I hope you know John 3:16. Truly know it. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God gave us the greatest gift imaginable- and He did it out of love for us. Loving us even while we were yet sinners. Sending Jesus down to pay the penalty and price for our sin. He could have left us condemned- but instead he gave us a Saviour. All we have to do is put our trust in Him, ask Him to forgive our sins and be our Saviour. John 3:16
Jesus went to the cross for us. He was crucified, buried, and rose again. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (vs. 36) Light and darkness. Belief and unbelief. Saved and lost. God has given us such a stark contrast between Light and darkness, the Spirit and the flesh, life and death… yet it seems like our lives are still so full of grey areas? We see such a wonderful gift that God has given us, yet choose to walk in darkness. John 3:19 tell us plainly, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
Jesus knows us so well. He explains the reason for this in verse 20. The light shows us our true selves. It reproves us of the wrongs we have done. It doesn’t feel good to be reproved. It can be embarrassing to be corrected. If we have a big dirty stain on our clothes, we definitely do not want anyone to see it! If we can’t change… we try to cover it up! But wait… who says we can’t change?
Once your faith and trust is put in the Lord Jesus Christ- the devil knows he has lost you for eternity. The next best thing he can do is try to win over the rest of your life here on earth. It truly is a battle between Light and darkness. But, Christian, we have God on our side. And God is ready to give you the victory! The best thing any one of us can do is to come closer and closer to the Light! Let God’s Word shine on our lives, clean or dirty. He knows how to get those spots out! If you have a stain of sin on your life today, I challenge you to step into the light. If the devil has been deceiving you and you think you are overcome, there is no hope, no way you can live in righteousness, don’t listen. He is a deceiver. God wants to shine His Light onto your life and make you clean! If you have trusted Christ as your Saviour- don’t be afraid to trust Him with your life!! Do you have questions about salvation? www.needgod.com
Peer pressure. It can come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes we don’t even recognize it. Have you ever felt a little out of the loop, like you were the last one on earth to know about the latest fashion, trend, movie, song, or that video that just went viral. It’s definitely awkward when you’re with a group of people and all of a sudden you’re feeling like a middle-schooler hanging out in the teen group- just totally clueless as to what is going on around you. But let me cue you in on a little secret… it’s okay to not be fully informed on everything in the world today. If you haven’t noticed, our world is getting dirtier and shifting further from God each day. It’s pretty much on the fast track to hell, and if you have taken the opportunity to get off the devil’s ride and trust Jesus as your Saviour, there is no reason to keep standing in line to see what the world still has to offer. It will only bring destruction upon the life God has for you. Romans 16:19 says “I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.” It’s easy to question “am I too naive?” We can easily convince ourselves that everyone else knows what is going on and before long the thought sinks in… Just Google It!
Way back as a teenager, before the cell phone/ internet is everywhere years, I made a personal decision not to watch things that did not line up with the way I should be living. I noticed a struggle within my mind. I knew it was wrong to watch most of the movies coming out and I wanted to abstain from evil, yet with all of the advertising, reviews, and big flashing signs there was a desire to see them, which caused a struggle to do what is right. A very simple decision made this struggle to keep my mind pure so much easier. >>Don’t read the movie signs. Don’t look at the entertainment page in the newspaper. If I pass an advertisement- just ignore it. ...So instead of inserting those worldly images into my mind and then struggling to keep my mind pure, I moved my focus to keeping out the thoughts and images in the first place. Still a short-term struggle, but I soon realized keeping my life pure was so much easier when I put some extra effort into keeping my mind pure.
Forward to 2016 where we are all just a tap away from everything… and I mean too much of everything! Instead of asking, “Should I learn about this?” we are saying, “Should I use Google or Bing?” In seconds or less we have a list of web, image, and video results to anything we type or speak into a search bar. It might be a phrase we heard but don’t know the meaning to, an acronym, or a person on the news. The truth is… some things we don’t need to know. And many things we really don’t want to know! It’s pretty easy to look up something out of curiosity only to find more than we were expecting. (I am thankful for the filters and safety nets we have online, but that’s not the point I’m referring to here.) We need to be careful about how quick we can be to search something instead of first seek God’s will in our life to live pure. We are unknowingly choosing to make the Christian walk such an uphill battle when we fill our minds with so much of this world.
We want the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, yet according to Ephesians 5:9 “the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth,” not in the “filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting” (Eph. 5:4) of this world. Goodness. Righteousness. Truth. That is what we should be seeking. That is what we should be looking for, focusing on, learning about. That is what should fill our lives. The Bible tells us “it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.” (Eph. 5:12) Christian, please, guard your mind. Set up boundaries for how you are going to live and stand strong! Plan ahead so you know how you will handle the temptation to fit in with the crowd. Be able to look at the crowd and see if the way they are going is towards the Lord, or are they standing in line going the way of this world. Read carefully through Ephesians 4 and 5 and see how God has made a change in the lives of His children. We are to “put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind;” (Eph. 4:22,23) The cleaner you keep your mind, the easier it will be to follow Christ from a pure heart, meditate upon His Word, and most importantly HEAR what the Spirit is speaking to you!
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Seeing a bowl of cereal always brings me back to memories from my childhood on those mornings before school when most children, I assumed, were eating it for breakfast. But what I recall are Mom’s words… “If you eat cereal for breakfast- you will be hungry again before lunchtime.” So, I grew up on eggs and toast, oatmeal, or pancakes. And of course, I thought the kids eating Froot Loops were pretty lucky. As always- Mom was right. Eggs and toast helped me concentrate more on my schoolwork and less on when the lunch bell would ring. My hungry little stomach was much more satisfied after a proper breakfast than it would have been after being filled with brightly colored crunchiness!
