“…led by the Spirit of God…”

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“For as many as are being constantly led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”  (Romans 8:14)

I recently heard of a Christian brother in a local church, who during a discussion on the Holy Spirit, expressed his fear of the Spirit.  Due to erroneous teaching he had received over the years and things he had seen, he had become afraid of the One who indwells him as a believer; the very Helper Jesus sent to him when he believed.

The Apostle Paul told us in Romans that we are to be constantly led by the Spirit of God.  The word “led” is the Greek word “ago” and according to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words it means “to bear, bring, carry, lead,” and is translated by the verb “to lead”.  An example would be the act of leading about an animal at the end of a rope.  Rick Renner in his Sparkling Gems From The Greek says this about “ago”:

“An animal’s owner would wrap a rope around its neck and then “tug” or “pull” until the animal started to follow him.

“Pay careful attention to the “tugging” and “pulling” of the Holy Spirit in your heart. He is a Gentleman and does not force you to obey Him. He prompts you, tugs on your heart, and pulls on your spirit to get your attention. Sometimes His “tugs” may be so gentle that you almost miss them. But if you’ll develop your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, He will gently “lead” you exactly where He wants you to go with your life.” (Emphasis mine)

Have you developed this sensitivity to the Helper?  If not, we pray that you will.

Our scripture goes on to say that those who are led by the Spirit, these are sons of God. In Galatians Paul says that while Israel was under the law of the Old Testament, they were considered “nepios”, an immature person who needed a guardian to look after them. The guardian was the law of the Old Testament.  But in Romans 8:14, Paul uses “huios” which signifies someone of full age; a mature person having outgrown the need for his former guardian.

In conclusion, we are living under God’s wonderful, unbelievable grace as born again children of God.  We have no need for the law because we have the Spirit of God living in us, vastly more powerful and effective than the law.  If you will, He is our guardian now. He is our source of godly desires and the power to do the will of God. He is grieved by our sins and wanderings. He is faithful to convict us of our sins and bring us to repentance. He will  never leave us or forsake us. Let us develop a sensitivity to his “tugs” and “pulling” so he can lead us in the way we should go. What wonderful provision God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ has made for those who trust in Jesus Christ.

Pay Close Attention To Yourself and The Holy Spirit

Carl

 

 

 

Knowing God

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Field and forest, vale and mountain,

Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,

Chanting bird and flowing fountain

Call us to rejoice in Thee.

—Genevan Psalter

All mankind has a desire to worship. History shows that man in every age and time, in every location on earth, has worshiped some form of a god.  Deep down inside each person is the desire to worship something. As created beings, we intuitively know that we should be worshiping something greater than ourselves.   The beautiful creation we live in reveals that we are not alone.

“Because that which is knowable concerning God is plainly evident in them, for God made it clear to them; for the things concerning Him which are invisible since the creation of the universe are clearly seen, being understood by means of the things that are made, namely, His eternal power and divine Being, resulting in their being without a defense.   (Wuest Expanded Translation Romans 1:19-20)

His creation testifies of His eternal power and His divine Being to all of mankind,  but it did not matter.  Man’s evil heart prevailed.  Romans 1 continues to say:

“Because, knowing God, not as God did they glorify Him, nor were they grateful, but they became futile in their reasonings, and their stupid heart was darkened. Asserting themselves to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for a likeness of an image of corruptible man and of birds and of quadrupeds and of snakes.” (Wuest Expanded Translation Romans 1: 21-23)

And if you continue to read in Romans, mankind’s situation continued to spiral downward until they called darkness, light.

Though man can know that there is a god by the creation, man can only truly know God The Father through a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Lord said:

“…no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”  (NASB John 14:6)

And after we come to Jesus in repentance and faith in His Gospel, Romans 5:1-2 says:

“….Lord Jesus Christ, though whom also we obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand…”

To help us understand this wonderful statement about what Christ has done for us, I want to share with you Wuest’s article on “entree” which could be perfectly substituted for “introduction” (“access” in KJV) in this verse:

“In Romans 5:2, Paul speaks of the fact that we have access through our Lord into the grace in which we stand. The word “access” is from a Greek word which refers to the act of one who secures for another an interview with a sovereign.

