If I had my life to do over…

James 4:14 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life?

It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanished away.”

If I had my Life to do over!
by Erma Bombeck

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was
stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the “GOOD” living room and worried
much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the
fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his
youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day
because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it
melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about
grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more
while watching life.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth
would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical,
wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished
every moment realizing that the wonderment growing inside me was the
only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later.
Now go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more “I love you” … more “I’m sorry”… but
mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute… look
at it and really see it… live it… and never give it back.

I would tell all my friends that I need and love them and that my life would
be empty without them!

So where does sin that causes death come from?

Gen 2:15,16 “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, you may freely
eat of every tree of the garden; But of the tree of good and evil and
blessing and calamity you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of
it you shall surely die.”

We all partake…
Rom 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

And as with all actions there is a result..                                                                                   Rom 6:23a “For the wages of sin is death…”

The good news with the rest of the verse…
Rom 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal
life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Rom 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be
saved.”

Giving and Receiving…

I Peter 5:5 “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.”

Giving and Receiving…

By Dan Clark

A friend of mine named Paul received an automobile from his brother as a Christmas present. On Christmas Eve when Paul came out of his office, a street urchin was walking around the shiny new car, admiring it. “Is this your car, Mister?” he asked.

Paul nodded. “My brother gave it to me for Christmas.” The boy was astounded. “You mean your brother gave it to you and it didn’t cost you nothing? Boy, I wish . . .” He hesitated.

Of course, Paul knew what he was going to wish for. He was going to wish he had a brother like that. But what the lad said jarred Paul all the way down to his heels.

“I wish,” the boy went on, “that I could be a brother like that.”

Paul looked at the boy in astonishment, then impulsively he added, “Would you like to take a ride in my automobile?”

“Oh yes, I’d love that.”

After a short ride, the boy turned and with his eyes aglow, said, “Mister, would you mind driving in front of my house?”

Paul smiled a little. He thought he knew what the lad wanted. He wanted to show his neighbors that he could ride home in a big automobile. But Paul was wrong again. “Will you stop where those two steps are?” the boy asked.

He ran up the steps. Then in a little while Paul heard him coming back, but he was not coming fast. He was carrying his little crippled brother. He sat him down on the bottom step, then sort of squeezed up against him and pointed to the car.

“There she is, Buddy, just like I told you upstairs. His brother gave it to him for Christmas and it didn’t cost him a cent. And some day I’m gonna give you one just like it . . . then you can see for yourself all the pretty things in the Christmas windows that I’ve been trying to tell you about.”

Paul got out and lifted the lad to the front seat of his car. The shining-eyed older brother climbed in beside him and the three of them began a memorable holiday ride.

That Christmas Eve, Paul learned what Jesus meant when he said: “It is more blessed to give . . .”

Acts 20:35 “I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Truth and Faith to Live by…

John 8:32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Truth and Faith to Live by…

A boy was sitting on a park bench, with one hand resting on an
open Bible. He was loudly exclaiming his praise to God. “Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! God is great!” he yelled, without worrying whether anyone
heard him or not.

Shortly after, along came a man who had recently completed some
studies at a local university. Feeling himself very enlightened in the
ways of truth and very eager to show this enlightenment, he asked the
boy about the source of his joy.

“Hey,” asked the boy, in return, with a bright laugh, “don’t you
have any idea what God is able to do? I just read that God opened up
the waves of the Red Sea and led the whole nation of Israel right
through the middle.”

The enlightened man laughed lightly, sat down next to the boy,
and began to try to open his eyes to the “realities” of the miracles of
the Bible.

“That can all be very easily explained. Modern science has
shown that the Red Sea, in that area, was only 10-inches deep at that
time. It was no problem for the Israelites to wade across.”

The boy looked surprised. His eyes wandered from the man back
to the Bible, laying open in his lap. The man, content that he had
enlightened a poor, naive, young person to the finer points of
scientific insight, turned to go.

Scarcely had he taken two steps when the boy began to rejoice
and praise louder than before, “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! God is SO
great!” The man turned to ask the reason for this resumed jubilation.

“Wow!” exclaimed the boy happily, “God is greater than I
thought! Not only did He lead the whole nation of Israel through the

Red Sea, He topped it off by drowning the whole Egyptian army in only 10-inches of water!”

Hebrews 10:38 “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man  draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

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

II Tim 3:16,17 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished
unto all good works.”

Government and my vote…

Government and my vote!

A good reminder!   Pray for all men.  Especially in another election year.

I Tim 2:1,2 “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”

Submit & Pray for those in Government. Regardless of whether you voted for them or not.  It may be even more important when they have values that do not line up with what we know to be God’s values!

