The Pastor And The Prophet

Living on a small farm with livestock such as sheep, we often have predators come to disrupt the herd and snatch away the little lambs. The best way to keep our territory safe for the flock to grow and flourish is for us to have a few dogs.

To this end we have two very different dogs with very different gifts, skills, and builds. First we have a small beagle named Hanna. Beagles have the strongest nose of any of the dog breeds. So much so that it’s practically an extrasensory perception. Beagles see more with their nose then with their eyes. They can pick up when a predator is lurking when no one else knows anything is happening. They know when it is approaching before it even gets their. Once the foe is there the beagle knows its paths, tactics, and tricks and can track it down when others (judging by sight and limited smell) still think that all is well.

However, for all her discernment, tenacity, devotion, and bravery, she would get herself killed without some help. So while Hanna is the hunter and “point dog”, our second dog, Theophilus, is the guard dog. He is a huge dog, being a mix between the lion hunting Rhodesian Ridgeback and the very protective Louisiana Catahoula Cur. Living in Louisiana we have a lot of different large predators here and while our little beagle is great at picking up on dangers, sounding the alarm, and tracking it down, when she finds it, there’s not a whole lot she can do, so this is where Theophilus’ role steps in.

The scene usually unfolds something like this. The sheep are in the pasture oblivious to any threat, but a predator has begun to plot and stalk in the unseen. Hanna picks it up! Nothing out of the ordinary can be seen but she sees what can’t be seen and trust her nose. She takes off running at full speed yelping and baying and sounding the alarm. Theophilus, trusting in her nose, runs behind her, covering her, and protecting her as she tracks the threat down. Eventually they find the threat and though she continues to bark, she falls back and Theophilus steps up to take care of business, remove the threat, reclaim their territory, and return peace and safety to the flock. Then they return to wait for the next enemy that try’s to come and steal, kill, and destroy within their territory.

Believe it or not, this is exactly the relationship and the importance of the pastor and the prophet within a congregation. One without the other is severely handicapped leaving themselves, their flock, and their territory open to the enemy. They can each do something’s well but only together can they truly keep the flock safe, healthy, and growing.

Through out biblical history, when the shepherds over the congregation of the people stopped listening to the voice of the prophet sounding the alarm of approaching danger, they all fell into the enemies hands and the flock was scattered. It’s no different today, but likewise, the prophets words and warnings are of no use if there is no pastor that will trust them, defend them, and act upon them, and enforce them to the safeguarding of the flock.

Understand this, a prophet is not a pastor anymore then my beagle is a guard dog. Neither can a pastor assume to pick up on the unseen in time as well as the prophet can anymore then my Cur could ever hope to out trail my beagle. God has designed it this way on purpose, to keep us dependent on Him by keeping us dependent on His gifts in others. No one person can effectively lead a church body other then Christ Himself, because we are all part of the body ourselves. Each part has its part and no one part can do it all. They all must learn to trust in and be led of the head (which is Christ/the Holy Spirit) who works through all the different parts of the body as it functions together as a whole to achieve the will of God (the head).

All the parts are important, all the parts have their strengths and weakness, all the parts have their place and their purpose. Therefor, it is important for us to learn when to step up into our role, and possibly even more important to learn when to fall back and let those who have been built for this fight, step up and take their place in theirs.

The number one thing that prevents this from happening the way it should is pride and that is why pride always comes before a fall. Pride will cause you to be overtaken by your foes, pride will cost you your flock, pride will cost you the territory. Learn when to step up and when to fall back and you will function in the fullness of how God created you to. A body of different members all being led in different ways using different gifts by one Spirit to achieve one will, the Father’s will; all of it in all it’s scope and perfection, hinging upon these few things, humility, obedience, unity, selflessness, love, and faith.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” – 1 Peter 5:8

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” – Ephesians 4:11-16

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Sin Opens Closed Doors

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” – Galatians‬ ‭5:1‬ ‭

Temptation in itself is not sin, for even Christ was tempted yet the scriptures record that He was without sin. However, Jesus was not continually tempted by the same temptation as many people are because He took authority against it, resisted it, rebuked it, and overcame it.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James‬ ‭4:7‬ ‭

We can do the same because the same authority that Christ had, He has given us through His blood and Spirit and the power of the adoption that it afford us, which is grace, the authority of sonship!

