Envy Is A Sin

"Give us Barabbas!" (from The Bible ...

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Envy affects your heart and mind, and it makes you vulnerable to the enemy. Envy arises when you compare what you have to what your neighbor has.

Let’s say your neighbor has a high-paying job, a beautiful wife and nice house. You have a menial job, you’re divorced and you’re renting an apartment. As long as you’re envying that other man, you’re going to be miserable. You can’t enjoy the things that you do have. The Bible says to be content with the things that you have, and thank God for them.

Envy is a very effective roadblock on the road to your success. But it’s just another sin. You can get rid of it. When you repent of it, God will forgive you, and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

According to the Bible, anger and envy can kill you.  For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one. (Job 5:2)

These are the words of a man who envied the ungodly. They had everything they desired, and they did everything that they wanted to do.  For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.

They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. … Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. (Psalm 73:3-9, 12-14)

The story ends when the man realizes the horrors that are awaiting those people in Hell. He was thankful that God had saved him from it.  When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; until I went into the sanctury of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. (Psalm 73:16-19)

Envy destroys your health. This verse says that it affects the bone marrow.  A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones. (Proverbs 14:30)

Replace envy with the fear of the Lord. Then, God will give you the things that you desire.  Let not thine heart envy sinners; but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long. For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off. (Proverbs 23:17-18)

Don’t underestimate envy’s power to destroy. The chief priests and elders killed Jesus because they envied him. He could do miracles that they couldn’t do.  Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. … But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. (Matthew 27:17-18, 20)

The Bible says to be content with the things that you have. You have the Lord. Not everyone does. He is more valuable than anything on EarthLet your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, the Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (Hebrews 13:5-6)

If you want your circumstances to change, apply God’s wisdom to your life, and be led by the Spirit of God. He says to get rid of envy and strife.  But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. (James 3:14-16)

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Renewing Your Mind

Tree Beside the Saint John River
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Memory Verse: And be not conformed to this world: But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  (Romans 12:2)

The Objective: To become more like Jesus by understanding God’s word and learning his ways.

How to Do it: Read and study the Bible daily. Meditate on what you’ve read and apply it to your life.

God has given you a heart full of love. But you’re responsible for renewing the mind that you have. God’s thoughts are not your thoughts, and his ways are not your ways. You have to learn new ways of thinking and new ways to be. God’s wisdom and knowledge are available to you through his word and through his Spirit.

The spiritually dead have to rely on their own brain power. It’s all they have. They can’t figure out the things of God, because they can’t be figured out. They are revealed to you by the Holy Spirit. The people of the world simply cannot understand that it benefits them to serve God.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

“The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” (Romans 8:7) NLT

You used to be like that yourself. Your mind was fully set on fulfilling the desires of your flesh. But now you’re learning how to please God instead.

The Holy Spirit is your mentor and your tutor. He is the greatest teacher of all time. He knows everything about the Bible because he wrote it. He knows everything about God because he is God. He knows everything about science because he is the Creator. He knows everything about history because he was there when it happened; and, he’s always available to you because he lives in you.

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance. But, you can’t remember things that you never learned. That’s why you have to study the Bible for yourself. “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that need not to be ashamed.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

Reading and studying the Bible is a way of fellowshiping with God. He reveals his heart and mind through his book, and that’s how you get to know him. Jesus will eventually become so real, it will seem like he stepped right out of the pages of the Bible.

The Holy Spirit will explain what you don’t understand; And you will have a continuous dialogue with him concerning the Bible. You will become a reservoir of God’s wisdom, and then this scripture will apply to you:

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth is fruit in due season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3)

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Here’s What I Was Doing Wrong

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I asked God, “Why are bad things happening to me? What am I doing wrong? And he answered me with the following scripture:

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.” (Luke 6:46-48)

That explains it! That’s what I was doing wrong! I was the foolish man who built his house upon the sand. My spiritual house collapsed because it had no foundation. It could not stand up against the storms of life. It had to fail. It couldn’t do anything else.

God didn’t cause those bad things to happen. I did. I set myself up for failure when I ignored God’s instructions. It was impossible for me to succeed. “Why transgress ye the commandments of the Lord, that ye cannot prosper?” (2 Chronicles 24:20)

I was calling myself a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. But, I wasn’t following him; I was following me. I was calling Jesus my Lord; but I wasn’t doing a thing he told me to do. I had to give up the control of my life and turn it over to him; and that’s what I did.

I made up my mind, that, for the rest of my life, I would do everything that Jesus told me to do. I turned my back on sin forever, and that’s what the Bible calls “repentance.” Since that time I have made it my habit to follow the Lord’s commandments as recorded in the Bible.

