Category Archives: Grace / Patience

May His Face Shine Upon You

What a beautiful blessing we find in Numbers 6, intended for the audience of Aaron and his sons. I pray this now for myself, those close to me, and also for pastors and leaders who follow Christ with a genuine heart. I pray it for those reading through the scriptures with me daily… and I sure appreciate if / when you pray for me as well.

Numbers 6:22-27

      22Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 23“Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them:

      24The LORD bless you, and keep you;

      25The LORD make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;

      26The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.’

27“So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.”

Another translation captures verse 24-26 slightly differently… “may the Lord’s face radiate with joy because of you”. I certainly want to have that relationship with Him and please Him in that way. I want other brothers and sisters in Christ to do so as well.

Numbers 6:24-26 Living Bible (TLB)

24-26 ‘May the Lord bless and protect you; may the Lord’s face radiate with joy because of you; may he be gracious to you, show you his favor, and give you his peace.’

Take some time this morning and pray for yourself, your family, brothers and sisters in Christ, and for whomever else you feel led to pray for today.

May the grace and peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, be with you.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

A Living Hope, And A Sure Salvation

1 Peter, like so many letters and books of the Bible, contains a lot of information if we slow down long enough to reflect on it and ask our Father to open our ears and eyes to be able to more fully understand it. Do not rush through. “Chew” on it awhile.

1 Peter 1

A Living Hope, and a Sure Salvation

      1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

      3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

      10As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, 11seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. 12It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.

      13Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

      17If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; 18knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 20For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

      22Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, 23for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.

24For,
“ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS,
AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS.
THE GRASS WITHERS,
AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF,

      25BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.”
And this is the word which was preached to you.

Peter writes to those followers of YHWH who have accepted Yeshua as Messiah and are scattered across different lands. They are living as aliens amongst other people who do not believe as they do. Right away I think that this letter applies to most of us who truly seek to follow YHWH through Yeshua today. Most of those who even claim to be Christians are living lives that are blended or mixed and mingled with pagan beliefs. It has been happening for centuries, but you can see it continue to evolve today. Pagan holidays rather than YHWH’s holy days are celebrated. People embrace homosexuality and transgender even within some churches. There are many examples. This of course makes it harder for those who wish to truly follow him according to his ways laid out in his word. Simply put, we don’t really fit in to culture and are more like aliens from another land living amongst the people of the land.

Peter notes that the Father already knows who will obey him. He is omniscient (all knowing). He also comments on the sanctifying work of the Spirit. The Spirit makes us holy over time as we build relationship with YHWH through the Spirit. Of course we also see the role of the blood of Yeshua. Do not overlook the work of the Spirit but rather seek to embrace him.

Even the simple greeting relaying “grace and peace” is worth reflecting on. He does not greet them with “may you be rich and free of troubles”. Rather to be receivers of YHWH’s grace and experience peace that comes with it, these are things to be desired and pursued.

Our salvation is through Christ. It is imperishable and reserved for us in heaven. We should rejoice, even if we experience hardship and trials for awhile in our lives while we wait. As a matter of fact, he does not just emphasize “survive” hardship, but rejoice in the hope of salvation and recognize that our being tested can actually bring glory to YHWH, if we handle it right. (I admit that I sometimes do not handle all my trials well, but I see the Spirit at work over time transforming me and I am closer as time goes by and I continue to mature.)

We are called to prepare our minds for action. Living the Father’s way is not passive, but active. Fix our hope on the grace we receive through Yeshua for forgives of sins. Be obedient, even like children, and be set apart and holy… apart from the former lusts which tempted us and in which we sinned.  Once again we see that YHWH calls us through scripture to change our behaviors and attitudes. We are not to remain the same and say “now I am saved”. We are to change. We are to be holy because the LORD is holy.

