Proverbs 12:26 New International Version (NIV)
26 The righteous choose their friends carefully,
but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
It is good these days to choose our friends wisely. We want people who have the same beliefs that we do to be our confidants and brothers and sisters in Christ. We want this because when our thoughts or actions start taking us in a direction opposite of the gospel of Christ, our friend or confidant will speak up and tell us, “Hey you are wrong there!!!! You are going down the wrong path!!!!! You are headed in the wrong direction!!!!!!” Also we want to to be able to present Christ just and right before people. We do this by living by what the bible says. We do this by people seeing Christ in us; in our actions and in our speech. Our friends and confidants help us to do this. People in groups are often influenced by the others in the group to act a certain way and to talk a certain way. We should influence each other to do good, to follow Christ example, to stay strong in Christ in the midst of controversy and adversity. We should choose people who are going to keep us on the path of righteousness and not pull us astray doing the wrong things. A good friend looks out for our well being in this world and the world to come. This is why the righteous choose their friends carefully.
The wicked make friends for different reasons. They may make friends because it may help their career to be associated with these people. These may be doing everything but living a Christian life. The wicked will not interfere. They do not care how their employer is living; just continue to give them their check. In order for them to get their check they may have to join these people in their wickedness. They begin to believe this is not so bad what they are doing. It is bad because it goes against the will of God. They may be driving nice cars and living in big homes, wearing nice clothes, and their children may attend the best private schools. They appear to have no worries or cares but one day they are going to have to leave this world. There is a heaven and there is a hell. We are going to one or the other. Choose ye this day where you are going. I would like to share this story with you from the bible. It is about the rich man and Lazarus.
Luke 16:19-31 New International Version (NIV)
The Rich Man and Lazarus
19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
Lazarus time on earth was not good. He had a very rough life. He probably could’ve connected with some wicked people who could have given him some conveniences to make this life easier but he didn’t. He remained loyal and faithful to God Yahweh. There were probably church people that even questioned if he was saved. He doesn’t look saved. He doesn’t look like a Christian. What does a saved person look like? What does a Christian look like? I guess people would say they look like the man dressed in purple and fine linen but look where he ended up; in hell he opened his eyes.
James 2:3-7 New International Version (NIV)
3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?
Only God can judge people. God sees people in their entirety. He knows the person. He knows the good that they do and He knows the bad. We can’t look at people and think they are good because they were name brand clothes and the latest fashions. The world judges people by what they can see. God judges correctly because He sees and knows everything about the person. God is looking at more than just their appearance. He is looking at their heart. You may say what does this have to do with friendships. Well, Lazarus had the best friend he could’ve had and that is Father God (Yahweh) himself.
“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
Lazarus was like the eagle. Eagles don’t follow the crowd. Eagles don’t get messed up in other people’s sins. Eagles fly alone. There are going to be times on our Christian journey when we are going to have to go the extra mile for Jesus and we may have to do that alone. It may look like we are alone but, no we are never truly alone. Our God Yahweh is with us every step of the way. He helps us to make to the end of our Christian journey.
Don’t be like the chicken who is always in a coop with other chickens flapping their wings, clucking and flapping their wings, fighting for food and pecking other chickens in their head.
Learn to be like the eagle. These birds are very powerful and majestic. The eagle lives life with passion and with a purpose. Live like the eagle. Amen!!!!!!!!!
Galatians 5:18-25 New International Version (NIV)
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Those who have crucified the flesh do not live in the flesh but live in the Spirit. We have crucified our flesh in Christ.
Galatians 5:24 New International Version (NIV)
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
We are to do this daily. We belong to Christ and our body belong to Christ. We honor Christ in our body by doing those things that are pleasing to Him.
Romans 8:13-14 New International Version (NIV)
13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
God’s children live by the Spirit that God has given to us freely. We are His and live a life that is His. Our life is no longer ours. We no longer do what we want to do. We are no longer carnal and doing what the flesh wants to do. We are Spiritual and doing those things that the Spirit of God would have us to to. To live carnally is live a life that leads to death; eternal death, separation from the Father. This kind of living includes sexual immorality and fornication (sex outside of marriage) which is not pleasing to God; debauchery which is habitual and unrestrained lust and sensuality. God is not pleased with this kind of living; having idols (things that take the place of God) are not pleasing to God. Having hatred in our heart, discord (conflict, hostility, and ill will) against people, being jealous against our brothers and sisters and other people and fits of rage against people; God is not pleased with this. God does not like selfish ambition (always looking out for one’s self interests); dissensions (speech inciting people to rebel against God), factions (a small organized dissenting group within politics) and envy (desire to have a quality or possession that someone has), drunkenness (drinking until you have loss self control) orgies and the like (unrestrained sexual activity). These things lead to eternal punishment. If we are caught up in these things then we need to turn which is repent and come back to the Father.
