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No Other Gospel – Paul Called by God

Galatians 1:10-12 (NIV) says, 10 “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.
Paul’s Message Comes from Christ
11 Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the Gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. 12 I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ.”

Undoubtedly the Judaizers had accused Paul of compromise, saying that he taught freedom from the Jewish law to the Gentiles in order to be a people pleaser and thus win as many converts as possible. But Paul explained that his purpose was always to please God.

Paul’s use of the word still offers a glimpse into his inner self and his past life as a Pharisee. Paul understood that by living a strict, law-abiding, judgmental, and appearance—focused life of a Pharisee, his goal had really been to please people. Religious and pious people may receive mountains of praise for their supposed character and good works. Christians are rarely accorded such praise. Thus if Paul were trying to please people, he would not be Christ’s servant. As there is no compromise with the truth, there is no compromise for the Christian with “this evil world” (Galatians 1:4). The life of serving Christ does not put people in the limelight, offer great material rewards, or promise worldly security. Thus, if Paul wanted to please people, he could have chosen many other routes or stayed a Jewish Pharisee.

Much of church growth philosophy centers on a “market” approach, discovering what people want and need. For a culture that treats God and the Bible as irrelevant, this approach may be the only way to break through barriers. But we must have our motives clearly understood. If our desire is to please people, our packaging of the gospel may take priority over the content. If our purpose is evangelism, then reaching people through felt needs can be legitimate. We must not forget that our allegiance to Christ comes first. We must never water down his authority in the life of a believer in order to bring him or her into a church.

In verse 1, Paul had introduced himself as appointed by God. As Paul launched into a repudiation of those who would refuse to recognize his authority as an apostle, he began at the beginning. Paul wanted the Galatian believers to be assured that he was an apostle – called separately from the Twelve and received as an equal by the Twelve.

The Good News that Paul preached was the true gospel, not any false gospel, as he had discussed in verses 6-9. The gospel Paul taught was not based on mere human reasoning or logic—that is, it was not a belief or doctrine handed down to him through Jewish tradition.

The Judaizers, refusing to acknowledge Paul as an apostle, most likely claimed that Paul owed his salvation and gospel knowledge to Peter and James in Jerusalem and that he had to turn to them for approval and support of his teaching. But, as Paul would point out, he had become a believer before he ever met these leaders in the Christian church. Nor was Paul taught the Gospel. As a young man, Paul had sat at the feet of Gamaliel, learning by rote and repetition the Hebrew Law and Scriptures. But that was not the Gospel, nor could it give salvation.

Instead, the message Paul preached came by direct revelation from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. We do not know the extent or manner of this revelation. Paul could be referring to his vision of Christ on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-6), to the time after Ananias returned Paul’s sight (Acts 9:17-19), to the three years spent in Arabia (Galatians 1:17-18), or to his ongoing contact with Christ in his ministry (Acts 9:19-22; 22:17-18). Paul was probably referring to something more than his Damascus road experience. Paul didn’t say it, but he implied at this point: “How can anyone doubt my authority? How can anyone doubt the divinely revealed truth about Jesus Christ?”

Paul believed that the peace he had received in Christ was not obtainable from any earthly sources. It had been revealed to him. Peace is the subject of many popular self-help books and the theme of many hot-line telephone numbers. But peace is not to be spoon-fed into our lives like cereal, nor is it instantly derived from our disciplines. Peace is revealed. If God does not show us both its meaning and its source, we will not possess it. Consider the verses in today’s reading and ask yourself, “What did Paul’s acceptance of a higher will really mean in relationship to his service to others?” It meant this: Paul could really minister to others once the turmoil from his own heart and life had been removed. Notice his testimony in the verses that immediately follow.

“For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it … But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus” (Galatians 1:13, 15-17). We need to remember that the voice that spoke to Paul on the Damascus road said to him, “It is hard for you to kick against the goads” (Acts 26:14). The implication here seems to be that Paul’s conscience was far from settled with regard to his persecution of Christians. Into his troubled thoughts, God spoke and Paul finally found peace.

            Great ideas gain acceptance very slowly in stubborn hearts. Peace comes equally slowly. In fact, peace usually gets a little blood on its tranquility before trowelled hearts come to acceptance. The human hearts is subject to turmoil, but our Lord Jesus Christ enters our hearts to save us, and a calm falls over all our agitation like oil falls on water. Jesus and turmoil cannot coexist for long within any human heart. Where Jesus is, there is peace (Colossians 3:15). Peace is ours when we have accepted a higher will. When Paul accepted the call of God, he began to minister in ways he might never have imagined. He was freed to bring peace to others out of his own peace. When we focus on the will of God in our lives, we find peace, and we find that we can spread that peace to others.

