Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
When Jesus defeated the devil in his wilderness temptation, he quoted Scripture. Jesus was tempted in the area of appetite, pride, and ego. We are also tempted in those ways.
We fold up and give into to sin when we are not ready. To be ready, we must study the Bible, meditate on the Bible, internalize the Bible and apply the Bible.
Jesus said 'Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that flows out of the mouth of God.' (Matthew 4:4)
The devil quoted Scripture out of context and with a wrong interpretation to try to trip Jesus up. People today twist the Scripture to their own destruction. Many say abortion, homosexuality and sex outside of heterosexual mongamous marriage is ok and approve by the Bible. They are wrong. Dead wrong.
Do what this says and you will defeat the devil when he tempts you:
'Study to show yourself approve unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.' (2 Timothy 2:15)
Be like the psalmist and you will be strong in the Lord and in faith:
10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
12 Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes.
I John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
The skinny of a godly lifestyle is love. Love is an action. It is meeting someone's elses needs in the power of Jesus.
The primary need of all is salvation which is bestowed by Jesus when one repents of sin and surrenders their life by believe in Jesus!
There are other needs: intellectual, emotional, spiritual, financial, health, family and so on.
To love is to have someone else's best interests at heart and then doing something about that as God directs and allows.
It truly is love that makes the world go around.
God, give us true love.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Before I got saved (washed, sanctified and justified through repenting of my sin and trusting only in and asking Jesus to come into my heart and take over my life based on his shed blood, death on the cross and his resurrection from the grave) every act I ever did was a sinful one.
After I got saved (and now), through living by faith, that is by only trusting Jesus to enable me through the Holy Spirit whom Jesus sent to come into my life the second I got saved, I was and am able and actually did and do acts of righteousness untainted by sin.
Now, after I got saved, I still was tempted to sin and because my sin nature was not eradicated but only pardoned and forgiven, I still from time to time and even now give into the world, the flesh and devil and I sin. I hate that and it pains and grieves the Holy Spirit and myself as well. God help me to live for Jesus!
As a saved person, when I sin, I have an advocate, that is an attorney with the Father who is Jesus Christ the righteous one who was tempted in all points such as myself but who never sinned one time in attitude or action. Jesus stands before Father God and says He took my place on the cross and suffered my punishment for sin so in order to he save me and birth me into the kingdom of Heaven
so Father God is able to treat me as a son who may be disobedient from time to time and not as a sinner who is disobedient every waking and sleeping moment of his or her life.
I have to say, I sin less now than I did before I was saved. I, as much as I knew how, invited Jesus into my heart when I was 7 years old (but I had no real spiritual growth at that time), however after also inviting Jesus into my heart when I was 21, it was only a few months after that experience that I began to grow spiritually and gain the wisdom and strength to live righteously and gain victory over sin by faith.
It was the study of and the meditation on God's Word, the Bible applied to my heart and life by the Holy Spirit of God that enabled me to by faith prayerfully live for Jesus. (that's how you quit sinning!)
Praise God. God is so good to me. Please pray for me that I might be an effective witness and ambassador of Christ to the folks I will meet this week at truck stops, warehouses and wherever God leads me and allows me to go.
The early Christians connected daily with each other for worship, communion, encouragement and fellowship.
What does that say about us modern believers?
It seems to me that about all we expect out of each other is to 'go to church' once a week and to 'give an offering.'
Churches that I have been a part of typically do a good job of connecting with a person if they are in the hospital or during their funeral but that is about it.
What has happened to us? Why we are so detached and impersonal when Jesus said : "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13: 35) ?
If a Christian can miss public worship and never be contacted and prayed for, then we have totally missed the boat concerning loving one another.
The population of Jerusalem in the days of Jesus and the Apostles was about 40 to 50 thousand.
Yet, those early believers without cars, cell phones, mail, e-mail and social media connected with each other continually to show love, caring, encouragement and to worship and learn the Apostle's Doctrine and teaching.
So, I submit we modern believers have no excuse for our isolation and self centeredness.
