My Conduct In Life

Distractions abound! Alarms go off, phones ring, social media and email notifications pop and ding, music plays in the background, doorbells ring; there’s knocking on the door, yelling next door, dogs barking ……

What distracted you today before you had a chance to sit down with your LORD and spend a few minutes with Him, and before jumping into the day? I can’t speak for anyone else, but days I skip my sit down with Jesus aren’t nearly as good as the ones where I do. There tend to be more anxiety and irritations to deal with …… or it might just be that the anxiety and frustration feel worse because I missed my morning Peace. Not having that peace can make it difficult to conduct ourselves in a manner that our LORD can be proud of.

“Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents – which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.” – Philippians 1:27‭-‬28 NASB

Conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a Bible scholar to figure out how to do it. Jesus makes it simple for even baby Christians to know how to act.

“For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the Truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
John 3:20‭-‬21 NASB

All we need to do is practice the Truth. Turn away from evil, love God, and treat everyone (yes, everyone) like you want to be treated. Simple. Not always easy. Take a minute (or more) next time you get up. Talk to God. Tell Him how much you appreciate waking up. Thank Him for His Son, and the endless opportunities of a new day. I promise you, your day will be better. Love you all. Thanks for reading. May the Blessings of our Glorious LORD and Saviour pour down upon you and your families.

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Can You Pay The Taxes Due?

(24) “When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax [the Temple tax; collected each year from every male over the age of 20**] came to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?” (25) He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?” (26) When Peter said, “From strangers,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are exempt.” – Matthew 17:24‭-‬26 NASB

** “When you take a census of the sons of Israel to number them, then each one of them shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD, when you number them, so that there will be no plague among them when you number them.” – Exodus 30:12 NASB **

These verses tell us some incredible truths.

Jesus knows everything; He is Omniscient. He is the silent listener to every conversation. He spoke, before Peter had a chance to tell Him of the encounter. He already knew about it! He not only knows all, but He is in control of all, and He cares down to the tiniest details. In verse 25, He asks Peter for his opinion, just as He is always listening to ours.

Jesus is the Son of God, Ruler, King, and Head of the Church. He owns everything. Malachi 3:1b says “And the Lord, Whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the Messenger of the Covenant, in Whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts.” – Malachi 3:1 NASB

He already owns the Temple, so why should He pay this tax? He was exempt! Instead of arguing with the tax collectors, Jesus shows us His humility. He paid the tax to avoid offending the tax collectors. It is a wonderful example that He gives us, to forego His rights for the sake of others. The Jews paid ransom money (the Temple tax) as a substitute to going to Jerusalem and working in the Temple, and they paid the priests through their offerings to be sacrificed as the ransom for their sins. We’re exempt! Jesus pays the ransom for Peter here, just as He pays the ransom for us. We owe a ransom to God for our sin, but we are spiritually destitute. We can’t pay the taxes due – so Jesus paid it for us. JESUS pays all; He ransoms all, so we no longer need to!

“For there is ONE God, and ONE Mediator also between GOD and men, the man CHRIST JESUS, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.” – 1 Timothy 2:5‭-‬6 NASB

That’s the BEST News ever!

Love One Another

Trust and obey the Commandments of the LORD.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34‭-‬35 NASB

Martin Luther King Junior said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” (From Strength to Love Martin Luther King)

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” – 1 John 4:7‭-‬8 NASB

Love one another. Not a suggestion; a command. Our world needs a “come to Jesus” meeting about that.

Love one another. Sure, as long as they look like me and dress like and act like me. Love one another. Sure, just don’t tell me about your Jesus. Love one another. Sure, just don’t try to put your beliefs on me.

Love one another might be the most difficult commandment to obey. It involves trusting that God knows what He is doing, and obeying Him. Examine your heart. Do your actions reflect your obedience to this command?

Forgive Me

C.S.Lewis said, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

Nelson Mandela said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

To quote Corrie ten Boom, “Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:32 NASB

And the best of all, the most important of all, is what JESUS, Son of the Living God, told us: “….. and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” – Matthew 6:12 NLT

Listen to the song Forgiveness as sung by Matthew West.

Motives

“You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” – James 4:3 NASB

Ouch. That one feels a bit like James is moving past advising us and is starting to meddle…..

