Tag Archives: enemies

David’s Prayer for Peace (No. 11 of the Series “Prayer: What Difference Does It Make?”)

Today’s message summary of October 15, 2017 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

Psalm 4:1-8

For the choir director: with stringed instruments. A Davidic psalm. Answer me when I call, God, who vindicates me. You freed me from affliction; be gracious to me and hear my prayer.  How long, exalted men, will my honor be insulted? How long will you love what is worthless and pursue a lie? Selah. Know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for Himself; the Lord will hear when I call to Him. Be angry and do not sin; on your bed, reflect in your heart and be still. Selah. Offer sacrifices in righteousness and trust in the Lord. Many are saying, “Who can show us anything good?” Look on us with favor, Lord. You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and new wine abound. I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, Lord, make me live in safety.

During our days, we often face emotional distress, and it can cause us to lose out on a good night of rest.  Even I have had nights like this.  Perhaps you have had these, as well.  They may be relational or financial, and they may even be spiritual.  There is no true rest unless there is a relationship with Jesus Christ.

David, in his prayers, is showing us a pattern to model where he was praying in the morning, throughout the day, and into the evening.

Be aware that Psalm 4 was relevant to David and his people, and it is relevant today.  Psalm 4 shows that in our prayers, only God can provide to us long-lasting peace.

Verse 1 of Psalm 4 represents when David speaking to God.  Verses 2-6 has him speaking to men and admonishing them, and the last two verses speak again to God in prayers for peace.  He prayed with intensity, and his prayers were clear in petitioning God for answers.  He prayed in such a way that he made sure that God heard him.  He prayed with a burdened heart, and he experienced peace that would allow him to rest.

David understood that he was not delivered from his circumstances under his own merit or righteousness. He understood that he was being delivered because of God’s righteousness alone.  Your own good deeds are worthless without the grace of God and your own obedience and faithfulness to Him.

David experiences relief when He is assured of God’s presence.  God provides the relief.

In Psalm 3, there is a reference to David’s prayer to God for protection from his son, Absalom. He did not fear those who opposed him, but he, nonetheless, appealed to God for help in overcoming them.  His admonishing of the people in Psalm 4 was directed to the people in a similar way.  God is still the source of his protection and his mercy.

2 Samuel 16:5-14

When King David got to Bahurim, a man belonging to the family of the house of Saul was just coming out. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he was yelling curses as he approached. He threw stones at David and at all the royal servants, the people and the warriors on Davids right and left. Shimei said as he cursed: Get out, get out, you man of bloodshed, you wicked man! The Lord has paid you back for all the blood of the house of Saul in whose place you became king, and the Lord has handed the kingdom over to your son Absalom. Look, you are in trouble because youre a man of bloodshed!

Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and remove his head!

The king replied, Sons of Zeruiah, do we agree on anything? He curses me this way because the Lord told him, Curse David! Therefore, who can say, Why did you do that?’” Then David said to Abishai and all his servants, Look, my own son, my own flesh and blood, intends to take my lifehow much more now this Benjaminite! Leave him alone and let him curse me; the Lord has told him to. Perhaps the Lord will see my affliction and restore goodness to me instead of Shimeis curses today. So David and his men proceeded along the road as Shimei was going along the ridge of the hill opposite him. As Shimei went, he cursed David, threw stones at him, and kicked up dust. Finally, the king and all the people with him arrived exhausted, so they rested there.

David knew that he faced enemies and there was a public display of this contention.  He knows that the opposition he experienced from Shimei was allowed by God in spite of his being anointed as the country’s future king.  It was a reminder to David to seek the Lord for guidance in the midst of his affliction, and it is also a reminder to us to remain prayerful of those who may be going through a struggle, and to not pursue any condemnation.

Our posture towards those who speak falsehoods against us (Psalm 4:2), as it was for David, is to remain focused on Him as the righteous Judge and is the true mediator who separates those who trust in Him with those who have nothing to do with Him.

Proverbs 15:29

The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.

Do you recognize that God knows you, as a distinct child of God, and that he hears your prayers?  He does not want you to wallow in your own sin from unchecked anger (Psalm 4:4).  He does give those who are opposed to you to repent from evil and do what is right and proper.

