Archive for the ‘Essays’ Category

To Abide in Christ

Friday, January 13th, 2006


“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you.” [John 15:7]

We are clearly instructed that we are to make a deliberate effort to abide in Christ. Christ used a parable about a vineyard to express the importance of abiding in him, that He may abide in us. In John 15:1-6, Christ says; “I am the true vine, and my Father is the farmer. Every branch in me that bears not fruit he takes away: and every branch that bears fruit, he purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches: He that stays in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
How exactly are we to accomplish this deliberate act of abiding in Christ? Fortunetly, John gives us insight into this mystery and describes Christ like this; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” [John 1:1] “…the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” [John 1:14] Also in John’s divine vision “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called the Word of God.” [Rev. 19:11-13]
You see, Christ was the Word made manifest into flesh, therefore in order to truly abide in Christ, we must abide in God’s word. That’s where we should run in times of distress and confusion, or any time we need counsel, courage, or comfort. All the answers we need are there because by abiding in His word we are literally abiding in Christ.
God’s word also says that; “… the anointing which you have received of him stays in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in him.”[I John 2:27] “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” [I John 2:28]

Salvation is as easy as ABC

Wednesday, January 11th, 2006


Sometimes, I think, we tend to make God’s plan more complicated than it really is. According to God’s word salvation is as easy as ABC.

We Accept in our minds that Jesus is who He says He is, God’s Son, and that we are sinners.
Then we Believe in our hearts that He loves us just the way we are, died as a sacrifice for our sins, and was raised from the dead.
Then we Confess with our mouthes that Jesus is Lord of our lives.

This is the beginning of our Journey. Now with Lordship, He can begin to do a work in us to change us into His image as a son or daughter of God. Then we slowly begin to bear the family likeness. In Romans 10 it says; “[9] That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. [10] For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.” Also, first John 4 says;” [15] Whoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him, and he in God.” Praise The Lord, It is just that simple.


The Fruit of the Spirit

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
[Gal. 5:22-23]

Much of the fruit of the Spirit are obvious. It’s natural and easy to desire such things as love, joy, peace, and faith. Yet as we grow, we realize that God intends to take us to a higher level of these traits, to employ them as He does. We are to love the unlovely and even our enemies, to have peace and joy even in the midst of all our sorrows and suffering, and to have faith that can move mountains. He will continue to stretch us even in the desires we thought came natural to us.

Yet some of the fruits are words we almost never hear these days. Take gentleness and goodness for example. How often I wish I heard more parents stress the importance of these qualities to their children, as my parents did. Being one of six kids, I heard them often; “Be gentle”, “Be kind to each other”, “Your a good girl, this is how you should act”. As parents we so often tell our children how not to act, that we forget to tell them how to act and what is expected of them, as if they should automatically know these things.

Then there are the fruits of longsuffering, meekness, and temperance. It’s a good thing God put these things in writing and told me that I should desire them, otherwise it never would have occurred to me to ask for such things. Take longsuffering for example. I just couldn’t see myself in the past asking, “Lord, please bless me with longsuffering.” It goes against my very human nature, yet now I see how suffering has taught me obedience and trust. Also in our culture meekness is considered a weakness, though never realizing how strong and secure one must be, to be meek and humble. Again, I wish I heard more parents express the importance of temperance, better known as self-control, to their children. These days most of us are too busy trying to keep our children under control, and we forget to teach them self control. After all, our job is to prepare them to go out into the world on their own and we won’t always be around to keep them in line.

It’s a good thing that God’s word doesn’t take anything for granted. He knows that we don’t always know what is good for us, that we don’t always know what we need, and we don’t always know which good gifts to ask for. So He blessed us with His word, and; “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” [II Timothy 3:16] 10/28/05

What is Truth?

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006


What is truth? This is a centuries old question. Every human on earth is on a quest to find truth. We spend our entire lives discerning truth from lies, honesty from deceit, and fiction from non-fiction. I firmly believe that since this quest is deeply imbedded in our souls, when we do find truth we will recognize it and embrace it as life’s richest treasure.

