others and obey God. But this is where you need to be careful because you don’t get to heaven by checking stuff off of a list. You need to want to please God and you’ll need to learn to love him.

If you’re like everyone else you’re asking yourself, “what happens when I screw up?” The answer to that depends on you. If you decide to say the heck with it I’m just going to live how I want no matter what God thinks, then you’ll probably be in serious danger if you never turn back to God. Most likely you’ll find out what hell is, the hard way. But, if you fail and then do your best to do right the next time then you are on the right track. As long are you are being honest with yourself and with God and as long as you make the best effort you can, he’ll forgive you and help you on your way.

The Bible says, “He does not deal with us as our sins deserve; he does not repay us as our misdeeds deserve. For as the skies are high above the earth, so his loyal love towers over his faithful followers. As far as the eastern horizon is from the west, so he removes the guilt of our rebellious actions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on his faithful followers.”

Don’t wait. Decide to believe today and decide to make that covenant deal with God. Believe in him, believe what he’s said and follow him. If u died 2day, u can go 2 Heaven.

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What about those covenants? : A Covenant Forgotten – Part 5

It’s amazing that so many preachers and teachers can read the New Testament and come to so many different conclusions.  Particularly I’m surprised by the many misconceptions about covenants since they are so easy to compare and contrast. I suspect that many teachers choose to view the important covenants through the lens of the doctrine they’ve grown up with and feel the need to protect.

The three major covenants are the Lord’s covenant with Abraham, His covenant with Moses and Jesus’ New Covenant. Each of those covenants is very similar, and you’ll see that each one has conditions, promises and each was ratified or officially validated by a ceremonial sacrifice.

There is not disagreement among theologians about all the covenants or about some aspects of covenants. For example there isn’t really any disagreement in theological circles about the promises of the covenants or the ratification of the covenants. It’s just about universally accepted that the Lord promised blessings (or curses) in each covenants and that each covenant was ratified. It’s the conditions in them that some just can’t seem to agree on.  

There really isn’t much disagreement over Moses’ covenant, clearly, obedience to the Ten Commandments and the Law of Moses were the conditions. But when it comes to the Abrahamic many teachers deny that there were any conditions at all, while others recognize that there were certain conditions that Abraham had to meet. The same is true of the New Covenant as well. There are those who can’t see that there are indeed conditions that the Christ follower must meet and others who do.

Much of the confusion comes from centuries of teachers who read Paul’s letters out of their historical context and then misunderstand what he’s saying.  It’s important, when reading the letter to the Romans or any other letter, to pay attention to the historical and cultural context of what was written. Paul had some serious problems with Jews who followed him and taught the churches that he planted that they must follow parts of the Law of Moses.  Usually they taught those young Christians that they must be circumcised, observe the Sabbath, and/or observe Jewish dietary law.

Paul’s response was to write letters to the churches to correct what the false teachers had taught. What Paul taught is that keeping the Law of Moses is not a condition of the New Covenant, especially for those of us who are not Jewish. He then used Abraham to prove his point, because the Lord declared Abraham righteous before the Law of Moses existed. That is the lens that we must use when we read Paul’s letters. Paul was not saying that obeying Jesus was wrong or that obedience is not needed for salvation.

Below I’ve made a table that makes it easy to compare those three covenants and if you want to see the conditions and promises you will easily see them.  But first let me point out some things.

What are “conditions” and “promises”?  The promises are the rewards or punishments you’ll receive if you do whatever it is the covenant calls for you to do. The conditions are the things the covenant calls for you to do. Look at Abraham’s covenant and you’ll that the Lord gave some conditions in the first verse of Genesis 12 and later gave the promises. He gave the conditions, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you….” The Lord then gave Abraham some promises, “And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

In these few verses it’s easy to see what the conditions and promises are, and we see that the Lord simply told Abraham “do this and I will do that.” Easy to see and understand right?  We could only wish it was that easy, and you may have doubts yourself. But, if you think there were no conditions given then read what the Lord said to Isaac. 

“I will make you descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws.” (Gen. 26:4) 

And there you have it. Why did the Lord keep His promises? Because Abraham obeyed the Lord, he kept the covenant.

