“We Are Made New!”

New. What a great word! What was, is now
gone. The old is done away with and put in the
past. It doesn’t have a place in the here and
now. For now, “all things are become new.”

Life is now seen with different eyes; with a
different vision. Because Christ has changed
us from what we used to be, now we see us
as He sees us – NEW! We have been
transformed. We have been remade. Our
lives have been restored. And now, our walk is
made great. Bought with a price and made
whole through and through. Saved creatures
in Jesus Christ, who are now totally NEW!

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Don’t Speak Against the Destiny God has for You!

Throughout the Bible, we are taught to use our speech patterns in healthy and productive ways.  Not only toward others, but also toward ourselves.

There is so much power bound up in the way we talk.  Proverbs 18:21 tells us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  Whatever is produced from our lips generates fruit.  Stuff grows, for the good or the bad, off of what we say.

James gives us the best possible illustrations of the power of the tongue by referencing it to two things we can easily understand.  In James 3:3-4 he writes, “Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths,  that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.  Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.”  Through these two examples using a horse and a ship, James shows that mankind has down through the years discovered ways to bring these powerful objects under control.

Both of these instruments are used for control.  They both direct the course of which way the operator wants each to go, be it a rider or the governor.  Both are great examples of how these large and strong objects can be made to comply with the will of him who is controlling that little, vital piece.  If these little things under proper control can move great objects into obeisance at its master’s will, what more of the little tongue?

Our tongue not only makes an impact on the lives of others but we, ourselves, can fall victim to the outbursts of the tongue.  We have to make sure our mouth matches up with our mission.  Don’t speak against your own destiny!

Doubts can arise within a person and cause them to speak against what God wants to do through them.  Our words are powerful!  We have to choose life and blessings with the words that we speak, even to ourselves.  Make sure your mouth matches your mission.

More Encouraging Verses:

“He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life . . .” Proverbs 13:3

“A wholesome tongue is a tree of life . . .” Proverbs 15:4

“Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24

“A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.” Proverbs 18:20

“Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” Proverbs 21:23

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Proverbs 25:11

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No longer enemies…

“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:10)

Have you ever really thought of yourself as an enemy to anyone? Most would say no. Nobody likes to think of themselves as being against anybody in such a manner to be categorized as an enemy even if they don’t wholly agree with them.  

Worse, have you ever thought of yourself as an enemy toward God? I’m assuming you’ll answer with an emphatic “No!” to that one. The majority of us would absolutely shudder at such a thought because such phrasing seems very, very extreme for anyone, especially when you are using it in a reference between mortal individuals like us and our holy God.

But enemies are what we used to be. As hard as it may seem to be to grasp, if we were or are living outside of Christ (and we all were at one point), we were at enmity with God. But, through Christ’s death on the cross, we have been restored! The Bible tells us, “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them…” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). Now, we are living life anew through His “life.”  For, “He that hath the Son hath life…” (1 John 5:12).

Because of what Jesus did on our behalf, we have “joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  We can rejoice because our sin-sick souls have been cured and made whole by His redeeming blood. Our “atonement” came through Him. Our reconciliation with the Father has been healed by His sacrifice (Romans 5:8-9).   

Now, we have a reason for real joy! Our relationship with God is no longer standoffish. Rather, now we can draw near with faith because all the obstacles that stood in the way of a wholesome union have been taken care of through the cross. We are now in the right alignment with Him. Our lives are restored to work in the order which He designed. Sin has been thrust through as the enemy that it is and harmony between us and the Father sings with the song of salvation.

Once we may have been considered as enemies, but now in we are saved! Is there a better feeling in the world? I think not!   

Cloud nine may be an expression of happiness according to the standards of the world. But, we know what it is to truly rejoice because our future and life eternal in the presence of the Father give us something beyond a metaphor – it gives us real joy in knowing this shall happen. We are secured in Him and we have something better on the horizon. We have the hope of heaven which cannot be extinguished by the world!