We are called to love one another. This does not mean to accept one another in our sin. That is not love. Love drives us to help others find their way to the LORD, not remain in sin and rationalize why they can not or should not change. But how we engage with people should reflect we care about them. This does not mean hang out with sinners who refuse to acknowledge a need to change and seek Christ. We should follow Yeshua’s example… bring the word to people and then our closest circle of friends should be fellow believers and followers of YHWH.

Do not miss at the close. Peter quotes scripture. The word of the LORD endures forever. This is what I preached to you. Once again we see the founding fathers of the Way, of Christianity as followers of Christ, telling us that they taught the unchanging word of YHWH. They did not make up a new set of instructions based on only Yeshua. Quite the opposite. What Yeshua taught was totally consistent with the Torah and the writings of the prophets. This unchanging word of YHWH is what Peter and his fellow apostles taught to followers of Yeshua. We are not to simply disregard what is referred to commonly as the Old Testament and start over. The unchanging word of YHWH endures forever.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

 

James’ Exhortation For Followers Of Yeshua

Exhortation… I had to look that one up. The definition is “an address or communication emphatically urging someone to do something”. There are many places in the Bible where there are exhortations about how we should act. Let us consider them carefully and without getting defensive.

Be patient waiting on the LORD. Do not complain against one another. Endure well when hard times come. Read through the whole list with an ear for how it could be impactful in your life.

James 5:7-20

Exhortation

      7Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. 8You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. 10As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.

      12But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.

      13Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. 14Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 16Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 17Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.

      19My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, 20let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Perhaps the last one is worth reflecting on. Our culture today seems to value (and bully) Christians to be silent about their faith and leave everyone to their sin. James exhorts us to engage those who stray from the truth and help them find their error and return.He emphasizes this strongly.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

There Are Times and People Who Will Not Accept Sound Doctrine

Paul has an important message for Timothy in 2 Timothy 4, and it is important for every believer. We must be ready to preach the word at all times, when we expect it and when we do not. We do not want to miss an opportunity. Further, we know there are times and people who will not accept sound doctrine. They prefer something which makes them feel good about themselves as they are or avoids conflict… Paul calls it “tickling their ears”.  People go and shop for teachers who tell them what they want to hear instead of teachers who tell them what YHWH desires of us.

Let us take the charge given to Timothy, and prepare ourselves to be ready and willing at all times to preach the gospel of Yeshua. Let us also challenge ourselves not to behave like those who change preachers and teachers rather than change their behavior to match what YHWH has said he desires. Let us challenge ourselves to seek to understand and live out YHWH’s word in the Bible, even when it calls for us to change and be set apart from other Christians. To truly live according to our Creator’s ways, we will be set apart even from most who call themselves Christians in some distinct ways. One example today is fairly obvious. Culture tells us we are to hold our faith private and not discuss it publicly. Many churches are more concerned with an agenda like a social club rather than instructing people in the ways of YHWH.  This is wrong. We are to reprove, rebuke, exhort and do so with patience and instruction. It will be hard and people will reject it. We must endure and pray for wisdom and patience.

2 Timothy 4:1-8

“Preach the Word”

     1I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

      6For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Paul talks about hardship in your ministry. We must ask ourselves, “If we endure no hardship, are we really challenging ourselves and others to change for YHWH?”

None of us should be so arrogant as to assume we have a perfect and full understanding of our Lord. Thus, if we love him and are praying and searching and studying his word we should expect to learn and develop a better understanding over time. This means we should be changing ourselves. Our lives and our understanding with YHWH today should not look the same as it did 10 years ago or will 10 years from now. If we find ourselves anchored in the same comfortable understanding of our Lord and in the same comfortable patterns of behavior, we should ask ourselves, “Am I really growing in my relationship with the Lord, or am I stagnant and no longer growing close to him?” Then we should take action, which will include change in our lives.

