December

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December 1

 In addition to our salvation freely provided to us under the New Covenant we have full access for baptism of the Holy Spirit whereas we can be filled with the Spirit of God for life while still here on earth. Under the Old Covenant the Holy Spirit only came upon a few people, but today He is available for us all. 

Hebrews 9:8, 8 the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing.

                For the original people reading the book of Hebrews, this verse was probably a stand out verse along with 2:4, 3:7, 6:4, and once again in 10:5. The fact that the Holy Spirit would speak, teach, or witness to people in general is another pivotal point in the New Covenant. Today there is so much rhetoric among the many denominations regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit, that His true significance is often overlooked. Not so with the first church, especially those who had converted from Judaism into followers of Jesus Christ. Prior to the death and resurrection of Jesus, no human was able to be filled with the Holy Spirit. In fact no one in the Old Testament was filled with the Holy Spirit because of man’s fallen nature. True He ministered as much as possible to all of the prophets of Old, but when you dig in the scriptures you will see the wording where He came upon people for short time’s in their lives. He only spoke to a few people and was not available to everyone as He is today, and no one was filled with the Holy Spirit under the Old Covenant or even prior to the Law of Moses. It was the prophets of Old who heard from the Holy Spirit as needed and in turn they spoke prophesy’s to the people. Because of Man’s fallen sin nature the Holy Spirit who is truly the Spirit of God could never dwell in a sinful vessel, but after Jesus took all of our sins upon Himself at the cross, all mankind is able to receive the Holy Spirit providing they first accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

                On a side note there is a movement growing loosely across the US trying to bring back the significance of having Prophets overseeing the church to guide the people as in the days of Old. Self-proclaimed Prophets are rising up within Full Gospel denominations and non-denominational churches; others are traveling all across the US and even around the world drawing thousands of people to themselves so people can hear them speak great words from God. Nowhere in the New Testament is this practice established, but is John 14, 15, & 16 we read where Jesus told us that He would send the Holy Spirit to us as our Helper and Teacher. True Jesus gave us Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers in His ascension gifts, but their purpose is to edify the saints for the work of the ministry. There may be a time where a person could use encouragement from a prophetic word, and there is a need for prophets in the church today, but at best that is truly second rate to the will of God. His desire is that all men be filled with His Spirit where He could communicate to all of us individually. This is a point often missed in Christianity today in that Jesus did not establish a new religion; He established the ability for believers to have a personal relationship with God.      

                The way into the Holiest of All was not available while the first tabernacle was still standing is also a powerful statement overlooked by Christians today.  In our minds we all wish the Ark of the Covenant could be found so we could show the rest of the world that what our bible says is truth compared to all of the other religions and their teachings. The biggest problem with finding the Ark is that man in general has such a difficult time walking by faith which cannot be seen, that many Christians would begin worshiping the Ark over Jesus. By nature men look for something tangible to help explain the intangible which is why we gravitate toward religion in general. At least religion gives us a pattern to follow and tangible things to do so we can feel good about our lives. Walking by faith has nothing to hold onto which is why faith is the substance of things hoped for.                        .

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December 2

 The Old Covenant had the children of Israel focusing on fleshly actions which kept them focusing on their sins and need for God. The New Covenant has removed our sins and allows us to focus on our personal relationship with God.

Hebrews 9:9-10, 9 It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience-- 10 concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.

                Verse nine is referencing back to the tabernacle and includes a portion of the works that were involved when the tabernacle existed. The key point of understanding needed in this verse and the argument between works for righteousness verses faith in His righteousness is the conscience of the individual. Even today it does not matter how many times a person runs down to the alter or into the confessional seeking atonement for their sins, their conscience will always keep them from receiving the mental freedom necessary to walk by faith. Remember that in Hebrews 3:12 we learn the truth that an unbelieving heart is considered evil. In Hebrews 3:19 we read that is was the unbelief of the Israelites in the wilderness that kept them from entering into the Promised Land the first time. 

                For a better understanding of how works of righteousness will keep a Christian in bondage to the conscience of their past sins and failures, we need to review Romans 8:3-9.

“3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

                As you can read from Paul’s teaching the law is week because of the flesh. The law itself is not weak because it is perfect, but the weakness of man’s flesh breaks our side of the original covenant. Remember that a covenant is only as strong as the two parties in the covenant. God’s strength never fails, but man’s strength never remains. And if you read Romans 7:13-23 you will see that the harder a person tries to live perfect the more they fall short, and the harder they resist failure the more they stumble in it. If Paul, who was one of the strongest Pharisees, could not uphold the law in his fleshly living why do Christians today think they can? As you read on in Romans 3 you are reminded that God had to send His own Son to do for us what we never could have done. Romans 5 is where we need to focus in that when you live in the flesh, which is your conscience and personal efforts, you are actually keeping you mined trained on your failures and sins. However, if you focus on Jesus and His righteousness and God’s love for you your mind is not able to keep you bound in unbelief.  By focusing on Jesus you are no longer focusing on the problem which is your fleshly desires. Verse six is the foundational truth for why man can never succeed in legalistic rule driven living; your carnal mind is enmity to God. Your natural mind will never be able to understand or conform to God’s ways and will lead to spiritual death. But to be spiritually minded is to focus on Jesus and His perfect work on the cross and not your personal actions. Being spiritually minded brings you peace where you can hear from God and be led by His Spirit, and your conscience will not keep you bound in unbelief. It is no longer you having to do everything right because Jesus did it for you. Romans 8:8 should be a slap in the face to the legalist who is living by Old Testament doctrine, or worse yet man’s doctrines. If you are trying to do everything in the natural, under your own power, to present yourself as righteous to God or in man’s eyes; you cannot please God. Religion will never work, but relationship with Jesus as your Lord and Savior will never fail! 

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December 3

 We must remember that Jesus is our High Priest of “good things to come”. The “religion” of Christianity has believers caught up in living, doing, and saying the right things in effort to become or appear righteous. A “relationship” with Jesus Christ opens up the believer to receive the good things in life that Jesus paid for with His own blood. Relationship will always triumph of religion, because the strength of the believers walk is solely based on Jesus’ perfect work on the cross and not man’s efforts.   

Hebrews 9:11-12, 11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

We need to remember that previously in Hebrews the comparison was made of Jesus to Melchizedek in that he was without beginning and without end, Hebrews 7:3.  From this we can see the perfect Priesthood of Jesus in that there is no end to His sitting at the throne of God making intercession for us. Moreover He is the High Priest of “good things to come” not judgment and condemnation. When we look back in Deuteronomy 28:1-13 we see the promises of blessings to the children of Israel if they keep all of God’s commandments. Jesus fulfilled those commandments on our behalf which makes Him the administrator of those blessings. The only commandment Jesus gave us is found in John 13:34. By loving others as He first loved us we meet His only requirement to receive all of the blessings He earned for us through His perfect work on the cross. Think of this through the heart of a child whose dad just won the big bear at the carnival and then hands the bear to his child.  The dad does not give the bear to the child because they have never made a mistake and have lived up to the parent’s ridged expectations, but just because he loves his child and the child asked. God loves us with the same full measure to the point that He sent His only begotten Son to fulfill the requirements for us and then die for our sins so that He could give us the prize; the promises of God. Also in verse 11 we see the comparison of earthly efforts to heavenly accomplishments. The Levis had to disassemble move and reassemble the tabernacle every time they moved. Every think on earth will grow old and decay as a result of the fall of man, hence the precious tabernacle, the Holy of Holies, and everything else they made according to the directions of God would eventually decay as well. Should we still have the Ark of the Covenant, the wood inside would have decayed leaving only the Gold overlay. Everything in the natural held as precious in the hearts of man will eventually decay, but the tabernacle in heaven made by the hand of God will remain forever. This is the tabernacle that held the spiritual alter that Jesus sprinkled His blood on for our atonement. Think about this; where do you truly want to place your confidence in, man’s best efforts to please God or Jesus’ perfect work on the cross.

Verse 12 is the final comparison in that the best sacrificial blood the children of Israel could offer as a seal of their end of the covenant was the blood of animals. However man was created as superior to the animals as read in Genesis chapter one. Meditate on this questions.

Why would God rest His final covenant between man and Himself on the ability of man to fulfill his side of the covenant? A covenant is only a covenant when both parties agree and fulfill it.
Had man not already proven that he could not follow the simplest of instructions, “don’t eat the forbidden fruit”?
Why would God, who hates idol worship, have the children of Israel create an idol “The Ark” as a symbol of His covenant unless He was going to replace that idol with Himself someday?
How could the blood of a lessor creature like a bull, goat, or sheep, make any real atonement for the sins of a man who was created as greater creation?

Jesus having taken stripes on His back for our healing, bearing all of our transgressions, and fulfilling all of our shame, allowed our sins to be nailed upon the cross through His flesh. Jesus who was God in the likeness of sinful flesh (John 1:1-3, & 14, and 1Timothy 3:16), allowed Himself to be sacrificed. It took a Man to be sacrificed for all of mankind. And Jesus sprinkle His own blood for all men upon the heavenly alter not made with hands, but created by God in the heavens.  God replaced the lessor covenant with a perfect covenant signed by the blood of His own Son, so He could fulfill His promises to us. 

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December 4

 The purpose of the Old Covenant was to keep the children of Israel conscious of their sins and need for God’s grace just to come close to Him. It was a type and shadow of the New Covenant based on earthly actions. The purpose of the New Covenant is to cleanse our conscience of past sins so we no longer are caught up in dead works. These two covenants were “NEVER” meant to be blended together into a hybrid religion of part faith / part personal works that is so prevalent today.

Hebrews 9:13-14,  “13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

                Continuing from verses 11-12 is the comparison between the sacrifice of animals and the sacrifice of Jesus. Notice in verse 13 the blood of animals sprinkled on the unclean only purified the flesh. The greatest significance is understanding from Exodus and Leviticus that the children of Israel were always sacrificing for their fleshly actions. There was never a final sacrifice. The most significant difference between the two sacrifices is found in verse 14. Jesus’ sacrifice cleansed the conscience from dead works to serve the living God. What this means is we are not to constantly be focusing on repentance, but we are to focus on serving God. This goes hand in hand my teaching on relationship over religion. We do not serve God to gain righteousness as in the Old Testament, but as you fully understand what God did for through sacrificing His Son you will begin serving Him because you love and appreciate Him so much.

                Under the Old Covenant the children of Israel “had” to stay conscious of any sin they may have committed by accident or intentional. Some intentional sins under the Old Testament required instant death and there was no means of repentance. By continually being conscience of their sin nature and making sacrifice they were also constantly focusing on God. Otherwise human nature takes over and they too would have ended up acting like every other human on earth and only living for the desire of the flesh.

The sole purpose of the Law of Moses was never to purify man, but at lease keep the children of Israel focusing on God till the appropriate time God could come in the likeness of sinful flesh and purify all mankind. This corresponds with what Jesus spoke in John 3:16-18, 12:31-31, & 12:47, in that He came to pay the price for all judgment against man, not condemn man. Those who do not receive Jesus are condemned already for not receiving Him, not just for their sins actions themselves. Remember God promised Abraham that through the son of promise all the earth will be blessed. Just as a reminder Isaac was the son of promise; Ishmael was created by man’s actions and God was not involved. 

