It’s Not Optional??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 10 No. 17

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 10 No.17    It’s Not Optional???

 

I’d like us to take some time today to consider Who we belong to. Even we who follow Jesus, often spend so much time thinking about ‘self’ that we fall into the trap of the world and order our lives without due consideration of what God and His Son Jesus are calling us to “be” and ‘do’! We often forget that we have given our life to Jesus! We also seem to forget that we belong to Jesus when we choose to trust Him, believing in His substitutionary, atoning sacrifice for our sin, and His saving grace that we have received.

What?

know ye not that your body

is the temple

of the Holy Ghost

which is in you,

which ye have of God,

and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price:

therefore glorify God

in your body,

and in your spirit,

which are God’s.”    1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Jesus makes it clear that we are either His children or we are the children of the enemy of mankind; and when we belong to Jesus, we are called to “take up our cross and follow” Him! He calls us to die to self and live unto HIM in all our ways, and that is not optional. Let’s consider the commands of Jesus and what He both calls us to be and do, as well as what He warns us about in our future when we do! What “god” are you sacrificing yourself to? (See Eph.2)

This is my commandment,

That ye love one another,

as I have loved you.

13 Greater love hath no man than this,

that a man lay down his life

for his friends.

14 Ye are my friends,

if ye do whatsoever I command you.

15 Henceforth I call you not servants;

for the servant knoweth not

what his lord doeth:

but I have called you friends;

for all things that I have heard

of my Father

I have made known unto you.

16 Ye have not chosen me,

but I have chosen you,

and ordained you,

that ye should go

and bring forth fruit,

and that your fruit should remain:

that whatsoever ye shall ask

of the Father

in my name,

he may give it you.

17 These things I command you,

that ye love one another.

18 If the world hate you,

ye know that it hated me

before it hated you.

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.

20 Remember the word that I said unto you,

The servant is not greater

than his lord.

If they have persecuted me,

they will also persecute you;

if they have kept my saying,

they will keep yours also.

21 But all these things will they do unto you

for my name’s sake,

because they know not him

that sent me.”   John 15:12-21

This is a message that we don’t hear much about these days! When we hear about persecution of believers, we often consider it optional, or inconceivable that Christians should suffer for their faith. But Jesus Himself told us that it would come. He wanted to prepare us for the truth that when we choose to follow Him, to trust in Him as our Lord and Savior, we could expect to be treated as HE was—when we act as HE did. Speaking the truth of God to a lost and dying world. Speaking HIS truth in love! The love of God that enables us to recognize truth, and reject the lies of the enemy—and we do have an enemy.

Jesus said unto them,

If God were your Father,

ye would love me:

for I proceeded forth and came from God;

neither came I of myself,

but he sent me.

43 Why do ye not understand my speech?

even because ye cannot hear my word.

44 Ye are of your father the devil,

and the lusts of your father

ye will do.

He was a murderer

from the beginning,

and abode not in the truth,

because there is no truth in him.

When he speaketh a lie,

he speaketh of his own:

for he is a liar,

and the father of it.

45 And because I tell you the truth,

ye believe me not.” John 8:42-45

Truth is spiritually discerned, and only God can reveal Himself and His truth to each of us!

But as it is written,

Eye hath not seen,

nor ear heard,

neither have entered into the heart of man,

the things which God hath prepared

for them that love him.

10 But God hath revealed them unto us

by his Spirit:

for the Spirit searcheth all things,

yea, the deep things of God.

11 For what man knoweth the things of a man,

save the spirit of man

which is in him?

even so the things of God

knoweth no man,

but the Spirit of God.

12 Now we have received,

not the spirit of the world,

but the spirit

which is of God;

that we might know the things

that are freely given to us

of God.

13 Which things also we speak,

not in the words

which man’s wisdom teacheth,

but which the Holy Ghost teacheth;

comparing spiritual things

with spiritual.

14 But the natural man

receiveth not the things

of the Spirit of God:

for they are foolishness unto him:

neither can he know them,

because they are spiritually

discerned.”   1 Corinthians 2:9-14

I simply want to call each of us to consider that serving Jesus with our whole being isn’t optional—it is the call of God on every child of HIS!