Do not be attached to the ways of men (not even traditions of our parents and grandparents), nor to the ways that men declare of YHWH, but rather diligently seek the truth through scripture, study, and prayer and then make changes to live it out more fully even when others come against you because your change makes them uncomfortable. Pray for patience, wisdom, and discernment but also for courage.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Difficult Times Will Come

The difficult times referred to by Paul in 2 Timothy 3 are very challenging indeed. There is a list of bad things that have become commonplace, ranging from loving self to disobeying parents to loving pleasure rather than YHWH. This describes many times and places throughout history and certainly applies to the United States today. In particular, one deceptive aspect which is not to be overlooked is that people hold to a form of godliness, but have denied its power. This is particularly dangerous as it misrepresents YHWH while claiming his name. We have instructions to stay away from people such as these… not to convert them or win the argument but to stay away.

Paul also included advice on what Timothy was to focus on when confronted with these difficult times and we can as well. We can expect persecution and hardship when we stand for Yeshua and YHWH. We are to endure it, not avoid it by hiding our faith or acting as if our faith is “private” and not to be shared. Faith, patience, love, and other such qualities are key for us during these difficult times.

Paul also ends the chapter with direction that Timothy should study and rely on all scripture, in particular the scripture he has been studying since he was a child. The New Testament was not yet written and compiled as scripture. Paul is clearly referring to the Old Testament. We should take care to hold fast to the whole Bible and not discard or downplay the Old Testament in pursuit of the New as is often taught or emphasized in churches today. The whole of scripture works together as one unit and does not contradict one another. Paul directed Timothy to study the Old Testament, and this was after the death and resurrection of Yeshua. We should do likewise.

2 Timothy 3

“Difficult Times Will Come”

     1But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 6For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. 9But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.

      10Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, 11persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! 12Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

When Scripture Is Difficult To Understand, Start By Assuming YHWH Is Right

I certainly have to admit that the laws on domestic relations seem as if from a faraway time and place… because they are. They are not only far away in location but also in time.  The culture was very different. It is easy for us to jump to the conclusion that they are somehow wrong and barbaric. I think that is so easy or simple a view and is not correct. To truly understand we need to study to understand the cultural norms and lifestyle of the time. We must think about it in context. We do well to start with the faith that YHWH is correct and His instruction is righteous and then seek to understand how it applied then and how it may apply still today. In this way we gain wisdom and understanding.

Deuteronomy 21:10-23

Domestic Relations

       10“When you go out to battle against your enemies, and the LORD your God delivers them into your hands and you take them away captive, 11and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would take her as a wife for yourself, 12then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. 13“She shall also remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full month; and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14“It shall be, if you are not pleased with her, then you shall let her go wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not mistreat her, because you have humbled her.

      15“If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and the unloved have borne him sons, if the firstborn son belongs to the unloved, 16then it shall be in the day he wills what he has to his sons, he cannot make the son of the loved the firstborn before the son of the unloved, who is the firstborn. 17“But he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn.

      18“If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, 19then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown. 20“They shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21“Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear of it and fear.

      22“If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance.

We can certainly have a robust and interesting discussion regarding taking a captive as a wife. I am not sure how to practically apply this to be frank. However, one can easily understand that other cultures of the time would not be so gracious to a captive as to give them time to grieve and treat them well. There is explicit instruction to avoid abusing them. There is protection for those who are vulnerable.

We can ponder again about the instruction regarding two wives, one loved and one unloved. I do not believe YHWH wants a man to have two wives. He intended one man to one woman as with Adam and Eve. We could have an interesting discussion on why He did not outright ban it. Perhaps like divorce, He allowed it because of the hardness of their hearts. Similarly, I don’t believe He intends for any wife to be unloved by her husband. However, we can see that He provides protection for those who may be unloved and may be vulnerable to abuse or neglect.

In the third example, we can see that YHWH expects even perhaps adult children to still respect their parents. How many of us assume the scripture is calling young children gluttons and drunkards? It sounds like older children who are being rebellious. In this case it refers to rebellion to both YHWH and parents. YHWH is not tolerant of evil and rebellion. He instructs that there should be accountability and a stop should be put to the sin before it spreads to others.

