The Sin unto Death

God is faithful and just, and He forgives every sin, for which we repent. Unrighteousness is sin. God cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). This sin does not lead to our eternal death (1 John 5:16-17). We sincerely repent and He casts our sin as far away as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). He remembers it no more (Hebrews 8:12).
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the only unpardonable sin mentioned in the Bible (See former post); however, there is also a “sin unto death” (1 John 5:16-17). This person chooses to abide in a sinful lifestyle rather than living the holy life, where God calls us to reside, and he/she refuses to repent (1 Peter 1:16).

God will continually convict and draw this individual back to Himself, but if there is no repentance, then God will take this person out of the world, cutting his/her life short. This is not referring simply to spiritual death, because we are all already born with our spirit dead in sin. 1 John is not simply referring to spiritual death, but also to physical death (1 John 1:1-2; 2:25; 3:14-15; 4:9; 5:11-13).

Authentic believers do sin occasionally (1 John 1:7, 1:9, 2:1, 5:16); however, we do not persevere in disobedient behavior (1 John 2:4). Those who persistently walk in sin and darkness, while claiming to know the truth and to be in the light, who hate Christ and His followers and who deny that Jesus is God who came in the flesh as our Messiah, are in danger of committing the sin unto death (1 John 1:6, 2:9, 2:22).

Prayer:
Father God, we live with the confidence that You will answer our requests when they are prayed according to Your will (1 John 5:14-15). You always answer our fervent, effective prayers (1 John 3:21-22, 4:16-17). Teach us to honor You with our thoughts, words and actions, so that we will never bring shame on Your name. Thank You for the multitude of blessings that You share with us each day.

Thought for the Day:
We tremble before the Lord in reverence and awe, worshiping Him in the beauty of holiness. – Psalm 96:9

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Effective Prayer

The Body of Christ performs a vital ministry for our spiritual life. As we confess our sins to each other, we hold one another accountable. Also, prayer unites the Body of Christ more deeply than any other spiritual discipline. When we pray for each other, we are healed. There is no disputing the fact that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16).

A wonderful way to learn God’s Word, and to gain the insight of Saints who already walked the same path, in the season of life in which we are living, is called discipleship. However, there is no better source of discipleship than sitting at Jesus feet (Luke 10:38-42). Through prayer and by reading His Word, God’s Spirit teaches us all things (1 John 2:27).

Our developing relationship with God gives us a more intense desire for holiness, as we realize how deeply our behavior affects our witness and our relationship with our Lord. The clearer we hear God speak to us, the more closely we can follow His voice in our daily life (James 1:5; Jeremiah 29:13; John 10:27). Otherwise, we suffer from impaired spiritual hearing (Matthew 11:15).

God lives in us and we are as close to Him as is possible; but we can form a deeper, more personal bond with Him by spending more time hanging out in His presence. Intimate communication in our prayer closet allows our relationship with God to deepen, because we are spending quality time with our Father (Matthew 22:37; John 17:3).

Prayer:
Father God, You are never far from us. We, however, allow the busyness of life to drown out Your voice and to rob us of our intimate times with You. Remind us to pay attention to You in every moment of every day, so that You can approach us more intimately than ever before (James 4:8). You will fill us with more of Your holiness, as well as Your Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). Then we will walk in Your power and victory over sin, the world and Satan (John 14:12-14; Acts 1:8).

Thought for the Day:
New Testament Saints made prayer a priority; why don’t we?
– Acts 1:14

Powerless to Control Life

We usually start life under the assumption that we can achieve the American dream, but life often careens out of our control. We eventually admit that we are ultimately powerless to overcome the negative aspects of our life, and we realize that we need a Savior outside of our self (Romans 7:18).

First, we attempt to trust in a person to bail us out. We get into codependent relationships that seem to stifle us in the end. In order to reinstate our sanity, we eventually realize that we must come to believe in a power, which is greater than anything this world has to offer (Philippians 2:13).

Some people try Eastern religions, positive thinking or something that epitomizes wholeness to them. This lasts for a little while, but often fizzles out. Everyone ever born has an innate knowledge of God within his or her soul, yearning for their spirit to be reborn (Romans 1:19-23). We all have a body and soul – our mind, will and emotions, but our spirit is dead until we come to Christ (John 3:1-21).