An Invitation to Meet our Lord Jesus Christ

We hope that our “Home Fellowship Churches” has not only helped all of you understand and experience more about the Bible, and first and foremost, knowing the Way, the Truth, and the Life at this moment of adversities especially this COVID-19., forced us to – Stay At Home.

Perhaps it has also caused you to think seriously about your own relationship with God. If your life were to end today or tomorrow, God forbid -, and it certainly will someday – what valid reason would you give the living God that you should spend eternity in heaven?

If you have always assumed that “being a good person” or “not killing anybody” was the requirement for heaven, that is not a correct assumption. The Bible says we have all sinned and that our sins separate us from a holy and loving God. No human being can be good enough to qualify for heaven. That is why our Lord Jesus Christ came, that is why our Lord Jesus allowed Himself to be put to death on a Cross, and that is why He conquered death by His resurrection. The only way to be assured of eternal life is to depend completely on the grace and mercy of God expressed through Jesus Christ.

If you would like to be certain of your eternal destiny and begin a new relationship [not new religion] with God today – you can do both in the next few moments – here is how:

  1. First, you need to recognize and acknowledge that you need God’s forgiveness offered only in Jesus Christ.

All have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet now God in His gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. [Romans 3:23-24]

  • You must repent of your sin – that is, turn away from anything in your life that you know to be wrong before God – and resolve to walk in a path that is obedient to our Lord Jesus Christ. Each of you must turn from your sins and turn to God. [Acts 2:38]
  • You must walk ask Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to give you spiritual rebirth and to come and live in you. Our Lord Jesus Christ replied, “I assure you, unless you are born again, you can never see the Kingdom of God.” [John 3:3] “Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear Me calling and open the door, I will come in.” [Revelation 3:20]
  • You must commit yourself completely to knowing, loving, and serving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior for the rest of your life.

The apostle Paul said, “I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us to heaven.” [Philippians 3:13-14]

I invite and encourage you to begin your new life with our Lord Jesus Christ today. You can take the steps outlined above by talking to God just as you would to a friend and/or just as you are. You can pray something like this:

Dear God,

I acknowledge that I have sinned – intentionally or unintentionally – and that I fall short of your standard of perfect goodness and holiness. I know that I cannot save myself by good works. I believe that Jesus Christ, Your Son, died on the Cross to pay for my sins, that He rose from the dead to give me the hope of eternal life, and that one day He will return to take me to be with Him in heaven forever. Lord Jesus Christ, I ask you to forgive my sins. Please send your Holy Spirit into my life and begin to teach me and shape me as you wish. I commit myself to knowing, loving, and serving you as my personal Savior and Lord for the rest of my life. Please help me to do that, in the name of Jesus, Amen!

You do not need to pray exactly those words. Just talk to God honestly from your heart. He will hear you and understand. You may or may not feel anything special as you talk to Him, but if you genuinely want to belong to Christ, rest assured that He will welcome you into His family of Born-Again Christian believers. Think of it – the God of the universe, who created you, will forgive all your sins and make you a new person with a new start! [2 Corinthianso 5:17]

He will live in you by His Spirit and be your loving Savior and Lord. He will guide you throughout this life and welcome you into heaven when you die. The Bible says that if you have turned from your sins and asked God to save you and make you His, the Angels in heaven are rejoicing over you. [Luke 15:10]

                If you are a new Born-Again Christian, we encourage you to do two things:

                First, begin to read your Bible and talk to God every day. Prayer is simply talking honestly with God. As you do that, you will begin to sense God reminding you of the Bible’s truths and giving you strength to obey Him through the Holy Spirit. As you probably already noticed, the pages and posts in our new, “Home Fellowship Churches” includes Bible Studies. If you do not already have a hard copy of the Bible, let us know, and will ship the Bible to you for free. You might consider purchasing one of the new translations that include helpful study notes. You might try the Life Application Bible published by Tyndale House Publishers, and/or download the Bible App, “YouVersion” from www. bible.com.

                Second, all Christians are encouraged find a local church where they can share in the experience of worshiping with other believers, learn, from the teaching, and enjoy getting to know other Christians. It may take some time to find just the right church for you. Make it a top priority to do so. A good church will be a great encouragement and help as you grow in your new Christian life and spiritual maturity.

                For the meantime, while this pandemic, COVID-19i s still around, and simultaneously looking around to find the right church for you, you are welcome to join us at www.trinityblessings.org, and/or www.homefellowshipchurches.org

May God bless you richly as you begin your journey of faith with our Lord Jesus Christ! Amen!