The last example probably seems to most of us abhorrent. Why would we hang those who were executed in public. This was likely not a pretty site. Again, though we could have a very interesting discussion on this case, ultimately I think we could agree YHWH wants to discourage sin and rebellion. He wants to discourage  seriously bad behavior from becoming accepted and normalized. We can perhaps prefer not to take this approach, but in reality looking at the sin rampant in our culture today, perhaps we would benefit from a bit more punishment and accountability a few generations ago and we would not have normalized so much sin in our culture which is now praised as acceptable or good.

I would simply encourage you to not disregard any scripture and not assume that YHWH was wrong because we live differently than He instructed His people to live. Pray, study and reflect on what we can learn about Him from His word. Then seek to apply it to your life.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Let Your Actions Match Your Statement Of Faith In Christ

We should all strive to live in such a way that our actions match our statement of faith in Christ. For those who would simply acknowledge Christ in name but live according to the world, you are worse than those who just reject Christ outright because you fool yourself and others so that they may not find their way to Him.  We are to be a light, which is to say that we must be very different from the darkness.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

Christian Conduct

      12But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. 14We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. 16Rejoice always; 17pray without ceasing; 18in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19Do not quench the Spirit; 20do not despise prophetic utterances. 21But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22abstain from every form of evil.

      23Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

      25Brethren, pray for us.

      26Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. 27I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren.

      28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Conduct Yourself With Wisdom Toward Outsiders

I remember back when I thought I was a Christian, but was really only a churchgoer. I did not know Christ personally, but only knew of Him. (Even Satan knows Christ.) I recall vividly when a person whom I did not know well decided to engage me with the words “I have the words to save you.” This was entirely ineffective and, in fact, ended any chance of my listening to what he had to say. It was not helpful.

I pray for YHWH to help me conduct myself with wisdom toward non believers (and believers). I pray He would help direct my speech to be productive and impactful… engaging effectively while still staying true to YHWH’s word. Let us not miss also that Paul highlights the fact that each person may respond better to a different approach. It is not “one size fits” all.

Colossians 4:5-6

   5Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

Paul was very good at engaging people effectively. He could address Jews or Gentiles. When he went to Greece, he did not start by calling them all pagans who are going to hell, but rather started by calling them “very religious”. He looked for a connection to meet them where they were without compromising the message of the gospel. His sermon on Mars Hill was a great example of successful engagement with those who do not know Christ.

Acts 17:22-34

Sermon on Mars Hill

      22So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23“For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;28for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ 29“Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. 30“Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

      32Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, “We shall hear you again concerning this.” 33So Paul went out of their midst. 34But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Grace To You And Peace From God Our Father

What a wonderful way to greet brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul opens his letter to the Colossians with welcoming words in which he tells them he is thankful to God for them and is actively praying for them. Even if we disagree with a fellow brother or sister in Christ on some issues, what a wonderful approach to take. Begin with prayer for them, then engage them with encouragement for what they are doing well, then perhaps later challenge them on areas of obedience in their walk with Christ. This is much more effective than the approach many take today… not praying for them, skipping over what is good, and focusing immediately on what we think they may be doing wrong.

 Colossians 1:1-12

Thankfulness for Spiritual Attainments

     1Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

      2To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

      3We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; 5because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel 6which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; 7just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, 8and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.

      9For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

It is good for us to pray for one another in this way. Pray that those who follow Christ would be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that they will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Thank God For Other Believers And Pray For Them

Let us be thankful even for imperfect Christians that are trying to grow in the Lord and live obediently for Him. Pray for them. Encourage them and yes… correct them when needed. But we need not divide over every disagreement. Be gracious.

Philippians 1:1-11

Thanksgiving

     1Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: 2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

      3I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, 5in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. 6For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. 7For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. 8For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

How do you treat other Christians? Do you pray for them? Do you encourage them? Do you rebuke them when needed? Do you show grace through disagreements, but remain loyal to those seeking obedience to God in their lives.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.