VIDEO My Life’s Spiritual Honor and Duty

Paul was overwhelmed with the sense of his indebtedness to Jesus Christ, and he spent his life to express it. The greatest inspiration in Paul’s life was his view of Jesus Christ as his spiritual creditor. Do I feel that same sense of indebtedness to Christ regarding every unsaved soul? As a saint, my life’s spiritual honor and duty is to fulfill my debt to Christ in relation to these lost souls. Every tiny bit of my life that has value I owe to the redemption of Jesus Christ. Am I doing anything to enable Him to bring His redemption into evident reality in the lives of others? I will only be able to do this as the Spirit of God works into me this sense of indebtedness.

I am not a superior person among other people— I am a bondservant of the Lord Jesus. Paul said, “…you are not your own…you were bought at a price…” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Paul sold himself to Jesus Christ and he said, in effect, “I am a debtor to everyone on the face of the earth because of the gospel of Jesus; I am free only that I may be an absolute bondservant of His.” That is the characteristic of a Christian’s life once this level of spiritual honor and duty becomes real. Quit praying about yourself and spend your life for the sake of others as the bondservant of Jesus. That is the true meaning of being broken bread and poured-out wine in real life.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

There is no condition of life in which we cannot abide in Jesus. We have to learn to abide in Him wherever we are placed.  Our Brilliant Heritage, 946 R

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Are You Being Prepared?

The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and . . . the bear will rescue me. 1 Samuel 17:37

I worked at a fast-food restaurant for over two years in high school. Some aspects of the job were difficult. Customers verbalized their anger while I apologized for the unwanted slice of cheese on the sandwich I didn’t make. Soon after I left, I applied for a computer job at my university. The employers were more interested in my fast-food experience than my computer skills. They wanted to know that I knew how to deal with people. My experience in unpleasant circumstances prepared me for a better job!

Young David persevered through an experience we might well call unpleasant. When Israel was challenged to send someone to fight Goliath, no one was brave enough to step up to the task. No one but David. King Saul was reluctant to send him to fight, but David explained that as a shepherd he had fought and killed a lion and a bear for the sake of the sheep (1 Sam. 17:34–36). Confidently he stated, “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and . . . the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (v. 37).

God uses present circumstances to prepare us for the future.

Being a shepherd didn’t earn David much respect, but it prepared him to fight Goliath and eventually become Israel’s greatest king. We may be in difficult circumstances, but through them God might be preparing us for something greater!

Lord, help me to hold on during the unpleasant times in my life knowing that You may be preparing me for something greater.

God uses present circumstances to prepare us for the future.

By Julie Schwab 

INSIGHT:When you reflect on experiences in your life, can you identify any that God used to minister to others or to further His kingdom? Are you in a difficult situation right now? Ask God to help you learn from it and to trust Him for your future. J.R. Hudberg

Spiritual Causes of Discouragement

Psalm 43

It’s often easy to trace discouragement back to its apparent cause, such as a criticism at work or a relationship issue. But there can be subtle, less obvious factors that are valuable to understand. So let’s look at some spiritual components.

Satan. The enemy is a primary instigator. His purpose is to have us lose heart, think poorly of ourselves, and focus only on the negative.

An area of weakness. When the devil has a stronghold in our life, such as a tenacious habit, he can use it to discourage us. This can be especially disheartening because it feels as if we can’t escape his grip, no matter what we do.

Unanswered prayer. When a prayer is answered “no” or “not now,” we can lose hope. Sadly, some people quit praying altogether.

Prayerlessness. Failing to understand God’s sovereignty and timing can lead to this tragic result. When He answers prayer in an unexpected way, some believers are so taken aback or irritated that they give up on praying altogether. However, cutting off communication with the Lord is a sure way to move into deeper discouragement.

The sense you can’t please God. This is a tragic consequence of a works-based faith, wherein we believe God’s favor is tied to our good works. What a misguided error! Our Father’s love is based on His own grace, not our deeds.

It can be surprising to realize spiritual factors may be adding to our discouragement and further draining our joy and energy. Identifying these causes is crucial, even if the process is painful. Once we clearly see the problems, we can begin to learn how to avoid or correct these trouble areas.

