Probably everyone has heard the 5th Commandment: “Honor your father and your mother.” But did you know that when restated in the New Testament, this commandment also reminds us that this is the first commandment with a promise? It says: “...that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
Unfortunately, this is one of the most neglected of all the commandments.
The greatest gift you can give your mother on Mother’s Day - and any other day - is an affirmation of her importance and significance. May your mother know your love and acceptance and be blessed by your affirmation!
I have been thinking about these words from David Livingstone, a doctor and missionary who devoted much of his life to exploring Africa and spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He once asked this thought-provoking rhetorical question: “If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a heavenly King, be considered a sacrifice?”
If we think of evangelism and missions work that way, then we realize what an honor and a privilege it is to do whatever we can in response to the Great Commission.
Here is something else to think about: the first book of the New Testament (Matthew) ends rather abruptly with Jesus’ final words. He said: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Jesus could have talked about heaven or His return, but instead, He commissioned His disciples – including each of us – to continue doing the work of the ministry.
Today, as we think about the billions of non-Christians around the world – whether in some foreign land or living in the house next door – let’s remember that until the Great Commission is fulfilled, it is still our commission.
Let’s let our lights shine and our words bring life!
Holidays give us great opportunities to share with friends and family members. This is especially true of Easter.
Suppose someone asks you, “Why did Jesus have to die?”
How will you respond?
Your response could be as simple as, “Because He alone was able to pay for my sins. I deserved punishment, but He paid the penalty for me.”
Without Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, we would all still be separated from God. As 1 Peter 3:18 (Message Bible) says: “Christ suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God.”
Here are some other things to celebrate and share with others this Easter season - and all through the year:
God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life! (John 3:16)
Jesus faced the devil on his turf and came back victorious! (Ephesians 4:7-9)
He was raised from the dead, having conquered death and giving us a living hope! (1 Peter 1:3)
Jesus is the first fruits of those to be raised from the dead. This insures that we, too, will be raised! (1 Corinthians 15:20)
The power that raised Christ from the dead is at work in us now! (Ephesians 1:17-20)
As you share with others, remember that your testimony - the story of what Jesus did for you and the difference He has made in your life - is powerful! While people can argue over theology, a changed life is hard to dispute!
So many people today struggle with the issue of identity. They ask themselves, “Who am I really?” They let their family, their culture, their friends, their past, their “you name it” define them.
The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that if anyone is in Christ, he or she is a new creature, a new creation. I like how the Living Bible says it. It says they become a brand-new person inside. You see, when you get right with God, something BIG happens on the inside of you.
Several years ago, I did a series of messages where I talked about fifty things that happen on the inside of you when you get right with God. Fifty (50) things! And I felt like I was just scratching the surface of what happens when a person gets saved.
The Bible says that when you get saved, you become a new person. Your desires change, and you are not the same person you used to be. Many – not just 50 – things change. You might laugh at this, but the truth is, you are so changed, you really need God to introduce you to yourself.
Watch this program Identification with Christ as we go through the Bible to see who we truly are in Christ.
Almost everyone agrees that the world is messed up, but the question is: what can we do about it? Wouldn’t it be great if we could solve the world’s problems?
Some people believe that the world’s salvation can come through politics or education. Others believe in salvation through economics; that if people just had enough money, that would somehow take care of all the problems.
The truth is, there is only one answer to the world’s problems: we need new people.
You may be thinking, “Did he really just say we need new people?” Yes. That’s what I said, and I meant it.
You see, the root of the world’s problems is the heart of man - and there is only one way to change the heart of man. That’s why Jesus came: to make it possible for us to become brand new people on the inside.
The Apostle Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation.” The gospel is the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ - and that is the power of God to change a person’s life!
Let’s do all we can to reach people everywhere with the Gospel message so souls are won and lives are transformed!
Success in life is not the result of luck or chance. It is something that you build.
Often, when I have driven by a house that is abandoned and falling down, I have thought about how that house was once someone’s dream. Maybe 120 or 130 years ago, they envisioned it. They got the blueprints together, purchased all the supplies and built it. They pulled together all the furnishings and eagerly looked forward to the day they’d move in. Once they were there, they thought, “This is wonderful!”
In their mind, it was permanent. But, today, here it sits, doors missing, shutters fallen off, windows broken out and roof caved in. It was their dream, but now here it sits, a pile of rubble.