How my heart yearns for authentic Christian concern, compassion, discipleship and love! In closing, this is what the New Testament says about this:
A Christian is either controlled by the Spirit of God or by his or her's flesh. Now the flesh referred to here is that carnal nature or the sin nature that all of us have by virtue of inheritance from our great, great (many great's) Grand Daddy, Adam. Yeah, that Adam in the Garden of Eden.
You see, we are born with a sin or fleshly nature. That sin nature results in us lying, cheating, envying, lusting, and many other undesirable thoughts, attitudes and actions.
Jesus never sinned and so lived a perfect life and then became our sin substitute on the cross. Christ suffered, bled and died in order that you and I might receive forgiveness and a new Spiritual nature through the new birth when we turn from sin and trust Jesus as our very own personal Savior and Lord.
Have you been born again like that (that is the one and only new birth) ? The new birth is not being baptized in water, joining a church, confessing sin, or trying to obey the golden rule and helping litle ole ladies cross the street and stuff like that.
The new birth is when Jesus enters our heart, life and inner most being through repentance (turning from our flesh and sin) and faith (trusting Jesus as our Savior and Lord) .
The new birth happens when we cry out for mercy and forgiveness thus giving the control of our life to King Jesus! When you are born again, you receive the gift of eternal life, Jesus comes to live in your heart through the Holy Spirit and you have the possiblity of overcoming sin and the flesh by faith in your day to day life.
Now when you are born again, you have two natures: the flesh (sin) and the Spirit (Jesus). Before you are born again, you only have one nature: the flesh (sin nature).
To walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh, you must feed that inner man with God's Word (the Bible) and prayer. That results in faith welling up in you and swelling up in you to enable you live with power and grace through the power of Christ by the Holy Spirit.
Then you can live the Christian life that results in faith, hope, patience, peace, joy, thanksgiving and grace. 3 other things happen to you (among many) when you receive the new birth and walk by faith: 1.) God's guidance, 2.) You give God credit for the good stuff in your life, and 3.) you want to tell others about Jesus!
I tell you. I want to walk in the Spirit. God has been dealing with me about this.
Have a nice day and a nice life. You can, you know, if you are born of the Spirit and walk with Jesus in trust and obedience!
In the movie, "The Blue's Brothers", Jake and Elwood were told by the head Nun, the Penguin, to "Come back when they had redeemed themselves." Jake and Elwood then get the 25,000 dollars to pay back taxes on the church and orphanage by getting the band back together and playing a big concert. In the movie, Jake and Elwood do redeem themselves.
The word redeem implies that one has to do something to pay for their sins. The problem is that nothing we can do or possess is valuable enough to pay for our sins.
Unilke Jake and Elwood, no amount of money can provide
redemption for our sins.
Only when the blood of Jesus is applied to our sins through faith in him can we have redemption which results in forgiveness and eternal and abunant life.
You see, only Jesus never sinned. And only his blood is pure enough to pay the price for our redemption. And that is received through believing in him.
To believe in Jesus means we acknowledge our sin, repent (turn) from our sins, and by faith to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior. That is what it means to believe in Jesus. Then and only then can we have redemption for our sins.
Like the old hymn says: 'What can wash away my sins? Nothing the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus."
I have received Jesus as my only hope and redemption of sin. Have you? That changes everything! I am redeemed!
One time when I was pastor at an Alabama Southern Baptist Church, I renewed a friendship with a pastor who was pastor at the largest Baptist Church in the area. Now my church normally had less than 80 to 100 each Sunday while his had several thousand. We used to have lunch together at a favorite cafeteria, fellowship and prayer every so often.
There was to be a big Baptist meeting at a church in Hoover, Alabama. Steve asked me to go and to sit at his table beside the President of the Southern Baptist Convention.
I showed up riding my motorcycle in jeans, boots, a t-shirt with a black leather vest.I went to the congreational meeting but cut out before the meal to go ride my bike. I don't think I was accepted too very much by the suit and tie wearing pastors at that meeting.
As I look back on that, I think that I could have really polished up my image and I could have done some serious lobbying to improve my ministerial career.