Before I go further look at the table below and see how much all three covenants have in common.

Abraham’s Covenants

Moses’ Covenant

The New Covenant

 

Conditions

 

Genesis 12:1

Now the Lord said to Abram,

“Go forth from your country,

And from your relatives

And from your father’s house,

To the land which I will show you…

 

Genesis 17:1

This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised.  And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you. And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants. A servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”

Exodus 19:5-8

“Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

 

Exodus 20:3-17

 “You shall have no other gods before Me.

 

“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.  You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

 

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not [d]leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

 

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.

“You shall not murder.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

John 15:1-10

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit [of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.  Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

 

Promises

 

Genesis 15:4-7

“… one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.”  And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness. And He said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.”

 

Genesis 26:4-5

I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your [descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws.”

 

Exodus 20

I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

John 15:1-10

“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.  Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

 

Ratification

 

Genesis 15:8-17

He said, “O Lord God, how may I know that I will possess it?”  So He said to him, “Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year old female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” Then he [n]brought all these to Him and cut them in two, and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds. The birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.

 

Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him. God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age. Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.

 

It came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces.

Exodus 24:1-9

 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You are to worship at a distance, but Moses alone is to approach the Lord; the others must not come near. And the people may not come up with him.”

 

When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.” Moses then wrote down everything the Lord had said.

 

He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the Lord. Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he splashed against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.”

 

Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

 

Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.

Matthew 26: 26-29

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”


2Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Notice that each covenant has its own unique conditions but that in essence each has the same condition, “obey the Lord.” Also notice how very similar Exodus 19:5-8 is to John 15:10

Exodus 19:5-8 “Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

John 15:10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

There can be no doubt that our New Covenant has conditions just as the Older Covenants do.

” . . .set your hearts on things above. . .”

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1

If you call yourself a Christian, ask yourself what your heart is set on.

Did you spend more time yesterday studying the stats of your favorite sports team than you spent reading your Bible?

Have you spent more money this month entertaining yourself than you did tithing or giving to charities?

Did you talk more about the new box office hit than you did Jesus yesterday?

To the casual Christian these things seem trivial and unimportant. But according to scripture they show what you are truly passionate about and where your heart really is. Scripture never commends the casual Christian or speaks of rewards for the casual Christian. In fact according to Jesus and the Apostles there is no such thing.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

Jesus does not want anyone to hate anyone else. He is using hyperbole to show you that there is nothing casual about being a true Christian. You are either hardcore or you are……………………..

hyperbole |hīˈpərbəlē|
noun
exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.

Don’t take it literally, do take it seriously.

No Compromise

“We are susceptible to heretical teachings because, in one form or another, they nurture and reflect the way that we would have it be, rather than the way God has provided, which is infinitely better for us. As they lead us into the blind alleys of self-indulgence and escape from life, heresies pander to the most unworthy tendencies of the human heart. ”
… C. FitzSimons Allison, The Cruelty of Heresy

So often the things that lead us from the Lord seem so harmless. We say to ourselves we can do this or that, believing that our faith and walk will not be affected. Devils whisper in our ear that we can watch this movie, listen to that music or spend our money on this thing. We are led away from the light so slowly and deliberately that our eyes adjust to the darkness without us even knowing it happened.

Paul writes in 2 Timothy. “In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”

Remove the compromises from your life. Pray the Lord will adjust your eyes to the Light. Be noble. Be holy. Be useful.

Peace, Steve

So simply put

I read this one on a blog written by Mike Servello Jr. and posted with his permission.  So simply put and so true. Thank You, Mike

Generational Curses: part 1, My thoughts

March 17, 2008 at 4:47 am (Theology, church, personal) (, , )

Warning: Extra Long Post!

