Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Odd Couple

The Odd Couple

Some people say that opposites attract. You know that saying, right? Like the couple where one person is outgoing and the other is very shy. Or when one likes to stay around the house and the other is always itching to get out and go somewhere. Well, I am not so sure I agree that opposites attract. I believe that successful relationships are more dependent on the shared values of patience, kindness, selflessness, respect, commitment, forgiveness, etc. as expressed in the Bible (see 1 Corinthians chapter 13).

Within all followers of Jesus Christ, there are two opposite natures. These natures are not attracted to each other – they differ in every way and each wants complete control. They are constantly battling to dominate our thoughts, desires, actions and words. These two natures are our flesh (the sinful desires, passions and attitudes that define our human nature apart from God) and our spirit (the supernatural union of our nonphysical essence and the Holy Spirit of God living within us).
  • Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
  • Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

The Bible explicitly declares the opposing natures of the flesh and the spirit.
  • Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

So why doesn’t God do away with our sinful human nature when we surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? The Bible states that we are new creations in Christ.
  • 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.

How awesome it would be to live with no desire or inclination to sin!

Or would it?

I would never claim or pretend to fully comprehend the mind, nature and depth of God as presented in His Word. It’s quite the opposite. The longer I know Him and the more I learn, the more questions I have. But this I know, in His infinite and perfect wisdom, God chose and ordained that His children must deal with the odd couple of flesh and spirit from the moment of salvation until the end of mortal life. And since He is all-knowing and all-powerful, I know He did this by design.
  • Romans 8:5 those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
  • Galatians 6:8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

I believe that part of the reason He did this is choice. Just as God would never force a person to surrender their lives to Him, He does not force those who do surrender to Him to live a Godly life. Each person must decide how they will live. For God or against Him. Serving and honoring Him or rebelling against Him.
  • Romans 8:13-14 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
  • Galatians 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

How does a perfectly programmed robot that has no choice but to obey bring glory to God? It can’t.
  • Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
  • John 6:66-67 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”

The church of Jesus Christ is not calling
the lost people of this world to perfection in this life.

We are calling them to trust Him for salvation.
We are calling them to surrender all they are to Him.
We are calling them to love, obey and follow Him.
We are calling them to make choices that honor Him.

The first choice a person makes to honor God is to be reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ. As part of our spiritual rebirth, the Holy Spirit of God takes up residence in us and is the guarantee of our eternal life in Heaven.
  • John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
  • Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

From then on, it is a life of choices; you have to deal with the reality of the odd couple inside you moment-by-moment and day-by-day. Will I obey Him? Will I wait for Him? Will I respond to His Word and the promptings of His Spirit? Will I reject my human nature? Will I give Him the glory for my victories and confess my failures to Him?
  • Romans 8:8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
  • Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
  • Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

What choices do you need to make?


Father, I praise You for Your wisdom, love, patience, knowledge, plans and so much more. I also thank You for giving us choice! Please Father, draw many to You through salvation in Jesus. I pray for those who haven’t decided to follow Jesus. I pray that Your Word and Your Spirit will lead them to the right choice. I pray for those who have given their lives to You. May they make choices every day that bear witness to the new creation they are in Jesus. I pray all these things by choice, and in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

That You May

That You May

Jesus loves you. He humbled Himself by coming to earth as a man to fulfill God’s plans for your redemption. He lived a sinless life to fulfill the requirements of the Old Testament Law on your behalf. He died on a cross as the perfect and final sacrifice for your sin debt to God. He rose from the dead to prove that He is God and to assure those who follow Him of their eternal life in Heaven. He ascended to Heaven where He continues daily in His high priestly ministry of advocacy and intercession before Father God for those who have surrendered to Him.

He did all this:

That You May Believe
Jesus wants you to trust in who He is.

John Wrote
  • John 20:30-31 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
Jesus Said
  • John 17:20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;
The Bible is God’s message of redemption through faith in Jesus Christ. A belief in Jesus that leads to surrender to Him as Lord and Savior is what God wants for you.

That You May Know
Jesus wants you to be assured of your salvation.

John Wrote
  • 1 John 5:12-13 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
Jesus Said
  • John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
The Bible unapologetically tells us that Jesus is the only way to a right relationship with Father God. A Christian’s confidence in their relationship with God is based on the redeeming power of Jesus’ shed blood, not their good works.

That You May Stand
Jesus wants you to endure in His strength.

Paul Wrote
  • Ephesians 6:10-11 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Jesus Said
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
The Bible shows us that it is only in God’s strength that we can stand against the weaknesses of our flesh, the wickedness of the world and the schemes of the devil. In union with Christ, even when we are weak, we can be strong.

That You May Walk
Jesus wants you to live a life that honors God.