I didn't, however, and I am glad I did not.
My pastor friend who invited me to that meeting is now pastor of a 20,000 member mega church in Memphis and is the present President of the Southern Baptist Convention: Dr. Steve Gaines.
I did not polish up my image way back then and and I am not polishing it up now. I did not lobby to improve my ministerial career back then and I am not lobbying to improve my ministerial career now.
I am presently a Semi Tractor/Trailer driver and my ministry is loving my family, sharing Jesus on the road and doing preacherlarry.com.
When and if God wants me to do something else, I want to be in a spiritual condition to listen and to obey.
Until then, I am enjoying shifting that 10 speed transmission, seeing God's great creation out of my windshield and sharing the gospel with truckers, truck stop workers, travelers and even seeing some accept Jesus Christ as their very own personal Lord and Savior!
Have a great day!
Ok, this is the deal. The number one sign of being a true Christian, that is, you have repented of your sin and accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior is love.
Love goes three ways: up, in and out.
Up love: We love God because he first loved us. When we love God, we love the things of God like the Bible, prayer, his people: the body of Christ (the church: not a brick and mortar building but other Christians), righteousness, praise, thanksgiving, and the glory of God!
In love: We love ourselves. Some one once said: God don't create no junk. Yes, we are marred by sin: we age, we sometimes don't feel good physically or emotionally and we give into the world, the flesh and devil. But we is all we got. I love myself but I am created in God's image and I have a future and hope because Jesus saved me, forgave me, is in me and leads and blesses me!
Out love: We are to love a lost and dying world. This is tough sometimes and there is a fine line between being in the world but not of the world. We are not to hang with lost people and talk and walk like they do. But we are to love them and that means we are not mean to them and we pray for them, share with them and tell them about the love and forgiveness and new life Jesus brings.
We are to love God's people. Love is a verb. Love is an action word. We are to reach out and show real love (as in washing a car, cutting a lawn, helping with a plumbing problem, visiting a sick one, encouraging a depressed person, giving a cash or tangible gift, visiting a lonely person). This means we risk rejection and that we are willing and must make the first move. Reach out and touch another believer in Jesus today. Call them, text them, message them, go see them if you can. Show you care. Bear their burden.
It's love, love, love that makes the world go round. What the world needs now is love, sweet love. I have found real love through my personal relationship with Jesus Christ! And I am not ashamed of Jesus, the lover of my soul!
What about you?
The question I used to hate was 'Why are you not preaching any more.' You see, I used to be a pastor of four different churches in four different states. Many people believe that once a person is 'called to preach', that means a person serves for the rest of his life in Christian vocational service.
Now, I am a Semi Tractor/Trailer driver. I am not employed vocationally in any ministry.
For a while, I felt I had betrayed my calling to preach the gospel. But guess what? I still preach the gospel to individuals most every day somewhere and to somebody. (and I also preach the gospel through this website: preacherlarry.com)
The other day, after I told a lady I used to be a pastor, she asked me why I was not preaching any more. I answered 'but I am preaching. I am preaching to you right now.' I even sang a stanza of 'It is no secret' to that lady. And that day, Jesus touched that Lady's heart. She told me so with a tear and a hug.
I shared with her that Jesus was my savior, how Jesus was blessing me with abundant life now, and out of the Bible how she could receive Jesus and posess eternal life in heaven and a joyful peaceful life of strength and grace right now.
So, I would say I am currently still preaching the gospel. I just do it mostly one on one.
Remember that the most memorable stories we remember out of Jesus' earthly ministry was the people he shared with and touch individually. Like Nicodemus, the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, Peter, Matthew and ole Zaccheus under that sycamore tree.
The question I used to hate is now one of my favorite ones.
It is neat how God works things out!
The year was 1971. I was a young newlywed and on fire for God. I worked at Conley Frog and Switch near Third street in Memphis. I unloaded metal from box cars.
Bob White was know as the company pusher. He would ask me if I wanted some stuff. I told Bob I had some stuff that made me free as a bird and higher than a kite. He asked what it was. I said: Jesus.