In the last half of verse 14 we see the term “eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God.” The only way a man could uphold all of the requirements of God against man and be able to take all of the sins of mankind on himself was for God to come to earth in the “likeness” of sinful flesh, John 1:1-3 & 14, and 1 Timothy 3:16. Jesus, born of Mary at the will of God through His Holy Spirit, was undeniably God, spiritually embodied in the baby Jesus, Luke 1:34-36. Remember; His birth was recognized later by man as splitting time, BC & AD which our calendar today reflects.   

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December 5

 God made man in His image to reign on earth. He also gave man a free will. People do not have to follow God or love Him, but He loves them unconditionally.  Neither will He force Himself on anyone to do the right thing as witnessed by the fall of Adam. When it comes to salvation we also have a choice to believe in Jesus or reject Him.  The concept from Calvinism that some people are called by God to receive salvation while others are rejected by God to eternal damnation is a gross misunderstanding of the gospels. Christian Universalism where God’s grace will make everyone saved whether they accept Jesus is also a gross misunderstanding of the gospels.  

Hebrews 9:15, “15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

                Because Jesus has cleansed our conscience from dead works we are now able to serve God instead of striving to try to please God through daily sacrifice. Because of His perfect work on the cross Jesus has been made Mediator of the New Covenant that we are under today. We must remember that under the Old Covenant death of the sinner was required or the sacrifice of an animal as the temporary payment for the transgression.  Once Jesus allowed Himself to be sacrificed for our transgressions the price was paid once and for all. The whole purpose behind Jesus’ death, resurrection, and seating at God’s right hand was so God could fulfill His promise of blessings He made to Abraham and his seed. As Christians, by faith, we are a part of those promised eternal blessings.

                The verse says “that those who were called may receive the promise of inheritance”, and we must fully understand the importance of all of scriptures to understand who was called. For those people hung up in the false teachings of Calvinism, God has not chosen the ones He wants to come to heaven and rejected the rest. Here is the infallible truth against such heretical belief.

John 3:15-16 “15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” 

Does the word “whoever” have any indication of pre-ordained selection or is whoever all encompassing? It is all encompassing. Paul tells us in Romans 8:9 that if we confess with our mouth ad believe in our heart we will be saved. If Calvinism is correct then I have to ask why is it important then to even believe in Jesus much less confess Him. God created man in His own image spiritually, but He also gave us a free will to choose for ourselves.  By nature we choose by our natural senses instead of spiritual leading, remember that Eve “saw that the tree was good for food”. True God knows all things and He knows who will and who will not accept His offering of Jesus for our redemption, but to think He created some people to go to heaven and others to go to Hell is to say God also created evil people in this world which. God only created one man from the dust of the earth and breathed life into Him and from the one man He pulled out a portion and created a womb-man so that they could replicate and fill the earth. What does this mean; God created the perfect, but man is the one in his fallen nature that creates some to be good and others to be evil.

                Romans 8:29, tells us that who God foreknew He “predestined” to be conformed to the image of His son and God foreknew every person born into this world. Romans 8:30 “who, He predestined He called, and justified” and once again God foreknew every person that has ever been born into this earth. Ephesians 1:5 says having “predestined” us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ makes it perfectly clear that God has “predestined” the only way for us to come to become His true spiritual children and that is through accepting His adoption papers that have signed by the blood of Jesus. It is each person’s choice to receive that adoption by faith and confession of Jesus as Lord which takes us right back to John 3:16-18 and Romans 19:89-10.

                For those who are using this bible study who may still be holding on to or stumbling with the concept of Calvinism, or if you are one of the many people using the NIV bible as your study bible, I encourage you to go to my website www.djmi.net and on the 2014 sermons page look for the teaching “Benevolent Father or Omnipotent Puppeteer”. Download this free teaching, open up a KJV or NKJV bible and if you have a NIV bible open it as well for comparison and prepare yourself to be set free from the enemies strong hold through deception.  

Notice the last portion of Verse fifteen says, “that those who are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance”. Ephesians 1:11, “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will”. This verse confirms the last portion of Hebrews 9:15 that when we inter into the predestined path of becoming God spiritual sons and daughters, that we also have an eternal inheritance that God originally promised to Abraham and his seed. By receiving the adoption we also receive the full promise.

I will add that the wording in Hebrews 9:15 also says “may receive” and does not say automatically receives. Once again it rests on our will and our decision. God is omnipotent, sovereign, and forever loving, but He is also the perfect gentleman in that He never forces anything on us. If we do not enter into and prepare ourselves to receive our rightful inheritance, He will not force it on us. We can accept the free gift of salvation through belief and confession of Jesus as our Lord and Savior, but if we continue to live a lifestyle contrary to God’s ways we are positioning ourselves to allow the Devil to steal our blessings right in front of our face. 

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December 6

 As long as we are living here on earth we will never be spot or wrinkle free. If we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior we will be 100% 1/3 perfect however. Today we should live for God because of Jesus’ perfect work on the cross. 

Ephesians 5:26-27, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 

                In John 15:3 we see that it is Jesus’ spoken word over us that has washed and cleansed us. When we realize that it truly is His word spoken over us that washes us, we purpose to walk in and fulfill that word in our lives. Christians can find great joy in learning and believing all of the wonderful things Jesus has spoken regarding us and His love for us. How much more will a wife be drawn to her husband if he begins to speak words of love and encouragement to his wife. By the simple act of speaking true words of love to your wife she will respond with a new level of respect. Wow a win win situation. This is how the word of God works; in every case there is a win win situation where you win in God and lose another part of your old sinful nature.

                As long as people are still living here on earth we will never be spot and wrinkle free. Earthly perfection is not the point made here because if earthly perfection could have even been reached by anyone, than Jesus would have not had to come and die in our place. It is good that we purpose to move as close to a spot and wrinkle free life in our natural being as possible, but the perfection spoken of here is our spirit which has been made perfect by the blood of Jesus and not by our actions. Jesus presents this glorious church to Himself by His word spoken over us. As we learn His word the greater effort we use to reach this perfection in our walk here on earth. Likewise in marriage it is the husband’s words of love and encouragement spoken over his wife that makes her even more beautiful in his own sight. This is to not say a wife should not purpose to present herself as beautiful as she can to her husband, but in his speaking love words to her a good wife will not only look more beautiful in his eyes, but she will purpose to present herself more beautiful to her husband. (Side note: This is how we start out developing a relationship to move toward marriage, so why is it when we say “I do” we quit doing what we did to get to that place?)

                Paul has used the Love of Christ to show the husband how to walk in the same love toward his wife. It is certainly not the actions of the church itself that is seen as glorious in Jesus’ sight. This means Jesus is looking at us through His faith eyes and is exactly how a husband should look at his wife. The bad actions on her part are not to be used as an excuse to walk out of love toward her. In Proverbs 10:12 & 17:9 we see that love covers all sin and if the wife has any heart toward God and her husband, his love for her will cover any bad actions seen in his own sight, trusting also that Jesus is the ultimate cover for us all. Cover your wife with true words of love and encouragement and in doing so you will be walking according to the word of God. After all the husband is the head of the house hold; speak love and encouragement to your wife and that is the type of home you will live in, speak words of condemnation, control, and strife and so shall you live in them. 

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December 7

 If a man cannot understand the importance and depth of Ephesians 5:25 and 28-29 then neither has he grasped the importance of what Jesus truly did for us on the cross. Today I am 1st a son of God, 2nd a husband, 3rd a father to my children, and 4th a pastor & teacher. If I get any of those areas of my life out of that specific order; I risk failure in all of them and cannot live my life to its fullest potential. 

Ephesians 5:28 -29, 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

                This parallels Jesus’ words on the second greatest commandment as recorded in Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31, & Luke 10:27. (“And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.) There are no other commandments greater than these. There are no other greater commandment than these, is a heavy statement especially for the person claiming to be a Christian. We are first to love our God, with all our heart, sole, body, and mind and then love everyone else. The most amazing concept for me to never understand is how two Christians in a marriage, will allow the devil to play in their lives and cause them to get divorced. Robbye and I have had difficult times in our marriage and we had thought of divorce, but always came back to Romans 10:8 “What does the word say”. We also loved each other enough to look honestly at our own actions and lives and measure them to the word of God. We both realized we were living selfishly and not for God. We were claiming Christianity, but not doing what we knew to do in regards to our marriage. I had to make some serious changes and in following these scriptures I was able to gently, over time, guide our marriage back to where God intended it to be. I also realized that if God sees the two as one, then there is strength and power in that unity. Neither of us would be where we are today spiritually or emotionally if we would have let Satan pull us apart. An interesting point here before I go on. There are eleven verses in Ephesians 5:22-33 with the first three as charges for the wife, but the next five are action charges for the husband. Personally I see the greatest weight on the husband regarding the spiritual growth and stability of his home, and therefore, men need to step up to the plate and stop playing games.

                With the few and rare exceptions where self-destruction is prevalent in a man’s life, he will do everything in his power to survive and be on top. Men do not hate themselves, in fact this drive to survive needs to be seen for what it truly is, self-love. I am not talking about selfish lust for oneself, which is another form of perversion, but true agape love for self. Agape meaning to desire the best, not allowing harm or damage to self, creating a level of personal worth that is healthy. If a man begins to develop this agape love for his wife, washing her with true words of love, he is loving himself. What better way for a husband to come home from work and whether his wife is already there or comes home from her job, she is kind and respectful, tender and encouraging. These desired responses do not automatically happen; there is always a cause and effect. You truly reap what you sow, Gal 6:7-9.

                Verse 29 is the formula for success in marriage, nourish and cherish. A man will not purposely starve himself, except for going on a fast. He will make the time to feed himself, and usually he will feed himself well. Look inside a quality restaurant during lunch time, there is a vastly larger number of business men sitting down for a good lunch than there are women. As a man you feed yourself, but what are you feeding your wife in regards to your marriage. There is an old saying, “garbage in garbage out”. Men are going home all across this country sowing bad seed into their marriage and not liking the crop that is coming up so they start looking for another field to harvest. I have to wonder how stupid can men be to sow bad seed at home and when the first younger female showing a business level of respect at the office comes along they are ready to compare and even plan to jump ship. Those that do remarry will eventually see some of the same old crop starting to come back and never realize they are the ones sowing the bad seed still. I stand firm on my belief that Christian men are not following the word of God in their marriage, because there is no longer any difference in the percentage of divorce in the church then in the world.

                Even if a man is not happy with the way he looks in the mirror, and does not like the fact that his personality is compared to the back end of a horse, he will still cherish his body.  Man will do everything in his power to protect himself from harm. Let a man get hot and you will see a man running to the A/C, let him get hungry and you had better not get between him and the feed bag, watch a man see something his flesh truly desires and you will see a man get glassy eyed in his effort to bring it to himself. Husbands need to devote the same energy, commitment, and devotion to their wives. That is easy to say, but takes consistent effort to do. Cherishing your own body comes natural, God built it into us, cherishing your wife is something that must be learned and consistently developed. We have the ultimate example in Christ and his love for the church. Not only did He lay His life down for her, but spoke the necessary words over her to lift her up. Because Jesus is alive, and His word never fails or falls away, He is consistent in showing the church His love. Jesus is consistently cherishing His bride, the church, husbands are you. What seeds do you sow? 

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December 8

 Love for his wife and respect for her husband is a mirror image of the understanding a couple has in their own personal walk with Christ. The greater the love and respect, the greater the personal understanding.   

Ephesians 5:30-32, 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. 

