I noticed several similarities between Paul’s shipwreck recorded in Acts chapter 27, and salvation that comes through our Lord Jesus, and faith in him. Paul in this story, is being taken by soldiers with other prisoners, to be judged before Caesar. All men and women, small and great, will be brought before God, to be judged. Rev. 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. When this day comes, we do not want to be judged according to our works, we want to have our names written in the book of life. Rev.20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. All the good works in the world will not save us from this fate. Only faith in Jesus, and his finished work on the cross, will get our names written in the book of life. Next we see the ship is in great distress from a violent storm. Acts 27:20 And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away. This is how many come to accept Jesus into their lives. Often when we have no hope in this life, and things look there darkest, we turn to God for help or comfort. Paul was then given a message of encouragement from God, that he, and the men with him, would be saved. He then gives this message to the men sailing with him. Acts 27:25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. Paul wrote letters to the brethren to encourage and instruct them, and us, while we wait for the fulfillment of our salvation. If we do turn to God, and accept Jesus, everything is not instantly wonderful and easy in our lives. Acts 27:29 Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day. We likewise hope and wish for the day of our Lord’s return. When trial and tribulations do come, we sometimes want to flee from the presence of God, and run back into the world, just as ancient Israel wanted to return to the comforts they knew during their slavery in Egypt. Acts 27: 30-31 And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. This is the truth of the Gospel of Christ. Except we hold fast, and abide in Jesus, we cannot be saved. Jesus told his disciples, John 14:6 I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. There is no salvation apart from Jesus. Next, Paul might be seen as giving communion to those that have trusted his word, and remained in the ship. Acts 27:35 And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat. Following the last supper, Jesus was betrayed, handed over to the soldiers, beaten and crucified. Next we see the ship, was violently destroyed. Acts 27:41 And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves. Although Christ was crucified and died, that was not the end of his followers as many had supposed. He had been told of the Father, that he would lose none that had been given him. Just as Paul had been told by God, all that remained in the ship would be saved. John 6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. The men aboard the ship make it safely to shore and things get much better. They are greeted by friendly natives, who give them food, and build a fire to warm them from the cold rain. But suddenly Paul is bitten by a venomous snake. In a similar way, Satan, often portrayed as a snake, continues to torment and persecute the Church. But we see that Satan has no power over God’s children. Acts 28:3-6 3 And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.4 And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.6 Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god. Finally, we see the snake is shaken off and cast into the fire, hallelujah! Satan will not be around forever to deceive and torment this world! Rev. 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
There has been much in the news lately, about radical terror organizations. Stories about Isis and other extremist groups are in the news daily. Many of the headlines involve bombings, shootings or beheading. Violence is the preferred method of gaining converts, and advancing there political, and religious agendas. Should a Christian ever be extreme, or radical, in there thinking and actions? I say yes we should! Should we take up arms and join the fight against other extremest groups, that oppose are religion, and way of life? Jesus was a radical, and they wanted him killed for his outrageous thinking.
What would the beliefs and actions be of such an extremist? Is it time to take up arms and fight, to preserve our way of life? Mathew 5: 43-44 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; This is truly radical thinking! Love, bless and pray for our enemies! Romans 12: 20-21 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. The world is being overcome with evil, we are instructed to overcome evil with good. Is this practical advise? Wouldn’t our enemies just take advantage, and destroy us? Christians in many parts of the world are being persecuted and killed, for their love and faith in Jesus. Mathew 5:11-12 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. 1 Peter 4:12-14 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. Jesus told us we are blessed for being persecuted for him. And Peter said we should rejoice, when we experience any fiery trial for our faith, and love of Jesus. What are some other traits of a radical Christian? Luke 6:34-35 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Here we are instructed to lend to those in need, not taking into account their ability to repay us. Ephesians 4:28 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. And again we are instructed to put the needs of others above our own. How about fame and fortune, positions of strength and authority? How do they fit into the life of the radical Christian? Mathew 23:11-12 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. Here the Lord instructs us to be a humble servant. If we love this world, or the country we live in, shouldn’t we want to fight to preserve it? 1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. They that are of this world, will fight, even to the death, for the things of this world. Mathew 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Jesus tells us we are not of this world. Colossians 3:1-2 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
In conclusion, a radical extremist Christian would love his enemy, and do good to them. He or she would rejoice when they are persecuted for the name of Jesus. They would be a humble servant to others, not exalting themselves, or their position in life. They would give to the poor and needy, and lend, not giving regard for the ability of the borrower to repay. They would not love this world, or the things that are in it. These traits, and many other things would define and exemplify the life of a radical Christian extremist. The life of the greatest Christian extremist is written in the pages of the four gospels of Christ. Lets all strive to be more like our wonderful Lord Jesus, and less and less like the extremists of this world.