Through Jesus Christ, we have been given the gift of so much more! Aren’t you thankful for that today? I know I am. The truth of all He did for us is completely awe-inspiringly out of this world, literally… 

Our lives have been completely turned around and now, when God sees those who believe, He sees them as nothing less than His beautiful child: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” (John 1:12). Now, we are no longer enemies. Now, “we are saved by his life”!

Copyright © Word For Life Says.com (Sharing any posts or lessons can only be done through the share buttons provided on this site from the original posts, lessons, and articles only. You can reblog from the original posts only using the reblog button provided, or share using the share buttons provided from these social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, etc., and they must be shared from the original posts only. All other repostings are prohibited. Posts and other items of interest found on this site MAY NOT BE COPIED AND PASTED, downloaded, uploaded, etc to another website or entity not listed (physical or electronic).  See COPYRIGHT PAGE for more details.

Devotional – “Jesus Questions Trust”

“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8b

What would it be like to sit across from Jesus, face to face, and have Him question your trust? Would we be able to look Him in the eye as we pondered our answer? Would our heads be bowed, feeling unworthy to lift it and look into the eyes of love pleading with us to believe? What would be like? I imagine it would be self-revealing because in those questions we find where our hearts and our true belief lies. It reveals where we stand in our faith.

I have never read or heard of anyone, anywhere who tries so hard to get people to believe in Him, for their good, outside of Christ. He, who had pleaded with mankind through these pages of history to trust Him with their life and everything it entails. He, who has welcomed the problems and prayers of others into His person to carry so that we don’t have to.

Face to face. Pleading eyes. Questioning trust.

In Luke 18, that is what I see playing out. Jesus is telling a parable of a widow woman who just will not give up seeking justice. Day after day she sought the judge and became a downright pest about it. In her perseverance, she basically wore the man down until she was avenged.

Jesus used this parable to get the point of persistent prayer across. “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not faint,” (Luke 18:1, KJV). Jesus knew that men and women everywhere would have to believe that if they continually seek the Father, He hears them. “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full,” (John 16:24, KJV).

“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Jesus questions trust. He questions whether or not anyone will believe in the promise and power of prayer. He questions if there is real, alive faith working in mankind somewhere. He questions.

One’s faith lies at the center of this questioning, for if we believed wholeheartedly, there would be no hindrance in bringing every request and problem before God in prayer. This is what Jesus is getting at. True faith unencumbered. True faith takes the shackles off of God’s promises and allows one to run freely forth, believing He hears, He knows and He will answer.

Bringing out the faith of people was a key in Jesus’ ministry. How often had He declared that it was by faith one was healed? In the story of the Ten Lepers, to the one who came back to “give glory to God,” (Luke 17:18, KJV), He said, “Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole,” (Luke 17:19, KJV).

How much are we missing out on through our lack of faith? Jesus is questioning us, will we have the faith to respond? Do we trust Him enough to bring all our cares, problems, and issues before Him, laying them at His feet?

The Bible says, “Thou shalt call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am . . .,” (Is. 58:9, KJV). “Here I am.” God is not far off. When we venture to trust Him enough to cry out in the midst of our mess, He responds, “Here I am.” The word “here” indicates a present closeness. “I Am” is the name God gave Moses to assure those in Egypt, Ex. 3:14. Whatever they needed God to be, “I AM” has got it all under control because He is God all by Himself. He does not exist because of another. He does not depend upon another. His power is not contingent upon another. He is “I AM!” And, the Great “I AM” says, “Here I am!” Can’t we trust Him?

Faith and prayer go hand in hand. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him,” (Heb. 11:6, KJV). Without established trust in Him and His promises, we are unable to effectively move God with our prayers. We are unable to please Him. Why? Because without that leading trust, the basic requirements of faith cannot be filled. “He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” They must believe in His existence (previous paragraph) and they must believe that He is concerned enough to hear the call of them that cry out to Him and answer them. Trust.