But as many as received him,

to them gave he power

to become the sons of God,

even to them that believe

on his name:

13 Which were born,

not of blood,

nor of the will of the flesh,

nor of the will of man,

but of God.” John 1:12-13

Are you and I behaving like “sons of God”, or have we allowed the tarnish of the world to dim His glory in us? Have you come to Jesus, and received His life-transforming new birth? Have you heard the voice of God calling you to Himself? If you have heard His voice, I pray that you will receive Him today! You can only come when HIS Spirit draws and calls to repentance and faith—that revealing of truth to lost and darkened hearts! Or do you have ears that don’t hear and eyes that won’t see?

And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.” Isaiah 6:9

For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.” Isaiah 64:4

Only God can open blinded eyes, and stopped up ears! But He will open them for those who will respond to His call.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:

no man cometh unto the Father,

but by me.” John 14:6

No man can come to me,

except the Father which hath sent me

draw him:

and I will raise him up at the last day.

45 It is written in the prophets,

And they shall be all taught of God.

Every man therefore that hath heard,

and hath learned of the Father,

cometh unto me.” John 6:44-45

Jesus is growing His own into His image, and He works tirelessly accomplishing His work in us (See Ro. 8:28-29)! Do you have eyes and ears that are open to the Savior? If so, yield to His work in your heart, mind and life today, if you know Him. Won’t you renew your devotion and commitment to Jesus, and walk in His ways, reflecting His Glory and His Word!!! . If you don’t know Him, you can!

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23

Only one cause—SIN!!! Only One cure—JESUS!!!

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

The choice is optional—the consequence is NOT!!! The choice is yours! Choose wisely, there is a test!

What About Tomorrow??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #408

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #408 What About Tomorrow???

 

We all get caught up in the rush to tomorrow, but Jesus told us clearly that we are to live in “the now” not the “then”! Jesus calls us to fully live today without “fretting” about what tomorrow may bring. As the old gospel song says, “I don’t know about tomorrow, but I know WHO holds my hand”! Our confidence is in who ‘has’ tomorrow, not what tomorrow ‘has’; and my friends, JESUS had it, has it, will have it and HE not only knows what is there, He know what He is going to do for us, in us and through us as we keep our “eyes fixed on Jesus”!

Therefore take no thought, saying,

What shall we eat?

or, What shall we drink?

or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32 (For after all these things

do the Gentiles seek:)

for your heavenly Father knoweth

that ye have need

of all these things.

33 But seek ye first

the kingdom of God,

and his righteousness;

and all these things

shall be added unto you.

34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow:

for the morrow

shall take thought

for the things of itself.

Sufficient unto the day

is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6:31-34

There is enough evil to go around, so we don’t have to spend our time fretting and worrying about what lies ahead, we just need to keep our eyes focused on JESUS, His will, His ways, and His faithful provision for every step we take TODAY! And as we “seek ye first the kingdom of God” God will provide the necessities of life! But He did NOT promise a life of ease and pleasure, rather He calls us to a contented life of devotion, sacrifice and often persecution.

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.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8

Ouch! That’s almost un-American, isn’t it? Well even if it is, it’s God’s truth and we need to readjust our lives to God, not try to squeeze God into our “materialistic” mold, for we are also warned that it may cost us something to follow Jesus!

Yea, and all that will live godly

in Christ Jesus

shall suffer persecution.”   2 Timothy 3:12

We need to “pray without ceasing” because praying today will prepare us for whatever tomorrow brings! Remember, God NEVER says “ooooops”! And as we think of prayer I’d just like to close our session today with one of my favorite prayers from the Bible.

