A Companion of Fools Will Suffer Harm Through Compromise

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm”—Proverbs 13:20

Compromise may be helpful for some relationships, but it can hurt our spiritual journey. Bending God’s principles is risky.

For example, suppose a Christian man makes some new acquaintances, who don’t share his beliefs. Having grown up in the church, he has practically memorized Proverbs 13:20—“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm”—and recognizes the verse is meant to protect Christians from worldly influences. But he rationalizes that spending time here or there with these friends won’t hurt him. Eventually, however, he ends up spending more time with them than with believers and begins to question his own beliefs. Heeding that proverb might have helped him avoid drifting away from the heavenly Father.

To navigate such situations, we must look ahead for possible danger. Even choices that seem trivial can have far-reaching consequences. But the Lord equips us with a conscience and the Holy Spirit, who sounds an alarm if we veer into dangerous territory.

For us to hear these warnings, our heart must be tuned into God’s Spirit and Word. Relying on our own understanding can lead to trouble. But those who trust the Lord and apply His principles will find straight paths through potentially dangerous situations.

Pull Out All The Stops and Let Faith Be Your Guide

For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.—Colossians 2:5

Christians generally associate faith with when they received the Lord as their Savior and rightly so. By believing in Christ, we enter into a relationship with Him. But that’s not the end—after our initial decision comes a lifetime of walking with Him.

The word walk is used to describe behavior and conduct. We may mistakenly conclude that after salvation, the Christian life is all about doing things for the Lord. Colossians 2:5-7 clearly state that we walk with Christ in the same way we received Him—by faith. This means we place our trust in Him for every circumstance of life.

Remember, God does not grade our daily life and performance on a salvation scale. He looks at one thing, as I’ve said. He’s looking at our faith in Jesus Christ and our desire to walk with Him daily. Pull out all the stops and let faith be your guide.

Are You A Good Example Of Being A Christian?

Ephesians 4:22-32

When we become Christians, saved by the blood of our redeemer Jesus Christ, we have an obligation to conduct ourselves accordingly. I know that can be difficult in these days and times. It is now more critical than ever that we show the world that living in the darkness of despair and rebellion is not the way to go.

Unbelievers watch us as we go about our daily lives. For some they are just looking for an excuse to justify their worldly behavior when they see a believer acting the same worldly way. Our walk with the Lord is probably the only exposure they will have to God and Jesus Christ.

So, what steps can we take to provide unbelievers with a view of life that is modeled after Jesus? The following is a brief outline of the Christian walk, which can be found in Ephesians 4:22-32. If you don’t want to explore these passages in the scriptures, you can always print out this email message and use as a road map for your daily living.

I pray that the Holy Spirit will give you the courage, stamina, and strength to walk in love like Jesus—Steps to walking, talking and acting like a Christian:

1. Lay aside the old self which is corrupt with lusts and deceit.
2. Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
3. Put on the new self which is in the likeness of God.
4. Lay aside all falsehood, speaking the truth with your neighbor.
5.Whoever steals must steal no more but rather labor instead.
6. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth but only such a word as is good for edification.
7. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.
8. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander be put away from you along with all malice.
9. Be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving each other as God has forgiven you.

Ask The Holy Spirit To Help You Pray

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.— Romans 8:26-27 NLT

As a believer, you are not left to your own resources to cope with problems. Even when you don’t know the right words to pray, the Holy Spirit prays with and for you, and God answers. With God helping you pray, you don’t need to be afraid to come before him.

Ask the Holy Spirit to intercede for you “in harmony with God’s own will.” Then, when you bring your requests to God, trust that he will always do what is best.

A Scriptural Guide To Proper Thinking

There are many things we take for granted, and prominent among them are our thoughts. After all, they are always with us, yet we rarely stop to consider whether we are thinking correctly. Furthermore, how would we even know? What is the gauge for evaluating them?

The only sure way to know if we are thinking correctly is to align our thoughts as closely as possible with absolute truth, and that is found in the Bible.

If we’re making decisions based on lies or faulty reasoning, every aspect of our lives is affected. Since the day we were born, our minds have been programmed by what we’ve experienced and been taught. Some of it is good, but we may have developed thought patterns that are hampering our lives because they are not based on truth.

Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32). Then He continued by explaining that “everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin” (v. 34). Since the human race is born with a sin nature that is hostile toward God, our minds have been corrupted, and that in turn affects every other area of our lives. We can no longer trust our reasoning. Therefore, let’s consider what the Bible says about the mind.

First, the minds of the unbelieving are darkened. This doesn’t mean they lack intelligence, but they can’t understand the things of God since these are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). All those who suppress the truth about God, which He has made evident within them and through His creation, become futile in their speculations and reasoning even though they claim to be wise (Rom. 1:18-22).

