Be renewed in the spirit of your mind. . .

Sometimes the grind of everyday living can bring a state of exhaustion, or an emotional drain that brings a negative response out of us. It is as if we have worked up a sweat and gotten dirty from having been exposed to the day’s activity. I have heard of decompressing from the day’s activities especially when the day has brought unexpected results of frustration. It can feel like we have been in a fight and now we need a bath to wash off the grime of the day. How do we decompress? Everyone needs space to decompress. Even Jesus decompressed by going up the mountain to pray. I can only imagine what his day brought when he went about his father’s business of sharing the gospel and witnessing negative unbelieve responses everywhere he went. He had to have time with the Father in prayer to work out those negative responses.

Whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

Matthew 10:14

Maybe we should take a look at what Jesus told the twelve disciples in Matthew chapter ten. It is all about keeping the peace within ourselves if we are not received well from others. Look at verse 13 of chapter ten of Matthew where Jesus said to “let your peace return to you.” How do you shake off the dust of your feet? Conflict these days seem to be commonplace and it is easy to get worked up for nothing. Everybody has an opinion and sometimes others do not want to listen to what you have to say. It is time to shake off the dust of your feet. Have you ever wondered why Jesus washed the feet of the disciples? It is a form of purification from our attitude of the days conflicts. The spiritual renewing of washing the negative grime that we have picked up during the day. Jesus said to the disciples that they should wash one another’s feet [see John 13:14]. In other words, in the process of washing another’s foot, it will bring compassion and consideration for that individual. This is the Christian response in serving one another. It means to listen and respond in love. To help each other to renew our minds by the washing of water by the word.

Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

John 15:3

The word is so important because it helps us to focus on what is good, pure, and honest. It is why some churches have midweek services because the pastor realized that his congregation needed the washing of the word for the renewal of the mind. Some churches have midweek bible studies to help with the renewal of the mind. It is also why we have devotionals written to help Christians to renew their mind so that their attitude may be transformed into the image of Christ. The renewing of the mind is to put on the new man that is created in God through Christ where righteousness and true holiness resides [see Ephesian 4:24]. Anger, malice, and lying is to be put away so that we do not allow the devil room within our hearts [see verse 27 of Ephesians 4]. Having been in the world, we are not to be conform to the world’s characteristics.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:2

We are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind so that we can prove what is good and acceptable will of God. That we may know the will of God through the word. Just as you take a shower every day to cleanse your body, you should cleanse your mind from the daily grind of living by reading the word of God for the renewal of your mind. Like Jesus going up to the mountain to pray, we should find the time to read the word to help us to decompress ourselves from the daily grind of the world. Have you ever experienced a foot bath? Everyone should have this experience and know how soothing and refreshing it is and it also helps to relieve the stresses of the day. It is a very special time when Christians can wash one another’s foot by listening and sharing the word with each other. Remember that the world may not receive you, but let your peace remain within you, shake off the dust of your feet, and renew your mind with the word of God and relax in his love that He has for you today.

Baptism, Sanctification

Walking in Newness of Life

Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death, that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:4

How does one walk in “newness of life?” What does it mean to be baptized into Jesus Christ death? We were taught in the Christian faith that baptism means immersion or dip under water for the washing and purifying the body from the flesh [from all sins]. The apostle Paul reaerated in verse three of chapter 6 of Romans that those who were baptized into Jesus were also baptized into his death. It is hard to conceive that we were united with Christ through his death, but it is a process of sanctification. Sanctification is to be set apart for a special use or purpose. Like a vessel that is used for specific tasks. It is to be set apart for a purpose that is united with Christ. This is a holy purpose that takes on the divine nature of Christ. I ponder upon this aspect of the Christian life and understanding how we are to be complete in Christ.

How many Christians are truly set apart for Christ to be used as a vessel of honor. Does our walk-in life reflect Christ true meaning of holiness? These are questions we each need to answer for ourselves. This is an individual choice we make, and it should not be taken lightly, for sanctification is a dedication to Christ in that it is a marriage. When a husband and wife are separated because of a disaster, there is an emptiness that resides within the individual. It is like the lines in the song titled, “Dedicated to the One I Love.”

