Good Water or Bad. What Is Flowing From Our Well?

Good or Bad…what is flowing from our well?

What kind of words are coming out of our mouths? Are we being kind or filled with sour bitterness?  These verses from the Bible in James, are so clear.  We choose what we say.  We can pour out all of our inner anguish or choose to bless others.  We can scream bitter angry words or forgive and ask the Lord to heal our hearts.  We can put others down to make ourselves feel better or we can lift up others without needing praise from others.

Choices all given to us from the Lord God, our creator, who gives us the ability to choose our thoughts, words and deeds.  There are consequences from each choice we make, both good and bad.  One sign of a mature person is the ability to accept others without judgment.  Not an easy task, but each time we choose to bless rather than curse, heal rather than harm, we are growing in the Lord’s grace.  The rewards are a peaceful heart that has no condemnation and a growing group of people we love and are loved by.

James 3:2-12

We all make many mistakes. A person who never said anything wrong would be perfect. Someone like that would be able to control their whole body too. We put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us. With these bits we can control their whole body. It is the same with ships. A ship is very big, and it is pushed by strong winds. But a very small rudder controls that big ship. And the one who controls the rudder decides where the ship will go. It goes where he wants it to go. It is the same with our tongue. It is a small part of the body, but it can boast about doing great things.

A big forest fire can be started with only a little flame. The tongue is like a fire. It is a world of evil among the parts of our body. It spreads its evil through our whole body and starts a fire that influences all of life. It gets this fire from hell.

Humans have control over every kind of wild animal, bird, reptile, and fish, and they have controlled all these things. But no one can control the tongue. It is wild and evil, full of deadly poison. We use our tongues to praise our Lord and Father, but then we curse people who were created in God’s likeness. 10 These praises and curses come from the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, this should not happen. 11 Do good water and bad water flow from the same spring? Of course not.12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree make olives? Or can a grapevine make figs? No, and a well full of salty water cannot give good water.

Our words and thoughts are revealed to the Lord

Psalm 19:14  (ERV)

14 May my words and thoughts please you.
    Lord, you are my Rock—the one who rescues me.

Psalm 139:1-7 (ERV)

1 Lord, you have tested me,
    so you know all about me.
You know when I sit down and when I get up.
    You know my thoughts from far away.
You know where I go and where I lie down.
    You know everything I do.
Lord, you know what I want to say,
    even before the words leave my mouth.
You are all around me—in front of me and behind me.
    I feel your hand on my shoulder.
I am amazed at what you know;
    it is too much for me to understand.
Your Spirit is everywhere I go.
    I cannot escape your presence.

 

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Good Friday

Good Friday

The day when Christ Jesus of Nazareth, went to the Cross of Calvary.  He willingly gave His life for all of us.  Today, we remember that horrific day in honor of that great sacrifice.  We celebrate His death not in jubilation, but rather in thanksgiving to only One who could buy us back from the loss in the Garden of Eden.  To us it is a Good Friday-a day of rejoicing in our Great Messiah!

Romans 5:6-11

Christ died for us when we were unable to help ourselves. We were living against God, but at just the right time Christ died for us. Very few people will die to save the life of someone else, even if it is for a good person. Someone might be willing to die for an especially good person. But Christ died for us while we were still sinners, and by this God showed how much he loves us.  We have been made right with God by the blood sacrifice of Christ. So through Christ we will surely be saved from God’s anger. 10 I mean that while we were God’s enemies, he made friends with us through his Son’s death. And the fact that we are now God’s friends makes it even more certain that he will save us through his Son’s life. 11 And not only will we be saved, but we also rejoice right now in what God has done for us through our Lord Jesus Christ. It is because of Jesus that we are now God’s friends.

 

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Palm Sunday

John 12:12-16

“The next day the people in Jerusalem heard that Jesus was coming there. These were the crowds of people who had come to the Passover festival. They took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Jesus. They shouted,

“‘Praise Him!’
    ‘Welcome! God bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord!  

God bless the King of Israel!”

Jesus found a donkey and rode on it, as the Scriptures say,

 “Do not be afraid, people of Zion!
    Look! Your king is coming.
    He is riding on a young donkey.”

The followers of Jesus did not understand at that time what was happening. But after he was raised to glory, they understood that this was written about him. Then they remembered that they had done these things for him.”

