God is a most magnificent father who has bestowed on us, his children, all that we need to know to be pleasing to Him in this life and live with Him eternally in the life to come.  1 Peter 2:3 tells us, “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him.”  So, how is that knowledge attained?  2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” Also, John 8:32 assures us that we can “know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”  What does “the truth” make us free from?  The obvious answer is sin.  Sin is a lawlessness according to 1 John 3:4.

So, does each sin I commit through weakness and human failure mean I will be eternally lost?  Of course, all sin should be repented of. Thankfully, 1 John 1:7 tells us, “If we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”  A continual life of doing our best to follow God’s Word is the only way to be pleasing to Him.  However, we are weak and Scripture promises that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  1 John 1:9. 

But, what about sins we enter into that we know are displeasing to our Father?  James 4:17, states, “To one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to Him it is sin.”  In Matthew 19:9, the Lord tells us, “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for fornication, and marries another woman commits adultery.”  This teaching is quite clear, yet how many divorce for any reason and enter into an unscriptural marriage with their eyes wide open?  The answer is, too many.  Hebrews 10:25 warns us, “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.”  Some brethren seem to choose to stay away from worship services when they could be here, which can weaken their faith and discourages others.  In the parable about the unrighteous steward, who was squandering his master’s possessions, Jesus states in Luke 16:2, “Give account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.”  Christians must be wise managers of their money and pay their debts when they are due.  The list of sins we knowingly commit could go on and on.

Ephesians 4:30 admonishes us not “to grieve the Holy Spirit” by being unchristian in our lives.  I think we could also include God the Father, Christ, and elders of the church are also grieved by those who knowingly commit sin.  It is a bad example to other Christians and our young people growing up in the church. Plus, it endangers the eternal destiny of the one who acts against the commands.  Let’s all examine ourselves and commit ourselves to knowingly doing righteousness.

 

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     We must all be disciplined in so many aspects of our lives. We like to think we don’t need it but we all really do. If I don’t have discipline in eating, I would have to buy more clothes every week, and I’m working on doing better in that. We all have different areas in our lives where we could use more activities or perhaps less, television, for example. We must know ourselves and where we need to be careful so that we can watch ourselves in those areas. Everyone has weaknesses in certain ways that may become a problem for them if not for proper discipline.

     My sister had recently seen a billboard that said, “Just Jesus, No Rules.” Isn’t that the way most want to live their lives today? Throw away the rule book and do as you please. This just creates all kinds of problems in a society that is structured on rules of law to keep peace. There is evil out there and it doesn’t like rules and laws to live by. We must follow the rules and the laws of many clubs, like shooting clubs or other sports leagues. There are rules to go into restaurants or stores; how you dress and what you can do. We must have rules in order to have things run smoothly in any society. Many people don’t like rules because they want things their way or the way they are comfortable with. People don’t like to feel uncomfortable in any situation, it is human nature. So, we have entered into a - have it your way society.

     When it comes to our eternity we have a rule book to follow. You may choose your own destination by what you want to follow in the rule book. It was written for all mankind, to give them an opportunity to live with God forever or without God forever, in misery. The Bible is our rule book and guide to heaven. If you don’t play life by the rules, there will be discipline. If we choose to not live as we should, there may be church discipline as instructed by God’s word. The rules are written for us to follow and live by. We didn’t write the rules, but must follow the rules. Don’t think you can have it your own way and dishonor God and His words, and not be separated from Him. 

     Ephesians 2:10 (For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.) Hold fast to your belief in God and see that you don’t fall away to the ways of men. Hebrews 2:1 (For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.) Hebrews 4:12-13 (For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirt, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight,) Hebrews 4:15-16 ( For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.)

     Trust in God not this world.                                                  

                                                                                                                 In Him, Chuck

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     As beautiful and perfect as a rose can look when it is in bloom, it still has its thorns hidden behind the flower. You will find that almost everything in this world has hidden problems you can’t see. Maybe you buy a new car or a refrigerator and it looks great and is working great for a while. Then it has a problem or it breaks down. Maybe a recall comes out on it for service. If your new refrigerator isn’t an LG you might be able to fix it. We should research these things before we purchase them. The salesman may not be willing to warn you of past problems.

