Bradley’s Blog

 

I’m a Christian, so Do I Have to Try Now?
 
 
Some who have become followers of Jesus have begun to mistakenly believe that once they have given their lives to the LORD, they can now live however they may please. They think that they will be in heaven just like all other believers one day, so they do not see a point in trying to live for Jesus or do any mission work. They would never dare put their life at risk doing something to promote the Gospel. This belief is bleeding into our churches. And many churches never even go out into their communities to reach the lost for the LORD. (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20; Acts 1:8) We are comfortable coming to church on Sunday morning in our nice, clean clothes with the perfect A/C flowing through our nicely remodeled modern sanctuary. We would be cowering away from anything that may involve dirty work, communicating with those very different from us, or sharing Jesus outside of the safety of the church walls. I mean, we believe in Jesus, so we are good, and there is no need to strain ourselves to reach anyone else for Him, right?

There are two significant issues with this line of thinking. The first is that if we are indeed followers of Jesus, we should live as a new creation. God’s Word tells us that if we are found in Christ, we are a new creation; the old has passed away, and behold He is making all things new. (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV) We cannot live according to the flesh if His Spirit has saved us. Many today ignore the fact that without repentance, there is no salvation. Unless we seriously evaluated our lives, realized that we are sinful, and asked Jesus to forgive us of our sins with the heart that we will do the best we can to live for Him for the rest of eternity, then we are not followers of Jesus. Repentance means that we actively choose to turn away from the things of this world and begin to live for Jesus in all we do. If we said a prayer but our hearts were never changed to start living by the Word of God; then, our hearts have not been cleansed by the blood of Jesus, and we are still living according to the flesh. Look at what God’s Word says just before verse 17, “He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5: 15, NKJV) We need to reflect upon our lives and evaluate if we are living for ourselves or the King of kings. If we cannot without a doubt say that our lives have changed after accepting Jesus as our Savior, then we have to ask ourselves the tougher question, did we actually ask Jesus into our hearts, or did we just say a prayer with a selfish heart?

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worked who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, NKJV)

The second major issue with this line of thinking is that if we ignore God’s call on our hearts to reach those around us and in the world for Him, then when we get to heaven, we will be disappointed with the lack of treasures we will receive. Jesus talks about this when He says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21, NKJV) See, if we live for ourselves here on earth, we may attain many earthly titles, awards, and recognitions, but when we pass away, not a single one of those things will be carried with us. We may build the most prominent church or have the most electric worship team, but one day that building will no longer be there, and the earth will be void of people. The only treasures that are enteral are those waiting in heaven for us. I believe the way we attain these treasure are by doing the will of God here on earth. This means we get out of our comfort zones and start to be a living sacrifice for Jesus. This means we reach out to those He’s calling us to, stand up for His truth, and help the hurting, and through this, the more treasures we will also attain for ourselves when we get to heaven. Treasures could also be referring to our role in heaven. Jesus could also be informing us that the ones that submit to Him the most and serve Him to the highest degree will also hold the higher roles in heaven. So, we have to ask ourselves, “What treasure are we storing up for ourselves today, and if we passed away tonight, what kind of role would Jesus see that we deserve in heaven?”

Don’t Get Stuck on the Shelf
 
One thing I see with a lot of people in America is the strive for knowledge. We commonly believe that knowledge is power and there is this desire that is growing in people in America for power and importance. There’s a huge emphasis on getting degrees and being the smartest one in your field. Although knowledge is a wonderful thing and we should strive to attain it, if you have all the knowledge in the world and no desire to use it to change the lives of others, you’re as good as a textbook buried on a shelf. Your knowledge should prompt you to act and respond in a certain way to impact the lives around you in a positive way. If you keep all your knowledge to yourself for your benefit alone, than when you pass away, your story may just get buried on a shelf and collect more dust as the years go on. This is even more important if you are a Christian. The disciples spent years walking with Jesus attaining all the knowledge they could and after all these years of attaining knowledge, what was the last thing Jesus commanded them to do before He left Earth? He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 18-20, NIV) Jesus told them to now GO…GO into the world and share all that you have learned from Jesus with the world and make disciples for Him.
 