                People often forget the verse that tells us we are members of His body; if we died in Him we are made alive in Him, Colossians 2:20-3:3.  Spiritually we are now one with Jesus which means 1/3 of our being (our spirit man) is already perfected. We will get a glorified body and a new sole when we get to heaven and are in the presence of God, but our spirits are now perfected in Christ Jesus. This means that whatever we do it will either strengthen our spirit or suppress it. Paul is reminding us how important our walk here on earth is and especially in the way we relate to our wives.

                Verse 31 is a direct quotation from the word spoken in Genesis 2:24 regarding the first marriage. One interesting point here is, although we are under the New Covenant which is actually the final establishment of the original covenant made between God and Abrams’ Seed and no longer under Mosaic Law, the Old Covenant, there are two covenants which were established by God in the Old Testament that were not affected by either the Old or New Covenant: marriage and tithing. Today in the sick thinking of this world I have heard it said that since we are neither male nor female in Christ, the New Covenant gives us the grace to marry the same sex. That is possibly the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Yes we are under grace, but in recognizing such a precious gift we should all the more purpose to abstain from any sin as a reflection of our deep heartfelt gratitude toward God and the price Jesus paid for our sins. I believe today that there are homosexuals who believe in and call Jesus their Lord and Savior. According to John 3:16 and Romans 10:8-10, their spirit was made new and their debt paid, however, any “practiced” sin will keep a person from the full potential blessings from God and I personally question if that person is truly saved as to “practice” sin is the actual denial of Christ. There is grace for sins stumbled into and falling back into as we purpose to overcome them, but to “practice” sin not only keeps us in a limited understanding of who He is and who we are in Him, but gives the devil great authority over our initial confession unto salvation. You risk hardening your heart to the truth of the word of God. Sexual sin being the most harmful sin as the word says in 1 Corinthians 6:17-20, when a person commits sexual immorality they are sinning against their own body. (17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's). Paul is using the union between a husband and wife as a visual picture to show how Christians are joined to Christ Jesus and how Christ is joined to the church. When a person perverts the covenant of marriage, their understanding of their covenant with God and Jesus’ church is also perverted. One more point that is not real popular today is when two Christians decide to just live together out of marriage, they too are in the same boat as the homosexual in that they are “practicing” a sinful nature and therefore missing out on the fullness of their relationship with God through Christ Jesus, and increase the possibility of walking away from their salvation.

                In verse 32 Paul is driving home the truth behind marriage in that it is truly more than just a husband and wife in their union; it is a picture of Christ and His church. As we purpose to understand our own personal roles in marriage we will have a deeper understanding of just how precious the body of Christ, the Church, is to Jesus and should be to us. Verse 32 is the summation, or key, to understanding how to live out Ephesians 5:22-33. Love is a command not a luxury of choice. Respect is also a command when you realize that any position of authority is from God and respect should be given providing that person in authority does not purpose to lead you into sin and away from your own relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Even if the person in authority is leading or demanding you to walk contrary to the word of God you still show respect, but are not bound to their authority as Jesus has bought the Christian with a great price, His life. 

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December 9

 Children do not know anything before they have been taught. To let a child decide anything for themselves is the same as throwing them to wolves; the world and its ways will destroy them. If the parents do not take the effort to learn the truth of the word of God and teach is to their children, what they learn from the world or other religious people may cause them to turn against their own parents. We see way too much of this in this country.  Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it, Proverbs 22:6 NKJV.

Ephesians 6:1-3, 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise: 3 "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.

                In today’s society children have been given so many rights that they can almost do whatever they want. This is sad because none of us when we were children knew what was best for us to do. All children want to do is play and eat fun foods. If parents were to allow this, across the board our children would grow up to be fat, stupid adults, because none of them want to eat the healthy foods, and I have yet to see a five year old walking to school on their own because they wanted to go learn. God is a God of order and in His order there are great blessings and protection. The key to the importance in understanding what God is saying in verse 1 is, “in the Lord”. Children are to obey their parents in all things, but not to the point of entering into a sin. Even at the command of a parent, children are not to steal, or kill; they should be protected from sexual immorality, not made to enter into it. If a parent is leading their child into a sin life and the child is able to understand what is happening, they do not have to obey. Just as I mentioned in Ephesians 5:22, there is a difference in submission and obedience, children are to obey, but they too will stand before the Lord alone someday to answer for themselves. God wants each of us to have our own relationship with Him through Christ Jesus. The weight is on the parents to train their child up in the way of the Lord. We must keep in mind that Paul is writing to the church in Ephesus and therefore speaking to believers. The natural mind cannot comprehend the truths of God and even believers have a tendency to slip back into carnal thinking. This verse is a great reminder of how to live Godly lives. 

                As children grow up they need added responsibility of making some of their own decisions. This is a part of training children up to be productive adults. Parents are in a constant state of guidance and release so that when the child is ready they can step into life without holding mommy or daddy’s hand like they did going to school the first time. As the child grows older honor comes into play and is to remain throughout the parent’s life. Honor at times may look like obedience, but is more of a reverence for the position and understanding of the sacrifice made by the parent to raise the child. To honor is to esteem and respect. The Greek word (TIAMEO) from which honor is translated means “to prize” or to fix a value on. Where children fail in this area is when they put their parents down, either to their face or behind their backs. ALL children grow up to a point of thinking their parents are too old to understand what they are going through and that their peers know what is best so they choose to follow their peers. This is an act of dishonoring your parents. Paul references Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16, when he is writing verse 2. This truly is the first of the Ten Commandments that has a promise attached to it. God is not lack in fulfilling His promises. .

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December 10

 When it comes to children, fathers should be leaders not directors. Fathers always teach them how to have a Christ like lifestyle their own relationship with Christ. The stronger the father’s relationship with Christ the stronger the child’s, the more distant the relationship the more distant the child. It’s that simple! Teaching “churchanity” instead of Christianity will always lead to provocation as the child gets older.

Ephesians 6:4, 4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

                If you haven’t noticed God puts a solid weight on the man, husband and father, for a walk of righteousness. (Luke 12:48, To whom much is given, much is required.)  We as men have been given this weight, but it is not without the accompanying blessings, nor is it to be carried out in our own strength. Jesus is more than our Lord; he is also our brother and mediator. (Rom 8:29, 1 Tim 2:5) I have heard a preacher say, “We are to preach often, and on occasion use few words”. This sums up best how a man should guide his family; as a husband, father, and even at his place of employment. Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it”. What men fail to understand is this training happens regardless the direction they are pointed. Children learn from example as much as anything else. If the parents, and specifically the father if he is in the child’s life does not walk with the Lord in all of their actions, so shall the child be pointed. I was raised up to be a ruthless businessman with a secondary regard to anything that has to do with the church or a walk with Jesus. Consequently, I went the wrong way in life until I came face to face with my own short coming and also face to face with Jesus my Lord. At age 23 I had my own Damascus road experience, praise God, but how much further along in my walk with God and in my personal, natural life, could I have been if I would have been trained up in the ways of the Lord. On another note that lines up with verse 4 I have seen fathers demand a walk out of their children, go to church, go to bible study, live a righteous life, always respect the word of God and the pastor, and then go out themselves and get drunk, curse their children’s mother, steal from the job, and basically live for themselves above anything else. These same men will question God and the church when their children leave the church and wander in the world and its lusts. Fathers are provoking their children to wrath when they live a life of, “do as I say and not as I do” in front of their children. Matthew 18:6 "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea”. This verse is not just a challenge to pastors and religious leaders to speak and walk a worthy path before their congregation, but as men we are as a priest in our home. Not that our children can only come to God through us, because they must have their own relationship with God, but as a pastor, fathers should always point, encourage, and train their children into their own relationship with God through Christ Jesus. As disciplinarian we are to correct our children when they do the wrong thing, but never forget grace. Children will always do something wrong, but condemnation will only teach the child that they can never please that parent, or that they are incapable of doing anything right. Colossians 3:21 cautions fathers to not provoke their children to the point of being discouraged. In pointing out a wrong doing, ask the Holy Spirit to help you use that opportunity to gently point the child toward their own walk with Jesus. In doing so you will be training up your child in the way they should go. Teach them a Christian lifestyle in everything they do, not just a lifestyle of going to church by wrote just because it is Sunday. Stir up the joy of joining fellow believers in worship and in fellowship through the church in yourself, and then spread that joy to your children. 

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December 11

 The strength of the gospel today lies in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ nearly 2000 years ago. Man’s effort has nothing to do with it, other than to believe and confess.

Hebrews 9:16-17, 16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.”                 

                As established in the previous verse there is an inheritance for God’s adopted children. And if there is an inheritance there must be a testament which is the last disposition which one makes of his earthly possessions after his death. This is key point to focus on. Under the Old Covenant there was constant sacrifice in effort to maintain what little the people actually had, whereas under the New Covenant all we have was provided for us by another person, Jesus. This comparison is very much similar to what the children of Israel were originally offered in the naturel when God took them into soy on the Promised Land. They saw that is was a truly a land flowing with milk and honey and even a cluster of grapes had to have two men carry it back to Moses; however there were giants in the land and they were scared to enter. Did you ever think why God would take them to a land that had giants in it? How else could the land and the fruit it produced be tended to without giants, since a cluster of grapes took two normal men to carry? What we can see here is that the Promised Land in essence would have been their natural inheritance after they went in and conquered the giants with God’s help. Today we have spiritual giants in our land called doubt, fear, legalism, and condemnation from those who do not believe. The difference is we do need to fight the enemy to receive our inheritance because Jesus has already fought the fight, won the prize, and left it to us freely in His testament.

                A testament is not complete as long as it is in probate and the parties who will receive the inheritance agree to receive it. Jesus has taken His blood into heavens court and sprinkled it on heavens alter as His signature of approval of His testament to us. How sad is it that so many Christians continue to claw, fight, and strive to obtain their inheritance through strong adherence to man’s religious doctrines and attempts of following the Old Testament ways in effort to gain what has already been given. The death of Jesus on the cross not only took all of our sins and transgressions upon Himself, but because God handed everything over to Him, his death handed everything He had over to us. Have you begun ti enter into your promise land? Have you fully accepted the truth that Jesus’ perfect work on the cross has not only paid your debt, but left you all of His blessings? Ephesians 1:3 says we have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places. 

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December 12

 The Old Covenant was dedicated with the blood of animals. The New Covenant was dedicated with the blood of God’s own son; Jesus. If we get caught up today in the lie of our own sacrifices, efforts, and works as have anything to do with our own righteousness; what we are saying in reality is the blood of Jesus was not good enough for us. 

Hebrews 9:18-23, “18 Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you." 21 Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. 23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.”     

                These verses confirm what was taught in the previous lesson on Hebrews 9:16-17. The shedding of blood is simply another way of saying that something had to die to validate the testament. Both covenants required the death of either a creature of a Man to be fulfilled. I want to emphasize the powerful difference between the two sacrifices offered in the Old and New Covenants. We must remember that in Genesis God made man in His own image. Also in Genesis God made man ruler over all of the creatures here on earth. When something is purchased, doesn’t it take something of equal value to be offered in exchange for acquiring the desired object? Yes! It may take several smaller objects combined to justify the cost of the larger single item, for example dollars compared to the value of a vehicle. One may assume that if enough animals could be sacrificed than man could possibly be purchased with their blood. However the value of just one of God’s greatest creations, like you, is far more valuable than all the animals in the world. Hence there would never be enough animals to sacrifice to cover all of mankind and therefore only a perfect man could fulfill that requirement; Jesus.

