It’s About the Cross – Ball Brothers

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The Message Of Reconciliation

2 CORINTHIANS 5:19 NIV
19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not
counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us
the message of reconciliation.

The Good News is about reconciliation between God and man.
Jesus Christ accomplished it.

Mankind was estranged from God. We had gone our own way, were
lost, and couldn’t find our way back to fellowship with God.
Fortunately, God loved us and did something to help us.

Two extremely important ideas are presented in the above verse.

First, God is not holding people’s sins against them! As far as
God is concerned, Christ’s sacrifice paid the penalty for all
sin — and God considers the world reconciled back to Him.

Second, this wonderful good news of what God has done has been
committed to us. Human beings must tell it. If we don’t — it
won’t be told.

People can live and die and never know the glorious truth that
God is not holding any sins against them — if no one tells
them. They need to know they are forgiven, loved by God, and
welcome to come back into fellowship with Him through Christ.

Think about this: God is interested in reconciliation. Not in
shutting you, or others, out. He is inviting humanity in,
saying all is forgiven.

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Resist The Devil By Faith

EPHESIANS 6:16 NKJ
16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be
able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

Isn’t it good to know you can withstand whatever the devil
throws at you? Although the devil may attack, your faith in
God’s Word will shield you from being harmed.

1 PETER 5:8-9 NKJ
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks
about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same
sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

How do we resist the devil?

We resist the devil by refusing to think, speak, or act in
accordance with his suggestions and ideas. We choose rather to
think, speak, and act in line with God’s Word, the Bible.

Refusing to accept less than the perfect will of God is
resisting the devil. Standing against sin, sickness, poverty,
and fear is resisting the devil’s plan, which is to steal,
kill, and destroy (John 10:10, Acts 10:38).

Humility is resisting the devil. Walking in love is resisting
the devil. Spending time in prayer and fellowship with God is
resisting the devil. Being thankful is resisting the devil.
Praising God and talking of His goodness and faithfulness is
resisting the devil.

The Greek word for resist literally means to stand against. It
means to withstand and oppose.

The English word resist means to stand against; to strive
against; to obstruct; to act in opposition to; to exert oneself
so as to counteract or defeat; to refuse to give in.

The opposite of resist is to agree with and to yield.

JAMES 4:7 NKJ
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee
from you.

This verse is written to believers. It does not say the devil
will flee from you whether you resist him, or not. So you must
actively resist the devil if you don’t want his plan in your
life.

We are to yield to God in all things, but yield to the devil in
none. How do we yield to God? We yield to what He says. How do
we resist the devil? We do not yield to or accept what the
devil says but rather stand against it.

God and the devil do not come to most of us in person. Rather
they come to us by thoughts which originate from either God or
the devil. We choose which one we yield to and which one we
resist by how we respond to the thoughts and ideas that come
our way.

JAMES 4:7 CJB
7 Therefore, submit to God. Moreover, take a stand against the
Adversary, and he will flee from you

Take a stand against the devil! Refuse to give up or give in!
The devil cannot overcome you if you continue to resist.

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In Everything Give Thanks

1 THESSALONIANS 5:18 NKJ
18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in
Christ Jesus for you.

Are you giving thanks to God today? You should. If you want to
be happy, you must. For, without being thankful, you will never
be happy.

Just because things are not going the way you would like is no
excuse. The Bible clearly says that God’s will for you is to be
thankful — always.

The Bible does NOT teach that we’re to thank God for evil,
because God is not responsible for evil. No, God is not guilty
of any wrongdoing.

What the Bible does teach, is that we should always be thankful
— even when evil happens. Being thankful is part of an
attitude of faith, and faith will overcome evil.

Although the Bible does say we should give thanks to God FOR
all things, that only means the things for which God is
responsible. For example, if a guest at your home said, “Thank
you for everything,” you wouldn’t think they were thanking you
for what someone else did.

