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DON’T BE A FOOL…

The fool has SAID IN HIS HEART, “There is no God,” They are corrupt, and have committed 1abominable injustice…” (Psa. 53:1)  1tâ‛ab: loathsome, detestable, hateful

So, are there people who are really like this? Yes, unfortunately all around us, but Jesus said: “…anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Matt. 5:22)

We do not have the right to tell someone they are “loathsome, detestable and hateful.” Why? Because Jesus said: Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” (Matt. 7:1)

Just think about how close we come at times to becoming a fool: “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered.” (Prov. 28:26)

We are instructed in the Word of God to: TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART and lean not on your own understanding…“ (Prov. 3:5)

OUR LEARNING TO TRUST IN THE LORD WILL KEEP US FROM BECOMING FOOLS…

-Bill Stockham

 

 

 

 

 

BORN AGAIN, WHAT IS THAT?

“Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God UNLESS THEY ARE BORN AGAIN.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are BORN OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT.” (John 3:3-5)

First of all; where is the kingdom of God? “And men will not say, See, it is here! or, There! THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU.(Luke 17:21)

Secondly; What does it mean to be “born again?” Paul said: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but CHRIST LIVES IN ME. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)

We just need to ask forgiveness and believe…

“…the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone WHO BELIEVES MAY HAVE ETERNAL LIFE in him.” (John 3:14-15)

ASK FOR FORGIVENESS AND BELIEVE THEN YOU’LL BE BORN AGAIN!

-Bill Stockham

 

 

DON’T LOSE HOPE…

“Hope deferred (delayed) makes the heart sick…” (Prov. 13:12a)

We have dreams and purposes; expectations for life. We want to get married, have kids, go to a certain school, achieve a certain level of job success; and live a long and happy life. Sometimes these dreams and purposes are realized, and sometimes they’re not. And when they meet up against real life challenges, and things aren’t as easy and aren’t going the way that we would have thought, real life batters and beats up our hopes, dreams, purposes, and our expectations. And if we’re not careful, the storm clouds of bitterness, negativity, disillusionment, and discouragement can begin to crowd in on our hopes. …but… DESIRE FULFILLED IS A TREE OF LIFE.” (Prov. 13:12b)

“…we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because GOD’S LOVE HAS BEEN POURED OUT INTO OUR HEARTS THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT, who has been given to us.” (Rom. 5:2-5)

THANK GOD, HE KNOWS HOW, AND IS MORE THAN ABLE, TO ALWAYS PROVIDE US WITH JUST WHAT WE NEED

-Bill Stockham

CLEANSE OURSELVES BY PERFECTING HOLINESS…

“Let us cleanse ourselves from all 1defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corin. 7:1) 1molusmos: Defilement is the corruption of morals, principles or character; impurity; pollution by sin.

Cleansing ourselves is not something we do by mere washing, but we must perfect holiness by being cleansed by the blood of Jesus… “…if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light… the BLOOD OF JESUS His Son CLEANSES US FROM ALL SIN.” (1 John 1:7)

In the old testament the blood of sacrificed animals was used for ceremonial cleansing: “How much more, then, will THE BLOOD OF CHRIST…cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” (Heb. 9:14)

The blood of Jesus Christ not only redeems us, it justifies us. Being justified means more than being forgiven. We can say, “I forgive you,” but we can’t justify one another. God not only forgives the past, He clothes us in righteousness as though we had never committed a sin. Yet it cost the blood of His Son on the cross. This is how we perfect holiness in our lives…

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.” (John 16:33)

DO NOT CONFORM TO THE PATTERN OF THIS WORLD BUT BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND. (Rom. 12:2)

-Bill Stockham

 

YOUR FAITH HAS HEALED YOU…

“Then they came to Jericho…a blind man, Bartimaeus…began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more…Jesus stopped and said, Call him.” So, they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” THROWING HIS CLOAK ASIDE, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus…

Bartimaeus’s first act of faith was his persistent shouting! Throwing aside his cloak was his second act of faith, this was a literal decision to no longer rely on anything he relied on before coming face-to-face with Jesus. The cloak was probably his sole source of shelter and warmth, and the most valuable item he owned. He also used the cloak to collect money as potential alms-givers passed by him.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” Go,” said Jesus, YOUR FAITH HAS HEALED YOU. IMMEDIATELY he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.” (Mark 10:46-52)

Jesus knew what this man wanted, but he wanted Bartimaeus to speak it, and when he did, he was immediately healed and became a follower of Jesus.

