Pay Your Teachers

GALATIANS 6:6-7 NLT 6 Those who are taught the word of God should help their teachers by paying them. 7 Don’t be misled. Remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow!

A law of human behavior is that you will get more of what you reward, or support. If those who teach the Bible are not supported, less people will teach the Bible. This is not the will of God!

If we expect to keep learning, we must support teachers. Otherwise, without support, there will be no teachers. Then who will be left to teach us? Basketball players? Movie stars?

1 CORINTHIANS 9:11-14 NLT 11 We have planted good spiritual seed among you. Is it too much to ask, in return, for mere food and clothing? 12 If you support others who preach to you, shouldn’t we have an even greater right to be supported? Yet we have never used this right. We would rather put up with anything than put an obstacle in the way of the Good News about Christ. 13 Don’t you know that those who work in the Temple get their meals from the food brought to the Temple as offerings? And those who serve at the altar get a share of the sacrificial offerings. 14 In the same way, the Lord gave orders that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it.

God’s plan is for us to support those who teach His Word. This will insure an ample supply of people ready to continue teaching you, and others, the things of God. How valuable is that to you?

(God is not pleased when we do not value His Word highly. It is disrespectful to God, and not very smart.)

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God’s Word Is Like A Seed

LUKE 8:11 NKJ 11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

A seed is powerful.

As a seed begins to grow, it will push up dirt, rocks, etc. Whatever the obstacles are, God’s Word planted in your heart will push them out of the way.

A seed begins its growth in secret (underground).

The only way to tell if a seed is growing is to dig it up, or wait for a plant to appear. If you dig up a seed, you may kill it.

A seed takes time to produce.

No one expects a seed to produce a harvest the same day that seed is planted.

Sometimes the Word of God seems to spring up and bear fruit immediately. Yet, if we knew the details, we would understand that the fruit of the Word grew in that person’s life over time.

A seed is persistent.

A seed never gives up, but works day and night. Even when you are sleeping, the seed you have planted is working to grow and express itself in a fruitful harvest.

A seed is not affected by other seeds.

Whatever happens to other seeds does not make any difference to a specific seed. Each seed sticks to its own task. One wheat seed planted in a corn field will still produce wheat. Seed does not become discouraged, or quit, even if other seeds die.

A seed will stop growing without nourishment.

Planting a seed is not enough to assure a harvest. Seed must be protected and taken care of until harvest time. A seed which is dug up, or not watered, will not produce.

More seeds planted produce a larger harvest.

2 CORINTHIANS 9:6 NKJ 6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

Think on these truths about seeds. Allow the Holy Spirit to help you apply them to the role of God’s Word in your life.

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Another Helper

Who among us could not use another helper?

JOHN 14:16-18 NKJ 16 “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, 17 “even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

JOHN 14:26 NKJ 26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

JOHN 16:7 NKJ 7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.

JOHN 16:13 NKJ 13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

ROMANS 8:26 NKJ 26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

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God Can Speed Things Up

LUKE 8:11 NLT 11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s word.

MARK 4:26 NLT 26 Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground.

To help us understand how God’s Word and His kingdom operate, Jesus used a seed. And normally, for a seed to grow and produce a harvest takes significant time.

However, it is also clear that God can speed up natural processes.

Here are three examples from Scripture: Aaron’s rod that grew almonds overnight, a plant that grew overnight which shaded Jonah, and the boat immediately reaching the shore when Jesus got aboard.

NUMBERS 17:7-8 NKJ 7 And Moses placed the rods before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness. 8 Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold, the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds.

The book of Jonah tells of a plant that grew large enough overnight to be able to shade Jonah from the sun.

JONAH 4:5-11 NKJ 5 So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city. 6 And the LORD God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant. 7 But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered. 8 And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” 9 Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!” 10 But the LORD said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. 11 “And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left — and much livestock?”

One time Jesus’ disciples were in the middle of the lake rowing in a storm. As soon as Jesus entered the boat, they were immediately at land, which was about 4 miles away (a little over 6 kilometers).

JOHN 6:19-21 NKJ 19 So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. 20 But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 21 Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.

God is gracious and merciful. So while understanding the seed idea is important, it need not severely limit us when God is involved.

For example: healing is a natural process God created so the human body will heal. However, we can pray for God’s power to cause the process to speed up so that healing occurs faster than normal.

