New Creations

New Creations

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Many people are change resistant; they simply don’t want to change, but change is a part of what it means to be in Christ—to be a truly saved believer. If you have truly placed your faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, it will happen; you will be changed.

If you profess to believe in Jesus—to be saved from your sin by the grace of God through your faith in Jesus Christ—there will be changes in the way you think, the way you talk, and the way you act. Things that were once in the foreground will fade into the background, and new things will take their place. Sinful living will be replaced by righteous living, and greed will be replaced by generosity. Anger will be replaced by peace, and hate will be replaced by love. The changes that salvation demands might be subtle, or they might be dynamic, but they will come.

So, as Scripture commands, examine yourselves. Have you noticed changes in your life since you became a Christian? Have you forsaken past sins and perused righteousness? Do you love like Jesus? Has a desire to please Jesus become the highest priority for you? If you truly are saved, the evidence will be there. The changes in your life might be small at first, maybe even miniscule; but they will happen, and they will continue through the rest of your life as you are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit into the perfect image of Christ. For the truly saved believer in Jesus Christ change is not an option.

Have a God Filled Week,

Brother Donnie

Sanctified

Sanctified

1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Some form of the word “sanctified” appears in the Word of God 73 times. Scripture goes so far as to say God’s wills our sanctification. So, it’s an important word. We Christians are commanded to be sanctified, but what does it mean to be sanctified and how do we do that?

First, let’s define sanctification. In simple terms, it means to be purified; it means to be holy. God desires our holiness; He wants us to be pure. He wants us to be set apart from sin. That’s God’s will for us. Scripture tells us God did not call us to uncleanness but to holiness (1 Thessalonians 4:7).

Secondly, let’s answer the question; how can we be sanctified? How can sinful people become holy. Understand this; it’s an act of God. We are sanctified in the name of the Lord Jesus by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:11). We cannot sanctify ourselves; it is a work of God.

What triggers God’s sanctifying work in us? Faith in Jesus Christ. We were sanctified by Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross once and for all; by His offering, we are perfected forever (Hebrews 10:10,14). It’s our sanctification that allows us to be one with Christ, and because we’ve been sanctified by our faith in Jesus, He isn’t ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters (Hebrews 2:11). It’s our sanctification that makes us useful to the Master, prepared for every good work (2 Timothy 2:21).

Sanctified—it’s an important word, and I hope it applies to you.

Have a God Filled Week,
Brother Donnie

Good Health

Good Health

3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

One of the many blessings God gives us is good health, but it seems we often take that blessing for granted until we lose it. In Third John, we find the Apostle praying for the health of his friend, Gaius. John knew better than to take his friend’s health for granted, and we can learn from John’s example.

We should exercise and diet and do everything humanly possible to maintain our bodies and our health. Even Paul tells us physical exercise is of some limited value (1 Timothy 4:8), but ultimately our continued good health is in God’s hands. Therefore, it’s important that we ask Him to bless us with good health and not only for ourselves but also for the good health of others. James tells us the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Still, there will come a day when health fails. It’s inevitable; sooner or later, something will rob us of our health. We are all appointed to die once, and no amount of exercise or prayer will stop that. So, we should thank God for the days of good health He blesses us with, and we should use those days wisely. Let us redeem the time we’re given, and even as our physical health fails let us pray that our spiritual health remains.

Proverbs 3:7-8 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.

Have a God Filled Week,
Brother Donnie

Conviction

Conviction

Titus 1:7-9 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

One of the things a pastor, a bishop, must do is convict people by using sound doctrine, but as a pastor I’ve learned that most people don’t like being convicted. They bristle in anger when a pastor uses sound doctrine to confront them over some sin or error in their life. They often take it as a personal attack, and get defensive, sometimes even hostile, but that isn’t the way to respond.