THIS EVENT IS IN THE WORD OF GOD AS AN EXAMPLE FOR US

-Bill Stockham

THE NECESSITY OF PERSISTENT PRAYERS…

“In a certain town there was a judge who did not fear God…there was a widow in that town who kept coming…’Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time, he refused. But finally, he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, YET BECAUSE THIS WIDOW KEEPS BOTHERING ME, I WILL SEE THAT SHE GETS JUSTICE…”

This unjust judge was moved to give justice to this very persistent woman, Jesus used this parable to demonstrate the importance of our persistent prayers

“…and the Lord said,Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God BRING ABOUT JUSTICE for his chosen ones, who cry out to him DAY AND NIGHT? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, HE WILL SEE THAT THEY GET JUSTICE, AND QUICKLY…” (Luke 18:2-8)

Some people teach that we only have to ask God once for anything we need but Jesus is teaching us that we need to pray day and night until the Lord answers…

“…you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I WILL BE FOUND BY YOU,” declares the LORD…” (Jer. 29:12-14)

WE NEED TO LEARN TO SEEK THE LORD WITH ALL OUR HEART…

-Bill Stockham

 

RESTING IN GOD’S SHADOW…

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High WILL REST IN THE SHADOW OF THE ALMIGHTY. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the 1fowler’s 1snare…” (Psa. 91:1-3) 1fowler: A person who sets snares and lies in wait for prey. 2being snared: constantly falling into a sin you do not wish to commit.

The shelter of the Most High is our place of prayer, when we are in prayer we are resting in God’s shadow under His protection. This is our place of safety from the fowler’s snare.

He will COVER YOU with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and fortification. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day…” (Psa. 91:4-5)

When we enter our place of prayer with the Lord, He covers us and becomes our shield and fortification…

 “…those who 3wait for the LORD WILL GAIN NEW STRENGTH; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” (Isa. 40:31) 3qâvâh (kaw-vaw’): to bind or join together. Our strength is renewed as we bind together with the Lord. It is only by connecting to Him that we can mount up with wings as eagles.

LET’S GET CONNECTED WITH GOD SO WE CAN MOUNT UP WITH EAGLES WINGS…

-Bill Stockham

THE IMPORTANCE OF FORGIVENESS…

“If your brother sins, tell him he is wrong. Then if he turns away from his sins, FORGIVE HIM. Suppose he sins against you seven times in one day. And suppose he comes back to you each time and says, ‘I’m sorry.’ FORGIVE HIM.” (Luke 17:3-4)

Forgiveness is something all of us want to receive but many of us hesitate to give. Jesus makes it clear, however, that WE CAN’T HAVE IT WITHOUT GIVING IT. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, YOUR FATHER WILL NOT FORGIVE YOUR SINS.(Matt. 6:14-15)

These words allow no room for doubt or discussion. Forgiveness flows two ways. WE CANNOT SEPARATE RECEIVING FORGIVENESS FROM GRANTING FORGIVENESS. Forgiveness begins with disclosing our own failures. We can neither give nor receive forgiveness without doing that, we have no right to withhold forgiveness from anyone. For Christians, FORGIVENESS IS NONNEGOTIABLE; it is the very essence of our faith. So, how far does this go?

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but until SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN.(Matt. 18:21-22)

HELP US LORD TO BE OBEDIENT TO YOU WITH A FORGIVING HEART

-Bill Stockham

 

BEING PURE AND WITHOUT OFFENCE…

“…it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be PURE AND 1BLAMELESS FOR THE DAY OF CHRIST, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil. 1:9-11) 1Aproskopos: without offence, not causing another to stumble.

Sometimes it is a great challenge to be at peace with everyone, people are so easily offended: “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city…” (Pro. 18:19) So, we must pray that we will be at peace with God which is the first step of being at peace with others…

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “CHILDREN OF GOD WITHOUT FAULT in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you HOLD FIRMLY TO THE WORD OF LIFE…” (Phil. 2:14-16)

Dear Lord, help us to have pure motives as we go about our day to keep us from being hurtful to others…

“Now may the God of peace himself SANCTIFY YOU COMPLETELY AND MAY YOUR WHOLE SPIRIT AND SOUL AND BODY BE KEPT BLAMELESS at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess. 5:23)

LET US SHINE LIKE STARS TODAY AS WE HOLD TO THE WORD OF LIFE…

-Bill Stockham

BEING FILLED WITH ALL OF GOD’S FULLNESS…

“…do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN? For you have been bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body.” (1 Corin. 6:19-20)

The first step to being filled with all the fullness of God is to understand that we are NOT OUR OWN…we belong to God.

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but CHRIST LIVES IN ME; and the life which I now live in the flesh I LIVE BY FAITH in the Son of God, who loves me and gave Himself up for me.” (Gal. 2:20)

Secondly, we are crucified with Christ and He lives in us

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, SO THAT CHRIST MAY DWELL IN YOUR HEARTS THROUGH FAITH. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have powerTO GRASP HOW WIDE, LONG, HIGH AND DEEP IS THE LOVE OF CHRIST, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may BE FILLED TO THE MEASURE OF ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD.” (Eph. 3:16-19)

Pray this prayer: “Abba Father I want to intimately “know” the full capacity of Christ’s love this will take a lot of ‘POWER and ROOM’, knowing that love is beyond what I can understand, it goes beyond knowledge. Give me POWER to ‘know’ the capacity of this love so I have ROOM to be completely filled with ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD!”

MAKE ROOM IN OUR HEART AND GIVE US POWER TO RECEIVE MORE GRACE IN TIME OF NEED.

-Bill Stockham