1 Corinthians 8:9 Be Careful In Your Freedom

 

Lady with freedom

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 1 Corinthians 8:9

During the biblical times, there were many rules on foods that a person could or could not eat as a believer in God. Food was often used as a sacrifice to idols, thus people were not to eat any food that had been sacrificed.

Paul just pointed out that food sacrificed to a false idol was no different from any other food. As a believer in Jesus the people could eat any food as long as they gave thanks to God for it.

Now he states that people should be careful in this knowledge and their freedom to not cause anyone else to stumble.

Newer believers often struggle with knowing what their freedom is in Christ. They are still working on removing themselves from the ways of the world. Doing the things that they have freedom to do, can cause them to fall back into sinful ways, or they may still see them as sinful.

Freedom to do what a person wants to do, regardless of what others think, is a common thought in this world. Believers are not to live like that. They are to be concerned first with God’s thoughts, then for the other person.

In Jesus there is a lot of freedom in doing things. However, they must be done with the proper motivation. They should not be done with the mindset of that it is the person’s right to do it. Rights need to be put aside to build others up.

It is all about love of the other person. That is what God did in sending Jesus and what Jesus did in going to the cross, it was about love. Love builds up, rather than demands personal rights.

In your own personal life there may be things that God has helped break the bondage to. This allows you to work with those things, without sinning or being pulled away from God. One example is drinking alcohol. You may see it as allowable, while another still sees it as sinful or dangerous.

However, there may be others that still struggle with it. Put those things aside to keep them from struggling and stumbling before God.

Be willing to put your own rights aside, so that you may build someone else up. Do not allow yourself, on purpose, or on accident to cause anyone to stumble in any way.

I pray today that you will know the freedom that you have in Jesus; that you will know the love God has for people; that God will guide you in the proper use of your freedom; and that you will not be a stumbling block to anyone.

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Lamentations 1:14 A Heavy Weight

“My sins have been bound into a yoke; by his hands they were woven together. They have been hung on my neck, and the Lord has sapped my strength. He has given me into the hands of those I cannot withstand.” Lamentations 1:14

During the time of the Babylonian takeover of Jerusalem, the people were under much suffering. The Babylonians did not treat them well, though they did allow them to live. The city had been destroyed and the people were in great misery. As Jeremiah sees this, he is weeping, lamenting, because he feels the weight of all the sin that brought on this destruction.

Sin is something that looks and sounds like fun, but it carries a heavy weight to it. People often think that they can handle their own sin, especially those ‘little’ sins.

It is commonly thought that what does it matter if one tells a little lie? Or if one cheats his neighbor a little bit? Or if one just breaks a little rule once in a while? It really does not affect anyone is what most think. And besides, God will understand.

The truth is that any sin, big or small, has a weight that no one can really bear up under. That weight is the weight of death. It will take away all strength from a person, pulling their head down to the grave as though a millstone was hung on his neck. It is bound tight to the person’s neck as a yoke is placed on an animal, that only the master can remove.

Jeremiah had faithfully followed God, but was feeling the weight of the sins of the people. All those sins took a toll on his body and zapped all of his strength.

Even today, if you live in sin, it will take your strength away from you. You will be constantly looking over your back to see if you will be caught in that sin. Fear will keep you awake through the night because death will be knocking on your door. The weight will be more than you can handle.

The good news is that you do not have to bear that weight any more. You can hand it over to Jesus. Turn from the sin and He will get rid of it. He paid the price of death for your sin.

As you turn from your own sin, weep for the sins of others. Lead others to Jesus to get rid of that enormous weight.

I pray today that God will help you turn from all sin; that you will know the freedom Jesus can give you from your sin; and that you will tell others about Jesus.

What Are You Watching?

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Watching television and movies is a favorite pastime of many people. People love to watch something. It allows them to escape into a different world for a short time. It allows them to step out of reality into a fantasy world.

The things that people watch cover an extremely broad band of categories. Many of those categories overlap each other, creating new categories. Fantasy, drama, horror, and comedy are the base line of movies. Then they broaden out to fantasy/drama, or comedy/horror, or some other combination.

Movie Types

It is very interesting to watch what most movies are about. If you really look at them closely, most of them tell the same story that has been told a dozen times before. The only real difference is in how it is told. One time it is live action, next time it is with fantasy, next time it is with anime, the next is with puppets, the next is with music, and the variations of the same story keep going.

Other times it is the same type of story, such as boy meets girl, falls in love and after a time of rejection from her they get married. This story has been told hundreds of different times in different ways. Or the hero saves a person, city, nation, or the world. Or the flip side the bad guy does not get caught or die in the end, and they come back with a sequel.

Billions of dollars are spent every year watching movies, whether in the theater, pay-per-view, paid channels, television, or online rentals. People love to watch movies.

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Now you may be asking why did I say all of this. Where am I going with all of this?

