A good family man might say that his aught ought is to care for his wife and kids. A conscientious businessman might say that it is to guarantee to security of his employees. A devoted political figure might list upholding the Constitution. A genuine Christian might add serving the Lord.
And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Notice several things that these verses suggest about controlling flesh flashes — whether they be anger or any of the other works of the flesh. First, these manifestations of the flesh are considered to be works or efforts as opposed to fruits or natural outgrowths of a healthy life as in the case of the spiritual manifestations. If we are really living spirit-led lives, we will find it demanding and taxing to live by these carnal impulses. But most importantly, we must notice that Paul says that it is possible to be living in the spirit yet not walking according to its direction.
As Christians, we must make an active decision to not only live but also walk in the spirit rather than to manifest such flesh flashes. In this context, the angels or messengers are often understood as the pastors over those seven churches. Although I truly believe that God has commissioned supernatural angelic messengers to guard and protect us and to intervene on our behalf when necessary, I also realize that the role of a true pastor is also to stand in the gap as a spiritual protection over his flock.
He adds that he would very gladly spend all that he has and even all that he is for the well-being of the church. II Corinthians With such men caring for our spiritual well-being, we can have a renewed confidence that we can be kept in all our ways. Several years ago, some students from our church went to a revival and came back home manifesting what they considered to be the presence of the Holy Spirit. As a born-and-bred Pentecostal, physical manifestations were not new to me; but this trembling seemed excessive, so I decided to do a little Bible study in the matter.
My research yielded pages of verses on the topic of shaking and trembling — almost everyone of which was related to the response of sinfulness when exposed to the righteous judgment of a holy God. Ezekiel says that fish of the sea, the fowls of the heaven, the beasts of the field, the creeping things upon the earth, and all the men upon the face of the earth will shake in the presence of God.
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Haggai speaks of causing all the nations and the very heavens and the earth to shake. Hebrews says that everything that can be shaken will be removed and only the things that cannot be shaken will remain in the presence of the Lord. Only in Jeremiah did I find a verse suggesting that the nations of the earth would tremble for all the goodness and prosperity of the Lord, but even this verse seemed to suggest that their trembling was because they were left out of the blessing that they saw in the lives of others. Bob had hundreds actually, it think that it was thousands of acres of corn at stake when he can to the church for prayer.
But, not being farmers, most of us were probably not too aware as to exactly how critical the conditions were. For him, it was a matter of a lot of zeros or just one big zero on his income check that year. We understood what he was saying and prayed and agreed with him for the rains to be released. And rain it did—not just a sprinkle, but a drenching rain that soaked deep into the soil and nourished the corn producing full ears with rows of lush, sweet kernels.
Although the Bible clearly teaches that the Lord causes it to rain on the just and the unjust alike, it seems that He made an exception this season to prove that He specifically takes care of those who put their dependence upon Him. Like Isaac who sowed in famine and received one-hundred fold increase while his neighbors got nothing, Bob proved the importance of constantly depending on God.
One of the most humbling experiences in my life came at a conference in Katmandu, Nepal, when I was told that some of the delegates had traveled for eight days to attend the meetings. Because they lived in very remote areas in the Himalayas, they had to walk for six days to get to the main east-west highway that spans the country. Once they arrived at the road, they had to sit by the side of the pavement overnight waiting for a bus to pass by. When they were able to catch the bus, they still faced a thirty-hour ride in the overcrowded vehicle which was hauling goats and chickens as well as human and cargo.
It was just that they were that eager to hear the word of God. Possibly, a more startling story comes out of the Congo in central Africa where a young pastor walked two hundred forty miles to copy a few pages of the Bible that he then used as his source for preaching after he walked back to his home village.
When I come across experiences like these around the world, I am shamed to think of the nonchalant attitude we often exhibit to the word that is so readily available to us. How often do we skip church just because the weather is not exactly right or we are a little tired and would rather sleep in those extra few minutes?