Guarding the Word Is A Must

“Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.” (Psalm 119:2)

In the remarkable 119th psalm, there are 176 verses (the longest chapter in the Bible) and 176 references to the written Word of God. Eight different Hebrew words are used for the Scriptures, respectively translated (in the King James Version) “law,” “testimonies,” “precepts,” “statutes,” “commandments,” “judgments,” and two words translated “word” or “words.” Furthermore, this psalm contains 28 admonitions to “keep” the Word, and these are applied to each of the above eight aspects of the Scriptures. The first is in our text, where we are exhorted to keep His testimonies. Note the others also in the following examples.

“Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently” (v. 4); “O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!” (v. 5); “Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word” (Hebrew dabar, v. 17).

“Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law” (v. 34); “I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments” (v. 60); “I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments” (v. 106); “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word” (Hebrew imrah, v. 67).

This means much more than simply obeying His commands, though this is certainly included. Both words translated “keep” or “kept” in the 28 admonitions noted above basically mean “guard” or “preserve,” as in Psalm 41:2, where both words are used: “The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive.”

In these verses and many others throughout the Bible, therefore, we are commanded not merely to obey and proclaim God’s Word, but also to guard, preserve, and defend it against all its many enemies. HMM

“He giveth power.”

Judges 15:9-20

Samson’s marriage led to a complicated quarrel, during which he burned the standing corn of the Philistines by means of firebrands tied to the tails of foxes, and also slaughtered a great number of his enemies. He then went and dwelt at the top of the rock Etam, but God meant him to do far more for the overthrow of Israel’s enemies, and therefore gave him but little respite.

Judges 15:9

This was probably the valley at the foot of Samsons stronghold, afterwards called Lehi, or the place of the jawbone.

Judges 15:10

The men of Judah had sunk to the condition of vassals, and were forced to be obsequious to their tyrant masters. Sin makes men cowards.

Judges 15:11

O miserable sight, these cowards are friends to their oppressors, and upbraid their best friend. How low were they sunk to talk in this fashion!

Judges 15:12

False brethren are our worst enemies, they will ruin us when our enemies cannot. Beware of hypocrites.

Judges 15:13

Does it not remind us of our Lord bound by those whom he came to deliver, and betrayed into the hands of his enemies?

Judges 15:14

This shout came a little too soon. It was soon turned into a shriek of dismay, and then into the silence of death.

Judges 15:15

The weapon matters little, the force lies in the arm. The Lord can use the weakest to overcome the strongest.

Judges 15:16

Like our greater champion, who exclaimed, “I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with me.”

Judges 15:17

Or the casting away of the jawbone.

Judges 15:18

Samson knew how to pray and to pray in faith too: this was all along the saving point in his character.

Judges 15:19

But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw or in the place called Lehi or Jawbone

En-hakkore the fountain of him who prayed

which is in Lehi or the place called Jawbone

God, who helps his servants in great matters, sometimes allows them to be greatly tried by comparatively smaller trials, for an exercise of their faith. But he will not leave them in the minor difficulty. Where fell the jawbone from the hero’s hand, there rose a refreshing fountain to quench his thirst. God is never at a loss for supplies. We have but to trust him, and we shall do great things, and. receive great things.

Judges 15:20

By his personal prowess he turned aside Israel’s enemies, and established a settled government, God intending in his person to shew Israel how he could make one man chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight.

 

Adultery, Fornication, Uncleanness, Lasciviousness

Galatians 5:19

We live in a day when moral standards have deteriorated. Things that were considered sinful and shameful one generation ago are now practiced in a widespread manner throughout the Church. Rather than acknowledge their sin and repent, believers try to justify their actions as they can continue in their deeds. But no matter how painstakingly Christians may try to dress up sin, God still sees it as sin and hates it.

If I just gave you my personal commentary about the current status of the Church, I might make you angry at me. So instead, let me explain to you the meaning of the following Greek words from Galatians 5:19. Then you’ll be able to see the works of the flesh as God sees them.

I will talk about these words purely from the viewpoint of their linguistic meaning. I believe the Greek definitions of these words in themselves will speak loudly enough for you to get the point. After reading these definitions, please take a few minutes to examine your own view of such actions. Determine if you see them as God sees them, or if you have been affected by a generation that has grown numb to the consequences of sin.