Psalm 27:14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
Three seeds were lying in a crag of a rocky hillside. They were brothers together long ago, in the womb of a delicious fruit. Over the years they had been blown here and there, wherever the wind carried them, was their home. Together they had seen the ocean and the hills. They had drifted over vast fields of wild flowers, very beautiful, and over mighty forests, green and lush. Several times they nearly met their end, but had always escaped. They had always been seeds, and as far as they knew, they would always continue to be seeds. One day the Lord saw them lying together on the rocky hillside, and immediately recognized them. I created you seeds, to be beautiful fruit trees. To provide shade for the weary, and delicious fruit for those that hunger. I will plant you in a plot of my best soil, warm and moist. I will provide gentle rain for you, and sunshine. Be patient my little seeds, and you will become greater then you have ever imagined. Mark 4:26-29 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
The three seeds lie in the ground for many weeks, and could see nothing happening. One seed said, “I have waited here and see no change, I was happier out in the sunshine. This place is dark and cold. Perhaps the one who put us here did not know what he was talking about.” So the first seed wiggled his way out of the soil, where the Lord had planted him, and found himself back in the familiar place he was accustom to. ” A seed I am, and a seed I will always be! ” Proclaimed the first seed. The other seeds shook their heads in disapproval. If only the first seed had waited, they thought. He could have joined us as beautiful fruit trees. After several months the remaining two seeds felt a change. They began to develop roots, and at last, their tiny shoots broke through the soil. How wonderful it was, to feel the sunshine and rain again on their faces, they thought. The second seed waited several months, but could not perceive any further growth. “The Lord said he created us. He also said, sunshine and water would help us to grow. I know a place that gets more sunshine then this. And the mighty ocean has more water then I will get in a lifetime, sitting here.” So the second seed pulled itself up by its roots, and made off for the sunny desert, and the mighty ocean. ” Wait! ” Cried the third seed. “The Lord told us to be patient, and He would provide what we need.” But the second seed was sure he knew better. And off he went. Soon the second seed was worse off then the first. Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Now the third seed was all alone. But he remembered the words of the Lord, and waited patiently for the results. He missed his brother seeds, and wondered if they were right, and if he should have joined them. But he recalled how the Lord had said, He was their Creator. He must know what is best for me, thought the third seed. And so he waited.
After many years, the little seed became a beautiful fruit tree. Just as the Lord had said, all those years ago. The third seed thought back. I did not provide the rain when I needed it, or the sunshine. I did not create the good soil, that has provided for me all these years. I did not send for the honey bees, that have pollinated my lovely flowers. I did not call for the birds, that have taken the new seeds I have produced, and scattered them over the land. I provide shade for the weary, and delicious fruit for those that are hungry. I have become a blessing to all that come unto me!
Many TV evangelist spend a majority of their air time speaking about the importance of sowing a seed, in order to have financial success in the life of the giver. The more we give, the greater our harvest will be. Give until it hurts they claim. They also will tell you, it must be given to their ministry. Romans 16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. These men and women live quite well, and those at their service, or sitting at home, may be quite distressed physically or financially. It is important to give, God is the ultimate giver, and he wants us as his children, to be like him. In all my years of watching Christian broadcasting, I have never heard a single preacher tell the audience to give to the poor. They are always cajoling the listener to send a check to their web site, or post office box. You might be thinking, the Gospel of Christ is more important then a persons physical well being. I would say you are right, but the Kingdom of God, begins in the heart of the believer. James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. We can all spread the Gospel of Jesus, through our words and actions. Many of these TV ministries have made a lucrative business, out of the word of God. Proverbs 30:15 The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough:16 The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough. I would add a fifth thing to this list, TV evangelists. Their coffers are never full, and they have an endless supply of testimonies of people, who have given to their ministries, and have received ten fold or more back again. Proverbs 23:23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. God will bless the giver, but we should not give to receive. We should give, because we have compassion on those we see in need. We also give, because we have been so greatly, and generously given to. God has given to those who rest, and believe in the finished work of Jesus on the cross, all things, including eternal life. Paul had this to say about giving. Ephesians 4: 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Paul did not say a person should labour, in order to give to him, so he could continue to travel and preach the gospel. He admonishes the reader to give, to him that needeth. And in Acts we read, Acts 20: 35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. Proverbs 19: 17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again. Finally Jesus himself was approached by a rich man, and the Master himself wanted nothing to do with his money in order to use it to spread his message, instead this is what Jesus instructed him to do. Mathew 19: 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