SWORDS

  • Joshua 1:8 (NLT) 

“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night, so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”

  • Quote from Madame Guyon:

Oh dear one, God has promised that He would come and make His abode with Him who does His will. He has promised to dwell in our innermost being.”

PRAYER AND GOD’S WORD

            To meditate on God’s Word simply means to take a portion of Scripture and begin the following procedures. Read only a small section and allow that passage to be “digested” before going on to another.

            Draw from it its fullest meaning. Think it through. Try to relate it to other similar Scriptures. Commit to memory. Then, having thoroughly examined the passage, proceed to take another one and do the same.

            Try not to read more than half a page at a time. It is not the quantity of Scripture we read, but the quality that will be to our benefit.

             Those who are fast readers gain no more advantage than a bee would by skimming the surface of a flower rather than penetrating it to extract its pollen.

            Speed-reading can be used for other subjects, but never for divine truth. To receive profit from the Word, we must read as described above. We will be certain that by doing this, we will have made meditating on the Word a habit that will cause us to grow as a Christian.

            A word of caution for beginners is suggested. Do not wander from truth to truth and from subject to subject. The right way is to allow each individual truth to be meditated upon while its sweet flavor remains fresh.

            As we form the habit of meditating on God’s Word, it will become easier for us to bring to remembrance other Scriptures of the same nature. This will further enhance our ability to bring the Word of God into reality in our lives.

            The second method is to learn to pray the Word. When we come to God in prayer, open our Bible to where we have been meditating. Remember at this point that our main objective is to focus on God’s presence. Our Scripture verse will keep our mind from straying to other things.

            Those of us can use this method of praying with even a small portion of faith, because it will keep our mind from distractions. In this way, even a small amount of faith will enlarge in proportion when viewed by itself. Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them” (John 14:23 NLT).

            St. Augustine once blamed he for all the lost time trying to find God’s will when, from the very beginning, he could have done so by this manner of praying the Word.

            When we have settled into a peaceful spirit and are fully aware of God’s presence, when earthly distractions are not our primary thoughts, when our soul has properly fed on God’ Word and we have chosen by an act of our will to believe it, we are now ready to communicate with our heavenly Father God.

Fear is a weapon used by the enemy against us with the dart of anxiety. Have you battled with worry now and again? That is the hand of the enemy shooting a fiery dart towards us. 

The Bible in 1Ephesians 6 says our struggles are not against flesh and blood. They are against principalities of darkness in the spirit realm. That means we do not fight worry with flesh and blood. We fight worry with faith.

3Faith is a weapon. 3Trust in God is a weapon used against the hand of the enemy. Now, let’s reload our weapons. 3“Do not fear for I am with you.”

4Life and Death in the Power of the Tongue. Let’s prepare to lead and we need to bridle our tongue. 4Proverbs 18:21 says life and death is in the power of the tongue and you shall eat the fruit of it. Consider a time when you had:

Prosperity where we’re planted. 4James talks about controlling a horse with a bit, a small little piece of metal. A ship is a huge vessel with a small rudder. James describes the tongue of the following: As an evil fire. World of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person. Sets the whole course of our life and itself on fire. Restless evil full of deadly poison that no man can control.

However, what is the answer? The answer is that with God all things are possible. Have you tried to control your tongue on your own? Matthew 12:36-37 says, “And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.” Do we know what the word idle means? It means careless, inactive (from dictionary). It means dead, unfruitful, barren, ineffective, and benefiting no one. What does barren mean? It does not produce fruit. We are always speaking something. Isn’t that true. Are we speaking life or are we speaking death? Are we speaking blessing or cursing-worthless, idle, careless words that benefit no one? On the other hand, are we speaking God’s Word that benefits all? We have to bridle literally our tongue with the help of the Holy Spirit because we cannot do it on our own. I highly recommend the book called “The Battle of the Tongue“. Mr. Morris Cerrullo in his book mentioned that neurologists have proven that the speech center of the brain has total dominion over all the nerves in our body. There is no commitment in trying. Either we will or we won’t and our mouth determines that because our actions follow our mouth. 4James 3:9 says, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father and with it we curse men. We have been made in God’s likeness out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. We are created in His image, but we have not been equipped to use this tongue to create. We have used this tongue to destroy. It has to stop for much has been given, much is required, and now is the time to bridle this tongue. Life and death are in the power of the tongue.

THOUGHTS

Here are a few thoughts that are worth remembering.

