Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Faith in Action (James 2)

March 31, 2023

22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; James 2:22.

I love when I see people actively serving the Lord. For me there is nothing that compares to the beauty of Christ’s life being lived out in His people. In our focal text for today, James offers us examples of living out ones faith:

  • We see the example of people equally welcoming all people into church, James 2:1-7.
  • We see the example of people who love others as they love themselves, James 2:8-9.
  • We see the example of people who exhibit mercy towards others, James 2:13.
  • We see the example of people who care for the needy, James 2:15-16.

According to Scripture such people are exhibiting their faith by their works (2:18). I wonder, are you a person who’s faith is in action today? If it is, I give great praise to Jesus for His life being lived out through your life.

However, if this does not describe your life, I wonder what could be causing you not to be living out your faith with actions?

Here are some possiblities:

  1. Maybe some sin has come into your life which has caused you to lose fellowship with God, I John 1:1-8?
  2. Maybe you have slipped into apathy and your faith has become lukewarm, Rev. 3:14-19?
  3. Maybe you are going through a difficult trial where you are just holding on, James 1:2-4?
  4. Maybe you really don’t know Jesus?

Author Charles Simeon wrote:

” It is not a little love that God deserves, nor is it a little love He accepts. He blesses us with all His heart and all His might, and after that fashion we are to love Him.” (ESV Church History Study Bible, Pg. 1900)

Friends, ask yourself which of the above possibilities could be you if you are not living a life of faith in action? If it’s one of the first three, Scripture teaches us to “repent so the times of refreshing will come from the Lord,” Acts 3:19. If it is number 4, surrender your life to Jesus, Romans 10:13.

I believe the following to be so true: “Our actions reveal to the world the King who is in residence in our hearts and lives!”

Ask in Faith (James 1)

March 30, 2023

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

Every day it happens. It begins at the moment we wake up and it continues until we fall asleep at night. Yes, choices and decisions are always before us each day. In James one we read about choices and decisions. Here are three examples for your consideration:

  1. We face trails each day. Our choice is to either accept or avoid trials.
  2. We face temptations each day. Our choice is to either resist or give into the temptation.
  3. We face insults each day. Our choice is to either bless in return or to insult in return.

Certainly these are only a few of the many choices before us each day. However, no matter your choices and decisions there is a promise given by God. God says, if you ask Me, I will give you your answer. But God does not stop there. He says, if you ask in faith I will bless your choices, but if not, you will receive nothing from me.

Here is the deal. When we ask God, faith comes in when we both accept and apply what He has said.

Let’s apply this to our first example. When God releases a trail into your life, He directs you to ask Him how you are to walk through the trial. The Lord responds, embrace it and all it to mature your faith. Your response is to accept this as for your good. Your next response is to walk through the trail in fellowship with God. You are to seek his wisdom each step of the way. As you do, you are now walking in faith. At the end of each day you can say, God has blessed you to apply what He has said.

Oh how I pray that you are grasping this today. I am praying that each day we each would ask, accept, and apply the wisdom of God to every decision we make.

Helping Others (Galatians 6)

March 29, 2023

 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Someone has said the following, “Anyone who has a heart to help others will never be without something valuable to do.” Friends, the person who said this understood Galatians 6:2.

On this day, we come into understanding with this truth as we consider what God has said. Personally I know that in my circle of influence there is an abundance of people who have burdens. In my circle there are people who are experiencing the following burdens: They are sick, homebound, displaced, persecuted, and facing spiritual warfare in many different ways.

These people are my brothers and sisters. According to Scripture I am called to “bear their burdens.” This is a direct command from God. This command offers us a word picture which looks as follows. The look is of a person carrying a physical weight that has caused the person to come to a standstill because its all they can do to bear the weight. A brother or sister comes to help by joining them where they are and bearing the load with them.

This means that the person carrying the burden can now move forward because their burden was cut in half. Friends, how do we carry others burdens with them?

Here are a few ways we can accomplish this task: We can pray for the person. We can call the person and listen to where they are. We can go to their home or visit them in their time of need. We can financially share the load. We can share with them the wonderful love of Christ as we read the Bible to them. Above all we can share the gospel with our friends if they know not the Lord.

Now, here is a big moment. Why would we want to help others? This my friends, is the law of Christ (Matthew 13:34). Those who truly know and love Christ want to love their brothers and sisters, especially in times of need (I John 4:21). Martin Luther was correct when he offered commentary on this text:

“A Christian must have broad shoulders and sturdy bones to carry the flesh, that is to say, the weakness of others. Love is gentle, kind, and patient, not in receiving but in doing, for it has to overlook many things and bear with them.” (ESV Church History Study Bible, Pg. 1783)

Friends, Jesus taught us that as the Father had sent Him to bear our burdens, we who belong to Jesus are being sent to help carry the burdens of others.