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; …” – Romans‬ ‭8:16-17‬ ‭

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” – Romans‬ ‭8:11‬ ‭

If you are a blood bought, born again, Holy Ghost filled child of God then you not only have the authority to kick sin of your life, you have the authority to also chase away the temptation and not allow it to linger at the door of your heart!

Temptation is sin at the door! Think of it as a devil knocking on the door of your heart offering an unholy council. You do not have to open that door! You can tell it to go away and it must obey! This is where “resisting” the devil comes into play.

If you choose to open that door and let it in you have given place to the devil and sin has entered your heart. When you receive the devil’s council you have opened the door and let him in. When you act upon that council you are in open sin and have chosen to give the devil place on the thrown of your heart.

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” – Romans‬ ‭6:16‬ ‭

This is all by your own choice because Jesus suffered and died to grant you the power to say, “no, get ye behind me Satan. You are under my feet. I Am above and you are beneath, I’m not trading places with you. You are a defeated foe! You have to go, in the Mighty Name of Jesus Christ, my King!” Rebuke him, cast him out.

In the same manner we see in scripture that Jesus stands at the door of our heart and knocks also. Yet still, you have to choose to let Him in, to give Him the thrown of your heart, to listen to His Holy council, and to obey it unto righteousness. It’s your choice, it’s all your choice, you have the power to make it. You have been given dominion over your own heart, it is your choice what you give access to it. Even Jesus won’t force His way in, you have to choose to open that door and let Him in. It is the same with sin. It has no dominion over you, the devil only has the authority that you give him. Start believing that and stop giving him dominions that he has already lost. Your victory has already been won, believe it, live it, and by that faith you will overcome.

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (the power and  authority of sonship)” – Romans‬ ‭6:12-14‬ ‭

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” – Revelation‬ ‭3:20-22‬ ‭

Not His Will

So often we hear the phrase “whatever is meant to be will be“, or “God’s will, will be done.” It gives us a great sense of ambiguity in not only the over all scheme of things but also in our own lives and convictions, or lack thereof. So where does this concept come from?

Well it surely doesn’t come from God. The bible is full of story’s where things didn’t work out the way they were suppose to. Death, murder, selfishness, immorality, wrath, judgment, all of which came solely as a result of people living in opposition to God’s will; for God told them not to do these things. 

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” – ‭James‬ ‭4:17‬ ‭

In truth, sin is simply any form of rebellion against God’s will. If everything was God’s will then there would be no sin because there would be no rebellion, for the very nature of rebellion is to choose to act against the will of the authority over you. If your children are being rebellious, it means that they are not obeying your will for them.

Now hear me out on this, God is above all and in the end His promises will stand, God will do His part, it’s your part that is in question here. The Israelite’s that left Egypt are a great example of this. They left for the promised land, yet Paul tells us that because of the unbelief of God’s words that drove their constant rebellion to God’s will for them, they could not enter in. God still kept His promise to Abraham by sending their children into promise but they themselves lost their part in it because of a refusal to believe and obey God’s words, but it did not have to be; hence the warning to us not to make the same mistake.

“Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” – Hebrews‬ ‭3:7-12‬ ‭

Now, let’s take this concept of God’s will always being done straight to scripture and see what it plainly says:

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” – 2 Peter‬ ‭3:9‬ ‭

Peter, a disciple of Christ, clearly states that God is very patient in His wrath and judgments toward us because it is “not His will” that anyone would perish but it is His will that everyone should come to repentance. Yet we know that very few actually do come to repentance in the over all scope of things because Matthew 7:14 tells us that “narrow is the way that leads to life and few are they that find it.” 

So if it is God’s will that all come to repentance unto eternal life, then why do so few do so? The answer is given just a few more verses down when it says clearly that it is because most do not do the will of the Father. 

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew‬ ‭7:21

You do have a choice to make, everyone has a choice to make. Will you be counted among the many or among the few. God is patient because it is not His will that any should parish, therefor He waits for you to choose to repent of your rebellion against His will and realign yourself with it, but many simply choose not to. The choice is yours, God will not make it for you, so I implore you, choose ye this day whom you will serve while there is still yet time. 

Jesus stands at the door and knocks desiring to come in, sup, talk with you, and tell you His will for you, but you have to choose to open that door and once you have, you have to choose to listen to what He tells you there. It’s all about a choice. It’s always been about a choice. From the garden of Eden, to the garden of Gethsemane, to the garden of your heart, it’s always been about a choice between saying “my will be done“, or “thy will be done.” It’s about a choice, and the choice is yours to make, choose the narrow path, choose to do the will of the Father, choose life.