I’m sure you don’t want your life to be like that house any more than I do. To prevent that, let’s build our lives from an eternal perspective. Colossians 3:2 tells us, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
Building our lives with eternity in mind is going to take faith. In fact, it’s going to require a lifestyle of faith, but we’re not in this alone. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith - and we’re up to the challenge!
I have been meeting more and more people who have received God’s gift of salvation but are still struggling with a lot of the same issues and sins that plagued them before they were saved. This troubles me and makes me want to be all the more clear in the things that I communicate regarding salvation.
Most people don’t stop to think that, when they got saved, it was their spirit that was made new. They didn’t get a new mind and new body. That’s why Romans 12:2 tells us not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Our spirit was changed, but we need to change the way we think. As we read the Bible, we learn God’s thoughts and ideas on every subject, and as we meditate on what He says, it begins to change our mind so we begin to see things the way He does.
Our body didn’t change either - and this is where a lot of people really struggle! Romans 7:23 illustrates how, once you are saved, your body (your flesh) will still want to do wrong things. Just like we need to change the way we think, we also need to choose to live based on what our spirit says, not what our body says. The Amplified Bible, in 1 John 3;9 says: “No one born [begotten] of God [deliberately and knowingly] habitually practices sin.” Because your new spirit will never agree with sin, you face the challenge of keeping your flesh from dominating your life with its selfish demands. Your spirit, where the life of God resides in you, must dominate your life.
Far too often, newly saved Christians do not realize they must deliberately choose to obey their spirit - not their flesh - and they get confused about the battle for control going on inside them. They give up and, even though they are saved, they go through life controlled by their flesh…and they feel miserable. That’s not how it’s supposed to be!
God put His very life and nature inside of you so that you can experience the joy and freedom of being led by the spirit! He loves you and has done everything He could to set you free from the devil’s grasp. Your spirit can dominate your life so the addictions of the flesh cannot control you like they once did. Remember:
~ Your spirit is saved and has God’s life and nature in it.
~ You can renew your mind by changing the way you think.
~ You can take authority over your body by listening to and obeying your spirit.
It’s a good idea for each of us to periodically evaluate and ask ourselves the question: “What’s dominating my life?” As a believer, you can start today to walk in the spirit and not fulfill the lusts of your flesh!
Following a reading plan is a great way to make the Bible part of your daily life, and many viewers have been asking us for a good “read through the Bible in a year” plan.
Many people prefer to read the Bible online or even on their phones, tablets or other electronic devices. If that’s you, we encourage you to check out YouVersion. By following this link, you’ll be able to select from many options including The One Year Bible which helps you to complete the whole Bible in as little as fifteen minutes each day. Another great plan offered by YouVersion is the Blue Letter Bible Chronological Plan which takes into account the order in which the recorded events actually occurred. This is a fantastic plan to follow if you wish to add historical context to your reading of the Bible.
Whether you choose to download a Bible reading plan or read online, you will be amazed at what God reveals to you when you spend time in Scripture each day!
HAPPY NEW YEAR from me and my family - and everyone here at Walking By Faith! We are believing God for great things in 2013, and we are praying for each of our friends, partners and viewers that this would be your best year so far.
Like always at the beginning of a new year, I have been hearing a lot of talk about New Year’s resolutions.
How about you? Have you made any?
Here’s one list that I came across:
1) Get physically fit.
2) Break bad habits.
3) Enjoy life more.
4) Spend more time with family.
5) Improve financial condition.
6) Do something significant.
7) Become a more spiritual person.
That just about covers it all…or does it?
You see, people make New Year’s resolutions because they want something new and better than they’ve had in the previous year. Certainly each of the items in this list, if followed through, could help make that happen.
While I certainly believe that 2013 can be your best year ever, it is not going to happen simply because you make a list. However, it will happen if you choose to make your relationship with God your #1 priority.
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus urges us to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” and He promises that when we do, “all these things will be added” to us. In other words, when you put God first, the new year can be the best year you’ve ever experienced in your family, in your relationships, at your job, in your habits…in all things.
So I encourage you to make just one resolution this year: to make 2013 your best year spiritually. How do you do that? By getting closer to God than ever before. When you do, 2013 be your best year in ALL ways!
God bless you…and Happy New Year!