Living God’s Word

“My sheep listen to My voice” ~John 10:27

Charles and Ike were leaving the gym after a good workout. Ike seemed sidetracked.

“What’s bothering you, Ike?”

“Let’s talk at the coffee shop.”

In a few minutes they slid into a booth and ordered breakfast.

“Ok, shoot. What’s up my friend?”

“I feel like a failure with the Lord. I keep failing in my attitudes and actions. I sin. I ask forgiveness and then the next thing I know, I am sinning again. I guess I’m just a failure at being a Christian. I feel terrible.”

“Ike, we all fail. The Lord is at the right hand of the Father, forgiving all our sins. Once we accepted Christ as our Savior, His forgiveness is forever. Let’s look at some verses.”

John 11:25-26 “Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this?”

1 Peter 1:3-5 “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.”

John 6:35-40 “Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty…However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.” 

Romans 8:38-39 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

“Ike, our struggle with sin is ongoing and will be a battle until our final breath. Fortunately, our forgiveness is also ongoing and never-failing. It’s important to remember that our Lord’s death on the cross and three days later His resurrection has made it possible for all our sins to be forgiven. All OUR SINS! 

“It would be a cruel joke if the Lord suffered and died for us, experiencing the horrific pain to become the perfect sacrifice for our sins and then tell people struggling with sin, “Sorry. This sin is not forgiven. You didn’t try hard enough. Your name will be erased from the Lambs Book of Life 

“Keep in mind how John described Jesus as he saw Him walking towards him in John 1:29, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” It is Jesus who takes away the sin of the world. We did not earn our salvation. Neither can we lose it by poor behavior. However, repentance is an essential element in our life with Christ. If we do not repent daily, we needlessly carry guilt. Confess your sins and give those burdens to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

Shield of Faith

“In addition to this, put on the shield of faith”  Ephesians 6:16

At first, Allen held his shield of faith high, deflecting those fiery satanic darts, extinguishing them quickly. But as time wore on, his shield seemed heavier and his focus scattered so it wasn’t held as high. A little space is all Satan needs for those darts. He is an excellent marksman.

Time passed, Allen’s attention shifted and his shield dropped lower. More darts hit their mark. Allen seemed less positive about his faith and standing in Christ. He found doubt to be a normal part of his life, replacing faith, gradually dropping his shield. Until finally, Allen didn’t bother to put on his armor at all. His shield of faith was somewhere in the closet, under a pile of doubt and insecurity.

If only I’d (done or not done) that. I should’ve seen that coming; saved more money; got rid of that credit card; been more honest with them; studied harder; finished the project on time— and so the little accusing voice (fiery darts) within our mind goes, piling on guilt and condemnation. The Bible clearly says, however, that therre is no condemnation for believers. Will I listen to the condemning voice (not God) or the uplifting, encouraging one (God)?

Romans 8:1 “So now there isn’t any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:14-15 “ Those who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s children. For the Spirit that God has given you does not make you slaves and cause you to be afraid; instead, the Spirit makes you God’s children, and by the Spirit’s power we cry out to God, “Father! my Father!”

Galatians 4:6 “And because we are His children, God has sent the Spirit  of His Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, Abba, Father.”

Romans 8:28, 31 “ Moreover we know that to those who love God, who are called according to his plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good. What can we ever say to such wonderful things as these? If God is on our side, who can ever be against us?”

John 1:12 “But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.”

God’s rescue is eternal and very personal. He prepared the way by allowing Jesus, the innocent Lamb of God, to be crucified so we may experience forgiveness of sins and joy everlasting. Well aware of our weaknesses, He implanted His Holy Spirit in our hearts, our souls— establishing an immediate, incorruptible two-way communication system between us and Himself.

And what of your shield of faith? Is it covered with dings, dents, scrapes and black spots where those fiery darts were extinguished? Or is it shiny and dent-free, tucked away in the closet?

Spiritual Anemia

That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died.

1 Cor. 11:30 

Sal was always one of the first men to be selected for any team. Throughout his life he had been blessed with athletic skills above normal. He was fast on the track and the football field, amazing speed and dexterity on the soccer field, and a solid hitter in baseball. 

But lately, he had to decline the latest offers to join various teams from work. He tried but just couldn’t maintain his strength. Mr. “stay up to eleven and get up before dawn” was falling asleep in his chair in front of the TV at night. 

Finally Sal went in for tests to discover he had a mild form of anemia which could be controlled by a change in his diet and adding supplements, especially vitamin B12. After a few months with new eating habits and supplements, Sal was his old self (minus the age factor of course) going toe to toe with his buddies on the field. 

Sal was fortunate that his form of anemia was easily reversed but what about Spiritual Anemia? In our bodies, if the red blood cells cannot be reproduced efficiently, we lose strength and exhibit signs of fatigue and lethargy. Spiritually, if our relationship with the Savior is neglected and becomes anemic, we display Biblical lethargy, fatigue and malaise. 

After his anemia scare, Sal realized that his walk with the Lord was anemic as well. But, contrary to his athletic endeavors, God does not require strong men, able to leap tall buildings. He requires obedient men, able to pray at a moment’s notice. 

Hosea 6:6  I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings. 

1 Peter 4:11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. 

James 5:16  Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 

2 Cor. 12:8-10  Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

Paul shatters our human ideals of strong, self-sufficient men, slugging their way through life, able to conquer all. The Apostle Paul, surely a man’s man, unfaltering in his desire to spread the Gospel under any circumstance, says he is pleased in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions and pressures. He is pleased! His weakness allows God’s strength to assume control. 

1 Corinthians 16:13 Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be brave and strong. Your every action must be done with love. 

Colossians 3:12-17   Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. 

Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. 

1 Peter 5:10-11 In his kindness God called you to his eternal glory by means of Jesus Christ. After you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power is his forever and ever. Amen 

Jesus Christ gave his own blood to cleanse our sins forever. Faith in Him is the cure for our spiritual anemia.