“In the first place, the person thus acting must be close to the king himself. Our Lord dwells in the bosom of the Father. He occupies the place closest to the Father’s affections. He is therefore fitted for His task.

“In the second place, the one for whom this entree has been gained, and the French word most happily gives the meaning of the Greek, must be rendered acceptable to the king. This our Lord did through the blood of His Cross whereby He put away the guilt and penalty of our sin and bestowed upon us a righteousness, even His own standing before the Throne, and thus we are “accepted in the Beloved.” As I Peter 2:7 says, “Unto you therefore that believe is the preciousness.” The preciousness of Jesus in the eyes of God the Father has been imputed to us, as His righteous standing has been imputed. God therefore looks upon us with all the favor with which He looks upon His own well-beloved Son.”

“Then again, the one presented at the High Court of Heaven must be correctly attired. Our Lord clothes us with His own beauty, for He is made unto us sanctification, Paul says. The Father sees us in His Son, not apart from Him.  And the glorious radiance of the One Altogether Lovely shines upon us.”

“Finally, when we have been brought by Him into the place where we have entree into the presence of God, we find that we are standing in His unlimited favor, in unlimited grace. No demand made upon that grace can exhaust it. For time and eternity we are the objects of the Father’s supreme affection, the recipients of His boundless mercies, the favored ones of His matchless grace. “

“Hallelujah! Praise the Lord “by whom we have our permanent entree by faith into this grace in which we stand.””
(Kenneth Wuest)

Not only can we know that there is a God through the witness of creation, but the Lord Jesus Christ, after salvation, brings us into this permanent grace and into the very Throne Room of Heaven where He makes it possible for us to be introduced, or have access, to our new Father.  As Paul said “…and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6)

Let the true worship begin! 

“Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in the time of need.”   (NASB Hebrews 4:16)

Carl

 

 

 

 

“…for the will of God.”

 

Apostle Peter tells us the reason God freed us from our indwelling sinful nature when we were born again in I Peter 4:2:

“….so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men but for the will of God.”

A translation that gives a fuller wording of the original Greek scripture says:

“…with a view to his not living the rest of his time while in his physical body in the sphere of the cravings of men, but in the sphere of the will of God.

In other words, from the point we are born  again until we leave this earth, God wants us to live in His will (obey Him) and not be conformed to our former lusts which were ours when we did not know Him.  So for us to be able to do this, He sent the Lord Jesus to die on the cross and to be resurrected. He also sent His Holy Spirit to us which imparts a divine nature in us and gives us the desire and power to be free from the indwelling sin nature which is still in us.

Today when we use the word “lust” we think of “immoral sexual desire” but in the original Greek letters of the NT, the word “lust” meant “any strong craving” or “passionate desire”.  It did not necessarily mean something evil but the content in which it was used determined whether it was evil or good.  In our scripture today it is used in a sinful sense.

As we know, these sinful, strong cravings and passionate desires can encompass a multitude of things in our life.  For example, James warns us if we have bitter jealously and selfish ambition (strife) in our heart, this wisdom is not from God but is earthly (vs heavenly), natural (vs spiritual), and demonic (James 3:14-18). In chapter 4,  he speaks of lust, murder (can be just hate in our heart), being envious, fighting, quarreling, prayers from a wrong motive, and being a friend of the world (i.e. an enemy of God).  Remember, our hearts are deceitfully wicked and we need the Lord to shine His light into the dark areas of our hearts to reveal what is there.  We have walked in some of these strong cravings or passionate desires so long we do not even recognize them for what they are, not pleasing to God.

Paul told Timothy, concerning becoming more Christ like, “Pay close attention to yourself…” (I Timothy 4:16).  Let us do the same and turn our hearts to forsake any of these strong cravings or passionate desires that cause us to disobey God and practice sin.  Agree with God and exercise your free will to say no to these desires and Jesus Christ will bring victory over these passionate desires in your life.  God has enough grace to deal with anything He reveals in your heart.

