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Being a Light

When we think of the word offend we think of it according to the English definition (To insult one’s standard or principles) 

The Bible has a different definition depending on the context of the verse but ultimately have the same connotations. To offend someone does not mean to insult someone’s principles but rather to cause someone to fall.

Offend in the Hebrew  language has several definitions. It can be translated as châbal which means to pervert, corrupt or spoil.

It can be translated as bâgad which means to deal deceitfully, be treacherous or unfaithful.

It can be mikshôl which is to be a stumbling block or cause to fall.

It can be âsham which means to perish, become desolate, be found guilty, to trespass.

In the Greek language the word offend can be translated as skandalizō , skandalon or ptaiō which all mean to entrap, to trip up, to entice to sin, to cause to stumble.

In effect, “to offend” according to scripture means: to cause someone to fall, be a stumbling block, to corrupt, cause to err, to pervert, to spoil,

Jesus tells us how seriously he takes this sin.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:6

The epistles of the apostles reiterate this admonition.

But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 1 Corinthians 8:9

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. Roman’s 14:13

What the Bible is telling us is to try and live our life in such a way that our conscience is clean. Even if it means giving up something that would cause others to reject Jesus Christ.

In this way we can be a witness in the world.

Now we are not going to be able to please everyone and some people will find fault with us no matter how holy we live but we must not deliberately offend or be nonchalant in our witness.

Paul said he became all things to all people that he might win them to Christ. In other words wherever he went he respected (within reason) the culture he was in. He maintained his Christian witness while not offending anyone on purpose.

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 1 Corinthians 9:22

The cross in and of itself is an offense to some people. They may behave very inappropriately towards Christians if they have an offense towards the gospel. If they do that they may cause themselves to stumble away from the truth. (1 Corinthians 1:22)

However, as Christians we must in all good conscience live in the light, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and not be a stumbling block deliberately to another person.

That means not causing anyone to do anything that goes against their conscience or doing anything in front of someone that may cause them to fall even if we have liberty to do it.

Jesus gave us an example in scriptures. He paid his taxes so as not to offend, he took a lowly position in order to not be offensive to others, he fulfilled all righteousness even though he was Lord of all and he remained humble throughout his walk in this earth.

Jesus tells us that just as he laid down his life to be a benefit for others so should we lay down our lives for the benefit of others. It does not matter if it causes us discomfort, rejection, or ridicule.

What matters is that we do not offend in all conscience by putting a stumbling block before others.

A perfect example of this is Paul’s attitude in dealing with the Corinthians.

Wherefore, if meat causeth my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh for evermore, that I cause not my brother to stumble.

1 Corinthians 8:13

Dear Father in Jesus name help us to not be a stumbling block to others in this world. Give us your wisdom in every situation. Let your light shine through us always. Amen

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Have the Same Mind!

1 Peter 4:1,2 tells Christians that just as Jesus Christ suffered for us in the flesh, we should also have the same mind, for whoever suffers in the flesh ceases to live a life according to the desires of the carnal nature. Those living in the Spirit live according to the will of God. 

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Romans 8:14

What does Peter mean by suffering in the flesh?

Suffering is experiencing discomfort and even pain. Peter is referring to suffering in the body or physical pain. The body is still in an unredeemed state and if allowed to will sin like the dickens! Peter is telling Christians that the body needs to be crucified or put down so that the life of Christ in our spirit can live for God according to God’s will.

Putting the body or carnal nature down (not allowing it to rule ) is not something we can do in our own power.

Romans 8:13 tells us that if we live according to the flesh or sin nature we will die. The flesh wants all kinds of things that can kill us. Junk food, addictions, entertainment, laziness and much more! The bible says that those who live in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:8)

Living for self is harmful. The desires of the flesh and the carnal mind will lead to spiritual dysfunction, physical ailments, and emotional sickness.

God gives us his remedy for putting down the flesh. He tells us that if we mortify or put to death the desires of the flesh by the Spirit that dwells in us then we will live or have an abundant life as promised by Jesus in the gospels.

Let’s take a look at the suffering of Jesus Christ according to Isaiah 53.

Peter tells us to have this same mind concerning suffering.

According to this prophecy Jesus Christ was despised.

To be despised means to not be valued. To be seen as worthless. Our flesh wants to be valued and praised and adored but sometimes in order to do God’s will we my have to be despised. Not everyone will like us and in fact they may even hate us. Preaching the gospel for another’s benefit or serving someone who does not like us may actually be bringing them a benefit. 

