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Posts Tagged ‘following Jesus’

The “wicked”… Who are they?

 

Dictionary.com gives the following definitions for the word wicked: 
1. evil or morally bad in principle or practice; sinful; iniquitous:

wicked people; wicked habits.
2. mischievous or playfully malicious:

These wicked kittens upset everything.
3.distressingly severe, as a storm, wound, or cold:

a wicked winter.
4. unjustifiable; dreadful; beastly:

wicked prices; a wicked exam.
5. having a bad disposition; ill-natured; mean:

a wicked horse.
6. spiteful; malevolent; vicious:

a wicked tongue.
7. extremely troublesome or dangerous:

wicked roads.
8. unpleasant; foul:

a wicked odor.
9. Slang. wonderful; great; masterful; deeply satisfying:

He blows a wicked trumpet.

10. Slang. very; really; totally:

That shirt is wicked cool.
But what does the Bible tell us about wicked people? 
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Psalm 119:53 describes the wicked as those who have forsaken the law of God.  Psalm 119:155 describes them as those who do not seek out God’s decrees.  In Psalm 141, David describes them as those who are evildoers.  Acts 2:23 tells us that Jesus was put to death on the cross as God’s plan and with the help of wicked men.  And in Acts 3:26, we read about Peter preaching that God “raised up His servant” in order to “bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”
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To put it simply, the wicked are those who do not obey God, those who choose to ignore Him.  We are being wicked if we choose to not spend time with the Lord, but we have plenty of time for watching television or going shopping or spending time with friends.  We’re being wicked when we choose to stay in bed on Sunday instead of going and worshipping with other believers as the Bible tells us to do in Hebrews 10:25.  Ignoring God sums up the word wicked.
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Ignoring God sums up the word wicked.
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Look up the word wicked in your own concordance and see how God feels about “the wicked.”  If you’ve been ignoring God, seek Him out and ask for forgiveness, ask Him to give you a stronger desire for His presence, and begin today to turn from being one of the wicked.  God wants a relationship with you. He loves you.
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It’s heartbreaking to me seeing all the posts and listening to people talk about how they’d die for their faith in Christ, yet…. they choose sin over Jesus every day in the way they talk, treat people, what they watch on tv, read in books, post on Facebook, the jokes they enjoy, and the way they spend their time (“I’m too busy to read my Bible or pray or spread the Gospel… that Candy Crush Saga is so time consuming ya know!”).

As John McArthur wrote – “True repentance and faith in Christ denies the usual depraved longings of the human will.”
Or go straight to our Savior, Jesus Christ Himself, and see what He has to say…

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth; I did not come to bring peace but a sword.  For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.  He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.  And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.  He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.”  Jesus in Matthew 10:34-39 NASB

Folks… He is pretty clear on what He expects of us.  Don’t allow yourself to be fooled by false teachers and there are plenty of them out there!  Nothing is more important.  Nothing.

I share this because there was a time when I thought (was just positive) that I was in the “good” with Jesus, but I wasn’t taking up a stick for Him, never mind a cross.  I was living in sin, doing what I pleased while saying I loved Him.  I was lying to myself and Satan was loving it.  It’s Satan’s goal to keep us deceived.  Some of Satan’s greatest weapons are preachers and people that sit in churches each week thinking they’re okay and leaving the impression with others that they’re okay.  The Bible clearly states to KNOW FOR YOURSELF. Once you’ve heard the gospel message, you will be held accountable.

Please.  Get this right.

We never know what tomorrow will bring, or if we’ll get another chance.   Don’t break His heart by not taking His gift and living for Him.

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In Acts 9:22 we’re told – “Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.” 

So, how exactly did Saul (Paul) go about “proving” that Jesus is the Messiah?   Ever wonder about that?   I did and what I discovered was that it wasn’t proven by him simply because he was highly educated, brilliant scholar, though indeed he was.  No, it was more than that.

