I can never transform the culture around me as long as I am comfortable being just like it. I can’t follow the ways of the world and get to where God wants to take me.
Every word that I write is written with personal conviction because of my own failures, temptations, and battles.
First, I think it is important for you to understand my personal testimony – I grew up in the church, and I knew about God from the age of at least 5 years old. I answered my first altar call at a very early age, and I continued to answer altar calls until I was almost 40 years old. Throughout a majority of my life, I lived in fear and condemnation because I knew of God, but I didn’t KNOW God. I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, but I had never submitted myself to His Word. I religiously attended church; I worshipped like a good Pentecostal; I even went through the ritual times of Bible study and prayer…but I failed to put the Word of God into practice, and I lived most of my life confessing Jesus as Lord – but I wasn’t allowing Him to be My Lord.
By the time I was sixteen years old, I began to walk in rebellion. I no longer feared the punishment of my parents, and my belief in Jesus Christ waned as I wondered off onto a path of sin, bondage, and spiritual death that almost cost me my physical life. By the time I was 20 years old, I found myself divorced and headed into a lifestyle of perversion, addiction, witchcraft, and self destruction.
As I grew older, I became wiser in the ways of the world. I was miserable; I contemplated suicide on a daily basis. My religious rituals began to wane, and I became engulfed in a world of darkness and torment. I would attend church in spells throughout these rebellious years, and over and over again, I would find myself saying the same prayers at the altar. I would find myself emotionally charged by sermons and personally convicted by my lifestyle. But as soon as I would leave the walls of the churches I attended, I found myself right back in the cycles of sin.
It didn’t take but a few years before I found myself lost in a wilderness. I knew I was in the wilderness; I knew I had gotten way off track; I even attempted to get myself back on the right track. I failed every time.
By the time I was 30 years old, I was spiritually dead on the inside. It didn’t happen all at once but slowly – one bad choice at a time, one bad relationship after another – soon, I found myself in bondage to cocaine, crack, marijuana, alcohol, fornication….all the things I spent my life judging other people for – now became the very things that were killing me. I often found myself praying that God would take my life because I had no idea how I would ever break free. My suicidal contemplations became more severe, and much of my lifestyle was a reflection of how passionately I desired to die. During these years, I found myself in and out of hospitals, homeless, jobless – I was diagnosed with everything from manic depression, borderline personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder, depression – and everything about me echoed each diagnosis. But the doctors couldn’t help me.
I desperately wanted to change, but I didn’t know how. There was a disconnection between my knowledge of Jesus Christ and my ability to allow Him to transform my life. I was at the end of myself, and no professional could give me the help I needed.
God was not silent in my life during this time. There was hardly a day that went by that I didn’t, in some small way, hear Him calling me – He used many people to encourage me throughout these years, but it would be a great struggle to find my way back from the wilderness – back on the path God originally intended for my life.
The past eight years, I have been in the process of deliverance. It never happened all at once, as it often does for some people. Sure, there was an almost immediate deliverance from the lifestyle of hardcore drugs and fornication – but I can tell you that a majority of my lifestyle took way more effort to walk away from then it did to become in bondage to.
A couple of years ago, God began to do some serious work in my heart. I was free from most of my issues, but there were still areas of my life that I was struggling with. I wanted to change, but I lacked the power to do it myself. This is when God began to teach me about what it meant to abide in His presence. This is the point in my life where He taught me that religion would not be enough — that what I needed was a personal relationship with Him — that I needed to commit to a lifestyle of obedience to His Word, self control — I need to submit to the process of sanctification.
This has not been an easy process. It has taken a great deal of dying to myself. It has taken laying down a person that I was much acquainted to and very comfortable being –
I think it is important for people to understand just how close I came to dying…because this is why I can’t afford to take any sin in my life less than serious. As someone who struggled with drug addiction, lying, perversion, and all sorts of other evil for over 20 years of my life – I can’t afford not to take my salvation seriously. I have wasted enough time sitting on the fence and being lukewarm and religious. God didn’t give His Son, Jesus Christ, to just rescue me from hell! God raised His Son, Jesus Christ, from the dead, so He could live in and through me, and be glorified by His transformation of my life and manifestation in my life! I am living breathing proof that God is a God of restoration and deliverance. The lifestyle I live today is only because of the mercy, grace, and favor of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today, I live free – today, I do not walk in the shadow of any medical diagnosis; I have no secret lifestyle that I am trying to hide; I know who I am in Christ, and I seriously want to damage the work satan wants to accomplish in the lives of people. I realize that God rescued me for one reason alone – to be a living and breathing testimony of what God can do in a person once she has totally submitted her life for HIS.