Romans 13:1 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”

When is the last time you prayed for those in authority whether you agree with them or not? If we don’t agree with all of their policies it is not an easy thing to do but it sure changes your focus and attitude towards them. Maybe that nasty politician is a sinner like me and needs the same salvation that God’s grace gave to me!

Try praying for them and see if your heart is not changed  ………not your values but your heart attitude! And remember God is in sovereign. So those in office cannot do anything that God does not either direct or allow.

The end result will be the 2nd coming of Jesus!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I Thes 4:16-18 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

The Blood of Jesus…The Only Solution to…

Psalm 55:23 “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain you.
He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

The Blood Of Jesus…The Only Solution to…

One night in a church service a young woman felt the tug of God
at her heart. She responded to God’s call and accepted Jesus as her Lord
and Savior. The young woman had a very rough past, involving alcohol,
drugs, and prostitution. But, the change in her was evident. As time went
on she became a faithful member of the church. She eventually became
involved in the ministry, teaching young children. It was not very long
until this faithful young woman had caught the eye and heart of the
pastor’s son. The relationship grew and they began to make wedding
plans. This is when the problems began. You see, about one half of the
church did not think that a woman with a past such as hers was suitable
for a pastor’s son.

The church began to argue and fight about the matter. So, they
decided to have a meeting. As the people made their arguments and
tensions increased, the meeting was getting completely out of hand. The
young woman became very upset about all the things being brought up
about her past.

As she began to cry the pastor’s son stood to speak. He could
not bear the pain it was causing his wife-to-be. He began to speak and
his statement was this: “My fiancée’s past is not what is on trial here.
What you are questioning is the ability of the blood of Jesus to wash
away sin. Today you have put the blood of Jesus on trial. So, does it
wash away sin or not?” The whole church began to weep as they realized
that they had been slandering the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Too often, even as Christians, we bring up the past and use it
as a weapon against our brothers and sisters. Forgiveness is a very
foundational part of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. If the blood
of Jesus does not cleanse the other person completely then it cannot
cleanse us completely. If that is the case, then we are all in a lot of
trouble. What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! End
of case!!!

Hebrews 9:22 “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood;
and without shedding of blood is no remission.”

Heaven’s surprise…Guess who…

Rev 20:15 “Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Heaven’s Surprise…Guess who…

I was shocked, bewildered and confused when I entered heaven’s door

Not by the beauty, nor the Lights, nor the décor

It was the people in Heaven that made me sputter and gasp.

The sinners, the cheaters, the liars and the trash.

There stood the kid from 2nd grade

That stole my lunch money twice.

Next to him was my neighbor who never said anything nice.

Herb who I thought would be rotting in hell was sitting on cloud 9 doing quite well.

I asked Jesus, “What’s the deal, I’d love to hear your take”

How’d all these sinners get up here must have been a mistake!

And why is everyone so quiet, so somber, please give me a clue. Jesus said,

“It’s because they’re all in shock, they never thought they’d be seeing you!

The poem offers some humor and much truth. The truth is that we are all sinners, yes even believers. Fortunately for the believers our sins have been covered by Jesus blood so we are not accountable for them. TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

If you feel this morning that you are so much better than those around you then you are headed for trouble.

Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

If you Love Me, feed My sheep…

John 21:17 “The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?”

He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “feed my sheep.”

If you Love Me, Feed My sheep

One day, I woke early in the morning to watch the sunrise.
Ah the beauty of God’s creation is beyond description.
As I watched, I praised God for His beautiful work.
As I sat there, I felt the Lord’s presence with me.

He asked me,
“Do you love me?”
I answered,
“Of course, God. You are my Lord and Savior.”
*******************************************

Then He asked,

“If you were physically handicapped, would you still
love me?”I was perplexed. I looked down upon my arms, legs and the rest
of my body and wondered how many things I wouldn’t; be able to do, the
things that I took for granted.

And I answered, “It would be tough Lord, but I would still love You.”
********************************************

Then the Lord said,
“If you were blind, would you still love my creation?”
How could I love something without being able to see it?
Then I thought of all the blind people in the world and how many of them
still loved God and His creation.

So I answered, “It’s hard to think of it, but I would still love you.”
*******************************************

The Lord then asked me,

“If you were deaf, would you still listen to my word?”
How could I listen to anything being deaf? Then I understood.
Listening to God’s Word is not merely using our ears, but our hearts.

I answered, “It would be tough, but I would still listen to Your word.”

*******************************************

The Lord then asked, “If you were mute, would you still praise My Name?”
How could I praise without a voice?
It never matters what we sound like. And praising God is not always with a song,

But when we are persecuted, we give God praise with our words of thanks.
So I answered, “Though I could not physically sing, I would still
praise Your name.