We need to fix or secure our thoughts on that real, genuine, accurate, right, correct, proper, exact, faithful, sincere, dedicated, loyal, and devoted mindset. Settle our thoughts on high quality, good quality, and excellent, decent, respectable, well-behaved, lovely, trustworthy, helpful, sound, enjoyable, and obedient attitude. Commit our plans to God and let Him establish our thoughts on acceptable, honorable, respectable, and justified way of thinking. It is true that what we have faith in, affects our way of thinking.

As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person. Personality is the parameter to the construction of our mindset. We act in response to our ability to see ourselves. 5It is important for us to know how God sees us.

At one time, Paul had evaluated Jesus by what the world 5thought about Him. As an educated Jew, Paul was looking forward to the Messiah. However, the Jews of his time were looking for a political Messiah; a powerful person who would free them from Roman rule, Instead, Jesus had died, even suffering the Romans’ most cruel punishment: Crucifixion. According to human standards, Jesus was merely a human being, an insignificant man who died like a criminal. But that changed at Paul’s encounter with the risen Christ on the Damascus road. In the same way, believers are changed when they meet Christ. Christians are brand new people on the inside. The Holy Spirit gives them new life, and they are not the same anymore. We are not reformed, rehabilitated, or reeducated – we are re-created (new creations0, living in vital union with our Lord Jesus Christ 6(Colossians 2:6-9 NLT).

Paul was so disparaging toward this heresy (false philosophy, the kind that is deceptive because it keeps people from seeing the truth) because it came from human thinking and from the evil powers of this world. No man-made religion can lead to the truth, for truth can be found only in Christ. True philosophy will focus on Jesus Christ – it will not put Christ in any lower position, nor will it focus on human endeavor.

At conversion, we do not merely change; we begin a new life under a new Master. The old life of sin and death has gone; the selfish, sinful human nature has been dealt a deathblow. Old ways of thinking, old distinctions have been abolished. In its place, a new life has begun.

7Some people succeed in everything they do, and they brag that no one, not even God, can keep them down. We may wonder why God allows these people to amass great wealth while they despise Him as they do. But why are we upset when the wicked prosper? Are we angry about the damage they are doing or just jealous of their success? To answer these questions, we must gain the right perspective, viewpoint, standpoint, outlook, point of view, opinion, attitude, or perception on wickedness and wealth. The wicked will surely be punished because God hates their evil deeds. Wealth is only temporarily. It is not necessarily a sign of God’s disapproval. Do not let wealth become our obsession.

Just because Jesus tell us to forgive does not mean others will, and we should not beat ourselves up because of it. All I can say is another or we all do innocent stupid things at one time because we are not perfect, but if we do the right thing in God’s eyes, asking for forgiveness from the one we offended, we will not be held accountable spiritually for our actions. I know it does not stop the hurt or the loss, but doing the right thing, repent and asking for forgiveness is what is required from our Most High God. Yes, losing a friend over stupid things hurts terribly, but hopefully, through God’s Holy Spirit of wisdom and discernment; we have learned something that we will not repeat in the future hopefully. Resentment is a dangerous emotion. It can be a malignancy that consumes the spirit and warps the mind, leaving us bitter and disappointed with life. No matter how badly we have been mistreated or how selfish our partners have seemed, we are called upon to release them from accountability. That is the meaning of true forgiveness. We have to repent and ask for forgiveness when we have wronged someone because that is definitely how to live for Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Resentment is a dangerous emotion. It can be a malignancy, growth, tumor, or disease that consumes the spirit and warps the mind, leaving us bitter and disappointed with life. No matter how badly we have been mistreated or how selfish our partners have seemed, we are called upon to release them from answerability, liability, or accountability. That is the meaning of true forgiveness.

  • Quote from “Become A Better You” of Pastor Joel Osteen:

“God is preparing you for greater things. He’s going to take you further than you thought possible, so don’t be surprised when He asks you to think better of yourself and to act accordingly.”

“God was thinking about you before you were ever even born.”

“When you do the right thing with the right motives, there’s no limit to what God will do in your life.”

“If your conscience (sense of right and wrong) is clear, life is good.”

“My father (Joel’s father) often quoted a simple yet profound statement by Edwin Markham (1852-1940) that sums up the attitude we need: “Ah, great it is to believe the dream as we stand in youth by the starry stream; but a greater thing is to fight life through and say at the end, the dream is true!”

  • Quote from “Streams In The Desert” of  Doris Lafrenz about Isaiah 18:4 dated 1/25/2012:

God is Not Unobservant

“I will be still, and I will behold in my dwelling place” (Isaiah 18:4, RV).

“As we look out on the evil of the world; as we think of the apparent success of wrong-doing; as we wince beneath the oppression of those that hate us, let us remember these marvelous words about God being still and beholding.”