Zechariah 9:9
“[ The Future King ] People of Zion, rejoice! People of Jerusalem, shout with joy! Look, your king is coming to you! He is the good king who won the victory, but he is humble. He is riding on a donkey, on a young donkey born from a work animal.”

Why do we celebrate “Palm Sunday”?

Christians celebrate Palm Sunday as the beginning of Holy Week.  It marks the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem.  It was the week before His crucifixion.  When He rode into Jerusalem, some recognized Him as “the One who comes in the name of the Lord”.  They treated Him with the respect they would to a king by waving  palm branches and laying them on the pathway like a royal carpet.  They shouted Hallelujahs to Him and openly acknowledged who they believed Him to be, “The King of Israel”.

We as believers, honor His entrance into Jerusalem that day so many years ago in remembrance of who He is and what He was preparing to do for us-go to the Cross of Calvary!  This Sunday, March 25, 2018, let us honor Him and wave our own palm branches-our arms-to show our praise unto Him.

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Nothing Shall Separate Us From Christ

Nothing Shall Separate Us From Christ

 

Romans 8:31-39

31 So what should we say about this? If God is for us, no one can stand against us. And God is with us. 32 He even let his own Son suffer for us. God gave his Son for all of us. So now with Jesus, God will surely give us all things. 33 Who can accuse the people God has chosen? No one! God is the one who makes them right. 34 Who can say that God’s people are guilty? No one! Christ Jesus died for us, but that is not all. He was also raised from death. And now he is at God’s right side, speaking to him for us. 35 Can anything separate us from Christ’s love? Can trouble or problems or persecution separate us from his love? If we have no food or clothes or face danger or even death, will that separate us from his love? 36 As the Scriptures say,

“For you we are in danger of death all the time.

People think we are worth no more than sheep to be killed.”

37 But in all these troubles we have complete victory through God, who has shown his love for us. 38-39 Yes, I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love—not death, life, angels, or ruling spirits. I am sure that nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, nothing above us or nothing below us—nothing in the whole created world—will ever be able to separate us from the love God has shown us in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing can separate us from Jesus Christ!

The realization that once we accept Jesus as Savior we become inseparable from Him is so exciting!  Though we live in different worlds for now, we are connected by the Holy Spirit.  We have a union between our spirit and His.  What a wondrous truth.  When reading Romans chapter 8, we find a whole list of what we are in Him.  The most exciting one is that NOTHING can separate us—ever!    We need to grasp that fact with both hands and rejoice in it.  It should make us more fearless.  It should calm all the anxiety of feeling alone or cut off.  Let us walk in this precious truth with a joyful and thankful heart.

 

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Love Includes Honor

Love Includes Honor

When we speak of love, we need to look at some of the traits of love.  Pastor Dennis Langford asked us recently what we were doing to prove our love for the Lord.  If we have to provide proof of our love what does that entail?   Could we show our works of love?  Have we invested our hearts in others to prove we care?

One trait that really gets ignored in some love relationships is honor.  Honor and respect seem to be missing in some of our relationships.  It seems we take for granted that the recipient of our love automatically knows we love them.  We seem shocked if they question our love for them.  When analyzing my own love walk toward others, one of the things the Lord brought to my attention was the lack of showing honor and respect to and for others.

Honor is to regard another person with admiration and respect.  When we freely express both in our hearts and outwardly this admiration, it opens a new avenue of love.  No one wants to be disrespected or made to feel “less than” in another person’s life.  Even a stranger on the street deserves the consideration of respect.  If we treat our family, spouse and Christian brothers and sisters with a lack of honor and respect, we are actually treating Jesus that way.  We are His representatives here on the earth and everything we do reflects on Him.

What about dishonorable people?

We may say, “What if they are not honorable?”  Jesus treated all of us as though we were the best reason for being.  Those in our personal circle deserve our utmost respect and honor, if only because they have accepted us into their lives.  They love us in spite of all our quirkiness and unlovely parts.  When we can show our love by openly honoring their words to us, the many things they do for us and the love they give us freely, we are acting like Jesus.  We are also leading by example to those who don’t know how to walk the walk of honor and respect.  May our hearts start opening up to actively showing honor to those in our love circle.

Here are some Scripture verses about honor:

Deuteronomy 5:16

Honor thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Proverbs 3:9

Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase:

Proverbs 11:16

A gracious woman retaineth honor: and strong men retain riches.