Our flesh does not like to suffer shame and humiliation but sometimes it is necessary in order to accomplish God’s will in certain situations.

Jesus Christ gave his life for his enemies. He loved those who did not love him back. Are we armed with this mindset?

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. John 15:18-20

Jesus was rejected because his values are not appreciated by some people. We may not be liked or valued or accepted ether by those who are not disciples of Jesus Christ. Are we armed with this mindset?

 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Luke 6:22

Jesus was afflicted. That means he had to endure pain, abuse, bullying and scoffing. Are we armed with this mindset?

How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. Jude 1:18

Jesus bore our sorrows, he endured shame, he bore our griefs, and he carried our burdens.

Galatians 6: 2 tells us to bear one another’s burdens. This means that when we are armed with the mindset of Jesus Christ, we come alongside another and help them carry their burden. Whether it’s in prayer, giving, ministering, helping, or serving. Even if it is not appreciated.

Paul tells us that we are to consider our sufferings in this world to be unworthy of the glory that will be revealed in us. Jesus suffered for us and as his children we are to have the same mindset.

Our flesh wants pleasure not suffering. We want recognition, respect and rewards for our good deeds, but Jesus tells us to love like he does, unconditionally. That means no strings.  

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Jesus bore sorrow, pain, and grief for our sake so that through his affliction he could bring us healing. Jesus was wounded so that through his stripes we could receive forgiveness, healing, and restoration.

Jesus endured the cross and the shame so that he could bring many out of darkness and make them his children. When we are armed with this mindset, we can endure our sufferings for the benefit of others.

Jesus Christ’s suffering brought us not only salvation but righteousness and justification. He suffered in patience and endurance because he knew what the outcome would be. Armed with Jesus Christ’s mindset we can patiently wait for a good outcome too.

No suffering in this life is pleasant scriptures tell us BUT it is working out for us a far greater work of glory.  

Think about that! When we patiently endure and prayer then God will walk through our suffering with us. He will help us carry our burdens so that we can bear up under it.

The outcome of our suffering will come in God’s perfect timing. Just trust him for faithful is he who has promised.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you in your weakness to keep your flesh down so it doesn’t react to injustice.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. Psalm 34:19

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The Gift of God!

When someone offers a free gift automatically we ask, “What’s in it for you?”

Human nature is not so trusting. Most of us have not fallen off the turnup truck yesterday! Something free usually has a benefit for the giver in there some where.

I would like to point out that God’s free gift has no benefit for the giver at all. In fact quite the opposite. All the benefits go to the recipient!

What could one possibly give to the God who made everything and owns everything? Ever try to buy a rich friend a gift? Quite impossible actually. Even if you gave a home made card all you have given is sentiment. Nice to know they are thought about but still you can’t measure up. They can get anything they want for themselves!

God has given a gift to the world in the person of Jesus Christ. Everyone who puts their trust in him for salvation will be given eternal life. They will pass from death to life.

This free gift of God’s salvation is motivated by his love and is an expression of his mercy. This free gift of salvation is God’s undeserved unmerited gift.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, but it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

The gift of God is not earned! We can’t work for it! We don’t need to do penitence or any kind of work or ritual to get it. A gift is simply received! That’s it!

The great thing about receiving God’s free gift is that not only are we saved by grace or undeserved mercy BUT a part of the gift is the empowerment to live a life that pleases God! He gives us the ability by his power to endure all trials and tribulations in this world because we have the assurance of an eternity spent with him.

He provides all our needs because he is our all in all! God gives us his free gift of salvation and he takes care of us while we are in this world as well!

“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me,” 2 Corinthians 12:9

 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

God’s grace saves us and also empowers us to live a life that pleases him! As we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit we are blessed with God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.

Saved by grace is different than being saved by faith as some in error preach. They put the cart before the horse!

This difference is very important. If we are saved by faith we make the salvation experience about our own effort, our own ability, but God has chosen grace because it involves no effort on our part at all.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that NOT OF YOURSELVES; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

If we had anything at all to do with our salvation we might have reason to boast but God has made salvation a free gift to those who receive (through faith) this gift of his mercy.

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. John 15:16

Not only does God give us grace to be saved but he also gives us grace to stay saved!

Are you trusting in God’s grace through Jesus Christ for his salvation? All you have to do is ask! Turn to Jesus with all your heart for he is mighty to save!

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Consider The Lilies

In Matthew 6:28 Jesus tells his disciples to consider the lilies of the field.