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire

that ye might be filled with the knowledge

of his will

in all wisdom

and spiritual understanding;     

10 That ye might walk worthy

of the Lord

unto all pleasing,

being fruitful in every good work,

and increasing in the knowledge

of God;

11 Strengthened with all might,

according to his glorious power,

unto all patience

and longsuffering

with joyfulness;

12 Giving thanks unto the Father,

which hath made us meet

to be partakers

of the inheritance

of the saints

in light:

13 Who hath delivered us

from the power of darkness,

and hath translated us

into the kingdom of his dear Son:

14 In whom we have redemption

through his blood,

even the forgiveness of sins:

15 Who is the image

of the invisible God,

the firstborn

of every creature:     Colossians 1:9-15

This is my prayer for you today! May we ever pray this for ourselves, and all of those in our circle of influence? May we ever be seeking “His kingdom” and “His righteousness” first and foremost, trusting our daily cares to HIM who “hath delivered us from the power of darkness”! Ever being sure we’re seeking HIM rather than always asking ourselves, “What about tomorrow?” Have a blessed day TODAY, my friend!

For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”    Romans 11:36

Leading To Or Following What??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #407

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #407 Leading To Or Following What???

 

Be ye followers of me,

even as I also am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1

We are to be followers of Jesus, and as part of the body of Christ Jesus, we are to lead one another to the cross. Paul called those he had influence over to be followers of him, “as I also am of Christ”! And friends, that is the only thing that we can trust in. As we follow anyone, the litmus test must be “Are they following Jesus and His Word?” It’s truly all about Jesus, and He calls us to testify of His Gospel, and to encourage and call each other to the cross!!!

Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17

We are to be iron sharpening iron—helping one another! We are called to be iron, not plastic—changing shape with every wind of change around us.

For when they speak

great swelling words

of vanity,

they allure through the lusts of the flesh,

through much wantonness,

those that were clean escaped from them

who live in error.” 2 Peter 2:18

There have always been false teachers and leaders around:

But there were false prophets

also among the people,

even as there shall be false teachers

among you,

who privily shall bring in

damnable heresies,

even denying the Lord that bought them,

and bring upon themselves

swift destruction.” 2 Peter 2:1

We must beware of those who twist the Word of God, and to do that we must know The Word for ourselves, so we won’t be led astray. In fact, one of the words used in this passage to describe these false teacher’s words, is a root that we get our English word “plastic” from! In other words they “molded” their words to fit the listeners! We must know truth to discern whether others are speaking truth or error!

That we henceforth be no more children,                           

tossed to and fro,

and carried about

with every wind of doctrine,

by the sleight of men,

and cunning craftiness,

whereby they lie in wait

to deceive;

15 But speaking the truth in love,

may grow up

into him

in all things,

which is the head,

even Christ:” Ephesians 4:14-15

And we can only gain maturity as we dig out the truth for ourselves, by searching the scriptures.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God,

a workman

that needeth not to be ashamed,

rightly dividing the word of truth.”   2 Timothy 2:15

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica,

in that they received the word

with all readiness of mind,

and searched the scriptures daily,

whether those things were so.

12 Therefore many of them believed;

also of honourable women

which were Greeks,

and of men, not a few.” Acts 17:11-12

May we be like the Bereans, who “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so”; measuring everything we hear and read by the Word of God, to know if any person is speaking the truth or error. We are not to be blind to the lies of false teachers, but know the truth so as to recognize and discern the things that we hear and see, whether it’s truth or error.

Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” Matthew 15:14

Rather than blind, we are to have our eyes opened by truth.

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” Ephesians 1:18

May we have only one message—the truth of Jesus Christ our Lord and His Word (Which IS Jesus! See John 1)!

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”   2 Corinthians 4:5

Who are you following? Who are you leading? Where? We are either leading people “to” the cross, or away “from” it! Are you on the broad road or the narrow? There is a test!

That’s NOT Compromise Is It? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 10 No. 16

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 10 No.16 That’s NOT Compromise Is It?

 

I am crucified with Christ:

nevertheless I live;

yet not I,

but Christ liveth in me:

and the life which I now live

in the flesh

I live by

the faith

of the Son of God,

who loved me,

and gave himself for me.”    Galatians 2:20

Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ”, and many find that an extreme idea. What is Paul calling us to do? He, along with our Savior, has called us to live a life that is “crucified with Christ”—a life that is lived in the power of the cross! The cross, an instrument of death; a method of execution that our Savior endured for you and me! Yet we so easily disregard this call to the crucified life, believing that God is more concerned about our “happiness” than our “holiness”! God is concerned with working in our lives that we will be “conformed to the image of His Son”! And my friends, that isn’t a painless journey!