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You Are Not Under The Law

ROMANS 7:4 NJB 4 In the same way you, my brothers, through the body of Christ have become dead to the Law and so you are able to belong to someone else, that is, to him who was raised from the dead to make us live fruitfully for God.

You are not under the (Old Covenant) Law as a way of being right with God.

Just as a wife whose husband has died is no longer in that marriage after her husband dies, we are no longer in a relationship with the Law for the purpose of being right with God.

ROMANS 7:1-2 NLT 1 Now, dear brothers and sisters — you who are familiar with the law — don’t you know that the law applies only while a person is living? 2 For example, when a woman marries, the law binds her to her husband as long as he is alive. But if he dies, the laws of marriage no longer apply to her.

The Law is still good. For example, it is still wrong to steal and murder. And it is still right to worship God. But we no longer do those things in order to be right with God. Instead we do them BECAUSE we are already right with God by being joined with Jesus Christ.

Now it is His life in us that causes us to live right. We do not live right in order to get God’s approval. Instead we were given God’s love and acceptance as a gift (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 5:17). Because of our union with Christ Jesus, we can manifest God’s will naturally from our new heart (Romans 5:5). We have new life in us — His life — which causes us to act differently.

GALATIANS 5:18 GWN 18 If your spiritual nature is your guide, you are not subject to Moses’ laws.

ROMANS 3:20 NLT 20 For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.

GALATIANS 2:16 NLT 16 Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”

ROMANS 6:14-15 NLT 14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace. 15 Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not!

COLOSSIANS 3:3 NLT 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.

GALATIANS 2:19-20 GWN 19 When I tried to obey the law’s standards, those laws killed me. As a result, I live in a relationship with God. I have been crucified with Christ. 20 I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live I live by believing in God’s Son, who loved me and took the punishment for my sins.

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God Owns The Earth

1 CORINTHIANS 10:26 NKJ 26 for “the earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness.”

God owns the earth and all its fullness because He created it. And nothing that has happened since has changed who owns the earth.

PSALM 115:16 NKJ 16 The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’S; But the earth He has given to the children of men.

This one verse taken alone could cause someone to think God had given ownership of the earth to mankind. This is not so, as you will see from the verses below. So it must mean that the Lord has given us the use of the earth — not the title deed of ownership.

Some think the earth belongs to the devil because some translations of 2 Corinthians 4:4 refer to him as the “god of this world.” But the word translated “world” in this verse does not mean earth, but a time period.

2 CORINTHIANS 4:4 NKJ 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

Some think the temptations of Christ in Matthew 4 prove the devil has a legal right here on earth.

MATTHEW 4:8-9 NKJ 8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

For this to be a real temptation, the devil had to be able to give what he offered Jesus. But here again the word translated “world” does not mean earth. It means the world system, or the governments of mankind who were alienated from God. That just means mankind has yielded to the devil, but it gives no proof that he had ownership or control of the earth.

The devil has no legal authority to control the earth. He only operates here by deception and by influencing people (who do have a right to use the earth) to do wrong.

God still owns the earth!

LEVITICUS 25:23 NKJ 23 ‘The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me.

JOB 41:11 NKJ 11 Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him? Everything under heaven is Mine.

PSALM 50:10,12 NKJ 10 For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. 12 “If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness.

HAGGAI 2:8 NKJ 8 ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the LORD of hosts.

PSALM 24:1 NKJ 1 The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.

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The Purpose Of Life

God created mankind primarily because He desired to have a family. In order to truly fellowship with God, man had to have freedom of choice. Unfortunately, man used his freedom to rebel against God and fell from fellowship with God.

When man fell he came under the dominion of the devil, because he followed the devil’s suggestion to disobey God. With this came spiritual death and a new nature which was selfish. Man became self-centered — actually worshiping himself by making every decision based on what was best for him. The result of this selfishness is evident all around us: horrible misery and suffering.

God is just and obeys His own laws. Justice requires that rebellion be punished. To be just, yet allow mankind to come back into fellowship with Him, God Himself came to earth as the man Jesus Christ. He suffered a horrible death as the substitute for all mankind, taking the punishment we deserved for our sins. Because of what Jesus did, God could justly forgive all sin, and open a way for all people to come back into fellowship with God.

Jesus Christ Himself is the only way to God. Only by receiving Jesus can we enjoy the benefits of His sacrifice, which sets us free from sin and its judgment.

