Walking with Jesus…

The Bible tells us, in Matthew 26:28, that just before Peter denied Jesus three times, the Scriptures says that he was following Him from afar.

And Peter was following Him (Jesus) from afar, even to the court of the high priest. And having entered within, he was sitting with the guards to see the outcome.

As Christians, meaning Jesus disciples (His followers), we are to follow in His footsteps (see 1 John 2:6); and in the Hebrew culture it means to follow close enough to literally be covered in His dust.

The Winning Walk
REGAINING LOST GROUND

Have you noticed it can take thirty minutes (or less!) to get outside the will of God, and thirty years (or more) to get back to the place you were before sin invaded your life?

When we lose spiritual ground, when we retreat before the enemy, when we revert to our old ways, it is tough going back.

We may confess, make restitution, and start over again with a clean slate, but somehow we don’t feel the presence of God like we did before.

Joshua experienced this. He led Israel to a great victory at Jericho. Then God’s people suffered a crushing defeat at Ai.

When the sin at the root of that defeat was exposed, Joshua dealt with it. Then he humbly received instructions on how to win back the city he had just lost.

It was nothing like the way he won Jericho. Joshua learned that following a holy, awesome, powerful God is not a cookie-cutter proposition.

One day is not just like the next. One victory does not become the prescription for all victories.

Not only did God have a plan for the re-capture of Israel’s lost ground-He had a word of tender encouragement to his defeated leader.

“Do not fear or be dismayed,” He told Joshua.

Defeat is no cause for fear or depression. We will experience defeat in the Christian life, but it is not a permanent condition.

It is only a temporary setback. Even when a Christian loses the battle, his God has won the war.
Memory Verse

JOSHUA 8:1
…go up to Ai; see, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land.

This is why our continual 24/7 connection with God (see 1 John 5:17), through the Holy Spirit, and our daily immersion in God’s word are BOTH vital to every single Christian.

We were made to have this continuous relationship with God, and without it we are ALL like fish out of water, flopping around on the shores of life looking for our way back home.

We also must realize that when we go against God’s will and purpose, for our life (NOTE: this is what the nature of sin is), there are inevitable consequences that have a ripple effect to all those around us, including those in our family.

As Christians, this is something we all do by virtue of the fact we are human and are therefore constantly having to battle against our old nature, in our flesh; nevertheless thank God that He has made provision for us in 1 John 1:9, which says that “if we confess our sins He is faithful to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

This is key and is something that we ALL should keep centermost in our mind, that because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, on calvary’s Cross and His poured out blood, that the accuser of the Brethren has lost all of his Leverage and that God has taken our sin and placed it as far as the East is from the West (see Ps 103:12), and so now there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ!

Nevertheless in the natural life there are always consequences to having strayed from the Path, and the above devotional is talking about what some of those consequences are.

As Christians, we must always recognize that the enemy is always trying to push us off course and cause us to compromise.

Just as it is with a pilot who is flying from LAX to Hawaii, he has to constantly monitor his course and direction of flight because there are always cross winds and headwinds that are seeking to put him off course; and consequently 90-plus percent of his time is spent monitoring and correcting his course and direction.

The same is true for us as Christian, and the way we achieve our course correction is by daily repentance, meaning to daily adjust the way we are thinking, through our meditation and immersion in God’s Word.

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Learning to love people where they’re at…

The verse I would like to reference, first off, along this topic, is 1 Corinthians 13, verses 4 – 7, which addresses the topic of what does the God kind of love [Agape] look like:

4 Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, 5 never haughty or selfish or rude.

Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.

6 It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out.
7 If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost.

You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.

(Living Bible)

Now mind you, this is exactly the way God deals with each one of us, and aren’t we called in Scripture to put on the mind of Christ (Php 2:5).

Out of necessity, in order for us (as Christians) to put on the mind of Christ and to bear this fruit of love in our life, it requires that we learn to be long-suffering, just as God has been and continues to be long suffering with us.

What does the Bible mean by longsuffering?

It has been said that longsuffering means “suffering long.” That is a good answer, but a better definition is needed.

The word longsuffering in the Bible is made up of two Greek words meaning “long” and “temper”; literally, “long-tempered.”

To be longsuffering, then, is to have self-restraint when one is stirred to anger. A longsuffering person does not immediately retaliate or punish; rather, he has a “long fuse” and patiently forbears.

Longsuffering is associated with mercy (1 Peter 3:20) and hope (1 Thessalonians 1:3). It does not surrender to circumstances or succumb to trial.

God is the source of longsuffering because it is part of His character (Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18–20; Psalm 86:15; Romans 2:4; 1 Peter 3:9; 2 Peter 3:15).