“Pay close attention to yourself….”

Carl

 

 

 

 

Precious

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“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

“…just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”
(Ephesians 5:25)

Today while writing a another blog, I felt compelled to stop and write about how precious God’s children are to Him. I believe someone reading this blog needs this message today.  One of Satan’s favorite accusations to use on the believer is: “How could God love you? Look what you have done or thought!”  While the whole time Satan knows the opposite is true. He knows you are exceedingly precious to God.

God waited to reveal Jesus until the Greek language had become the language of trade around the Mediterranean basin and beyond so the gospel could be transmitted by a language that would be understood by many nations. The Apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 2: 12-13 the following, concerning the words He used to write and teach the good news taught to him by the resurrected Jesus:

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.” (Emphasis mine)

Paul says it was the Holy Spirit that taught him what words to use to bring the mysteries of God to light for His children.

We see the value of the Greek language when we see how specific it is. A good example is the number of Greek words we translate “love” in the English New Testament.  One such Greek word is phileo which “is the response of the human spirit to what appeals to it as pleasurable.” (Wuest)  This is translated in I Peter as “brotherly love”. An example would be that you find a person who has the same interest as you and you find it pleasurable to  be around them because you both like the same things.

Another Greek word translated “love” is agapao and its meaning is different from phileo. “Agapao” is the Greek word selected by the Holy Spirit to use for God’s type of self-sacrificial love.  Wuest says the following:

“Agapao speaks of a love which is awakened by a sense of value in an object which causes one to prize it. It springs from an apprehension of the preciousness of an object. It is a love of esteem and approbation. The quality of of this love is determined by the character of the one who loves, and that of the object loved. ”

“Agapao is used in John 3:16. God’s love for a sinful and lost race springs from His heart in response to the high value He places upon each human soul. Every sinner is exceedingly precious  in His sight.”

“….each sinner is most precious to God, first, because he bears the image of his Creator even thought that image is marred by sin, and second, because through redemption, that sinner can be conformed to the image of His dear Son. This preciousness of each member of the human race to the heart of God is the constituent element of the love that gave His Son to die on the Cross. The degree of preciousness is measure by the infinite sacrifice which God made. (emphasis is mine)

Each believer is so precious to God that while we were yet sinners, He sent His only Beloved Son to die on the cross so we could be free from the guilt and penalty of our many, many, many sins. While we were yet sinners, he deemed us exceedingly precious. This alone proves that salvation by grace is from God because the heart of man could never conceive of such self-sacrificial love.

The incarnation, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is proof that you are exceedingly precious to God. Don’t ever doubt it saint!

If you are someone who has not received Jesus Christ as your Savior, do not reject this great love He has for you lest you perish in your sins. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.

Receive His Love For You

Carl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bird Talk

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Said the Robin to the Sparrow

“I would really like to know why these anxious Human Beings rush about and worry so?”

Said the Sparrow to the Robin,

“Oh, I think that it must be that they have no Heavenly Father such as cares for you & me.”

—Unknown (Source: Teach Us To Number Our Days by David Roper)

Lord Jesus said:

“No one can serve two masters…” “You cannot serve God and mammon.”

ON THIS ACCOUNT I AM SAYING TO YOU, Stop worrying about your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, and about your body, with what you will clothe yourself. Is not the life more than food and the body more than clothing? Consider the birds of the heaven, They are not sowing seed, nor reaping, not even are they collecting into granaries.  And yet your heavenly Father is feeding them.  As for you, do you not surpass them? “

“For your heavenly Father knows that you are in constant need of all these things.  But be seeking first the kingdom and His righteousness, and these things, all of them, shall be added to you.  (abbreviated Matthew 6:24-34 NASB & Expanded Translation, Emphasis mine)

Please read the complete text when you have opportunity. I would like to briefly expand on several points:

  1. Jesus’ words tell us that worry keeps us from obeying God. He told us in the  parable of the soils (or hearts) that worry is one of the weeds that chokes out the word of God in our hearts keeping us from knowing it and obeying it.
  2. When you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you receive His righteousness; therefore, you have already sought His righteousness as instructed in verse 33. You already possess it in Christ through salvation. Romans 5:17 says “….much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”
  3. As a born again believer, you can now “see” (i.e. understand) and “enter” (i.e. begin to live under the rule of God) “the kingdom” of God. This what Jesus told Nicodemus in his discussion about being born again in John 3.  We now just need to keep expanding the kingdom of God in our character and life, i.e. II Peter 1: 2-11.
  4. THEREFORE, as a believer, you have and are fulfilling the instructions that Jesus gave in verse 33. And this means “…that all these things shall be added to you.”  So let us “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God.” (Philippians 4: 6) “Casting all of your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7)

As a born again believers in Jesus Christ, we are precious to God the Father.  Evidence of this is seen on the Cross as He sent Jesus to display His self-sacrificial, agape love for us.  May we lay hold of His promise (v33) by faith and walk with our minds girded for action and sober in spirit; free from the crippling and thought paralyzing mental attitudes of worry, fear and such.

Remember Texas and Louisiana in your prayers as they grapple with Hurricane Harvey.

Carl

 

 

 

Hope

I found this sign in the MD Anderson Emergency Room. Only patients from the various MD Anderson hospitals are allowed admittance to this ER; therefore, the patients have already experienced the palpable fear of being diagnosed with a killer disease and the waiting, testing and surgery to save their lives. Having to rush to the emergency room due to some complication only adds to the fear.

From experience, let me say there is a lot of fear in such situations and, if it was not for the prayers of the saints for you and your loved one, you would be totally consumed by it. Satan wants to bring you to the abyss of hopelessness and chain you in it with the fear of death, but, bless God, the prayers and love of the saints keeps you free.  I feel sorry for the individual who has to go through this alone, without God and His children interceding for them.  Ephesians 2: 12  says before our salvation, we were “having no hope and without God in the world.” 

Therefore, this little exhortation scribbled in marker on a dry erase board, speaks volumes to those going through these life and death struggles.

The Apostle Peter who knew about struggles and persecution tells us in his first letter where to put our hope about the future:

“Therefore, gird your mind for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 1: 13)

The “…at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” is when He appears in the sky to rapture the church out of the earth.  This will include all born again believers alive and dead.  Those who claim to know Him, but are just religious and not born again, will not be taken. Jesus told a leader of the Jewish nation “Truly, Truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

The “… grace” to be brought to you refers to your inheritance that Peter referred to in verse 3 and 4 when he wrote “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,…”   This inheritance, among other things,  refers to our glorified bodies we will receive when He raptures the church. Our salvation will be complete.  We are justified by faith in Christ’s work, we are going through sanctification now and then at the rapture we will be glorified.  Our mortal bodies will be transformed into a glorified body just like the Lord Jesus’ glorified body.

Peter says “in this you greatly rejoice..” (verse 6). “Rejoice” is from a “Greek word speaking of extreme joy expressing itself externally in an exuberant triumph of joy. In verse 8 we see that it is a glorified joy made possible by our future glorified state, a joy not possible now in our mortal bodies. Tears of joy are just evidence of the inability of our present state to fully feel the joy that comes to us at times. But then in our bodies of glory we will be able to drink in and appreciate all the boundless joys of the Savior’s presence.” (Wuest)

Peter says this is what we should “… fix your hope completely on..”  And this hope is not a mere wishing that something may happen.  Hope here is a “complete hope, a perfect hope, wanting nothing, being in its character an assured expectation.  Peter exhorts us to “set your hope perfectly, unchangeably, without doubt and despondency upon our future glorification.”‘ (Wuest) The phrase “…to be brought to you…” means that this grace or inheritance is already on its way. Wuest says you could translate it “which is being brought to you.”

Dear Pilgrim, just passing through this temporary earthly realm, don’t set your hearts on the trinkets of this existence but keep pursuing God until you experience His Glorious Presence at the Rapture and your mortal being is swallowed up in immortality.  What a day that will be when we will see Him face to face.  Are you ready?  Praise His Name!!!

Thank you for your time.

Carl