                The importance of the heavenly things over that of earthly things rests in our understanding of the truth that the spiritual came before the natural and will be around long after the natural passes away. God calls those things not seen into those seen. Your spirit will last for eternity, but your flesh will only last a few years here on earth. God is spirit and He wants us to worship Him in spirit and truth. Our spirit man was tainted at the fall of Adam, but redeemed by the blood of Jesus on the cross. It is our spirit that has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus, and 1 Peter 1:9 tells us that receiving the end of our faith is the salvation of our souls. Your soul is your heart, personality, emotions, morals, morays, and thoughts- you essence while here on earth. Our bodies were never redeemed and our job is not to seek or fight to obtain salvation for our spirits, but through the power of God’s grace receive His spiritual salvation and began to change our souls. Focusing on just ones natural actions in effort to make them better or different is like focusing on an apple in effort to change it into an orange. Read Romans 8:5-6. One of the main earthly aspects of our New Covenant is the ability to enter into the supernatural power of God’s grace to help us make the natural desired changes in our soulful realm. 

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December 13

 Jesus did not have anything to do with the original temple that Moses and the children of Israel built in the wilderness. Neither did He have anything to do with the temple of God built by Solomon. He established His ministry and our salvation in the Holy of Holies in heaven once and for all who will believe.

Hebrews 9:24-28, “24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another-- 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.   

                Verse 24-26 sums up the importance of what Jesus did after He rose from the grave as well as paints a picture comparison between the Old and New Covenants. The Law of Moses and all of the actions of service set forth were for the temple that was manmade by the children of Israel while in the wilderness. Where is that temple now; gone? Even when Solomon built a temple for God with stone and huge timber, it too is now gone. The truth is that nothing made by man will last an eternity, hence the works and sacrifices set forth by the Law of Moses were at best temporary. They by default kept the children of Israel conscious of their sins and busy with works and sacrifices. Under the Old Covenant the High Priest was the only one who could come close to the presence of God. Under the New Covenant, because the sacrifice was Jesus and not an animal, He now lives and sits at the right hand of God making intercession for us. This intercession is the foundation we stand on for Hebrews 4:16 which tells us we can come boldly to the throne of grace and find mercy and grace in our time of needs. Remember the previous teaching and comparison of the value of animals verses the value of man. Understanding this concept and realizing the truth and depth of Jesus’ perfect work on the cross, we can lean, trust, be comforted, and most of all be strengthened by God through the power of His Holy Spirit while here on earth. There is no fear of condemnation in comfort from God.

                The concept of verse 26 stating that He would have to suffer often, more often than not loses its depth of importance in our Christian walk today. We can understand that the value of a man could only be purchased with the same value, but this One Man, Jesus, paid the value for all mankind with His own natural life. The only way a single human could have the value of all mankind if for that One Man to be God Himself in the likeness of sinful flesh. Hebrews 9:24-26 validates John 1:1-3, 14, 1 Timothy 3:16 and vice versa.

John 1:1-3 & 14, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

1 Timothy 3:16, 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.

What does this truly mean to us today, if God is for us, no one can be against us? It also means that if God sacrificed His own Son for us, than He also freely give us all things along with Jesus. Hebrews 9:24-26 also validates Romans 8:31-32.

Romans 8:31-32, 31, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

                Verses 27-28 are a conformation of our salvation through the death of Jesus for our sins. For all mankind there is the assurance of a natural death, no one lives in the natural forever. However in the spiritual there is a second death for those who are not raised in Jesus. What does this mean? Belief in and confession of Jesus as your Lord and Savior is your only requirement for salvation and protection from the second death, or “spiritual death”.

We know that the second death is real as it is mentioned four times in the book of Revelations. Some false teachings today try to convince people that there is no Hell, however in the KJV version it is recorded fifteen times in the gospels where Jesus referred to Hell. Eight additional references in the New Testament, four of which by Jesus again in the book of Revelation. Hell is real and in Revelations 20:14, death and hell are said to be cast into the lake of fire which is the second death. To be in hell is to be completely spiritually separated from God, but the second death is where the spirit of the non-believers will be cast into the lake of fire where there is continual torment for the rest of eternity. 

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December 14

 You wouldn’t put your financial worth on the shadow of a pile of gold, but you could put your financial worth on a pile of Gold. We understand this concept, but when it comes to our walk as Christians there seems to be a desire to hold on to Old Covenant ways, rituals, feasts, and actions in our walk with Christ. Remember the Old Covenant was only a shadow of the good things to come, the things we can live in today. 

Hebrews 10:1, 1 “For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.”

Would you put your faith in the shadow of a pile of gold, or in the gold itself? That may seem a silly question and yet Christians since the day of the Apostles and the first church have stumbled back and forth between the works of religion and their faith in Jesus’ perfect work on the cross. The cross is the bridge that crosses over the great divide between man and God. It was never meant to be the connector that joins the religion that point’s people toward God found in the Old Testament to the relationship with God in the New Covenant. You cannot stand on two different continents separated by ocean so why do people try to stand on two different covenants?

                We have been made perfect by the blood of Jesus. His death, having lived a sinless life according to the Law and the Prophets, has paid the price of sin for all mankind. Our only requirement to enter into that New Covenant is to believe in Jesus and His perfect work on the cross. Under the Old Covenant man strived with offerings, sanctions, washings, and feasts in effort to buy up time from judgment from God. Their effort of living in the actions and appearance of righteousness was their naturel efforts of payback so to speak for their own sins. The sole purpose of the Old Covenant and all of its works was to keep man conscious of his own sinful fallen life with hops of God’s grace allowing them to live another day, week, month, and year. All of that effort does not cleanse the man and keeps him sin conscious. Paul tells us in Romans 8:5 that if we set our mines on the things of the flesh we are in the flesh. Jesus told us and the Samaritan woman at the well, that the time has come for men to worship God in spirit and truth. If you set your minds of the things of the spirit you are then living in the spirit.

Romans 8:5, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who set their minds on the things of the spirit, live in the spirit.”

                For a Christian to try to hold on to the ways, works, actions, and condemnations found under the Old Covenant is the same as putting their financial worth on the shadow of gold and ignoring the true value of the gold itself. Jesus’ perfect work on the cross has made us spiritually perfect and clean, man’s efforts of  righteous works in effort to clean up themselves is actually throwing spiritual dirt back on the clean spirit of Jesus. Remember what Jesus told His disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees, even a little leaven leaven’s the whole lump. .

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December 15

 God does not want you to remain conscious of your sin; He wants you to remain conscious of Him.

Hebrews 10:2-3, 2 “For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.” 

                God has made the only way for us to boldly come to the throne of grace in our times of need, and He only wants a relationship with His children. God is not interested in our sacrifices. Our personal sacrifices mean nothing to God and only remind us of our sinful nature and flawed shortcomings. You can never change the type of fruit after you pluck it from the tree, and yet Christians often get caught up trying to change their flawed life in effort to please God instead of spending time with Him and allowing His love for us to cover, change, and mold us into who we truly are.

                God is not pleased with religion or sacrifices and both only have the appearance of righteousness to the natural eye.  Neither religion nor sacrifices provide the righteousness of God, they only keep the person stuck in their own sin consciousness. This is not to say that we can live carelessly or remain in a sinful life style once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Our effort to change is because we fully understand the sacrifice Jesus made for us and our love for Him because of it. Today there seems to be a stronger push to incorporate a combination of Old Testament rituals, feasts, and ways of life into the church. Paul tells us in Galatians 5:4, “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” This is a powerful and painful verse to the religious, but the truth. God does not want us to be conscious of sin, He wants us to remain conscious of Him. 

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December 16

 We spend a great deal of time at our jobs and in return we receive compensation for our time. God’s desire is for us to work as unto Him. Not just to look good, but to truly go to work and do our jobs as if He was our actual boss.

Ephesians 6:5-8, 5 Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6 not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.

                A bondservant, according to the dictionary, is a slave or a person forced to work without wage. Unfortunately there is still slavery going on in different places in the world.  Paul would be speaking directly to those people, but Christians can learn from Paul’s teaching as it also relates to the work place. Paul actually called himself a bondservant of Christ. I have also heard of people in prison catching the truth of these verses and it changed their lives. They not only became the model prisoner, but their conversion was real and they were able to bring other prisoners to Christ. These verses are also excellent for the employee of today. With all the bibles in homes across America, it is quite possible that the lives of Christians walked out in front of bosses, fellow employees, and in our personal time, is the only bible many people read.  This makes me question what people are reading in the lives of Christians today.

                Christians need to always remember that to follow Christ in everything is foremost in our lives. We are never to follow this scripture to the point of doing anything outside of our faith. We need to be mindful that, although our call as Christians is to tell other people about the gospel of Christ, our obligation while at work is to do the job we are paid to do. Taking time from work to witness is no different than the person riding the clock to make more money. Both are stealing from their employer. God is no respecter of persons and He will not be mocked. For those who understand these two principles, to work as unto the Lord will free God’s hands for His blessings to flow through your employer. God is ultimately our source, and He has a mastery of using favor of men to bless us financially. Consequently for those who choose to do just enough to get the job done, don’t be surprised when just enough is all you get paid.

                There is a deeper principle here than doing your best to free God’s hands for your financial blessings.  As I mentioned earlier, most people who own bibles do not open them up and therefore, when they see the lives of Christians they tend to identify or understand what God is all about through our actions. Approach work selfishly and that is what people may think of Christians. We are never alone even when no one is around us. When God sees us working our best in front of our employer, and slacking when alone, we have become men-pleasers in His sight. Luke 16:10-12 is a perfect example of how God looks on diligence. To the one who is faithful in whatever talent he is given and uses that talent even when the boss is not there, he will be rewarded. If you simply choose to just sit on your talent and do just enough to get by, you risk losing what you have. This can even be worse if you are openly touting your Christianity. Not only are you displeasing God, but have allowed the enemy to use you to discredit Christ in front of a non-believer. Your witness will fall on deaf ears.

                To whom much is given, much is required, (Luke 12:48). We have been given the most precious gift of salvation, and to be called a child of God. Do you want to honor God and show him you love Him, live for Him in everything you do including going to work as unto the Lord? To answer the question of what to do when working for a “heathen” boss that does not seem interested in Jesus? Why work as unto the Lord for him? 1 Corinthians 7:23 tells us we were bought with a price and not to be servants of men, so Ephesians 6:5-8 is more than just our actions. Paul is challenging our heart attitude. Matthew 10:42 tells us God looks at our heart, “And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward”. We may not always see our reward completely in this life as there are too many injustices, but to those who do not lose heart, great will be their reward when they reach heaven. 

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December 17

 If you are a business owner or manager of people rule the people under you with grace. Remembering that God is not a respecter of persons.

Ephesians 6:9, And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.