Proverbs 14:31

He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoreth him hath mercy on the poor.

Proverbs 21:21

He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honor.

1 Timothy 5:3

Honor widows that are widows indeed.

1 Timothy 5:17

Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.

Hebrews 13:4

Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

1 Peter 2:17

Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

 

 

 

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Crown of Righteousness

Crown Of Righteousness

 

2 Timothy 4:8

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only,

but unto all them also that love his appearing.

A Crown of Righteousness

A Crown of Righteousness seems like an impossible dream to those of us living in a very dark and sinful world.  A world where sinful acts are celebrated and published for the whole world to see.  A world where infants in the womb are not safe, old people are abandoned and left on their own, where citizens are concerned about walking in their own towns for fear of attack.  Poverty and lack abounds all over the world.  Yet in the midst of all that the Bible promises we can live a righteous life.  How can that happen?

When Jesus took our place on the cross of Calvary, He took all our sins and bore the punishment of them.  He replaced hopelessness with hope and joy.  He became sin that we can become righteous through Him.  It is not how “good” we are, how many works we do for Him that make us righteous.  Rather it the finished work of the Cross of Christ.  We have become righteous in Him. I love the way Paul the Apostle puts it.  He was pursuing righteousness.  His heart was following hard after Jesus Christ.  His old ways were pushed out of the way as he pursued Jesus.  He was determined to win that “crown of righteousness”.  Let us take up that same call today.  Let us pursue Jesus and the work of righteousness in our own lives.

2 Corinthians 5:21

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;

that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Philippians 3:8-14

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:  10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.  12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.  13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

 

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The Place of Joyfulness

The Place Of Joyfulness

 

Psalm 100

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
 Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

Where is our place of joyfulness?

Where is our place of joyfulness?  Is it a physical place?  Can we structure our lives to include a physical place to be joyful?  Is it our family dinner table when  the family is gathered there?  Is it a front porch swing where we enjoy the singing of the birds and the neighbors passing by?  How about a quiet place in our home we go to pray and study the Word of God?  While in any of these places joy can be found, they cannot produce it.

Joyfulness is a choice and a gift at the same time.  The Lord brings us joy by being in our lives.  When we reflect on who God is and what He has done in our lives, joy automatically shows up.  Whether or not we receive that joy, participate and fully respond to it, is our choice.   The Bible is filled with verses about joy, how to receive it and how it can be restored.  It even declares that God inhabits our praises!  Talk about a place of joy.  The wonder of the Creator and Lord of all, living in our praises and also respecting our response to Him, should fill our hearts with joy. (Psalm 22:3)  The prophet Nehemiah had a revelation of joy in a different way.  In Nehemiah 8:10 he declares that “the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  The thought of strength filling us through the joy of the Lord should resound in us like an anthem.

When we choose to be a joyful person, we also choose to share it with others.  How can our joy not spill out on others?  It is so contagious that just getting near a joyful person causes us to be lifted up.  Let us choose the joyful places in life rather than bitterness and sorrow.  Let us allow the Lord’s own joy be our strength.  Father God, help us to start spreading joy everywhere we go.  Ready?  Let’s get going!

 

 

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How Is Your Love Walk?

How Is Your Love Walk?

 

Ephesians 5

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;  And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.

John 13:34-35

A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

What Does A Love Walk Look Like?

Have you ever wondered how your love walk looks to the Lord Jesus?  When we are following Him with the best of our ability, through our eyes we may see failure or success according to our emotions.  But, what does the Lord see?  What does our family see?  What does the world around us see?  Does that sound like a painful place to consider?  We judge ourselves through flesh eyes so many times, never checking out our heart.  Are our hearts following hard after the Lord?  Do we desire to please Him?  Are we allowing Him to lead us into a spiritual life rather than staying in the flesh?

If we can answer those questions through the eyes of faith, we might see a different picture.  All those little acts of kindness that have become a part of who we are in Christ are usually blind to us.  We are no longer looking for pats on the back, but just want to reach out to others.  Those times we reached out in prayer in the darkness of the night for friends and family are a heart habit.  All those kind thoughts we have for our fellow believers just grow there the more we follow Christ Jesus.