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How often do we neglect to study our Bibles simply because we would rather invest our time in some other activity—or, even worse, in no activity at all! However, every bit of time we invest in reading and learning the Bible is like trying to haul water in basket—even if we may not understand it all, it is still cleansing us.
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More than two hundred clergy and laypeople from almost fifty countries met to discuss discrimination because of race, religion, language, social status, or sex; the wealth of the rich nations in relationship to the poor; injustice toward women and children; AIDS; and drug abuse. The goal was to agree on a joint declaration on the role of religion.
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In that their objective was to discuss the role of religion, I suppose that there was no real harm done in such an ecumenical gathering. After all, religion was all these world leaders had in common. They had abandoned the gospel in an effort to be politically correct and all-embracing. As one observer stated it, they had become so open-minded that their brains must have fallen out.
Apparently, they had forgotten that Jesus had said that it was only through Himself that anyone could come to the Father John and that Peter, under the direction of the Holy Spirit proclaimed that there was no salvation in any name other than that of Jesus.
Acts His problem was that the only topic he could talk about was how bad everything is and how that every one of our political, economic, or social woes is a sign of the end time. Making things worse, he had no concept of personal space and would get right up into your face—bad breath and all—when he was making his points. He was a fanatic of almost the same intensity of a Jihadist suicide bomber. In fact, you could almost say that he was worst because he refused to self-destruct. We also had another wild-eyed right-wing extremist who would also be at this leadership dinner, Auntie Ruth.
But it was always a joy if we wound up being assigned to her table, even though Auntie was insistent that everything be done and said exactly her way.
Certainly we would have to add to anything that we might want to learn from Fred that it is always God who makes the future. So now that we have decided to give God a little input, we can go on to the next evaluation that God helps those who help themselves. In other words, once we have done all the hard work and proper planning, He will send the sunshine for the parade but will also send some rain for the farmer who has worked and planned just as diligently as we have. Now we have a problem—or is it God who has the problem. Two different people are creating two different futures, which incidentally happen to be mutually exclusive.
Remember that when He raised Lazarus, He had the people move the stone from the grave but He took responsibility for calling the dead man to life.
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The story is told of a man who had spent his life building houses and was ready to retire. A friend of his came to him and prevailed upon him to build just one more home before he retired. Having already made up his mind that he was finished with his contracting career, he did a rather poor job on the project. When he finished the job, he went to the friend to hand him the keys. To his utter amazement, the friend refused the keys and told him that he had had the house build as a retirement gift for the carpenter. Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
Colossians Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. Ephesians The pessimist may see the glass as half empty while the optimist views it as half full, but the man of faith will envision it as full to the brim and overflowing.
Psalms says that your cup will run over, and Luke promises blessings which are pressed down, and shaken together, and running over. Faith is the key that opens doors while works can be seen as a crowbar that you use to try to gain forcible entry. The Greek original of Galatians says that faith is activated or made effective by love. In other words, faith and love work together with love as the motivator and faith is the activator.
Remember the pits full of snakes that Indiana Jones always falls into? Well, we as Christians have the power to tread on more serpents than Indy has ever dreamed of. Our secret is that we have to keep our focus on Jesus, not snakes. In the second chapter of Galatians, Paul tells the story of a confrontation between himself and the Apostle Peter. A problem arose when Peter, who had been fellowshipping and eating with the Gentile believers at Antioch, suddenly withdrew himself when a delegation of Jewish Christians from the mother church in Jerusalem showed up. Following his lead, other Christian leaders—including Barnabas, who was instrumental in bringing the gospel to the Gentiles—separated themselves from the non-Jewish brethren.
He used the occasion as a platform to present a powerful teaching on the transformation we have received through the grace of our Lord. In verse sixteen, he explained that no one is justified by his actions and that it is only by faith in Christ that we can be brought into right standing before God. Each Sunday, there are more Christians at home than in church.
In fact, if everybody in America went to church at one time, there would only be seating for five percent of them.