Since we’re being controversial, Lets just put it all on the table. Right now our church is doing a series on the power of words. When you do a series like this all you have to do is mention the title and you have already crossed the bridge to the land of being relevant. Going over what the Bible says about the power our words and applying them to my own life is very convicting. I need a lot of Help…I’m not even joking. We joke about it, but biblically speaking its not a joke. The Bible tells us our religion is measured by the use of our tongues (James 1:26). Anyways, this was my weekend to speak and after much study and reflection here was my conclusion in one statement as to what the Bible says about the power of words: Don’t underestiamte the power of our words. Simple. to the point. One of the points I made had to do with not underestimating the words we speak about ourselves. I talked about the power of confessing positive things over our lives instead of negative and tried to approach it in the most balanced way possible. As I was talking I used the example of people who believe in Generational curses. To be honest, after the service I wondered if i should have used that as the example of what I was trying to illustrate. I think it may have been a little too controversial for some. The point I was trying to make is if you believe you are cursed, it can very easily turn into a self fulfilling prophecy. One thing I have observed over the years is fear is simply faith in the wrong direction. IF you fear something including a family curse you actually give the devil power by unknowingly putting faith in that curse. Sometimes people who get to thinking a lot about “demonic involvement” in their lives often without knowing begin to have more faith in the Devils power to curse them than God’s power to bless them. I have seen Christians who see tendencies in themselves that may be the same they see in their family and as a result believe it is a generational curse that needs to be broken. Let me say this, people ask me all the time, “can a Christian have a demon?” or for the sake of this conversation, “Can a christian have a generational curse?” My response, “a christian can have whatever he wants, but he devil cant be there by LEGAL right.” My problem with generational curses is both theological and practical. I’d thought i’d share what the Bible says about the subject because I find it amazing that a lot of Christians have never looked to see what the Bible says about the subject. Let’s look at the origin of it all:

Deut. 5:9 ’You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth [generations] of those who hate Me,

My first observation says this: If we pray and rebuke generational curses are we rebuking God? Im not being sarcastic but asking a question seriously, because the Bible says God is the one putting the curse there. Also, the in this particular verse has an extra statement which is not included in the one in Numbers which is: “to those who hate me”. So if you love God is it possible to be experiencing financial problems, lust, mental illness, physical illness or any other struggle because of a generational curse specifically? Before I answer this question, lets look at just three other verses and tell me how they can fit with an understanding of generational curses.

Prov. 26:2 As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.

Prov. 3:33 The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked, But He blesses the dwelling of the righteous.

Gal. 3:13 But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

Remember also the story of Balaam in the Bible he was hired to curse the people of Israel but could not. It was not until the people of Israel sinned by committing immorality that any type of curse came in. Im interested in any thoughts and if people can explain to me from a clear biblical perspective the idea of generational curses as they specifically apply to Christians. But like said at the outset, my issue with the doctrine is not simply theological but also practical. I have talked with Christians who think their personal issues are a result of a “generational curse.” To me this in turn leads to an dangerous confession. We confess more the power of the enemy than we do the power of GOD. Dad might have had lust problems, Dad might have had money problems, Dad might have had health problems, but you know what I got a new Father who never gets sick, who had no financial problems and is perfectly pure. Isn’t this the work that Jesus did on the cross by taking the “curse” for us? He was rejected so we can be accepted, he was beaten so I don’t have to be. I think part of the issue with this whole subject is people want an answer for things in our lives that sometimes don’t make sense. When A happens we want to say it was because if B. Honestly, Life is a mystery. God is the only one who understands that mystery. I think of the story in the Bible where the disciple questioned him about a disabled man he was about to heal. The question, “who sinned? Him or his parents?” Jesus said, “Neither, but that God’s glory might be displayed. I read a quote by Philip Yancey once that said, “Life is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived.” I couldn’t agree more. I think their are things that God allows in our lives simply so we can overcome them and bring him glory. However, the only way to overcome them is to believe God is for us and not against us and to take his hand and walk with him day by day through some of the deepest struggles we may face and simply trust him and what his word says no matter what circumstances say. I’d love to hear any thoughts anybody may have.

No Faith? Or? Is it, they just don’t get it?

I’ve been thinking of things people have said to me that have left me scratching my head wondering where their faith was.

One person told me not to email them prayer requests, because, by the time they checked their email, the prayer was answered. Seems to me that God cares nothing about time. Just pray, He knows before you pray what you will pray for. Think of it this way, to Him a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. God, who made the sun stand still, is able to post date your prayers. Just say your prayer and have faith.