Absalom, David’s son, tried to appear to others as righteous when, in fact, he was using deceit to plot against David (2 Samuel 15:1-12).  Even today, such behavior will not be viewed as honorable by God, and anything good accomplished in this way is nothing more than “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).

Psalm 51:16-17

You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it;

you are not pleased with a burnt offering.

The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit.

You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God.

David’s prayer in the final verses in Psalm 4 was a prayer for peace in spite of his enemies.  This attitude is crucial within our Christian walk.  There should be a joy in the heart of the believer that goes beyond the blessing one receives (Psalm 4:7).  There is joy in your fellowship with the Lord.  Nothing in this world will give you peace if has nothing to do with Jesus Christ (and certainly not worldly successes).

If you do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you will not have at this time, or in the future (the afterlife), any peace.

Isaiah 26:3-4

You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You. Trust in the Lord forever, because in Yah, the Lord, is an everlasting rock!

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Signs of the Last Days: Apostasy

Today’s message summary of March 8, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Lord, Your Word is able to reach into the deepest sin and transform those who are in sin. May we be a people of The Book that trusts the Word in The Book. We want to be doers of the Word. Thank you for strengthening us and ministering to us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

We’re discussing today the word ‘apostasy,’ which means “to fall away.”

Revelation 3:20

Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.

 

Note that the Lord is referring to churches where He is on the outside looking in. These will be the places where churches will indeed be open, but God’s Word will not be in them. These are places where church will take place, but God is not present because His Word will be absent.

When a person falls away from truth, it is a falling away from God, who will keep you.

We’re in a day now where you can’t say anything about God’s Word in public places or areas. It is causing division and strife in those areas where people do not want to hear God’s Word anymore.

God is going to bring people to see Him in a miraculous way.

2 Thessalonians 2:3

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.

 

We are to be alert as to what is going on around us. If you know that you are saved, there will be something that will try to draw you away from your faith.

Strong’s Dictionary on apostasy: a defection from the truth; forsaking the truth

Greek English Lexicon: a falling away from the truth

Jeremiah 2:19

Your own evil will discipline you; your own apostasies will reprimand you. Think it over and see how evil and bitter it is for you to abandon the Lord your God and to have no fear of Me. This is the declaration of the Lord God of Hosts.

 

Apostasy is a departure from the truth. It is to stand away from it. You have to make a choice to do so.

Romans 10:8-9

On the contrary, what does it say? The message is near you, in your mouth and in your heart. This is the message of faith that we proclaim: If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

 

Apostasy can result from being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Mark 8:38

“For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

 

The goal of the Antichrist is to move you (society, church, individuals) away from the Word of God. He could care less if the church is full or not full. It’s about people who decide to devalue God’s Word.

Luke 11:28

He said, “Even more, those who hear the word of God and keep it are blessed!”

 

Satan wants to diminish or lessen the value of God’s Word because it becomes easier to believe in lies or what is false. If you believe in what is false, you will rebel against truth.

When people fall away from the truth, here is what happens:

  1. They function under a made-up truth of their own creation.
  1. If truth sets you free from sin (John 8:32), then the rejection of truth only promotes more sin in your life.
  1. When truth is denied and not received in your life, you no longer can present yourself as an instrument of righteousness in your home (including before your children or your family), your workplace or within society (Romans 6:13).
  1. It is the word of truth that sets us apart from the sin of this world (John 17:16). If you reject the way of truth, you accept the ways of the world. Who is the God of this world? Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4).

John 8:32

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

 

Romans 6:13

And do not offer any parts of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness. But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness.

 

John 17:16

They are not of the world, as I am not of the world.

 

2 Corinthians 4:4

In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of believers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

 

The bottom line: you are under someone’s authority–God’s or Satan’s.

When you fall away from truth, all that is left is self-reliance (self-truth).

  1. Self-truth will not stand the test of time.
  2. Self-truth will never take the place of God’s Word. In God’s Word, you have the victory over Satan.
  3. Self-truth will not remove your sadness. In God’s Word, there is joy and peace.
  4. Self-truth will not allow you to stand and hold your ground.