  •  Quote from “Prayer” of Andrew Murray about prayer in 1 John 2;27 & John 15:4

But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ. “ (1 John 2:27 NLT)

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4 NLT)

How beautiful the thought of a life always abiding in Christ! The longer we think of it, the more attractive it becomes.”

  • Quote from “The Practice of God’s Presence” of Andrew Murray about God’s thoughts and our thoughts in Isaiah 55:9 (NLT)

 “For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

On earth, the words of a wise man often mean something different from what the hearer understands them to mean. How natural, then, that the Words of God, as He understands them, mean something infinitely higher than we understands at first. We must understand this, because it will cause us to search for the fuller meaning of God’s Word as He meant it. It will give us confidence to hope that there is fulfillment in life beyond our highest thoughts.

God’s Word has two meanings. The one is the meaning that originated in the mind of God, making human words the bearer of divine wisdom, power, and love. The other is our partial, distorted understanding of God’s Word. Although such words as the love of God, the grace of God, and the power of God may seem very true and real to us, there is still an infinite fullness in the Word that we have not yet known. How strikingly this is put in our text from Isaiah: “As the heavens are higher than the earth.” Our faith in this fact is so simple and clear that no one would dream of trying with his little arms to reach the sun or the stars. And now God says, “My thoughts (are higher) than your thoughts.” Even when the Word has given us God’s thoughts and our thoughts have tried to understand them, they still remain as high above our thoughts as the heavens are higher than the earth.

  • Quote from “The Power Of A Praying Parent” of Stormie Omartian about “Breaking Down Ungodly Strongholds” in Matthew 16:19 & 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)

 “And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”

I am grateful to God that He reveals such things to us before they become serious. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a child’s sins you are sensing. It could be hurt or fear over something he (she) has thought, seen, or experienced. It could be hopelessness, confusion, envy, selfishness, or pride. It’s impossible to guess, so it’s best to ask God to reveal it to you. Even if you don’t get a clear leading right away, you can still pray about it. Jesus instructed us to pray as a matter of course, “Deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13). Sometimes we don’t have to be any more specific than praying for God to penetrate the lives of our children by the power of His Spirit and deliver them from evil. The point is, don’t ignore these warnings.

            Even if you don’t sense anything in your child now, it’s still a good preventative measure to pray the following prayer. Not that you have to be forever suspicious of your children, but you do have to be suspicious of the enemy lurking around waiting to erect a stronghold in their lives.

THE WORDS

We would not know who God is without the Word of God. The 6Word (JESUS CHRIST) is God’s revelation of Himself to humankind. We would not know what righteousness is without the Word. The Word defines righteousness. We would not know the fullest definition of sin without the Word. We would know neither of our origin nor of our destiny without the Word. God’s plan for the ages would never be ours without the Word of God.

  • Quote from “3:16” of Max Lucado:

If you know nothing of the Bible, start here. If you know everything in the Bible, return here. We all need the reminder. The heart of the human problem is the heart of the human. God’s treatment is prescribed in 7John 3:16.

Moses disciplines Israel. The two stone tablets contained the 8ten commandments. These were not the only code of laws in the ancient world. Other law codes had come into existence when cities or nations decided that there must be standards of judgment, ways to correct specific wrongs. However, God’s laws for Israel were unique: (1) they alleviated the harsh judgments typical of the day; (2) they were egalitarian, democratic or free – the poor and the powerful received the same punishment; (3) they did not separate religious and social law. All laws rested on God’s authority.

      9Hiding or keeping God’s Words in our heart is a deterrent to sin. This alone should inspire us to memorize Scripture. Memorization alone will not keep us from sin; we must also put God’s Words to work in our life by yielding, surrendering to the Holy Spirit and help us.

God will discern whether or not we make every effort and whether or not we have truly come to faith in Christ; nothing in all creation can hide from Him. We may fool ourselves or other Christians with our spiritual lives, but we could not deceive God. He knows who we really are because the 10Word of God is full of living power. The Word of God cannot be taken for granted or disobeyed. The Israelites who rebelled and learned the hard way that when God speaks, they must listen. Going against God means facing judgment and death.

The Word of God is living, life changing and dynamic as it works in us. The demands of the Word of God require decision. We not only listen to it, we let it shape our lives. Because the Word of God is living, it applied to these first-century Jewish Christians, and it applies as well to Christians today. Most books may appear to be dusty artifacts just sitting on the shelf, but the Word of God collected in Scripture vibrates with life.