*******************************************

And the Lord asked,
“Do you really love Me?”

With courage and strong conviction, I answered boldly, “Yes Lord, I love
You because You are the one and true God.”I thought I had answered well,

And the Lord asked?

“THEN WHY IN TIMES OF PEACE DO YOU STRAY THE FURTHEST?
WHY ONLY IN TIMES OF TROUBLE DO YOU PRAY THE EARNEST?”

No answers. Only tears.

The Lord continued: “Why only sing at fellowships and retreats? Why seek Me only

in times of worship? Why ask things so selfishly? Why ask things so unfaithfully?”

The tears continued to roll down my cheeks.

“Why are you ashamed of Me? Why are you not spreading the good news? Why
in times of persecution, you cry to others when I offer My shoulder to cry on?

Why make excuses when I give you opportunities to serve in My Name?” I
tried to answer, but there was no answer to give.

“You are blessed with life. I made you not to throw this gift away.
I have blessed you with talents to serve Me, but you continue to turn
away. I have revealed My Word to you, but you do not gain in knowledge.
I have spoken to you but your ears were closed. I have shown My blessings
to you but your eyes were turned away. I have sent you servants, but you
sat idly by as they were pushed away. I have heard your prayers and I
have answered them all.”

“DO YOU TRULY LOVE ME?”

I could not answer. How could I? I was embarrassed beyond belief. I had
no excuse. What could I say to this? My heart had cried out and the
tears had flowed, I said; Please forgive me Lord. I am unworthy to be Your child.”

The Lord answered; “That is My Grace, My child.”

I asked; “Then why do you continue to forgive me? Why do You love me so?”

The Lord answered;
” Because you are My creation. You are my child.
I will never abandon you.
When you cry, I will have compassion and cry with you.
When you shout with joy, I will laugh with you.
When you are down, I will encourage you.
When you fall, I will raise you up.
When you are tired, I will carry you.
I will be with you till the end of days, and I will
love you forever.”

Never had I cried so hard before. How could I have been so cold? How
could I have hurt God as I had done?

I asked God,

“How much do You love me?”

The Lord stretched out His arms, and I saw His nail-pierced hands.
I bowed down at the feet of Christ, my Savior.

And for the first time, I truly prayed.

Author Unknown.

Ephesians 2:8, 9 “For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone would boast.”

Our Father in Heaven…

Mat 6:7 “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

The Lord’s prayer was intended to give us an example of the type

of prayer that is pleasing to God and to show us that we have the

awesome privilege of communicating with God.  It was not intended

to be a prayer that repeat over and over to talk to God. It was designed by

a loving God to give us an example of His love for us as His sheep. Listen to some

thoughts on how to make it meaningful to God and you.

Phil 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and
supplication, let your requests be made known to God.”

Lord’s Prayer

“Our Father which art in heaven …”

“Yes?”

“Please.  I’m praying.”

“You called me.”

“Called you?  I didn’t call.  I’m praying.
Our Father which art in heaven …”

“There … you did it again.”

“Did what?”

“Called me.  You said, Our Father which art
in heaven.  Here I am. I want to be your Father, if you will allow Me.
What’s on your mind?”

“But I didn’t mean anything by it.  I was, you know, just saying my
prayers for the day. I always say the Lord’s Prayer.  It makes me feel

good, doing my duty.”

“All right.   Go on.”

“Hallowed be thy name …”

“Hold it!   What do you mean by that?”

“By what?”

“By ‘hallowed be thy name’?”

“It means … it means … good grief!  I don’t know what it means. How
should I know? It’s just a part of the prayer.  By the way, what does it mean?”

“It means honored … holy … wonderful.”

“Hey, that makes sense.  I never thought about what ‘hallowed’ meant
before. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

“Do you really mean that?”

“Sure, why not?”

“What are you doing about it?”

“Doing?  Nothing, I guess!   I just think it would be kind of
neat if you got control of everything down here like you have up there.”

“Have I got control of you?”

“Well … I go to church.”

“That isn’t what I asked you.  What about your bad temper?
You’ve really got a problem there, you know.  And then there’s the way
you spend your money …all on yourself.  And what about the kind of

books you read? And most important, do you really know Me?”

“Stop picking on me!  I’m just as good as some of the rest of those
people at the church.”

I thought you were praying for my will to be done.  If that is to
happen, it will have to start with the ones who are praying for it … like you,

for example.”

“Oh, all right.  I guess I do have some hang-ups.  Now that you mention
it, I could probably name some others.”

“Yes, my child.”