                Human nature has difficulty following the word of God. There seems to be a one-up mentality that creates an internal desire to prove superiority when people are promoted to a higher office. In business there is always “water cooler” talk about the upper management, but as soon as one of those people gets a promotion they change and look down at their previous “water cooler” friends. It saddens me to see some of the same natural behavior in the church. The consistent grappling for the best position is contrary to God’s word. In Matthew 20:25-28 Jesus called His disciples to Himself and pointed out how the Princes of Gentiles lord their positions over each other and said we are not to act like them. (Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.) In the NKJV, the translation uses servant, and to serve instead of minister. The same principle for employees in Verse 5-8, stands for the employer in verse 9, remembering that God is no respecter of persons. An employer or boss should always treat an employee Christ like. In doing so you may change the heart of a non-believer and strengthen the heart of a believer. Dr. Miles Monroe wrote a book on leadership which changed my whole approach of being an employer, a husband, a father, and eventually when I became a pastor. A very simple summation of his book is that to be a good leader one must always look and promote the best in those being lead. A great leader is one who is constantly looking for and training someone to be his/her replacement, understanding that promotion is far better than domination, and exhortation brings forth greater work than condemnation. I recommend his book for anyone in any type of leadership whether it is in the business world or within the church. Do you want to be a great leader, learn to have a servant’s heart in your leadership? 

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December 18

 Our own strength is as a puff of air in a hurricane. Our true strength in all situations can only come from putting on the whole armor of God. Remembering that we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but principalities, and powers of this world.

Ephesians 6:10-11, 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

                In verses 1-9 Paul has given us Godly instructions on how to walk naturally before our children, our boss or employer, and our employees. I have pointed out the spiritual emphasis behind this walk from other verses Paul wrote and Jesus spoke as written in the New Testament. This natural walk can only be the fruit of our walking spiritually with Jesus and will never work if attempted on our own strength. In verse 10 Paul starts with “finally” which some people have mistaken as the “next step” in the growth of a newly born Christian. The misleading statement often preached by those with a limited spiritual understanding is “first in the natural, then the spiritual”, with the emphasis that our outward walk must first change then our spiritual man will be able to grow. These same teachers will use Ephesians 6:10 with 1 Corinthians 15:46, “However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual”, as their platform of works unto righteousness.  I call this “word bites”, as it is similar to the sound bites politicians use on each other to mislead their opponent’s followers. This is an effort to lead people to believe something that might not be true. This deception in the word is from the devil and is his only tool against God’s children. If you read the body of text in 1 Corinthians 15 you will see where Paul is pointing out the difference between Adam, the first man and his spiritual fall in the natural, and Jesus our savior, the Son of God born in the likeness of sinful flesh and His spiritual victory. If we were able to change our natural man in any fashion and that change were able to bring us closer to a right standing with God, then Jesus died in vain and we all should walk by the Law of Moses. Paul is actually emphasizing what we must do in order to live up to verse 1-9 as children of God living in this world.

                The first word in this verse is where most readers, primarily taught on how to live for God verses how to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, will put verses 1-9 as actions needed to be in place then verse 6:10 “Finally” they can put on the whole armor of God. In western language “finally” is typically used as the last in a sequence or the last thing done. When you study the Greek meaning of LOIPOVN the first definition found in the New Testament Greek Lexicon is “remaining, the rest” which is typical with western thinking where finally is the last in a sequence. However, Ephesians was written by a Roman Jew living in the days of Greek supremacy. When you look at the additional meanings of LOIPOVN, you see it also can mean “hereafter, henceforth, for the future”.

                Keep in mind Paul has spent the previous five chapters telling us how special we are to God; where our place is with Him when in Christ Jesus, and that all of our authority as a child of God rests- in the perfect work of Jesus on the cross. When you look at verse 6:10 under this light coupled with Paul’s typical writing ways of emphasis on how we can live in this awesome power of the blood of Jesus, the word “finally” takes on its other meanings. Hereafter, henceforth, for the future here is what you will need to understand, live out, and move in this message of grace; the full armor of God.

                We are to live strong in the “power of His might”, which is clear it is the power of Jesus that we must depend on and not ourselves. Zechariah was told by God in verse 4:6 that it is His power and not mans might that moves on this earth. In John 5:9 & 30, Jesus told the Pharisees that He does nothing of Himself except that which He sees the Father do. In John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. We cannot do anything in our own power, and it is in our weakness that He is made strong 2 Corinthians 12:9. Paul goes on in verse 11 to teach us how to live in His strength and power.

                Most Christians only put on the “helmet of salvation”, by pulling the “I’m saved” card out when in spiritual battle, but that leaves them exposed to the devil and with limited power. There seems to be an understanding of the initial salvation experience and forgiveness of sins, but Christians tend to spend the rest of their lives is some type of “work mode” in maintaining that free gift. That “work mode” of maintaining salvation is the very tool the enemy uses to keep us in doubt. Once we enter doubt we step out of the power God has bestowed on us through the blood of Jesus. The first thing Paul is telling us is to grasp the full meaning behind salvation. It is more than just the initial forgiveness of sins; it is for life and is the power we move in to boldly go to the throne of God, and overcome the sins that so easily ensnare us.

In verse 11 Paul is also telling us to put on the “whole” armor of God, and not just any armor, but His armor. Isaiah 59:17 tells us the Messiah put on the helmet of salvation and the breastplate of righteousness. We are therefore wearing His armor and not ours. This is significant in that when we do go into spiritual battle we wear the correct armor. Paul points out where our battles are in verse 12, but the emphasis is first on preparation. By putting on the whole armor of God, we are dressed in God’s armor, and if we fight like God spiritually, then the Devil not knowing the difference will always back down as he knows he was defeated by God. The only way the Devil will know it is us in battle is if we speak or act in any ungodly manor. So what are we battling? Deception! 

Deception is the only weapon the devil has; he does not have any spiritual or heavenly authority here on earth. He only has what authority we give him due to our lack of understanding. Jesus tells us in Luke 10:18, 19 that He saw Satan fall from heaven and that we have the authority to trample over all of the enemy. When a person is fired from a job, they no longer have any authority with that company. Why do we think God would cast Satan out of heaven and let him keep any of his heavenly authority? All authority comes from God and Jesus paid the price for us to boldly come into the presence of God. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus is telling us where our authority is and how to use it, “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Learn what Jesus has done for us, understand the righteousness of God, and be filled with the Holy Spirit; in by doing so you will be able to put on the whole armor of God. 

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December 19

 Where do envy, strife, and contentions come from? Our lack of understanding of spiritual warfare will cause us to look at a situation between us and another person as a natural conflict. The truth is there is a spiritual warfare going on and you have a choice. You can either being a Pawn or become the King and Priest that God has made you into by putting on the whole armor of God.

Ephesians 6:12, 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

                Where do envy, strife and contentions come from? Why is it that the very sin we want to stay away from is so right in our face? Where is the righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, that Paul speaks of in Galatians 5? Why are we so sin conscious, and Satan fearful to the point we unknowingly attribute more authority and power over our lives to him than we do God? Why are there so many denominations of Christianity today even to the point of finger pointing between churches within a denomination? It is because we do not truly know who we are in Christ, and who God is. We have no real understanding of what He has done for us. We have not understood Ephesians 6:11 and the whole armor of God for starters, and we do not understand the spiritual realm spoken of in Ephesians 6:12. We Christians, just like Peter when he stepped out of the boat and began to walk on water and then sank, are all too quick to look at the natural circumstances and forget all about the spiritual authority that has been given to us. In fact many Christians today do not understand the spiritual authority that we can walk in. If we did, America would not be in the political and financial distress it has reached. It’s June 19, 2008 and America is not in a monetary recession today as the news media and politicians are speaking of, we are in a “spiritual” recession that started many years ago. We are simply reaping the bad fruit of the crops that were sown in the past and are still being watered today. Well did I make you mad or sad? Hopefully I have opened up a door in the hearts of some to begin to look at Ephesians 6:12 with a renewed desire to learn how to overcome the lies in our lives.

                We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities. Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 3:3 that Christians who look at the actions of other Christians are still in carnal thinking. The person that just made you mad is not the one to be mad at, but rather it is either Satan and his deception or yourself and your lack of understanding. I tend to look at our lack of understanding first. Isaiah 5:13 says “Therefore my people have gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge”, Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”, and Job 36:12, “But if they do not obey, they shall perish by the sword, And they shall die without knowledge.” I am not saying someone is going to kill you if you do not have knowledge, but in 1 Peter 5:8 we are told that the Devil is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Most conflict between people is due largely in part to lack of knowledge, and especially between believers. Who we need to take the battle to is Satan, and “against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”. Satan is a defeated foe and we have been given the keys to bind and loose. (Matthew 16:19 & 18:18)

I have heard it preached falsely that we, Christians, are not to bring reviling accusations against the enemy using one verse from Jude 1:9, “Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!". This verse is often coupled wrongly with 1 Chronicles 16:22, & Psalms 105:15 which states “touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm”. We must look at verses in their entirety and line them up with the New Testament. In Jude, he is speaking of non-Christians, ungodly people. Jesus Himself often confronted the religious leaders in His day, to the point of calling them whitewashed tombs. At another point He turned to Peter after Peter made a statement that did not line up with the word of God and said “get behind me Satan”. God’s true anointed will, for the most part, speak truth that lines up with the entire Spirit of the New Testament and not stumble on a specific verse into legalism. When legalism and condemnation seem to be the focal point of a person’s speech, the chances are high that they are not moving in God’s anointing at that time. Beside every Christian, a true follower of Christ, is the Anointed one. Jesus’ blood is our anointing. The non-believer here on earth is similar to Michael the Arch Angel; they do not have the authority here on earth like God’s children do to speak God’s word with power. When we put on the whole armor of God, Satan sees Him not us, and as we grow in God, Satan recognizes our authority in Christ Jesus. Look at Acts 19:15 when an evil spirit refused to be cast out by non-Christians, “And the evil spirit answered and said, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?". Acts 19:13-16 is worth reading as it depicts the total lack of authority a non-Christian has in the spirit world. In these verses is a clear example of spiritual warfare without the warrior wearing the “whole armor of God”. Just knowing the words or worse yet repeating words you have heard from the pulpit without studying to make them your own, is like wearing your helmet of salvation, and no other armor. You will lose! Yes we are to take the battle to the enemy, providing we have the whole armor of God. 

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December 20

 The enemy knows our weaknesses; we show them to him all the time when we allow natural things to disturb us. Whether it is temptations, or all out attacks, when we find ourselves in a battle we must remember that the battle belongs to the Lord. By taking up the whole armor of God, not just pick and choosing, but put on the whole armor then we can stand regardless of what the enemy throws at us or who he uses to do the throwing.

Ephesians 6:13-14, 13 therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 

                Paul has already told us to put on the whole armor of God in verse 11, and this time he not only tells us again, but goes further to explain why. We are fighting spirits in a spiritual battle and our natural carnal defenses and weapons will not hold up in this battle. You can never live right enough, work hard enough, or follows the rules close enough to have the armor and weapons necessary to battle Satan and his evil ones. We need to also keep in mind that Paul is relating to born-again believers that saw with their own eyes how the mighty warriors of the Roman Empire dressed and fought. They were not a mighty nation by accident and by relating to their armaments; Paul is better able to explain what type of God’s armor is needed. We live in the evil day and have been since the days of John the Baptist, Matthew 11:12, as spoken of by Jesus. God’s children are called to be meek not weak.