I began to share with Bob White how Jesus set me free and one Bible verse in particular I shared many, many times with Bob White: "You shall know the truth and truth shall make you free."
You see, Jesus says "I am the way, truth and the life, no one comes unto the Father except by me." Jesus is the only way to heaven, forgiveness of sin, eternal life and real peace, love and joy down here on this earth.
A couple of months later, I became the Manager of Pasquale's Pizza on Summer Avenue in Memphis. One night Bob White came in with his wife to eat some pizza. Bob White told me how he now was free too.
Bob told me how my witness and life had a profound influence on him. One night after I left employment at Conley, Bob said he kneeled beside his bed and asked Jesus to be his Lord and Savior. Later, his wife did too. They were soon after baptized at Labelle Heaven Baptist Church on Raines Road in Whitehaven, Tn.
Today is Indepence Day. I pray for the freedom and safety of America and thank God we are still the best place to live in the world today. But real freedom knows from turning from a bankrupt selfish lifestyle by surrender and faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
I wish for you today, my friend, real freedom.
"Then Jesus said unto them, 'Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest."
In the truck driving world, a driver is allowed to be on duty for 14 hours a day. During that 14 hours, a driver may drive the truck for up to 11 hours. A 30 minute break must be take after or during the first 8 hours of driving. After the 14 hours is up, a driver must take a 10 hour break that is called the sleeper berth break. After 70 hours of work is done in a 7 day period (or perhaps in 5 days if the full 14 hours on duty is taken every day), the driver must take a 34 hour reset.
Althoiigh I love driving a semi truck, many thinngs can be stressful, emotional draining and bring on fatigue. Traffic jams, weather, backing into tight spaces, time issues, irate or reckless drivers and just the grind of the job can bring on the need for rest. I look forward to the daily 10 hour rest break, the 30 minute (or a little longer) eight hour break and the 34 hour reset.
I am on a 34 hour reset right now. I return to driving tomorrow morning around 6 a.m.. I am presently in Oklahoma not too far from Fort Smith, Ark. Tomorrow I wiill drive on I 40 towards Riverside, California. I can't wait. My daughter tells me the I 40 drive is a nice scenic drive and I am totally looking forward to it.
A Christian needs to reset his or her's spiritual life from time to time as well. God set up 1 day in 7 to be a rest and worship day for his children. Tomorrow is Sunday, I will not be able to rest and go to church for I along with medical workers, retail people, fire workers, law enforcement and of course my brother and sister truck drivers will be working.
My rest and worship is taking place today. We are not under the law of God but instead are under the grace of God. Now, the grace of God comes to the Christian by and through faith and brings pardon, forgiveness, joy, guiidance, comfort, strength and power. Grace results in changed livies.
I am thankful for the 34 hour reset in trucking and more so, I am thankful for the spiritual rest Jesus gives me. The rest of Jesus comes to me when I pull aside to read and study the Bible, the written word of God that is spiirtual bread, meat and miik for the Christian, spend time in prayer to worship, get spiritually clean, talk to God for others and bring personal requests to the throne of grace and just look to Jesus in faith crying out for his help and touch. Then, receive the rest of Jesus that brings joy, peace, comfort strength and the refreshing and filling of the Spirit of God.
God is good and I am glad to be a part of what He is doing in this world.
Have a great day and week and remember to recharge your physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual batteries with resets from time to time. God Bless!
"Give me only what I need."
Sometimes the child of God can have wondering eyes. I mean we want what we see. For instance, our sibling gets a new car, we want it. Our friend takes a nice cruise or trip, we want that too. Our neighbor gets a new speed or bass boat, we want that real bad. The horse leech has two daughters; they are named gimme, gimmme.
Herein is our problem. We can only be truly satisified by knowing
Jesus and doing his will. No doodad shiney thing can truly satisfy us. No amount of intellectual pursuit or emotional thrill can truly satisfy us.