We are also called by Jesus to share our knowledge of Him with the world around us and make disciples for Him. If our lives are like books, we’re not meant to attain all the knowledge possible and stay on the shelf, rather we’re meant to take all the knowledge we have inside of us and open our stories to the world for the world to read our lives and see the hope of Jesus Christ in us. God is calling each of us to take our stories and share them with the world around us. This may mean simply going next door or for some maybe going across the globe, but God has called each of us to share the knowledge of Him within us with the world around us. Don’t arrive in Heaven having to face Jesus with Him asking you why you didn’t share His Word with those He called you to, or why you didn’t take the time to talk with someone He called you to and instead were too busy living for yourself. The most blessed people in the world are those that are living for God not themselves and have opened the story of their lives (which is ultimately is His story) to the world around them, truly being light into the world of darkness. You may be scared to open your story for the world to read and I understand that as I was once very scared for the world to read my story especially a few chapters, but when your story centers around the redeeming love of Jesus Christ, Jesus will use every chapter for His glory. The safest place you will ever be on this world is right in the center of God’s will. Are you living a life of comfort today or the life you’re called to live? I encourage you to put down the things you are doing in living for yourself and start doing the things God is calling you to do. Have faith and open up the story of your life to the world, so that they may know Who lives in You because He who lives in you is greater than he who is in the world. When your life is over don’t let your story be put on a shelf and collect dust, but let your impact for the Kingdom of God be so great that long after you leave this Earth, your story will continue to grow in the lives of other for Jesus Christ.
Don’t Give in to Society’s Version of What’s Acceptable
 
So many t.v. shows and movies have foul language, sexual images, and immoral acts portrayed on them. Much of the modern music we listen to has foul language, talks about degrading women, or encourages drug use. The more we watch and take in these things, our minds start to convince us that these acts and “this language is really not that bad” and “we’re being too strict.” The truth of the matter actually is, that when we start to not think of sin on t.v. and in music as not wrong or not really that bad than we have gotten stale with God and you need to watch out because a spiritual avalanche is about to start in your life and it’ll try to pull down everything and everyone around you. What I mean by this is that when you start accepting that those sins are now okay or “they’re not really that bad,” than the devil has you exactly where he wants you because he’s now convinced you that what the world says is okay is actually okay and that even though the Bible says different it doesn’t really matter. When you’ve gotten to this place he’ll tempt you to take it even further until you’re actually supporting the sinful things of this world and totally abandoning God’s Word, meanwhile, you’ll be tearing down everything and everyone around you and this is when the avalanche of your spiritual life is in full swing.
 
I encourage you that if this is you, to repent, to cleanse yourself from all impurities in your life and begin to rebuild the foundation of your life on God’s Word. Make your foundation in Jesus so firm and so strong that you when avalanches of sin are happening all around us, we won’t be knocked down and swept away in them, but we’ll still be standing firm in God’s Word and shinning a light into the world of darkness that is consuming so many others.
 
Also, be there for others when you see them start to go down this road or if the full blown spiritual avalanche has already taken place in their life. Be there to pull them out of the rubble and mess they are buried in with love and truth and guide them back to the firm foundation that is in Jesus Christ. When the world comes to tear you down, point them to Jesus who can lift them up out of the mess they are in and give them eternal life, forgiveness of sins, and the joy and peace they desperately long for.
Love and Acceptance Don’t Always go Hand in Hand
 
Christians do not be deceived by the world. Acceptance and true love do not always go hand in hand. As Christians we are called to love all people, but to also rebuke sin and lead people to the true cross of Christ. If a brother or sister is living in sin it is not okay to accept their lifestyle because you’re trying to show love. Rather, if you truly love that person and desire the best for them you are to correct them in gentleness and truth, guiding them back to Jesus. You do this because you desire for them to receive the fruits of the Spirit and most importantly forgiveness of their sins and salvation. There is no salvation without repentance, thus one cannot be a follower of Jesus without repenting from the sinful lifestyle they are living. So, love your neighbor with true Christian love being kind hearted toward them, gentle, but also redirecting them to the truth if you see them slipping away. God bless!