“Shall he find faith on earth?” Our faith and trust in Him is the key that unlocks the door to victory. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith,” (1 John 5:4, KJV).

The persistence of the widow woman encourages us to keep coming and not give up. Hold on to your faith and trust in God and keep praying – keep laying it before our great God who hears and will take action. “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?” (Luke 18:7, KJV). Jesus said, “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

Will there be some that really believe? The reason for this parable was to teach men not to give up – to keep praying and believing that God hears and that He is able to take care of it all. Do we trust Him enough to let it go and give it to God today? You may have to come every day and lay it on the altar of prayer – so be it. That’s how the widow got her case heard.

In this questioning of trust, Jesus is also demonstrating an open invitation for us to lay every hindrance down before God in prayer. Prayer works! Persistent prayer works! Persistent prayer plus faith works!

The pleading Savior is asking us to trust.

Copyright © Word For Life Says.com (Sharing any posts or lessons can only be done through the share buttons provided on this site from the original posts, lessons, and articles only. You can reblog from the original posts only using the reblog button provided, or share using the share buttons provided from these social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, etc., and they must be shared from the original posts only. All other repostings are prohibited. Posts and other items of interest found on this site MAY NOT BE COPIED AND PASTED, downloaded, uploaded, etc to another website or entity not listed (physical or electronic).  See COPYRIGHT PAGE for more details.

Sunday School Lesson – “Pursuing the Good Fight of Faith” 1 Timothy 6:11-21

Pursuing the Good Fight of Faith title pic-001

VERSE DISCOVERY: 1 Timothy 6:11-21 (KJV, Public Domain)

In case you didn’t know, we are in a competition like no other.  The world, as God originally designed it, was good.  But through the course of time, as evil entered the world, this place that we call our physical home has become a contentious place.  It has become a battleground where a spiritual war is being waged every day and the target of the main attacks is our faith.

If you have ever heard someone use phrases of exasperation over the struggles they are facing, you get the sense that what they are involved in at that moment or what they are dealing with is extremely hard.  The way they are trying to go or the thing they are trying to accomplish at that time is not easy; rather, it comes with the press of extra effort to get done what they need to get done to make it through.

No truer is this than in the adherence of and the push to maintain our Christian faith.  In a world bent on opposing us with its lack of values and moral character, and with spiritual enemies all around, we are in a fight to keep firm in what we believe.

But keep firm we must.  We are called to be proactive in protecting and walking in our faith.  We must be diligent in our obedience to God as we hold on to our confession and confidence in the One who “…hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son,” (Colossians 1:13). 

What God has given us through Jesus Christ is too good to let go of now and the reward up ahead is greater than one can imagine (1 Corinthians 2:9) and it is eternal.  We must strive to not let the flow of this world influence us or make us waver in our faith.

This lesson is a bold message for us to hold on to what we believe.  To pursue after and fight the good fight of faith, and never let it go.  Pursuing the good fight of faith requires something from us.  In this lesson, I will cover six specific topics of personal accountability for the one who is pressing forth and pursuing the good fight of faith.

 1. Our Inward Commitment

1 Timothy 6:11 “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”

In the verses leading up to the lesson text, Paul, in his letter to Timothy, encourages him in his role as pastor of the church of Ephesus.  In this role of leadership, Timothy would be responsible for how things are ordered or conducted in the church.  As one to whom others would look up to, spiritual discipline would be of the highest order because it not only testifies of the leader before the congregation, but it teaches the congregation how to act before the world.  All with the end purpose of drawing more people to believe in Jesus Christ through their living testimonies.

In chapter 6 particularly, some of the issues Paul points out for teaching edification revolves around the idea of contentment, erroneous teaching and beliefs, and the warning of the love of money and how it has already caused some to “err from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10).  For these, Paul wants Timothy to be on guard from these practices while pursuing and protecting his faith.