While I’m far away from you, my baby

I know it’s hard for you, my baby

And it’s hard for me, my baby

And the darkest hour is just before dawn

That separation is painful to experience. Jesus felt that pain on the cross. Jesus experienced the human condition like no man has ever done in history on the cross, and that is why he is acquainted with all our ways [see Psalms 139:3]. Myer Pearlman, a theologian, and author stated that sanctification is positional and progressive in his book titled, “Knowing the Doctrines of the Bible.” He explained that the setting apart is the beginning of the process of sanctification. Pearlman states that this is a daily process and responsibility of every Christian. It is why some Christians are still carnal [see 1 Corinthians 3:3], because they have not move on towards growth in Christ. At this stage in their Christian walk they are not fully walking into the image of Christ. A cleansing needs to take place to wash the carnal desires away.   This is the reason why we hear the apostle Paul’s statement “to mortify our sinful members, and to put off the old man.” In other words, it is the function of the human personality that is not conforming to the image of Christ.

What many Christians do not understand is that they cannot do it all within themselves. Very few can maintain their image to be perfect without some human flaw revealing itself. There needs to be divine intervention to help both the positional and progressive process along. Every person progresses at a different stage in their Christian walk until we all come to unity in Christ. Sanctification is through the blood of Christ and worked in the human being through the Holy Spirit and the word of God. The blood of Christ does the cleansing while the Holy Spirit with the word of God helps lead us into the full knowledge of truth [see John 17:17]. It is a daily task to put away anything that does not reveal the image of Christ within our human behavior. The imperfections that we have are revealed in the word of God. Deliverance can only come through faith in the atonement with the working of the Holy Spirit.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God

Ephesians 2:8

John Wesley dealt with the aspect of sanctification by affirming it as another work of grace. Our position is assured but our daily walk is a dying to self and taking up the cross of Christ in daily prayer asking the Lord to guide us to become more like Christ. We must have the love of God residing within our heart to allow the Holy Spirit to work through our character for change to take affect knowing that to be spiritually minded is life and peace [see Romans 8:6]. Whatever state we are in we are more than conquerors through him that loved us [see Romans 8:37]. May we continue to walk in newness of life through Jesus Christ, knowing His love is a sure thing, and through His love we can grow above whatever imperfections we may have. We can walk in newness of life every day by faith through Christ who gives us the victory.

Seven Abominations

Six Things the Lord God Dislikes

Do you know the six things that the Lord dislikes? Actually, it is seven things that the Lord dislikes and they are an abomination.

These six things doth the Lord Hate; yea seven are an abomination unto him.

Proverbs 6:16

Have you read Proverbs in the Bible? Proverbs was compiled in the 10th Century B.C. and is full of wisdom about life. It deals with faithfulness, honesty, business relationships, eating, drinking, and keeping bad company. Most of Proverbs comes from King Solomon, who was incredibly wise in dealing with justice in his court. It is rare that one hears a sermon taken from Proverbs, but when I read chapter 6 verses 16 through 19, I thought this should be taught for everyone would like to be treated fairly, plus no one wants to be lied to or have a false witness. We should not forget about having good manners when dealing with people in general. If we can follow the golden rule of doing unto others what you would want others to do to you, we would all be happy instead of cutting each other down. 

Do you remember “Miss Manners”?  Judith Martin was an American columnist, who wrote about etiquette. She wrote about problems about people having good manners and being polite. It is all about how we treat one another and in church it can be a big issue in how people behave around other people. Board members and committee members many times loose cohesion when they argue about a specific topic of concern. Division is just around the corner when there is no unity among members of a congregation. It is important to remember how the enemy who is Satan revels in the Christian saint’s discord.

If you behave in a way that offends the people you’re trying to deal with, they will stop dealing with you.

Judith Martin

Our behavior can offend others and these days that offence can lead to retaliation and other negative behavior we do not want to see in our communities. Judith Martin stated that “blatant greed” is the most serious etiquette problem in the United States. Keeping that in mind we can look at the seven listed things that bring disgust and repulsion in the seven things listed in Proverbs chapter 6.