 

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.

 

Psalm 127:1-2

Unless the Lord builds a house, its builders labor over it in vain; unless the Lord watches over a city, the watchman stays alert in vain. In vain you get up early and stay up late, working hard to have enough food–yes, He gives sleep to the one He loves.

 

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is Gods power to us who are being saved. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the understanding of the experts. Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasnt God made the worlds wisdom foolish? For since, in Gods wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached. For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is Gods power and Gods wisdom, because Gods foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and Gods weakness is stronger than human strength.

 

When you fall away from God, are you mocking Him?

Galatians 6:7

Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap.

 

1 John 5:10

The one who believes in the Son of God has this testimony within him. The one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony God has given about His Son.

 

To fall away is to rebel from God.

1 Samuel 15:23

For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you as king.

 

Witchcraft is trusting in works taught by demons (spells and curses). It is to trust in the word of another person outside of Christ.

Numbers 23:11, 19-20

“What have you done to me?” Balak asked Balaam. “I brought you to curse my enemies, but look, you have only blessed them!”

God is not a man who lies, or a son of man who changes His mind. Does He speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill? I have indeed received a command to bless; since He has blessed, I cannot change it.

 

Psalm 109:28

Though they curse, You will bless. When they rise up, they will be put to shame, but Your servant will rejoice.

 

When you fall away, you fight against the Spirit of Truth.

John 16:13

When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come.

 

John 14:17

He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesnt see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you.

 

Romans 8:1-2

Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirits law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

 

2 Corinthians 3:6

He has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit produces life.

When you fall away, you fall from grace.

 

Galatians 5:4

You who are trying to be justified by the law are alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace.

 

John 1:14

The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

When you walk away from truth, you walk away from God’s favor in your life. God’s grace and His truth are tied together.


God Builds People of Strength

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

God does not expect you to build yourself. When God builds, He builds you on the inside, and He provides direction for you. If we are doing the building, then the Holy Spirit is not active in it.

In this building, you need to take Scripture seriously. Our fellowship as a body sharpens us and builds us up when God is doing the work.

You are being built to be able to handle problems that come every day. We are strengthened through God’s Word and the Holy Spirit to be able to stand firm in the midst of difficulty.

When we gather together in a church that prays with each other, we actually strengthen each other. We build each other up in The Lord. He is the one that provides the strength and the energy within the body of Christ.

Today we will look at an example of strength that God provided to one of His people…Esther.

As we look at Esther, consider what position you are in as you live today. It is very important to keep your focus on life. Consider that God has kept you through any difficulty. Esther may have had a right to be bitter about the turn of events in her life because she lost her father and her mother at a very young age.

Esther 2:7

Mordecai was the legal guardian of his cousin Hadassah (that is, Esther), because she didn’t have a father or mother. The young woman had a beautiful figure and was extremely good-looking. When her father and mother died, Mordecai had adopted her as his own daughter.

 

God provided the strength to Esther to be able to withstand grief and difficulty. Consider that allowing bitterness, anger and an unforgiving spirit to prevail when things are difficult will take away from your enjoyment of life.

How was Esther strengthened through this relationship by Mordecai’s presence. Mordecai loved and cared for Esther as if it was his own daughter. He was God’s provision to her, and she accepted it. She was content in it, and built her life upon it. If she didn’t accept it, her life would have spilled into misery.

Philippians 4:11

I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

 

Note that when you are content, you can learn and focus upon God and His provision. When you are distracted, you are unable to learn and see how God is blessing and keeping you. God knows what you have need of, and He cares, but it starts with contentment.

Esther learned how to win people to her cause. She was most likely born in captivity along with Mordecai under the Babylonians. The Persians came along and overtook the Babylonians and established a capital in Sousa. Esther’s nationality was kept secret throughout much of what we see in Scripture.

She was able to win the favor of others.

 

Esther 2:8-9

8 When the king’s command and edict became public knowledge, many young women gathered at the fortress of Susa under Hegai’s care. Esther was also taken to the palace and placed under the care of Hegai, who was in charge of the women. 9 The young woman pleased him and gained his favor so that he accelerated the process of the beauty treatments and the special diet that she received. He assigned seven hand-picked female servants to her from the palace and transferred her and her servants to the harem’s best quarters.