Once we come to Christ, He helps us to clear our conscience of dead works. Feelings of unforgiveness, anger, resentment, bitterness and more melt away at His presence in our life. He also helps us to think of people to whom we need to ask forgiveness, and He helps us to make amends for the harm we perpetrated on their life (Lamentations 3:40; Luke 6:31; Matthew 5:23-24).

It is wise to obtain Christian counseling and discipleship, and to share with someone who will continually hold us accountable as we walk in God’s Truth (James 5:16; 1 Corinthians 10:12). As we humble our self before the Lord, He replaces our moral deficiencies with the fruit of His Spirit (James 4:10; Galatians 5:22-23). He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that no one is perfect. We can forgive those who harm us and ask forgiveness from those whom we hurt. As we pray and read Your Word, draw us closer to You, tell us Your Will for our life each moment and give us the power to carry it out (Philippians 2:12-13; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:16). Thank You for totally forgiving us for our transgressions of Your ways. Sanctify us daily as we walk toward Your perfection (1 John 1:9; Matthew 5:48).

Thought for the Day:
Nothing but living in service to Jesus Christ can fill the void that continually haunts our life. – Romans 12:1

God’s Everlasting Love

Our help in times of tribulation and loss comes from the Lord (Psalm 121:1-2). He is the God of Creation (Genesis 1:1), Redemption (Ephesians 1:7) and Protection (Psalm 121:7). As Creator, He not only created the cosmos in the beginning, He will also restore all things with a new Heaven and a new Earth (Revelation 21:1). As Redeemer, God saves Believers and protects us so that we will never perish (John 3:16-18).

To receive these blessings, we admit our need for a Savior. We all fall short of His glory, and deserve death; however, God gives us eternal life when we turn from our sinful lifestyle and trust in Him to save us (Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8). We confess that we are sinners, believe in our heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, and we shall be saved (Roman 10:9).

We can live in confidence, because we know that God is protecting us through every trial and in all of our grief. As with Daniel in the lion’s den, the Hebrew children in the fiery furnace and the valley of the shadow of death, God does not save us from the suffering; but as we live through it, He walks with us, as well as in us (Colossians 1:27).

God collects our tears in His bottle and He records the events in His book. He will bring revenge on those who hurt us (Romans 12:19). When we pray, God works on our behalf. We can trust Him without hesitation, realizing that no one can do anything to us without God’s consent (Psalm 56:8-11). We will live for eternity and no one can ever snatch us away from Him (John 10:28).

Prayer:
Father God, I confess that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and I turn to You for salvation. I believe in You and trust You to take control of my life. Thank you for creating me, redeeming me and providing for me every day of my life. You are there for me in the light and the darkness. You carry me through every trial and comfort me in all of my grief (Psalm 68:19).

Thought for the Day:
As we flee from temptation and please God, we will increase in grace and knowledge of all that the Lord means to us. – 2 Timothy 2:22-24; 2 Peter 3:18

The Comings of Christ

There are three separate comings of Jesus Christ recorded in God’s Word. First, He came as a baby, born in a manger and lived a submissive life to His parents for 30 years. Then, after His ministry of three years, He died on the cross to save us from our sins, He resurrected from the grave and ascended back to heaven to be with our Father. He is building New Jerusalem for us, so that we can live with Him for eternity (John 14:2-3).

What we call the Rapture is the second appearing of Jesus, which happens in the clouds, when He comes to call His Bride of Believers home to Heaven. Those who are dead will rise first. Their spirit and soul are already with the Lord, but their mortal body will come from the dust of the grave and be changed into an immortal body as they go to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Isaiah 35:4). Those Believers still alive on the earth at that time will join them (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

This occurs prior to Jesus opening the first seal on the scroll and unleashing the reign of the anti-Christ on the earth for seven years (Revelation 5:1-10, 6:2). God will use the Great Tribulation to judge the ungodly nations of the world through the horrors of the Day of His Wrath. The governments of this world will topple and every unbeliever will be brought to their knees and realize that Jesus is Lord (Romans 14:10-12; Philippians 2:11).