I cannot afford to sit stagnant. If I don’t grow in Christ, I will die. I need more than religious rituals. I need more than church. I need to be actively engaged as part of the body of Christ. I am looking to grow in Christ; I am looking for something different than what I have always known, and I am headed to a place I have never been! When you have been where I have been and almost died in the pig pen, maybe you will then understand why I take things so seriously.
We are each called to speak the same Message to different people. The people God has called me to encourage probably don’t come from the same walk of life as you. They need more than religion. They need a lifeboat! This is my cry – this is my testimony – this is the reason for my urgency – this is the reason I write. And there are many many people out there who are sitting right where I have been, and they need you to be all that God intends for you to be.
During the past six months, I have found myself hungrier and thirstier. I have had a deep-rooted desire for more of God. He has begun to show me that in order for Him to completely fill me, I have to allow Him to completely empty me. He cannot pour new wine into an old wineskin.
I know we have heard this over and over again throughout our church walls – but have we really allowed the Holy Spirit to make it relevant to our daily walks with Christ?
Warning – this is not going to be a message that tickles your ears – nor is it for the faint of heart. This message is for those who are looking for meat to chew on – those who are uncomfortable with where they are and desire more of the power of God to manifest in their lives. Please understand that I write what God teaches me during my personal journey with Him in hopes that it will make others thirsty and hungry too.
Let me give you an example of what I mean – something I just personally experienced:
I was convicted by how I spent my free time because I was a 40 year old woman who had been in church for most of her life but had never read the entire Bible from front to back, had no real understanding of Scripture, could barely find the different books of the Bible, much less tell you any great detail or revelation about the great patriarchs of the Bible and their relevance to my life today. My children could recite all of the lyrics to most every major pop song and discuss at length the story behind all of the favorite television shows and movies, but had very little knowledge of the relevancy of God’s Word, how to apply It, or what resources It actually provided them in their Christian walk, much less how to activate It in their lives.
Just recently, I disgusted myself. My husband and I rarely go to the movies; it seems like there are very few gems to find in the middle of the junk yard. A few months ago, the kids were all gone, and we decided to go see Part 2 of The Mocking Jay. I should have known better than to entertain the idea, but being that we had already seen the other parts- our curiosity had gotten the best of us.
The headache and stomach ache came as the previews began rolling….up popped a preview for an upcoming movie called Sisters – my mouth dropped open. It’s not as if I have never seen such filth before because there was a time in my life where that was much of my input. But this night, it just didn’t sit well. As I watched the homosexual innuendos, women parading themselves as street trash, and a celebration of debauchery and fornication preview before me- my ears stung with the giggles of the crowd, my heart pained with the realization that there were many children crowded in the theatre, and my Spirit became extremely convicted that this wasn’t where I would want Jesus to find me if He were to return! Why would I want to sit there – knowing that what I was trying to feed my flesh was sin in my Father’s eyes and quench the Holy Spirit?
I realized what I was watching was blatantly opposite of everything the Word of God says is Truth. There was this sudden moment of revelation that this was the place God wanted me to allow the Word of God to actually cause me to walk differently than I once had in my previous lifestyle. I heard the still small voice of God inside of me echoing – “Joyelle, is this true? Is this honest? Is this just? Is this pure? Is this lovely? Is this a good report? Is this virtuous? Is this praiseworthy?”
I found myself convicted. I realized that what I was allowing in my ears was not at all the things God wanted me to be thinking about. I realized that at some point I had to quit talking about the Word – and at some point – I had to actually do what It says. It became clear to me, that this was an example of where God wanted me to cast down every high thing that exalted itself against my knowledge of Who Jesus Christ is. I recognized that this was the place I needed to stand – I heard God speak clearly to me, “Joyelle, guard you heart diligently – for out of your heart – are your issues. You can’t engage in something contrary to My Word and expect not to become tainted by it.”