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The Value of The Golden Rule

Golden Rules
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When I was a kid in school, back in the Fifties, the Golden Rule was part of the ciriculum, just as it had always been. “Golden Rule? What is the Golden Rule,” I asked. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” they said. “Treat other people the way you want them to treat you.”

So, I had heard about the Golden Rule. I knew what it was, but that doesn’t mean that I put it into practice. This was something that I was supposed to do. But, why should I bother? What’s in it for me? What do I care about other people? Let them fend for themselves.

If I had only known the value of the Golden Rule, my life would have been a lot easier, and I would be a lot richer. Listen to what I’ve learned in the school of life, and you can learn from my mistake.

The Golden Rule is a concept that originated in the mind of God. It is the secret of success in every area of life. If you want your marriage and family to succeed, follow the Golden Rule. If you want your business to succeed, follow the Golden Rule. It’s the key to maintaining good relationships with other people. Everyone wants to be loved and respected, just like you do. Give them what they want. Love them, and they will love you back.

Jesus said that you could fulfill all of God’s commandments by loving God with all your heart, and loving your neighbor as yourself. Loving God= obeying him. God commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus didn’t do away with the Ten Commandments. He fulfilled them, and he consolidated them into a single commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself.

All the promises of God are contingent upon obeying God, by loving our neighbor as ourselves. Look at Romans 8:28, “For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God. .  .”

We are not saved by keeping God’s commandments. But we are recipients of his favor when we please him by keeping his commandment from the heart.We’re showing God that we love him by obeying his word. And he is showing us his favor by granting us the things that we desire.

The Bible says in Galatians 6:7, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” What would happen if you were constantly sowing good things? Then, you would be constantly be reaping good things.

And the circumstances of your life will be affected by your obedience to God, just like God promised in Deuteronomy 5:33, “You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.”

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A Christian In Name Only

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When I was about twelve years old, I asked Jesus to be my personal Savior. I made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. I walked down the aisle of a church during the altar call, and shook the preachers hand. I was baptized in water, and became a member of the church.

I thought I had done everything that God required, that I was a Christian and I was on my way to heaven. I loved going to church, listening to the sermons, and singing the songs. There was only one problem. I wasn’t born-again. I wasn’t any different than I was before. I was still self-centered or self-absorbed. Everything revolved around me and my hopes and dreams.

God was good to me. He gave me a beautiful wife and three lovely little girls and I wanted to be a good husband and father.

That’s when I found out what I was doing wrong.  I had never been converted, or regenerated, by the Holy Spirit. I was a Christian in name only, because I had not experienced the new birth.

I did everything I knew to do. But I didn’t know that God requires us to repent of sin.

I was sitting in church when I decided to turn away from sin forever. I told the Lord that I was going to follow him for the rest of my life, no matter what. That I was going to do everything he wanted me to do. And that is what the Bible calls repentance.

I didn’t walk down the aisle of the church again. This was something between God and me. That decision I made thirty-six years ago changed my life forever. God gave me a new heart, and he put his Spirit in me just like the Bible said he would.

That’s how I went from being a Christian in name only to being a born-again believer. And if you’re a Christian in name only, “you’re not far from the Kingdom of God.” You’re close but you’re not there.

When you repent of sin and follow Jesus, he will change you from the inside out. He will equip you to do the things he requires of you. He will give you the faith, love, joy, peace, and self-control you need to live for him. You will see the promises of God fulfilled in your life, and God will show you his favor.

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Making the Committment

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When I was twenty-seven years old, I made the decision, that, for the rest of my life, I was going to follow Jesus, no matter what. I had already received Jesus as my personal Saviour. This decision was to live my life according to the teachings of Jesus Christ. It marked the beginning of my friendship and fellowship with the Lord. That relationship has benefited me and my family immeasurably over the past thirty-six years, and I highly recommend it to everyone.

I had heard a very powerful sermon about Elijah and the prophets of  Baal, and I got it. I understood what God was saying. Here’s my version of that message:

You have to decide, once and for all, whose team you want to be on—the devil’s team or God’s team. If you want a choice, then you must choose. Pick a side and stay with it. If you believe that Jesus is God, then follow him. If you don’t believe in Jesus, it doesn’t matter what you do. Since you’re doomed anyway, you might as well do whatever you please.

If you will make the same decision and the same committment, it will change your life forever. It will show the Lord that you’re serious about him and that you love him. It’s like getting married to him, even if you’re a guy.

When you show the Lord that you love him, he will respond. He will fellowship with you, bless you, and show you favor. The benefits are enormous, spiritual, physical, and material.

Jesus would never say to you, “depart from me, ye that worketh iniquity.  I never knew you.” Because he will know you.

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