I know you love Jesus and I want to tell you how thankful I am that you are helping others. It is truly making a lasting impact.

What the Lord has done (Galatians 5)

March 28, 2023

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

I am sure that most of us have meet people who feel the need to explain to us their self-success stories. I recently heard of a person who interacted with such a person and they said, it was hard listening to this person lift up themselves.

This morning I found myself asking God, do I lift up me instead of lifting up You? In Galatians 5 Paul has moved into the practical implications of the being saved by grace through faith (Gal. 2:16-17). Here we are reminded of both what God has done and now what we are to do with what He has done.

Here is what God has done:

  1. God has set us free from sin so we can serve Him (Gal. 5:1).

Friends, you and I could never in a 1000 lifetimes earn our salvation. Christ paid our debt in full on the cross. We, who come to Him by faith are set free from the bondage of sin and given a position of righteousness before Him.

2. God has given us the Spirit so we can live in freedom (Gal. 5:16).

The old man was defeated on the cross and the new man is new because the Spirit has made him new for the purpose of living a Christ-centered life.

Friends, let us praise His name for what He has done. But there is more. Jesus now has a work for us to do. Each day we must, according to Galatians 5, do our part in four ways:

  • Every morning we arise to submit to the fresh filling of the Holy Spirit.
  • Every day we are to walk in the Spirit being led by Him.
  • Every day we are to bear the Fruit of the Spirit.
  • Every day we are to keep in step with the Spirit.

Oh how I pray that if you meet me today you will see me as one who is living in a way where people can say, “look what the Lord is doing.” I am praying the same for your life as well. But there is more, I am praying that God leads us before others so that we can tell them the good news of what Jesus can and will do in their lives.

Good Morning Poppa! (Galatians 4)

March 27, 2023

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Galatians 4:4-6

Brothers and sisters, I love the verses before us this morning. In these verses we find the great truth of what theologian Charles Simeon wrote about in his commentary on these verses:

“We are reminded of the blessed Trinity and their distinct work in the economy of redemption. The Father sent the Son to work redemption for us and the Son sent the Holy Spirit to apply that redemption to us.” (ESV, Church History Study Bible, Pg. 1779).

Because of God’s work on our behalf, all Christ-followers have countless blessings in Him. Today I want to point out one of those blessings. It is the blessing of being able to speak to God the Father as our “Poppa.”

For those who have come into God’s family, this blessing is so important. I know in my own life, I could never speak clearly enough about what this means in the Christians life. For me, I have the honor of each morning of meeting with my Poppa before I meet with anyone else. Some call this time, their quiet time with God.

Friends, its anything but quiet. Every morning I get to talk with Him, not as a CEO or as one who has to explain everything to a boss, but as a son talking with his Father in Heaven. Each morning I listen as the Holy Spirt communicates to me through the Word the will of the Father. Each morning He impresses on my heart what God intends for my day. Through the day there is a constant fellowship and communication with Him. At the end of the day, I lastly speak to my Poppa who will guard my sleep during the night.

Friends, none of this would be possible without Jesus coming in the fullness of time and without Jesus purchasing my redemption. This could not be mine apart from the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Question: Surely you are not waisting what you have been given?

Please do not get up in the morning and bypass your time with God. Please do not forget to follow His lead during the day. I need the Lord more than I need water.

If you find yourself slacking in faith or at a standstill, I encourage you to set aside time with our Poppa so that He can lead you to a place of thriving again in your faith.

Oh, by the way, this always leads me to worship Him. Here is the song I sang to Him this morning. It’s entitled Build my life.

Worthy of every song we could ever sing
Worthy of all the praise we could ever bring
Worthy of every breath we could ever breathe
We live for You, oh, we live for You

Jesus, the Name above every other name
Jesus, the only One who could ever save
Worthy of every breath we could ever breathe
We live for You, we live for You

Holy, there is no one like You
There is none beside You
Open up my eyes in wonder
And show me who You are
And fill me with Your heart
And lead me in Your love to those around me

Jesus, the Name above every other name
Jesus, the only One who could ever save
Worthy of every breath we could ever breathe
We live for You, oh, we live for You

Holy, there is no one like You
There is none beside You
Open up my eyes in wonder
And show me who You are
And fill me with Your heart
And lead me in Your love to those around me

And I will build my life upon Your love
It is a firm foundation
And I will put my trust in You alone
And I will not be shaken
And I will build my life upon Your love
It is a firm foundation
And I will put my trust in You alone
And I will not be shaken