A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Proverbs 6:17-19

A Proud look is the first on the list because it is a person who lifts himself up above others. It is all about “Me,” and no one else manners. Second on the list is a lying tongue. The tongue always gets us in trouble for saying something we should not have said. It is why James said in chapter 3, “the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” It is more than a slip of the tongue because it is what we are feeling within our heart. Many of us need healing of past hurts that someone caused. Someone who is offended can lead to the shedding of innocent blood. It can be a proud look, or something that was said that ignites like a dynamite and someone gets shot. The hands that shed innocent blood is happening all over the world. Sometimes we do not even know that what we do can cause violent outburst.

Beware of the heart that plans to harm someone and brings in others to do his or hers bidding. You do not need to be a puppet on someone else string to pull you into mischief. Learn to say no and turn away from getting involved in any plan that harms an individual or an animal. We tend to forget that God created animals for our benefit. We are to be good stewards of our pets and animals.

Then there is the false witness that is lying. They can be so nice to your face but stab you in your back by giving a false witness about you. This happens so often in churches as well as everywhere else like where you work and even among your friends. They do it in fun, but the fun turns into outrage. That is why the Bible tells us to build one another up and not to tear one another down. Do not be mischievous in what you are doing with others. Remember the saying, “what comes around goes around.” Eventually one will have to face the consequences for their actions.

The last thing is sowing discord among the members of a congregation is no way to behave. There should be no animosity, contention, or controversy among the people of God, and if there is, let us strive for peaceful resolution. Any animosity or grievances should be dealt with immediately between the individuals that are having the issue. We are to go to the person that has violated decent social boundaries and speak to them about it.

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

Matthew 18:15-16

If that person does not listen, then the next step is to bring in witnesses. Hopefully, one will listen, so other witnesses will not have to be brought in. We are saved by Grace and there is liberty where the Spirit of the Lord is [see 2 Corinthians 3:17]. Do not use that liberty as a stumbling block against those who are weak [ see 1 Corinthians 8:9]. Ask God to help cleanse your heart and mind from all false witness, lies, and mischievous deeds. Ask God to forgive you and help you to forgive the other person too. Ask God for reconciliation. Allow God’s love to rule your heart again in the liberty that we have in Christ Jesus.


Godliness with Contentment

Godliness with contentment is great gain.

1 Timothy 6:6

Why is contentment related to godliness? Contentment frees us from having to focus on achieving something that may not always be a benefit to us personally. It frees one from envy, strife, and vanity. It is what is of value or profitable in our growth that we should be concerned with. Contentment not only deals with our speech, but with our way of living. Striving after objects and forsaking our health, relationships, or personal growth is not advantages. Sometimes it becomes an obsession where the object controls you rather than you are controlling the object.

For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

1 Timothy 6:7-8

As Christians we are to be content with having food and clothing for our bodies. Object and things are not a priority like food and clothing. Jesus talked about not to be anxious about food or clothing for He knows we need these to survive [see Matthew 6:25-32]. It is through faith that these things are supplied. In fact, Jesus said that we should seek the kingdom of God so that these things shall be added unto us [see Matthew 6:33]. This speaks to our devotion and reverence towards God, and that is where godliness brings the point home on what our focus should be. Godliness means to step back from something and refocus where our attention is. It is an attitude of where our commitment and loyalty are in our every day of living.

Maybe we should look at the Minimalist. Some may think it is all about restrictions, but this is not the case. It is a way of living in the moment without the added aggravation of dealing with dissatisfaction. Minimalism is all about having freedom from fear, worry, and guilt. Freedom from the consumer culture in possessing things that bring bondage. Minimalism is not just about getting rid of excessive stuff, although we probably should re-consider the extra storage that some of us are paying for just to store the excess stuff. For the minimalist it is about reclaiming time and sometimes our sanity from the constant desire of wanting or keeping things.

Consuming things is tied to the root of loving money. The apostle Paul states that it has caused some Christians to fall from faith [see 1 Timothy 6:10]. The pursuit of having things can lead to sorrows because it is not only the individual that is affected but those who are close to that individual such as family members or friends. It can cause strife among family members and friends.

Let your manner of life be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have.

Hebrews 13:5

This should be our manner in life, a new course in direction. Consume less and be more creative. Discover your mission and purpose in life and the attitude of contributing to others needs. It is sharing with others and meeting needs. You will gain back your mental health and freedom of your time when you are content with what you have.  The apostle Paul said, “whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God,” 1 Corinthians 10:31.