Sunday, May 24, 2015

Flesh vs. Spirit

Posted: 19 May 2015 07:51 AM PDT by Chris Baxter

Do not quench the Spirit. I Thess. 5:19

Because I believe in Jesus, I know His Spirit lives in me. Over the years of my faith walk, I have grown as a result of: digging into God's word, trusting it to be true, and then following through with obedience. Sometimes this is as easy as 1-2-3, and sometimes it just plain isn't. My flesh is still very much alive and, quite frankly, it can work in complete contradiction to the Spirit.

To explain, I will share an experience from the other day. Only to make a contrasting point, I will share two Spirit-led "good deeds"from that day. One, I met with a dear lady for brunch; she just needed a listening ear, some biblical encouragement, and a friend who cared. So, I willingly sat with her. This encounter was certainly Spirit led. And then a little later, I went to get my suburban's emission's test done. For years now, I have intentionally paid the required fee for the the car behind me without them knowing it. (There was a time in my life that I was not able to do this financially, but now that I can, I do.) Again, Spirit led.

Now, for the flesh. In between these two acts of kindness, I had a trip to the post office on my to-do-list. For some reason, I have a strong aversion concerning the post office. When I go, there's ALWAYS a long line. And then, there's that AKWARD silence inside. And sometimes, postal people aren't very nice when you finally reach them. Anyway, I was sitting in my suburban about to get out, when I saw a young mom who had a baby in a stroller, a toddler, as well as her package; because her hands were full, she was trying to open the post office door with her leg. While observing this scene, I spoke out loud to myself, "Oh great, you mean I'm gonna have to stand next to THAT?!" Whoa! And wow! Really? Yep, that's Chris without Christ. Flesh at its finest. The crazy thing is that I used to be THAT--I had four kids in under six years and I home schooled; so for about a decade, I was like a walking amoeba, with all kinds of arms, legs, heads, and noises coming from my moving conglomeration. Why in the world would I so begrudgingly target this innocent mom trying to enter the post office? Flesh. The saving thing is, the Spirit keeps me in check. When I heard my own words, I was quiet surprised at my rottenness; I confessed to Lord, and then got out with great intention to go help that dear momma. (Turns out, I forgot to bring the address to my own package, so I never even made it inside. Ugh, the post office!!!)

So that's just one day in my Spirit vs. flesh existence. I could share more of my fits of Christ-less-ness, but I might lose some readers. Instead, I will finish this post how I started: the more I'm in the word, trusting its validity, and obeying it submissively, the more I grow in my faith. I will never be an angel on earth, but my hopeful prayer is that the Spirit will win out more and more and more, not only for my own sake but for others around me, INCLUDING YOUNG BEUATIFUL AWESOME MOTHERS WHO HAVE THEIR HANDS FULL, even at the post office.

But I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Gal. 5:16-17, 22-25

Monday, May 18, 2015

A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy.

As I've said before I am on a crusade to warn social media users about the dangers of those that want to steal your personal information. A friend of mind had their FB identity stolen by simply copying their FB pictures and creating a FB account using their pictures and their names. Their FB friends were their then targets of a scam. The scam is enticing as they appeal to a lust for free money.

I received a FB message from my FB friends that seemed to good to be true. This was a promise of free money and all I had to do was go to a certain FB page and click on like. I was curious so I decided to check it out. Once clicked on "Like" I received an instant FB message asking me for my personal information in order for me to receive the cash. I immediately recognized the scam, but so many others have been tricked into giving away their personal information.

I highly recommend that you protect you identity by removing all your personal pictures and any information about yourself on all social media sights. Protect your children as well by monitoring all they do online.

Jesus said in John 10:10 "A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance."  In my opinion, as a good steward of the 90% of our monies that we are entrusted to manage, our job is also to protect our greatest assets, our lives and the lives our family from the thieves that want take what we have away from us.

One of the ways that I recommend for you to protect your most valuable assets is through LifeLock.  I am a personal subscriber to LifeLock or I would not be recommending them to you.  Please check out LifeLock for yourself by clicking on the link below:

Friday, May 15, 2015

Good Stewardship Requires Responsible Management of Your Resources

As a believer in Jesus Christ I am expected to be a good steward with the good things that our Heavenly Father has blessed me with.  My job is to give ten precent back to Him as an act of my faith in Him that He is my source and my provider.