 

Esther 2:15, 17

15 Esther was the daughter of Abihail, the uncle of Mordecai who had adopted her as his own daughter. When her turn came to go to the king, she did not ask for anything except what Hegai, the king’s trusted official in charge of the harem, suggested. Esther won approval in the sight of everyone who saw her.

17 The king loved Esther more than all the other women. She won more favor and approval from him than did any of the other young women. He placed the royal crown on her head and made her queen in place of Vashti.

 

Esther 4:4

Esther’s female servants and her eunuchs came and reported the news to her, and the queen was overcome with fear. She sent clothes for Mordecai to wear so he could take off his sackcloth, but he did not accept them.

 

Esther’s example of having favor with others should give you the desire to seek God in how you can win people to your cause and help you, even in the midst of your enemies.

Job 10:12

You gave me life and faithful love,

and Your care has guarded my life.

 

Proverbs 13:15

Good sense wins favor,

but the way of the treacherous never changes.

 

Luke 2:52

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.

 

Acts 2:47

praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.

 

Are you busy winning favor amongst others to reach the lost? Are you winning favor to be able to minister in your job or other areas amongst people where there is a presence of God within the relationship?

God will place people in your life in order to teach you. Do you push them away, or do you win their favor by listening to instruction? Remember, God is the one who is ultimately giving you favor and strength in what you are doing with your life as you remain sensitive to His presence.

God will put people in your life that will build you up, strengthen you and empower you.

It takes the favor of God, through the Holy Spirit, to help you work with others and witness to them, especially with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Esther listened and learned from others.

 

Esther 2:10, 15, 20

10 Esther did not reveal her ethnic background or her birthplace, because Mordecai had ordered her not to.

15 Esther was the daughter of Abihail, the uncle of Mordecai who had adopted her as his own daughter. When her turn came to go to the king, she did not ask for anything except what Hegai, the king’s trusted official in charge of the harem, suggested. Esther won approval in the sight of everyone who saw her.

20 Esther still had not revealed her birthplace or her ethnic background, as Mordecai had directed. She obeyed Mordecai’s orders, as she always had while he raised her.

 

Esther was obedient to the one who raised her with good counsel. She had already received the crown from the king; yet, she followed Mordecai’s and remained true to him. She trusted in his advice even though she was in a position far greater than where she came from.

Esther also realized when the circumstances were too great for her, and it was then when she asked for help and prayer. God will sometimes weaken us or humble us in order that we will ask Him for help.

Esther 4:12-16

12 Esther’s response was reported to Mordecai.

13 Mordecai told the messenger to reply to Esther, “Don’t think that you will escape the fate of all the Jews because you are in the king’s palace. 14 If you keep silent at this time, liberation and deliverance will come to the Jewish people from another place, but you and your father’s house will be destroyed. Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.”

15 Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go and assemble all the Jews who can be found in Susa and fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, day or night. I and my female servants will also fast in the same way. After that, I will go to the king even if it is against the law. If I perish, I perish.”

 

Esther learned to trust in what God had given her. God placed her in her position at that time for an important reason–the preservation of her people, the Jews.

Esther trusted in her upbringing and in her natural beauty. She knew that she was loved and cared for. She recognized the new and old friends she had in life, and she recognized that the God of Israel was always present throughout it all–from her childhood to her adulthood.

Psalm 139:14

I will praise You

because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.

Your works are wonderful,

and I know this very well.

 

God put you in your position where you are today for a reason and a purpose.

Esther learned how to face her enemies.

Esther 7:1-8

1 The king and Haman came to feast with Esther the queen. 2 Once again, on the second day while drinking wine, the king asked Esther, “Queen Esther, whatever you ask will be given to you. Whatever you seek, even to half the kingdom, will be done.”

3 Queen Esther answered, “If I have obtained your approval, my king, and if the king is pleased, spare my life—this is my request; and spare my people—this is my desire. 4 For my people and I have been sold out to destruction, death, and extermination. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept silent. Indeed, the trouble wouldn’t be worth burdening the king.”