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” – Deuteronomy‬ ‭30:19‬

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” – Revelation‬ ‭3:20-22‬ ‭

“And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.” – Revelation‬ ‭2:21‬ ‭

“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” – 2 Thessalonians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭

“Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, …” – ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭7:37

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” – Romans‬ ‭6:16‬ ‭

“…choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua‬ ‭24:15‬ ‭

THE BATTLE OF THE WILL

img_5061“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.” – ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭57:15-16‬ ‭‬‬

Contrite: crushed to powder; destroyed
Humble: low, lowly, abase
Revive: quicken, restore to life
Heart: inner man, mind, will, emotions, character

As I understand the Scripture, GOD is looking for a people who ACKNOWLEDGE not in word alone, (but in action and deed) that HE IS GOD by a people who are destroyed in their own will, mind, and breath and lay low in disposition of character. In other words, NOT SELF-willed; but GOD-willed. Only this dead-willed people will our HOLY LORD GOD REVIVE! This is the BATTLE OF BATTLES, the war between GOD and man, and the sooner people decide to destroy their own self-will, self-desire, in humility and surrender, the sooner GOD will quicken, or revive our spirit and hearts to Himself.
GOD cannot revive what refuses to die! Even demons are more submissive to GOD than the self-willed man. The mercy of GOD waits for people to submit to HIM, but HE won’t strive with us forever, there is an end to this struggle between GOD’S WILL and self-will, but at the end of this battle which side will you find yourself on? The scariest thought for me is to be found in self-will standing face to face with GOD! For as Scripture states HE resists the proud, but gives Grace to the humble.

Compassion for the repentant:

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” – Isaiah‬ ‭57:15-21‬ ‭‬‬

GOD desires to heal us and restore us to life in Himself, but those who refuse to give up their heart, will, and desires to Him, will come under His Judgement.

Judgement for the unrepentant:

“Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew‬ ‭11:20-30‬

Submitted by Heather Wright

Judgment Still Falls

“And I will set my face against them; they shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour them; and ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I set my face against them. And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, saith the Lord God.” – Ezekiel‬ ‭15:7-8‬ ‭

The bible says that because the punishment for sin does not come quickly, it is in the heart of men to do evil. I’m other words, because people think they are getting away with it they set their heart to do it. Yet eventually judgment will fall for God is just.

However, the truth is that God does not desire judgment. The very reason that He takes so long to act in judgment is because He is allotting time for repentance in hopes that His judgement not have to come. 

“And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.” – Jonah‬ ‭4:2‬ ‭

So if God does not desire judgment, then why does it come at all? Because God is just, and He is not a man that He should lie. If He has said that the wages of sin are death then one who continues to work iniquity must be paid the wage they have been promised. Once God speaks something, it becomes law and His justice requires that He honor His words for better or for worse. This is why He sent Jesus to atone for our sin with His own life, to pay the price for us, that we might be given a clean slate, a new life, and escape the curse of the law.

However. A simple truth that few seem to realize is that unless you have been atoned for by the blood of Jesus, washed clean, born again into a new life, have repented and turned away from sin, and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God to walk no more there in, then you are actually still under a law and condemned by that law.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” – Romans‬ ‭8:1-4‬ ‭‬‬

The law did not pass away, it was simply atoned for, paid for, and fulfilled by a better covenant. There is no law for those who are in Christ but for those who are not, the law remains, and the judgment of that law remains. Though God may tarry in hopes of your repentance that you might escape the wrath of the law, if you do not take the atonement that He has provided, judgment will eventually find you. 

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,” – 2 Peter‬ ‭3:9-11‬ ‭

God has been more then merciful, but we are not promised tomorrow, nor is He obligated to continue turning a blind eye forever. However, He is obligated to judge the sins of the unrighteous who have refused His mercy and done despite to the Spirit of Grace. Don’t push your luck, don’t waste God’s mercy, don’t mock His grace. He took your place that you might escape. Don’t take it for granted, for eventually judgment will fall. Whether God wants it to or not, He must pay out the wages of unrepented sin, because He said He would and therefor He must, for He is just. 