Daniel and I decided that the precious moments we had been sharing pursuing our Father’s heart was too valuable to overlook what He calls sin. We did something we have never done before- we got up and walked out within 5 minutes of the movie. Praise God, the manager even gave us a refund without any question. Sorry folks, I am going forward; I have a race to run- this world will never get the point until they see the body of Christ take a stand. And this is where I stand! No more lukewarm- ever!
I know you are thinking that maybe these are just my “personal convictions” – that perhaps don’t really apply to your life.
Think about it like this – what did Jesus use to teach His disciples? Parables, right?
What do you think Hollywood does?
It teaches satan’s disciples with parables and stories.
It takes the sin that should disgust us and make us uncomfortable – and twists it into something comical and entertaining. It desensitizes the very things that our Savior gave His life for. Even more simply put – it dumps trash into our hearts quicker than we are able to shovel it out.
Don’t believe me?
Perhaps you find yourself saying the same thing I was saying – “I really don’t watch anything bad. I filter all the bad stuff. I only watch this show that is really not that bad. I only watch this game. I only allow my kids to watch Disney. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Stay with me a minute – I am going to share with you the same thing God radically spoke to my heart in the past year. Your flesh isn’t going to like it – mine certainly didn’t. But if you want to grow – if you want to close the doors in your home that the enemy is creeping through – you have to be willing to see evil for what it is.
Let’s just examine one area of our lifestyles – television….
How many times have we sat and watched a commercial and said to ourselves – “Man – why does it seem like every commercial has to blatantly scream sex?”
How many times have we allowed our favorite sitcoms to play, while our viewing choices were repeatedly interrupted by previews of horror movies depicting blatant satanic rituals, violence, brutality, and perversion?
Maybe it went in your one ear and right out the other.
Can you say the same for your children? Can you honestly say that you sit by them and teach them how to filter everything they watch on the screens?
Am I being too serious for you?
Does it step on your toes?
I mean, how serious do you think God takes it? Does He really want us to guard our hearts? Does He really expect us to teach our children how to cast down every imagination and take captive every thought?
Does He really expect us to do whatever it takes to protect our children? Sure – television is just one area – but it isn’t a small area – it is what most of our kids spend a majority of their afternoons doing….and if it isn’t, I bet it’s the Internet and social media – which is an entirely different ballgame with a much more serious nature.
Do we care more about our pleasure than we do about allowing temptation to creep into the lives of our children by dangling sin right before their eyes and not calling it what it is – and getting rid of it like we should?
If we won’t, why should we expect our children to?
What do you think has been teaching your little girl that her identity is found in a man? What do you think has sexually perverted the hearts and minds of this generation? What do you think has torn down the roots of the family – taught our children to disrespect and blatantly make fun of their parents?
Have you ever really sat and thought about the repeated messages pumping through our homes on a daily basis – do you ever stop and think about the premises of the movies and sitcoms themselves?
Let’s look at it like this.
Is lying a sin? Is gossip a sin? Is fornication a sin? Is witchcraft a sin? Is magic a sin?
Sure – we can agree on that –
Are we to dwell on these sins? Are we to actively think about them? Are we to entertain ourselves with the thought of them?
Of course not – then why would we sit around and watch television shows and movies that glorify the same things???
I dare you to consider your viewing habits. I dare you to allow the Holy Spirit to actually filter what you take in and out of your mind on a daily basis. I dare you to do just an inkling of research about the messages intertwined into the very shows considered “family material” these days. If you think your sitcoms are clean, I dare you to watch the commercials that interrupt them….I dare you to pay attention because your children are!
Allow the Holy Spirit to help you consider your favorite sitcom, your most innocent Disney movie, and most any game you play – and I bet He will show you how it is contrary to the Word of God….
