May 31, 2019

BIBLE READING: ROMANS 12

17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

It is not always the easiest thing to live peaceably with all men. I’m sure that is why Paul says “if it be possible“. Paul does give us some quick principles about how to live peaceably, and I would like for us to simply look at them today.

1. Don’t respond to evil with evil.
It is always a temptation to respond to someone who has done you wrong, by doing the same thing to them. But we are Christians, and we should be different. We are told here when somebody does wrong to you, do not respond by doing wrong to them. This is just part of trying to live peaceably with all men.

2. Be honest.
If anything ruins peace in relationships, it is being dishonest. Just being honest with people will eliminate most conflicts. Don’t fool yourself. Do not think that you can be misleading and dishonest about things and still somehow keep peace in a relationship.

3. Give your best effort.
“As much as lieth in you”. Oftentimes we make the effort, but when keeping peace is not easy, we give up. Paul says here that we need to give it everything we have, because sometimes that is what it is going to take to keep peace with the person.

4. DO NOT SEEK REVENGE
“Avenge not yourselves”. I could come up with some shrewd things to say about that, but you get the point.

5. LEARN TO CALM DOWN
“Give place unto wrath”. If you’re not careful, frustration can turn to agitation, agitation can turn to anger, anger can turn to wrath, and wrath can cause unfixable damage. So, you need to start the process before you get overly frustrated. You must learn to calm down before the frustration gets the best of you.

6. Let God handle it.
“Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord”. In order to keep peace with others, we must learn to let God handle those conflicts. We ruin peace in our lives when we try to fix things. When we try to take over, we make it worse. Don’t try to fix the person, don’t try to get even with the person, and don’t try to preach to the person. Just let God handle it.

May 30, 2019

BIBLE READING: ROMANS 11

5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

“IF BY GRACE, THEN IT IS NO MORE OF WORKS”
That is the foundation of the Christian life. I know a lot of Christians that are big on works. If they can only do more, sacrifice more, or accomplish more, then God will be pleased. If that were true, then our Gospel would be “by works”. If that were true, then we would not need Grace because we would have accomplished so much by works, that we would deserve heaven. We would have sacrificed so much that we would deserve the favor of God, but of course we know that is not true. “If it be of works, then is it no more grace“, Paul says.

Those of us that are saved, we are the remnant that God has left here on earth to be witness of the gospel. And we are only here because of the grace of God. We are saved by grace, and we get to serve by the grace of God.

So in conclusion, please understand this: “if by grace…no more of works”. Please understand today but that there are no works you could do that can ever make God love you more. There are no works that you could do to cause God to accept you more than He already does. If there were, then it would not be a race. God loves us even though we do not deserve it. God accepts us even though we have not earned it. And that is Grace! If works were involved at all, then God’s Grace would not exist. Because it is not by works, then our only hope is the grace of God. Thank God we have hope.

May 29, 2019

BIBLE READING: ROMANS 10

1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

“THEY HAVE A ZEAL….BUT NOT ACCORDING TO KNOWLEDGE”
It is normally good to have “zeal”, but if you are going to, make sure you are right. Adolph Hitler had zeal, as did Joseph Stalin, but even though they did, they were horribly wrong. Paul is making the point that an individual needs to get knowledge from the Word of God, and then have zeal to follow it.

Israel had begun to “establish their own righteousness”. They began to determine what was right and wrong, and what was Godly or ungodly. They did not need to determine that. God’s Word has already determined that. They had taken matters into their own hands and became zealous about their rules, their opinions, and their laws. Paul explains in this passage what the proper steps should be in the subject of what real “righteous” living is.

1. KNOW THAT YOU ARE SAVED
Paul says that his prayer and desire for Israel was that they would be saved. All the knowledge in the world will do nothing if you do not have a personal relationship with the Lord.

2. ACQUIRE A KNOWLEDGE OF GOD’S WORD
Get into God’s Word and study it. Don’t blindly follow what some man says about God’s word. Get into God’s Word and find out for yourself. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God”. You cannot have the proper zeal for God, until you get the knowledge from God. You get that knowledge from His Word.

3. SUBMIT YOURSELF TO GOD’S WORD
So, once you get into God’s word and study it, then it is time to submit to it. Israel had begun to try and establish their own righteousness because they refused to submit to God‘s righteousness. They were trying to make their own rules. They were trying to change God’s Word to fit what they wanted. That is happening a lot nowadays. Everyone seems to be re-writing the Bible. Why don’t we just start obeying it, instead of trying to re-write it every other day.