God will also use the Great Tribulation to save Israel and to bring them into the land He promised their father Abraham. God’s third reason for the Day of His Vengeance is to put an end to Satan’s rule on this earth. This brings on what is called the second coming, when Jesus physically returns to earth with His Saints to defeat Satan’s Army and to rule the earth for one thousand years, and then on into eternity (Revelation 20-22).

Prayer:
Father God, the end time events strike fear in the heart of everyone who respects Your name. We know they will literally happen just as your life, death and resurrection literally occurred. We thank You for giving us the opportunity to work in Your Kingdom throughout the Millennium. Help us to reach as many people as possible now, to join us for eternity with You.

Thought for the Day:
Going to church and reading the Bible will not save anyone. God calls everyone to believe that we need a savior, that Jesus Christ is that Savior, and to surrender our life and our will to God. – John 3:16-18

Love for a Lifetime

Marriage is defined as a union of two individuals. God phrases it as two becoming one. This means that we no longer strive to please our self, but to submit to one another as joint heirs to the Kingdom of God (1 Peter 3:7). We no longer promote our own agenda, but meld our ideas to formulate a new way of life, which meets both of our needs.

When one person in the couple gives more than the other person, there is an inequity in both power and fulfillment. This imbalance will throw off the symmetry of the relationship and fuel negative emotions, which destroy intimacy. If undetected or not dealt with, they will erode even the best of relationships.

In a Godly marriage, both partners build up one another in love (1 Thessalonians 5:11), bear with one another (Ephesians 4:2), help to carry one another’s burdens (Colossians 3:13), edify each other rather than to criticize or tear one another down (Ephesians 4:29), and find God’s will for our marriage by praying together and seeking the Holy Spirit’s direction (Jude 1:20).

We all need praise, affirmation, love, appreciation and support. No one likes to be taken for granted, discounted or neglected. We often get too focused on work, children, church activities and community involvement and end up disregarding our mate and family. This is as much of a betrayal as infidelity. Make your mate your priority, second only to God. Spend time as a family and bond for a lifetime.

Prayer:

Father God, You knew us and had every day of our life planned out before we were ever born (Psalm 139:16). You gave woman to man as a helpmate. Teach us to value one another’s opinions, because there are many bad decisions, which could have been avoided if a couple discussed and prayed about it prior to carrying it out. Help us to avoid blaming and criticizing and to accept one another, even with all of our idiosyncrasies.

Thought for the Day:

Financial, mental, emotional, physical and spiritual fidelity is the key to marital success.

Redemption

Jesus Christ lived on this earth for 33 years and gave up his life to die on Calvary’s tree to redeem us from the penalty of sin, which is eternity in hell (1 Peter 2:24). Now, because of Christ’s sacrifice for us, we are acceptable to God and have peace with God (Romans 5:1). Jesus also provided us with God’s grace, so that we can stand through our trials and rejoice in the hope of living in the glory of the Lord (Romans 5:2).

If we suffer according to God’s will, we can follow Jesus’ example and entrust our soul to our faithful God (1 Peter 4:19). If we are called according to God’s purpose and live a life in love with Him, we are blessed beyond our wildest dreams (Romans 8:28). He gives us His faith to believe for things we cannot even see (Hebrews 11:1).

While we live on this earth, we gain courage as we walk in faith (2 Corinthians 5:6-7). We forget the past and look forward to the future as we walk in holiness and relish, by faith, the fact that we will attain the rewards, which God has in store for us through Jesus (Isaiah 43:18; Philippians 3:13-14). We function in the power of Christ in us to move mountains as we live by His faith (Mark 11:23).

God’s love allows us to carry on through everything, which comes our way, to believe in His Word and to hope in His enduring promises (1 Corinthians 13:7). God dwells with us. We are His children and He is our God. He wipes away our tears and gives us joy instead of mourning. He redeems our past and gives us a thriving life on this earth and a future with Him in eternity (Revelation 21:3-4).

Prayer:
Father God, we try to avoid suffering at all costs, even though we live in a broken world full of tattered and trodden people. We fear death and tremble at the thought of our life being reduced to a pile of ashes. Remind us of the privilege You give us to live as Your child. Please call those we love to come to a life of advantage and blessings right along with us. Help us to sacrifice our life for others as Jesus did for us.

Thought for the Day:
Put the past behind you and live in Christ’s redemption now and always.