Being a good steward comes with the responsibility of managing the ninety percent that is entrusted to me.  There are unseen forces that drive people to steal what the Lord has entrusted to me and it's my job to protect my family from those sly thieves that attempt to steal my resources and my identity.

One of the best way I protect my assets and your identity is through LifeLock. As a good steward of your finances I highly recommend that you investigate the protection LifeLock offers you for a small amount of money per month. Don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself.

So many breaches, only one LifeLock.

Monday, May 04, 2015

At All Times and For Everything Give Him Thanks

Holy Land Tour in Orlando
Ephesians 5:20 “At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.” Amplified Version

Through my quest to know God through His scriptures, I have learned that God's greatest desire is to have an intimate relationship with each and every one of His children as He loves us so very much. One day I purposefully started paying attention to what He does and I discovered some things I hadn’t noticed before. I noticed that He’s been giving me the desires of my heart. I noticed the simple little things at first and I then started giving Him thanks for little things. But, I also noticed He started giving me the little things that were not desires that I had thought about. I give Him thanks for those too as He is a loving Heavenly Father that loves to give me things He knows I will enjoy. Now I understand why it is important for me to “At all times and for everything give Him thanks.

The Attitude of Being

Holy Land Tour in Orldano
As a "BE"liever in Jesus Christ I am in Him and He is in me. And, as a "BE"liever my faith has three distinct parts: “BE”, “DO”, and “KNOW”. These three words represent the cross and who we are because of the cross.  "BE" is the center post and the "DO" and "KNOW" make up the left and right arms of the cross.  Because I "BE" I "KNOW" Him and I hear Him as He speaks to my heart.  And, because I "BE" in Him I "DO" what He tells me to "DO".

This was especially exciting to me as in my studies of the New Testament I had discovered what I call “Golden Nuggets of Truth”. These nuggets are not hidden from the "BE"eliever. They are there for us to find through our search for Him, and as as we uncover these nuggets we get to "KNOW" Him and His will for us. As we "KNOW" Him we begin to understand His personality or what I like to think of it is His attitude.

The word attitude always makes me think of the Beatitudes. When I read the Beatitudes I think the attitude and personality of Jesus is expressed for our benefit. I like to think of it as an attitude of “BE”ing. I am relaxed in my “BE”ing in Christ Jesus. I know this is poor grammar, but this is how I see it; "I BE in Christ Jesus and He "BE" in me”. I am in Christ Jesus is a state of “BE”ing.

Where does the “DO” come in? To “DO" is a call to action or to act on something.  I know this sounds like works and it is, but it can be for the wrong reason. One day I asked a fellow co-worker if she was going to heaven. She stated, “I hope so, I hope I’ve been good enough!” You could tell when I asked her the question she was uncomfortable as she was unsure whether she would go to heaven. Her believe system was based on her works.  Her faith was based on her “DO”ing and not based on what Jesus had already  “DO”ne.

Jesus’ attitude about “DO”ing is to doing what He tells us to “DO”. In Matthew 7: 13-29 Jesus is saying for us to pay attention to what He says to us and He calls for the action of “DO”ing what He tell us to do verses 26 and 27.

Notice in verses 26 and 27 how, in my opinion, Jesus is saying “KNOW” by itself is not enough. I think He’s saying to “BE” in Me - we are to hear or listen to Him, understand what He is saying “KNOW”, and then “DO” by putting into practice and living how He tells us. “DO”ing in this context is not vain works, however we will be rewarded for the “DO”ing we’ve done in Him.

“BE”ers are “DO”ers - James tells us to be “DO”ers - Not Hearers Only - James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” New King James Version. I don’t like to take things out of context so I recommend that you read all of James chapter 1 for the full meaning of his teaching.

If I were to say that I have a favorite chapter in the Bible I would say it’s Matthew 25. I call it the “Well Done” chapter. Can you just imagine the day when we stand before Jesus and He says to each of us that “BE” in Him, “Well Done” - If He says nothing else to me but those two words then that is all the reward I need.