Sure – you might find yourself saying that I am being really legalistic and judgmental, but I am not asking you to examine anything that I am not considering in my own life on a daily basis. You see, I really want more of God’s power in my life – how can I expect Him to dwell in a temple that is stuffed of things contrary to His nature?
The truth is – we can read our Bibles and pray all day – but if we don’t practice obedience to what we read and hear then what good is it doing? Are we aimlessly tossing our prayers to the heavens or are we diligently walking in the revelation God has already given us and praying for Him to further His work in our lives?
We have already agreed that we want to see God’s power radically change our lives and the lives of those we love….but how much are we willing to sacrifice for this to happen?
We point our fingers at all the people who need to change. We condemn those who don’t know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. We talk all day about all the people who are headed to hell, with our televisions and radios blaring in the background…everything opposite of God’s nature.
We are so focused on the world going to hell, that we don’t recognize our own spiritual condition. God said that in the end times many “CHRISTIANS” would be deceived….many would believe they are “ok.” Many would confess Christ as Lord and Savior, and many would be told “He knew them not.”
I don’t know about you, but that definitely characterized my life for many years. I knew of God’s Word – but I didn’t walk in It. In the parable of the ten virgins, I would have been one of the five who were unprepared with no oil in their lamps. I didn’t stand.
It would do us all some good to seriously open our Bibles and seek God’s heart. Stop putting the world down and expecting something of it that we haven’t expected of ourselves. I wonder how many of us entertained ourselves with the same thing we call filth and sin now that America has turned in its direction. How many of us sat around laughing at Ellen DeGeneres, Will and Grace, and Three’s Company, while the world was making these decisions and our backs were turned?
How many of us were soaking in Desperate Housewives, Little Liars, and Fifty Shades of Grey, while we judged the pregnant teenager and divorced woman sitting next to us in our churches? How many of us declare how violent people are getting and how awful people treat one another – while we spend all day playing Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, and Mine craft? How many of us taught about the idols of Moses’ day like it was something of the past, while we worshipped America’s Idols, Dancing With the Stars, the NFL players, the Hollywood Stars, the country music singers…the Emmy’s, the Oscars….Where were we all this time????
Do we not realize that how we spend our free time – what we watch, what we listen to, how we treat others, what we talk about – all of this is a form of worship? We either worship God with ALL of who we are, or we find ourselves sinning in idolatry and pagan worship. It is that plain and simple. Our bodies are the temple of Jesus Christ. We either fan the flame of the Holy Spirit, or we quench Him.
I read a quote several weeks ago from a pastor named Leonard Ravenhill that stirred me to think about what I have felt like many times on my Christian journey – “Many pastors criticize me for taking the Gospel so seriously. But do they really think that on Judgment Day, Christ will chastise me, saying, ‘Leonard, you took Me too seriously’?”
I have said something similar to my husband many times over the past several years….so many people act like it is a sin to constantly want to discuss God’s Word – to constantly allow the Bible to filter everything we do. I often hear the excuses – “God wants us to be ‘happy,’ ” “God doesn’t care about our entertainment.” “We aren’t expected to think and talk about Him all day long.” “God doesn’t care how we spend our free time.” But then when they don’t see the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, they blame God – they question His ability – they wonder where He is!
They see the condition of the present generation – and they scratch their heads wondering how it got this bad. I am only 40 years old, but I can tell you that I have seen enough change in this world in my time here to explain how got to where we are. Truth be told, we are so busy with our own agendas and our skewed priorities that we aren’t raising our children. Hollywood, the radio, the PlayStations, and social media are raising our children. We have so many open doors in our homes and in our children’s lives, and we aren’t doing a good job of being filters to their ears, eyes, and hearts.
Don’t believe me? Next time you go out to eat – look around and see how many people are unengaged with their families…and how many faces are lit up with the screens from their cellphones or get together with a bunch of friends and watch how much time people waste on their phones instead of investing in the lives of the people God has placed in front of them. Better yet – open your eyes next time you are sitting in your churches and see what a majority of people are engaging in?
You say it’s really not any of my business. Yes, Saints, it is…it isn’t my business to judge, but it is my business to pray. And if you are part of the Body, then your actions impact me because I am part of the Body too!
