Whoever Claims to Live in Him

Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did

1 John 2:6 (NIV2011)

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

1 John 4:12 (NIV2011)

Stop for a moment and think about God’s Love and what it means to live in the Love of God. You are claiming to Walk with God, Understand God, Live your life in God’s Will. How can a poor human accomplish all that? Because we are Blessed.

Sometimes I go to the grocery store or one of the box stores and as I start to walk away from the counter, the person on duty says, “have a blessed day.” I immediately turn and ask what that means. It is rare for the person to even get close to the meaning. Usually they state, “it means have a happy day.”

The Greek word used in the Beatitudes for “blessed” is Makarios. Makarios is the poetic form of the word Makar

Makarios: “a prose form of the poetic makar, blessed one.  Blessed, blissful.  Biblically, one is pronounced blessed when God is present and involved in his life.  The hand of God is at work directing all his affairs for a divine purpose, and thus, in a sense, such a person lives coram Deo, before the face of God.” (New Testament Lexical Aids in the Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible.)

To be blessed is when we can say that we look like Christ. We look like him because He is living in us. Since Christ never sins, then we cannot sin. Christ is always humble; therefore, we must maintain that image of humility and at the same time we must also love our neighbor enough to die for them.

When I was in the Navy, I saw men and women every day that were ready to go into battle. Everyone who is ready for battle knows there is a chance they might not come back alive; however, they choose to go anyway.

Many of these people did not go to church and had no time for the bible. Some of them were truly Christians. To tell them apart was hard. You had to talk with them and learn firsthand whether they were Christians or not. God is not even asking us to do something that the world won’t do. God is simply asking that we act like Him, so we can confuse the enemy

For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16 (NKJV)

People are really confusing when it comes to dealing with God. They say they are Christians (like Christ). They have the Holy Spirit living in them directing their lives every day (if they listen) and they have the mind of Christ. In other words, they have the ability to think the same thoughts that Christ is thinking, and you still hear them say they are going into their closet to ask God what He would do.

How many preachers and teachers have you heard say they will call down the Holy Spirit to guide them. Well, if you say you are a Christian, you have the Holy Spirit “in you.”

To know that God through the Holy Spirit is living in you, you must study the word of God and allow Him to help you understand it. In other words, don’t be dumb.

Accordingly, to have the mind of Christ you must know what Christ is thinking. If you study the bible you will find that Christ is the word of God.

Christian Word Definition: Perfect

In the Old Testament:

“Perfect” in the Old Testament is the translation of shālēm, “finished,” “whole,” “complete,” used (except in Deut. 25:15, “perfect weight”) of persons, e.g. a “perfect heart,” i.e. wholly or completely devoted to Yahweh (1 Kings 8:61, etc.; 1 Chron. 12:38; Isaiah 38:3, etc.); tāmīm, “complete,” “perfect,” “sound or unblemished,” is also used of persons and of God, His way, and law (“Noah was a just man and perfect,” the Revised Version margin “blameless” (Genesis 6:9); “As for God, his way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30); “The law of Yahweh is perfect” (Psalm 19:7), etc.); tām, with the same, meaning, occurs only in Job, except twice in Psalms (Job 1:1, 8; Job 2:3, etc.; Psalm 37:37; Psalm 64:4); kālīl, “complete,” and various other words are translated “perfect.”

Perfection is the translation of various words so translated once only: kālīl (Lament. 2:15); mikhlāl, “completeness” (Psalm 50:2); minleh, “possession” (Job 15:29, the King James Version “neither shall the prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth,” the American Standard Revised Version “neither shall their possessions be extended on the earth,” margin “their produce bend to the earth”; the English Revised Version reverses this text and margin); tikhlāh, “completeness,” or “perfection (Psalm 119:96); takhlīth (twice), “end,” “completeness” (Job 11:7, “Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?” Job 28:3, “searcheth out all the Revised Version (British and American) the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) “to the furthest bound”; compare Job 26:10, “unto the confines of light and darkness”); tōm, “perfect,” “completeness” (Isaiah 47:9, the King James Version “They shall come upon thee in their perfection,” the Revised Version (British and American) “in their full measure”). The Revised Version margin gives the meaning of “the Urim and the Thummim” (Exodus 28:30, etc.) as “the Lights and the Perfections.”