                “And having done all to stand”, is actually a command, not just a simple passing statement. In God’s army, the only losers are the ones that do not get back up when they fall down. Our walk is not one of perfection without its own failures and short comings. As I have said before, if we could do this on our own then Jesus died in vain. Verse 13 also implies that if we do fail and get knocked down it is because we did not have on the whole armor of God. We were not using all of the armor of God available to us. Notice also, that the whole armor of God verses 14-18 is more than just protection in which to stand still and let the enemy wear himself out on us until he falls down from exhaustion. The word does not say stand still and not fight, it says having done all to stand, stand therefore. Paul is telling us that in spiritual warfare, after we have done all we can to put on the whole armor of God, to trust it and stand in the battle. Christians are more often willing to put on their helmet of salvation and then do the poke and run. They will poke at the devil with a few words of God and when he roars, they run holding on to their salvation helmet. Remember back in verse 12, you are in a wrestling match and the enemy wants your life. Even in the natural, if it comes to a life and death situation a person will fight with all they have. They will strive to not go down. Our spiritual battle must have the same level of tenacity. The armor of God is not just protection to wear; it is only complete when we use it including the accompanying weapons. There are actually seven pieces, but eight aspects of God’s armor in verses 14-18 and most people including me, for a long time, only saw the seven. Five are defensive and two are for offence. We see the belt, breastplate, shoes, shield, and helmet as the defensive equipment, and we see the sword and prayer for offence, but we miss verse 11 & 13 which is preparation. None of the other pieces of armor can function in their fullest capacity if the user has not prepared themselves with the proper study and training of the armor. Before David went into battle against Goliath, he first put on Saul’s armor, but quickly took it off as it did not fit him and he had not previously tried it.

                Verse 14 tells us to gird our waist with truth. In Paul’s day men often wore tunics and the soldiers sometimes wore something similar to a Kilt. During a battle or field event, the men would gird their waist, or tuck their clothing up under their belt so they would not get tangled up in their own clothing. This is similar to us going into spiritual battle with all kinds of fleshly junk and non-truths hanging all around us in our minds with which we get tangled up in. We are to wrap ourselves up in God’s truth. Truth about who we are, who He is, and the full authority we have, and the thoughts He has toward us. We have to know the word for ourselves. In Greco wrestling, the opponents would try to control each other by pulling on the belt, and if a belt was to come off, that person lost the match. Satan only has lies and deceit as weapons to remove our belt, but John 14:6 tells us Jesus is the truth. We must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and let Him and His truth gird our waist.

                The bible tells us there are two types of righteousness, man’s and God’s. First we must understand that man’s righteousness is as filthy rags in God’s sight. (Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3:10, Psalms 14:3 & 53:3) Secondly and most importantly we must realize that with our heart one believes unto righteousness. Romans 10:10-11. God’s righteousness is our breastplate and we receive this at salvation. In the Roman army a soldier would never be without his breastplate. It was the single most important piece of equipment for hand-to-hand combat as it protects all of the vital organs. Interesting point is the breastplate was always securely attached to the solders belt as was his sword. Our breastplate of righteousness can only be held securely in place by the belt of truth.    

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December 21

 The military knows that the ability for a soldier to perform their best at whatever they physically train for in starts with having the right shoe or boot for the right job. How often do we pick up our shield of faith or sword of the spirit to do battle, but our feet are not shod completely with the gospel of peace? 

Ephesians 6:15-16, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

                It is not surprising that Paul would continue in the same venue of armor for a solder in these two versus. Of all people we read of in the New Testament, Paul had the greatest opposition. In 1 Corinthians 16:9 he tells us there is a great and effective door open for him to preach the gospel, but there is much opposition. Paul is trying to prepare us for the battle that is sure to come. The very moment a Christian makes the decision to stand on the word of God no matter what, they will experience the pressure from the enemy. This surprised many new Christians, it did me. At first I thought all of my friends would think it was great and want to become a Christian along with me. I also thought everything in life was going to get instantly better. Neither happened! What I found was that my decision was just that, “my” decision. Secondly I had made the decision from my heart, but my knowledge and understanding of the gospel was null. In fact I spent many years just going to church without joining any type of bible study, therefore the only word that got into me was the preached word. That is just not enough. We must remember that even though Paul had his Damascus road conversion and immediately began to preach the gospel he was not a rookie. Paul knew the Torah, and in his own words was a Pharisee of Pharisees.

                For the Roman soldier, the armor they wore was actually a daily way of life. Even their shoes, which were actually sandals, were not typical. They had spikes in the bottom of them for traction for running into a battle and for stability in hand-to-hand combat. Every other army had traditional flat sandals and during battle they would slip or get tired faster from having to constantly re adjust their footing to keep from slipping. The same goes for the Christian; slipping on the word and constantly re adjusting our thoughts, gives the enemy a huge advantage over us. Remember the last statement in verse 13 and the first statement in verse 14, “and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore”. Have you done all to stand? The beginning my Christian lifestyle seemed to lean toward living on the side of my flesh and slipping into the side of God’s righteousness. With God’s love and His grace, as I put the word of God, “with the preparation of the gospel of peace”, into my heart my lifestyle changed. Today I tend to live longer and longer in His righteousness and slip less and less into the side of my flesh. We will never reach the perfect man as long as we live here on earth, but with Jesus standing for us, and by learning the word of God we can draw closer every day.

                In verse 16 Paul lists a part of armor that is actually not worn and put great importance on it. In the Old Testament we read of two different types of shields used by soldiers. One is called a buckler which was small and actually worn on the weakest forearm which was light enough to move and deflect the attacking blows of the enemy’s weapon. This is the first line of protection for the soldier in hand – to – hand combat. All other armor was a secondary protection for the non-deflected blow. This is not the shield of faith Paul is referring to. There was a second and much larger shield used in Old Testament battle. Keep in mind hand-to-hand combat did not happen until after the attacking army was able to breach the protective walls of the city to be conquered. The breastplate and later on the chainmail worn under the breastplate was metal which would harm the wearer just with simple movement. The soldier had to first wear thick wool under garments to protect his skin from the metal rubbing against his skin. One of the deadliest and most difficult weapons to protect oneself from was the arrow because it was silent and often came without warning. The fiery darts were smaller arrows that had a patch of wool attached at the point and were dipped in pitch and set on fire. When the archers on the wall saw the approaching army, they would shoot these fiery darts high into the sky allowing them to fall down on the army catching their wool undergarments on fire. The shield Paul is talking about was the large body length wooden shield with silver or gold, hammered onto the outer surface that the fiery darts would bounce off of and fall to the ground. This allowed the approaching army to get close enough to breach the weakest wall of the city to be conquered. 

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December 22

 The helmet of salvation is the part of the armor a Christian should never take off. As long as there is question or doubt of one’s salvation, the mind is left vulnerable to the schemes of the enemy or simply the pull of this world. 

Ephesians 6:17-18 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—

                The helmet of salvation is a part of the armor a Christian should never take off. Although a Roman soldier would take his helmet off when leaving a battle and on his way back home or in celebrating a victory, we can never let go of our knowledge of salvation. Paul is relating the Roman soldier’s helmet which protects his head, the most vital part of the body, to our knowledge of the word of God. In Romans 8:7 Paul tells us that the carnal mind is enmity to God and can never be subject to the law. In Romans 12:2 Paul tells us not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of the mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Remember that for a Christian, to follow the world’s ways of religion verses developing a relationship with God through Jesus Christ is no different than living the world’s way of life and trying to be Godly. Both are flesh driven.

                The sword of the spirit is without a doubt the Word of God. This verse says it and yet we tend to forget its true meaning. The Devil is a legalist. He understands the power and bondage of the law. He also understands the power of the blood of Jesus and its ability to set us free from the bondage of the law that we might be able to have a relationship with God.

                Christians often forget that we are in a war, yes we have the victory, but we still must take the fight to the enemy. We must take our land. The moment we confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we become another adversary to Satan. He never forgets he is in a war and we often forget there is not a demilitarized Zone. The battle is consistent; you are either in God’s army or you are in the Devil’s camp. In Matthew 11:12 Jesus tells us of the war we are entering, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force”. We are called to take our land, but we must get past the fiery darts of the enemy to even get into the battle. How many of God’s children get wounded and even die or give up because of one of these fiery darts. Matthew 19:26, Mark 9:23 & 10:27, Jesus tells us that if we believe with God all things are possible. So what are these fiery darts and how does faith quench them? .

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December 23

 We need to see ourselves according to the word of God and not judge ourselves by any words spoken to or about us by man. Our situation in life does not define who we are, but who we are will define how we handle any situation in life. Without wearing the whole armor of God daily, a Christian is leaving himself open for suggestion, oppression, and condemnation from the enemy and the pressures of this world.

Ephesians 6:20 & 24, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

                I have learned a great deal from the life of Paul in addition to his teachings. Here we see a man that is under Roman guard and in chains and yet he does not see himself as a prisoner of man. Paul’s claim is that of an ambassador for Christ. Bottom line, we need to see who we are according to the word of God and not judge ourselves by the words spoken to or about us, nor give any regard to the situation in life we may find ourselves in. We are children of the Most High God, joint heirs with Christ Jesus, Him being the first born of many brethren. In the fullness of this understanding is our strength, and yet even in that strength we need the prayers of fellow saints. Paul has asked for this very prayer, that he may speak boldly as he ought to speak. The word is clear in Matthew 10:32 & Luke 12:8 that if we confess Jesus before man, He will confess us before God. What an awesome honor for our Lord and Savior to confess us before God. Paul recognizes the weakness of the flesh and in doing so finds strength in the knowledge of fellow believers interceding on his behalf.

                24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. This verse is the summation of the entire chapter of Ephesians, and the one thing Christians have the most difficulty understanding; God’s grace. As precious a gift as this is, Christians as a whole do not know how to fully open it up, much less receive it. After all we start out life as a child learning cause and effect, praise vs. condemnation. We do well in school, we make a good grade. We fail in a class we have to start over. We break a rule we get a spanking or some other consequences. We work hard at our jobs we get a raise, goof off and get fired. Now all of a sudden we hear the gospel and are to receive the most precious gift ever, and all we have to do is believe and confess. Where is my sticker chart and what are the consequences for each little mistake I make? What do I have to do to pay for this free gift? Silly questions yet they are at the base of every lie and deceitful word spoken by Satan. I encourage every believer to re study this book throughout their walk with the Lord. Find out who you are in Christ Jesus and find out who God really is and the true love He has for us. 

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December 24

 Man’s efforts are futile at pleasing God as a means of any kind of payback for what God did for us through Jesus’ death on the cross.  God does not desire our sacrifices; He desires us. There is a huge difference. One is a state of doing which only keeps us focused on our flesh. The other is a state of being which keeps us focused on the spirit. The state if being a child of God has already been spiritually established by Jesus’ perfect work on the cross. 

Hebrews 10: 4, 4 “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

                For starters we must remember what God spoke over man in the beginning. In Genesis 1:28 God gave man dominion over all the fish in the sea, birds in the air, and every living creature that moves on the earth. Man’s value is far greater that the value of any creature. We must also remember that God made man in His own image. Finally I want to remind you that in any economy you cannot pay for anything with something of less value. What does this mean; because of the value God has placed on man there is no way any animal sacrifice could be the value of a single man’s life.

                We must also remember that to have dominion over anything does not give the right to abuse it, but in fact one must care for those whom he has dominion over. If you read Genesis 1:29-31 it is clear that the original plan for man was never to eat the animals nor the animals eat each other in what is called today, the food chain. It is apparent from the actions God took to physically cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness that the fall of man also brought on death. Even more so the loss of blood was necessary to temporarily cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness caused by their sin and therefore animals were slain for the tunics of skin. Romans 8:19-22 tells us that the whole creation was subjected to futility and has eagerly waited for our revealing to the point of groaning with birth pangs until now. Why would the whole creation groan and pang waiting for now? What is the “now”, that Paul is referring to?