God doesn’t do bad things to people. He’s not the one who comes
to steal, kill, and destroy. That’s the devil, and people
motivated by selfishness and demonic influence. So you have the
devil “to thank” for the bad things in life.

Yet, during the bad things in life, we are to continue thanking
God, no matter how we feel. This helps us keep our eyes on God
and keep things in perspective.

No matter how dark and hopeless the situation may look — give
thanks. This is God’s will for you.

Thank God for the opportunity to see His deliverance. Thank Him
for His mercy and grace. Thank Him for His faithfulness. Thank
Him for defeating the devil and setting you free in Christ.
Thank Him that Jesus is Lord. Thank Him that your name is
written in Heaven. Thank Him for loving you and taking good
care of you. Thank Him!

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Do All Things Work Together For Good?

Many Christians would instantly say “Yes!” And a quick look at
Romans 8:28 in many Bible translations seems to confirm their
answer.

But is that what Romans 8:28 really means?

ROMANS 8:28 NASB
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for
good to those who love God, to those who are called according
to His purpose.

ROMANS 8:28 NIV
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of
those who love him, who have been called according to his
purpose.

While several translations can give us a different view on this
(like both of those above), it is not necessary for us to judge
translations or learn the meaning of Greek words to realize
some basic facts.

First, if everything that happened was good for us, then God
would never tell us to resist or refrain from anything. (And He
does!)

Therefore, everything is not God’s will for us. Neither can we
consider everything to be good.

So this verse cannot be saying that everything that happens is
good, or that it will cause good in our life. Instead, as the
translations above reveal, God is working to cause things to
end up good.

Yes, God is able to bring good out of bad situations. But God
should be given the credit, not the bad things.

If you believe God is working everything out for your good, He
will. But that does not mean God planned or desired bad things
to come into your life.

The Bible teaches that some things are bad. Sin is bad.
Sickness is bad. Poverty is bad. Selfishness is bad. Pride is
bad.

Is God able to turn things around and produce good, even after
bad things have happened? Yes!

God is always working to cause good. But that does not mean
everything that happens is good.

I know this verse is a cornerstone of many people’s faith. For
some it is really almost all they believe. This has been their
comfort in times of trouble when they did not understand.

But we need to grow in understanding. Just because we required
a pacifier as a baby does not mean we should always use one.

If all things work for our good, then why would God tell us to
resist the devil, or to refrain from certain activities?

God is working all the time to make things turn out good for us
who belong to Him. But that does not mean everything that comes
along is good for us. No! There are things we should refuse.
There are things we should resist.

Everything is not good and we should not accept everything as
being God’s will. The Bible instructs us so we can know God’s
will and resist all that is not God’s will.

Some may think bad things actually cause good, but that is not
true. We all know stories of people who, in the midst of great
trouble, turned to the Lord. Many use such accounts to claim
that everything works out for good. But that requires you to
ignore the greater number of people who turn away from the Lord
because of trouble.

Some have been told that suffering bad things is God’s plan for
them so that somehow others may be helped. But the Bible
teaches that Jesus already suffered all that was required for
people to be blessed.

The final end result for a believer who loves God and trusts
Him is that all things will work out for their good. Even the
bad things that come into their life will turn out to be
stepping-stones to a higher level instead of stumbling-blocks.
But it is dependent on that believer keeping their trust in the
Lord, loving Him, and allowing God to work things out. It is
not automatic.

Note that Romans 8:29 (the next verse) is a continuation of the
same thought. What is being said in Romans 8:28 is only part of
the statement. To get the right understanding, you need the
whole thought. Romans 8:29 starts with “For” or “because.”

ROMANS 8:29 NET
29 because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be
conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the
firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

The plan of God is that we become like Jesus. Bad things are
happening on earth because mankind allowed the devil and his
ideas a place here. Those bad things give us an opportunity to
overcome, to walk in love, and to grow into more Christ-
likeness. But bad things do not make us more like Christ. It is
only when we turn to the Lord (even in the midst of trouble)
and allow Him to work in us, that we are transformed into being
more like Him.