Holy, there is no one like You
There is none beside You
Open up my eyes in wonder
And show me who You are
And fill me with Your heart
And lead me in Your love to those around me

I will build my life upon You

Lead me in Your love

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Matthew James Redman / Karl Martin / Kirby Kaple / Brett Steven Younker / Joseph Patrick Martin Barrett

Build My Life lyrics © Songs, Sixsteps Music, Said And Done Music, Thankyou Music Ltd., Capitol Cmg Genesis, Bethel Music Publishing, Housefires Sounds, Kaplemusic

How does it Happen? (Galatians 3)

March 24, 2023

 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith,” Galatians 3:5.

Sometimes I find myself wondering why every Christian is not growing in their walk with Christ. I do not bring this as an accusation or in arrogance. I bring this as an honest topic because I truly want to be a blessing to the Body of Christ. I truly believe every Christian should desire to help the brothers and sisters to be elevated and equipped to grow in their faith.

So here is the question for today: How does a person grow in their faith?

In Galatians 3, God gives us our answer. Our growth begins with birth. Jesus Christ went to cross so that we could be born again to a new life (3:2). This gift of a new life is delivered to us by the Holy Spirit (3:3). The birthed believer grows as he or she is led by the Spirit (3:3) and the Word of God.

Maybe your response at this point is this, Keith I know these things but how do I live these things out? Oh this is a great question. Here is what Scripture teaches:

  1. Each day, intentionally choose to submit your day (at the start) to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Each day, walk by faith in trusting what God has said in His Word, (3:11).
  3. Each day, resist the urge to live life in the flesh, (John 6:63).

Scripture offers us the example of Abraham in this chapter. God spoke to Abraham and he by faith believed in God (3:11). So each morning he arose and said, here I am Lord. Each day he lived by faith claiming the promises of God. (Romans 4:20 “He did not waver at the promise but grew stronger with each day…” Each day he resisted the old way of living.

Because of such faith Scripture identifies Abraham as “The Man of faith.” (3:9).

Question: do you want to be a man or woman of faith?

If your answer is yes, start walking the steps of faith. If you are already growing in your faith, I commend you and I say, thank you for evidencing faith for so many around you. If you are not growing in your faith, start walking in faith, carrying out the steps the Lord has given you.

I can tell you that I never regret any day when I give it over to Him!!! Bless you man or woman of Faith.

The Life I Now Live (Galatians 2)

March 23, 2023

20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Question, How long have you been in God’s family? Oh, I would love to hear your answer and the story that goes with it. The reason I place this question before you is simply because of what I am going to write about today.

I believe the longer a person is in God’s family the easier it is to forget, slack off, or to take for granted all that God has done in your life. Galatians 2 offers us great reminders of what God has done so that we can live a life of freedom in Christ. Allow me to place two things that God has done for you before you:

  1. God has taken your place and my place on the cross.

Jesus took upon Himself God’s wrath so that we could take His life. Paul, in Galatians 2, stood up against those who would attempt to teach others that we are saved by our keeping of the 10 commandments. He stood up against those who would rob humanity of the truth of the gospel.

Friends, do you realize we cheapen the gospel every time we forget to praise Him for what He alone could do? Do you realize that every time you enjoy His blessings without giving Him the honor is due Him, you are casting a shadow over the gospel. The life we now live in Christ is attributed to Christ alone.

2. God has taken away your spiritually dead life and replaced it with spiritual life.

Yes, this life we live in freedom from sins control and sins pain is a gift from God. We now walk in freedom in Christ because of all He has done in our lives.

As I think about just the past month, I realize how much I have been given in Him. In the last month I have been able to serve Him. I have not had open scandal in my life. I have not been entrapped in the old ways of life. I have been blessed to sleep with my wife and love my family. I have been blessed to go to church and read His Word every day.

Friends, I don’t write those things to elevate me, but to exalt Him. If left to my own self all the above would not be possible. Jesus did it all.

Maybe you ask, Keith what are you saying? I am saying this: Let us live this life intentionally thanking Him for what He has done and let us intentionally serve Him knowing we owe everything to Him.

If you find yourself slacking off in praise to Him, take time to consider all He has done for you. I am sure this will lead to a time of praise!!!

It is God’s Will (Galatians 1)

March 22, 2023

who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Galatians 1:4-5

Of all the phrases of Christianity that are spoken by Christians, I believe the phrase “God’s will” is spoken more than any other phrase. People go into great detail defining God’s will. Even more people tell others what is God’s will and how they are doing God’s will. But the question still remains, what is God’s will.