“I haven’t thought about it very much until now, but I really would like
to cut out some of those things.
I would like to …
you know … be really free.”

“Good … now we’re getting somewhere!  We’ll work together,
you and I. Some victories can truly be won.   I’m proud of you.”

“Lord, I need to finish up here.  This is taking a lot longer than it
usually does.  Give us this day, our daily bread.”

“You need to cut out the bread.  You’re overweight as it is.”

“Hey, wait a minute! Here I was doing my religious duty, and all of a
sudden you break in and remind me of all my hang-ups.”

“Praying is a dangerous thing.  You could wind up changed, you know.
That’s what I’m trying to get across to you.  You called me, and here I am.

It’s too late to stop now.  Keep praying.  I’m interested in the next part of

your prayer…(pause).
Well … go on!”

“I’m scared to.”

“Scared?  Of what?”

“I know what You’ll say.”

“Try me and see.”

“Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”

“What about Ann?”

“See?  I knew it!  I knew you would bring her up!  Why Lord, she’s told
lies about me, spread stories about my family.  She never paid back the

debt she owes me. I’ve sworn to get even with her!”

“What about your prayer?”

“I guess I didn’t mean it.”

“Well, at least you’re honest.  But it’s not much fun carrying that load
of bitterness around inside, is it?

“No, but I’ll feel better as soon as I get even.  Boy, have I got some
plans for that neighbor.  She’ll wish she had never moved into this neighborhood.”

“You won’t feel any better.  You’ll feel worse.  Revenge isn’t sweet.
Think of how unhappy you already are.  But I can change all that.”

“You can?  How?”

“Forgive Ann.   Then I’ll forgive you.  Then the hate and sin will be
Ann’s problem and not yours.  You will have settled your heart.
Some hurt and memory may remain, but you can forgive.”

“Oh, you’re right.  You always are.  And more than I want to revenge
Ann, I want to be right with you.  (pause) … (sigh). Alright!
Alright!  I forgive her!  Help her to find the right road in life, Lord. She’s
bound to be awfully miserable now that I think about it.  Anybody who
goes around doing the things she does to others has to be out of it.

Someway, somehow, show her the right way.”

“There now!   Wonderful!  How do you feel?”

“Hmmmm … well, not bad.    Not bad at all.  In fact, I feel pretty
great! You know, I don’t think I’ll have to go to bed uptight tonight
for the first time since I can remember. Maybe I won’t be so tired from

now on because I’m not getting enough rest.”

“You’re not through with your prayer.  Go on.”

“All right.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

“Good!  Good!   I’ll do that.  Just don’t put yourself in a place
where you can be tempted. Run from the temptations.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Don’t turn on the TV when you know the laundry needs to be
done and the house needs to be picked up.   Also, about the
time you spend having coffee with your friends … if you can’t
influence the conversation to positive things, perhaps you should

re-think the value of those friendships.  Another thing, your

neighbors and friends shouldn’t be your standard for keeping up
with. You must really want to flee, no bargaining.”

“I don’t understand the last part.”

“Sure you do.   You’ve done it a lot of times.  You get caught in a
bad situation.  You get into trouble and then you come running to me.
“Lord, help me out of this mess, and I promise you’ll never do it again.”

You remember some of those bargains you tried to make with me?”

“Yes and I’m ashamed, Lord.   I really am.”

“Which bargain are you remembering?”

“Well, there was the night that Bill was gone and the children and I
were home alone. The wind was blowing so hard I thought the roof

would go any minute and tornado warnings were out.  I remember

praying, ‘Oh God, if you spare us, I’ll never skip my devotions again.”

“I protected you, but you didn’t keep your promise, did you?”

“I’m sorry, Lord.  I really am.  Up until now I thought that if I just
prayed the Lord’s Prayer every day, then I could do what I liked.
I didn’t expect anything to happen like it did.”

“Go ahead and finish your prayer.”

“For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.”

“Do you know what would bring me glory?  What would really make me
happy?”

“No, but I’d like to know. I now want to please you. I can see what a
mess I’ve made of my life.   And I can see how great it would be to
really be one of your followers.”

“You just answered the question.”

“I did?”

“Yes.  The thing that would bring me glory is to have people like you
truly love me.  And I see that happening between us.  Now that some

of these old sins are exposed and out of the way, well, there is no telling

what we can do together.”

“Lord, let’s see what you can make of me, okay?”

“Yes, let’s see.”

Mat 6:1-13 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Are you Spiritually Dead or Alive…

Rev 3:1 ““And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.”

“Are you Spiritually Dead!”