“But thou, O man of God.”  Let us pause here for a moment and pay attention to that word “but.”  In contrast to what Paul has already described as the wrong way some are following, the word “but” serves as a sifting agent for the one whose identity is tied up in God.  In baking, sifting is used to separate, and as a “man of God,” Timothy particularly had to make sure his actions were separated from the things that would dim his testimony before the world instead of edifying the God he served.  In other words, he was saying, “Timothy, you are different, and I want you to act differently, talk differently and walk differently in the pursuit of your faith.  Don’t do what they are doing but let your testimony before God and the world be of truer stuff.”  For that to happen, Paul lays out some specifics for Timothy, and those in Christ, to follow.

“Flee these things.”  Disassociate yourself from the wrongdoings of others.  The word “flee” gives great urgency to get away from there.  High tail it out of there like never before!  Do not give opportunity for the seed of evil that comes from hanging around that stuff to have a chance to plant in you.  In other words, “RUN!”

The effects of hanging around these sinful behaviors or pondering them in one’s heart, if continually being exposed to it, can ravage the faith of a believer.  If you touch fire, you are going to get burned.  The best way to avoid getting burned is to not expose yourself to the fire in the first place. Many don’t realize it, but in pursuing the good fight of faith, it means one needs to take themselves away from things that can cripple their walk with the Lord.

While Timothy is to turn away from those things that can be damaging to one’s faith, Paul counterbalances his teachings for the things Timothy should be seeking because what one is turning to is just as important as what one is turning away from.

Timothy and every Christian’s life will be characterized by what they “follow after”; by the things they pursue.  Rather than going after the things others are going after like money and materialistic things that those in the world are looking for, Paul teaches Timothy and us what are the better things to seek in our lives.

With that, he makes this list of things to pursue: “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness,” all designed to govern our relationship with God and with each other.  They not only show the inner commitment we are to have toward God in the right things we pursue, keeping His ways as a priority in all that we do in our lives, to believe in them and adhere to them through it all, but they also show us how to respond to circumstances and people through the production of the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23).

2. Our Upward Focus

1 Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

So, Paul teaches, “Fight the good fight of faith.”  Fighting the good fight of faith is not about putting your dukes up.  It is all about putting your faith up.  It is more about taking a stand than taking a punch.  It’s ordering one’s life and steps according to the will of God for our lives (Psalms 119:133).  It is running the race of this Christian life and competing in this spiritual contest, pushing toward the finish line with every ounce of effort one possesses because there is a wonderful goal up ahead.

While we are pushing forth in the defense and protection and adherence to what we believe, we are doing so with the intent of laying hold of a prize.  Our prize is the “eternal life” we are living in hopes of.  At the end of any contest, at the end of the struggle, there is something wonderful we are looking forward to.  Our stand through all we are facing here is in light of the victory we are promised to gain in the end: “eternal life.”

Heaven belongs to the believers.  Life eternal is the ultimate prize for the one who refuses to give in or give up; to the one who does not get entangled by the things of this world others are chasing after (compare 2 Timothy 2:4).  That’s why Jesus once taught, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life…” (John 6:27).  We have something better than money; we have something better than the materialistic things and social status’ down here to lay hold of.

Our purpose in being “called” and of having this “profession” of faith, is to pursue the things of God.  To be God-focused and heaven-focused, not world-focused and getting caught up in the things we presently see.  It is pushing past every contention here while keeping an upward focus for our future.

3. Our Outward Responsibility

1 Timothy 6:13 “I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;”

Our testimony before others matters and it is our responsibility to represent our Lord well. Therefore, in the strongest terms, Paul tells Timothy, “I give thee charge in the sight of God.”  If you have ever attended a graduation ceremony you may hear the word “charge” being used during the occasion when the higher-ups of the learning institution instruct the graduating class on how to apply their newfound knowledge with responsibility.  This is a word that Paul has chosen to use several times in his letter to Timothy to invoke the seriousness of all he is relaying to him.