The Word of God penetrates through our outer façade, frontage, pretense, outward show, or public image and reveals what lies deep inside. The metaphor of the sharpest knife pictures the Word of God cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires, revealing what we really are on the inside. Nothing can be hidden from God; neither can we hide from ourselves if we sincerely study the Word of God. It reaches deep past our outer life as a knife passes through skin.

Two thoughts are presented by the phrase, everything is naked and exposed before His eyes. (1) We cannot give excuses, justifications, or reasons – everything is seen for exactly what it is. No one can deceive God. (2) We are exposed, powerless, and defenseless before God. The word refers to paralyzing grip of the wrestler in a choke grip or hold.

The Word of God penetrates like a sword, and is exposing us to God Himself to whom we must explain all that we have done. All people must give an account to God, but without trappings and rationalizations. These words give warning that believers must be careful not to drift away, but to obey God wholeheartedly. God is the final judge.

It is noteworthy; however, that there was a condition attached to the promise of God that only then will we prosper and succeed: total victory depended on firm and constant meditating day and night, talking and obedience of the Words of God, by 4Joshua and all the people including us, to all the laws of God.

First, Timothy was to 11preach the Word of God – the message of the Gospel. The word suggests vigorous proclamation! Paul wanted Timothy to be bold and passionate. It was up to Timothy to preach the Gospel so that the Christian faith could spread throughout the world. Timothy should always be persistent, whether the time is favorable or not, Paul, soon to die, may have looked back on his life realizing how short the time had bee. Paul urged Timothy to make the most of the time he would be allotted on this earth. Timothy would need to patiently correct those who were in error by explaining the truth, helping them to understand and accept it. He should rebuke those were sinning by explaining their sin and their need for repentance. He should encourage those who were growing, for even those growing in the faith need instruction and guidance. Patience should always characterize Timothy’s attitude as he dealt with the people in his church; good teaching (or doctrine) should be the basis for his words.

      The expression be quick to listen is a beautiful way of capturing the idea of active listening. We are not simply to refrain from speaking; we are to be ready and willing to listen. This “quick” listening is obviously to be done with discernment. 12We are to check what we hear with God’s Word. If we do not listen both carefully and quickly, we are liable to be led into all kinds of false teaching and error. Quick to listen and slow to speak should be taken together as sides of the same coin. Slowness in speaking means speaking with humility and patience, not with hasty words or nonstop gabbing. Constant talking keeps a person from being able to hear. Wisdom is not always having something to say; it involves listening carefully, considering prayerfully, and speaking quietly. When we talk too much and listen too little, we communicate to others that we think our ideas are much more important than theirs. James wisely advises us to reverse this process. We need to put a mental stopwatch on our conversations and keep track of how much we talk and how much we listen. When people talk to us, do they feel that their viewpoints and ideas have value?

            The second coming of Christ – the moment God’s people had been waiting for (See 13Mark 14:62; 14Luke 24:30). Christ’s return will be unmistakable. Heaven will be opened, as Christ, on a white horse, makes His entrance. The white horse symbolizes victory. (Some think this is the same rider as mentioned in 156:2, who was also on a white horse. They suggest that the rider symbolized Christ and the spread of the Good News across the world.

            This rider is named Faithful and True, judges fairly and then goes to war. The order of words indicates that the warfare is a result of God’s judgment on the inhabitants of the earth who have completely rejected Him. Although Jesus is called “Faithful and True,” “Word of God” (1619:13), and “King of kings and Lord of lords” (1719:16), these verses imply that no name can do Him justice. He is greater than any description or expression the human mind can devise.

An Invitation to Meet our Lord Jesus Christ

We hope that our “Home Fellowship Churches” has not only helped all of you understand and experience more about the Bible, and first and foremost, knowing the Way, the Truth, and the Life at this moment of adversities especially this COVID-19., forced us to – Stay At Home.

Perhaps it has also caused you to think seriously about your own relationship with God. If your life were to end today or tomorrow, God forbid -, and it certainly will someday – what valid reason would you give the living God that you should spend eternity in heaven?

If you have always assumed that “being a good person” or “not killing anybody” was the requirement for heaven, that is not a correct assumption. The Bible says we have all sinned and that our sins separate us from a holy and loving God. No human being can be good enough to qualify for heaven. That is why our Lord Jesus Christ came, that is why our Lord Jesus allowed Himself to be put to death on a Cross, and that is why He conquered death by His resurrection. The only way to be assured of eternal life is to depend completely on the grace and mercy of God expressed through Jesus Christ.