Multitudes of people experience bad things in life, who instead
of getting better because of them, get bitter and worse.

So do not take this one short phrase “all things work together
for good” out of context. It does not include everyone, only
those who love God, and it is only true in relation to God’s
purpose in making us more like Jesus. And that does not happen
because of bad things, but only when we love God and trust Him
even when bad things happen.

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We Are The Jury

1 CORINTHIANS 6:3 NKJ
3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more,
things that pertain to this life?

This is a curious verse. It just says, “we shall judge angels”
without giving any explanation. It does not say why we will
judge angels, or which angels we will judge. (Nor do I find
those answers elsewhere in the Bible.)

So this message includes some speculation on my part. I share
it because it makes sense and helps to answer some difficult
questions, such as why so much evil has been allowed on earth.
But, of course, I could be wrong.

The word translated as angels in the New Testament means a
messenger, or someone who is sent by another. This word is used
186 times in the KJV and is translated “angel” 179 times and
“messenger” 7 times.

There are good “angels” and bad “angels.” Here are two verses
that show clearly that the Bible speaks of bad angels. (I think
these are the angels that rebelled against God with Lucifer.)

REVELATION 12:7 NKJ
7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought
with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,

2 CORINTHIANS 12:7 NKJ
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance
of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a
messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above
measure.

While I suppose it could be possible that we would judge the
good angels, and give out awards for all they did on our
behalf, that does not really make sense to me. It seems more
reasonable to guess that the devil and the rebellious angels
would be allowed a “jury trial” and that we are the jury.

By imagining this scenario, it makes several things more
understandable to me. One is why God allowed the devil access
to Adam and Eve to tempt them. If mankind is the jury, then
Lucifer (who we know as the devil now) would have to be allowed
to present his case and have equal access to the jury.

Another is why God has allowed so much pain and misery to go on
for so long in this world. If we are the jury, then God would
be unjust to “tamper with the jury.” In the interest of
fairness and justice for the evil angels on trial, God cannot
just jump in and change things. We as mankind have been given
freedom to make choices and to follow whoever we choose.

Eventually, the folly of following anyone except the Lord Jesus
Christ will become plain to mankind and the rebelling angels
will be judged. Then God will wipe away all tears and remove
all the pain that was ever caused and make all things right.
Because God will do that in the future, and everything will
turn out right, then God will never be able to be accused of
wrong-doing.

So, I predict in advance what the jury — that is, humanity —
will decide.

1. God is NOT guilty!
2. The devil and his angels ARE guilty.

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The Blood Speaks

HEBREWS 12:24 NKJ
24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood
of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

The Blood testifies that Jesus set us free from all the curse
and made us able to partake of the inheritance of the saints.
The Blood testifies that Jesus bought our redemption and set us
free from the devil.

EPHESIANS 1:7 NIV
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness
of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

God worked when the blood of Abel cried unto Him — how much
more mightily He will work when it is the blood of His own Son
that cries.

By speaking words of faith, we agree with what the Blood says
concerning our total and absolute redemption and freedom from
the curse.

ROMANS 5:9 NIV
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more
shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

HEBREWS 9:12 KJV
12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own
blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained
eternal redemption for us.

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Instructions For Success

JOSHUA 1:8 NIV
8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth;
meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do
everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and
successful.

If you desire to succeed, here are the instructions.

You may follow other plans that promise success, but you have
no guarantee they will work long-term. People may give you
advice that works for awhile — but can you be sure it will not
fail you someday?

With God you have an eternal guarantee: His Word will never
fail. Heaven and earth will disappear before even the smallest
detail of God’s Word will fail.

Look at God’s success instructions again. Study them in detail.
Surely if anything is worth your time, this promise of God is.