“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” – John‬ ‭3:18-20‬ 

“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.” – Ecclesiastes‬ ‭8:11-13‬ ‭

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” -Hebrews‬ ‭10:26-31‬ ‭

From Barrenness to Blessing 

“And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;” – Matthew‬ ‭13:3‬ ‭

Jesus spoke in a parable of one who planted seed in four different kinds of soil. To fully grasp the context of this parable we need to first understand what the elements of the parable represent. First the soil represents the heart. Their are four different conditions in which the soil in this parable are found. We will discuss that further later.

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” – Hosea‬ ‭10:12‬ ‭

The next element of the parable that is critical to understand is the seed being sown into these soils. The seed is God’s Word, but deeper then that it’s the one who speaks those words, who is the word. It’s Jesus, for Jesus is the word made flesh and it is Jesus whom is the seed of Abraham who was counted righteous because he listened to God’s voice. That is to say, he received God’s words, believed them, and acted upon them in obedience because of His faith in them. You cannot separate Jesus from His words, either logos (written in the past) or Rhema (spoken directly to you in the present). To believe in one you will believe the other, to reject one you reject the other for they are one in the same.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….And the Word was made 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.” – John‬ ‭1:1, 14‬ ‭

So we understand that the seed is the word and the word is Jesus but let’s go a little deeper. Abraham believed God’s voice (words) and received a promise that through his seed all nations would be blessed. That those who bless him would be blessed and those that curse him would be cursed, and that he would inherit a kingdom. The promise was to him and his seed. Most understand this to be the Jewish people by nationality, however that is not a biblically accurate interpretation. Scripture tells us that the kingdom being promised here was not to be given to many seeds (as in a people) but to Abrahams seed (singular, as in a person), and that person is Christ in whom all the nations of the world are blessed; whomsoever (of any people, gender, class, or nationality) chooses to believe in Him and in His words, for He is the word! 

“And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” – Genesis‬ ‭26:4-5‬ ‭

“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” – Galatians‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭

So now we can see that the parable of the sower in its deepest since being that of different people who have receive Christ (the Seed and the Word) in different ways and the outcome of it. 

The first is one who hears the word and receives the seed but is not discipled. Being unlearned they are unable to yet distinguish between the voice of the shepherd and the voice of the stranger, and following the stranger will be led astray before the seed really takes root and bares fruit. 

The second is one who hears the words of God and receive Christ with gladness! Yet they don’t go any deeper. They don’t let the word take root and breakup their heart ground, the environment of their heart is not changed by the Seed but resist it, they don’t break up their fallowed ground and seek after righteousness. They aren’t told that they have to ever seek to go deeper and to grow in the things of God, therefore they stay shallow never reaching for the deeper things of God and when the storms of trial, tribulation, disappointment, offense, and persecution arise, they are unequipped, unaware, and able to endure not having built that deep unshakable personal relationship with God that they might draw from the deep well that is the Holy Ghost ministering hope directly and personally to them and through them even in dry and desperate seasons.

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” – John‬ ‭7:37-39‬

Though all of these situations are tragic, the third condition of the parable is possibly the most damaging to the faith of others. You see the third one received Christ, the seed took root, grew into a tree, and was even producing fruit! However, other things grew up around it and began to choke it out until it died and stopped producing. Distractions, worries, social status, money, possessions, positions, relationships, idols, vanity, anything that you allow to take your ear away from God’s voice is taking your heart away from it also and you will Bering to dry up and eventually die spiritually. We know that Jesus said that any tree that bares not good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire, and here we see a tree that once bore fruit yet now has become barren and fruitless. Let this sink in and never allow anything to choke out your connection to the root from which you draw your grace and thus cut off the fruitfulness of your faith. No compromise. No complacency. No idolatry. Remember, this world is not your home. 

Finally, the last condition is what Jesus called “good soil“. The heart that hears His words, receives Him (the Seed), allows Him to grow deep roots in you changing the environment of your heart, digging down and drawing up deep wells of living water, and baring much fruit that others might be blessed and more seed spread to the pleasing of the sower. 

So what condition do you find yourself in today? Does the enemy steal the words God speaks to you as soon as they are spoken? That seed was not buried, therefor do you need to die to self and be buried with Christ. Do you need to go deeper into the things of God and the power (and giftings) of His Holy Spirit that you be better equipped to withstand the wilds of the devil? Do you need to remove somethings from your life that are choking out your personal time with God, killing your relationship with Him, and making you unfruitful? Do you want to be counted by God as good ground baring much fruit that you might hear those long awaited words, “well done My good and faithful servant, come and inter into your rest.” 