Do we fail to walk in love all the time?  Of course we do, we have not reached a place of perfection and won’t till after we reach Heaven.  Our heart goal on this side is be more like Christ Jesus.  I love the verse in Acts 10:38 that describes the acts of Jesus on earth.  “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”  If we want to be like Jesus and walk in love, we need to start doing the same things.  In our everyday life, share the love we have received from God with those we meet.

The hardest two areas to walk in love are with family and strangers.  Our family knows all our secrets and delight sometimes to point out all our faults in front of others. To walk in love in those kinds of moments takes the grace of God and the decision not to respond in kind.  By setting a holy example before our families, we can change the atmosphere at home.  When strangers curse us and act in anger or disrespect it is equally hard to walk in love.  Our heart cry can change to one of “let me see them through Your eyes, Lord.”  Romans 5:5 declares that “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”   We are not alone in our love walk.  The Holy Ghost is here to help us learn to be like Jesus.

In this “LOVE” month, let us strive to understand just what that really means. How much love did it take the Father to allow his beloved son, Jesus to die on the cross for us?  How can we show more love to our part of the world?  Lord God, help us to fulfill the commandment Jesus left us, to “love one another”.

 

 

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Beholding His Glory

Beholding His Glory

Psalm 27:4

One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple.

Our heart cry is to behold His Glory!

We only see a small portion of the glory of God in our daily lives.  We see the beautiful sunrise and sunsets and all the glory of His creation, yet it is only the tip of the iceberg of who God really is.  Can we as humans really behold His glory?  Is it possible for our hearts to be opened up to the majesty and glory of Jesus our Redeemer?  Yes!  Because we are His, we have access into the very heart of God.  There lies the true glory, a magnificent Creator God who loves His creation and wants to have relationship with us.  Every time we allow Him entrance into our lives, His glory touches us.  The more we open our hearts, our very beings to Him, the more He responds back.  Glory-upon-glory of His personage is being released for us to behold.  It is an awesome thing to be allowed to see Him.  The glory of the sunset is only a reflection of a small part of His creation.  Those who seek Him, who follow hard after Him will see more of the glory of God in their lives.  May we choose to look for His glory this year, in our worship and praise, in our obedience and outreach and in the deepest part of our heart being open to Him.

Psalm 113 (NKJV)

1 Praise the Lord!  Praise, O servants of the Lord,
Praise the name of the Lord!
Blessed be the name of the Lord
From this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its going down
The Lord’s name is to be praised.

The Lord is high above all nations,
His glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God,
Who dwells on high,
Who humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in the heavens and in the earth?

He raises the poor out of the dust,
And lifts the needy out of the ash heap,
That He may seat him with princes—
With the princes of His people.
He grants the barren woman a home,
Like a joyful mother of children.

Isaiah 25:9 And it will be said in that day: “Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the Lord; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”

2 Corinthians 3:17,18

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

 

 

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Looking With Hope

Looking With Hope

Romans 5:1-5

1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Hebrews 12 (NKJV)

1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Looking with hope?

That seems like an impossibility in the world we live in.  There is so much violence, sadness and loss in our world. Constant turmoil boils around us, the television and newspapers declaring hopelessness in every corner of the world.  It would seem there is no place of hope or peace left on the planet.

Yet, the Bible has a lot to say about hope.  There is a place of hope to be found.  We have to look for it as a treasure.  We can have both hope and peace in Him.  Jesus Himself was able to find that place of hope by seeing into the future with joyful hope.  He saw an end to sin and death if He would go to the cross and take our place.  In Hebrews 12, it says “endured” the cross because He had a hope at the end of it.  He saw a world of men and women all freed from sin and spending eternity with the Godhead in Heaven.

By following His example, we can “lay aside” those things that are a constant worry.  Choosing instead to trust Him over worrisome things and receive His peace during troubled days.  He also offers us courage and strength to go through life, with all its evil companions  allowing our hope to be our guide till the end.

Our prayer this year is for us all to reach into that place of hope and allow it to produce our faith in times of sorrow, sadness, loss and struggle.  When we learn how to lean on Jesus and give Him access to our heart, we can learn to walk free of the worry and anxiety that life shoves in our face.  Will there be temptations to fear, worry and fret?  Yes, of course, we just have to stop letting them be the focus and instead keep our eyes on Jesus, our fearless Leader.

Psalm 16:9

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.

Psalm 31:24

Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord.

Psalm 33:18-19

18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
19 To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.

Psalm 42:5

Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.

Psalm 119:114

You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.

 

 

 

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