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Daily Bread

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

God Is Life

1 John 5

Faith in the Son of God
Life Application Study Bible (NLT) Notes:
1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. 2We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments.
1 John 5:1-2 When we become Christians, we become part of God's family, with fellow believers as our brothers and sisters. It is God who determines who the other family member are, not us. We are simply called to accept and love them. How well do you treat your fellow family members?
 3Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 4For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.

1 John 5:3,4 Jesus never promised that obeying Him would be easy. But the hard work and self-discipline of serving Christ is no burden to those who love Him. And if our load starts to feel heavy, we can always trust Christ to help us bear it (Matthew 11:28-30).
12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.
1 John 5:12 Whoever believes in God's Son has eternal life. He is all you need. You don't need to wait for eternal life because it begins the moment you believe. You don't need to work for it because it is already yours. You don't need to worry about it because you have been given eternal life by God Himself—and it is guaranteed. 
13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.
1 John 5:13 Some people hope that they will receive eternal life. John says we can know we have it. Our certainty is based on God's promise that He has given us eternal life through His Son. This is true whether you feel close to God or far away from Him. Eternal life is not based on feelings but on facts. You can know that you have eternal life if you believe God's truth. If you aren't sure the you are a Christian, ask yourself: Have I honestly committed my life to Him as my Savior and Lord? If so, you know by faith that you are indeed a child of God. 
14And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.
1 John 5:14,15 The emphasis here is on God's will, not our will. When we communicate with God, we don't demand what we want; rather we discuss with Him what He wants for us. If we align our prayers to His will, He will listen; and we can be certain that if He listens, He will give us a definite answer. Start praying with confidence!
16If you see a fellow believer sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it. 17All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death.
1 John 5:16,17 Commentators differ widely in their thoughts about what this sin is that leads to death is and whether the death it causes is physical or spiritual. 
  • Paul wrote that some Christians had died because they took Communion unworthily (1 Corinthians 11:27-30), and
  • Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead when they lied to God (Acts 5:1-11).
  • Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit results in spiritual death (Mark 3:29), and
  • the book of Hebrews describes the spiritual death of the person who turns against Christ (Hebrews 6:4-6).
John was probably referring to the people who had left the Christian fellowship and joined the antichrists. By rejecting the only way to salvation, these people were putting themselves out of reach of prayer. In most cases, however, even if we knew what the terrible sin was, we would have no sure way of knowing whether a certain person had committed it. Therefore, we should continue praying for our loved ones and for our Christian brothers and sisters, leaving the judgment up to God. Note that John says, "I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it," rather than, "You cannot pray for them." He recognized the lack of certainty. 
18We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. 19We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.
1 John 5:18,19 Christians commit sins, of course, but they ask God to forgive them, and then they continue serving Him. God has freed believers from their slavery to satan, and He keeps them safe from satan's continued attacks. The rest of the world does not have the Christian's freedom to obey God. Unless they come to Christ in faith, they have no choice but to obey satan. There is no middle ground; people either belong to God and obey Him, or they live under satan's control.

Sin’s Power Is Broken
1Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace?
2Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 
3Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 
4For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
5Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 
7For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 
8And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. 
9We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him.
10When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God.
 11So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
12Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. 
13Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. 
14Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.
15Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! 
16Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. 
17Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. 
18Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.
19Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy.
20When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right.
21And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. 
22But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. 
23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

God's Delay Is Not A Denial (Trusting His Timing)

…Just as long as what you're praying for is according to His Will ;-)  

"For all of God's promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding "Yes!" And through Christ, our "Amen" (which means "Yes") ascends to God for his glory." 2 Corinthians 1:20

The Bible repeatedly tells us that we can have what we pray for when we receive it by Faith. There may be a WAIT sometimes, but as long as what we're praying for lines up with His Word then, we can have what we are believing Him for. He said it! The Bible justifies it! God keeps His promises! =)

7 Scripture Verses & notes concerning God's timing and why we can trust in His timing:

Understanding God's perspective on TIME

Ex: God says, "At the time I have planned, I will bring justice against the wicked. Psalm 75:2

Life Application Study Bible Note: God will act when He is ready. Children have difficulty grasping the concept of time. "It's not time yet" is not a reason they easily understand because they only comprehend the present. As limited human beings, we can't understand God's perspective about time. We want everything now, unaware that God's timing is better. When God is ready, He will do what needs to be done, not what we would like Him to do. We may be as impatient as children, but we must not doubt the wisdom of God's timing. Wait for God to reveal His plan. Don't take matters into your own hands.

God rescues us in His TIMING, not ours

Ex: "Years passed, and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and He remembered His covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act." Exodus 2:23-25

Life Application Study Bible Note: God's rescue doesn't always come the moment we want it. God had promised to bring the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt (Genesis 15:16; 46:3, 4). The people had waited a long time for that promise to be kept, but God rescued them when He knew the right time had come. God knows the best time to act. When you feel that God has forgotten you in your troubles, remember that God has a time schedule we can't see.