And, to punctuate his statement even more with its importance, he is delivering this message before the same All-Mighty, Sovereign, and Supreme God of all the universe that breathes life into every being (“quickeneth”) and “Christ Jesus” who stood blameless with His “good confession” before “Pontius Pilate”, never wavering in what He spoke or knew was the truth.  Our Lord never raised the white flag of surrender, not even through the most difficult thing He would ever face.  Timothy, and all Christians alike, are to follow the example of our Lord with that same fierceness of our “good confession”. 

1 Timothy 6:14 “That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:”

With that, Paul continues to encourage Timothy to “keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable.”  Continue forth in the press of your faith; continue to live a life above reproach and accusation.  When Jesus comes back at His “appearing” (second coming), He’s coming back for a church “not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish,” (Ephesians 5:27).

Yes, that might not meld well with the current culture of the world, but in Christ, we are not living to please the culture of this world; rather, we are living for a higher life and that requires the discipline of maintaining and keeping the faith without fail against all adversaries, including the flesh.  We who are called by His name are called to live like Him.  “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked,” (1 John 2:6, see also 1 Peter 1:13-25; Matthew 5:48).  Our faith is on display as an example of the Christ we follow.  What people see being performed outwardly in our lives will speak volumes more than any message we could ever preach verbally.

4. Our Spiritual Readiness

1 Timothy 6:15-16 “Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;  Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.”

For when He comes “in his times,” all will see Him as He truly is.  We do not know the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36), but Peter teaches us, “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night…” (2 Peter 3:10).

Once, I wrote:

“Preoccupation with this world has so many in its clutches and has lulled multitudes into a false sense of security.  How many of our waking hours are spent on the temporary trappings of now instead of the glory that awaits our future?  Our time on this earthly sojourn is not infinite.  Time will pass.  Days will turn to night and eventually, at our proper time, we will step into eternity or as the older folk used to say, when Jesus cracks the sky – it will all be over.

Will we be ready or caught unawares?” (I Come Quickly/Word for Life Says)

Paul wants Timothy, and every Christian, to be aware of not only the life they are living, but the times they are living in, and the time they are living for.  Be ready.

Know that is God the Father is the “only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords,” meaning He, as noted above in verse 13, is supremely Sovereign, with all authority over all (Revelation 19:6).  The Lord reigns, the Bible tells us (Psalms 93:1; 97:1; 99:1)!  He is “the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple,” (Isaiah 66:1).  He is God alone!

Scripture shows us that the Lord Jesus Christ is also known and called by the same description/title (noted above) being attributed to Him (Revelation 17:14; 19:16), and the Bible also encourages us in His power and authority (compare Colossians 2:10) and that we can take heart because our faith is complete in Him!  We are told, “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth; And every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” (Phil. 2:10-11).  He will be acknowledged as King forever.  The everlasting King will rule forever, and all will “bow the knee” in honor and recognition of who He really is!

God “hath immortality” meaning death and everything that comes with it can never be imposed on Him or appropriated to Him as to others.  Not that He simply just cannot die, but the very fact that His immortality is who He is, He is explicitly incapable of doing what is against the very nature and make up of Himself.    “From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God,” (Psalm 90:2).  As God in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16; see also John 1:14, 1 John 1:2), Jesus Christ is conqueror over death.  2 Timothy 1:10 tells us, “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”  Life everlasting is found in Christ who lives forever (see Hebrews 7:24).  Hold on to your faith that you may live eternally with Him!

God is He who is that “light which no man can approach unto.”  The Bible reminds us of the story of Moses asking to see God’s face, His glory, just how impossible this was (read Exodus 33:18-20).  Christ is where God is in that glorious place and it is God’s glory that illuminates all of heaven (see Revelation 21:23).  It is a place too wonderful for man to obtain on his/her own; whom without Christ, we would not be admitted into the presence of God.  Keep pursuing and fighting the good fight of faith that you may be able to enter in to be with Him “whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.”

5. Our Quest for the Greater Gain

1 Timothy 6:17-19 “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;  That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;  Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”

“Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches.”  In light of all of this, teach people what is the greater gain, Timothy!  Wealth, notoriety, social status, and the things the world applauds are not what counts.  They are fleeting and will pass away.  “For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?” (Proverbs 27:24).  Nothing we accumulate here will last forever.  Therefore, don’t put your trust in things but put your trust in the God “who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;” who gave you those things in the first place.

And, when He blesses, use those blessings, not just for yourself, but turn them into “good works” by sharing and positively impacting the lives of others.  Part of fighting the good fight of faith is using what we have to lift others and offer help and support when and where it is needed; not be self-focused, but others-focused.

This, in turn, benefits us spiritually as well in the long run.  For we are “laying up in store… a good foundation against the time to come.”  With “eternal life” ever-present in the mind of the believer, that one lives with not only their own life of faith in their hearts but with the concern of others there as well.  What we do in the here and now impacts our future to come.

6. Our Standing in the Truth

1 Timothy 6:20-21 “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:  Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.”

Therefore, Timothy, “Keep that which is committed to thy trust.”  All that Paul is teaching Timothy, all that entails this life of faith, Timothy is to pursue it, fight for it, and guard against anything contaminating it such as “profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called.”  There was a lot of talk with a lot of false teaching that Timothy was to guard himself and guard the faith against.  Everything that sounds good is not good.  Timothy, hold on to the truth and fight to stand in it!

Even though some “professing have erred concerning the faith,” meaning having been drawn away into believing what is false, you Timothy, continue in the good fight of faith.

The world today is full of false teachings that may sound right, but if it does not match up with the Word of God in its entirety, it is false, and we would do good to stay away from it, too.

As Timothy is, so are we to be just as diligent in our press for our faith.  Our prize for a race well-run is set in the Heavenlies where it will neither tarnish nor fade with time but will last into all eternity.  May we pursue after and fight the good fight of faith that we too may gain that greater reward.

PDF Full Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes): Sunday School Lesson – Pursuing the Good Fight of Faith

Suggested Activities:

Adult Journal: Adult Journal Page – Pursuing the Good Fight of Faith

Adult Journal Page - Pursuing the Good Fight of Faith

Kid’s Journal: Kid’s Journal Page – Pursuing the Good Fight of Faith

Kid's Journal Page - Pursuing the Good Fight of Faith

Draw the Scene: Pursuing the Good Fight of Faith Draw the Scene

Pursuing the Good Fight of Faith Draw the Scene-001

Craft: Collage Craft: In the lesson, Paul described six practices for Timothy and all Christians to follow in verse 11. Find pictures from old magazine, books, comics, etc. and make a collage of examples of each of these practices being used.  For an alternate activity, use The Good Fight of Faith Comic Strip activity page for students to draw these examples instead.

The Good Fight of Faith Comic Strip-001

Memory Verse: Pursuing the Good Fight of Faith Memory Verse

Pursuing the Good Fight of Faith Memory Verse-001

How Many Words: The Good Fight of Faith How Many Words

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The Reward of Remaining Righteous

If we were to look at this world with nothing but our natural eyes, what we see may make us wonder where is the fairness of it all? To some, it may seem the good boys don’t always win. To some, it may seem evil advances while those who work to do right get pushed down, ridiculed, made fun of, and overlooked.

But, the Bible reassures us time and again that what we see is not always the truth of the matter. Although what we see may upset and discourage us, we must maintain our course to live lives that are pleasing to our Lord. We must continue to remain faithful and righteous regardless.

Though we may not know the whole story. And although we may not see things favorably and begin to question “why?”, our comfort is in this one unchanging truth: God sees everything. God knows everything, and He knows how to carry things forward in the best possible way.

Isaiah encourages us, that regardless of what it may look like to us, God will faithfully reward:

     “Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.

     Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.” Isaiah 3:10-11

God knows how to perfectly balance what we see and feel against what is true. The psalmist wrote:

    “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

     For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.

     They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.

     Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.

     Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.

     They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.

     They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.

     Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.

     And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?

     Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.

     Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.

     For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.

     If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.

     When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;

     Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.” Psalm 73:3-17

What people saw and how they lived were far from the true ending of their story. God will faithfully reward both sides of the scale, good or bad: “Be not deceived, God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap,” (Galatians 6:7).

Continue in obedience. Continue to remain faithful, and let God handle the outcome. Trust me, He can judge every heart and every circumstance far better than we ever could.

Put those in prayer who seem to be straying.  Lift those before the Lord who seem to be struggling.  After all, as Christians we want to see everyone possible make it to heaven even if we don’t agree with them right now (remember Job had to pray for the very friends that ridiculed him, Job 42:10).

Don’t get prideful in your own stance, for our righteousness is nothing we obtained on our own (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:8; Philippians 3:9). We, too, need the Lord’s mercy and grace every day of our lives just like everyone else.

Just remain righteous. Keep His will before your eyes and your feet will walk the path He chooses.

Of course, our ultimate reward will be we get to dwell in heaven for all eternity with our Savior.  For this, there is no greater cause for remaining righteous.

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He is Risen!

Death could not hold Him.

HE IS RISEN!

The grave was commanded to open for Him.

HE IS RISEN!

There is victory for your life and mine today if you believe,

HE IS RISEN!

“He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Matthew 28:6

Text Free Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay

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“Handle the Body of Jesus with Care!”

Image by Bronisław Dróżka from Pixabay

 

“Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.  This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.  Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him.  When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock…” Matthew 27:57-60a, NKJV

If at no other time of the year, it is during this season when we are drawn closer to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  As well we should be.  In just one day we will be celebrating Easter (Resurrection Sunday) when we are starkly reminded of the cost of our sins and the victory that Jesus gained over it all.

The cost was heavy but the price had to be paid.  It was unavoidable.  But, that’s not the end of the story.  To get to the end let’s back it up some first.

Sitting at what we now call the Lord’s Supper or the Last Supper, the Bible tells us, “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to His disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’  Then He took the cup, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it all of you.  For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins,’” (Matthew 26:26-28, NKJV).

Through all of the hints and teachings, if the disciples never really understood Jesus’ mission, He clearly lays it out here.  Through the bread, He showed the brokenness His body would endure.  Isaiah’s prophecy would soon be fulfilled.  “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed,” (Isaiah 53:5, KJV).

With that fulfillment, a new covenant would begin.  God’s plan for salvation would once and for all be sealed by His shed blood.

Knowing that, after we arrive back to the point after His death, how must it have felt for Joseph of Arimathea to handle the lifeless body of the Savior, whom he has come to identify with, for he himself became a disciple also (Matthew 27:57)?

After His body was given to Joseph, the Bible says, “he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb.”  This is such a beautiful picture of the care and love for a Savior who gave it all up for him.

How are we handling the body of Jesus?

Joseph made sure it was wrapped in “clean linen.”  Through the brokenness of His body, we have been healed.  Through His shed blood, we have been washed.  We carry the Savior and His new covenant on the inside of us.  Have we wrapped Him in “clean” vessels?

David said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me,” (Psalm 51:10, KJV).  The spiritual house on the inside of each of us has to be clean.  Dust particles of any works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21) have to be removed.  “Such things will not inherit the kingdom of God,” (Galatians 5:21, NKJV).  “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19, NKJV).

When God blessed us with the Holy Spirit, it’s as if we are taking on a part of Christ.  We can’t wrap Him in just anything.  We have to meticulously make sure what we wrap Him in is clean, using the same care that Joseph of Arimathea did.

Then, “he laid him in his new tomb.”  His refers to Joseph’s.  It was Joseph’s new tomb that Jesus was being laid in.  The vessel that Jesus was laid in was new.

When we have Christ on the inside of us we are not the same as we used to be.  “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new,” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV).

In handling the body of Jesus on the inside of us, we have to act like He is in something new.  Renewed!  Not to continue in all that old, used stuff before we knew and received Christ.  But, brand new!

We’re not talking about refurbished or recycled to appear new.  The vessel that Joseph had to offer Jesus was new!  Remember, as Christians, we are that which has been made new.  Are we keeping it that way?  Are we handling the body of Jesus with great care?  Is He wrapped in cleanness and laid in the new?

How did Joseph feel?  Maybe a little in awe but mostly I feel (and it’s just my opinion) that he felt honored to be able to lovingly care for the body of the Lord.  To be able to hold that brokenness with the knowledge that He went to the cross and died for him and all humanity – priceless!

“This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me,” (Luke 22:19, KJV).  Don’t wrap Him in just anything.

Let’s take special care today for how we handle the body of Jesus in our clean and new vessels.  It was given for us, therefore, let us take care of it.

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“Rabbi, is it I?”

“Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, ‘Rabbi, is it I?'” Matthew 26:25, NKJV

Love betrayed. The betrayed and the betrayer locked in questioning gaze. A tension of certainty and doubt filling the air of what was to be a beautiful last dinner spent with His disciples.

On the one hand, is Christ. He has done nothing but show love, concern, and compassion toward all who met Him. From the miracles to the teachings, He has treasured each life that came across His path enough to compel Him to know that the cross was the only way to save them all. Love was His motto.

Then, there is Judas Iscariot. The betrayer. The sell-out. The one who was close to Christ but now has become an enemy of Christ. Selfishness is what compelled him to give it all up for thirty pieces of silver. Gain and greed were his mottoes. Love didn’t matter anymore.

The two together at dinner with the question in the air:

“Rabbi, is it I?”

Have you ever felt the sting of betrayal by someone to whom you have poured out love? It doesn’t feel good. Our Lord amazes me! He knew all things and yet subjected Himself to all things. He carried it all to the cross with the burgeoning of love in His very being. He suffered affliction, ridicule, and torment. Yet, those He loved and walked with these three and half years of His earthly ministry are nowhere to be found. One sold Him out and the others fled or denied Him altogether.

“Rabbi, is it I?”

Love causes us to do some crazy things. Love makes us suffer long with people who have worked our last nerve. Love keeps us from giving up and giving in. Love centers us back to the real mission at hand: which is to love some more.

Love caused Christ to look into the face of His betrayer and say, “You have said it.” Love put the plan in motion that will pay the price for it all. Love gave the okay for the process to start, redeeming man from themselves and the sin that had them bound.

Have you ever wished you could save someone you love from the mistakes they are making? Has the love you shown over the years not reaped the rewards you were hoping for? Has the one you loved turned their back on you?

Feelings that come from these questions don’t feel good. No more for us than they did for Christ. But, when we view His life and all that He dealt with in light of our questions, it breathes a new life of appreciation in all that He has done for us.

“Rabbi, is it I?”

We have not always been our best. We have not always crossed every T or dotted every I, yet, He continues to love. We have not always followed every command or taken every stand that we ought to, yet, He continues to love.

The next time when the love we shed for another seems to be all for naught, remember Christ. Remember how His love was betrayed. Remember how His love was afflicted. Remember how His love compelled Him to continue.

Remember all He did for every one of us despite us not being at our best. Let the knowledge of His love cover us today. Yup, it hurts sometimes but let that knowing what He did for us compel us to act as He did – with Love!

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“No Worries!”

No worries! If God is caring for the birds, the grass, and the other elements of nature, won’t He take care of you?

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” – Matthew 6:25-27

Copyright © Word For Life Says.com (Sharing any posts or lessons can only be done through the share buttons provided on this site from the original posts, lessons, and articles only. You can reblog from the original posts only using the reblog button provided, or share using the share buttons provided from these social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, etc., and they must be shared from the original posts only. All other repostings are prohibited. Posts and other items of interest found on this site MAY NOT BE COPIED AND PASTED, downloaded, uploaded, etc to another website or entity not listed (physical or electronic).  See COPYRIGHT PAGE for more details.