During this past week the movie, “It,” came out as a remake of this classic movie. Many of the students I teach in 6-8th grade had went to see it. Several had seen it several times. Along with those in my public, non-Christian school, I know of several in the church that also went to see it or want to see the movie.

During one of my classes, one of my students asked me if I was going to see the movie. I had told the student that there is no way I would go and see it. The question was then raised as to why. The answer to that is what led me to write this post.

People who study movies and plays will always try to point out the good in a movie. They want to point out how the bad guy loses in the end. How good always triumphs over evil. They point out the good moral points of the story. It is true that in every movie there is usually some good moral point in it, no matter how bad it appears as a whole.

Christians will be very quick to point out that the bible does not say that a person should not watch movies. Many will be also quick to point out all the immoral stuff that is written in the bible. With both these arguments they want to say that it is acceptable to watch anything that they want to watch.

The first thing I would like to say is look at what Paul had said:

1 Corinthians 10:23 New International Version (NIV)

23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.

Paul says that you may do whatever you want, but not everything is beneficial. There are things that do not benefit you at all. It does not help you in any way.

Free To Do

Romans 8:28 New International Version (NIV)

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

God does not work that way. Everything that God does has a purpose. Everything that God allows has a purpose.

Many people think that God is just a great big ogre out to make life miserable for them. That He will not allow them to have any fun in life and is always out to get them or punish them.

God has given you the right to do whatever you want to do. However, what many people do not like to hear is that there are consequences to the choices made. If you want to make a choice to sin, God will allow that, but the consequence is death. God allowed Adam and Eve to make that choice, and He still allows people to make that choice.

Ezekiel 36:26 New International Version (NIV)

26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 36,26

God wants to give you a new, living heart of flesh. He wants you to live life to the fullest.

John 10:10 New International Version (NIV)

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

With God giving you a new heart and a new life, you should live the way He planned for you to live.

Going back to watching movies.

Philippians 4:8 New International Version (NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Paul says that you are to think about certain things. These things are what are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

When watching a movie, the movie may be excellent in the way it was made. It may have excellent acting and excellent filming, but that does not finish out what Paul said to think about. Does it fit the pure? Is it admirable? Is it praiseworthy? Is it lovely?

Watching someone or something just go around and kill does not fit the description of what Paul said to think about. Watching a couple or a person be unfaithful in their marriage is not pure. Watching the thief or crook be honored as good, is not praiseworthy.

Time To Decide

And of each of these few examples, how do any of them really benefit you? Do any of them bring you closer to God? Or make you more like God? If not, why watch them?

What you take into you will eventually come out. If you fill your life with garbage, that garbage will come out in the end.

Everything that you say, do, watch, or listen to should be done for the benefit of God and to bring you closer to God, or to bring others closer to God. Yes, you are allowed to do whatever you want, but there is a price to do it. If you choose things that bring about death, then it will be death that you will receive.

Take a moment and think about the movies or shows that you watch. What benefit is there in watching those movies or shows?

If Jesus were standing right next to you, would He choose to watch them with you? Would you be comfortable with watching them with Him next to you?

Ask God what He wants you to see or watch before you watch something. See what He has to say about it.

Jeremiah 13:11 Bound Up To God

For as a belt is bound around the waist, so I bound all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah to me,’ declares the LORD, ‘to be my people for my renown and praise and honor. But they have not listened.’ Jeremiah 11:13

A belt is used to hold something up or together. Belts are put around the waist to hold up pants. They bind up the pants so that they will not fall down.

God said that He had bound up Israel and Judah to Himself. He wanted them close to Him, but they would not do it. They refused to be bound to the Lord and went their own way. Since they chose not to be bound to God, they fell down. They fell down out of God’s grace and protection, because they refused to follow Him. They fell down into sin.

Christians today are to be bound to Jesus, just as the Israelites were supposed to be bound to God. Most people, however, do not like to be bound up to something or someone. It gives the implication of a loss of freedom. Following Jesus in every area of their lives, appears to be a prison for many, so they refuse to be bound that tightly. Everyone likes their freedom, even if it is harmful to have.

Being bound up with Jesus actually gives you a greater freedom. It gives you the freedom from your sins that weigh you down. It gives you freedom to live a full life. The life Jesus gives is one that is the best for you and will last for all eternity.

Some try to say that not being able to live in sin is not freedom, but bondage. It is bondage to Jesus, but it is freedom to really live. Sin will appear to be living, until it brings about death in the end. It is only a temporary life.

As you go through this life, allow yourself to be bound tightly up with Jesus. Live the life that He has for you. Allow Him to guide your every step, comment, thought, and action. You will have a life that is abundant and full of joy and peace. It will be a life beyond compare.

Are you bound to Jesus today?

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your savior; that you will be bound to Jesus in every area of your life; that you will allow God to have complete control of your life; and that you will live the abundant life God has for you.