When the disciples went up on the Mount of Transfiguration, they wanted to stay up there and build three tabernacles, one for Moses, one for Elijah and one for Jesus. The glory of God came down on that place and the disciples fell down on their faces. When they looked back up,, they saw no man, save Jesus only.
That is it. Jesus only. Can you say that with me? Jesus only, Jesus only, Jesus only! No car, house, trip, boat, cruise, money, amount of knowledge or cheap thrill can give us what what we need. Only Jesus can and will if we come to him in faith and surrender our life to only him!
Well, I am fixing to do my pre trip on my truck and then drive towards Laredo, Texas down on the Mexican border. About 650 miles or so, and I will be there. I am due there by tomorrow at noon so I have plenty of time to drive about 10 hours today and few more tomorrow morning. Hope you have a nice day. And remember, Go with God and He will go with you!
"And whatsoever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men."
I am an Over The Road Tractor/Trailer driver now. That is what I do for a living. I started truck driver school February 1st, took the State test for my Class A Commericial Driver's License, drove 10,000 miles with a trainer and have been a solo driver for the past month (my Son and dog rode on the truck with me the past 3 weeks.) I had my 67th birthday while doing a D.O.T. 34 hour reset at a Pilot Truck Stop in Caddo Springs, Arkansas last week. Happily, there was a Cracker Barrel across the road where John, my Son, bought me a ribeye steak and I enjoyed for two days an Apple Streudle sprinkled with pecans and syrup. God is Good!
I consider myself just as much a Christian and a gospel preacher as I ever have while driving my truck (especially at Truck Stops where as God opens doors, I minister Jesus to other Truckers).
Since going on the road, I have seen God's beautiful handiwork including the green pastures of Kansas, the mojave desert, the Rocky and Smokey mountains and the gator country in Lousiana. It has been a blessing and a treat in seeing all of this and more.
I have seen big burly truckers tear up as they realize how much God loves them and is for them. More and more, I am asking God how to make him known: His love, power, grace, mercy and glory to those with whom I meet out on the road.
I appreciate your prayers for me as I am out there doing the deal for Jesus! The just shall live by faith. Thank you.
"And he left for Tarsus to look for Saul."
Saul of Tarsas hated Christians. But After Saul got saved, he changed. The Christians were very supicious, however. Barnanbus brought Saul to the Apostles and explained that Saul saw Jesus in a heavenly light vision on the road to Damascus and was gloriously saved and so now was different.
But things got stirred up for Saul. The Christians did not really trust Saul and the Jews wanted to kill him. So Saul got out of town and went to Tarsus for over 10 years.
Barnabus comes back on the scene some years later as he leaves Antioch to look for Saul in Tarsas to bring Saul encouragement and fellowship.
In Acts chapter four we are told that Barnabus means 'son of encouragement.'
Through the encouragement of Barnabus, Saul's name is changed to Paul and Paul becomes the greatest missionary the church has ever seen. Saul (Paul) is even used by God to pen much of our New Testament scripture! That is the fruit of one on one encouragement. I have to tell you, I want ot a part of this!
Have you been encouraged recently by some other Christian? Are you encouraging some other Christian?
The sad thing, I believe, is that many of our churches are only set up for Sunday worship, Sunday School and preaching and little else. Maybe if you get sick or when a loved one dies, you get some one on one encouragement. But other than that, it often the sad case that not much mutual encouragement takes place.
That is not, however, the model of Barnabus or more importantly of Jesus.
Jesus surrounded himself on a day to day basis with 12 individuals. And Jesus had a special relationship with 3 out of that 12 and especially with the Aposlle John whom is called by some the Apostle of love.
Some churches set up in small groups that are encouraged to minister to one another on a weekly and even daily basis. That is a good thing when the motivation to do this is the love of God which is poured out in our heart by the Holy Spirit.
A favorite Bible verse of mine says 'Encourage one another daily while it is called today lest any one of you becomes hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.'
I am calling on church leaders to take the lead in a ministery of one on one encouragement. Where is God calling you to go to find someone else?