How do we know if God will answer our prayers? I have read God always answers our prayers, either yes, or no, or wait. This seems like a pretty poor answer to me. Everything that we desire happens or it doesn’t, whether we ask God or not. Atheist, and non believers of every stripe, have good and bad things happen to them every day. If I pray for a new job and get it, I suppose I can thank God for answering my prayer. What if I start the new job, thinking I would enjoy it, and find I hate working there? I read also, we should pray for everyday things, like green lights on our drive to work, or great parking spot at the mall. You may be lonely and praying for a spouse, or sick and praying for health. Some may find a spouse, and others are still waiting, some may get better and others worse. Does any of this make sense? Does God really care if you have a new car, or the best parking spot, if you own your house or rent? Some people may read these words, and are asking God for clean drinking water, or a pot to cook their dinner in. Paul wrote this to Timothy, 1 Timothy 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. Godliness with contentment is great gain! If we are content having just our basic needs met, we are at peace. But doesn’t God want us to have much more then that? Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.12 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. Many of us find we are, at times, in need of very little, and at other times, we may find ourselves in great distress. Paul said he had learned to be content in both states. Was Paul someone who had all green lights on the way to work? Did he always receive the best parking spot? Was he always walking on the sunny side of the street? 2 Corinthians 11: 23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Paul’s life was not easy. But he had this to say about his hardships, 2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. People who have little or no faith, quite often appear to have life the easiest. God does want to answer our prayers! And he has answered all of them, through Jesus our Lord and Savior! 1 Corinthians 3:21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are your’s;22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are your’s;23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s. Paul said ALL things are ours! We may not see it yet, but we have eternal life, and all the riches of the universe, if we have made Jesus our Lord and Savior. What more could we possibly ask for? Proverbs 16:16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! The better we come to know God’s word, the more we come to understand how much he loves us. Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Solomon asked God for wisdom, and all the other things he received were a benefit of that request. Solomon’s kingdom, and all his rich’s, pale in comparison to what God has given us, through his Son Jesus. Ask God for the peace that surpasses all understanding, no matter what circumstances you are in, and he will answer your prayer! 1 Thessalonians 5: 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
What does it mean to walk by faith, and not by sight? Walking by faith is not normal, it goes against what we are taught, and our basic human nature. God is a Spirit, and wants us to function, and think, in the spirit realm. Faith in God is the quality that allows us to function in that realm. Faith is trusting in a God that can not be seen, or perceived, with our five senses. Satan wants us to have strong faith, and actually most people do. God’s promises are full of positive faith. Satan’s promises are full of negative faith. Negative faith causes us to believe our senses, above and beyond the promises of God. Negative faith says impossible, positive faith say’s, Mathew 19:26 “… with God all things are possible.” negative faith say’s, “the doctor tells me I will have this condition forever, I will have to try and manage the pain.” Positive faith say’s 1 Peter 2: 24, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” Negative faith say’s, ” I’m to old for that, you guys go ahead without me.” Positive faith say’s, Isaiah 40:29-31, “29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Negative faith say’s, ” I will never find a good paying job in this economy.” Positive faith say’s, Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Satan wants us to have strong faith in a negative world. He wants us to believe everyone, and everything, is out to get us. God wants us to have strong faith, in his promises, to actually believe them, and declare them publicly. Lets have faith, and believe, for things of real value. Colossians 3:2 “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” To have faith in God, means to have faith in his word. Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” What we can perceive with our five senses, is often a lie. Close your eyes and smell a freshly baked apple pie, open them, and prepare to eat a burning candle. Our senses can easily be fooled. Jesus said his followers were not of this world, and his word is truth. John 17:16-17. Lets have faith in the word of God, and not the lies of this world. Lets walk by faith and not by sight.