 

     We need to remember that people are imperfect also. Everyone has their own set of challenges, or you may say weaknesses to overcome. The thorns behind the flower. It’s sometimes hard or near impossible to see the thorns someone has to deal with daily. Some are obviously easy for people to see, more of a public problem. We certainly need to try to get to know each other well enough to hopefully see if someone is struggling, and do all we can to help. If someone has had a problem in a particular area in their life in the past, be there for them and give them the support they need to find strength to overcome. As much as we try change, it doesn’t come easy. Some thorns are very hard to get past, or rid of. Some we will deal with our whole lives, battling to overcome. Sometimes we will fail, but we must move forward in our walk and not get stuck in the thorns.

 

     Gods knows we are imperfect people. That’s why He sent His Son to die for us, to cover our sins. God knew we would sin but gave us opportunity to repent and return to Him. God wants us to abstain from sin, but if you fall you can return to Him.

 

    1 Thessalonians 5:14-18 (We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. As it says in Colossians 3 we must keep our minds on and seek things from above. Considering ourselves dead to the evils of this life.

 

     If you are struggling with secret thorns in this life, stay in the scriptures and ask for one of us to help you with your struggles. We are here to help each other and build one another up. We all need help and as a family we should and must be there for each other. Set your mind on Christ who died for us.

                                                                                                In Him, Chuck

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     Life here can be a lot of fun, and a lot of work. You can try to make work fun, though it usually takes effort unless you love what you do for a living. As you get older, your job that was fun may become more like work, so persevere. Even if you are lucky enough to play baseball for a living you must have much perseverance to stay at the top of your game and not lose your job. Everything we do in this life takes effort to do it well. That effort, most times is not easy, it takes much perseverance.

 

     When we think about all we do in this life, how much effort do we put into our spiritual life? It is something we should be putting much of our effort into to receive our reward. The world will throw all kinds of curveballs at you to try to get you to fail but you must persevere through it all. Many things can go wrong here, loss of job and income. It could cause a loss of a home. There may be a health problem, a pandemic, or a serious sickness in your family. Some of these things may cause you to take your focus off the end game. Which is everything to us, it’s our eternity. Whatever this life throws at you, persevere. Don’t lose sight of your future with our Lord. He persevered for us to give us this opportunity, so never give up, you can do it.

 

     Romans 5:1-5 (Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.)

 

     Live for God until the end, persevere.

                                                                           In Him, Chuck

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     Everyone has a story of things they have done in the past. Some may be good some may not be so good. We can be very influenced by the ones we grow up with. Sometimes they can convince you to do things that when you look back now, wasn’t such a good idea. The ones we look up to as children can influence who we become as adults. I did things when I was young that I’m not proud of, more than I care to remember. Many grow up in troubled homes and see things they should not have to see. It may affect them and cause them to act in ways that they shouldn’t. We are taught things when we are young that we may not know are wrong at the time. Things that were okay in the house you grew up in may not really be okay.

     In our search for the true meaning of this life we all will be faced with different obstacles. Maybe it is family members that aren’t very good people. Some may seem just pure evil, it is out there and dangerous. They could be abusive or just always putting you down. Or a thief or some sort of criminal.

     It could be that you just have your own sort of temptation. We could struggle with a whole assortment of things. It could be lying, or maybe a problem with cussing. Many struggle with alcoholism or with drugs. Some that came from broken homes have problems being faithful and with commitment to another.

     I have often heard it said that we become our parents. I can certainly see that true in some traits. It doesn’t have to be if you don’t let it. You can copy the good you see in people and not the bad. You can become who you want to be. We all have different temptations we must face, and face them you will. It’s how we handle them that makes the difference.

     If you had or have struggles and temptations just know you can turn to God for strength. Stay in His word and find your comfort. Let the love you find in Jesus be your guide in this life. God’s word is always a comfort to me if I am faced with temptation.

     When you make the decision to not be who you have been, some people will try to stop you. They may even be family, but don’t stop. Be the person you know you should be in this life. You can be the example to others with similar struggles, overcoming wrong with right.

Stay in the word and in prayer. Ask for help, we are all here for you. Love God for He loves you. Be the person you want to be, be God’s.

                                                                                                                             In Him, Chuck

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