In Luke 19:10 we are told that 'the Son of Man (Jesus) is come to seek and to save that which was lost.' If we are to be like Jesus, we must seek others as well on an intital basis and on a continual basis to bring unto them love, fellowship, comfort, instruction and prayer all resulting in the uplifting and encouragement of one another!
That is Bible.
Up to this point, you have asked for nothing in my name. Ask, and you shall receive that your joy may be made full.
Christians are to pray boldly in Jesus' name. For then, we shall ask according to God's will and for God's glory and we shall receive that for which we ask.
For instance, we should never pray to live a trouble free life for Jesus said in John 16:33 that in the world we shall have tribulation. In regards to trouble, we should pray for that we might have peace, joy, stability and strength in spite of and in the midst of trouble. That is praying in Jesus' name and according to God's will and for his glory.
One thing I know. I can have peace, love and joy in Jesus' name. And sometimes I pray specifically for a certain thing and God grants my request.
Recently I prayed to be able to do a certain thing and God answered that prayer.
Pray boldly and expectantly. Someone wisely said that the Father in heaven always answers prayer in one of three ways: Yes, No, or Wait.
One prayer God always answers in the heartfelt humble prayer of salvation or the prayer to be filled and controlled by the Spirit of God.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved and how much more shall the Father give the Holy Spirit (his power, peace, presence and gifts) to those who ask.
God bless as you pray in Jesus' name. And yes, joy will make you smile inside and outside!
This pretty much sums up the right motives for actions.
I mean, you might be a carpenter. Do it for Jesus. You might be a baker. Do it for Jesus. You might be a banker. Do it for Jesus. And if it doesn't line up with the Bible, you can't do it for Jesus.
That is why there are no pimps, strippers, drug dealers, thieves, liars, or adulterers for Jesus. What they do does not line up with the Bible. Therefore, they can't do it for Jesus.
And one more thing. Give God the glory privately, in your family and publically. I mean you don't have to parade your piety all around but let others know that Jesus has redeemed you if you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Be proud of the Lord. We should not have to wonder when such and such musican or actor dies if they knew the Lord Jesus or not. They should have told us long before they died by their actions and by their lips!
And do it for Jesus. I heard Thomas Kincaid, the painter of lights recently died from alcohol related illnesses. How sad that such a talent for the Lord ended up like that. He knew he could not get drunk and destroy his body with booze and do that for Jesus. Yet he did.
God help us to turn from all actions that we can not in good conscience do for Jesus. That is why I had a surgical procedure a year ago and have now lost over 110 pounds. I no longer take insulin and my blood pressure is right where it supposed to be. I recently passed a DOT physical at 66 years old.
I want my golden years to be 'doing it for Jesus' years. And you know me. I don't mind saying so.
Pray for me, so that, when I begin to speak, the right words will come to me. Then I will bodly make known the secret of the gospel.
It takes a special touch from God to share effectively the good news that Jesus died for people's sins, that he rose again, that he calls all to repent of their sin and to trust him by faith as one's Savior and Lord.
This is the beat of my heart. I mean, what makes me tick is telling others about Jesus! Who Jesus is, what Jesus did and what Jesus will do for a person. I mean, it's just Jesus with me all the time. That is what revs my motor and propels me in my life.
Today, I received in the mail 50 little red Bible booklets. I want to thank the one who gave financially to provide these. You are entering into the fields where with God's help and guidance, I will sow the Word of God. Thank you.
When we get to heaven, you and I may meet some who through the sowing of the Word of God came to faith in Jesus. I hope to hear my Savior say to me 'well done, thou good and faithful servant.' Jesus will say those words to you too, my friend, because you dug deep into your pockets and gave the funds necessary to purchase the little red Bible booklets. I appreciate you.
Soon, I believe, God will take me into other places to sow the seed of the Word of God. Pray for me that I will be bold to tell others of Jesus, mighty to save, and to give out the precious seed of the Word of God.
That is my desire. Use me O God to be an ambassador of Christ. I pray I will be a soul winner. Use me O God to win others to Jesus. This is my heart's cry and prayer.