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What Angers God

“At that time my reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom, and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride” (Daniel 4:36-38).

(Cross-reference): “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1John 2:15-17).

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The F.A.T. Man

Are you a F.A.T. man? One of the pernicious effects that a man may encounter after walking with Jesus for many years is the idea that he has reached the summit, that he understands and knows all that he needs to out of the Scriptures, and that subsequently, he has nothing left to learn. This “idea” is of course a lie that our enemy, the Devil, would take great joy in us embracing. The mature follower of Christ rejects this deception and listens to the Apostle Paul’s warning in I Corinthians 10:12 “Therefore, let him who thinks he stands, take heed that he does not fall.”

Those involved in E2 may be familiar with the term “F.A.T. man”. If you are looking for men to invest and pour your life into, men to disciple, one does well to locate F.A.T men and then invest there. This simple acronym stands for Faithful, Available, and Teachable.

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First Love

In chapters 2 and 3 of the Book of Revelation, The apostle John quotes Jesus’ observations and commands from the Spirit toward seven churches. The first of the seven is to the Church in Ephesus.

“But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” (Revelation 2:4).

Jesus says in this message (Revelation 2:1-7) that He knows their deeds of toil, perseverance, the intolerance of evil, the vetting of the veracity of those calling themselves apostles and yet, have not grown weary.

These activities, at least outwardly, would seem to be indicative of men on the right path, walking closely with their Lord with legitimate Christian motives and actions in service to Christ. Perhaps they were even involved in the ministry of men, evangelism of the lost and edification of the believers. Perhaps they are leaders and are respected by men seeking the things of God.

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Purpose in God’s Peace

Do you have Peace in your life right now? Your answer to this question can profoundly impact how you mature as a follower of Jesus. My guess is you won’t come across many believers or non-believers who wouldn’t be interested in being at Peace.

However, the fast-paced and divisive nature of our world makes Peace something many people only dream of having. But the Peace that Jesus offers is designed to deepen our relationship with Him and protect us from the theology of our culture.

The dictionary defines Peace as “the freedom from disturbance or tranquility; a stress-free state of security and calmness.” In the Bible, the Greek word used in the original text is Eirene (i-ray-nay) which means quietness or rest.

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A Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

When God blesses our lives, it is easy to thank Him for the abundant blessings since “every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above…” (James 1:17); but it is a whole different thing to give God thanks when negative circumstances come into our lives. I believe this is what the Bible refers to as a “Sacrifice of Thanksgiving” when we thank Him for something we wish did not happen to us or our loved ones.

A sacrifice is defined as giving up something of value for something of greater value. When we offer up a “Sacrifice of Thanksgiving” we give up something of value, our will, for something of greater value, God’s will.

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Israel Lessons

A study of the nation of Israel provides plenty of material that parallels my own life. One of these is from Exodus 16 where God begins to send manna as they wander through the desert after their departure from Egypt.

In Exodus 16:2-3, the whole congregation grumbles against Moses and Aaron, going so far as to say, “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

This is at least the third occurrence since the Exodus in which the Israelites voiced their displeasure and complained to Moses, which was effectively complaining against God.

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Shod Your Feet With the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace

In Ephesians 6:10-18, the apostle Paul points out to the Christians at Ephesus, they are fighting a spiritual war. Therefore, it’s essential to equip themselves with a spiritual arsenal to “stand firm.” Paul highlights six components of the spiritual armor of God, each designed to prepare, protect, or play offense against the “schemes of the devil.”

Shodding our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace is one part of the full armor that includes two dimensions for Christians to understand.

The most understood dimension of this verse is about taking the gospel to others. In Romans 10:15, Paul writes, “But how are they to preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news of good things.” The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ. The gospel brings others a message of peace, grace, and salvation. Satan doesn’t want any of those life-giving words to get to people.

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Attitude of Gratitude

I believe one of the most important characteristics that a Christian must live out in their life is gratitude. It is a key component to a healthy Christian life and must be present in our lives if we are going to live out the fruits of the Spirit. Gratitude in Websters’ Dictionary is defined as “the quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”.

Jesus seems to up the ante when He tells His followers to “love your enemies”. I suggest to you that we are also to return kindness even when someone may inflict us with evil.

Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests by made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

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Are You Listening?

Listening seems to be a simple enough concept. We have ears to facilitate one of our senses — we use them regularly. We know all about it. Hear and respond with our mouth. It is important in our everyday activity. We converse with others and realize that without hearing our ability to communicate is severely diminished. So it is with God.

But the scripture takes us to a different understanding. James writes, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak” (James 1:19).

God said, “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.” (Luke 9:35).

The relationship with God is rooted in listening to Him through His Word.

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An Unusual Study

I just had an unusual Bible Study in Romans Chapter 16.

Normally, when I think of Romans 16, in my mind, it is a “Flyover” Chapter. By that I mean, it is something that is skipped, or at least on a relative basis, something that I do not put the same emphasis on as I have on the other, more theological portions of Romans.

I have taught the Book of Romans many times in my 50 years of being a Christian, and truth be told, I have never given much shrift to Chapter 16, until recently.

I ask myself, what is there in Romans 16 worth spending time on? In a recent study in Romans, I tried something different with this chapter by having the guys put together and present a 10-minute talk from any portion in Chapter 16 that they found worth discussing.

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