4. SERVE GOD WITH ZEAL
We need to receive the truth, learn the truth, submit to the truth, and then spread the truth with zeal. That, my friend, is righteous living.

May 28, 2019

BIBLE READING: ROMANS 9

20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

This is an extremely good question that is asked in verse 20. “Who art thou that repliest against God?” Let me put it this way, ‘Who do you think you are fighting against God’? The thing that is created does not have authority over the one that created it. The creator always has authority over the creation, no exceptions. The clay does not have control over the potter. Obviously, the potter is the one that has control over the clay. So, what makes us think that we should tell God what to do?

God is omnipotent, which means He has all power. He is the potter and we are just the vessel. God does not owe mercy to us, but He shows mercy on us, as His vessels, so that He can be glorified according to verse twenty-three. Who do we think we are trying to fight against what God is trying to do? He is the potter and we are just the clay. He is the creator and we are just the created. He is the craftsman; we are just a vessel. We do not deserve mercy, but God gives us mercy, so why would we fight against that? When God has finished making his vessel, His intention is for the vessel to glorify Him. Our only purpose as vessels, is to bring glory to God.

I encourage you today, do not fight against God. Do not struggle against what God is trying to do. He is making you and me into something that will bring glory to Him. God could destroy us at any time if He wanted to show how powerful He is, but God shows mercy to show greater power in a greater way.

May 27, 2019

BIBLE READING: ROMANS 8

6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

“TO BE CARNALLY MINDED IS DEATH”
This word “death” is literally, in the Greek, a noun and an adjective. It also means “deadly”. Carnally minded means to be “worldly” minded. Paul proclaims that to keep our minds centered on worldly things is a deadly mistake. It can literally kill. Kill what?

The love of the world can kill your “PEACE”. The Bible says, “great peace have they that love thy law and nothing shall offend them”. A Christian that is out of fellowship with God is offended by the smallest thing and seems to always be offended by something. God is the author of peace, but the “carnal mind is enmity with God”. Whenever a child of God lives in a worldly, flesh-controlled way, they always lose inward peace. They might tell you different but do not believe them. This verse says, “to be spiritually minded is life and peace”.

The love of the world can kill “POTENTIAL”. Numerous times have I seen individuals that God was using in a great way, so full of potential, that wasted it for some worldly pleasure or decision. Satan certainly strives to ruin the potential of our young people before they ever reach it. Satan will throw a lot of distractions in their way to do so, and the world and the things in the world, are his greatest tools.

The love of the world can kill your spiritual “POWER”. The more we give into the world, the less power we have against the world. The joy of the Lord is our strength. If we do not have spirit filled power in our Christian life, then we really have no power at all. Worldliness kills Spiritual power. Verse eight says “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

It is hard to keep our mind off the world when we are living in it. Today I encourage you, though you must live in the world, do not to keep your affection upon it. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth”.

May 24, 2019

BIBLE READING: ROMANS 7

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

“IN ME…….. DWELLETH NO GOOD THING”
Isn’t that the truth! This is something I can say a hearty “amen” to. Just about the time I think I’ve made some progress and can stand on my own a little bit, my flesh takes over. It is important for us to realize and admit to this fact. If there’s any part of us that think that there is anything good in us, we are asking for problems. We cannot put confidence in our flesh. We have not just a sinful nature, but a strong, sinful nature.

Understanding this about ourselves can keep us HUMBLE. It can keep us from thinking about ourselves more highly then we ought to think. This can keep us from thinking we are better than someone else.

Understanding this about ourselves can keep us “DEPENDENT” upon the Lord. When we realize that there is nothing good within us apart from the Lord, then we know we must rely upon His strength. We will not rely upon His strength if we think we are strong enough. The Bible does not say greater is me than he that is in the world. The Bible says greater is “he that is in me” than he that is in the world. This will keep us dependent upon God’s Word.

Understanding this about ourselves will keep us “COMPASSIONATE”. No longer will we criticize our brother or sister in Christ because of their failure. We will have compassion upon them, because we know how weak we all really are.

Understanding this about ourselves will keep us “FAITHFUL” to God’s house. When I realize that there is nothing good within me, then I need to fill myself with the truths of God’s Word and instruction from the teaching of God’s Word. You see, if any of these areas are lacking in our lives, it is because we have begun to think that we are strong in and of ourselves. That is called pride, and pride goes before destruction. Admit today how weak you really are against Satan, and realize how much stronger God is than Satan, so depend upon God and His Word today.