All of these bad grounds can be transformed into good ground by simply spending time with the husbandmen (the tender of the garden). Determined to get alone with God and get to know God and He will make not only Himself known to you, but He will make the condition of your own heart known to you also, that it might be mended into greater fruitfulness that you might be blessed. For it is His desire to bless but He cannot bless unfruitfulness. So call on Jesus, seek the husbandmen, cry out for Him to plow your heart, soften it, remove the thorns (sin and distractions), attend to His words, seek to go deeper into the things of God, and watch your barrenness become blessing. 

“The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” – Mark‬ ‭4:14-23‬ ‭

Uprooting Iniquity

Having grown up on a small family farm there are many aspects of scripture that have daily come alive to me. Parables of sheep and goats, sowing seeds, pruning vineyards, equal yoking, dealing with wheat and tears, ridding the chaff, and so on. There is a lot to be said about my wilderness college, as I call it. There are deeper revelations and understandings to be had of the scriptures found in putting your hands in the dirt and to the plow and actually doing what the biblical writers did, then to sit in a classroom and be told what they said.

Having said that one seemingly endless battle that we fought in our fields was a weed called Johnson grass. It’s a nasty annoying tear (weed grass) that shoots up fast and stands tall among your garden with saw like leaves that slice you open when you try to pull them and if you do succeed in uprooting it you usually pull up several good plants with it that had grown too close to it. 

After having fought with this issue for years, I asked my grandfather (who had farmed the same land decades earlier in a simpler time) how they dealt with Johnson grass in his day before tractors and herbicides were readily available here. Much to my surprise he said, “oh that’s easy. If a field got to the point of being so infested with weeds that it became fruitless, we would just turn the pigs loose in the field and let them utterly destroy it. They would devour everything. The pigs would dig up the ground and eat even the very roots leaving behind a barren sterilized field. We would then run the pigs out, put the barriers around the garden back up and start over weed free.” 

What genius and yet what sorrow in this lass ditch effort to save a field. Taking the protective wall down around a field and allowing the enemy to rush in and wreak havoc in-order to up root the weeds that are rendering the field fruitless and useless. Yet even in what might seem from the outside looking in like the farmer was giving up on the field by taking the wall down and turning it over to the pigs was actually an act of love for this field. He was not willing to leave it to the tears, he was not willing to give up on the garden. Even if he had to start over, it was better then just walking away from it because he loved it.

Believe it or not, God does the same thing to people, churches, and even nations. When seeds of rebellion, pride, error, or wickedness begin to outnumber and choke out the fruits of righteousness God removes the wall a protection and allows the enemy to rush in and over take it in hopes of rooting out rebellion through the humbling. 

“For thus saith the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.” – Jeremiah‬ ‭4:3‬ ‭

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men. Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled, as Shalman spoiled Beth–arbel in the day of battle:…” – Hosea‬ ‭10:12-14‬ ‭

We see this happening on a personal, congregational, and even a national scale in the story of the Israelites in the wilderness. Time and time again the weeds of sin through unbelief over took the people even though they had good leaders instructing them in truth so that in the end God removed His protection and allowed the enemy to clear the field as an entire generation (and congregation) fell in the wilderness. After which God started afresh with a new generation. Not willing to give up the field because He loved it, He did what He had to to clear the land and make it ready to be fruitful. 

God does not desire to take these harsh actions but never the less, sometimes He must, that the land (or territory) not be lost and become a wilderness. It is grieving to God’s heart to see the field trampled under foot for a season, yet because of His love for the field, He will do what He must to save it in the end and make it bare fruit again. It is surely better to avoid letting the weeds spring up, take root, and spread seed in the first place, nevertheless, when they do God will stop at no lengths to get them out. Even if He has to level the field to do it. He wants a fruitful vineyard and all that bare not good fruit or hender the fruitfulness of others He will cut down and cast out by whatever means nessisary that the whole field not be lost. So great is His love for His field and the potential of it’s fruitfulness.

“Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for (good) judgement, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.” – Isaiah‬ ‭5:1-7‬ ‭

“It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭5:1-8‬ ‭

Only Those Clothed In Wedding Garments Will Enter In

bride-of-christ_n“And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.” – Matthew‬ ‭22:11-14‬ ‭

Scripturally the Wedding garment always represents RIGHTEOUSNESS (Revelations 19:8). We cannot expect to approach GOD OUR KING without being properly clothed!

“I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”‭ – Revelation 3:18-22‬

Today, after reading this, I was amazed at how similar the “Marriage dinner” parable was to this, then I thought how the Pharisees would’ve known that also.