The most probable flower that Jesus was referring to is considered by plant specialists to be an Anemone coronaria, a common field flower which can be red, purple or pink with black centers.

The Anemone coronaria incidentally is Israel’s national flower. They are usually found in meadows and grassy hillsides. In Jerusalem the red ones are more frequently found while in the basalt slopes north of the sea of Galilee blue and white are found growing on the hillsides.

The Hebrew name for this flower is Kalanit from the word kala which means beautiful like a bride.

Consider the lilies of the field. The Kalanit arrayed like a bride which Jesus says are more beautiful than all of Solomon’s glory.

Jesus likened these field lilies to be more beautifully arrayed than Solomon’s kingdom. 

Considering that Solomon’s glory was a magnificent kingdom full of pomp and splendor this is a fantastic statement.

Why would the Lord say that field flowers were more beautiful than Solomon’s glory?

The fact that their name means bride may give us a clue.

Was Jesus looking to his future bride? His bride so beautiful that she is more beautiful than all of Solomon’s glory?

These field lilies are not only beautiful but Jesus told us that they do not toil or spin. That is they do not do any work!

To toil in Hebrew is kopiaō which means to work hard or labor until one is fatigued.

To spin is nēthō which means to spin yarn.

Spinning yarn was a laborious work in Jesus’ time. Spinning was twisting fibers together by hand in order to make material for clothing.

In Solomon’s kingdom all the pomp and splendor was achieved by hard work. Also the temple Solomon build was constructed by slaves. These slaves did hard labor. Probably from sunup to sun down.

The lilies of the field do not labor or spin. They just naturally grow and become beautiful without any labor at all. With rain and sunshine provided by their Creator the lilies of the field become beautifully arrayed in their glory.

It seems that Jesus is pointing out that under the law like Solomon’s Kingdom, the slave must work to build a temple or building for God to take up residence.

Those under the law are servants of sin who must labor under a ruler or the law, sacrificing animals to atone for their sin in a temple made by men.

Jesus is using a metaphor to tell us that the splendor of the dispensation of the law is not as glorious as the dispensation of grace where the beauty of the Lord resides in his bride.

The bride has no need to labor for the Savior has purchased her with his own blood. The bride has no need to spin or be clothed with the temporary intermedatories of animals because she is clothed in the righteous of Jesus Christ.

The bride is altogether beautiful. Altogether lovely in her pure white garment! Altogether more splendid than the glory of the former dispensation!

Consider the liles of the field for they neither toil nor spin. They take no thought to toil laboriously to achieve right standing with God.

All the work has been done by Jesus Christ the Messiah ! (Yeshua Mashiach) It is finished!

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Good From Nazareth?

Luke Chapter 4, tells us that Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by the devil. ” If you are really the Son of God then prove it,” (my paraphrase)

Jesus does not comply. He had nothing to prove. Jesus knows who he is!

Considering the source, Jesus rejects the temptation. He tells the devil to take a hike.

Then after that temptation trial Jesus returns in the power of the Spirit into Galilee.

There Jesus becomes well known throughout all of that region. Jesus teaches in the synagogues, heals the sick, casts out devils. All the people are blessed!

After that Jesus comes to the city of Nazareth where he grew up and where every one knows him as Jesus the carpenter.

It was in a synagogue in Nazareth (where he probably went every Sabbath as a kid) that Jesus reads from the book of Isaiah, announcing that he is the fulfillment of that Messianic prophecy.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Isaiah 61:1,2

After closing the Torah Jesus sits down. Everyone’s eyes are on him.

Then Jesus gives notice to all the people that he had grown up with that he is the promised Messiah.

This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. Luke 4:21

Only Messiah could fulfill that scripture. He knew that. They knew that.

The people of Nazareth were blown away by that announcement. Is this not Joseph’s son?

Whaaattt? Is he saying what we think he’s saying?

Then Jesus tells these people who he knows on a personal basis.  And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. Luke 4:23

Seems quite fantastic that Jesus knowing full well he would be rejected in Nazareth would make the announcement of his being the promised Messiah there. To all his friends and family.

Is there a bigger picture happening here?

Nazareth was a small town. Populated mostly with farmers, shepherds and labourers. It basically was a place with low social status.

That is why Nathanael said to Jesus “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” John 1:46

Jesus goes to his own home town, small and insignificant, tells them he is their promised Messiah and they out right reject him!

Who saw that coming?

