Acts 15:19 Don’t Make It Difficult

It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Acts 15:19

Everywhere a person goes there are some rules or regulations guiding people how to live or work where they are at. Some places are very lenient, having very few regulations, while others are extremely strict with an overload of rules.

The more rules that are laid out, the more difficult it is for people to follow them. It can become much easier to break the rules with many rules. It can also make it very discouraging to attempt to follow all of them.

The Jewish leaders in Antioch were laying down a lot of rules for new Gentile believers to follow in order to follow God. Paul told them they should not make it difficult for the new Gentile believers as they turn towards God.

One of the constant struggles for churches is in knowing what the rules are to be and remain a believer. While many believe that believing in Jesus and repenting of sins is enough to become a follower of Jesus, there are others that add a lot more.

There are also many churches that want the new believer to clean up his life completely before becoming a member. A long list of things to do or not do is given immediately upon becoming a Christian.

While it is good to begin guiding a new believer in how to live for Christ, giving a long list can be overwhelming and discouraging. It can push people away from God, because of the impossibility of fulfilling a long list of legal regulations, just as the Israelites had a problem with following God’s Law.

The focus for new believers should be building them up, little by little in what it means to follow Jesus, not all at once.

You may be a new believer who is struggling with being burdened with a load of regulations, or you may be an older believer who loads others down with rules. Either way, do not forget that the only thing required to be a believer is to believe in Jesus and repent of sins.

God will change your heart to be able to handle more rules as you continue to grow in Him, learning to trust and obey Him in every area of your life. Do not burden yourself or others with too much, too fast.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that God will give you strength and wisdom to obey His commands; that you will guide new believers in the ways of the Lord; and that God will guide you in helping new believers grow in the Lord.

Acts 7:51 Are You Resisting?

You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Acts 7:51

Being stubborn is something that many people like to be. They feel that they are right no matter what is shown them. They also want to do things their own way.

Acting this way is something that is often learned and continued on from generation to generation. Parents are stubborn in their ways and do things a certain way, and the children learn from them and continue in the same actions.

Stephen had been taken captive by the people for preaching the gospel message. When asked if the charges were true, he tells the history of Israel. At the end he charges the people as being just like the rest of their ancestors, killing all the prophets, resisting the Holy Spirit.

After Jesus left the earth, He sent His Holy Spirit to lead and guide His people in how to live on this earth for God’s glory. The Holy Spirit would help people to remember what God taught and said, and lead them in the right way to live for God.

Most believers will say that they don’t ignore the Holy Spirit, but they will not always do what God is telling or lead them to do or not do.

Many people just ignore what the Holy Spirit is saying. They ignore when God is nudging them to not go down a certain path. Sin is chosen over holiness and righteousness, because it is more ‘fun’ and feels good in the moment. They will crucify other believers or themselves for a momentary pleasure or self-righteousness.

Following God means that one often has to deny self and follow the Holy Spirit in the moment for a greater, eternal reward.

God’s Holy Spirit is there to lead and guide you in every area of your life, each and every day. He gives you the option as to whether you will listen and obey or not.

Do not allow yourself to ignore or resist following the Holy Spirit.

Remain open to what God is saying to you by His Holy Spirit. As you do this, God can do great things in and through you. He is able to change your heart and mind to follow after His heart and mind.

Are you resisting the Holy Spirit in your life today?

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will hear the Holy Spirit leading and guiding you in your life; that you will do what the Holy Spirit tells you to do; and that you will allow God to turn your heart from the love of sin.

Matthew 25:32 Are You A Sheep Or A Goat?

All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Matthew 25:32

In every workplace there are two types of people. There are some who do what they are told and expected to do and there are some who do not do what they are told or expected to do.

The boss who is aware of what is going on will often reprimand or fire the one who does not do his job. The others will be honored and raised up.

Jesus says that in the end everyone will be divided as sheep and goats. The sheep are those who did His will and the goats are those who did not do His will.

Just as it is in the workplace, are people in the church. In every church there are many people who claim to follow Jesus and believe in God. Some are telling the truth, while others are not.

Many go to church to look good or to escape hell, but very few actually go to church to be built up and to build others up. Those few will go out and reach the lost in many different ways. They will not just sit in a church pew and expect people to come to them.