In addition, those without Christ have no power over sin. Although most people are not as bad as they could be, their sin nature contaminates their motives, making all their good deeds like filthy rags in God’s eyes. To make matters worse, Satan is constantly tempting and deceiving them with worldly pleasures and pursuits, and they have no defense. However, there is hope in Christ.

Second, believers become new creations in Christ with a new mind (2 Cor. 5:17). When we believe in Jesus, repent of sin, and receive Him as Lord and Savior, we are given a new nature that is bent toward God. We will never be the person we once were because we have the Holy Spirit living within us. Although we will still continue to struggle with sin, now we have the power to obey God instead of yielding to our natural inclinations.

Being a new creation in Christ also applies to our minds (1 Cor. 2:15-16). We are now able to understand the things of God; however, He doesn’t instantaneously change how we think. It’s a process, and we have a role in it. After salvation we may still be encumbered by wrong thought patterns, old habits, a worldly perspective, and bad attitudes, but God has provided what we need to be transformed—His Word. It’s when we continue in the Word, as Christ said, that we’ll know the truth and be set free from faulty thinking as well as sinful behaviors.

Third, without a renewed mind, a Christian will think like the world. Some believers are worn out with their efforts to overcome sin. The problem is that they are working on the externals but have failed to address the internal problem—their thinking. The only way to overcome destructive thought patterns and deceptions is to think biblically.

Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Christ calls us to stop adopting the culture’s values, philosophies, and ideas because He’s working to conform us into His image, not that of the world, and it all begins in the mind (Rom. 8:29).

Every time you read the Bible, God is reprogramming your mind with truth so you can be set free from old thought patterns and begin to think rightly. The result is a life filled with trust in the Lord and victory over sin.

Engagement with Scripture is a personal essential. It’s also a crucial function of the church. Not only must pastors faithfully teach God’s Word (2 Tim. 2:15), but believers should constantly remind each other of its life-giving contents: “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16). When you store up God’s Word in your heart and speak it into the lives of others, powerful transformation is possible.

If you’ll continue in Scripture, you’ll discover that it not only sets you free but brings delight to your soul, wisdom to your mind, and blessings to those with whom you share it.

(Reprinted with permission | Charles Stanley | In Touch)

The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ

The account of the transfiguration of Jesus Christ is recorded in Mark 9:2-9. Parallel passages are found in Matthew 17:1-3 and Luke 9:28-36. The transfiguration was a demonstration to three witnesses that Jesus Christ was who He claimed to be.

In all three accounts of the transfiguration, we are given the names of the three disciples who accompanied Jesus and who stood as human witnesses to the glory that was Christ’s. These witnesses were James, John and Peter. The scriptures also point out there were three heavenly witnesses to Jesus’ transfiguration. They were Moses, Elijah and the voice of God from heaven.

As a result of these witnesses, the old testament law of two to three witnesses required to attest to any fact was satisfied on earth and in heaven. The law is found in Deuteronomy 19:15.

The word “transfigured” is a very interesting word. The Greek word is “metamorpho”, meaning to transform literally or figuratively to metamorphose or to change. It also means “to change the outside to match the inside.”

Jesus’ divine nature (God in the flesh) was “veiled” in his human form and the transfiguration was a glimpse of that glory.

Why is Jesus’ transfiguration important to us? His changing the outside to match the inside is something that we as Christians should try to achieve. That is our Christian beliefs and attitudes should be displayed by our actions and what we say.

As a Christian we should think twice before we speak or act because what we say or do reflects on us personally and all believers in Jesus Christ. Walking this road can be difficult at times but it’s not impossible.

Events of Jesus’ Life Before His Crucifixion

As Jesus and His disciples traveled throughout the area known as Caesarea Philippi, he performed many miracles. These miracles were a physical display of His power as God in the flesh. Since Jesus had been performing these miracles, such as healing a blind man, He wanted to know who the many people in the crowds thought He was.

Jesus asked His disciples traveling with Him. “Whom do men say that I am?” His disciples responded by saying, “People think you are Elijah, or John the Baptist come back in the flesh and some even think you’re a prophet.”

Jesus took His question one step further and asked His disciples directly, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered Him saying, “You are the Christ.” Why was Jesus interested in finding out what His disciples thought about Him. Jesus was preparing His disciples for the ultimately reality of His coming suffering and crucifixion.

Peter, the ever present vocalist for the group said to Jesus when he heard all this, “Lord may this never be.” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Get behind me Satan.” Peter at this point really didn’t understand that Jesus had to die on the cross for our sins.

So, being a Christian is to sincerely believe that Jesus is the Christ and that He died for our sins so that we might have life eternal in heaven. Our belief is based on our faith in the fact that Jesus rose from the dead and has conquered death for all those who believe.

Next Sunday is Easter. A holy and highly celebrated holiday among Christ’s followers. As we approach this important day we will continue to look at some of the events prior to Christ’s crucifixion. Understanding these events will give us a firmer foundation in the belief that Jesus is the risen Savior and Christ.