After Jesus tells them that a prophet is never honored in his own home town the people in the synagogue get so riled up that they literally grab Jesus and haul him to a cliff in order to toss him off. They were intent on harming Jesus. Maybe even kill him.

The guy had the audacity to call himself a prophet! That’s it! He’s out of here!

But passing through their midst…what? How could that happen? They had him by the scruff of the neck and he passed through them?

Well Jesus transported or something because he got away.

Then Jesus goes to the next town and preaches in their synagogue. The people in that place were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.

That place loved him! At least they loved the miracles.

I think Jesus was making a point or a prophetic act if you will when he announced who he was in Nazareth.

Nazareth was a foretaste of what was going to happen to Jesus in the future. The whole nation of Israel would reject him but this time instead of throwing him off a cliff they would crucify him.

Interesting but it goes even further than that today. Now it seems the world is rejecting Jesus’ Christ’s claim to be Messiah or Savior of the world with the same old unbelief.

Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Where is the promise of his coming? Who made that guy a ruler over us?

Jesus gives the same answer today as he always does to the doubters. 

One day you will say to me …if you really are the Son of God ….prove yourself…make these stones turn to bread….fix all these problems we ourselves have created. You are only an historical figure. We don’t want you! Give us Barabbas. You know that rebel! We want him not you!

History really does repeat itself doesnt it?

There is a good ending to this story however. Remember what the angels said after Jesus rose from the dead and was taken up in the clouds in front of over 100 of his disciples?

Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” Acts 1:11

And don’t forget this time, “Every eye will see him!” Revelation 1:7

Can anything good come out of Nazareth?

Maranatha! 

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“I Have Seen the Lord!”

It is interesting to note that the very first person that Jesus revealed himself to after he was risen from the dead was Mary Magdalene.

Why do you think that was? Something to think about!

Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. Mark 16:9

Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus’ disciples. She is mentioned many times in the gospels.

Because Mary was a common name of the time and several other women called Mary followed Jesus too the name Magdalene was given to distinguish her from the others.

Mary was probably from Magdala. A fishing village in Galilee. This is interesting because Mary Magdalene was the first evangelist to go and tell others that Jesus was risen from the dead!

And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Matthew 4: 19

Mary Magdalene was a disciple of Jesus Christ who also supported his ministry.

Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means. Luke 8:1-56

Mary Magdalene was a woman that had seven demons cast out of her. Why would scriptures mention that Mary Magdalene had 7 devils cast out of her?

Scriptures do not tell us that any of the disciples had demons cast out of them. To be demonized meant she had some kind of suffering. Maybe sickness or trauma or a sinful lifestyle. We don’t really know. What we do know is that Mary Magdalene became devoted to Jesus Christ. This means that whatever ailments she had she was truly grateful to be healed! 7 is the Hebrew number for perfection. Mary Magdalene’s healing was complete. She was made whole!

Mary Magdalene stood faithfully with Jesus as he was crucified. She never fled. She was there praying.

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son[of God!”

There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. Mark 27:50-56

This may be one of the reasons why Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus Christ risen from the dead and was commissioned to tell the disciples about it.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,“Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. John 20:11-18

Since women’s testimony was generally excluded under Jewish law the fact that Jesus revealed himself to Mary Magdalene first and commissioned her to tell the other disciples is significant.

“Women were not allowed to testify in court. In effect, this categorized them with Gentiles, minors, deaf-mutes, and “undesirables” such as gamblers, the insane, usurers, and pigeon-racers, who were also denied that privilege. (On the other hand, a king could not bear witness in court, nor could the Messiah, which somewhat lessens the stigma of that restriction.) ” https://jewsforjesus.org/publications/newsletter/newsletter-jun-1988/the-role-of-women-in-the-bible/

Jesus never put man’s traditions above his Kingdom. His ways are not man’s ways.

And he said to them, ‘Well do ye put away the command of God that your tradition ye may keep; Mark 7:9

God sees differently than man sees. People value traditions, prestige, success and position.

Jesus sees into the heart. He judges by what is inside a person. He looks at the character.

Many times in scriptures we see what it is that God values.

Jesus values loyalty to him. 
Lowliness of mind,
Faithfulness to his ways
Commitment to his gospel
Obedience to his commands
Zeal for his glory
Faith in his word.

These are the characteristics that we can see in Mary Magdalene.

This is why Mary Magdalene was chosen to begin the very first evangelist outreach.

Have I not said if you would believe you would see the glory of God? John11:40

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Joint Heirs

According to Romans 8:16,17
As children of God we are now heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.