In the book of Revelation or Apocalypse our Lord first tells us about 7 Churches in the first 3 chapters.  God is talking about those professing to be Christians. Remember as you read this that in the Bible the Church refers to the people and not a specific denomination.

I would like us to focus on one of those churches today. That is the church of Sardis mentioned in Chapter 3:1-6. The first 4 Churches mentioned had some level of commendation from God and had rebuke and challenge for what they needed to change to please God. Sardis is the only church with no commendation. They appeared to be religious to the world around them but God told them they were spiritually dead. So, what does it mean to be spiritually dead?  First you must be ‘born again’ to be spiritually alive and to be a member of Jesus Church. If you are depending on the Church you belong to you may be in trouble because no denomination is ever mentioned in scripture as being the only one and true church. So hopefully in your past at some time you have recognized you are a sinner in need of a Saviour and you have asked Jesus to save you from the eternal penalty for those sins. So, how can we know if we are spiritually dead or alive?

Let’s look at 8 questions or ways to evaluate our lives to make sure we are not spiritually dead.

  1. Do I have a lack of willingness to receive correction?
    1. Proverbs 3:11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction
    2. Where to find correction. II Tim 3:16,17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work”
  2. You boast, ‘I only listen to God and not to men!’
    1. II Pet 5:5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
    2. We are to obey the spiritual leaders of our churches and those in government who provide direction that does not contradict scripture.
      1. Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
      2. Heb 13:17 “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”
    3. Are you inclined to watch others and point out their mistakes?
      1. Fault finding is not a fruit of the Spirit but a demon spirit. It is the same spirit that satan had.
        1. Isa 14:12-14 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’
      2. The following are examples of ‘born again’ believers who made the mistake of focusing on others vs. their ministry for Jesus but to their credit corrected the problem.
        1. John 21:21, 22 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
        2. Luke 10:40-42 “But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
      3. Do you feel you are appointed to fix other people?
        1. You are not God’s Sherriff.
        2. Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you shall not be Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
      4. Do you feel you are closer to God than other people? Pharisees feel that way and their lives reflect it.
        1. Luke 18:10-14 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men–extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
        2. Satan had the same issue. Isa 14:14 “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’
      5. Do you demand recognition for what you do for the Kingdom of God?
        1. See question #5 verses about the Pharisees. They demanded the same.
        2. Knowledge of who God is does not alone set us on the right spiritual coarse. Romans 1:21 “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
        3. Our purpose in life should be to; I Cor 6:20 “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
      6. Is your prayer life mechanical or do you really feel that you are communicating with and listening to God?
        1. God wants our heart relationship with Him and it is not based on the quantity of our prayers. Mat 6:7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
      7. Do I have a critical spirit when I see the workings of the Holy Spirit? If you are not sure be careful not to condemn another brother or sister. It may be the Holy Spirit at work!
        1. Nicodemus was a Pharisee who sought out Jesus. He did not condemn the work of Jesus and Holy Spirit because it did not line up with his spiritual thinking and religious teachings. Read John chapter 3.
        2. No Holy Spirit in our lives equals…. Romans 8:9 “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”

So, how did your life stack up? Honesty is vital if we are to change. And if we are honest there is not a one of us who does not need to improve on one of those points.

If you are a ‘born again’ believer and some of these questions challenged you there remains hope from our Lord.

Rev 3:11-13 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ‘

An autopsy of the Sardis church suggests they were not killed by outside sources. They chose the way they went as do we. Outside sources or our worlds values are opposite God’s values for the most part but it is our choice as to which one we will follow and so was it for Sardis.

Joshua 24:14,15 “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 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.”

God’s directive and our choice!

Heb 12:2 “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jump into the Water…You must be ‘Born Again’

John 3”3 “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Jump into the water…You must be ‘Born Again’

A young man who had been raised as an atheist was training to be
an Olympic diver. The only religious influence in his life came from
his outspoken Christian friend. The young diver never really paid much
attention to his friend’s sermons, but he heard them often.

One night the diver went to the indoor pool at the college he
attended. The lights were all off, but as the pool had big skylights and
the moon was bright, there was plenty of light to practice by.

The young man climbed up to the highest diving board and as he
turned his back to the pool on the edge of the board and extended his
arms out, he saw his shadow on the wall. The shadow of his body, was in
the shape of a cross. Instead of diving, he knelt down and finally
asked God to save him from his sins and come into his life.

As the young man stood, a maintenance man walked in and turned
the lights on. The pool had been drained for repairs.

How faithful are you in telling your friends about the most
important Person in your life? Remember your witness will take place
through His strength and not yours. But it must start on our end with a
submissive heart.

Mat 4:19 “And He said to them, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

 Phil. 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

 John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”