“The word of the Lord which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah. I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the Lord. I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the Lord. I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests; And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the Lord, and that swear by Malcham; And them that are turned back from the Lord; and those that have not sought the Lord, nor enquired for him. Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God: for the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests. And it shall come to pass in the day of the Lord’s sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king’s children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel. In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, and an howling from the second, and a great crashing from the hills. Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the merchant people are cut down; all they that bear silver are cut off. And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil. Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof. The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.”‭ – Zephaniah 1:1-18‬

“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”‭ – Hebrews 3:1-19‬

Submitted by Heather Wright

He Gave Gifts Unto Men

“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” – Ephesians‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” – Matthew‬ ‭7:11‬ ‭

God is a good Father who does indeed desire to give good gifts to His children. The most important of these gifts that He freely gives by way of what Jesus did for us at Calvary are clearly laid out in scripture and are salvation (Ephesians 2:8), the gift of grace (Ephesians 4:7), the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23) , the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38), and the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:1). 

All of these gifts are immeasurably precious since Jesus paid so high a price to purchase them for us. They are all gifts paid for by the precious blood of Jesus for His bride, the church. How hurtful a thing it must be for Him to see anyone of them rejected by the bride. Yet some do and do not even realize they are grieving the heart of God in doing so.

You see, while a blessing can be bestowed, a gift must be received. Therefore, are many simply choosing not to receive these precious gifts of God. Most all want the gift of eternal life, yet some reject the gift of salvation. Some on the other hand want the gift is salvation but reject the Holy Spirit. Yet still some want the gift of the Holy Spirit but reject the gifts of the Spirit. My friends Jesus purchased all of these gifts for all men for all time until His return and we ought not to grieve His heart nor take His sacrifice in vain by rejecting or making light of the gifts that He bought with His own blood. My friend, I tell you, He did this for you because He loves you. Trust His love, and take the gifts.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭

“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” – Ephesians‬ ‭4:7‬ ‭

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans‬ ‭6:23‬ 

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” – Acts‬ ‭2:38-39‬ ‭

“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭12:4-11‬ ‭

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” – Mark‬ ‭16:17-18‬ ‭

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:” – Acts‬ ‭2:17-18‬ ‭

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” – ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:6-8

Turn Away From Sin Before It’s Too Late

image“The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die. Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal? When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” – ‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭18:20-32‬

From the Old Testament, unto the New Testament, the way that GOD judges sin remains the same. Remember he said:

“For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?” – ‭‭Malachi‬ ‭3:6-7‬

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” – ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭13:8‬

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” – ‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭3:9-18‬

It is the mercy of the LORD GOD that causes Him to wait, with long suffering not wanting anyone to perish, but desiring all to repent.  However, the day is yet coming when He shall return just as He promised He would!

And Jesus himself said after telling us the parable of the unjust judge…

“And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” – Luke‬ ‭18:7-8‬

Many see GOD as their Creator, and well said for so HE is. Some see Him as Father, yet how many remember that HE is also our JUST JUDGE? How many will DO according to ALL HE COMMANDS because HE is right?! When HE returns will HE find faith? Will HE find any who will take heed to His Word because they truly trust: what He says He will do?

If speaking of these things at all makes you uncomfortable and nervous then come to the mercy seat of the cross of Jesus Christ while you still have breath,  REPENT TODAY, AND TRUST HIM FOR SALVATION. Lay down your pride, lay down your sins, lay down and die with Christ, crucifying the old selfish sin nature, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that now while you live you can live unto GOD in the power of His resurrection and righteousness of Jesus Christ… and then when HE returns you will find peace in knowing that by trusting in JESUS who is the way of Salvation, and following in His steps of obedience to the Father, you will live with HIM forever!

Salvation is a free gift of GOD, but receiving it comes by way of TOTAL COMMITMENT! Choosing Christ = turning away from sin abandoning it! Whole choosing sin = turning away from GOD and abandoning HIM. So choose you this day! Today! Who will you serve?

Grace is the work and power of GOD provided in JESUS CHRIST! Faith on the other hand is our part, we must choose to trust HIM, and if truly we do, we will love and obey HIM because we do.

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” – Romans‬ ‭6:1-16‬

“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans‬ ‭6:17-23‬

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” – ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:1-10‬

“For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.” – Titus‬ ‭3:3-8‬

Submitted by Heather Wright