Paul tells us, “All Scripture is God breathed and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16). Proverbs tells us that when we correct a scoffer he’ll hate us, but if we correct a wise person, he’ll love us. So, a pastor must speak the truth in love. Proverbs also tells us a righteous man who won’t address sin when he sees it is like a muddied stream. In other words, a pastor who refuses to convict people by using sound doctrine only muddies the water.

The book of Hebrews says, “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” So, don’t be discouraged or angry when you are convicted by a pastor who uses sound doctrine. It proves the Lord loves you, and so does the pastor He sends to convict you.

Have a God Filled Week,
Brother Donnie

Old and New

Old and New

Matthew 9:16-17 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and
both are preserved.”

As we leave this old year behind and enter a new one let us consider what Jesus said about the old and the new. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were hung up on old rituals and traditions, and Jesus told them they couldn’t bring that into the Kingdom of God. Jesus delivered a New Covenant, a Covenant of salvation by grace through faith rather than a Covenant of Law. It wasn’t what the Pharisees did or didn’t do that would save them; salvation comes by faith.

To illustrate that Jesus gave them the examples of patched cloth and wineskins. He said if you patch a hole in old cloth with a piece of new cloth the new cloth will shrink and make another hole. If you put new wine in an old wineskin the new wine will expand and break the old wineskin; then both the wine and the wineskin will be ruined. In other words, you can’t bring the old into the new. Jesus revealed a truth, but the Pharisees denied that truth. They denied the truth that salvation comes by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

As we enter the new year, let’s be sure we’ve left the old behind and embraced the new. Make sure you’re not like the Pharisees who tried to work their way into Heaven. Put your faith in Jesus and God will save you by His grace. Then the Holy Spirit will come into your life and change you from the inside out. Old things will pass away and all things will be made new.

Happy New Year and Have a God Filled Week,

Brother Donnie

The Hero of Christmas

The Hero of Christmas

Luke 1:31-32 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest…

When I was a kid there was a popular rock song with a line that said, “All the heroes and legends I knew as a child have fallen to idols of clay.” We see that in the world today. In a culture that makes heroes of celebrities, athletes, military commanders, and politicians…we see them falling to idols of clay. No person whoever walked the earth is worthy of hero-worship—except one.

Over the past decades I can’t tell you how many of my “heroes” were caught up in some scandal, some moral failure, some God-dishonoring choice; the list would be a long one. It’s disappointing, even heartbreaking when someone you thought highly of comes tumbling down due to some failing. It might be someone of celebrity status, or it might be someone closer to home. Possibly, it was a family member, or a teacher, or even a pastor you once thought was a hero worthy of honor and respect. It’s good to have people you can look to as a good example, but when you put your faith in people there’s always a chance they will let you down.

But on that first Christmas a true hero was born, a hero worthy of our worship, praise, and honor, a hero Who will never fall to idols of clay. He will never let you down. There are no skeletons in His closet to reveal, no indiscretions in His past to be uncovered, no corruption yet to be disclosed. He will never disappoint you. He will never leave nor forsake you. You can, and should, look to Him as your eternal hero. He is great, the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and you shall call His name Jesus.

Have a God Filled Week and a Very Merry Christmas,
Brother Donnie

The Power of Christmas

The Power of Christmas

Matthew 24:29-30 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

When Jesus was born His sign was a star in the sky, a sign wisemen followed to Bethlehem. It was there they saw the Christ Child who was born of Mary because the power of the Highest overshadowed her. (Luke 1:35) Jesus was born by the power of the Highest, the power of God.

Later, after Jesus had been tempted by the devil in the wilderness for 40 days, He returned in the power of the Holy Spirit to Galilee and people were amazed at the power and authority of His word. So that men would know Jesus had power on earth, He healed people and worked miracles, and multitudes sought to touch Him because power came out of Him.

Now the Jews were jealous of Jesus’ power, so they sought to kill Him. But not even death could rob our Lord of His power. The greatness of His power was revealed when He was raised from the dead after He was crucified, and when he ascended into Heaven, He sat at the righthand of power.