In the New Testament:

In the New Testament “perfect” is usually the tr of teleios, primarily, “having reached the end,” “term,” “limit,” hence, “complete,” “full,” “perfect” (Matthew 5:48, “Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”; Matthew 19:21, “if thou wouldst be perfect; Ephes. 4:13, the King James Version “till we all come …. unto a perfect man,” the Revised Version (British and American) “full-grown”; Phil. 3:15, “as many as are perfect,” the American Revised Version margin “full-grown”; 1 Cor. 2:6; Col. 1:28, “perfect in Christ”; 4:12; James 3:2 margin, etc.).

Other words are teleióō. “to perfect,” “to end,” “complete” (Luke 13:32, “The third day I am perfected,” the Revised Version margin “end my course”; John 17:23, “perfected into one”; 2 Cor. 12:9; Phil. 3:12, the Revised Version (British and American) “made perfect”; Hebrews 2:10, etc.); also epiteléō, “to bring through to an end” (2 Cor. 7:1, “perfecting holiness in the fear of God”; Galatians 3:3, “Are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) “perfected in the flesh,” margin “Do ye now make an end in the flesh?”); katartízō “to make quite ready,” “to make complete,” is translated “perfect,” “to perfect” (Matthew 21:16, “perfected praise”; Luke 6:40, “Every one when he is perfected shall be as his teacher”; 1 Cor. 1:10; 2 Cor. 13:11, “be perfected”; 1 Thes. 3:10; 1 Peter 5:10, the Revised Version margin “restore”); akribṓs, “accurately,” “diligently,” is translated “perfect” (Luke 1:3, “having had perfect understanding,” the Revised Version (British and American) “having traced …. accurately”; Acts 18:26 the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) “more accurately”). We have also ártios, “fitted,” “perfected” (2 Tim. 3:7, the Revised Version (British and American) “complete”); plēróō, “to fill,” “to make full” (Rev. 3:2, the American Standard Revised Version “perfected,” the English Revised Version “fulfilled”); katartismós, “complete adjustment,” “perfecting” (Ephes. 4:12, “for the perfecting of the saints”).

Perfection is the translation of katártisis “thorough adjustment,” “fitness” (2 Cor. 13:9, the Revised Version (British and American) “perfecting”); of teleíōsis (Hebrews 7:11); of teleiótēs (Hebrews 6:1, the Revised Version margin “full growth”); it is translated “perfectness” (Col. 3:14); “perfection” in Luke 8:14 is the translation of telesphoréō, “to bear on to completion or perfection.” In Apocrypha “perfect,” “perfection,” etc., are for the most part the translation of words from télos, “the end,” e.g. Wisdom 4:13; Sirach 34:8; Sirach 44:17; Sirach 45:8, suntéleia “full end”; Sirach 24:28; Sirach 50:11.

The Revised Version (British and American) has “perfect” for “upright” (2 Samuel 22:24, 26 twice); for “sound” (Psalm 119:80); for “perform” (Phil. 1:16); for “undefiled” (Psalm 119:1, margin “upright in way”); for “perfect peace, and at such a time” (Ezra 7:12), “perfect and so forth”; for “He makes my way perfect” (2 Samuel 22:33), “He guided the perfect in his way,” margin “or, `sets free.’ According to another reading, `guided my way in perfectness'”; “shall himself perfect,” margin “restore,” for, “make you perfect” (1 Peter 5:10); “perfecter” for “finisher” (Hebrews 12:2); “perfectly” is omitted in the Revised Version (British and American) (Matthew 14:36); “set your hope perfectly on” for the King James Version “hope to the end for” (1 Peter 1:13).The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

The One Who Loves Me will be Loved by My Father

Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

John 14:21 (NIV2011)

Do you own a bible? If you do, then you have the commands of God and Christ. They are all written in the bible.

Are you automatically responsible for the commands, just because they are in the bible? No! You are responsible for the commands only after you have repented of your sin and have accepted Christ as your savior.

When a person repents of their sin, that sin is lifted and room is made for the salvation of Jesus Christ, the new convert is given a gift bible by the church. This action represents two different parts of that person’s salvation.