Luke 17:20-21 20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. What did Jesus mean when he said the kingdom of God is within you? Jesus is returning soon as the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, to establish his kingdom on Earth. But he wants all believers to be in his kingdom now, while we are in our physical bodies, before his return. Jesus also instructed us to pray, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth, as it is in heaven. God our father and Jesus his son, want us now, to live and function as though his kingdom were already established in this fallen world. Jesus has won the victory for those who have received him as their Lord and Savior. The bible states that Satan, is the god of this world. Those that are of this world, live in his kingdom. The kingdom of Satan is one of death, disease, war, famine, lies, envy, hate and so forth. The kingdom of God is one of love, joy, peace, good health, sharing, caring for others, lack of need, and all good gifts that come down from above. This is the kingdom we need to live in now, and the one we need to share with others. The kingdom of God is within us, when we believe the goodness of God, his unshakable love for us, and all his promises for us, as little children believe their earthly parents. The world will tell you it is foolishness to believe the Holy Bible literally, it will make you feel foolish to think all God’s promises are for you now, in this life. Don’t listen to them! Mathew 18:2-4 2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus said we need to humble ourselves as little children to enter into his kingdom. Jesus is not talking here about salvation. He is speaking of entering that kingdom that is within us, by being humble, not relying on our own efforts and abilities, but rather relying on him, and his promises and finished work. By entering God’s kingdom now, the unnatural becomes our nature, and the supernatural becomes possible. Jesus tried to teach his disciples to live now, in his kingdom. This is why he became frustrated with them, when they doubted their own abilities, and the power he had given them to use in his name. When his disciples pointed out the large number of people that had come to hear him, and how they would soon be hungry in this desert place, he told them, “they need not depart, give ye them to eat.” He knew they could do it, if they only believed. Jesus knew their is no hunger in his kingdom. Jesus told them, ” And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” Mathew 10: 7-8. All these abilities are within us, because Jesus is in us. If we can enter into his kingdom now, nothing is impossible, that brings glory and honor to him, and the Father. Luke 10: 9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. Jesus told his disciples that after healing the sick they were to tell those that had been healed, the kingdom of God had come near to them. The kingdom was within those disciples and they had brought it near to others. There is no sickness in God’s kingdom. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven. It was becoming on Earth, as it always has been, and will be in heaven, when these disciples healed the sick. Satan wants us to remain in his kingdom. He wants us to believe his lies. He wants us to think that sickness and disease, selfishness, covetousness, boasting, ect, are all natural. He wants us to think we have no power in this life, to overcome these emotions, and defeat those things that are contrary to God’s good and perfect will. 2 Timothy 3: 1-5 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. Paul tells Timothy in the end times, people would have all the traits and qualities of Satan’s kingdom, and they would deny the power and goodness of the Kingdom of God. Finally the kingdom of God is within us, because Jesus is in us. His power, and goodness, and holiness, and truth, are in us. We enter into that truth, when we stop listening to the lies of this world, and begin to study God’s word with a new freshness and belief, that what it has to say is real truth, on any matter. When we begin to search God’s word, as we would search for silver or gold, for all God’s goodness and love. When we search his word for every promise that is made to his children, and believe those promises as children, we will begin to know what Christ meant when he said, the kingdom of God is within us.
Is there a key to being happy? What would any of us give to live a life where we woke up everyday, happy, and at peace? Happiness is a symptom of the soul. Outward stimulus can make us happy for a short period of time. Proverbs 14:13 Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful;and the end of that mirth is heaviness. You see here, the bible states, sorrow and heaviness are the natural state of a man’s mind. So how can we overcome this dismal state of affairs the proverb speaks of? Philippians 2:4-5 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Jesus has a mind that is always happy and at peace, and he wants the same mind to be in us. Jesus did not look out for his own welfare, but rather for the welfare of others. True happiness comes from serving others, and not concentrating on ourselves. In this modern world we are led to believe, possessions and circumstances will bring us happiness. The end of this type of happiness quickly results in sorrow, and heaviness of heart. Serving others above and before ourselves is the first and most important key to happiness, and gives us a mind more like our Lord Jesus. I believe the second key is contentment. Being content with what we have is essential to a persons happiness, and peace. Luke 12:15 15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. Possessions will never bring true happiness. But contentment will. 1 Timothy 6:7-9For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. Paul instructed Timothy to be content having food and clothing. It is the constant desire for things we do not have that brings sorrow, and a heavy heart. Ecclesiastes 6:9 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit. It is easy to want something we do not have. Lately I have been wanting less rain, and a warmer spring. This causes uneasiness in my soul, when I look at the forecast and see another week of rain, and cool weather. Ephesians 5:19-20 speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul wrote we should give thanks for all things. California is going thru a severe drought, and the people their would welcome this rain. If I am thankful for the rain, and thankful we do not have a drought, then I can learn to be happier with the weather we are having today. One time I drove to Dallas Texas, back in 1978. They were having a severe heat wave. Our car did not have air conditioning, I recall a bank time and temperature sign, that read 106 degrees at 6:30 pm. I would have given anything for a cool rainy day at that moment. Finally, when we truly do have a need, lets ask God for his help in the matter, trusting he always wants what’s best for us. Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. All things, in the end, are ours. Jesus has earned all things for us, and it is his good will to give them to us. Eternity, and the riches of the entire universe are ours, if we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior. 1 Corinthians 3:21-23 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; 22 whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; 23 and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s. When we come to a full realization, that all things truly are ours, what is there we really need, that God has not already provided for us through his son? And in the end even trials and tribulations are something to be thankful for. 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. Peter states we should rejoice even in the midst of a fiery trial. Lets be thankful for all things, content with what we have, and want for nothing, serving others, and we will begin to know true peace and happiness. James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Jesus said not one jot or tittle shall pass from the law until all is fulfilled. Exodus 20: 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work… We are not made righteous by keeping God’s commandments, but rather by faith in Jesus. Ephesians 2:7 that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 not of works, lest any man should boast. This does not mean God does not want us to keep his commandments, but it is not commandment keeping that saves us. I believe it is fine to set aside a day dedicated to God, and worshiping him. Does it matter what day of the week it is, or how diligently we avoid working on that day? Many Christian denominations would say yes to this question. They would argue that Saturday is God’s true sabbath day. More precisely, sunset Friday to sunset Saturday, is the time period that should be observed. Work during this time period should be avoided, and we should use this time to fellowship, and study God’s word. I think to not work at least one day a week is a good idea. We should also strive to spend time with God in prayer, and study, everyday. If it is a commandment of God though, shouldn’t we be diligent in observing it? I say, yes we should. We should be more diligent then the Pharisees were, in keeping this commandment! Mathew 5: 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Here Jesus said we must be more righteous then the Pharisees, when it comes to keeping God’s commandments. These are the same people Jesus rebuked for there ceremonial righteousness. Especially when it came to the sabbath. They condemned a man for carrying his bed on the sabbath, when Jesus healed him, and then instructed him to take up his bed and walk. They looked to kill Jesus, for healing on the sabbath, because this is what the law commanded. They had many rules and regulations concerning what could, and could not be done on this day. And this was all done in an effort to please God.
To properly observe the sabbath, is to rest on that day. We must be more diligent then the Pharisees, on resting on God’s holy sabbath. How can we do this? I believe it is done by resting in the sabbath that Jesus has given to us. Jesus has kept the law perfectly for us. He has done everything that is needed for our salvation. The children of God are made righteous by the blood of Jesus, not by how diligently we avoid work on a certain day of the week. The old covenant sabbath, looked forward to the new covenant sabbath. A sabbath where the children of God rest, and do not try and add by our own works, anything to the finished work of our Lord Jesus on the cross. Romans 4: 4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. We are most blessed when we come to a full realization that we are loved, and forgiven, because of Jesus finished work. We must rest and be confident that Jesus, and him alone, is all we need for our salvation. Trying to add anything, through our own work, takes away from the glory that is rightfully Jesus, and his alone. We need to be more vigilant then ever, to keep the sabbath of God holy, and undefiled, by resting in Jesus, and not thinking we can work out our own salvation. Hebrews 4: There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
How is a person born again? Is it the same as being saved? I typed in this question and found many answers, but few of them even mentioned the answer the Holy Bible gives. As a matter of fact, most seemed to avoid this answer all together. Jesus told Nicodemus, unless a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.
John 3: 1-8 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Jesus said a man must be born of water and the Spirit. Being born of water symbolizes giving our life to Jesus, and accepting him as our Lord and Savior. This is the first, and most important thing, any of us can do. People assume when we have done this, we are now also born of the Spirit, and therefore born again.We do receive God’s Spirit at this time, but there is more to it. Jesus had this to say about his word. John 6: 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. God’s word is spirit. It changes our life. By it we replace the spirit of the world and renew our minds. Romans 12: 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. I believed when I accepted Jesus into my life, I would be magically transformed into a new person. But I was disappointed. I tried to be different, but I did not see much change. I did not witness much good fruit, of this new way of life.
Mathew 13: The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. 2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. 3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 4 and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5 some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6 and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: 8 but other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. 9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. 20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Jesus gave the parable of the sower who sowed seed, and some seed produced fruit. He went on to explain the parable. The seed is the word of God, and the soil is a persons heart. He said those that received the word, and understood it, would bear fruit. To be born again, is to be born with a new mind and heart. Not the mind and heart of Adam, but the mind and heart of Christ. The Apostle Peter wrote of being born again. It is important to see what he had to say about it. 1 Peter 1: 22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. Here Peter talks again about God’s word being a seed, and by it we are born again. Finally to be begotten of God, means to be born of God. James wrote this. James 1: 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. James states here again that we are begotten by the word of truth. God has not given us some magical formula to be born again. His ways are not full of mystery and complications. We are born with a human mind and spirit. It is reinforced by the god of this world, through TV and movies, music, and all mass forms of communication. It is not hard to see why the world is growing darker and darker. We need to shine brighter and brighter, until that glorious day that our Lord returns. Philippians 4: 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus