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The Ordeal of Putting Aside

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by: Carole L. Haines

Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. (1 Peter 2:1-3 NASB)

There are parts of ourselves that we can tell just aren’t quite right, something is amiss. It’s hard to look at our ugliness inside. We’d rather see all the good things, encouraging things, uplifting things about ourselves and others.  But sin has left us with deep crevasses we’d rather not talk about or look at.  But that’s exactly where Jesus wants to go into our lives.  He wants us to let Him into the ugliness of sin, so that He can show us the way out of it.  All sin begins within us, as we learn in James 1:13-16.
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.  

Sin is already present within us before the temptation even comes.  We are inclined to sin, it is our nature while here on the earth.  Paul talks of his own struggle in Romans 7.
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For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. (Romans 7:15)

Only Jesus never sinned, but He wants to show us the way out of sin, not just deliver us from the penalty of it.  There are three ways Jesus delivers us from sin:

1)             Delivers us from the Penalty of sin- Justification

2)             Delivers us from the power of sin- Sanctification

3)             Delivers us, ultimately, from the presence of sin- Glorification.

Justification is a finished work. Sanctification is finished, yet continually being manifested as we grow in Christ. Glorification will be complete only when we are with Jesus, and have crossed over into heaven. I love what James tells us about cooperating with Jesus in our sanctification process:

James 1:2-8 (NASB)

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

With the background I came from, I have had as much to unlearn, as I have had to learn in my walk with Christ.  Do not be afraid to go with Him into those dark recesses inside yourself and let Him cleanse you through confession and agreeing with God. It is His way of freeing you from all that binds you, so that He may cleanse and perfect you.  God has promised us this:

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil. 1:6)

Have a Blessed Day in Him.

 

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A Friend of Christ

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by: Carole L. Haines
12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. (John 15:12-15 NASB)

I find it interesting in the text where Jesus calls us His friends, that He begins with commanding us to love one another as He has loved us.  He doesn’t want us to love one another with our human ability to love. He wants us to love one another as He has loved us. Jesus then proceeds to share with us what His love looks like.  His love is the Greater love, that lays down His life for His friends.

I used to think this just meant that we would be willing to die for our friends, but it goes way beyond that. In the original Greek, it means to lay it aside, to bend down, to serve.  We get the sense that it is to stop living for ourselves and to live to care for others.  Jesus tells us that we are His friends if we do what He commands us.  The commandment given here is to love one another as He loves us. In this context there are two different Greek words for love one is Agapeo, the other is Agape.
Agapeo is the verb form, the active form. It is love in action.
Agape is the Noun form, and it means:
affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love.

The Noun form portrays how we feel, but the Verb form dictates what we do.  Jesus repeats the active word for love several times in this passage on friendship.  He wants us to actively love one another as He actively loves us.  The Noun form is only used in the phrase, “Greater love…”  When Jesus commands us to love one another, it has nothing to do with how we feel about one another.  Let’s face it, we are not going to like everybody in the Body of Christ.  There are personality issues, some types naturally hit it off, others not so much.  But The love He is calling us to is supernatural, Holy Spirit enabled love.

We are the friend of Christ when we do what He commands us to do.  In this passage, the only command mentioned, and it is mentioned twice, is to love One another.  Jesus calls us His friends, but says it has a stipulation, we must love one another in Him, by Him and for Him. Have a Blessed Day.

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The Salt of the Earth

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By: Carole L. Haines

When we think of salt, we tend to think of our common table salt. But there are so many different kinds of salt and so many uses for it.  Jesus says:
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. (Matthew 5:13 NASB)
The definition of the word tasteless is vast and has a lot more to it than just a lack of flavor.
To become insipid, lose savor, make foolish. Insipid means to become flavorless,
weak, bland, watered down, thin, unappetizing, wishy-washy, boring, dull, spiritless, zestless, lifeless, anemic, lacking charisma, uninspiring, unimaginative, sterile. (
Strong’s Concordance)
We as the salt of Christ can become, foolish, bland, watered down, wishy-washy, spiritless, unimaginative, etc. Yet God has many uses for us in His Kingdom, even as salt has many uses. Salt is used to preserve food and keep it from spoiling. It is used for flavoring food and enhancing its taste. It is a purifier, and used to cleanse.
Salt was highly valued at certain times in history and was even a reason for war. Perhaps its greatest use is in flavor enhancement. I believe this is why Jesus talks about salt losing its flavor. We, as the salt of the earth can lose our flavor too.

God has been revealing to me that the greatest way that I become tasteless, or lose my flavor is simply unbelief.  When I cease to believe His promises, I become  uninspiring, wishy-washy and, quite frankly, dull and weak.  Notice that right in the middle of the definition for tasteless is the description of making one foolish.  The Bible uses this Greek Word only 4 times.  Two of them have to do with flavor, like the Scripture above. But the other two have to do with foolishness. Here they are:

21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, (Romans 1:21-22)

20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? (1 Corinthians 1:20)

We become flavorless when we become foolish in our beliefs and when we lean on our own understanding instead of God’s truth.  God desires us to be the salt of the earth, a truly essential element both now and in ancient times. We must watch over our hearts and be careful what we allow to dwell in them. We are the Salt of the Earth, as Christ has said. Let us believe God and take Him at His Word, thus fulfilling His desire for us to be His salt to those around us.  Have a Blessed Day.

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The danger of hate and unforgiveness

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by: Carole L. Haines

I woke up from a terrible dream where I was in a meeting and the very people who wounded me so deeply, were now hurting someone else in my life. In the dream I went ballistic and kept repeating over and over again, “I hate them! I just hate those people!” I was pacing back and forth in the room and just couldn’t calm down. All the people in the meeting were trying to help me calm down, but I just couldn’t, I was so upset. I woke up and just couldn’t get back to sleep. It was then that I knew just how huge my resentment and unforgiveness was toward these people.
Have you ever been that wounded?  Jesus has been putting the finger on this area in me for a little while now, and I just didn’t want to deal with it. I wanted God to make those people be sorry for what they did to me and how they treated me.  But He was dealing with me, and I needed to take heed to what He was revealing about myself, and not be so concerned about those who had hurt me. That is God’s business, not mine.

The Old Testament uses the word forgiven about 24 times, the New Testament 38 times. The Old Testament deals with the Law, and The New with God’s Grace.  His Word says:
God also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6)
When I try to exact justice for a wrong from another person, I am resorting back to the Law. The Law does not breathe life into me, The Spirit does. The Law says:
19 If a man injures his neighbor, just as he has done, so it shall be done to him: 20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; just as he has injured a man, so it shall be inflicted on him. (Leviticus 24:19-20)

Our souls demand justice for our enemies, yet we want God’s grace for ourselves.

Jesus says this: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:43-45)

I asked God to show me an Acronym for HATE. The title to this Devotion is what I discerned:
Hell Alight, Truth Extinguished.
Hate distorts everything, even truth. It extinguishes God’s influence on our spirits and opens us up to all kinds of evil.  I don’t want hate in my life, I want His Love toward others. Please pray for me and with me for this, and join me in seeking purity and truth in the innermost parts.  I don’t want to just be saved by the Gospel, I want to manifest it to the world.

Help me, Jesus, to be a light in a dark place, soothing grace by forgiveness, and a fragrance of You everywhere I go. Forgive me, Lord, for not forgiving others as You have forgiven me so much. Teach me how to love those who have harmed me as You love me. I just don’t know how to do it. Amen.

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