I found this post from 7 September 2017 on http://www.EverydaySalt.com by Antoniell Saravio.

The first time I heard about the Law of Attraction I felt a rush of anxiety. What if even if I stopped now, I could not stop all that I had already attracted? Had I doomed myself for years to come?

Luckily, getting to know God has soothed over this fear of mine. It’s true the deception creeps into our prayers, but not to worry–God has a handle on things! The Lord is good about ignoring our wrongly placed motives. He knows what you need, even when you don’t.

What we can do is continue to work our relationship with God to better understand our heart’s desires rather than our ego’s need to be satisfied. We must stop believing so blindly in our ego and its demands. It knows not how to be happy or peaceful, it seeks to “win” an “unwinnable game.”

The prayers in our hearts will be rooted in unconditional love, spiritual growth, and complete faith that God is with us at all times. The more we open up to God, the more our prayers will change to reflect these gifts.

I wonder – are we trying to manipulate God in order to bend Him to what we want? Or are we engaging with Him, waiting on Him, and allowing Him to orchestrate what happens in our lives? I fear that my prayers run more towards the manipulating kind. As I lift my voice in prayer, may I look to my motives for all of my requests and wait on the LORD to answer.

My Hope

I’m ready for a change in my life. I shouldn’t complain about it, because overall, I’ve had a pretty amazing life. I’ve met so many people who haven’t been more than a couple hundred miles from their hometowns, and I’ve traveled to Europe. I’ve tried cuisines from many different nations, and enjoyed it. I’ve been hungry and I’ve been homeless; I’ve eaten in 5-star resturants and stayed in fancy hotels. I have been physically and mentally abused, and I have been cherished. I have seen the ugliness and oppression in a communist country, and I have recognized the glorious privilege to be an American citizen. It’s a very diversified life, and although I would have preferred to skip the underbelly parts, I wouldn’t be who I am without those experiences.

Still, I am ready for a change. The question is, what am I willing to do to change? I have to be open to accept whatever it is that God has in mind for me, and that can be hard. Stepping out on faith. Believing – knowing – that even though the path in front of me is obscure, He will guide me over or around any obstacles. My Hope, my Faith, rest in Him.

My Hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ Name
On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

(Words by Edward Mote (1834). Music by William B. Bradbury (1863). Public Domain)

“But if it is by Grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise Grace is no longer Grace.” – Romans 11:6 NASB

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6 NASB

Victory

Oh Victory in Jesus, my Saviour, FOREVER….

Such a great hymn! Do you happen to know it? With so many churches going to Praise and Worship music, a lot of the older hymns are falling by the wayside, and people don’t get to hear the beautiful stories they tell. Don’t get me wrong! I love singing and praising the Lord, whatever the music. This one, Victory in Jesus, makes me want to jump up and raise my hands – think about it. We are Victorious!

” ‘No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me,’ declares the LORD.” – Isaiah 54:17 NASB

No weapon. Isn’t that the perfect verse? And this:

“….. but thanks be to GOD, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 15:57 NASB

No matter what happens, my God has my back. When I’m in the midst of a crisis, even – especially even – when it’s one I have created, I don’t always remember this. I’m not in control of my life, regardless of how hard I try to be! We are all at the Mercy of the Living LORD. The enemy is constantly looking for ways to trip us up, and he will definitely use our own words and actions against us. He and his minions want us to fall and to fail, and to forget what we have to look forward to in our Eternity with Christ. If he can keep us looking behind us, focusing on our pasts, then we can’t be looking forward…… and when we aren’t looking forward, we trip. I don’t mean not to remember our pasts. It’s important to remember, so that we don’t go down those paths again. Just don’t dwell on it. (If you are OCD like me, you know that I am fully aware of just how difficult that can be!)

HOWEVER……

Look at these words the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus:

“Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory. For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:153-‬21 NASB

Our LORD, our Jesus, is not constrained by the bounds of sinful humanity. He can do anything, and He can do it in ways that are beyond our comprehension; beyond anything we can conjour up in our imaginations. Don’t be afraid to have honest conversations with Him. Ask Him for the desire of your heart. Be specific. Above all else, remember this:

” ‘No weapon that is formed against you will prosper’ ….. declares the LORD.” – Isaiah 54:17

Can I get an Amen???

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