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Archive for January, 2012

(Romans 16:19 ….but I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil)

The word innocent is described in the dictionary as free from moral wrong; without sin; pure.

Sometimes we read this verse and think we aren’t supposed to know much about evil. Obviously we aren’t to participate in evil, but to be able to be wise in what is good, we do need to know about evil.

Jeremiah 4:22 says “My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good.”.

To me this says that it is more natural for us to do evil. We were born into a world of sin and our natural man will more times than not go for evil over good. Through Christ, we are new creatures in Him, but our old evil nature never disappears during this life on earth.

In the military, the enemy is studied so that proper plans can be made to overcome and defeat them. It’s the same in the spiritual world, we need to know how the enemy moves and works against us.

We need to remember that the evil nature is still within us and we need to be constantly aware of where that can lead. We need to understand our enemy and plan ahead on what we need to do to overcome the temptations when they come.

God’s words tell us in Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell (think) on these things.

I truly think our biggest battles and obstacles are fought in our mind. We need to be aware of evil and what it can do, but we need to focus our thoughts on the good.

Only through Christ can we overcome, only through Christ can we do good. By spending time in God’s presence, praying and reading His words can we learn what is good and have the power to overcome evil.

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Galatians 3:24, 25

The Law very clearly was used under the Old Covenant as a tutor, a set of rules to basically keep us in line. The Law was there for us to follow, and if we kept it entirely, we would be perfect and could obtain salvation.

Unfortunately, due to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, evil had control over the earth and we mere men could not live up to the standards of the Law. We kept falling short and were unable to obtain perfect living by the Law.

The Law showed us that we were in need of someone to save us. We were unable to do it ourselves. The Law, through its rules and regulations were ineffective to bring us to salvation.

Fortunately, Jesus came and lived on this earth and was able to fulfill the Law. He lived a perfect life and fulfilled every part of the Law up through His death on the cross.

At that point, He said ‘It is finished’, meaning that fulfillment of the Law was complete in Him and He was now the perfect sacrifice for us. The Old Covenant was a thing of the past and a New Covenant began at His resurrection.

Now we live through love. We love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, and we love others as ourselves (Galatians 5:14).

Jesus lives in us and He has fulfilled the Law. We now live by faith in Christ and are saved through His grace. We no longer need to worry about trying to fulfill the Law or any part of the Old Covenant.

Jesus fulfilled all that was needed to provide for our salvation. We live through faith in Christ and depend on Him solely for our salvation. We are no longer slaves to the Law, but we are sons of God (John 15:15). We are righteousness in God’s eyes because He sees Jesus in us.

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Philippians 2:3-7 – Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

In today’s world, it seems everyone has the I’m number 1 attitude. We are all interested in what is best for us, what makes us happy, how to be more comfortable and satisfied in our lives. Seems like we will do anything we can to get ahead in life, to get all the comforts and ‘things’ to make it easier for us.

These verses state that as followers of Christ, we should be doing just the opposite. Our thoughts and attitudes should be how we can show the love of God to others, what we can do to help those in need, how can we use the money God has blessed us with to help the less fortunate.

God says that the fulfillment of the Law is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and to love others as yourself. While the jobs and ‘things’ we have been given and blessed with by God are not wrong, we need to keep in mind that they are not the important part of our lives. We are to be thinking of others and their need for love, acceptance and help. How can we encourage and build up someone, how can we help meet a need in their life.

There is nothing wrong with taking thought of our wants, needs and interests. The verse states ‘do not merely look our for your own interests’. Unfortunately, many times our own interests are all that concern us. May we daily ask for God to help us think of others and be ready to care for them in any way possible with God’s leading.

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Kindness is something you don’t find much in our world today.

The Bible speaks about kindness many times. Kindness is one of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22.

The dictionary says kindness is being considerate, or helpful. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone treated each other with kindness?

It usually doesn’t take a lot to be kind. Sometimes I think we make it to hard, when something so simple and easy as a genuine smile can brighten someone’s day. Being polite and kind to others can sometimes be just what they need to make their day. Holding the door for someone, letting them go ahead of you in line, smiling and saying hello, you never know.

The little, everyday things we can do to show others kindness can be a seed planted in their lives that will one day grow and help lead them to Christ.

These days it seems we even have a hard time with Christians treating each other with kindness. We want to fight and argue over our views and interpretations and forget that as Christians, we all have the common ground of faith in Christ.

A friend of mine recently talked about relationships and how they seem to come to an end. He said it is based on what the relationship is about. If it is based on some thing or some activity, once we get tired of that particular thing and move on, the relationships based on that activity usually come to an end. Only the common ground of faith in Christ and His grace is what doesn’t change and the one thing that can hold together a friendship.

Let’s see if we can make a point to do one act of kindness each day. You never know where it may lead.

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