Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you,which can save you.  James 1:19-21

We are called to be slow to speak and quick to listen.  Many times we get ourselves into trouble when we simply speak without truly listening to someone.  Often when someone is speaking to us we are focusing simply on our point and not what the person is saying.  If we simply will listen to one another many of the issues that cause division and dysfunction would not exist.  This is why the Lord gave us two ears and one mouth.  When we take time to listen we will operate from a place of wisdom.

This includes listening to the leading of the Lord.  Often times we make decisions and make statements without truly listening to the Lord.  The culture of our day causes many to fail to develop an intimate relationship with the Lord.  But when we take time each day to get alone with the Lord we will develop discernment for the Lord’s leading and guidance.

We are commanded in scripture to rid our lives of all moral filth.  The culture and world we live in worships and glorifies the things of wickedness.  Our culture glorifies sex and violence.  But as believers in Jesus Christ we are called to be set apart.  We are called to be a living sacrifice unto the Lord.  The Lord desires to move us from glory to glory but this requires us to walk in obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  For when we walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit we will remove all moral filth from our lives.

 

Advertisements

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the first fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet.”[c] Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him,so that God may be all in all.  1 Corinthians 15:20-28

It is through Jesus Christ that we indeed have victory (1 Corinthians 15:57).  This is the beauty of the cross.  What Satan thought would destroy the Son of God actually brought freedom and deliverance to all those who would put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.  It is because of what Jesus has done that we are indeed free (John 8:36).

Death entered the human race because of the sin of Adam and Eve.  It is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that has overcome death and redeemed that which was lost by Adam.  God was not surprised by the fall of Adam and Eve.  The plan of salvation was put in place before the foundations of the world (1 Peter 1:19-21).  Because of Jesus Christ we are able to have our relationship restored with God the Father.

There is coming a day when Jesus shall return .  When Jesus returns He will return with the host of Heaven behind Him (Revelation 19:11-18).  He will establish His kingdom and bring all His enemies under His rule and authority (Revelation 20:1-6).  He shall return to rule the earth with a rod of iron.  We who have placed our faith and trust in Jesus Christ will rule and reign with Him in His kingdom.

Once all enemies have been placed under the feet of Jesus Christ, He will turn all things over to His Father in Heaven.  For even Jesus the Son of God is subject to His Father in Heaven.  Our great hope is in what Jesus has done at Calvary.  Because of His death and resurrection we no longer fear death.  Death has been overcome and there is coming a day when death itself will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:14-15).  Until that time may we live for Christ each day growing in our relationship with Him.  May we keep our eyes fixed upon the Lord in all circumstances.  He will always lead us to victory in all things.  He is continually producing within us His character and His nature (Gal 5:22-23)

 

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 10:9-10 NIV

Salvation is a result of declaring with one’s mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing in one’s heart.  Salvation is a gift from God and is to be received.  It is not based upon works and it is not earned.  But works are a result of true faith in Jesus Christ.  Because if we have come to truly place our faith and trust in Jesus the Holy Spirit has come to live within us.  It is the Holy Spirit who transforms us from the inside out.

As the Holy Spirit continually transforms our lives it impacts the way we live our lives.  We begin to see the world around us as God sees it and we see the brokenness of humanity.  We are surrounded daily by those who are broken and lost and as we have opportunity we must be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Through faith in Christ we are justified before God.  Our sin debt was paid by Jesus as the cross and He took our sin upon Himself.  The wrath and punishment that we deserved was poured out upon Jesus.  Today we are free because what Christ has done at Calvary.

For the message of the cross

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:18 NIV

Those who are lost and perishing simply see the message of the cross as foolishness.  We live in a day and age where few believe in God and His existence.  Many have made themselves their own god.  During the apostle Paul’s day many worshiped idols.  But in our time the focus of people’s worship is simply themselves.

The technology of our day has made life easy and comfortable.  Many see no purpose in believing in God because they see no need for Him in their lives.  Because if they believe in God they are accountable for the lives they live and few today desire to be accountable for the choices and decisions they make on a daily basis.

But for those who believe in Jesus Christ the message of the cross is the power of God.  It is the message of the cross that sets us free because our sins have been nailed to the cross.  Our righteousness is found in Christ alone.  When our faith has been placed in Jesus Christ, His righteousness if applied to our lives.  May our eyes and hearts be fixed upon Jesus and prepare our hearts daily for His soon return.

For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands

16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.  Deuteronomy 30:16

There is a connection between obedience and blessing.  If we truly desire the blessing of the Lord upon our lives then we must walk in obedience.  Before we come to Christ we are enslaved to the world and its desires.  We seek to fulfill the lust of the flesh.  But when we come to Christ we are called to repentance.  Repentance requires that we turn our back on the world and its desires and we pursue the Lord with our whole heart.