  1. The church has just fulfilled the first part of this verse of scripture and they have helped the person being converted get and hopefully keep the first part of the scripture represented here. The church gave them the commands of God.
  2. Which of the commands are we, as Christians, responsible for? We are responsible for every command given by God from the 10 commandments given on Mt. Sinai to the birth of Jesus.
  3. Although Christ never gave many commands for us to follow, He did give a few. The commands given by Christ are just as important as those given by God. We are responsible for both.

Just because we have the commands in the bible doesn’t mean that we know them enough to follow them. This is where the work comes in. Now we must study that bible to find out what those commands are and how they apply to us.

Most of the good churches will assign someone to disciple the new convert to teach them “how” to study the bible. This usually takes 2-3 weeks. Once the disciple releases the new convert, they are on their own.

The study given by the disciple, in no way prepares the convert to be a Christian. That preparation takes a lifetime.

God’s first command (Exodus 20:1) states that we shall have no other God’s before Him. That is not a command that can only be done on Sunday morning. To honor that command, you must make sure (on a daily basis) that you have not allowed any other thing, including money, to come before God.

That new position you were offered in the firm will come with a big promotion, a raise in salary, and more responsibility. If you accept a new position that keeps you from going to church, then you have broken the command and the love God has been giving you is in vain.

You have allowed money, pride, and self-conceit to come before God. That breaks the command, and you can’t allow that to happen.

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

John 15:12 (NKJV)

Christ said we must love one another. We must do this every minute of every day. If something happens to make us angry at someone, we must stop, forgive that person of whatever they did and love them. Notice that forgiveness comes first. Unforgiveness can block love and keep it from getting to the person it is directed toward.

If we follow the commands of God and Christ daily, then it makes being a Christian easy.

The most satisfying compliment I have ever gotten was when a man looked at me and said, “I see Christ in you.”

People are supposed to see Christ in you. Why? Because you, as a Christian, have the Holy Spirit in you (John 14:17).

Remember, Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is a way of life. You must walk beside God all day every day.

Christian Word Definition: Prayer

The Definition for this week: Prayer

A solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God. Oxford Dictionary

An address (as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought. Merriam – Webster

In the Bible “prayer” is used in a simpler and a more complex a narrower and a wider signification. In the former case, it is supplication for benefits either for one’s self (petition) or for others (intercession). In the latter, it is an act of worship which covers all soul in its approach to God. Supplication is at the heart of it, for prayer always springs out of a sense of need and a belief that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). But adoration and confession and thanksgiving also find a place, so that the suppliant becomes a worshipper. It is unnecessary to distinguish all the various terms for prayer that are employed in the Old Testament and the New Testament. But the fact should be noticed that in the Hebrew and Greek alone there are on the one hand words for prayer that denote a direct petition or short, sharp cry of the heart in its distress (Psalm 30:2; 2 Cor. 12:8), and on the other “prayers” like that of Hannah (1 Samuel 2:1-10), which is in reality a song of thanksgiving, or that of Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ, in which intercession is mingled with doxology (Eph. 3:14-21).

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

There are four things all Christians must know about prayer.

To have a good prayer life, you must have a good relationship with God. To obtain the good relationship, you must study God’s word and learn His will.

Be humble and contrite, God will be willing and generous.

And I Will Pray the Father

“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever

John 14:15-16 (NKJV)

Tom Brewster was in his mid-20’s when he surrendered to God. It happened at a Sunday night service one summer. The pastor immediately assigned someone to disciple Tom and help him on his path to being a good Christian.

There are many who believe that a person who surrenders to God is automatically a self-sufficient Christian and can go out in the community and preach to the multitudes. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

There are also some church congregations that believe a person receives the Holy Spirit when they are saved. The bible proves all this wrong and teaches us a vastly different truth. It is a lot of hard work and spiritual expectation to become a Christian.

When the pastor assigned one of the deacons to tutor Tom about the bible, he made a very profound statement, he said, “Becoming a Christian is not automatic. Becoming a Christian is hard work and patience. It’s not about how much you know about the bible; it is more about how much you show concerning your walk with God.”

Tom was confused. When the pastor saw his confusion, he changed his method of teaching. The pastor looked at Tom and stated, “In versed 15-16, there are 5 statements of things you as a believer must do to achieve just the firs level of belief.”

The pastor then broke down the verses in this manner.