Our life on earth now is testing and preparation for eternity, to determine our place in God’s family. This is not determined by human beauty or achievement, but by our willingness to submit to the lordship of Jesus Christ. When we submit to Jesus, He begins changing us into what He wants us to be.

When you come to Jesus, He changes you inwardly. As you continue following Jesus and obeying His Word, your inward change will continue manifesting outwardly, causing people and circumstances around you to change also. God will continue working in and through you until you become like Jesus Christ in your thoughts and actions, as well as your nature.

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Gift Or Purchase?

There are four possible ways to obtain something you do not have.

  1. Steal it.
  2. Create it.
  3. Purchase it.
  4. Receive it as a gift.

As you know, stealing is not a legitimate way, and we have not yet learned how to create something from nothing. So that leaves us with paying for something or receiving it as a gift.

If you pay any amount, or trade anything in exchange for what you are receiving, then it is a purchase. For something to be a gift, you cannot pay anything to get it.

If someone said “I will give you my new car for only one dollar” they would be wrong. Paying only one dollar for a new car would be a great bargain, but it would not be a gift, but a purchase.

We need to understand this clearly. When the Bible says God has given us a gift, we need not — in fact, we cannot — pay for it in any way.

Trying to pay for a gift is a refusal to receive it as a gift.

EPHESIANS 2:8 NLT 8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.

Salvation is a gift! (Salvation means more than going to Heaven when we die, but includes deliverance and safety from all that would harm us.)

Your salvation is a completely free gift! Jesus paid the full price, so you don’t have to pay anything for it! And you CANNOT earn it by anything you do.

The New Testament tells us that right standing with God is a gift (Romans 5:17, Romans 3:21-24). We receive this wonderful gift when we receive Jesus.

JOHN 1:17 ESV 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Too many have not yet understood that the New Covenant is based on an entirely new approach. The Old Covenant (the law of Moses) required people to perform to gain God’s help and favor. It was based on our human performance. But the New Covenant is based on the performance of Jesus Christ, and our faith in Him.

If we have to be “good enough” for God’s blessing, then we are trying to pay for a gift. But it is impossible to pay for a gift! When we start paying for a gift we turn it into a purchase. And God does not have anything for sale! God will not allow anything so precious as His love to be bought by our good performance.

GALATIANS 5:4 NLT 4 For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.

When we try to pay for God’s gift, we “fall from grace.” That means we are trying an inferior approach that will not work. It means we are still trying to earn God’s love and acceptance instead of receiving it as His gift to us.

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I Am Wrong

“What are you wrong about, preacher?”

I don’t know. If I knew I would change.

“Then how do you know you’re wrong?”

Unless I’m perfect and know everything — I must be wrong about some things. I just don’t know what.

“But I thought preachers knew everything.”

Some of them may think they do. But even the Apostle Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, said he only knew in part.

1 CORINTHIANS 13:12 NIV 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

There are two ways to face life: thinking you know everything and are doing everything right, or realizing you are not yet perfect. The first way is pride, the second is humility.

If you think you know everything, you cut yourself off from learning. If you think everything you do is right, you almost eliminate any chance of improvement.

Do you really desire to never know more than you do now? Would it please you to never make any progress from where you are now?

Then, to protect you from the enemy of pride, start each day saying, “I am wrong. Lord, show me where to change.”

Pride stunts your growth as a person. Pride retards progress. Pride robs you — and can kill. Pride causes strife and destroys relationships. Pride isolates. Pride closes doors of opportunity.

Humility is the only antidote for pride and all its horrible consequences.

The first step to wholeness is to realize you have a problem.

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The Bible Gives You Instructions For Victory

JOSHUA 1:8 NLT 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.

God has the answer for every problem. God’s Word is God’s wisdom (Luke 11:49).

The Bible is God’s message, given to you from His heart of love, so you can know the truth, and have a sure foundation on which to base your life.

The Bible was not given to put you down, but to raise you up. Not to put you in bondage, but to make you free! (John 8:31-32)

God’s Word gives you dependable truth you can use to form your beliefs, so that your beliefs will line up with the reality of how God’s creation works. God alone knows all truth, and in the Bible He shared what you need to know to live a blessed life.

Follow God’s instructions and things will go well with you. The answer for success in life is to do what the Bible says to do, because it is truth.

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