It’s A Virus and It Spreads – Part III (Revised)

computer virus multiple

 

From the book: It’s Still Relative (The Word of God for Today’s World)

I John 3:4 – 6

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.  But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”

The virus on my computer started one place and then branched out to other parts of my computer. The virus moved so quickly and stealthily, I could barely get the system to download the remedy for the virus. Then things got worse.

I got an email from an old boss saying that I had sent him a virus. The virus sent itself out to everyone in my contact list. UGGHH!!! I had use another computer to tell people don’t open an email from me. My computer virus nightmare seemed like it would never end. Then finally, the new anti-virus software I had downloaded kicked in and my computer was virus free.

There is no way to contain a virus in one section of your computer. Once your computer is infected the virus can move freely throughout the system doing damage, collecting data or sending out messages without your knowledge. So it is with sin.

One habitual sin left in our lives can worm its way into every facet of our lives. Just like the computer virus, sin can destroy all that we’ve worked to accomplish in our spiritual lives.

First it’s just little things. We’re not praying or reading the Bible as much as we use to. We’re not attending Bible study as often. Then, another sin, we thought we were delivered from rears its ugly head and we heed the call.

Not only does the sin bring “birth to death” (James 1:15)  in us but also to the people who are watching us. Our spouses, children, friends, family members and even some people we don’t know are watching us. They are watching how we live because we say we’re Christians.

When we purpose to leave habitual sin in our lives the people who are watching us think they can live like we do because we’re following Christ so it must be okay, right? Wrong! But they don’t know it’s wrong because they are following us. Now, the virus of habitual sin has spread from us to them.

Some people will say, “They shouldn’t follow me, they should follow Jesus.” Well, if you say you’re a Christian and you’re following Jesus, why can’t they follow you? You may be the only Bible some people see or hear. Don’t you think you should represent Jesus in such a way that others can follow you?

The virus of sin never stays in one area of our lives. In fact, it doesn’t stay in our lives. Just like a computer virus can spread to other systems that are connected to the infected computer, so can sin. Our sin can spread to anyone who is watching how we live and infect their lives just like it has infected ours. But, we can download the God’s word and begin to remove the infection from our lives.

“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:2 – 4

 

P.S. If you don’t want other people to follow you as you follow Christ, please stop telling people you’re a Christian. You’re messing up the testimony of Jesus Christ for the rest of us!

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It’s A Virus and It Spreads – Part II (Revised)

Computer virus spider

It’s A Virus and It Spreads – Part II

From the book: It’s Still Relative (The Word of God for Today’s World)

I John 3:4 – 6

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.  But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”

The virus on my computer started turning my computer off when it wanted to and making decisions about which programs would function, when and for how long. It was as if my computer had a mind of its own even though it belonged to me. My computer was doing what it wanted to do without my permission. Even though the computer belonged to me; I bought the computer with my families funds, it was operating independent of me.

It is the same with Christians and sin. God bought us with the life of his Son. God did not purchase us with the blood of His son so we could still operate independent of Him. We are no longer our own. We have been bought with a price. Operating with sin in our lives is just like my computer trying to operate with a virus; we are trying to operate independent of the person who has purchased us.

How do we know if an activity/behavior we want to engage in is a sin? We should ask the following questions BEFORE we start the activity/behavior:

  1. Did I pray about this activity/behavior and then WAIT until I received an answer from God?
  2. Does the activity/behavior convey God’s character?
  3. Does the activity/behavior glorify God?
  4. Does the activity/behavior show the love of Christ?

If we answer “No” to any of these questions, we are operating in sin.

When we operate independent of God, we are operating by the pride of life, the lust of the eye or being able to boast about what we have or what we’ve done. We are bringing glory to ourselves and not to God.

This type of behavior doesn’t come from God. It comes from our flesh wanting to get what it wants, just like my computer was running amuck because of the virus, our flesh will run amuck if we don’t rein it in with God’s Word.

We should strive to reflect the character of God in everything we do. Showing the love of God through our lives is what brings God glory and it is what draws the spiritually lost to us so we can tell them about Christ.

Just like I had to get the virus off my computer before it would run correctly, Christians have to get sin out of our lives so we can run for God correctly.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;…” I Corinthians 6:19

 

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It’s A Virus and It Grows – Part I (Revised)

 

 

Computer virus

From the book: It’s Still Relative (The Word of God for Today’s World)

I John 3:4 – 6

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.  But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”

I have several electronic devises at my disposal on a daily basis. I have my home computers, my iPad, my Zoom tablet and my iPhone. Not to mention the electronic devises I have for work. All of my systems have different types of software installed but all systems, except my iPhone and iPad, are Window based systems. So all the electronic devises I use operate pretty much the same way.

One day I was working on my system at home when I received an email from an old friend. When I opened the email I realized it was a chain letter, so I deleted the email and continued my work. Over the next few days my computer just wasn’t acting right.

At first, it was small things that I chalked up to computer glitches. The keyboard and computer stopped communicating correctly because the computer stopped responding to my keystrokes and function keys.  Then my sound system started fading and my computer started freezing. After that, some of my programs stopped working all together. I checked my configurations and made sure all my apparatuses were hooked up correctly but no matter what I did, my computer was acting as if it had a mind of its own. My computer was running amuck! The email I opened from my old friend had a virus and it was destroying my operating system.

Sin in the life of a Christian is just like the virus that infected my computer. It will destroy the renewal of our minds, corrupt our morals and ethics and, ruin our relationship with God the Father.

One “small” sin left unchecked will cause our walk with Christ to fall into a position of not being fully functional, which means our spiritual well-being will be jeopardized. Sin left to grow and flourish will cause us to lose connection with the Holy Spirit because sin runs interference and doesn’t want us to remedy the problem. Our sinful person, our flesh, likes the sin but our spirit person is grieved when we sin.

Let’s examine our spiritual operating system. Do we have any sin that is causing disconnection between us and God? If so, let’s deal with it for the truth that it is and get rid of it!

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…” Acts 3:19

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Prayer for Today

 

Ask believe receive

July 17, 2015

Father God, I trust You and my faith in You does not waiver. My issue is waiting for You to manifest what I need after I’ve prayer, waited, prayed and waited some more. I know You will do “it”, but when? This is the sticking point of my faith.

Forgive me for worrying and fretting when things don’t go the way I think they should. Forgive me for grumbling and complaining when Your timing doesn’t coincide with my timetable.

I trust You Lord. I have faith that You will so everything You said You’d do. I’ve allowed the reality of our microwave society to creep into my relationship with You and distort my perception of time.

I trust You and have faith in You, but too often I allow bad judgement or bad decisions that I’ve made to put me in a bind and then I expect You to run to my rescue. Over time, I’ve put myself in bad situations but, I want you to get me out of the mess I’ve made in an instant. Forgive me!

The truth is, You don’t operate on the world’s timetable and, for my own good; hopefully to teach me a lesson, You allow me to be uncomfortable so I can learn to be content with what I have, be content with where I am and involve You in my decisions.

Father, it is not my intent to operate with a lack of faith. Please help me to wait. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Scripture References:

Psalm 27:14       Psalm 130:5        II Corinthians 5:7

Psalm 37:1 – 8   Isaiah 30:18        Philippians 2:14

Psalm 40:1          Romans 10:17

 

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Real Faith – Is Not for Wimps

 

faith possible not easy

Habakkuk 2:2 – 3

“Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” 

If we follow God’s commands and decrees and are obedient to all God has instructed us to do and carry out our duties in excellence and expectation; we are operating by faith. Can I say that this is much easier said than done!

We often feel if we do everything we’re supposed to do then God should do what WE want Him to do, the way WE want Him to do it and when WE think it should be done. NOPE! That’s not how this works!

In the aforementioned passage of scripture, Habakkuk was asking God questions because, while he trusted God, he was confused about God’s methods. Habakkuk states, “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts…” (Hab. 2:1a NIV) In other words, Habakkuk says he’s not going to stop doing what he’s supposed to do while he awaits God’s answers. He’s going to continue to fulfill his purpose and wait with expectation to get the answer he needs from God. Habakkuk knows he maybe rebuked by God, but he still seeks an answer and is waiting for God to give it to him.

To truly say we are operating in faith, we must wait for God’s timing AND still do what He told us to do WITHOUT complaining. Asking God questions, trying to get clarification is okay, but complaining is not okay. Remember when the Israelites started to complain in the wilderness after God had delivered them from slavery in Egypt? A trip that should have taken days ended up taking 40 years!

True faith; waiting on God to do it faith, can be nerve wracking! Faith can cause you to loose friends and gain haters. True faith can be a dividing line; do you really trust God enough to work while you wait on the answer? Do you really trust God enough to know that the answer is coming in God’s perfect time which will probably not coincide with your time? Are you willing to never give up on your purpose no matter what other people may say or do?

True faith is not neat and pretty. True faith is often not easy nor convenient. It doesn’t come in a cute little package all wrapped up and delivered to us just when we need it. TRUE FAITH IS WORK!

Noah operated in true faith.  He built an ark, according to God specifications without a basis for building it. People talked about him, ridiculed him but still, because he had true faith, he worked on the project God gave him until it was complete. Jesus operated in true faith. He allowed himself to die on the cross because He had enough faith to believe He would be raised on the third day.

So now, ask yourself, do you operate in true faith or wimp faith?

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” I Corinthians 15:58

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Hold On – Part II (Revised)

Ice age squirrel holding on

Joshua 1:5

“No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

God has told us that He will never leave us; He will always be with us. This is why we don’t have to seek after the things of the world system. We don’t have to love money, fortune or fame. We don’t have to give up our morals nor ethics in order to fit in with the world. We don’t have to go along to get along with everyone else because God, the Father of all things, has made us a promise; ‘I will never leave your; never will I forsake you.’

This means as children of God we can stand and fight just like the Israelites fought at Jericho; in an unorthodox non-world system method. The children of Israel marched around a fortified wall, singing and playing trumpets in order to bring down the wall of Jericho. Who does that? Those who trust in the Lord our God.

Our methods of warfare will be unorthodox by the world’s standards. Who shows love, kindness and compassion to people who are trying to take their jobs, their home or their car? Who still smiles and speaks to people who are rejecting you, mistreating you and saying all manner of evil against you? Those who trust in God because we know, God is with us!

Trusting in God will lead us to unorthodox methods of warfare because we know God has already promised us victory. “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you…” These words weren’t just for Joshua, they are for us too!

We can hold on when it looks like all is lost because we have confidence that our God is not only with us, but He’s for us! We can be strong and courageous, unswerving and stout hearted because we know that no matter what happens God is standing beside us to care for us.

Even in the most desperate or difficult times we can keep our lives free from the love of worldly things  and be content with what God has given us because we know that God will provide for all our needs according to His riches in glory through His son, Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:19).

Proverbs 19:23 says it like this: “The fear (respect) of the Lord leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” If we respect this truth and promise of God; that He is with us at all times, then we can rest untouched by trouble!

DO NOT GIVE UP NOW! God has been and will continue to be with you.  He sees what you’re going through and He’s right beside you to help you through it. This is not the time or place to give up!  Just keep your eyes fixed on Jesus because He is walking right in front of you; The Holy Spirit is leading, guiding and directing you down the correct path for you. Remember Gods’ hook, “Hold on, I’m here!”

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said, ‘Never will I leave your; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”’ Hebrews13:5 – 6

 

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Hold On – Part I (Revised)

 

waiting on God under tree

Psalm 27:1 – 2

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.”

 

There is an old Sam and Dave song that has a hook that says, “Hold on, I’m comin!’” Thankfully, we did not enter into our Promised Lands with Sam and Dave. If we had, when we were in trouble, we would have had to wait until they got to us before they could help.

We entered our Promised Lands with God the Father, who is always with us. In fact, Deuteronomy 31:8 states God goes before us, therefore, we do not have to be afraid nor discouraged because God is always with us. If God had a song like Sam and Dave’s His hook would be, “Hold on, I’m here!”

We don’t have to worry if God is going to rescue us from our enemies. We don’t have to fret about God’s showing up on time. God is with us even when it feels like our enemies are overwhelming us and He never needs to be rescued. He’s always the mighty one. There is nothing and no one greater than God and He will never leave us!

All of us had to fight to get into our Promised Land. We had to fight our pasts, our disappointments, our worries and our anxieties.  We had to fight our low self-esteem, our heartbreak and our intimidators. Through all of these things, God was with us. By God’s grace and His mercy we made! Through hard-fought battles, most won but some lost, we made it.

Here we stand on the soil of our Promised Land, and guess what? We still have to fight! Just like the Israelites had to fight when they marched into their Promised Land; they had to battle at Jericho, Ai and other enemies, so do we. The good news is, just like God was with the Israelites, He is with us! He is our very present help in the time of trouble.

DO NOT GIVE UP NOW! God has been and will continue to be with you. He sees what you’re going through and He’s right beside you helping you get through it. This is not the time or the place to give up! Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. God is with you. Remember His hook, “Hold on, I’m here!”

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

 

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A F.I.T. Prayer Life

Prayer

 

F.I.T (Frequency, Intensity and Time)

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16 – 18 (NIV)

Several years ago I hired a personal trainer. One of the first things he told me was, “I believe in F.I.T., which stands for frequency, intensity and time. If you really want to better your health and fitness you need to work out frequently, be intense in your workout and give ample time to complete the workout.”

The philosophy of F.I.T has stuck with me through the years. I found it to be true in every facet of life. If I want to save money, I have to monitor my spending frequently, be intense about self-control and make routine assessments (time) about where I am with my financial goal. The same thing is true for my spiritual life.

In the King James Version of the I Thessalonians scripture mentioned above says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing”. In this scripture the Bible sums up our F.I.T for prayer. It speaks to how often we should pray, how intense our prayers should be and how much time we should spend in prayer.

Daniel is a wonderful example of praying continually. He prayed three times a day whether he was under attack or not. David and Paul are also good examples of F.I.T. prayer. But the best example is Jesus. When he was about to be delivered into the hands of the Roman soldiers he prayed until he cried blood. But when he prayed to raise Jairus’ daughter from the dead, the prayer wasn’t nearly as intense as the one he prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.

F.I.T is the key is to key to a rich prayer life:

 

Frequency: You set aside time that is specifically dedicated to having a dialog, not a monologue, with God on a routine basis. Dialog means everyone in the conversation gets to talk and everyone gets to listen. Unless you are a late night talk show host, none of your conversations should be monologues.  Your prayer life is not hit or miss if you are practicing frequency.

Intensity: Intensity means the correct amount of effort to achieve your desired results.  Some people think that intensity means flat out all the time. That’s not the case. Every day I work out I’m not a sweaty mess. Some days I’m lifting weights, which don’t require as much intensity from me as floor exercises or cardio. What I am trying to achieve determines the amount of intensity I use.

Sometimes you may be praying, crying and lying prostrate on the floor. Other times, you may be praying while you’re driving, while you’re working or during an event. Your intensity will be different because your amount of effort is different.

Time: How much time are you willing to carve out of your daily routine to devout to communicating with God? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? An hour? How much time you devout to your communication with God will determine your relationship with God! The more time you spend with Him, the better you get to know Him.

So, how F.I.T. is your prayer life?

 

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Dying on the Vine

 

Tomator rotting on vine

I Corinthians 12:4-6

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in men.”

For the first time in my life I decided to grow a vegetable this year. I was talking to the farmer where I purchased my flowers and told her what I wanted to do and she suggested a table top tomato plant. She said they were easy to grow, easy to maintain and I could put them someplace where I would see them every day so they wouldn’t die on the vine.

She was correct on all points: the table top tomatoes are easy to care for and maintain, plus they sit on my deck so I see them every day and I can watch them as they flower, fruit and mature right before my eyes. If only our spiritual gifts were as easy to grow, maintain and watch. Maybe then so many Christians wouldn’t allow their gifts to die on their spiritual vines.

There have been several times I almost gave up writing Daily Prayers and Words for Today. I often thought “no one reads them any way” or “what I’m doing isn’t helping anyone” or, and here’s the best excuse I had for giving up this portion of my ministry, “who am I to try to help people live a fuller life in Christ. I struggle with stuff every day, how can I help them?”

During these times of defeat I’d still write the Daily Prayers and the Words for Today but I wouldn’t send them out. Then, I’d get an email from someone saying, “hey, where’s the daily reading?” Sometimes I’d know the person but often times I didn’t. I realized that what God had me doing in this portion of my ministry was important and helpful to people other than just me. And, if I continued to be selfish with what God was giving me, then the fruit that other people needed would die on the vine in my spiritual garden.

We all have spiritual fruit which grows out of our gifts. EVERYONE has at least one gift, according to I Corinthians 12:11, given to us by the Holy Spirit and, the Holy Spirit made the determination of who got which gift.

Sometimes we allow our fruit to die on the vine because we don’t value the gift we’ve been given. Selah!

“All these are the works of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.”

I Corinthians 12:11

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