Do I sound like there is too much urgency in my speech? Because there is – I feel an urgency – I feel a warning down deep inside for those that call themselves the Bride but have failed to dress themselves in the Garment. I am broken inside because I realize that the Bride of Jesus Christ isn’t prepared to meet Her Groom.
Interesting thought – how many brides have you seen not excited about their weddings? How many brides have you seen not concerned with a blemish or spot on their dresses? How many brides have you seen flirting with other men as they walk up the aisles? How many brides have you seen that don’t bathe before they put on their dresses to meet their grooms?
Yet, this is often the condition we find The Bride of Christ as a whole.
I don’t know about you, but I have a wedding to prepare for – anybody want to join me as I prepare?
Body of Christ, we didn’t get to where we are as a people over night. It was one decision at a time. One area of our lives at a time, where we didn’t stand – where we didn’t think on Godly things – where we didn’t crucify our flesh – 24/7. And we can sit around all day long and spout off that all the homosexuals are going to hell…and that our nation is going to hell…and that the fornicators and drug addicts are going to hell…while the devil sits back and laughs and rejoices because we are deceived as the end times church – the children of God are no different from the Laodicean church of which Jesus described in the book of Revelation.
We can’t talk about sin and idolatry just on Sunday mornings…while spending more time the other six days of the week on sports, social media, video games, worldly music, and carnal television! The enemy hopes we’re too busy to care. He hopes you blow this message off. He hopes you go back to sleep. In fact, the Bible declares that many would.
Hollywood is nothing more than evil clothed in angelic attire. If you are serious about your relationship with God and you care about your children- then it is time to open your eyes and see the world for what it is. I am tired of hearing all the religious people sit in KFC on Sunday afternoon criticizing the gays, the tattoos, the piercings – judging the world while they themselves wallow in a pig sty…and if you feel like I am judging you when I say that – don’t – because it wasn’t too long ago that I was doing the same thing!
How can we expect the world to be convicted by the Gospel of Jesus Christ – when we as Believers are entertaining ourselves with filth? Do we not understand that God’s judgment starts with His people? Saints- we are to fear the Lord- this is the beginning of wisdom! Do not let religious peddlers convince you that God doesn’t care about what we do with our free time; God is a consuming fire, a jealous Bridegroom, and His Gospel is The Message that does not lie or change! His love is beyond our comprehension and always begins with a call to repentance. His love does not condone our sin but commands us to be conformed to His Word!
I am not sitting in the middle of the sty anymore- when I find myself in the middle of what looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and acts like a duck- if My Abba Father says the duck is a sin- then I am getting myself out of there! I am done playing with this world! To go where I am going – I might have to blaze a trail and go by myself for now- but I am not letting the enemy put a bushel over my light!
It is time for all of God’s people to stand! (I Cor. 16:13) Problem is – many of us don’t truly understand what “stand” means. God has called and equipped His children for spiritual warfare. No doubt, the enemy knows this and is trying to prepare his own “army.” While satan seeks to steal, kill, and destroy the child of God – he doesn’t have to try very hard when the child of God is unequipped. In Ephesians 6 – Paul lays out the clothing that the children of God are supposed to put on every day – 24/7.
These pieces are vital to not only our sanctification process, but also to our ability to stand in the day and time we live in, as effective parts of the body of Christ. The problem is that many of us are still dressed in our worldly clothes. We are not thinking like Christ (Phil. 4:8); we are not acting Christ-like (Rom. 12:2); we are not allowing ourselves to be crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20). So, basically, we are walking around in this world spewing out religious ideas, harming people with our words, while our own minds and flesh are rotting.
It is time for God’s remnant to stand and BE THE CHURCH! Let Jesus live victoriously in our lives, so we can be the light in this world! Let Jesus be Lord of our OWN lives…everything we do. Look around our own homes and our own kids’ cell phones and computers…start cleaning up the trash in our OWN lives…and get before God and repent for our OWN sins.
When we let God be intimate in all our affairs – our wardrobe, our music, our entertainment, our checkbook, our snap chat – when we can see His reflection in all those things – then maybe we will find opportunities to activate our faith and BE The Church God has called us to be. It is time to learn what idolatry means in 2016. It is time to seek God’s heart and recognize how broken He is about the deception that has fallen upon the people that call themselves His children. It is time to get involved in our own children’s lives enough that we don’t allow the enemy to creep into our OWN homes.