Here in Galatians 1 we gain a deeper understanding of God’s will. Oh how important this is to our lives today. God’s will is not something that is hidden and only revealed to those with super religious ability. His will is revealed to people freely by grace and is carried out by the exercise called faith.

In Galatians 1 we read about God’s will. Notice two revelations of God’s will:

  1. Jesus gave Himself for our sins (Gal. 1:4).

God reveals, in His Word, how that Jesus came and took our place before the Judgment Bar of God. Jesus according to Romans 4:25 was “delivered up for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.” Because of God’s will you and I can be saved.

2. Jesus rescues us from the present evil age (Gal. 1:4).

Brothers and sisters, the world system both controls and clings to the life of every person who enters the arena of this life. Every soul follows the course of this world (Eph. 2:1-3). This course is Hell bound and this course carries as many people as it can to Hell itself. However, it is God’s will to rescue all who would come to Him.

Oh how wonderful is the will of God. In Galatians 1, Paul offered his own testimony of God’s will. Paul wrote, “God was pleased to reveal His Son to me, in which that I might preach Him among the Gentiles,” (Gal. 1:16).

Friends, this is God’s will still this very day.

Today I offered to God this very prayer, “Father, I pray that all Your children would position themselves before others for the purpose of revealing Your will to sinners. I ask that You empower them to see eyes and minds opened to the will of God. Father, thank you for both doing something and revealing this something to us. Yes, You came to redeem and rescue us from our sins. I love You for your wonderful will.”

Remembering others (Hebrews 13)

March 21, 2023

 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Hebrews 13:3

I find it so true that there is little time to remember what happened yesterday because there is so much to do in this day. I am sure some are saying, amen as you read this blog.

This morning I found a great challenge in Scripture to slow down and take the time to remember the following things:

  1. We are to remember the brothers and sisters who are confined throughout the world. Who are these people? These are those who are confined for their faith in prisons around the world. These are also those who are confined as shut-ins in their homes and who are in assisted living as well as nursing homes. God calls us to remember these in prayer in in visiting them in their time of need.

2. We are to remember our leaders. These are those who have cared for us, taught us, modeled life for us, and have mentored us along the way.

3. We are to remember Jesus Christ. He is the one who is the same yesterday, today, and forever more. We are to “continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise to our Lord,” Vs: 15.

4. We are to do good and share what we have. Friends, God’s increase of our boarders is for the purpose of blessing others.

5. We are to pray for others without ceasing.

6. We are to do His will. Friends, this last one is so vital to remember. If we are focused on doing His will we will easily remember the things above because it is His will for us to remember.

Lastly, I want to say “thank you” to each of you who read our weekly blogs. Because of you I am daily challenged to be obedient to both studying and sharing God’s Word.

Joining the Hall of Faith (Hebrews 12)

March 20, 2023

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1

Each year sports organizations induct a select number of people to be inducted into their sports halls of fame. The people who are selected have risen above others to excel in whatever sport they were apart for. In yesterdays readings we were reminded that God does not have a hall of fame but He has a hall of faith.

Question: Have you joined His hall of faith?

The hall of faith is not just for those who have done great feats of faith like the Apostles, the great preachers of the ages, or those who gave their lives for the faith. The hall of faith is for those who have come to know Him (the only one who worthy of fame) and they have completed the “race that was set before them.”

This was a truly humbling reminder for me this day. You and I are called not to run the faith race of someone else’s calling, but for our own journey. Yes, God has specific assignments for each of us to run. I pray you have come to know what yours really is and I pray that you are running well.

The question that we might have is this, how do we arrive in the hall of faith? Here in Hebrews 2:1-2 we find our steps:

  1. We are to lay aside two things:

First, we are to lay aside the weights that would keep us from running our race. The weights could be roadblocks of our own making or the roadblocks of the enemy. The weights could be the sin nature of this life, which we were born with. In Ephesians Paul writes, “take off the old man,” Eph. 4:22-24.

Second, we are to lay aside sin itself. One cannot run two separate races at the same time.

2. We are to run for Jesus.

This means that we are live according to God’s Word. We do not live in a way were we set our own course, live by our own code, or speak as we choose. We cannot run for Jesus part-time. We are called to be full-time with Jesus.

3. We are to look to Jesus.

From beginning to end our journey is about Him. We are His apprentices because He is the founder and finisher of our faith. This Jesus is to be our example (Vs: 3-4). In Him we find our model and our Messiah. In Him we find reason to pick up the pace or to get back on track in our race.

Friends, let us stay in the race and even running harder because the day is coming when we will be called up to the Great Hall of Faith!!!