Adultery and Fornication:

When Paul begins his list of the works of the flesh, he begins with the sexual sins of adultery, fornication, and uncleanness. The word “adultery” and “fornication” both come from the same Greek word—the word porneia. This word includes all sexual activity outside of marriage—including both adultery and homosexuality.

When referring to a woman who has committed adultery, the New Testament used the word pornos. This is the word for a prostitute, and it very vividly informs us that a woman who has committed adultery has prostituted herself. She may not have sold herself for money; perhaps she traded her heart, her body, or her emotions for romance, for emotional support, or for a variety of other things. But regardless of why she did it, God says she has sold herself and entered into the sin of prostitution.

Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that this term refers only to a professional prostitute who walks the streets at night or who works in an escort service. This word pornos describes any woman who has committed adultery. It leaves no room for doubt that in God’s view, a woman who commits adultery has fallen into the sin of prostitution. She is a prostitute. One may try to give a myriad of reasons or excuses to explain why the illicit relationship occurred, but the fact is, God views such a relationship as an act of prostitution.

When referring to a man who has committed adultery, the word porneia depicts a man who has had sexual intercourse with a prostitute. Although his emotions may try to tell him that he has found the sweetheart of his dreams, the Greek word porneia means he has slept with a prostitute. A person may try as hard as he can to put a different light on this subject, but this is how God sees it. Whenever a man has sexual relations with a woman who is not his wife, God says his action is equivalent to seeking a prostitute for a cheap and dirty thrill.

I must point out that the word pornography comes from this same Greek word. In fact, pornography is from the Greek word pornos (the same word used above for an adulteress or a prostitute) and from the word grapho, which means to write. Thus, pornography refers to the writings or reflections about prostitution. This means that when an individual meditates on the writings or the photography contained in pornography, it is the equivalent of committing mental prostitution. Such a definition sheds new light on what Jesus said in Matthew 5:28: “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

What I have shared with you thus far today is not my opinion; it is the actual meaning of the Greek word “adultery” that is used throughout the New Testament. So how does this affect your view of someone who has committed adultery? If you have committed adultery, how does this affect your view of what you have done? And how does this affect your view of pornography?

If you are reading the King James Version of the New Testament, the next word in the works of the flesh is “fornication.” However, this word does not appear in this text in the original Greek; it speaks only of porneia, the word discussed above, which includes all forms of sexual activity outside of marriage. In Greek, the next point that Paul lists is “uncleanness.”

Uncleanness:

The word “uncleanness” is the Greek word akatharsia, which is the word kathairo with the prefix a added. The word kathairo means cleansed or pure, but when the a is added to it the condition is reversed, making the object dirty or unclean. In the New Testament, this word refers to lewd or unclean thoughts that eventually produce lewd or unclean actions. As it is used in the Gospels and Paul’s epistles, it strongly suggests that these actions begin in the mind as unclean thoughts before they manifest as unclean deeds.

Mark 1:23 says, “And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit….” The Greek actually says that this man was “gripped by the control of an unclean spirit.” It seems this man had pondered on lewd thoughts for so long that he had thrown open the door for these thoughts to seize and control him, so that eventually he found himself “in the clutch” of an unclean spirit. Although the text doesn’t explicitly say it, the usage of the word akatharsia makes one wonder whether or not this demon found entrance into this man’s life because he allowed his mind to dwell on things that were forbidden. Had he committed mental prostitution to such an extent that it opened the door for him to be completely controlled by spirits of uncleanness? The Bible doesn’t say exactly so, but the usage of the word akatharsia definitely makes this a possibility.

In Mark 5:2, we find another example of a man with an unclean spirit. It says, “And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.” The word “unclean” is also the word akatharsia. Just as Mark 1:23 depicted the man in the synagogue as being “gripped by the control of an unclean spirit,” this word could be translated exactly the same way in this verse. In the first five chapters of Mark, we thus have two very demonized individuals whose demon-possessed condition seems to have begun with impure, lewd, dirty thoughts, since this is exactly what the Greek word akatharsia means that is used in both texts. Did Satan lure them into the pornography of unclean ideas or into adultery, and then build a stronghold of uncleanness so robust in their minds that he was able to eventually cause unclean actions to be manifested in their lives and thus completely control them?

Never forget that Paul told us, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey…” (Romans 6:16). Whatever you give your mind to will eventually be your master. Was this the case with these two demon-possessed men in Mark 1:23 and Mark 5:2? I am not stating it emphatically, but the Greek suggests this very strongly However, it should certainly make us want to take charge of our thought life and not allow uncleanness to have any place in our minds!