  1. If you love me:  What does it mean to love Crist? To love Christ is to have the same love He had for us. We must remember that Christ loved us so much; He was willing to be hanged on a cross because he loved us. That type of love must be returned in kind.
  2. Keep My Commandments: God has given us a set of commandments that we must follow. These commandments are for our benefit and are non-negotiable.
  3. And I Will Pray the Father. Christ took it upon Himself to ask the Father to help us. Christ asked for nothing for Himself, He asked for help for the Believers that have turned their lives over to Him. Not physical help, but spiritual help.
  4. And He will give you another helper. Just think about how much God loves us.
    1. He Created us to be our friend
    2. He gave us a physical helper (a wife)
    3. He gave his only son to die for us
    4. Then He gave us another helper (The Holy Spirit our spiritual helper). The Spirit lives in us and is there whenever we need him.
    5. And through all this, He gave us each other to love.

There are many people who promote the idea that God has a magic wand that he uses when we need something. Nothing could not be farther from the truth.

When God gave us the church, it wasn’t to get together each Sunday and sing songs. He gave us a meeting place that we could gather and praise God for loving us enough to give us the opportunity to help each other.

When Christ was feeding the multitudes, He furnished the fish and bread, but it did not rain down from above, it was handed out by the disciples.

When we need it, God will always give us money or physical things through the church. God doesn’t use a magic wand, He uses His disciples

If you want to become a Christian, you must love God with all your heart. You must walk with God, work for God, and give your testimony by the way you live your life.

A Christian is Christ like; therefore, everyone must see Christ in you. AMEN!!

Christian Word Definition: “Lent”

The 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter observed by the Roman Catholic, Eastern, and some Protestant churches as a period of penitence and fasting Merriam – Webster

A solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later, before Easter Sunday. The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, doing penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement, and self-denial. Wikipedia

In the history of the Christian Church there have been many contentions among the different denominations. One of these conflicts is the celebration of Lent. Almost all of the Protestant Church organizations have done away with parts of this celebration. Almost all these organizations still celebrate Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday and Easter

Most organizations seem to always tell what the Catholic Church Organization celebrates and why, but they want no part in this celebration themselves. Is it because they don’t want to give up anything, maybe they don’t want to fast, or they don’t want to do all the praying that other organizations seem to do? Who knows what the original reasoning was and it is not for me to judge.

Ash Wednesday seems to be a good time to get in an extra sermon for most of the denominations. Since this is the beginning of the 40-day celebration, it is only fitting that it would begin with the sack cloth and ashes which was the Jewish way of showing their remorse and great humility.

Palm Sunday is the celebration of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Many say that this did not belong in the “Passover” celebration. They are correct. This display of triumph would have angered the Jewish people because they did not understand the loutish display. This was Jesus’ way of announcing once for all that He was the Christ, the Messiah.

Easter is the remembrance of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Easter was 36 hours that changed the history of mankind. During this 36 hours Christ took the sins of the world upon himself, went to the depths of the earth and took the keys to hades and then removed Himself from the tomb to prove He was not dead, but alive.

The life of Jesus on this earth only lasted 33 years, but His life had more meaning to the rest of the world than anyone who has won the many accolades given to all those who think themselves great. Jesus didn’t die for Himself, He died to ensure that each and every person from that point on had the opportunity to live through eternity. Yes, that even includes you and I.

Lent. A forty-day period of penitence and prayer which begins on Ash Wednesday and prepares for the feast of Easter.  It is a form of retreat for Christians preparing to celebrate the paschal mystery.  It became a forty-day retreat during the seventh century to coincide with the forty days spent by Christ in the desert; before this Lent usually lasted only a week.  Every Friday of Lent is a day of abstinence.  Fasting probably originated from the custom of fasting by those who were expecting to be baptized after being catechumens.  The third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of Lent refer to the process of preparing for baptism.

Penitential works are very important during Lent.  These include not only abstinence and fasting but also prayers and charitable works.  Ash Wednesday is one of the greatest days of penitence.  Vatican Council II in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy describes how penitence will lead one closer to God.  People should not become overly involved in the penitence itself, however, but realize that the penitence is in preparation for celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Christians seek a change of heart during Lent in their relationship to God.

As I Have Loved You

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:34-35 (NKJV)

One Sunday morning not too long ago, a preacher from the mid-west stood up in church one Sunday morning and asked how many loved the lord as much as He had loved them. Over three quarters of the church raised their hands.