Paul Wrote
  • Colossians 1:9-10 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Jesus Said
  • John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
The Bible defines our ultimate purpose in this life – to bring glory to the God of the Bible. We bring honor to God by walking in the truth, love and righteousness of Jesus Christ.

That You May Proclaim
Jesus expects you to share the truth about Him with others.

Peter Wrote
  • 1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
Jesus Said
  • Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
The Bible requires that its message be declared to every tongue and tribe and nation by those who profess to follow Jesus. Followers of Jesus lead others to Him!

Turn to Jesus!
Live for Jesus!
Share the Good News about Jesus!


Father, the pressures, pains, problems and preoccupations of this life cause many of Your children to fall short in our calling to spread the good news about Jesus to those who have not heard (or need to hear again). But we are without excuse. Despite the weaknesses of our humanity, please use us for Your glorious purposes. By the truth of Your Word and the power of Your Spirit, enable, empower, excite and erect Your church to fulfill its evangelist mission. In the blessed name of Jesus I pray. Amen

Saturday, November 4, 2017



‘LOL’ is an acronym used widely in social media and other electronic communications; it stands for ‘laugh(ing) out loud’. LOL is primarily used to indicate an appreciation for, or acknowledgment of, the humor, wit or amusement found in someone else’s message or post. But I believe there is a better use for this acronym.

In the Old Testament, the prophet Jeremiah speaks the very words of God to condemn the southern kingdom of Judah for the multitude of ways they have sinned against the LORD, the shameless way in which they have done it, and the anger and judgment aroused in God by this rebellion against His love and sovereign rule. In Chapter 7 of Jeremiah, he reminds them of God’s words when they were delivered out of Egypt and how their ancestors responded.
  • Jeremiah 7:23-24 But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ 24 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.

At the heart of God’s message to all humanity is a remarkably simple and profoundly life changing message – LOL!

Listen – Obey – Live

Hear the absolute truth of God’s Holy Word.
  • Psalm 119:103 How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Are the Words of God sweet, encouraging, challenging, helpful… to your soul? Do they satisfy the cravings that can’t be met by any earthly information or activity? Or are they like bitter medicine ignored and left on the shelf?
  • Deuteronomy 31:12 Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the LORD your God and carefully observe all the words of this law,
  • Matthew 15:10 When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand:
  • Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
  • Psalm 19:7-8 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
Imagine the creator of the universe gently taking hold of your hand and asking, ‘Are you hearing me?’ God has spoken through His Word and He desires and expects us to listen to what He has said. In His Words are the answers to our deepest questions, the information we need to be reconciled to Him, and the truth about love, relationships, science, history, the future and so much more.

The first step to an understanding of, appreciation for, and relationship with God is to listen to Him.

Heed the requirements and principles found in God’s Perfect Word.
  • Psalm 119:145 I cry out with my whole heart; Hear me, O LORD! I will keep Your statutes.
Are you joyfully committed, wholly determined and eternally faithful in your desire to obey God’s Word? Or are His teachings and truths just weighing you down?
  • John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.
  • Deuteronomy 12:28 Observe and obey all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.
  • Hebrews 11:8 Observe and obey all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God.
  • Psalm 119:9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.
If your obedience to God is not motivated by love for Him, faith in Him and humility before Him, it is misguided. Obedience is not a means to an end, it is a passion and a privilege. Obedience to the Word of God is a way to worship Him, protect ourselves, and encourage others to do the same.

Ongoing and intentional disobedience is rebellion against and rejection of God’s love and forgiveness.

Honor God in every area of your life according to His Eternal Word.
  • Psalm 119:133 Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me.
Are you learning, growing, serving, sharing and getting victory over sin as you walk with God? Does your heart yearn to live a life that emulates our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Or are you just going through the motions and hoping no one notices that your heart is not really into Christian love and selflessness?
  • Ephesians 4:1-3 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
  • Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
  • Romans 14:7-8 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
  • Hebrews 13:20-21 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Living a life that brings glory to God and demonstrates who you are in Jesus is more about your attitudes, intentions and desires than a measure of your actions, words and works. But make no mistake, salvation through and in Jesus, which leads to an indwelling presence of God’s Holy Spirit, will change how you think, feel and live. When you live for God, your life will become less about yourself and more about how you can serve and share truth with others.

The principles, priorities and passions
of your life will demonstrate
if you really Listen to, Obey and Live for Him.



Dear Lord, in Your loving and perfect ways, please use Your Word and Your Spirit to transform hearts and minds so that people who never acknowledged or responded to you in the past will now Listen to, Obey and Live for You. I praise You for Your patience and Your eternal desire for all to repent and come to You. In Jesus’ holy and precious name I pray. Amen