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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Don't Give Up! Finish The Race

Here is the latest ScriptureLinks Daily Dose of Inspiration broadcast. You can subscribe to this daily podcast via iTunes or right on spreaker.com

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Build Up Or Tear Down

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
-Ephesians 4:29 (KJV)

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
-Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)

David is seeking that what he says, and what he desires be pleasing to God. That should be a desire found in each one of us. Our words can either be pleasing, or displeasing to our Lord. Where does your words fall? 

Paul writes, in Ephesians 4:29, "Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." If you want the words you speak to be pleasing to God, then this is how to do it. Paul tells us not to use foul or abusive language. It seems that foul language is an art form to some people. A pastor friend on Facebook, just the other day, asked "WOW what the crap is it with all the F-Bombs tonight....cant people talk without having to use that word.....ive deleted 10 comments with it...." If more people would remember Paul's teaching that we shoudn't use foul language, our world would be better. Abusive language is also language that we should get away from. Why should we not use "corrupt communication?" Paul says, "Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." Our words should build others up. Foul and abusive language has the opposite effect-it tears people down.

Do your words build up, or tear down? Think about it.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Warm Fuzzy Feeling

Restore the joy of Your salvation to me,
and give me a willing spirit
-Psalm 51:12 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Do you remember that feeling you had the day you gave your life to Jesus, and received forgiveness for your life of sin? It was kind of like that "new car feeling," wasn't it? Everything felt new, and you basked in the fact that your eternity is secure. But then something happened. You returned home, to work, to school, and that warm fuzzy feeling melted away. Suddenly you were faced with things that sent your new found faith to the back of your mind. You faced trials that seemed like God had abandoned you. You began to question the decision to follow this Jesus. Maybe this "Christianity" is overrated.

If you are honest with yourself, thoughts like these have entered your mind. While our eternity is indeed secure, we must still live in this present, sin fallen world. In Psalm 51, David is praying about restoration. Sin had, once again, stained his life, and he needed to get things right with God. A problem that you and I face is one that, when we sin, we tend to wallow in our sin. We allow it a period to keep us down. We feel that we have failed God, again, and that He will surely reject us this time. Nothing is further than the truth. God wants to forgive you. But do you want to be forgiven? 

David prays, "Restore the joy of Your salvation to me, and give me a willing heart." His prayer is 2 part. 1-restore Your joy. 2-help me be willing to follow you. Is this your desire? Think About It.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Doomsday Prepper

Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:
Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
-Proverbs 30:8-9 (King James Version) 

I was reading through Proverbs 30 the other night during my devotions, and so much of it spoke directly about us.

Verses 8-9 speak about being content. It seems our society today is striving for the biggest house, the biggest car (unless you care about the environment  then you are striving for the smallest hybrid), the biggest paycheck. There is a TV show on the National Geographic channel called Doomsday Preppers. These are people who are planning on protecting themselves and their families during times of national trouble. I've watched the show on a couple of occasions, and these people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on stockpiling food, combat training and security. Proverbs 30:8-9 paints us a different picture.

"Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Let I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain." The writer of this Proverb is teaching us to be content with what God has provided. He asks God to give him neither riches or poverty. Too much (riches) will cause Him to deny God by claiming his riches were brought about by his work. Too little (poverty) will cause him to steal to provide, thus denying God. Contentment was something Paul taught us about as well. Paul writes, in Philippians 4:11-12, "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

Are you striving for more and more? Put your trust and God, He will meet your needs. Think About It.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Essential Faith

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
-1 Corinthians 15:17 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

One of the essentials to our faith is the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. That principle is essential because, if Jesus didn't rise from the grave, we would still be living in our sins. Without the resurrection, we would still be lost.

First Corinthians 15:17 says, "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins." Without the resurrection, our faith is worthless, it's meaningless. The faith we have is that Jesus died for our sins, and was raised again to pay the penalty for those sins and conquer them once and for all. If you take the resurrection away, then our sins are still separating us from God. 


But, Christ has risen from the grave, and was seen by many witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). Think About It. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What Is Coming Out Of Your Mouth?

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
-Ephesians 4:29 (King James Version)

What comes out of your mouth? Your speech, does it reflect your claims of a relationship with God? Sometimes, well more often than not, it's difficult to tell who is and who isn't a Christian by the way they talk. Churches are full of gossip. Dirty jokes are told as often in the house of God as in the local bar. The way you speak reflects who you really are. Does your speech reflect the relationship you have with God through Jesus? Or, does it reveal that you really are not who you claim to be?