There may be people saying you can live your life any kind of way and still make it into the kingdom of heaven. This is not true. We have to live as we have been told by the bible. The bible leads us to heaven if we follow and keep God’s word.
Revelation 21:27 New International Version (NIV)
27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
God is giving people opportunity now to come to Him for repentance before it is too late. The Lord is coming back for His church.
2 Peter 3:9-10 New International Version (NIV)
9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
He’s coming back for His church. Those who have heard His words, listened, and prepared themselves for His return will make it to Heaven.
Matthew 25:1-13 New International Version (NIV)
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
25 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
Don’t be like the ones who cannot enter but be like the ones who were expecting the Lord to come back just like He promised and was ready when He arrived.
Revelation 22:14-16 English Standard Version (ESV)
14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
God does force his truth on anyone. We are given the choice to receive Him, to receive His salvation. If they wish not to receive the truth God will give them over to their wicked passions.
Romans 1:27-29 King James Version (KJV)
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
If we do not desire the truth God will give us exactly what we desire and we will suffer the consequences of our choice.
Receive God’s salvation today. Receive his forgiveness of sins and live a life in eternity with God instead of living a life tormened in Hell.
Acts 5:20 King James Version (KJV)
20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
The apostles of the new testament were doing the work of God as Jesus commanded before He ascended. People brought their sick unto them, those tormented by impure spirits, and all were healed. The high priest and his associates, who were members of the party the Sadducees were very jealous of the apostles. More and more men and women believed on the Lord and were added on to their number. The high priest and his associates had the Lord, Jesus, crucified, with a sign over his head the read Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews. The sign is suppose to represent or say the crime they committed. This is the reason they are being crucified. This did not make the high priest and his associates look good at all, crucifying their King. The apostles were not worried about how it made them look. Before Jesus ascended Peter and Jesus had a talk.
John 21:15-17 King James Version (KJV)
15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Peter was feeding the sheep just like Jesus had asked him. Jesus asked him did he love Him three times. This was to remind Him of the three times he denied Jesus before His crucifixion. Peter was not going to mess up again. Peter had made a commitment to Jesus and he planned on keeping it.
The apostles spoke the all of the gospel. They did not leave certain parts out because it may offend a certain group. If people are truly preaching the gospel, it will offend some people because it will convict you of sin. The high priest and his associates were convicted by the truth of the apostles. They had an innocent man murdered because he went around preaching and teaching the gospel and doing good to all people. The high priest and their associates said Caesar was their King not God. Peter powerful sermon on the day of Pentecost cut the Jews to the heart about their shameful dealings with their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Acts 2:22-23 King James Version (KJV)
22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
The Jews, the high priest and his associates had been wicked. Wicked because they did not receive the truth and wicked because they tried to block others from receiving the truth. They were wicked to the apostles now during their time for having them thrown in jail for preaching the gospel. Nothing was going to stop these apostles from speaking the gospel. How many of us know that if God tells us to do something, He will make sure to move any obstacle or hindrance that gets in the way. We just have to persevere no matter how hard it gets. The apostles had been thrown in jail for doing what the Lord told them to do. This means that the Lord was going to have to get them out and that is exactly what He did.
Acts 5:19-20 New International Version (NIV)
19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life.”
God brought them out of jail and told them to go back to exactly what they were doing before, preaching the gospel.
Acts 5:25-32 New International Version (NIV)
25 Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” 26 At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them.
27 The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”
29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
Don’t worry about what to say when you are brought up before councils, governors, or kings for Jesus sake. God will give you what to say.
Matthew 10:19 King James Version (KJV)
19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
Peter by the aid of the Holy Spirit spoke boldly to the Sanhedrin. Peter was determined to obey God. God is not teaching us to be unruly and not to disrespect the authorities of the earth but when it gets in the way of the gospel going forth, it is better to “obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29).
God has asked his church to preach this gospel in season and out of season.