The preacher then asked that ten of those who raised their hand come forward and stand in front of the podium. There were many who came forward and the preacher had to select ten of them and asked that the remainder of them be seated.

Suddenly the county sheriff and 5 deputies came into the room and asked the ten people selected to turn around and be cuffed. They refused. They wanted to know what was going on.

The preacher looked at them and stated that one of the members of the church was to be executed the next day and the judge said he would let him go if ten people would die in his place.

One of the church members stood and asked why ten had to die to save just one person. One of the deputies answered, to show that you have 10 Christians in this church. The person standing stated that they were all Christians. They had demonstrated that by coming forward. The preacher re-read the scripture and stated that you only demonstrated that you were a Christian if you were willing to die.

There are a lot of churches that run around calling each other brothers and sisters, but if you told them they had to die for one of them to prove their love, I wonder how many of them would fall short of being a Christian. I have heard several people state; well, you don’t have to be willing to die for someone to be a Christian. Read that scripture again. Jesus loved us enough to die for us on the cross and the scripture states “as I have loved you.”

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

John 15:9-10 (NKJV)

If we aren’t willing to die for one another, we can’t even abide in the love of God. We aren’t even keeping the commands of God. I’m not talking about the Jewish law; I’m talking about the commandments given by God.

Many people have a problem distinguishing between the Jewish Law and the Commandments of God. The difference is simple. The Jewish Law was given for the people to live by; The Commandments of God were given for us to live for.

It is up to each individual to search their own soul and find out whether they love God enough to die for their brother or sister. As Christ stated, that’s how you can tell they are Christians.

The Second Birth

There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3:1-3 (NKJV)

Every day at noon, Clyde Vernon’s front porch is covered with shade and on most days, there is a cool breeze blowing across the shaded area. He likes to take his bible and sit on the porch to read on the weekends.

One Saturday afternoon, Clyde was joined by one of his neighbors. The neighbor was the man from two doors down the street, his name was Barton.

As it turns out, Barton had come for the same purpose that Nicodemus had the day he talked with Jesus. Barton wanted to know more about the bible. Barton wanted to know how he could go to Heaven. He wanted to know how he could be saved.

Clyde noticed that Barton was carrying a bible in his hand. When Barton opened the bible, he opened it to the 3rd chapter of John. Barton began by stating that he wanted to have the same conversation that Jesus and Nicodemus had. Barton wanted to know how a person could be born a second time.

Clyde again stated what Jesus had stated, “first you have to die.” The bible does not specifically tell how this process is accomplished. It does but you must hunt for it and piece it together.

John the Baptist came as a forerunner of Christ and he preached “Repent and be baptized.”

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary

  1. To turn away from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life (in other words, change your life completely).
  2. To feel regret or contrition

In today’s church scenario, emotions are not part of the “repentance” stage. Today the church gives a two-week class and that counts for both the “repentance and the life change.”

Read the third chapter of John again. Nowhere in that scripture does it give the pastor or the church congregation the right to change what Jesus said. If you don’t have an emotional experience and “die of your sin” (repent) and if you don’t have a second emotional experience when you turn your life over to Christ (Christ washes away your sins), then you can’t say you were “born again.” According to the bible, according to Christ, if you did not have those emotional experiences, then you cannot be a Christian.

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Matthew 3:13-17 (NKJV)

Even Jesus had both vocal and emotional approval by God Himself. This was more of an emotional experience than anything we have or ever will have in our lifetime. We could never have an experience like this until we are standing face to face with God. What an emotional rush it must have been for Jesus.

Remember, Jesus was just a human (man) until this point. It was not until the Holy Spirit became part of Jesus that he became the “Messiah.” Jesus had to die as a man and be born again as the Messiah.

When we are born again, we do not become a Messiah, but we do become “like Christ” a Christian. As the Messiah, Jesus had to set a “Godly” example and looked like God. As a Christian, we must demonstrate the “Christ like” example and look like Christ.

This year give yourself a Christmas present. Read about the birth of Jesus in the bible and repent of your sin and be born again yourself on Christmas day. If you do that then you will really look like Christ. You will even have the same birthday.

I have a question. According to the example given in the third chapter of John, Are you a Christian. Do you live a righteous life and look like Christ, or do you have sin in your life and look like satan?