                None of what life is like with its strife, turmoil, disease, and death was a part of God’s original plan for His creation. Especially the continual sacrificing of animals, over and over and over for no real purpose, but to keep the children of Israel focused on their helpless state in life without the mercy of God. When Jesus died on the cross, His death not only paid for our sins, but it was the beginning of setting things back into the right direction of spiritual order. Instead of trying to hold on to or incorporate a portion of the Old Testament laws and even sacrificial ways of life, Christians need to full embrace the relationship with our God that Jesus paid for with His own blood. God truly prepared a human body for Him to enter into, and it was only through His perfection living as a man could He meet His perfect expectation. Meditate on what I just revealed; only God being perfect Himself could have ever met the perfect expectation He set forth for the children of Israel to follow. This is why I say that any form of legalism, whether it is from the Old Testament or worse from a man’s thinking, that man tries to incorporate into his walk with Jesus Christ only taints His perfect blood sacrifice. 

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December 25

 Jesus built the bridge over the spiritual crevasse that separated man from God as the result of the fall of Adam. That bridge was His life, and His blood shed for us. Put your hammer down and stop trying to build what God has already done and run across that bridge and jump into your Daddy’s arms. 

Hebrews 10:5-7, 5 “Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. 7 Then I said, 'Behold, I have come-- In the volume of the book it is written of Me-- To do Your will, O God.' "

                What many people reading Hebrews fail to realize is verses 5-7 are actually written as a reminder to the Hebrews what King David had already written. The Old Testament points to what we have today under the New Covenant that was paid for by the life of Jesus on the cross. Psalms 40:6-8 is the reference where David reveals to the children of Israel that God does not desire sacrifice and offerings. If you read and meditate on Psalms 39 it is clear how futile man’s life is compared to the eternity and presence of God. Whatever man’s best could possibly be is nothing to who God is and what He has already done. If you think about this you have to ask yourself; is there any sacrifice, any offering, anything whatsoever that man could do, or think of, or create, that would account for any value to God with all He has already done for us? No! So what does God actually want from us? Our love for Him and a relationship with us individually.  If Christians could grasp this depth and truth we would have greater peace in our lives and could walk with greater authority in our walk with Jesus while here on earth. This is the reason Jesus told His disciples, and consequently us in John chapters 14-16, that He would send the Helper, the Holy Spirit from God because we cannot understand or handle everything God has already done with just our own carnal thinking. Christians from all denominations who hold so tightly to the doctrines of man are doing so because they do not fully understand what Jesus did on the cross nearly 2000 years ago. He did so much more than just pay for our sins, He gave us life and life abundantly. He built the bridge over the spiritual crevasse that separated man from God as a result of the fall of Adam. Jesus put everything back into spiritual order. There is nothing we can do to please God, or pay God, or offer to God, that He would want other than to love Him and fellowship with Him.  Everything written in the bible is summed up in Jesus and His perfect work on the cross. .

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December 26

 God never intended for man to be under the Old Covenant forever and in Proverbs 40:6-8 King David prophesied of Jesus’ coming to do God’s will. God’s will was that man be able to have a personal relationship with Him again as in the days of Adam, not spending all of His days in fear and in sacrifice.

Hebrews 10:8-11, 8 “Previously saying, "Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them" (which are offered according to the law), 9 then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God." He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.”

Verse 8 starts out with “Previously saying” and basically repeats the previous verses about how God is not pleased with Sacrifice and offerings for sin. And when asked what these verses truly mean the typical response is that God does not want us to sacrifice animals for our sin any longer, which is true. However, we must remember that God never intended for the Old Covenant to last forever which includes every aspect of the Old Covenant and sacrificing of animals was just a portion of the Law. Verse nine sums up the whole truth of what God did through Jesus on the cross. He has taken away the first covenant and when God removes something He does not want man to bring it back. When it comes to covenants with God, what He establishes He upholds, therefore, for Him to take away the first covenant would have only been for the purpose of establishing a better one. In your mind this makes since and most people will think they understand it, but do you?

The Old Covenant was about keeping the children of Israel conscious of their sins and in constant need for God’s mercy daily. Hebrews 9:9 tells us that even the sacrifices of animals cannot cleans our conscience, but in Hebrews 9:14 we see that Jesus’s sacrifice is not only for forgiveness of our sins, but the cleansing of our conscious. Why would God want our conscious cleansed? Romans 8:5 tells us that is we set our minds on the things of the flesh, we are in the flesh. To be focused on the flesh and the things of this world is to not be focused on God and the things of heaven which is far more important. By establishing a New Covenant where both our sins are forgiven and our conscious is cleansed we can now focus on our personal relationship with God which is why man was created in the first place. This is great news and I believe most Christians reading this would agree with it, however, are you free from being conscious of your sins? Do you feel you can boldly go to God regardless of what you may or may not have done? If you looked at your overall walk as a Christian would you say your focus is on your relationship with Him or your attendance to church and following your denomination’s requirements? These are hard questions to look at and if done so honestly you should see where there needs to be change at least in some areas of your walk. That’s good!

God gave these questions / challenges to me many years ago when I was need deep in religious works and legalism. I was miserable and in all honesty I did not have a relationship with God I was just religious and yet called myself a Christian. I want to add that during those dark legalistic times in my walk as a Christian, I was going to a non-denominational church. Just because you may not be going to a mainstream denomination, chances are you are still being taught some form of man’s doctrines, rules, or often referenced back to the Old Testament to point out faults and needs for change instead of using the Old Testament to point toward what Jesus did on the cross. Let the revelation of your works come to light so God can reveal His revelation of how much He has done for you because of the deep love He has for you. Review the last portion of verse 10 where it tells us that the offering of the body of Jesus Christ was once for all. According to verse 11 even the priests standing daily making offerings and sacrifice repeatedly cannot take away sins, so why hold so tight to laws, rules, judgments, and Old Testament ways of life when you have been given total freedom to lay “all” of that down and have a relationship with God solely on Jesus’ perfect work.   

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December 27

 Jesus was referred to as Son of God 45 times in the gospels and but only five references of His calling Himself Son of Man and they all were in the book of John. 85 times throughout the other three gospels Jesus referred to Himself as Son of Man. As Son of Man His work of miracles was only while He was here on earth. As Son of God He is at the right hand of God and His work was the forgiveness of our sins. Now that He is sitting at the right Hand of God making intercession for us, our work is to fulfill His ministry of teaching about the kingdom of heaven and if filled with the Holy Spirit that He sent to us, we too can work in that same power.  

Hebrews 10:12-13, “12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.”

                In the New Testament Jesus is referred to as the Son of God and the Son of Man. Here is a few interesting points about both true statements. The Devil challenged Jesus in the wilderness and said, if He was the Son of God. His Disciples declared that He was truly the Son of God when He stilled the stormy waters while in the boat. The Pharisees accused Him of claiming to be the Son of God. When He died on the cross and the earth shook the centurions realized and declared that Jesus was the Son of God. Mark and Luke both declared Jesus to be the Son of God and when the demons saw Him and spoke, they called Him Son of God. When Jesus referenced His spiritual authority to forgive sins, or in healing the sick He called Himself Son of God as found in John 3:18, 5:25, 9:35, 10:36, and 11:4. However, eighty five times when Jesus spoke of His life and His actions here on earth He called Himself son of Man. Because He was born of a woman by the power of the Holy Spirit, He was spiritually Son of God. We know by John 1:1-3, 14, and 1 Timothy 3:16 that in fact Jesus was God in Spirit while in the form of Man. Where we need to focus our attention on is His reference to Himself as Son of Man. He was establishing the truth that He was a Man born under the Law and therefore had to live His life perfect as a Man under the Law, otherwise the grave could have held Him. As Son of Man, His ministry while here on earth was teaching the kingdom of heaven was at hand. As Son of Man His death paid for our sins because He went to the cross on our behalf.

Why is this so important to emphasis the difference between the two descriptions of Jesus? As Son of Man His work was only while He was here on earth, and according to Romans 8:11 and Ephesians 1:19-20 it was the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the grave. As Son of God He now sits at the right hand of God making intercession for us and waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool. The only enemy against man that remains to be under Christ’s feet is our natural death. The day will come when the enemy of death will also be under His feet. In the meantime Jesus’ work is done here on earth.

If you look at His work here on earth it all started when He was filled with the Holy Spirit. His life of perfection which prevented death and the grave from holding Him was because He was God in the flesh; the Son of God. His power to do miracles as Son of Man while here on earth was through the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul tells us in Romans 8:11 that if the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the grave is in you He will quicken your mortal body. The Greek word for quicken means to produce spiritual power to arouse and invigorate life, this is more than just our being spiritually raised from the dead. This spiritual power is the Holy Spirit and His purpose is to help us live our lives to the fullest, and complete the ministry Jesus started while He was here on earth. All sin has been taken out of the way and the only two things keeping us from moving in the same power Jesus moved in when He was here on earth, is our receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit and our belief and confidence of Jesus’ perfect work on the cross. 

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December 28

 For by one offering, and that of Himself, Jesus has forever perfected those who are being set apart which is the true meaning of sanctification. Since that one offering perfected our sanctification, there is no other offering to be made for sin. Therefore any effort we exert to please God or to pay a penance as a result of our sins is not accepted. All God wants from us today is to fellowship with Him through our faith in the completion of what Jesus did on the cross.

Hebrews 10:14-18, 14 “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. 15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, 16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them," 17 then He adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.”

                Do you realize that if you have accepted Jesus into your heart as Lord and Savior that spiritually you have received His Spirit making you spiritually a son of God? (Galatians 4:6) As a born again believer you are now 100% 1/3 perfect – your spirit is perfect. Your body is defiled, can never be changed, and will die someday. Your Soul is made up of your emotions, morals, and learned lifestyles, but this is what we are supposed to begin changing through the power of the Holy Spirit. (1 Peter 1:9). This perfection in spirit is because of what Jesus did on the cross.

                The “being sanctified” actually means being set apart. Sanctification is not holiness or righteousness as some people misunderstand. The Greek word translated into sanctified actually means to render, acknowledge, to purify through separation. As Christians we live on this earth, but are not of the world any longer. We are citizens of heaven waiting for our trip home someday. This separation and perfection of spirit is forever and those who have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit have the opportunity to fully understand this. Notice I said “have the opportunity”? Just being Spirit filled does not warrant compete understanding; you first have to learn to hear His voice and allow Him to do His job which is reveal all that is Christ’s to us.  And as Helper, lead us into the truth of God’s love for His children.

                The word is clear that God will put His laws into our hearts. We can know what is right and what we shouldn’t do. We can know when and when not to do something, but to hear this internal knowledge is to first train yourself to hear His voice. Remember that the Holy Spirit is not here to convict God children. John 16:8 & 12 makes this very clear that the Holy Spirit is here to convict the world of sin not point out our faults. He is here to help God’s children which are those who choose to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

                Verse 18 should be a flashing red light in the eyes of someone holding on to man’s doctrines to justify their own righteousness or who believe they must go confess every sin they stumble into. I am not saying that we can throw care to the wind and just allow our fleshly desires to rule us. People who hear the message of grace and buy the lie that they can live as they wish regardless of sin, have never truly understood the power of the message of grace. My opinion is people who hear and accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, but remain in sinful lifestyles, never wanted to change in the first place. They possibly go to church or listening to a teaching just to hear about their free gift of salvation and do not to truly develop a relationship with God.