Waiting for God's TIMING

Ex: "How long, O God, will you allow our enemies to insult you? Will you let them dishonor your name forever? Why do you hold back your strong right hand? Unleash your powerful fist and destroy them. You, O God, are my king from ages past, bringing salvation to the earth. You split the sea by your strength and smashed the heads of the sea monsters. You crushed the heads of Leviathan and let the desert animals eat him. You caused the springs and streams to gush forth, and you dried up rivers that never run dry. Both day and night belong to you; you made the starlight and the sun. You set the boundaries of the earth, and you made both summer and winter. See how these enemies insult you, LORD. A foolish nation has dishonored your name." Psalm 74:10-18

Life Application Study Bible Note: From our perspective, God sometimes seems slow to intervene on our behalf. but what might appear slow to us is good timing from God's perspective. It's easy to become impatient while waiting for God to act, but we must never give up on Him. When God is silent and you are in deep anguish, follow the method in this psalm. Review the great acts of God throughout biblical history; then review what he has done for you. This will remind you that God is at work, not only in history, but also in your life today.

Ex: "So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days. Finally, he said to his disciples, Let's go back to Judea." John 11:5-7

Life Application Study Bible Note: Jesus loved this family and often stayed with them. He knew their pain but but did not respond immediately. His delay had a specific purpose. God's timing, especially His delays, may make us think He is not answering or is not answering the way we want. But He will meet all our needs according to His perfect schedule and purpose (Philippians 4:19). Patiently await His timing.

Ex: "But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent." 2 Peter 3:8-9

Life Application Study Bible Note: God may have seemed slow to these believers as they faced persecution every day and longed to be delivered. But God is not slow; He just is not on our timetable (Psalm 90:4). Jesus is waiting so that more sinners will repent and turn to Him. We must not sit and wait for Christ to return, but we should realize that time is short and we have important work to do. Be ready to meet Christ anytime, even today; yet plan your course of service as though He may not return for many years.

Ex: "Jesus was about 30 years old when he began his public ministry." Luke 3:23

Life Application Study Bible Note: Imagine the Savior of the world working in a small-town carpenter's shop until he was 30 years old! It seems incredible that Jesus would have been content to remain in Nazareth all that time, but He patiently trusted His Father's timing for His life and ministry. Like Jesus, we need to resist the temptation to jump ahead before receiving the Spirit's direction. Are you waiting and wondering what your next step should be? Don't jump ahead—trust God's timing.

Ex: "When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners." Romans 5:6

Life Application Study Bible Note: We were weak and helpless because we could do nothing on our own to save ourselves. Someone had to come and rescue us. Christ came at exactly the right time in history—according to God's own schedule. God controls all history, and He controlled the timing, method, and events surrounding Jesus' death.

Gospel song recommendation: "Waiting on God" by Rev. Dreyfus Smith & The Wings of Faith Mass Choir

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

How to Experience God's Peace

When we keep our minds stayed on the Lord and His Word, the peace of God will keep us. But, we have to always guard our hearts by meditating on the things of God. 

"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." Philippians 4:8

"Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth." Colossians 3:2

You will give energy what you put your focus on. You can't expect to experience God's kind of Peace if you're watching ungodly shows & movies, listening to secular music, keeping bad company & doing ungodly things in the dark. That's not how God's peace operates. Yes, God is in control but, we have responsibility. We're in a spiritual warfare & we have to continually guard our hearts. What we meditate on, will sink into our hearts & play into our lives. You can't experience God's Peace if you're feeding your flesh and not your spirit. Similar to, you can't experience an abundance of God's blessings if you aren't committed to having a faithful relationship with Him. God needs you to do your part so that He can do His. 

For example, if you spend hours plopped on the couch in front of the tv watching shows/movies full of sexual immortality, you'll be tempted to fornicate or accuse your spouse of cheating. If you're watching crime shows, you'll live in fear thinking someone is out to harm you. If you're listening to garbage music, you'll do what the music is putting into your ears/HEART… that's how the devil works. In order for him to tempt you, he has to get into your mind by tempting you with ungodly things that you focus on. If you're thoughts are on the the things of the Lord, then you can resist the devil and he WILL FLEE! (James 4:7) But, you can't resist the devil if you don't first humble yourself before God as the rest of the scripture says.

*Here's a note on Isaiah 26:3 from the Life Application Study Bible NLT: "We can never avoid strife in the world around us, but when we fix our thoughts on God, we can know perfect peace even in turmoil. As we focus our mind on God and his Word, we become steady and stable. Supported by God's unchanging love and mighty power, we are not shaken by the surrounding chaos. Do you want peace? Keep your thoughts on God and your trust in Him."

My favorite verse: "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need." Matthew 6:33

To "seek the Kingdom of God above all else" means to put God first in EVERY area of your life, to fill your thoughts with his desires, to take his character for your pattern, and to serve and obey him in EVERYTHING.