His relationship with Jesus changed who he was completely and people could see this.  They could clearly see the evidence that Jesus was indeed the Messiah because Saul’s life changed and he backed up everything he said with how he lived.  This is something that should happen to all Christians.

Following Christ makes you totally different in ways you can’t begin to imagine until you’re living it.  The people around you should be taking notice.  Often times, it’s not something they really like either.  Being a true follower of Jesus isn’t always popular with friends and family, but it will bring you to a new place unlike any other.  It’s amazing.

How has being a Christ Follower changed your life?

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Backsliding.  We’ve all heard the term.  The dictionary defines it as: to relapse into bad habits, sinful behavior, or undesirable activities.

Bad habits, sinful behavior, undesirable activities….  doesn’t sound so bad really, does it?

The Bible, however, has a different attitude towards it.  Hebrews 2:1-3 tells us that backsliding is indeed VERY SERIOUS and not to be taken lightly, in the least.

We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.  For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?  Hebrews 2:1-3

In 2 Peter2:20,21 it’s addressed this way – If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.  It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 

I don’t know about you, but these two verses alone give me such a different view of “backsliding” and a good healthy respect for how truly serious backsliding really is.

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Following Jesus’ Command to Make Disciples…

 

Let’s Get Practical. – Awesome blog that gives you great ideas on how you can go out and make disciples!

 

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As most of you who are following my blog know, I’ve been reading, praying, and spending time in God’s Word in the book of Psalm lately.  Yesterday, I was spending some time in Chapter 119 where it talks a lot about God’s commands, His decrees, His regulations, and laws and how we should rejoice in them all and study, reflect on them, as well as delight in them.

Later in the day, while at work, I happened to notice a car in the parking lot with a tag stating “In God We Trust” and also a bumper sticker saying “straight but not narrow” on that same car.  It was like being hit, in a way, with this realization that the person that owns this car is stating that they trust in God, but that a law He’s given us can make us “narrow minded” if we decide to obey, rejoice, or delight in all of His laws.

Honestly, it made me sad.  Sad, because I know so many other people that feel the same way about all sorts of God’s laws and commandments.  He gave us His laws to help us, not to hurt us, but so many people feel that they somehow know better than their Creator does as to what is best for them.

I have tried hard to find you-  don’t let me wander from your commands.

I have hidden  your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

I praise you, O LORD; teach me your decrees.

I have recited aloud all the regulations you have given us.

I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches.

I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways.

I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.

Be good to your servant, that I may live and obey your word.

Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.

I am only a foreigner in the land. 

Don’t hide your commands from me!

I am always overwhelmed with a desire for your regulations. 

Psalm 119: 10-20

As Christians and children of the Most High God, children of our Father in Heaven, how can we say that ANY of God’s laws, commands, decrees, are anything but GOOD and PERFECT?  Maybe we don’t “LIKE” them all because we’d rather have our own way, just like our children do, but if you trust in Him, then you must TRUST IN HIM.  Trust that He is GOOD.  Always has been, always will be.   After all, anything less means you do not “trust in Him”.

*************

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Learning to Fly – shared from Godvine.  I loved this and wanted to share it with all of you! images (2)

My neighbor has a number of mature spruce trees in his back yard and every year a family of magpies nests in one of them. We are blessed that our back yard often becomes the place for magpie flight school.

The young birds work their way to the end of a branch, and sit there squawking for a while. Mother magpie is never far away, encouraging the young ones to try again. A nest of magpies can make a lot of noise when it is time to learn to fly.

After working up enough nerve and making a suitable amount of noise the young birds jump, spread their wings and drop to the ground. Squawking some more, they eventually jump up from branch to branch to climb back up the tree, and repeat the process.

The young one goes back to the end of the branch, makes enough noise to work up its nerve and tries it again.

Sometime during the process, they actually get airborne and soar a bit. The first time they soar, it frightens them and they land quickly, unsure of what just happened. Eventually though, they get the idea and fly and soar at will.