A joint heir is a legal term. It means a person who inherits jointly with another heir of an estate.

Another way of saying it is co-heir which is one of several persons among whom an inheritance is divided.

In other words as children of God we inherit a portion of the Father’s estate.

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Romans 8:15

According to Hebrews 1:2 Jesus is the heir of all things. Jesus being the exact representation of God is above all things. His authority is our authority because we are in him who is above all things.

Through the name of Jesus those born of God have access into the holy of holies. All we need to fulfill our call in this life is available to us when we present our requests before the throne of God.

Scriptures tell us that we are more than conquers. That means as children of God we can do more than conquer a problem, we can completely subdue it and annihilate it in the name of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 2:29 tells us that if we belong to Jesus Christ then we are Abraham’s seed according to the promise.

Since Christians are considered to be Abraham’s seed through faith in Jesus Christ then the promises of Abraham apply also to the Christian.

These promises include justification, fruitfulness, multiplication, provision and favor.
Genesis 12: 2,3

Though Jesus Christ we have become the children of God who inherit the promises of God.

That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. Ephesians 2:12

Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen (The non Jews) through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. Galatians 3:7-9

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:26-29

Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. Acts 3:25

Being a joint heir with Jesus Christ means all the blessings the Lord gave to Abraham is our inheritance as well.

Some of these promises include:

Hebrews 1:4
Ministering of the angelic realm
Titus 3: 7
Heirs of eternal life

James 2:5
Heirs of the kingdom of God

1 Peter 3:7
Heirs of lifetime grace

In many wills or inheritances there are conditions for inheriting the promises or benefits. The gifts are subject to a condition. It is the same in God’s inheritance.

One condition made clear in scripture is, “IF we suffer with him so that we will be glorified together.”

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Romans 8: 17

The word suffer in this verse is sumpaschō in the Greek. It means persecution or experiencing the same kind of pain.

In other words if we partake in similar sufferings as Jesus did then we will inherit the same promises as he did.

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. John 15:18

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10

Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Luke 6:22

Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. 1 John 3:13

Persecutions come with being a Christian. They are allowed to demonstrate we belong to Jesus Christ. If we live godly in Jesus Christ we are blessed but nevertheless we will be persecuted for belonging to him.

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:4

Living godly in Jesus Christ brings persecution but living godly also brings blessings because we are made joint heirs with Jesus Christ.

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Take No Thought

Jesus said in his word that he did not want us to “take thought” (Merimna) for our life.

In the Greek, Merimna, means to be anxious, troubled, worried, prompting one’s interest, looking out for, caring a lot about.

Jesus knew that by taking thought we can become mentally and emotionally sick. Science reveals that excessive worry causes stress that can make us physically and mentally sick.  That is why Jesus said not to worry.

 Therefore, I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Matthew 6:25,26

The root of emotional anxiety and depression is caused by worry.

Studies have shown a correlation between a negative thought life and depression.

https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2F0022-3514.48.3.799

Merimna is from the root word merízō which means “to divide, to separate.”

 Merimna in effect is to be in a mental state that is dwelling on something.  In early Greek literature it is used to convey the concept of meditation.

 “Merimna, Bacchylides 19, Io for the Athenians as a ‘care, concern, a troubled thought’, or even ‘a song that is on one’s mind’. Classical Inquiries  published article by Gregory Nagy

Jesus says don’t mediate or dwell on your life. In other words don’t be self focused.

How do we reconcile this word with examining our hearts as scriptures tell us?

How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin. Job 13:23

But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 1 Corinthians 11:28

 We confess, repent, and go on BUT we don’t dwell on our self.  

 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.  I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. Psalm 32:3

 Jesus gives remedies for worry or having negative thoughts that are self focused.

Guard or keep watch over our hearts

 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.1 Peter 1:13

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:13

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;  2 Corinthians 10:5

Renew your thoughts with God’s word.  

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2  

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Isaiah 26:3

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. Psalm 119:15

Prayer.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:33,34   

And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and he was intreated of them; because they put their trust in him. 1 Chronicles 5:20

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!” Psalm 4;1

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Romans 12:12

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: Matthew 7:7

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. Matthew 21:22

Take no thought for your life!

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DO YOU NEED A MIRACLE?

Jesus performed many mighty miracles in certain cities in Israel but they still refused to repent.

Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not. Matthew 11: 20

What did these cities not repent of?

We have to read the whole Chapter of Matthew 11 to find out.