“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2)
 
“My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”
(James 5:19-20)
 
– Bro. Bradley
Don’t Let Someone Continue Living in Sin and Call it Love
 
I’m posting this to encourage the Church especially with the election coming up and with all the craziness that 2020 has brought us. The other day Gracie Stubbs and myself walked by a church that appeared to have the pride flag upheld by a cross and a message that said all are welcome.
 
This church is correct in their belief that Jesus loves all people and that all are welcome to come to the cross of Christ.
 
Where this church is misguided is that Jesus doesn’t uphold the pride flag or any sinful lifestyles we choose to live but instead he wrapped them all around Himself and died for them on that old rugged cross because He loves each of us that much that no matter what sinful lifestyles we’ve got ourselves into, He welcomes us with open arms if we repent and turn to Him. He welcomes all to come to Him, ask forgiveness of their sins, repent of them and follow Him and through that He cleanses them from all unrighteousness and gives them the gift of eternal life.
 
I encourage the Church to love all people and welcome all people to the cross of Christ, but in doing so remain firm in God’s Word and show them the true cross of Christ. Be the light into this world of darkness Jesus is calling you to be. God bless each of you and I love you all!
 
– Bro. Bradley
TACOS Prayer Guide
 
Tomato of Thankfulness 
 
Avocado of Adoration
 
Cheese of Confession
 
Onions of Others
 
Salsa of Self
 
Lettuce of Listening
A Biblical Response to an Epidemic
 
      With the world being flooded with the latest COVID-19 epidemic, many people are in a state of panic. Most places have completely shut down, sports have stopped for months, people are mass buying almost anything they think they may need, and the economy is heading down. It’s easy to look around at the things going on in the world today and feel hopeless. What’s really fascinating is when people are in a state of panic and hopelessness they are seeking someone or something to cling to that will give them hope in the midst of the chaos around them. This can be one of the greatest opportunities to share Jesus with people and the hope that He gives us all. As Christians how do we respond to this epidemic that’s striking our world
 

1. Should People Quarantine?

 

     The answer is yes. Leprosy was the major epidemic infecting the people in the Old Testament and God gave them regulations if they contracted it which included to quarantine for 14 days. Check out this passage in Leviticus.

 

     “The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “When a person has on the skin of his body a swelling or an eruption or a spot, and it turns into a case of leprous[a] disease on the skin of his body, then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests, and the priest shall examine the diseased area on the skin of his body. And if the hair in the diseased area has turned white and the disease appears to be deeper than the skin of his body, it is a case of leprous disease. When the priest has examined him, he shall pronounce him unclean. But if the spot is white in the skin of his body and appears no deeper than the skin, and the hair in it has not turned white, the priest shall shut up the diseased person for seven days. And the priest shall examine him on the seventh day, and if in his eyes the disease is checked and the disease has not spread in the skin, then the priest shall shut him up for another seven days. And the priest shall examine him again on the seventh day, and if the diseased area has faded and the disease has not spread in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him clean; it is only an eruption. And he shall wash his clothes and be clean. But if the eruption spreads in the skin, after he has shown himself to the priest for his cleansing, he shall appear again before the priest. And the priest shall look, and if the eruption has spread in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is a leprous disease.” (Leviticus 13:1-8, ESV)

 