He is patient with sinners. At the same time, God’s longsuffering can come to an end, as seen in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18—19) and the sending of Israel into captivity (1 Kings 17:1–23; 2 Kings 24:17—25:30).

The believer in Jesus Christ receives the very life of God, His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). That life produces certain characteristics (fruit) that are displayed in the believer as he obeys the Holy Spirit who lives within him.

One of those godly characteristics from Galatians 5:22–23 is “longsuffering.” The word is translated “patience” in the New American Standard Bible. Longsuffering is to be exhibited by all believers (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 1:11; 3:12).

Think how our lives would be affected if longsuffering were exhibited in individual relationships, family relationships, church relationships, and workplace relationships.

The old nature can be very short-fused at times, and we tend to strike back against offenses with unkind words and unforgiving spirits.

By obeying the Holy Spirit, the believer in Christ can say “no” to retaliation and exhibit a forgiving and longsuffering attitude.

As God is longsuffering with us, we can and must be longsuffering with others (Ephesians 4:30–32).

The ultimate example of God’s longsuffering is His waiting for individuals to respond in faith to Jesus Christ.

God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Have you made that decision to believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for you and that He rose again to provide forgiveness and eternal life? If not, read Romans 10:9–13.

[https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.gotquestions.org/amp/Bible-longsuffering.html]

One of the benefits of our having to reach out and minister to the lost and also for us to disciple new Believers, it is necessary for us to learn how to walk in Agape love.

For that to happen, it will be necessary for us to die to our self and give God permission to use us as His conduit, that He would be able to channel His love through us.

As the Scripture says, “Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches;” and it is impossible for a branch to bear fruit apart from being attached to the Vine.

As with most things, when it comes to our learning to move in the Spirit, it has to do more with our allowing God to change our attitude, while feeling the heat and frustration of the moment.

The bottom line here is that we are ALL called to love others as God loves us.

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Knowing God from the Inside Out…

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Luke 17:20-21
20 Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He replied to them by saying, The kingdom of God does not come with signs to be observed or with visible display,

21 Nor will people say, Look! Here [it is]! or, See, [it is] there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts] andamong you [surrounding you].

Hebrew for Christians

The implication that God is our Creator is enormous and pervades everything else in our lives.

God’s creative power is witnessed by all conscious life. The Divine Light that was created before the sun and the stars represents God’s immanent presence that “lights up” all of creation – including our minds (Gen. 1:3).

Since we were created b’tzelem Elohim, “in the image of God,” the witness of God’s truth is foundational to all of our thinking as well. The revelation (not the invention) of logical first principles is part of God’s “signature,” if you will, of how the mind is wired to reality.

Likewise we have intuitive awareness regarding the existence of moral truth (i.e., the standard of justice and moral law), aesthetic truth (i.e., ideals of beauty, goodness, worth, and love), and metaphysical truth (i.e., cause and effect relationships).

“The heavens are recounting the glory of God, and the expanse is proclaiming his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1).

God’s power and presence can be clearly inferred from the tremendous effect of the universe itself.

As Paul stated, “the invisible things of Him (τά ἀόρατα αὐτοῦ) from the creation of the world are clearly seen (καθοράω), so that people are without excuse” (Rom. 1:19-20).

It is the fear of the LORD (יִרְאַת יהוה) that is truly the beginning of wisdom and knowledge (Psalm 111:10; Prov. 1:7; 9:10).

The Hebrew word for fearing (ירא) and seeing (ראה) share the same root.

We cannot truly see reality apart from reverencing God as the Lord and King of Creation.

[https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155881735577810&id=56347292809]

Another Scripture that I really like is found in the Book of Acts:

Acts 17:26-28
26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’

We can gather from these Scriptures that we live in a sea of God’s presence, and that He is nearer to each of us than most realize.

He is in fact all around us, even closer to us than our next breath.

Like any father, as we can learn from verse 27, God loves to play hide n seek with His kids, with the intent that we should seek after Him (even grope after Him, as a blind man in a dark room, with the intent always that we find Him.

The key is that the search begins from within, as we learn to seek God, with ALL our heart, soul and strength (Mark 12:29-30), and this is key, that we must do so by FAITH – meaning with our absolute trust and reliance upon His Word.

This requires total 24/7 commitment, discipline and effort on our part, in the same sense that the most important thing for a drowning man is his next breath of air.

WITHOUT THAT GOD CONNECTION IN OUR LIFE, WE ARE ALL LIKE FISH OUT OF WATER, FLOPPING AROUND ON THE SHORES OF LIFE, SEEKING OUR WAY BACK HOME.

God’s promise to each of us is that when we seek Him with that same commitment and desperation, we will find Him.

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