Isaiah 61:1 God’s Spirit Is Upon You

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, Isaiah 61:1

At the time Isaiah made this statement, He was prophesying about Jesus. Several hundred years later, Jesus would again speak these words and then tell the people that they were talking about Himself. Jesus came to the earth to bring good news to the people. That good news was that God was going to redeem them and bring them the much desired salvation, release from captivity in darkness.

Many people think that only a pastor, evangelist or a missionary can be anointed to proclaim the good news. It is often thought of the proclamation being a form of preaching, and only those certified to preach can do that. Others feel as if they need a bible college degree in order to proclaim the good news.

When Jesus spoke, while on this earth, He did not have a college degree. There is no record of Him getting any formal training as a preacher. Yet, He spoke with authority and correctly. This occurred because He was anointed by God to do that.

As Jesus left the earth, He said that everyone would be filled with the Holy Spirit, who He would send once He left. This includes every believer who believes in Jesus, which also includes you.

Every believer is anointed by God to proclaim the good news. It is to release people from captivity of sin and darkness.

Telling the good news is not something you need a college degree for, or even need to know New Testament Greek. It is telling others what you know. It is telling others why you chose to believe in and follow Jesus. It is telling others what Jesus has done for you, in  you and through you. It is giving them a chance to see the light and be released from the darkness of this world.

God’s Spirit is on you at all times, because He has anointed you to proclaim the good news.

What are you saying today?

Who are you telling today?

Who can you tell this news to today?

I pray today that you will know God’s anointing in your life; that God will give you the words to speak; that you will proclaim the salvation Jesus provides; and that through you God will release many from captivity and darkness.

Isaiah 12:2 God Is My Salvation

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2

Isaiah had been speaking about how God was going to punish and destroy Judah. The destruction of the nation was going to be great and the people were going to be sent into exile. This destruction was going to last for nearly 2,000 years as a nation.

As with every destruction of a nation, it would be horrible. People would be killed, imprisoned, tortured, enslaved, separated from families, and ridiculed. It would be a war upon the nation, and no war is pretty.

Yet, Isaiah gives praise to God and speaks of God being his salvation. Isaiah knew that in spite of everything that was going to happen, God would be with him and keep him. The ultimate salvation was to be found in Jesus. Jesus would save from the sins for all eternity.

Today there is destruction and war going on all around a person. Economies are failing, disease is rampant, hatred is high, and fear is everywhere. Looking at this world it is difficult to see any hope of a good future.

Believers look on the way their nation is going and are often in fear for their children. In many places, being a Christian is harder now than it was when a person was younger. Violence against Christian belief keeps rising.

Yet, in spite of all that is happening and seen in this world, if you are a believer in Jesus, you can know the salvation He has for you. There is a freedom in knowing that your sins are forgiven and you are in the right standing with God that the world cannot know. There is freedom from fear in knowing that you will live for eternity with God.

You do not have to be afraid of the way things are going in this world. Jesus has already overcome this world when He rose from the dead. No power is greater on this earth than death, yet Jesus conquered death.

Jesus is your strength, defense and salvation. Trust in Him and do not fear this world, despite what is going on around you. In the end you will win!

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your salvation; that you will not fear this world; that you will not fear destruction; and that you will know the hope and salvation you can have in Jesus.

Psalm 119:45 Walking In Freedom

I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. Psalm 119:45

Many people do not walk in freedom in this world. They walk in fear of what they may be doing wrong. The biggest fear comes with fearing what others are thinking. It is found in fearing that others may think that what is being done is wrong.

It is been shown many times that most people will give in to peer pressure to do wrong, even when they know it is wrong to do. It is difficult to do something right while everyone is doing it wrong. People do not feel as though they have the freedom to do the correct thing.

Believers have the same problem. A believer had heard from God on what to do and how to do it. Many of the believers around him, try to tell him that he is wrong and that is the wrong way to do it.

Along with fearing what others may say, many believers do not really know what God is saying to do. They have not read the Bible to know what God’s word says. The Bible gives guidance as to how to live a life for God here on this earth.

When you have read the Bible and know what God says, you know what God wants you to do and how to do it. You know the sins God wants you to flee from. You also know that in Jesus Christ you have been forgiven of all sins and set free. In knowing these things, you can walk in freedom.

You are free from hearing condemnation from God. You are also free from fearing what other people may think, because you know you are in right standing with God.

The ability to walk in freedom comes with knowing God and His ways of doing things. Knowing and following Jesus is knowing God and His ways. As you walk as Jesus did, you will walk in freedom. Jesus never walked in bondage or fear.

How are you walking today?

As the world does, in fear and bondage?

Or as Jesus, in freedom?

I pray today that you will know God’s Word in your heart; that you will know the freedom Jesus provides; that you will walk a life of service to God; and that you will live in the freedom of God’s laws.