I was told that witnessing and handing out Bible tracts in the Bible belt doesn’t work because every one in the Bible belt thinks they are saved anyway. I suppose the person who said this, doesn’t believe the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of those who live in the Bible belt. HMMM, I’m certain the Holy Spirit is able to as He pleases. God spoke to Balaam through the ass he was riding, he can also use you, me and Bible tracts. Have faith.

How about those that visit a church, worship somewhere or go to a prayer meeting and then say “I didn’t feel the Spirit there!” I’m fairly certain God didn’t give us the Holy Spirit to make us high. If you’re looking for a feeling, smoke a joint. If you want to worship God, petition Him with prayer or gather at a church, then just do it. God is present, whether you feel Him or not. If you have been born again the Spirit dwells in you. When you stop being judgmental, the Spirit will flow and you’ll see the joy of the Lord was present the entire time. It’s not where you are at or who you are with, it’s you, have faith.

I guess my all time favorite example of no faith are the guys who think one Bible translation is from God and others are not. Using their mis-guided logic, shouldn’t we only pray in Hebrew and read the Greek text? I guess they don’t think God is powerful enough or loving enough to protect the meaning of His holy Word so that His children won’t be led astray. He leads us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake, and He will do it using whatever translation is available. Have faith.

Two people came to church one night and were allowed to teach on healing. They actually had booklets stating the exact prayers we must pray to to get healing for specific ailments. Again I must say, HMMM. Where in the Lord’s prayer did they find these prayer formulas? The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. He heals who He will and He doesn’t do it according to some man-made formula. Just pray, believe He is able, forgive others and have faith.  One more thing about this, the pastor who invited the formula healers loves to preach against legalism in the church.  What’s more legalistic than formula prayers?

Jesus said “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” To me it seems that we over-think things way to much. God is able to do anything. He’s the Creator of Heaven, earth the seas and everything in them. He loves us more than we have words to describe. He loves us more than we can even start to imagine. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” Why is it so hard for us to believe that He will use the most simple prayer, any Bible, any church, any person to do His pure and perfect will in our lives? Just have faith in our Father, like a child has faith in its mommy. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Have Faith.

Be noble. Be holy. Be useful. Be relevant. Steve

WYSIWYG

WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) Any computer geek will recognize this acronym. Any older person will recognize the phrase from the old Laugh In comedy show as the catch phrase of Flip Wilson’s Geraldine character.

The Apostle Paul could have used this phrase in some of his writings. Paul wrote “Yes, when Christ died, he died to defeat the power of sin one time—enough for all time. He now has a new life, and his new life is with God. In the same way, you should see yourselves as being dead to the power of sin and alive with God through Christ Jesus.” Here the Holy Spirit of God directs Paul to tell us how we should view ourselves. Very clearly he’s saying that we should not see ourselves as an addicted person, a person who’s depressed, a person who can not forgive or as person who can not conquer any sin. We should instead see ourselves as we really are, and that is in Christ we are “more than conquerers”. What you see is what you get.

Many might say “I’ve tried that, it just doesn’t work for me”. Paul would tell you to keep at it. He said. “…brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” The many might still say “it just doesn’t work”. And to that Paul says “Those who live following their sinful selves think only about things that their sinful selves want. But those who live following the Spirit are thinking about the things the Spirit wants them to do.” In other words, are you really thinking about the high things or are you allowing your mind to wander into darkness. What you think is what you get.

Here’s an example, there are people I know who can’t seem to quit smoking. They can’t understand why they can’t, but if they would just listen to what they say, they might have a better insight. Here’s just a few of the things I’ve heard them say. “It’s just not that easy”. “Some people can easily quit, I’m not one of those people”. “I NEED a cigarette”. “I’ve tried, I can’t quit”. “It’s just the way that I am”. “I guess I’m not as strong as others”. Haven’t we all heard those word’s come from ourselves and those we love. It’s so easy to see that those who say these things have settled for defeat. This defeatist thought process can also be applied to anger, depression, addictions, negative attitude or any other sin. What you believe is what you get.

Don’t settle for less. Encourage those around you to expect more. We should all lift each other up. We do it by reading the Word of God and learning the way of the Spirit, by praying, by appreciating even the smallest blessings and by rejoicing in all the He has given us.

Be noble. Be holy. Be useful. Be relevant.
Peace, Steve