5 King Ahasuerus spoke up and asked Queen Esther, “Who is this, and where is the one who would devise such a scheme?”

6 Esther answered, “The adversary and enemy is this evil Haman.”

Haman stood terrified before the king and queen. 7 Angered by this, the king arose from where they were drinking wine and went to the palace garden. Haman remained to beg Queen Esther for his life because he realized the king was planning something terrible for him. 8 Just as the king returned from the palace garden to the house of wine drinking, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was reclining. The king exclaimed, “Would he actually violate the queen while I am in the palace?” As soon as the statement left the king’s mouth, Haman’s face was covered.

 

Stand and face your enemies. God will strengthen you.

Ephesians 4:12

for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ.

 

God builds people of strength to live a life as a conqueror.

Romans 8:37

No, in all these things we are more than victorious

through Him who loved us.


The Fruits of the Spirit – Love

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

 

Galatians 5:22

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith.

 

The fruit of The Spirit is the character or attitude displayed in ministry within your life.

Romans 12:4-8

4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, 5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. 6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts:

If prophecy,

use it according to the standard of one’s faith;

7 if service, in service;

if teaching, in teaching;

8 if exhorting, in exhortation;

giving, with generosity;

leading, with diligence;

showing mercy, with cheerfulness.

 

These gifts are referred to as administrative gifts. The body of Christ has different functions (v. 4) and there are different gifts within the body (v. 6).

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

4 Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person. 7 A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial:

8 to one is given a message of wisdom

through the Spirit,

to another, a message of knowledge

by the same Spirit,

9 to another, faith by the same Spirit,

to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit,

10 to another, the performing of miracles,

to another, prophecy,

to another, distinguishing between spirits,

to another, different kinds of languages,

to another, interpretation of languages.

11 But one and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as He wills.

 

These gifts are for the common good (v. 7). All of these are works of the same Spirit. He gives them to each person as He determines.

The gifts that are made visible in their evidence and functionality. The attitude in which these gifts are presented will not be of the flesh, for the Spirit and the flesh are incompatible.

A note of caution: Satan and his demons can duplicate the very things that we see here. There are some things that must be evident with these gifts, however, that Satan cannot duplicate…love is the key element. Satan cannot copy agape love. Agape love comes only from God, and it is evident in your best interest when He is involved.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8

1 If I speak human or angelic languages

but do not have love,

I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

2 If I have the gift of prophecy

and understand all mysteries

and all knowledge,

and if I have all faith

so that I can move mountains

but do not have love, I am nothing.

3 And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor,

and if I give my body in order to boast

but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind.

Love does not envy,

is not boastful, is not conceited,

5 does not act improperly,

is not selfish, is not provoked,

and does not keep a record of wrongs.

6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness

but rejoices in the truth.

7 It bears all things, believes all things,

hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends.

But as for prophecies,

they will come to an end;

as for languages, they will cease;

as for knowledge, it will come to an end.

 

The Spirit gives these gifts, but love must be the foundation of the manifestation of these gifts.

Love must be about the other person. Genuine love never fails and will touch the hearts of the people. (Note that love is the first fruit mentioned in Galatians 5:22.)

1 John 4:8 – God is love

Romans 5:8 – God demonstrated His love

How do you demonstrate your godly love to people. You do it without ego trips, pride, vain glory, self need, rewards, or showing off your knowledge.

Real love brings people you minister to along side of you–not behind you.

Romans 12:9

Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good.

1. A love that gives of self. John 3:16-17

John 3:16-17

16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

 

2. A love that covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

1 Peter 4:8

Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins.

 

3. A love that deals with our sin. Psalm 103:11-12; Micah 7:18-19

Psalm 103:11-12

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is His faithful love

toward those who fear Him.

12 As far as the east is from the west,

so far has He removed

our transgressions from us.

 

God wants us to have this very attitude when we minister to others…not seeing the sin, but seeing the person who needs to be ministered to.

Micah 7:18-19

18 Who is a God like You,

removing iniquity and passing over rebellion

for the remnant of His inheritance?

He does not hold on to His anger forever,

because He delights in faithful love.