As Christians we are often like those young magpies, we stay near the nest and make a lot of noise. Sometimes we take a brief leap, then make a lot of noise over the attempt and head for home.

Other times we actually get to fly a bit, and it surprises and frightens us. We knew it was possible, but we didn’t really think it could happen to us and we stop in disbelief.

Now and then though, we get the idea and actually begin to do what we are called to do and fly. To soar, empowered by Holy Spirit. We begin to become the people of God that we are called to be. Other people see us soaring and the sight turns their mind towards God.

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Each of us is called to work in different ministries. Each of us is at a different point in our faith walk.

Perhaps you haven’t yet broken out of the egg or left the nest. Perhaps you are standing on the edge of the branch squawking in excitement and fear preparing to jump. Maybe you have just soared and it surprised you. Perhaps you are like the mother magpie, knowing you can soar and that it is your duty to encourage others.

Where ever you are in your walk, know that we are called to soar and are empowered to soar, all for the glory of God.

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

Do not grow tired of the attempt — know that the Father has prepared a ministry for you to excel at; to soar and bring Him glory. May you find that ministry and soar in His presence, as He intended, according to his plan. God bless.

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Whenever I run across a book that really speaks to me, I like to share it with others.  Living the Life God Has Planned – A Guide to Knowing God’s Will by Bill Thrasher and Joseph M. Stowell III is one of those books.

I actually got it for only $0.99 on my Kindle Fire recently and I would have to say that it’s been the best $0.99 I’ve spent in a long time!  It would’ve been well worth the regular Kindle price of $7.19!

The reviews on Amazon.com will tell you all about it and how valuable it could be to add to your Kindle, hardback, or paperback library.

Here are a few of those reviews:

More Christians struggle with the will of God than any other spiritual concern.  Bill Thrasher provides an excellent guide to discernment in decision making for daily living.  Comprehensive, realistic and biblical.  You can’t afford to miss this one!
-Howard G. Hendricks, Distinguished Professor, Chairman, Center for Christian Leadership, Dallas Theological Seminary

Another book on living in the will of God?  Yes, but this one is different, for its focus is on the Person of God as the center of our lives and the answer to all our questions and needs.  Good theology.  Good exposition.  Good Illustrations.
-Charles C. Ryrie, Author and Scholar

Books about the will of God abound, but this one is especially helpful.  It teaches you that knowing the character of God is the basis for understanding and enjoying the will of God.  No clever formulas or simplistic procedures in these pages–just solid practical truth from Scripture, truth that transforms life.
-Warren W. Wiersbe, Author and Conference Speaker

Not only have I been reading, enjoying, and learning so very much, but also we’re using this for our family Bible study.  My husband and I take turns reading from it aloud with the three of our children still at home.  Whenever there’s a Scripture verse given, we all use our own Bibles and look the verse(s) up and the kids will take turns reading those.  We also stop to explain and discuss what we’re reading and learning.  It’s a great book to do this family style of study with and no matter what the age, God’s Word is getting in.

I really love it and am so thankful to the Lord for bringing this one to my attention.  I had been praying about wanting to know more about God’s will for my own life when I ran across this gem.

If any of you decide to give it a try, I’d love to get your comments on it!  🙂

Keep on gently speaking!

** I was in no way paid, or even given a book for this “review” – I just really love it that much and wanted to share it with others.

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Personal Disciple-Making Plan.

Can’t say enough good things about what David Platt and Francis Chan are doing in the area of encouraging people to get out there and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone possible.

I fully believe we need to get serious about sharing the truth and the love of Christ.  I hope you enjoy this blog post I’m sharing that can help you in this area of life that is soooooo very important.

Keep speaking…gently.

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I can’t begin to tell you all how very much I liked this post. It’s come at a perfect time in my life for reasons I won’t get all into right now. Suffice it to say that I have a hole to go dig.
If this post speaks to you in some way, please share it in the comments section. I’d love to hear about the necessary holes in your life and how the Lord blesses you with a brand new shovel.

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