Lasciviousness:

As Paul continues listing the works of the flesh, he next mentions “lasciviousness.” This strange word comes from the Greek word aselgeia. This Greek word describes excess, but it primarily refers to the excessive consumption of food or wild, undisciplined living that is especially marked by unbridled sex. The word aselgeia is listed as the principal sin of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (see 2 Peter 2:6) and the reason that God overthrew them.

It must be noted again that the word aselgeia also refers to the excessive consumption of food. This means that in God’s mind, it is just as perverted to overindulge in food as it is to engage in sinful sexual activities! So how does this make you feel about overeating?

All of the works of the flesh can be forgiven—but before forgiveness comes, sin must be acknowledged. This is why we must understand exactly what these words mean. Once sin is comprehended, it can then be repented of and confessed. This is God’s requirement.

If you have fallen into any of these works of the flesh, ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to see these sins as He sees them. Once you get a revelation of His perspective, you won’t want to be the same! You’ll understand the grossness of sin in God’s sight, and you will want to be changed!

Once you confess your sin, God will forgive you and you can move on with your life. If your actions have violated your spouse or anyone else, pray for God’s mighty grace to be upon them to forgive you. Then begin to take whatever steps are necessary to make that relationship healthier than ever before.

Dear friend, God is with you, and He wants to change your life. Open your heart and let the Holy Spirit be your Helper. He wants to help you get clean, get free, and become morally strong and stable. With His help, you can do it!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I thank You for opening my eyes to the truth about how You see these works of the flesh. Forgive me for being too tolerant of these areas in my life. Help me to see these fleshly works the way You see them and to detest them as much as You detest them. Teach me to hate sin! Show me how to say no to ungodliness and to yield my mind and my body as instruments of righteousness. After what You have shown me today, I never want to be the same!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I think clean thoughts and that I don’t allow the devil to mess with my mind. My mind belongs to Jesus. It is filled with the Word of God. That Word renews my mind to think God’s thoughts; therefore, Satan has no entrance into my mind or emotions to deceive me with thoughts of sin. I crucify my flesh, and I bring my body under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I am no longer the servant of sin—I am the servant of righteousness!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. How do you feel after reading today’s Sparkling Genii Has this discussion challenged any actions or secret thoughts in your life?
  2. Has overeating become a part of your life? If so, how do you view overeating and gluttony now that you know it is listed in the works of the flesh? Do you view it as merely a hang-up in your life, or do you see that overeating is not only hurtful to yourself but offensive to God?
  3. What steps do you need to take now that you know how God views these things?

 

Spiritual Smugness And Dry Rot

A smug faith dulls the spirit and closes the door to intimacy with God.

 

The twin sins of pride and lust severely hobble the best among us.

 

Listen to Blaise Pascal:

 

“You wanted to make yourself your own center and do without [God’s] help. You withdrew from [His] rule, setting yourself up as [His] equal in your desire to find happiness in yourself. And [so He] abandoned you to yourself…

 

Your chief maladies are the pride that withdraws you from God, and the lust that binds you to the earthWe are in fact so vile that, left to ourselvesare incapable of knowing [or] reaching Him.

 

I am reminded of the self-satisfied religious professional who stood in the temple and rehearsed to God his spiritual attainments — and went away empty. By contrast, the tax collector, cowed by his wretchedness, beat his breast and muttered “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” And God heard his prayer. (Luke 18:9-14)

 

Pride — Assuming the mental posture that “Ive got it figured out. I can pull this off on my own.

 

Lust — Failing to reign in our wandering eyes, unchecked imagination, and self-indulgence.

 

So… let me ask you:

 

Are you smugly satisfied with your spiritual attainments? With your spiritual life?

 

Or are you profoundly aware of and grieved over your need for more of God?

 

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Psalm 51:17; Matthew 5:3, 4)

 

If you are spiritually satisfied, it is my guess that you probably have too high a view of yourself and too low a view of God. Isaiah addresses our spiritual dry rot in stating,

 

In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” (Isaiah 30:15b)

 

QUESTION: Into which camp do you fall: Spiritual dry rot? Or profound awareness of an inner need?

 

 

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