Jesus was preaching and teaching the people. He explained to them that John the Baptist was the greatest prophet of the OT because he came proclaiming Christ the Messiah. John was the messenger preparing people to receive Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah. The people as a whole did not believe John’s message.

Then Jesus goes on to say that people criticized John for his prayer and fasting or for being set apart. (Being a fanatic basically) and then they turned around and criticized Jesus for ministering and eating with sinners. They accused him of being a drunkard and a glutton.

Obviously the people did not believe or receive John as the Elias which was prophesied to come or Jesus as the Messiah prophesied to come.

Jesus then tells the cities he did the most miracles in that they were going to be in big trouble on judgment day because they were not repentant.

Their sin was that they did not believe.

Jesus performed many miracles in their midst and yet they remained unrepentant.

The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” Matthew 11:5

Lots of people came to see the miracles Jesus performed! Yet they still did not believe.

“But what went ye out for to see? ” Jesus asked the people concerning John.

The people it seemed went out to see a show.

They watched all the miracles being performed by Jesus and yet they did not believe that he was the Messiah. That is why Jesus pronounced future judgment on them!

Isn’t that kind of like today? How many people flock to miracle meetings to see the show yet fail to surrender their hearts to Jesus Christ?

No where in the Bible does it say that miracles produce faith. Some people think that. They even think that if they just had a sign from heaven then all their problems would go away.

Jesus says in his word that to seek a sign other than the one important one he has given is to be in unbelief.

A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. Matthew 16:4

What did Jesus say to John when he wanted confirmation that Jesus was the Messiah to come?

After Jesus gave his testimony he said, “blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. ” Matthew 11:6

In other words Jesus said believe that he is the Messiah and don’t be offended because Jesus says that he is the Messiah.

Lastly Jesus tells us that the Father reveals through his word Jesus is the Messiah and the Son reveals the Father to those who receive the Son.

All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Matthew 11: 27

It is not miracles as wonderful as they are that produce faith! According to the Bible, it is revelation of the Holy Spirit through the word of God that produces faith.

And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 16:14-17

The Bible makes it clear that people who did receive miracles from Jesus actually believed before they got the miracle. It takes faith in Jesus Christ to get a miracle but watching miracles being performed does not produce faith.

And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. Matthew 8:17

And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.” Matthew 9:28

The Bible teaches that Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the word of God!

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

When God’s word is revealed to our heart then we will get a miracle!

A miracle specific to our need, for God knows what we have need of even before we ask him! (Matthew 6:8)

“Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.” Psalm 119:114

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BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT

What does it mean to be “poor in spirit?”

It is a relevant question in an age where spirituality is measured by the material blessings one has.

Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” 1 Timothy 6:5, 

According to Jesus in Matthew 5:3 the poor in spirit are blessed, for they shall see God.

The person who is poor or possesses nothing is well off because the realm of God’s abode in the heavenly kingdom belongs to them.

Blessed, makarios in the Greek means to be well off and poor ptōchos is to be like a
beggar without means.

A beggar is one who solicites from some one of a superior status for relief.

Why is it that the poor are acknowledged as being blessed while the rich have a difficult time entering into God’s kingdom?

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. Mark 10:25

If we examine the rich man and the beggar Lazarus parable, we can see that the rich man even though he had a lot of provision he tossed only his crumbs at the beggar Lazarus.

The rich man could have easily helped Lazarus and met his needs but he did not.

When both died, the rich man went to hell and Lazarus went to paradise.

Like the rich man in this parable many of the rich of this world throw only their crumbs at the poor. Giving them just barely sustenance while they live in luxury.

To be rich does not always equate to generosity. In fact sometimes just the opposite.

https://www.businessinsider.com/lower-status-people-more-likely-to-share-wealth-than-higher-status-people-2018-6

To be poor in spirit is to be dependent on God, not on man. When one is poor or dependent on God for provision then one is truly blessed.

It is like having your Father be the owner of an enterprising business rather than being at the mercy of a manager for a pay check.

The poor person who loves Jesus will always see God’s hand of provision in their life. God promises to take care of all his children.

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

To be poor in spirit is to be rich in faith. Blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places.

Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? James 2:5

The widow’s mite is important to the Lord. Not only do blessings come to the sacrificial giver but because the poor are the most generous it seems that through them the gospel is advanced into all the world!

Consider that when you think your widow’s mite is of no significance!

And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had. Luke 21:1-4

To be poor in spirit is to be blessed with seeing God manifest his provision in your life!

I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy. Psalm 140:12

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