Even Jesus addressed this idea of the “crucified” life.

Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes,

and be slain,

and be raised the third day.

23 And he said to them all,

If any man will come after me,

let him deny himself,

and take up his cross

daily,

and follow me.

24 For whosoever will save his life

shall lose it:

but whosoever will lose his life

for my sake,

the same shall shall save it.

25 For what is a man advantaged,

if he gain the whole world,

and lose himself, or be cast away?”    Luke 9:22-25

Jesus clearly tells us that anyone who will “come after me” must “take up his cross daily” to follow Jesus! And taking up “your” cross means dying to self, because “Christ liveth in me”! And if Jesus lives “in me”, then I can trust Him to enable me to live out my faith in HIM, because I now can live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me”! Jesus gave it all on the cross for you and me, He brought in the “New Covenant”, which is the imparting of the indwelling Holy Spirit to every believer. And if I will yield to HIS work and directing in my heart, I can walk in obedience and victory by HIS power!

So what does this have to do with “compromise”? Well, compromise has many meanings, but the one that we will consider today is:

Compromise: to make a dishonorable or shameful concession.

When we settle for anything less than that which The Holy Spirit is leading us to know, be or do, it is a concession to something less than God’s best for us. Paul reminded us of the high calling of the cross.

I beseech you therefore, brethren,

by the mercies of God,

that ye present your bodies

a living sacrifice,

holy,

acceptable unto God,

which is your reasonable service.

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. Romans 12:1-2

God calls us to be a “living sacrifice” unto HIM!!! That is the crucified life, which we can only live successfully through the “mercies of God”—His power working in us by HIS Holy Spirit, our “reasonable service”! He also calls us to “be not conformed to this world”! Conformed means shaped like, in other words, we not to allow the world to make us into its image—because we are being “conformed” to the image of Jesus! You can’t do both!!! Anything less than the “transformed” life IS compromise, for transformed means “made new”—it’s from the Greek word that we know as “metamorphosis”, a caterpillar being “transformed” into a butterfly! Are we renewing our minds with God’s Word? Are we yielding to His Spirit and dying to our fleshly desires? Not easy, but by God’s mercies and His Holy Spirit we can live a crucified life victoriously!

This I say then,

Walk in the Spirit,

and ye shall not fulfil the lust

of the flesh.

17 For the flesh lusteth

against the Spirit,

and the Spirit

against the flesh:

and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would……

25 If we live in the Spirit,

let us also walk in the Spirit.”    Galatians 5:16-17 & 25

We are to walk in the Spirit not the flesh, because the flesh will compromise every time! But when we die to ourselves and live unto Jesus, we can have HIS power for every day living, we can live daily in “newness of life”!

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

4 Therefore we are buried with him

by baptism

into death:

that like as Christ was raised up

from the dead

by the glory of the Father,

even so we also should walk

in newness of life.

5 For if we have been planted together

in the likeness of his death,

we shall be also

in the likeness

of his resurrection:” Romans 6:3-5.   (This whole chapter would be beneficial to read!)

We can walk in resurrection power, when we yield to The Holy Spirit of God/Jesus. We can walk in that newness of “life”—the “life” of Jesus in us.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

So our question for today is, “Are we living the crucified life—the new life in Jesus Christ?” Or are we so caught up in the compromise of the world that we’ve missed the crucified life? Are you following Jesus or your flesh; Jesus or the world; Jesus of popular opinion? Only you can answer these questions, but I’d like to leave you with a few scriptures to think on this week, a few verses to help you assess your living by The Word Of God.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”    Romans 8:28-31

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds😉 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”   2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Finally, brethren,

whatsoever things are true,

whatsoever things are honest,

whatsoever things are just,

whatsoever things are pure,

whatsoever things are lovely,

whatsoever things are of good report;

if there be any virtue,

and if there be any praise,

think on these things.”    Philippians 4:8

If you will “think on these things” you will find that you will grow and learn to recognize “compromise” which you may not be seeing now. God calls us to live the crucified life because it is a wonderful life to live in union with His Holy Spirit, who dwells within every genuine believer. Are you following Jesus? Are you following the world? Are you allowing the world to shape your life into its mold? Satan is busy in these last days, but we can have victory IN JESUS!