The Lord gave this command to the nation of Israel.  Throughout its history, Israel time and again walked in disobedience towards the Lord.  They incured the discipline of the Lord.  The Lord sent prophet after prophet, but the word of the Lord was ignored time and again until the Israelites were removed from the promise land.

We today who are in Christ are called to obedience.  But we are called to walk according to the Spirit.  It is the Holy Spirit who leads and guides us in all truth.  As we seek the Lord daily it is the Holy Spirit who transforms us from the inside out.  In following Jesus Christ we are called to make the Lord our priority of our lives.  He leads us one step at a time.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

Romans 13:8 NIV

We are told time and time again in God’s word to love one another.  Jesus exemplified this in the way He lived His life and the way He laid down His life for us.  He didn’t have to go to the cross, but He chose to because of His love for us.  We are created in His image and the offer of salvation goes out to all people.  Those who receive what Jesus has done and placed their faith and trust in Him will spend all eternity in God’s kingdom.

The apostle Paul had to defend the gospel throughout his ministry.  Many tried to distort the grace of God; either treating it as a license to sin or falsely teaching that the gentiles had to keep the law.  The grace of God does not divorce us from walking in obedience to the Lord.  For before we come to Christ we are slaves of this world and the desires of the sinful nature.  But when we come to Christ we have been bought at a precious price and become slaves of the Lord and His righteousness.  Our lives no longer belong to us.  They belong to the Lord.

In loving others we fulfill the law.  When you examine the law it is God’s righteous standard and it is impossible for anyone except Jesus to keep the whole law.  But through the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to walk in love.  For when we come to Christ it is the Holy Spirit who comes to live in our hearts and transforms us from the inside out.  May everything we do on this earth be done in God’s love and done to glorify His name.  For we are called to love God with our whole heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 NKJV

There is great blessing in simply trusting in the Lord.  In this life we will face trials and tribulations.  We will faces many storms on our journey with Jesus.  But through everything we face God will sustain us.  He will sustain us by His grace and power.  As we grow in Christ we learn to trust the Lord more and more in all situations.

Growing in Christ is a very uncomfortable thing.  Because what God is continually doing is He is challenging us.  He is pruning us and cutting away the aspects of our sinful selfish nature and He is replacing it with the character and nature of Christ.  He has given us His word each day to feed off of because the enemy is continually trying to bombard our minds with lies and deceptions.

God is faithful in every situation.  The dreams and desires He has placed within us, He will be faithful to complete and fulfill.  Many times the enemy will fill our hearts and minds with doubts and fears that some how God has forgotten us or somehow we have missed it.  But as we abide in Him each day and walk closely with Him we will be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river.  Hold fast my friends, God is always faithful.  He is leading and guiding us each day and preparing us for His glory.

Job 23:10-11

“But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold. For I have stayed on God’s paths; I have followed his ways and not turned aside.

Job 23:10-11 NLT

The Lord knows our every step.  As we walk this journey with Him we will be tested throughout our lives.  It is the testing we face that grows the faith that we have been given.  God’s desire is that we would grow in Him.  Our growth in Him is progressive and He is always taking us to deeper and greater places in Him.

God calls us to walk in obedience and this is only possible as we seek Him each day.  As we abide in Him, He gives us the strength to accomplish all He has called us to and has created us for.  Nothing in our lives happens by accident with the Lord, but everything has a divine purpose.  We are called to hold fast to the faith we have in Christ and not to turn to the right or to the left.

The blessing and favor of the Lord rests upon us because of our faith in Jesus Christ.  Nothing we have received from the Lord is earned by anything we have accomplished.  It is simply a gift from Him because of the grace and mercy He has for us.  Let us fix our eyes this day upon the Lord and continue to seek Him in greater ways.  The time of His return draws ever nearer.

In deed and in truth

“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”

I John 3:18 NKJV

If we are to truly love as God has called us it requires action. Many will say that they love someone or they will even claim to love God. But if our actions don’t back up our words we are simply a liar.

God’s love is eternal and unconditional. As we walk with Him we become filled with His love. This is what truly defines us as disciples of Jesus Christ.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 NKJV

The plans and purposes that God has for us are far greater than we know.  Often times when we find ourselves in a difficult season in life it can feel as if God has forgotten us or given up on us.  But He is always working in our lives to accomplish His plans and His purposes.  But the key is in seeking the Lord daily.  Because as we seek Him we shall find Him.  He will bring all things to pass by His mighty power and His grace.  One of the things we learn as we grow in Christ is to rest in the Lord and in His timing.  When we do things according to God’s timing things always run very smoothly because it is the Lord alone accomplishing His plans and purposes. May we seek Him daily and keep our eyes fixed upon Him.