But understand this. One day the sky will turn black, the stars will fall, and the heavens will be shaken. On that day the sign of the Son of Man will again appear in heaven, and when that happens Jesus, who was born by the power of the Highest, who came out of the wilderness by the power of the Holy Spirit, who was raised from the dead in power, and now sits at the righthand of power, will return with power and great glory.

Have a God Filled Week,
Brother Donnie

The Glory of the Lord

The Glory of the Lord

Luke 2:9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

The Prophet Isaiah said, “The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 40:5) Many years before Jesus was born God proclaimed that the glory of the Lord would be revealed to all people, and when Jesus was born it was.

The Apostle Paul called Jesus, “the Lord of glory.” (1 Corinthians 2:8) James, the half-brother of Christ, called Jesus, ‘the Lord of glory.” (James 2:1) And referring to Jesus, the Apostle Peter said, “To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen!” (2 Peter 3:8)

All glory belongs to the Lord, but there is something truly amazing we need to understand about His glory. Paul writes, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

As a believer in Jesus Christ every time you look in a mirror you see the glory of the Lord. Why? Because as a believer you are slowly, from glory to glory, being transformed into the image of Christ. The glory that came into the world that first Christmas is now reflected in you, and when Christ appears you will also appear with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)

Have a God Filled Week,
Brother Donnie

Waiting

Waiting

Malachi 4:6 And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.

Those are the last words of the Old Testament. After they were written it would be 400 years before the Glory of God returned to the earth and the Holy Spirit directed the writers of the New Testament to write more Scripture. There was 400 years of silence, so what did the people of God do?

They waited. They poured over the prophecies they had received and waited for the fulfilment of those prophecies. Isaiah wrote, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

They were not waiting on something; they were waiting on someone; Immanuel, which is translated “God with us.” The prophets said He would be born of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem. He was to be of the seed of Abraham and a descendant of King David who would sit on David’s throne. He would be called a Nazarene, but the psalmist said He would be called the Son of God. They were waiting for the coming Messiah.

But then the wait ended. After 400 years of silence the promised Savior was born, and once again Holy Spirit inspired men began to write. The New Testament begins this way.

Matthew 1:1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:

After 400 years the wait was over. The prophecies were fulfilled through a man named Jesus Christ. His story is told in the New Testament and if you read it, you’ll learn that once again we are waiting, waiting for the return of our Lord and King.

Have a God Filled Week,
Brother Donnie

Who Do You Thank?

Who Do You Thank?

1 Chronicles 29:13 “Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name.

I have a friend named David in Maine who professes to be an atheist. He doesn’t believe God exists. Not only is he a nonbeliever, but he is also a militant nonbeliever. He openly argues with and fights against those who proclaim the glory of God. Despite all that, I still feel love for him as well as pity. I pray often that God will turn him around.

But there’s an interesting thing about David. He loves Thanksgiving Day. He loves gathering with his family and sharing in a Thanksgiving meal. He says he’s thankful. That’s led to some interesting conversations over the years.

My question for David is, “Who do you thank?” He usually answers by saying, “Well, I’m thankful for my wife, and friends, and family. I’m thankful for my job and my home and my belongings…for health and peace and…” I usually stop him at that point and say, “David, that’s what you’re thankful for. My question is, who do you thank for all that?” He responds by saying “I’m just thankful.”

Now David is academically and socially a very intelligent man, but I think he understands the idiocy of that answer. To be thankful automatically implies there is someone you are thanking. You see, even an atheist who professes there is no God is thankful for the common blessings God gives to everyone. Without knowing it, David’s thankfulness contradicts his atheism.

Scripture tells us all good gifts come down from the Father of lights (James 1:17). So if you’re thankful for good things, good people, good circumstances, good food…you’re praising the glorious name of God whether you know it or not. Without God, there is no Thanksgiving, because without God, we have no one to thank.

Have a God Filled Week.
And Happy Thanksgiving,
Brother Donnie