Just before the crucifiction of Christ, Pilate, the Prefect of Rome, made a similar inquiry into truth; “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, “Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. ” Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.” [John 18:37-38] It’s a shame Pilate didn’t stick around long enough to get the answer to his question.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” [ John 14:6] “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:32] He also said “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” [John14:16-17] “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me.” [John 15:26] “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come.” [John 16:13]

Oh so truth is a spirit, it is no wonder then, that it may seem elusive. Yet when we consider God’s love for us we realize His Spirit is not so elusive after all. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus ; Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” [I Tim. 2:3-6]

So ” Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” [I John 5:5-7]

So therefore “I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me” [Psalm 119:30] “For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.” [Psalm 100:5] “He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.” [Deut.32:4] “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” [Psalm 91:4] Therefore, “Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth” [I Cor. 13:6]


No Fear

Monday, January 9th, 2006

no fear.jpg

Fear can be the most subtle of emotions. It is so often hidden behind the facade of other emotions that we don’t even recognize that it is there, at the root of the problem. Many times when I’ve thought I was angry, depressed, or insecure, once I’d done some soul searching I find that it was fear all along that was tormenting me. How often does fear of what people might think keep us from being a blessing to others, or being blessed by others?
At other times fear is obvious. I’ve noticed that it’s usually fear that keeps me from meeting the needs of others. When approached at the gas pumps by a stranger asking for money, it is fear that causes me to roll up my window and drive away. It is also fear that keeps me from helping the stranger broken down on the side of the road, or giving a stranger a ride.
God’s word says that “He who fears is not made perfect in love”. This scripture has definitely challenged me! I am now beginning to understand how, as long as I let fear get in the way, I can never truly be like Jesus. Could Jesus have healed the leapers if he were afraid to touch them? Would he have fed thousands with a few fish and loaves of bread if he were concerned with how he would feed his own?
Let us consider how fear may hinder us in our own lives. Have you ever not helped someone financially because you were afraid you may not then be able to meet your own families needs? Or have you held back because you were afraid that they may not spend the money the way you think it should be spent? Jesus healed sinners knowing very well that they may sin again, yet it is His goodness, mercy, and grace that brings us to repentance.
At last, fear is one of Satan’s greatest tools that he uses against us, to cause us to doubt God’s promises. Fortunately God’s word contains a wealth of encouragement for us to find and use, to stave off this emotion that is so often a stumbling block for us. I’ve searched them out and put them together. Now at a moments notice, I have at my fingertips the sword I need [which is God’s word] to battle fear when it pops up it’s ugly little head.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love. [1 John 4:18]

For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. [2 Tim.1:7]

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. [Luke 12: 32]

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

That he would grant to us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear. [Luke 1:7]

And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. [Hebrews 2:15]

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me. [Hebrews 13:6]

Thought Control

Sunday, January 8th, 2006


I know it doesn’t snow in Florida, yet sometimes there seems to be a blizzard in my brain. Thousands of thoughts whirling around and around with no apparent order or purpose. Or how about those times when a single negative thought seems to get stuck in there and clog up the whole works?
This can sometimes be mind boggling and confusing. Fortunately Gods word shows us the steps to take to calm the blizzard in our brains. With practice, these simple steps can help us get our thought life under control and keep a sound and pure mind.

First, decide that you are going to take control;
Why gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance.{I Peter 1:13}

Next, realize that a battle rages in your brain;
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds😉 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.{II Cor. 10:3-5}

Then, we must cast out those evil and negative thoughts;
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.{James 4:7}

Finally, replace those thoughts with positive ones;
Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.{Phil. 4:8}



Friday, January 6th, 2006


Everybody on earth, at one point or another, will decide whether they believe the Bible or not. Therefore I conclude that either way it may be a good idea to read it, before they decide. Sadly many who call themselves Christians have never read God’s word for themselves. They may sit under a wayward shepherd and believe what he has to say, never questioning a thing, even though we are instructed to test all things and to be aware of false prophets. Perhaps this is why John makes it a point to tell us that; “… the anointing which you have received of him stays in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in him.”[I John 2:27]

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby:”[I Peter 2:2] “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works.”[II timothy 3:16-17] “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” [Hebrews 4:12]

“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yes, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is your servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.”[Psalm 19:7-11] “Therefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”[James 1: 21-22]

Often people don’t know where to start reading the Bible, or they start at the beginning like I did, only to find themselves caught up in the geneology and legalism of the old testament, which is hard to see as relevant today. Also I’ve found when starting in the New Testament, that the repetition of four accounts of the same story can be a little redundant. I later discovered that when starting in the book of John things seem to flow more smoothly. Not to mention John’s deep insight into the Holy Spirit and the relationship between God, Christ, and man is very insightful and helpful in understanding the other books as well.

So pick up The Word for yourselves. Never mind if You’ve had problems understanding it in the past, God may have since poured a fresh anointing on you. The Holy Spirit will guide you and teach you in all things, just as He has promised. Jesus said, “… the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.”[John 14:26] And, “…If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed;”[John 8:31]