How does a Christian keep away from sin and grow in Christ? I place those two statements together because they belong together as simultaneous actions. In Galatians 5:16-26 Paul gives the answer. He begins by saying we should, “Live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (v. 16).
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The Apostle Paul, writes in 2 Timothy the last letter he would pen before his martyr’s death, a few profound statements that at first glance might be overlooked.
When I’ve asked people what is the number one fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) they struggle with, I usually am told self-control. Everyone wishes they could take back that destructive thing they said or some action that caused another pain.
Whenever someone quotes a certain part of 1 John 2:27 (always out of context) to me I know they are using it as a license to interpret the Bible any way they like – twisting the Holy Scriptures to support their false claims.
How effective are your prayers? Are there certain things that can harm the prayers you pray? All of us want prayers to be answered. Why else would we pray them?
Name some of the most impatient situations you’ve ever been in. I bet they involve traffic and anything that has to do with waiting in a line. I remember waiting in line at Disney World on a family vacation.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 is a clear example of how God uses people not based on their talent or ability but on their obedience and willingness to have the Gospel shared through them. Let’s take a look at this passage one verse at a time. In verse one, Paul says, “And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.”
A man was teaching a children’s class about heaven. He asked, “If I sold my possessions and gave it all to the poor, would that get me into heaven?” They all answered, “NO!”
“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21)
“Rumor has it…” What is it about having the edge on juicy information? What drives people to be the first to have and share some inside information? If someone starts off a sentence with, “Guess what I heard?” you had better be careful to check that information as truth before sharing it. Why is it we love rumors and gossip? What is even more ironic is that they are both forms of lies. If Satan is the father of all lies (John 8:44) then why do people, Christians especially, run to them sometimes like moths to a flame?
Everyone has a morning routine to jump start their day. A good prayer to pray every morning is Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
God does not work in condemnation, guilt, and shame. He doesn’t say, “Shame on you” but “shame OFF you.” Condemnation, guilt, and shame are tools of Satan meant to tear you apart. Satan is a thief and his goal is to steal, kill, and destroy your life (John 10:10a).
The Gospel is the great equalizer. It places everyone, regardless of race, social status, and gender on the same level. Galatians 3:28 tells us, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” The context of this verse is salvation. Verse 26 and 27 tell us if we are in Christ we are all His children through faith – baptized into Christ and clothed with Christ. This tells me Jesus washes away separation and clothes us with unity. He makes us all important and equal through His redemptive Gospel. Verse 29 says we are all of Abraham’s seed. Once in Christ, our blood line changes. Now, people in Him of all backgrounds, cultures, and races are of the same lineage. The Bible speaks a lot about racism and reminds us we are all one in Christ.
Here are some comforting words for the New Year: “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” (Revelation 21:5).
Psalm 103:1-2 tells us, “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” That’s a good reminder for me since I sometimes have problems remembering things. We should praise the Lord with our soul (our thoughts, actions, plans, dreams, etc.) and don’t forget all His benefits.
Are You Generous?
So many marriages today are ending in divorce. But yours doesn’t have to! As a marriage counselor, I’ve heard every reason in the world while couples are separating. The most common reason is there is usually someone else in the picture. Maybe it’s just thoughts or flirting (which are both still wrong), but that person is thinking the grass is greener on the other side. Let me say this: appearances can be deceiving. What looks better somewhere else usually isn’t. Sometimes it’s greener because it’s built over a septic tank. Proverbs 14:4 says, “Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much increase comes by the strength of the ox.” If you’re going to have oxen, you’re going to have oxen poop. You will have some mess in your marriage. You just have to clean up the mess along the way and not let it pile up.
“I know God forgives me, but I just can’t forgive myself.” I’ve heard it 1,000 times. Sometimes people are paralyzed by their past actions because they simply cannot forgive themselves. Here is some good news – you can’t forgive yourself. Only the Lord can forgive you. Once you have received His forgiveness you must live in His forgiveness. 1 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” God does not hold sins against you any longer once you have confessed them. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He (Jesus) is faithful and just to forgive our sins and purify us of all unrighteousness.” This means Jesus will forgive you of your sin and Jesus will help you change your life so you don’t commit that sin again.