Ye are of God, little children,

and have overcome them:

because greater is he that is in you,

than he that is in the world.

5 They are of the world:

therefore speak they of the world,

and the world heareth them.

6 We are of God:

he that knoweth God

heareth us;

he that is not of God

heareth not us.

Hereby know we the spirit of truth,

and the spirit of error.

7 Beloved, let us love one another:

for love is of God;

and every one that loveth

is born of God,

and knoweth God.” 1 John 4:4-7

Blessings on your week as your pursue the crucified life instead of compromise! For “greater is he”!!!

Leading Or Mis-Leading??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #406

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #406    Leading Or Mis-Leading???

 

We all hear about someone having the “leading” role in some theatrical production, or even as children we all played follow the “leader”, and little school children love to be picked as the “leader” for the day. Most everyone wants to be a leader at one time or another, but what kind of leader are we being? And like it or not, we are all a leader in someone else’s life! So m y question for us today is a question that Dietrich Bonheoffer posed many years ago, will you “be a leader or a ‘mis-leader’”? The only way that we can be a true and faithful leader is to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, the creator, savior and Lord of all!

Jesus calls us to follow Him, and as we follow Christ faithfully, we can rest secure as others follow us.

For though ye have ten thousand instructors

in Christ,

yet have ye not many fathers:

for in Christ Jesus

I have begotten you

through the gospel.

16 Wherefore I beseech you,

be ye followers of me.

17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus,

who is my beloved son,

and faithful in the Lord,

who shall bring you into remembrance

of my ways

which be in Christ,

as I teach every where in every church.” 1 Corinthians 4:15-17

Paul called the Corinthians to be “followers of me” as he was a faithful ‘follower’ and Apostle of Jesus, leading them in “my ways which be in Christ”! What way are we leading those who are following us? There is a great responsibility for each of us, and the example we set for others ought to be faithful and true to God and His Word! Just as Jesus called us to follow Him, and sacrifice “self” to HIM!

And he said to them all,

If any man will come after me,

let him deny himself,

and take up his cross daily,

and follow me.

24 For whosoever will save his life

shall lose it:

but whosoever will lose his life

for my sake,

the same shall save it.”   Luke 9:23-24

We must loose ourselves ‘in’ Jesus, but we must also ‘come’ after Him with all our will, giving ourselves to following Him deliberately and consistently. Then, and only then, can others see HIM in us, and we will be leading them “to Jesus” and not to ‘self’! And we can only do this by the power that Jesus gives to those who are His, the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus gives to those who come to Him in repentance and faith! And when we come to Jesus we are to abide in HIM and not the world; and then Jesus can be seen by those who are following us, for without HIM we will never lead them in the right direction!

I am the true vine,

and my Father is the husbandman.

2 Every branch in me

that beareth not fruit

he taketh away:

and every branch that beareth fruit,

he purgeth it,

that it may bring forth more fruit.

3 Now ye are clean

through the word

which I have spoken unto you.

4 Abide in me,

and I in you.

As the branch

cannot bear fruit

of itself,

except it abide

in the vine;

no more can ye,

except ye abide in me.

5 I am the vine,

ye are the branches:

He that abideth in me,

and I in him,

the same bringeth forth

much fruit:

for without me ye can do nothing.”   John 15:1-5

May we “abide” in Jesus! His work being seen in us, by the power of HIS Spirit, so others, who are following us, will see HIM! And that’s what it’s all about. Being leaders and never “mis-leaders”, as we die to self and live unto Jesus! Lead on dear friends—lead on as “Christ liveth in me”! Press on! Lead on—someone is following YOU!!!

I am crucified with Christ:

nevertheless I live;

yet not I,

but Christ liveth in me:

and the life which I now live

in the flesh

I live by the faith

of the Son of God,

who loved me,

and gave himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20