I have thought about that lesson so many times. How many things in this world do we want to fill our lives with or spend our time or money on? How many things do we look to for satisfaction… even though our Heavenly Father has warned us that the pleasures of this world will only last for a season? We go through our days desiring to be filled- to be satisfied- to feel blessed… yet we are sitting down to feast on the emptiness this world has to offer instead of the fulfillment that God promises will come from a life pleasing to Him.
Jesus tells us, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6) We have a promise from God Himself that we can be filled! Our lives can be blessed! We can have contentment, satisfaction, fulfillment! What wouldn’t anyone give for just one day filled with the peace of God on their heart? We can have a lifetime of it, and God has already given us the key in His Word: to hunger and thirst after righteousness.
Think about your desires today. What are you hungering for and thirsting after? What do you desire to fill your time? What thoughts do you allow to linger in your mind? How do you spend your days, nights, and weekends? And remember this- it is not as much about what we are doing, but rather what our desires are. Many times we are going through our lives filling the roles we are expected to fill… while our mind is wandering far from it. Maybe those around you cannot see- but surely the Lord sees the smallest and deepest desire of your heart.
What are your desires? If you need to make a change- start right now. The first step is always prayer because we truly cannot do anything right in this life without God’s help. Ask Him to show you what you are desiring now and what He wants you to desire. Ask Him to give you a hunger for righteousness. To be right with Him. To be right in your relationships. To be right with your time, your talents, your every thought! For when you begin to hunger and thirst after His righteousness- you will be filled! There is no satisfaction in this entire world that will be worth more than a life FILLED by following after the Lord. Take God at His Word and live a full life!
Living our life to please the Lord definitely brings the most fulfilling and wonderful life we could ever experience. The joys of knowing Christ and following Him are far greater than the sorrows that would trouble our soul as we wondered what could have become of our life through Christ. There is truly “no greater joy” than to see our children walk in truth. So… why do we sometimes feel like we are in this all alone?
This world is a big place- and with social media swirling all around us it is easy to see so many go astray and standards dropped by the wayside. It is easy to sometimes wonder if we are the only family left adhering to old time convictions. The world is changing- and changing fast. I remember taking multiple steps to be connected to the “world wide web” and getting my free yahoo email address. Now I have children who can swipe through a smartphone or laptop to search for a recipe, buy a new dress, find the right R.C. battery, or register online to go to camp!
Yet, Jesus Himself prayed for us. Not that God would take us out of this world, so we would be physically separated; but that while we live in this world, He would keep us from the evil. We are to be spiritually separated. In John 17:15 Jesus prays, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” Though we are told to “come out from among them and be ye separate…” God knows that we still must dwell in this world. Clearly there are thing in this world we are not to have a part of. We are here to be the salt and the light, to live for Jesus, glorify Him, and share the gospel so others may also come to know Him as Saviour.
As we draw lines in the ever shifting sand to keep our life separate from the worldliness that surrounds us we can feel like we are all alone. While we like to think our convictions are firmly set in the Rock- we would all be greatly surprised when we look at what the born again believers of past generations were convicted over. John Bunyan was convicted over spending a little time on a Sunday afternoon to play a game of ball. Many old time books speak out against visiting a carnival, fairgrounds, or circus show. Even just a generation ago it was common for born again believers to take a stand against movie theaters, television in the home, or mixed swimming.
Christian, do you have a line that you must not cross? Our lives are to be a living sacrifice. Is there a sacrifice in your life today? Are you striving to follow God and obey His commands? (Even if it seems a little strange in the world around you?) Do you realize the importance of guarding what enters into your eyes and ears? Oh yes, the things we see and hear do affect our thoughts, words, and actions. Maybe God has been speaking to you about an area of your life that you need to give up for Him. Maybe it doesn’t make sense to the world around you. Maybe it doesn’t even make sense in your Christian circle.
Elijah took a great stand for the Lord when he spoke against Ahab and Jezebel. At the end of a great victory he felt defeated. He felt alone. He felt unworthy. He really thought he was the last man standing for God. Yet God came and spoke to him, comforted him, fed and strengthened him. And what was the message of encouragement? He was not alone. He was not the only one left standing for God, serving the Lord, doing the RIGHT thing. God let him know before He was done speaking with him, “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal.”
Friend, you are not alone. Just as we do not know the sin that may be hiding in someone’s life- we also do not know the sacrifices. God has many children -following Him -loving Him -serving Him. Any yet there is so much more to do! We are to be LIGHT! Our life is to be shining for Jesus like a city on a hill pointing heavenward glorifying our Saviour! I was so blessed this week to get a phone call from a dear woman in her sixties and she was just waiting to see what the Lord has next for her. She wants to keep serving Him. There are mothers in homes right now teaching and training their children in the way God would have them to go. There are women in the work force abstaining from the worldliness and fleshly lusts of their coworkers. There are young girls keeping themselves pure as they serve God from their homes and families until it is their turn to embark out on their own journey.
You are not alone. We are not alone. We each have a place to fill. The only true pleasure we will find in this world is in a life wholly given to the Lord, holy, acceptable to Him. Do not waste it away in worldliness. Do not listen to the devil’s lies. Pray to God as you draw your mark in the sand for Him and determine to glorify Him in each area of your heart and life.