Put down your phones! Turn off your televisions! Get to know the Word of God….and call out to God. Stand. Pick up the weapons of your warfare that are not carnal but mighty though God to the pulling down of strongholds (II Cor. 10:4) and fight the good fight, recognizing that we are not fighting flesh and blood, but a coy and wise serpent, using principalities and the evil authorities of this world (Eph. 6:10-18).
If we don’t do this now, I have an urgency in my spirit to say that we are headed for judgment – and God always begins with The Church! “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (I Pet. 4:17)” It’s time for the world to see The Church stop being so fake, and start being transparent about their own hearts. It’s time for repentance to start in the House of God.
I don’t know about you, but I want ALL He has to offer! I want His COMPLETE work in me! I want Him to find me faithful and alert! Why does that desire instead cause people to accuse me of being self-righteous? Why instead don’t we want to sharpen one another as brothers and sisters in Christ and stir one another to good works?
If the way I run my race happens to stir you to consider what you really believe – then good – that is what we are supposed to do to one another! If the way I look at evil and refuse to play with the enemy stirs you to want to take your race seriously – good – that is what the Body of Christ is commanded to do! If my convictions cause you to feel convicted – good – that is what salt and light are supposed to do! I am not looking to ‘feel’ good – that’s what drugs, alcohol, medication, television, sports, and all that other stuff is for. I spent most of my life filling my appetite with those things, and they left me EMPTY and BARREN!
I think I have often times fooled myself into believing that God really wasn’t concerned about the small details of my life – the seemingly unimportant plans I made; the personal choices I made about the relationships I engaged in or the entertainment I chose to enjoy; the outfits I picked out; the ungodly thoughts I let linger in my mind…Yet, at the same time, I also found myself questioning why I never saw God manifest Himself in my life in such a way that I actually became useful to His Kingdom.
God wants to awaken His people. Isaiah 52:1-2 says, “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.” And Ephesians 4:14-17 says, “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”
Read that again – WE MUST SHAKE OURSELVES! WE MUST AWAKEN OURSELVES! Turn off your televisions; silence the world; let’s be about the Lord’s work – there is a dying world all around us, and it is time for the Body of Christ to be The Church! Jesus wouldn’t be sitting around in 2016 chillin’ with His feet up! Satan is serious about the work he is doing in this world. It is time for Christians to pick up their weapons and get serious about their relationships with God.
It is time to let God personally wreck all of our habits and lifestyles – to break us open and pour out all of the old, so He can recreate us and fill us with the new!
If you are looking for a good place to start when it comes to making the armor of God relevant in your life – here is an excellent teaching –
I understand the human desire to look the other way and pretend none of this is going on around us, but this world that our children is growing up in the middle of is much more evil than the one I knew as a child. As badly as you might want to ignore the influence of the culture, you simply cannot afford to from a spiritual standpoint. The enemy banks on your ignorance.
For those of you that might need a little convincing that our culture is influencing the minds of our children – I have attached a few videos below as evidence. You can find much more…
This one isn’t for the faint of heart, and I am not endorsing the person who made this video, as it seems to have been published by a Muslim, but nevertheless – this is an extremely good video that addresses the how our culture has hypersexualized our children. Be forewarned – there are some graphic images – but I encourage you to watch the video in its entirety. Extreme Hypersexualization of Our Children
All the Proof We Need from the Bible that God Takes This Stuff Very Seriously : I challenge you to find a Scripture below that tells us to do otherwise!
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. II Chronicles 7:14
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. II Corinthians 10:3-6
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. Philippians 4:4-9
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; Hebrews 3:12-14
Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; I Peter 2:1-11
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. Mark 12:30
And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways. And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee. And the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers to give thee. The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them: And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Deuteronomy 28:1-15
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:7-9
We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. II Corinthians 6
Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen. I Timothy 6
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24
And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. I Corinthians 9:23-27
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:1-10
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. I John 3