There is “NO OTHER” offering available today for people’s sins. No amount of repentant actions or church attendance or works can remove or wash away our sins. This statement is actually true for everyone in the world and especially for those who claim Jesus as Lord and Savior. People are no longer convicted of their sins, the conviction that keeps them from going to heaven when they die is for not accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Jesus Himself tells us this in John 3:17-18 & John 12:47-48; these four verses confirm Jesus’s death on the cross was for all mankind’s sins, but only for those who choose to accept His death on the cross as payment for their sins. For anyone who is holding onto Calvinism that God chooses who will and who will not go to heaven, or Christian Universalism where God will bring everyone to heaven regardless of their religion because of what Jesus did on the cross; must have never read these four verses. Both religious schools of thought are wrong; plain and simple! If a person does not choose to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior they will NOT go to heaven. Just to make this perfectly clear Paul also confirms this in Romans 10:9-10. 

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December 29

 It is God’s desire that we boldly enter into His presence. Not beggarly, or with remorse or fearful for to approach God in that manner is to not fully believe that He is the one that made the way for us to come to Him through the blood of His only Son Jesus. This beggarly, remorseful, or fearful thinking can only come from our lack of faith or full understanding of what Jesus did when He died on the cross and then rose from the dead to sit at God’s right hand.

Hebrews 10:19-20, 19 “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,”

                Verse 19 is conformation of Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in our time of need”. I have found that many Christians to not fully grasp or even know we have this privilege. My natural response is which one of you with a loving father could not go to him for help when you were in need? The problem with that statement is there are so many fathers today who are missing or do not understand the love of God and therefore cannot show it correctly. The truth is, people have a difficult time accepting the message of grace because we live in such a harsh and unforgiving world. We must remember that the world is fallen, but God’s kingdom is not of this world. Because God’s kingdom is not of this world but heavenly what could we ever do naturally to enter into His kingdom much less His presence? The answer coming from your mouth should be nothing and you answered correctly. However, I ask that you examine your personal walk to see if you have doubt of His complete acceptance of you? Is your commitment to the denominational and church requirements because you believe that is what God requires of you? If you answer is yes or even sometimes to either of these questions you still missing the full picture of the blood of Jesus that was shed for you.

                Verse 20 says we were consecrated by a new and living way which is His flesh. I want you to focus on the “new” in this verse. If something is new then it is either a provision for something that was originally missing, or it is a replacement for something that has grown old. If you were a Gentile (non-Jew), then this “New Covenant” is now provided where something was originally missing. Let that statement set into your heart. As a Gentile you were never under the Law of Moses, only the children of Israel. With this understanding your next question should be, “if I was never under the Law of Moses in the first place, why would I be under that Law now that have I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior”?  The answer is you are not under the Law! The Law has nothing to do with you, so why are you striving to uphold something that was never yours?  I must add that if your denominational up bringing has you following specific rules, ways of life, and/or rituals you are still trying to place yourself under some type of law that you were never under in the first place. Jesus’ death on the cross was not the ushering in of a new religion with a set of hybrid laws where grace and chosen laws or regulations are blended together. Jesus ushered in a way of relationship with God, not new rules to please Him. Remember that we enter into the presence of God by the blood of Jesus and to add any effort of our own, as some additional requirement to enter His presence, is in fact saying the blood of Jesus was not enough. This truth of our not being under any law does not give us privilege to sin or not change a godless lifestyle. In fact the sincere knowledge of who you are in Christ and what His death on the cross truly paid the price for, should empower you to make the changes needed in your lifestyle.  And if you were originally a Jew under the Old Covenant, the New Covenant is just that; “New”. 2 Corinthians 5:17 confirms this, 17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” You are now free from the bondage of religion to have a relationship with your God. Think of it in this manner, by being in a personal relationship with God you are taking Him with you everywhere you go and He is there in everything you do. This being said, how can you decide to allow a sinful temptation to take over you or remain in a sin lifestyle?

                The other word from verse 20 I wanted to focus on is “living”. Living has nothing to do with death, death is the end of what was once living. The Old Covenant was wrapped around death with the constant sacrifice of animals and set rules or ways of life whose only purpose was to keep the children of Israel focused on death and the need for God’s grace when death does come. Jesus’s death and resurrection ushered in a relationship with God for the living. 2 Corinthians 5:15, 1 Thessalonians 5:10, & 2 Timothy 2:11 all reference Jesus dying that we can live. In John 10:10 Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Can you see the “new and living way” that Hebrews 10:20 is referencing? If you are beginning to see the truth of the gospel and you know the word where it says “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33), then it becomes clear that God is not the one behind the mixture of part grace/part works religion that so many Christians have been taught to believe. If it is not God then it can only be from the Devil. The Devil knows the law and from his temptations of Jesus in the wilderness, he also knows the word of God and twists it out of context. I think he knows God’s word better than most Christians do and the only power he has against us is to twist God’s word to our destruction. Also from John 10:10 we can clearly see that the Devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He does not need to put much effort at keeping the world in dysfunction, man does a good enough job of that on his own. The only people that the Devil is concerned with is Christians and what better way to steal the gospel of peace, kill the joy of being a Christian, and destroy the walk of a believer than to twist the word of grace and add in the message of the Law into teachings from the pulpit. Jesus warns us in Matthew 16:6 & 11, Mark 8:15, and Luke 12:1 to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. In Matthew 16:12 He is explicit that He is referencing the doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees which is legalism. Paul warns us in 1 Corinthians 5:6 and Galatians 5:9 that even a little leaven leavens the whole lump.  Since Paul taught against the doctrines of legalisms he could only be referencing sermons of the gospel that are laced with legalisms. In Galatians 5:4 Paul warns us, “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. “

For most people how you were originally taught, and what you were originally taught, dictates how you study and what you are most likely to learn and believe for the rest of your life.  This is a truth in the natural and transfers over to our spiritual walk as Christians. Unless you make a conscious effort to begin seeing the gospel of grace and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth, it is quite possible that you can be so strong in your faith regarding what you were originally taught, that the word of God cannot even stumble you into learning the truth. 

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December 30

 By first understanding that those who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior are now the house of God, and having full faith in Jesus and what He did for us, we can now go to God with a true heart and a cleansed conscious.

Hebrews 10:21-22, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

                Are you aware that the church as a whole is considered the house of God? Hebrews 3:6, “but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.” Paul also confirms this in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 where he explains that the body of Christ, which is the Church, is the temple of God. Jesus is the High Priest over His church which is His house. Now think of all of the different and biblically conflicting denominations, rules, and laws that have been brought into the house since Jesus’ death and resurrection. None of this could have ever been from God because Jesus ushered in a way of relationship, not another religion. 

                Drawing near with a true heart of full assurance of faith can only be accomplished by setting your mind on spiritual things like Jesus’ perfect work on the cross. God’s decision to send His only Son to die for our sins. And God’s predestined way to come to Him freely through our faith in the blood of Jesus which was shed for us. Romans 8:5 tells us that those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh. The Laws of Moses and the Prophets along with all of the rituals, washings, and sacrifices are things of the flesh and have no spiritual cleaning power, but were in fact given to produce sin consciousness. Go read Hebrews 10:1-4 and the bible study for conformation that the purpose of the Laws of Moses were to maintain the doer’s sin consciousness. Sin is the fleshly fruit of a deeper spiritual root issue which is a direct correlation to a lack of personal connection with Jesus. Think of this like the action of a pendulum; the more your thoughts swing toward works, rituals, religion, and personal condemnation, the further your thoughts will be on what God did spiritually for us through Jesus’ death on the cross. As Christians if we keep our minds on fleshly religious ordinances, rules, and doctrines, our conscious will always be focused on our sin nature and therefore we are living in the flesh and not spiritually. This focus will keep our mental door open for fleshly and worldly temptations that lead to sinful actions and thoughts, or worse yet cause us to doubt in God’s willingness to answer our prayers or help in our times of need. This fleshly thinking is in direct opposition to what the word of God tells us back in Hebrews 4:14. (Go read this)   

The second half of Romans 8:5 tells us that if we live according to the Spirit, than our minds will be on the spirit. Jesus sprinkled His blood sacrifice of the heavenly alter as explained in Hebrews 9:24-28 for the purpose of spiritually purifying those who accept Him as Lord and Savior. Colossians 1:21-23 tells us we were once alienated in “our minds” by wicked works, but are now reconciled through Jesus’ death. This reconciliation makes us holy, blameless, and above reproach in His sight, if we remain grounded in the gospel of Jesus. Here is a truth that Christians must grasp. The word of God is true and perfect, but not all of the word of God is the gospel. The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ and His perfect work on the cross for our full and complete redemption. Not all scripture is about the gospel, but either points toward the gospel or explains why we need to believe in the gospel. The reason I bring this up is I have heard many times that all scripture is gospel. If you take any scripture from the Old or New Testament that points to anything other than Jesus and His perfect work on the cross, then that verse is taken out of context of the overall message of God’s grace which is fully established in the gospel of Jesus. The Old Testament points toward the New Testament and the New Testament points to the gospel of Jesus Christ. And the gospel is that Jesus’ perfect work on the cross paid the full price, once and for all, for all of our sins so we can boldly come to God separate from our fleshly actions or sacrifices, and have a relationship with Him as Adam did before his fall. This can only happen through complete faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Not only are our personal efforts of no effect on our righteous ability to come to God, but our efforts of fleshly righteousness will keep our focus off of Jesus.    

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December 31

 The first covenant required earthly service as a means of maintaining a godly conscience. The New Covenant creates a godly conscience which empowers the believer to enter into godly service while here on earth.

Hebrews 9:1-7, 1 Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. 2 For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; 3 and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, 4 which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. 6 Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. 7 But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people's sins committed in ignorance;

                The first seven verses are actually a sharp contrasts between the Old and New Covenants that is often overlooked. They had ordinances which are simply laws, rules, and commands on how to serve in the temple which was confined to earthly things. We have an open door of freedom to enter into the throne of grace in heaven where we are empowered from on High to live in His kingdom while here on earth. Their tabernacle was prepared by man’s hands with material things which were separated by a veil from the rest of the population where only the priests could enter. Psalms 23:5-6 tells us that God prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies; He anoints our head with oil; and our cup runs over with goodness and mercy following us all the days of our life. They had a second veil to the Holy of Holies keeping even the priests out except the chosen High Priest, and he could only enter once a year. Jesus tore the veil into so we could have instant access to God simply through our faith in His perfect work on the cross. They had a gold covered box called the Ark of the Covenant with items of importance, kept inside the box out of sight, as a reminder of the great things God had done for them. We have a personal covenant in our heart, and we are God’s treasure placed in full sight of all man proclaiming His great love for us. They had two fixed statues of Cherubim overlooking the Ark where a man would sprinkle the blood of bulls and goats on it once a year for atonement of sins till the next year. We have an alter in heaven where Jesus sprinkled His blood for all of our sins for now and forever more. No one can discuss in detail what any of these items listed in verse 1-5 truly looked like because God has hidden them from man that we would not hold them in higher significance than Jesus. We can discuss in detail who Jesus is because He lives forever in us proclaiming His victory for our lives.

                Question; which covenant do you want to be under? At first this seems to be an easy answer, however Hebrews was written to Jewish converts to help guide them back into a walk of faith instead of their original walk of works. God added Hebrews to the bible to help us from drifting into a fruitless walk of works instead of maintaining our walk of faith.