Sheep will obey their master and do what he says and go where he leads. Goats, on the other hand, will do their own thing, not obeying or following anyone.

God is looking for and expecting people who claim to believe in Jesus to do what God has said to do. Even though someone claims to believe in Jesus, if he does not do what God says, then he will be cast into hell in the end.

If you claim to be a believer and follow Jesus, you are already on the right track. However, your actions must follow your words.

Do not allow yourself to claim Jesus, but do as the world does.

Seek God’s Holy Spirit to guide you in ways you can reach out and touch the lives of other people for God. This can be in witnessing and telling them about Jesus and in practical ways of meeting their needs when you can.

There is coming a day when God will separate the people. Will you be seen as a sheep or a goat?

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will know what God desires of you; that your actions will match your words; that you will do what God wants you to do; and that God will see you as one of His sheep.

Matthew 7:21 Are You Doing God’s Will?

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of the Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21

Words are easy to speak. People can say that they will do something, but then not do it.

Every day contracts are drawn up by people agreeing to some type of agreement on what they will do. Promises are made and papers are signed. Shortly afterward, many of those contracts are broken. One side or the other does not do what was agreed upon.

Jesus makes a statement that just because people call Him ‘Lord’, does not mean they will get into heaven. Only those who obey the Father will get into heaven.

Just as it is easy to sign a contract, people can claim to believe in Jesus. They can claim to be a follower of Jesus with just a few words. On the surface everything looks and sounds good. But under the surface, in the heart of the person, it may be a different story.

Many claim to believe in Jesus, go to church and can even quote the bible, but very few actually obey God’s word to them. God calls people to be His witness, and very few actually work at being His witness. Many refuse to actually flee a life of sin, by purposefully living in a sinful way.

To call Jesus “Lord” is to actually make Him controller of one’s life.

God has a job for each person to do, each day. He will reveal that to the person who is open, listening and obedient to His word. As soon as one says ‘no’ to what God is telling him to do, he is sinning against God and being disobedient. That person is not going to enter heaven.

The true believer will do whatever God tells him to do immediately.

If you claim to be a believer in Jesus, you must ask yourself if you obey God’s word to you. Are you willing to do everything that God commands immediately and without question? Or do you pick and choose what you will do?

Your actions determine whether you are a true believer, or just a believer in word only. God is looking for people who will follow Him in every area of his life, not just in words and mind.

Are you a true believer? Are you doing God’s will?

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will know what God commands of you; that you will do whatever God tells you to do; that God will be the master of your life; and that God will be able to say of you that you are a good and faithful servant.

Matthew 2:14-15 Needed Move

So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Matthew 2:14-15

Some people love to move, while others hate moving. It is something that requires change and often a great amount of uncertainty and risk.

The process of moving can often bring about an improvement in situations in life. At the same time it moves one away from the known friends and family to the unknown.

After Jesus was born Herod wanted to have Him killed. An angel warned Joseph and told him to move to Egypt. Joseph immediately got up and moved his family to Egypt, which fulfilled a prophecy about Jesus.

There are times that God will call a person to make a major change in his life, a move that is onto a very different path than he has been traveling. God, in His great all-knowing sovereignty, can see what is coming up and knows the best path to take in this life. He knows exactly where a person needs to be and when to be there.

Changes like this can be very sudden and extreme. Humans cannot always see the full reason why, but need to trust God in making the move.

As he was going, Joseph may have wondered why God was sending him back to Egypt where the Israelites had left years before. Joseph’s move protected Jesus from being killed and also fulfilled a prophecy at the same time.

God will move a believer to where it is the best place for him to be. This may be to help the believer, or to help someone else. Either way the believer must trust and obey God in making the move immediately without question.

You may feel comfortable and safe where you are, but God may be calling you to make a move. The type of move may be a physical move, a change of jobs, a change of church, or some other major change.

Do not ignore God’s call upon your life, but make the change. Trust that God knows what is best for you in fulfilling your calling in His great and eternal kingdom for both on this earth and for eternity to come in heaven.

Take that step of faith to move forward with God.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will hear God’s voice of direction in your life; that you will trust God’s word to you; that God will use you to build His kingdom here on earth; and that you will see God’s hand upon your life.