2 Timothy 4:2 King James Version (KJV)
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
Preach all, all of it, not part and not half, old testament and new testament.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 New International Version (NIV)
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
All scripture is good for teaching. Not one part of it is bad. If people think this about the scripture than their must be a sin that people are holding on to and not willing to let go. As Christians we may find ourselves in sin sometimes and will quickly seek repentance from God but we do not live a lifestyle of continual unrepentant sin.
1 John 3:7-10 English Standard Version (ESV)
7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
If the scripture convicts us of sin, we need to seek repentance of God and make it right with Him.
There is a penalty for unrepentant sin.
2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 English Standard Version (ESV)
8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,
John 3:15-18 English Standard Version (ESV)
15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Speak the Word and let the Word of God draw those who will come to Him.
Prayer: Father in your Son Jesus name I ask Lord that those who do not know you reading this letter would receive what you so graciously give; eternal life. Father let them realize that the gospel is the truth and God is telling them the Word because He loves them. Father let them know that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23). There is a penalty for unrepentant sin. Jesus paid this penalty when he died on the cross for our sins. Just receive Jesus payment for sin and begin a new life in Christ today. Just receive and accept Jesus today as Lord and be made a part of his wonderful glorious family.
People of the world have questions today. One question they may be asking, “Is it really necessary for people to be holy?” If we belong to God then we are meant to be holy. God has called us to live a life of holiness to Him.
1 Thessalonians 4:7 New Life Version (NLV)
7 For God has not called us to live in sin. He has called us to live a holy life.
This means that you do not live your life like everybody else. You are not looking for ways to gratify fleshly pleasures. GOD is aware of what we need for the day so it should not be first in our mind. We should have such assurance in our GOD that everyone we meet or come in contact with today will be influenced by our GOD. We know this because we wake up every morning with our mind on Jesus. We are not worried about daily tasks, we are not worried about who likes us or not, we are not worried about what’s on the news. All we know is that this is the day that the LORD has made and everything the LORD makes is good. We are not looking for bad things to happen, only good. We are positive people with a good outlook on life. GOD our Father has only good things for His children.
Matthew 7:11 King James Version (KJV)
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
GOD’s children do not ask amiss, knowing the Father and what delights and pleases Him, His children ask just right.
Matthew 21:22 King James Version (KJV)
22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Matthew 7:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
John 8:31 King James Version (KJV)
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
That what we have learned, let us continue. GOD is constantly at work using us to encourage and move people in a the right relationship with Him. GOD is working to move people out of darkness into the marvelous light and away from the influence of Satan. GOD has begun a mighty work with us. People think it has a lot to do with what we say. Sometimes its what we do not say that has more of an impact on people. You may have a reason to argue, fuss and fight but you choose not to. You chose to keep your mouth shut and let God straighten out the mess. The devil loves arguing, bickering and fighting. When we do not follow him, we mess up his plans. Instead of hatred people start loving. A stressful situation becomes less tense. Things return back to normal. All because you decided you were not going to follow behind the devil. Someone was affected. We often think things go unnoticed. Someone watched and saw how you handled a difficult situation in a Christ like manner. Your faith, your belief in GOD touched people. This is what it is all about; getting people to believe in Christ. What should people believe?
- One GOD – There is one GOD composed of three distinct persons; God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- God created the world – Genesis of the bible plainly explains how God spoke this world into existence.
- Jesus, God’s Son – Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation and forgiveness of sins. Jesus was crucified, dead, and buried but on the third day, Jesus arose from the dead with all power in his hands and now sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
- The Bible – This is a holy book that contains God inspired Word and is used as a guide for faithful living to God.
- Sin – People are born into sin because of Adam’s disobedience of eating from the tree of knowledge in the garden of Eden. Sin separates people from God. We can only be reconciled back to Father God by the blood of Jesus that washes our sins away.
- Salvation – Repentance of sins, belief in Jesus Christ, his crucifixion, his death, his burial, and his resurrection
- Afterlife – Believe that there is a heaven and a hell. Those who have believed the gospel and received Christ as their Savior go to heaven. Those who have not believed the gospel and rejected Jesus Christ as their Savior go to Hell.
Jesus makes the difference. Christian faith works. People need to see people believing in the Lord and Savior through good and the rough times. He is still God in both. God is there with us through everything. He promised He would never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). His promises are a sure foundation to stand on during tumultuous times. Don’t turn your back on God today. He has not forgotten you. Where is your faith? Amen……………