We read this, in Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." What does Paul mean by "corrupt communication?" Well, look back to verse 25, "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another." Lying to one another would be corrupt communication. We must speak the truth. Our nation suffers from the "little white lie." That's a false notion that telling a lie to save someone from embarrassment, or humiliation is all right. Others call it a harmless lie. Friends, there is no harmless lie. It's all wrong, it's all corrupt, it isn't the truth. Our speech should be the truth. Our speech should build others up, that is shows God to others. 

What is coming out of your mouth, today? Speech that helps others? Or speech that is corrupt? Think About It.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Overcoming Evil

Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.
-Romans 12:21 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Evil is all around us. The opportunity to do what is wrong is something we don't have to be taught. It comes natural. We live in a society that, at its heart, is evil. It's stuck in sin. It's conquered by sin. Make no mistake abour this sin is evil. It always has been, and always will be. 

Paul writes, in Romans 12:21, "Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good." Too many of us today are overcome by the evilness in our world. We allow the evilness of the world to conquer our lives for Him. We allow it to derail our faith, to derail our walk. And then we bust into tears at the altar of a church, and walk away, only to fall into the same trap over and over. Is there a way around being conquered by evil? I think so. Instead of allowing ourselves to be overcome by evil, we must overcome the evil things of this world with the good things of God. Romans 12:2 says, "Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God." To be conformed means to imitate, or to be like, the world around us. As long as we are like the world, as long as we imitate the things of this world, we will always be overcome by evil. But, once we allow God to transform our mind, to renew our thought pattern, we will overcome the evil of this world with the goodness of God.

Have you allowed God to transform your mind? The rest of Romans 12:2 says, "so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God." Do you want to overcome evil in your life? Allow God to renew your mind, so that you will know what His will is for your life. That is how you overcome evil. You overcome evil with the good, pleasing and perfect will of God. Think About It.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Should Churches Pay Taxes

I was browsing through some old posts on the website recently. This one, in particular, caught my attention. One of my "hot button" issues is the tax exempt status that most, if not all, churches and ministries have. I think this is not Biblical. In this post, I explored why I feel that ministries and churches should be paying their taxes.


And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words. And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it. And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar's. And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him.
-Mark 12:13-17 (KJV)

It's interesting, to me anyway, that many of my posts this week has come as a result of discussions I've taken part in, or have just read, in various Christian groups on Facebook. Christian groups on Facebook is truly a "melting pot" of denominational and religious viewpoints. Today's post comes from one such discussion this week. A question was posed to the group about churches and the tax exempt status. Should churches be tax exempt? Let's broaden the scope, should non profit organizations be tax exempt? Let's examine Scripture and see what God has to say.

Mark 12:13-17, we see where the religious leaders of Jesus' time are once again trying to trap Jesus into saying something wrong-something that would give them reason to kill Him. They ask Him, in verse 14, "And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?" I'm certain, in their minds, they thought Jesus would tell them not to pay tribute (taxes) to Caesar. That would give them reason to kill Him. Not that they wanted to pay taxes, but because Jesus would be speaking against the ruling authorities of His time. Jesus responds in verse 17, "And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him." After asking for a coin (v. 15) and asking them whose inscription is on it (v. 16), Jesus tells them to pay their tribute, and also to pay their tithe. That is what He meant when he told them "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." What are we to give to Caesar? The tribute (tax) money. What are we to give to God? Our tithe. 

Is this principle that Jesus taught them a command for us to follow, or something that was just for that one time and place? In the course of that discussion on Facebook, one responder said, "It was not a command but rather Jesus response to a trick question by the pharisees." So then, what constitutes a command, and what does not? Can we only follow the commands that we want to follow? Can we skip the hard ones. Jesus said in Matthew 22:36-37 " Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." What we have hear is what many of us consider a commandment of Jesus. The question was asked to Jesus by a lawyer. He wanted to know what the greatest commandment was. Jesus replied, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." We shall love God with all our parts. If you look to verse 35, "Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying," So we see here that they were trying to trick Jesus once again. Does this mean that the response by Jesus was not a commandment, but rather an answer to a one time question? I don't think so. We have faith in Him that is a result of our love for Him. We are not going to follow Jesus if we don't love Him. We're not going to do the works that He has called us to do if we don't love Him. We bring honor to God, and show our love for Him, when we do what He's commanded us in the Bible. We can't pick and choose what we want to follow and what we don't. We can't skip the hard commands to follow (like paying taxes) and just do the easy ones.

Back to our original study in Mark 12. Jesus told them to pay their taxes. Paul wrote about this same topic in Romans 13:1-7, " Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.
Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority. (NLT)" Paul says to pay our taxes. Why, because we must submit to the governing authorities. Even when we don't agree with the way they spend our money. Think About It.