19 He will again have compassion on us;

He will vanquish our iniquities.

You will cast all our sins

into the depths of the sea.

 

4. A love that doesn’t remember my sin. Isaiah 43:25; Jeremiah 31:34; Hebrews 8:12

Isaiah 43:25

“It is I who sweep away your transgressions

for My own sake

and remember your sins no more.

Jeremiah 31:34

No longer will one teach his neighbor or his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least to the greatest of them”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “For I will forgive their wrongdoing and never again remember their sin.”

Hebrews 8:12

For I will be merciful to their wrongdoing,

and I will never again remember their sins.

 

5. We are called to love our enemies. Matthew 5:43

Matthew 5:43

“You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.”

 

6. We are called to love each other. John 13:35

John 13:35

“By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

God wants you to have the type of love that people who are your enemies will see the difference of Christ in your life. You have to love them in order to minister to them. Love conquers all things.

If we are to use the gifts that the Spirit gives to us in the proper manner, they must all begin with agape love. It can only come from God Himself through the Holy Spirit. We can extend grace to others because we have received grace from Him. Amen.


Serving the Lord

What keeps you from serving the Lord more than you are already doing? Is there a lack of understanding about what you are learning about service for Christ, or are there matters that get in the way. We want to believe that it is a simple as making a declaration, “I will serve the Lord!” If only were it that simple.

In 1 Timothy, note that the hindrances that kept those in the church from serving the Lord was best described by the final verse of the chapter, “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding irreverent, empty speech and contradictions from the ‘knowledge’ that falsely bears that name. By professing it, some people have deviated from the faith. Grace be with all of you” (1 Timothy 6:20-21). The people being described here are those who teach false doctrine and who are greedy and selfish–those who are unrighteous and who are not content in their lives.

At the start of the chapter (1 Timothy 6:1-2), Paul talks about how one should work for another on behalf of the Lord and not just because one is a believer or a non-believer, or because of one’s status. God’s testimony before man is what is at stake, especially before non-believers (Colossians 3:22-23). After all, failure to work or respectful to those we report to is irresponsible and can have negative consequences (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12; Titus 1:16). In contrast, we who serve in our work are “to seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, so that you may walk properly in the presence of outsiders and not be dependent on anyone” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).

Paul also points out to Timothy about the prevalence of false teaching and the unwillingness of those who are beyond correction. Their motivations are suspect and selfish (1 Timothy 6:3-5). Their purpose may be in financial gain, unhealthy interests, or even controversy and strife. These individuals need to be content with where they are in life (1 Timothy 6:6-8; Philippians 4:10-13). In one’s contentment, you are more open to what God is trying to teach you. If you are constantly involved in controversy and strife, you can’t be receptive or open to His teaching. One should never equate riches with contentment. “But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains” (1 Timothy 6:9-10). See also Matthew 6:24, 33-34.

Timothy was implored to flee from those with wrong thinking and to pursue Christ and righteousness (1 Timothy 6:11-12):

1. Pursue righteousness over controversy and quarreling.
2. Your actions are to be Christlike.
3. Show forth faith and not evil suspicion, especially if there is no supporting evidence.
4. Love others instead of creating friction between you and others.
5. Endure as you move forward. There is much to deal with because of ongoing pressures and conflicts. It is not about your personal gain. Persevere.
6. Be gentle in working with others.

Fight the good fight for the faith; take hold of eternal life, to which you were called and have made a good confession before many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12). We have to pursue our faith with boldness and not allow others to hinder the gospel with their selfish actions. Remember who you became when you accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. We are to “keep the commandment without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 6:14).

Paul’s command to those who have wealth (1 Timothy 6:17-20):
1. Not to be arrogant.
2. Not to put trust in money.
3. To do good with their wealth.
4. Not to lay up treasures for themselves.

Our work has value when we do our work for the Lord. At times, we have to overcome and persevere over those who give us difficulty with false teaching, false doctrine, and those that are contentious and uncooperative. Our source of contentment in all that we do comes from Jesus Christ. In our contentment, there is a confidence that we have through the Holy Spirit that gives us the ability to serve under the gospel of Christ.