     Leprosy was spread very easily by contact with another person, so if you had any symptom at all of possibly having this disease you were told to isolate yourself from people for 14 days so no one else has a chance of getting infected. If you were considered clean after 14 days you were free to engage in society again. If you had leprosy after 14 days you were still made to quarantine again until there was no sign of the leprosy on you. This ensured the best they could that the rest of the people in your area would not get leprosy and this had the greatest chance of ending the disease. Some that got leprosy were not in critical condition but others that got it died from it. The reason they made people isolate themselves from society is not because everyone in society would be impacted by it or end up in a critical state, but they knew if some people in their society got it, they would likely not survive and their lives were just as valuable to the society as the ones that were not badly affected. Because of this everyone took the precautions to ensure the whole society could be as healthy as possible. This is exactly what leadership in our country is asking of us right now. It’s not unbiblical and in fact it’s very biblical and it’s to ensure the best we can a healthy environment for all that live here. This is because each member of the body of Christ is just as valuable as the rest and if we have to sacrifice a little something to ensure the best we can one member is healthy and thriving that is worth it and needed.

 

2. Understand that God is still in control

 

     In the Book of Exodus, the people in Egypt experienced horrible plagues. Moses would plead with Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, but every time he decided to keep them enslaved and ignore God’s message from Moses. Because of Pharaoh’s hard heart the Egyptians faced plague after plague. When the Israelites finally broke free from Egypt, Pharaoh sent his army after them to capture them and force them to return to slavery in Egypt. As the Israelites were crossing the Red Sea that Moses parted with God working through him, the Egyptians were hot on their tail. As the Israelites were coming up on the other side of the sea, the waters crashed back down and drowned all the Egyptians. This was great news for the Isrealites as God had delivered them from the hand of the Egyptians. This was not the end of the story, however. God told the Israelites that He would bring them into the Promised Land. What He didn’t tell them was that they would have to go through the wilderness to get there.

 

     As the Israelites were going through the wilderness they started complaining about not having enough food and the type of food that God was providing for them. Because of their sins against God, He told them they would have to wander in the wilderness for 40 years before they entered the Promised Land. Throughout those 40 years many of the people died and a new generation was born. By the time God led the Israelites into the Promised Land through Joshua, a lot of the ones that started the journey were no longer there and there were many new people that joined along the way. After 40 years God did lead the Isralites into the Promised Land and it was a land flowing of milk and honey. It was everything they could have ever hoped for. God fulfilled His promise and blessed his children. Right now many of us in the wilderness and we can’t see the Promised Land. I want to encourage you to stay faithful to God and trust in Him because the Promised Land is coming. Whether we see it on earth r not, all of God’s children will one day enter into His kingdom which is the ultimate Promised Land. Put your hope in Jesus during this time because everything you see around you is temporary including the virus, but our relationship with Jesus is eternal and one day we will be in a Promised Land where there is no pain or suffering and we’ll have eternal joy.

 

3. Value Others Above Yourself

 
 

     All of this roots back to where your heart is. If your heart is all about yourself, you’ll go and hoard all the possible supplies you may need and only worry about your health and wellbeing. Life is not about us. As my fiance’ reminded me earlier this week, although the virus may not be effecting us, the way we act will affect other people. This means taking the appropriate measures to ensure the best we can we keep those the most at risk safe from the virus. This also means that we make sure that everyone can get the supplies they need. You don’t need 50 rolls of toilet paper for the next two weeks, but 5 families may and if you take all 50 then 4 families may go without any. Although this is bad with toilet paper, it’s a whole lot more serious with canned food, drinks, and produce. Think about others before yourself.

 

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Phil. 2:3, ESV)

 
     
If you have a chance this week to help someone that is elderly or at a high risk or even someone that’s sick, let’s be the hands and feet of Jesus. If someone is afraid or can’t go out and get groceries, take some time to go in there and get them what they need and then take it to them. Take time to call those that need a little encouragement. Ask people what you can do to help. In everything we do pray for our country, those countries around the world also dealing with this, and for those that are sick, scared, or hopeless right now. Spread Jesus to all those you talk to by your actions and words and show them the hope that is in you. God bless!