If you would like to be certain of your eternal destiny and begin a new relationship [not new religion] with God today – you can do both in the next few moments – here is how:

  1. First, you need to recognize and acknowledge that you need God’s forgiveness offered only in Jesus Christ.

All have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet now God in His gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. [Romans 3:23-24]

  • You must repent of your sin – that is, turn away from anything in your life that you know to be wrong before God – and resolve to walk in a path that is obedient to our Lord Jesus Christ. Each of you must turn from your sins and turn to God. [Acts 2:38]
  • You must walk ask Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to give you spiritual rebirth and to come and live in you. Our Lord Jesus Christ replied, “I assure you, unless you are born again, you can never see the Kingdom of God.” [John 3:3] “Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear Me calling and open the door, I will come in.” [Revelation 3:20]
  • You must commit yourself completely to knowing, loving, and serving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior for the rest of your life.

The apostle Paul said, “I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us to heaven.” [Philippians 3:13-14]

I invite and encourage you to begin your new life with our Lord Jesus Christ today. You can take the steps outlined above by talking to God just as you would to a friend and/or just as you are. You can pray something like this:

Dear God,

I acknowledge that I have sinned – intentionally or unintentionally – and that I fall short of your standard of perfect goodness and holiness. I know that I cannot save myself by good works. I believe that Jesus Christ, Your Son, died on the Cross to pay for my sins, that He rose from the dead to give me the hope of eternal life, and that one day He will return to take me to be with Him in heaven forever. Lord Jesus Christ, I ask you to forgive my sins. Please send your Holy Spirit into my life and begin to teach me and shape me as you wish. I commit myself to knowing, loving, and serving you as my personal Savior and Lord for the rest of my life. Please help me to do that, in the name of Jesus, Amen!

You do not need to pray exactly those words. Just talk to God honestly from your heart. He will hear you and understand. You may or may not feel anything special as you talk to Him, but if you genuinely want to belong to Christ, rest assured that He will welcome you into His family of Born-Again Christian believers. Think of it – the God of the universe, who created you, will forgive all your sins and make you a new person with a new start! [2 Corinthianso 5:17]

He will live in you by His Spirit and be your loving Savior and Lord. He will guide you throughout this life and welcome you into heaven when you die. The Bible says that if you have turned from your sins and asked God to save you and make you His, the Angels in heaven are rejoicing over you. [Luke 15:10]

                If you are a new Born-Again Christian, we encourage you to do two things:

                First, begin to read your Bible and talk to God every day. Prayer is simply talking honestly with God. As you do that, you will begin to sense God reminding you of the Bible’s truths and giving you strength to obey Him through the Holy Spirit. As you probably already noticed, the pages and posts in our new, “Home Fellowship Churches” includes Bible Studies. If you do not already have a hard copy of the Bible, let us know, and will ship the Bible to you for free. You might consider purchasing one of the new translations that include helpful study notes. You might try the Life Application Bible published by Tyndale House Publishers, and/or download the Bible App, “YouVersion” from www. bible.com.

                Second, all Christians are encouraged find a local church where they can share in the experience of worshiping with other believers, learn, from the teaching, and enjoy getting to know other Christians. It may take some time to find just the right church for you. Make it a top priority to do so. A good church will be a great encouragement and help as you grow in your new Christian life and spiritual maturity.

                For the meantime, while this pandemic, COVID-19i s still around, and simultaneously looking around to find the right church for you, you are welcome to join us at www.trinityblessings.org, and/or www.homefellowshipchurches.org

May God bless you richly as you begin your journey of faith with our Lord Jesus Christ! Amen!

Victories – At The Cross of Calvary

Romans 8:35-39 NLT

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither Angels nor demons, neither the present  nor the future, nor any powers, neither height , nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Let’s digest the scriptures above:

Romans 8:35 NLT                                                                                                  The next questions help seal our assurance in God. Nothing can separate us from Christ’s love for us. Then Paul lists several situations we might think could come between God and us. Paul knew from experience that these could not separate believers from God—he had already experienced them (see 2 Corinthians 11:23-28). This means that the love of Christ doesn’t separate us from these experiences, but that even in the most devastating of these, the love of Christ is with us.

Let’s get it deeper:

 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 NLT – In Verse 23, “Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served Him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again”.

Although Paul had conceded to his opponents their Jewish heritage, he would not agree with them that they served Christ. To prove his point, Paul listed all the trials he suffered for Christ. Could his opponents, who boasted in achievements, accomplishments, and credentials, produce an even more extensive list of suffering and persecution endured for Christ’s name? Were they willing to follow Jesus’ way of the cross, His life of suffering? Were they willing to take up their crosses daily for Christ (Matthew 10:38)? Paul had suffered the hardship of imprisonment; including being whipped (Acts 16:22-24). He had faced death on a number of occasions (see Acts 14:19, when Paul was stoned by a crowd). Since this letter was written during Paul’s third missionary journey (Acts 18:23–21:17), his trials weren’t over. He would experience further difficulties and humiliations for the cause of Christ (see Acts 21:30-33; 22:24-30). Paul was sacrificing his life for the Gospel, something the false teachers would never do.