Are you really living for The Lord? He desires total sacrifice, to take up our cross and daily die to ourselves. James 4:4 says, "To have friendship with the world is to have enmity with God." Too many Christians are doing things of the world and people are being led astray by our Christ-less behavior. Our trust in The Lord can win over the heart of an unbeliever to the Lord Jesus Christ. But, we have to make sure we are living for God and not just professing with our lips, but with our actions…and our heart.

"I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." John 14:27

Note from Life Application Study Bible: The end result of the Holy Spirit's work in our lives is deep and lasting peace. Unlike worldly peace, which is usually defined as the absence of conflict, this peace is confident assurance in any circumstance; with Christ's peace, we have no need to fear the present or the future. Sin, fear, uncertainty, doubt, and numerous other forces are at war within us. The peace of God moves into our hearts and lives to restrain theses hostile forces and offer comfort in place of conflict. Jesus says He will give us that peace if we are willing to accept it from Him. If your life is full of stress, allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with Christ's peace.

Experience God's peace by staying planted and rooted in His Word and not the world. His peace surpasses ALL understanding! ♥

"Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7 NLT

See Blog Posts titled: "Worry Ends When Faith In God Begins" & "Heart Check"
Book Recommendation: "The Believer's Authority: what you didn't learn in church" by Andrew Wommack

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Trusting and Obeying God's Plans

"Jesus replied, "You don't understand now what I am doing, but someday you will." John 13:7 NLT

This verse of scripture is about serving others as Jesus Christ did by the washing of the disciples feet (John 13:1-20.) In addition to humility, this verse reminds me of God's plan for our life. Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." We will never be able to fully understand God because our minds are finite and His is infinite. When we are told by God to do something, our choice is to obey or disobey. Of course, if we disobey there will be consequences: we miss out on our blessings and we may end up on a path of destruction. But, when we obey God, we do the greatest thing that we could ever do for Him: act in faith. When we "walk by faith and not by sight" we hope for God's best though, we can't physically see, we can spiritually see and imagine some of the good plans God has for us! Though we don't really understand, we walk out on faith and show God that we trust Him. We have to learn to listen and obey God's plans because he knows BEST! When God speaks to us, it's always BEST to quickly follow Him, so that we can avoid destruction. Plus, we can always use a blessing or even a miracle! We can't expect to receive special blessings from the Lord if we aren't wiling to obey. 

Acts 12: 1-5 James is Killed and Peter is Imprisoned. King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church. He had the apostle James (John's brother) killed with a sword. When Herod saw how much this pleased the Jewish people, he also arrested Peter. (This took place during the Passover celebration.)

"The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers. Others stood guard at the prison gate. Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel struck him on the side to awaken him and said, “Quick! Get up!” And the chains fell off his wrists. Then the angel told him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” And he did. “Now put on your coat and follow me,” the angel ordered. So Peter left the cell, following the angel. But all the time he thought it was a vision. He didn’t realize it was actually happening. They passed the first and second guard posts and came to the iron gate leading to the city, and this opened for them all by itself. So they passed through and started walking down the street, and then the angel suddenly left him. Peter finally came to his senses. “It’s really true!” he said. “The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!” 
Acts 12:6-10 NLT

Peter didn't hesitate, ask any questions, doubt or refuse to obey God's command sent through an angel of the Lord. He quickly obeyed and followed. As a result, Peter was freed from prison by the power of God and received a miracle! If Peter would have disobeyed, he would have received terrible Christian persecution from King Herod.

Not only does obedience lead to blessings, but obedience can also save us from death. It's so important that we choose God's plans over our own because He will ALWAYS go above & beyond our plans, doubts, and expectations. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Years Blessings!

MORE praying, MORE Bible study, MORE church attendance & MORE putting our Faith to work! God is about to do a NEW thing in your life (Isaiah 43:19)! God is going to BLESS the work of our hands (Deut 28:12/Psalm 90:17)! Start your daily Bible journey today! I declare that MORE souls will REPENT+CONFESS JESUS AS LORD & be won to the Kingdom! I declare that believers lose their tolerance for sin, daily take up their cross & be renewed in Christ. I declare that we won't give any more of our authority to the devil. I declare that every chain is broken in your life. I declare that you command the finished works of Jesus Christ into existence (No more lack, No more worrying & No more sickness because Jesus already paid it all). I declare that you soon realize your TRUE identity in Christ & GROW in the Grace & knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through His Word! In Jesus, Name! #2016 #HappyNewYear #Blessings #WalkByFaith #JesusLovesYou 

I like to call reading the Bible in chronological order the "Bible Journey." It's definitely a journey because the road does get rough but, with prayer & the help of The Holy Spirit, all things are possible! To grow in the Grace & knowledge of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, we must learn about Him in His Word. Learning about Jesus is the way you'll actually learn about yourself: your true identity in Christ. I'll be starting a 365 Bible plan along with my other readings. I've embarked on my own Bible Journey once before but, with God, we can NEVER stop gaining wisdom as long as we are constantly seeking Him.  

Check out my Blog titled: "Reading The Bible":