First, speak in line with God’s Word. Isn’t it interesting that
the first instruction from God for success has to do with what
you say? Some people proclaim that what you say doesn’t matter,
but God puts it at the top of the list.

Second, meditate on what God said. This is the opposite of
worry. This is more than just reading the Bible. (Although if
you never read it, how could you meditate on it?) This is
thinking about what God says and how it affects everything.

When are we to think about God and His Word? When it is day, or
when it is night. Any other time, you can safely shut God out
of your thoughts.

Look at what God promises will be yours if you follow these
instructions: prosperity and success. What everyone wants, but
few are willing to do what it takes to achieve.

Of course you can ignore these instructions. But why would you?

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Your Words Are Important

MATTHEW 12:36-37 NIV
36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day
of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.
37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words
you will be condemned.”

Few people realize the importance of the words they speak.

There is almost no way to overemphasize the importance of what
we say. Yet most people give it almost no thought — usually
speaking without even thinking.

Jesus came from Heaven and revealed to us that words are
important. Very important. The Bible has much to say on this
subject. We ignore it at our own peril.

You may not be familiar with what the Bible says about the
importance of words, but if you knew only the verse above,
Matthew 12:36-37, that should be enough to convince you. Your
judgment will be determined by the words you have spoken.

Certainly, this is not a negative message. When we understand
the importance and power of words, we can use them for good.
The Bible says death and life are in the power of the tongue
(Proverbs 18:21). Just as fire can cause great destruction,
tamed and controlled it can be a great blessing to us. So it is
with words. Life is in the power of the tongue. That means life
is controlled by words.

I repeat: life is controlled by words. Words release authority.
Words determine the course of events. Words matter.

What should you do about this?

First, you need to study what the Bible says about words. Jesus
said if you continue in His Word you would know the truth and
the truth would make you free (John 8:31-32).

Also, you need to ask the Lord to teach you and help you to
speak correctly — because we must have God’s help to tame our
tongue.

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How Do I Get Faith?

Faith in God and His Word operates on the same principles as
faith in anything else. Faith comes from the information you
receive. Information can come to you through any of your five
senses, or from your spirit. When you decide to accept any
information as worthy of being acted upon, it becomes part of
your belief system. That is how you get faith.

(Remember that, in the New Testament, faith is the noun form
and believe is the verb form of the same word.)

Each one of us chooses whether we will believe something, based
on our evaluation of the evidence presented to us.

No one was born with beliefs. Every belief you now have was
acquired as a decision you made at some point in your life. You
decided to believe what you now believe.

Since every belief you have came as a result of a decision you
made, every belief can also be changed by another decision.

But because faith is always based on some evidence, we must
have evidence that convinces us before we can change any
belief.

Life constantly presents us with evidence which forces us to
make decisions, based on this question, “Is this evidence
sufficient to accept as truth?”

The primary evidence God has given us so we may have faith in
Him is His Word. God is not a liar; He can be trusted. Whatever
God says, always comes to pass.

ROMANS 10:17 HCSB
17 So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes
through the message about Christ.

A literal translation of Romans 10:17 tells us that faith
results from accepting the God message.

How does someone get faith in God? By being presented with
truth about God, and accepting it as the truth. Faith in God
comes by choosing to accept the message of God.

We must not restrict our understanding of how faith comes to
our physical sense of hearing. Every way we can receive
information about God is an avenue that can bring us faith.

Bible faith can result from what is seen according to John 20:8
and 20:29. Faith in God can also come through the sense of
touch. Otherwise no deaf and blind person could ever be saved,
for they receive the message of God through reading braille
with their fingers.

You can go to the Bible and decide to believe it. Then you will
have faith in God, for the Bible is God’s written Word. We get
faith in God by making a decision to accept God’s written Word,
the Bible, as truth worthy of being acted upon.

So if someone says they don’t have much faith, the solution for
them is to see the evidence from God’s Word on that subject,
then choose to accept what God said as true.

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