In Verse 24, “Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes”.

According to the Jewish law, forty lashes was the maximum number the Jews could prescribe (Deuteronomy 25:3). The rabbis, however, would only allow thirty-nine, so that if the flogger miscounted he wouldn’t accidentally sin by administering more than forty. These beatings were carried out in the synagogues and were for either moral or religious offenses. The lashes were made of several straps of leather, sometimes with bone or metal tied to the ends to inflict more pain. In Paul’s case, the punishment would have been for preaching the Gospel, what Jews commonly considered blasphemy. He faced this five different times. None of these beatings are recorded in Acts, but the adamant opposition of the Jews to the Gospel message is recorded (Acts 13:45, 50; 14:2; 18:6, 12).

In Verse 25, “Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea”.

Only the Romans could administer beatings with rods. Yet Paul was beaten with rods at Philippi (Acts 16:22). Apparently, government officials had beaten him on two other occasions (these weren’t recorded in the book of Acts, however). At Lystra, Paul had survived being stoned (Acts 14:8-20). Sea travel was not as safe as it is today. Paul had been shipwrecked three times, and he would face another accident on his voyage to Rome (Acts 27). By this time, Paul had probably made at least eight or nine voyages; thus, given the danger of first-century sea travel, he could have certainly experienced that many disasters at sea. The fact that Paul survived twenty-four hours adrift at sea would have been considered miraculous in the first century, a sign of God’s hand on his life.

In Verse 26, “I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not”.

The sea did not present the only danger Paul faced on the many weary miles he had traveled as he took the Gospel all over the Mediterranean world. Robbers were a constant problem in the ancient world. In addition, Paul’s own people, the Jews, were trying to orchestrate his downfall. When Paul first visited Corinth, the Jews had dragged him before the governor of Achaia in order to stop him from preaching (Acts 18:12-17). The Gentiles also had opposed Paul in Philippi and in Ephesus (Acts 16:19-24; 19:23-31). Paul’s list of dangers climaxes in men who claim to be Christians but are not. His point is abundantly clear. Since he had bravely faced all sorts of dangers for Christ, he certainly would have enough courage to face those false teachers who were discrediting his authority and his name in Corinth. On past visits, Paul had not been as aggressive with those who opposed him (10:1). He was planning to confront his critics on his next visit (13:1-5).

In Verse 27, “I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm”.

In order to place his ministry beyond reproach, Paul had supported himself by working at a manual trade. Working two jobs had caused weariness, pain, and sleepless nights. Because of the low wages of itinerant laborers and the hardships of first-century travel, Paul was often hungry, thirsty, and cold. But Paul had endured all these hardships cheerfully to preach the Gospel, to tell men and women all over the Roman Empire that Jesus could save them from their sins.

In Verse 28, “Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches”.                                                                                                                                  Every day Paul thought about the spiritual health of the churches he had founded. There were so many pitfalls and traps into which a young congregation could fall. Persecution could force the church to compromise its theology; quarreling and inner strife could distract the church from its purpose; false teachers could deceive a church. Paul was concerned that the churches wouldn’t persevere in the faith. One indication of his burden was his dedication and persistence in praying for them.

 

Victories – In Our Minds

1 Peter 1:9 (NLT) “The reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls”.

We express joy (1:8) because of our belief in and love for our Lord Jesus Christ. The reward for trusting Christ will be the deliverance or salvation of our souls. Believers receive salvation when they accept Jesus Christ as Savior, yet salvation will not be complete until Jesus Christ returns and makes everything new. In the meantime, we continue growing in the Christian life and experiencing more and more of the blessings of salvation. As we continue to believe and rejoice, we also continue to grow toward maturity in Christ and to our promised salvation.

Born-Again Christian believers express joy (1 Peter 1:8) because of their belief in and love for Jesus Christ. The reward for trusting Christ will be the salvation of their souls. Believers receive salvation when they accept Jesus Christ as Savior, yet salvation will not be complete until Jesus Christ returns and makes everything new. In the meantime, we continue growing in the Christian life and experiencing more and more of the blessings of salvation. As we continue to believe and rejoice, we also continue to grow toward maturity in Christ and to our promised salvation.

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