Real Talk – The Wellspring of Life

Each time I return to 1 John, I get punched. 🤛 God’s Word “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV) But the Good News is “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NIV)!

While reading, I came across these verses:


1 John 2:15-16 KJV

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.


These verses are crucial because the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life constitute the golden rule of satanism—”Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” in other words, “Do what you want”—developed by Aleister Crowley.

These are the three areas used when the serpent tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-6), and Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13). Do you know how Jesus rebuked the devil? He used Scripture! Isn’t that interesting?

These are attitudes of the heart:

The lust of the flesh—do I have the mind of Christ (Philippians 4:8), or is my mind preoccupied with gratifying my physical desires?
The lust of the eyes—does the amount of material possessions I crave or accumulate figuratively outweigh the amount I give?
The pride of life—is how important I am what is most important to me?

The Wellspring of Life
Proverbs 4:23 NHEB

23 Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it is the wellspring of life.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our hearts. How can we do that? In this post, we’re going to focus on knowledge of Scripture. We began by saying that God’s Word “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” By reading the Bible, we can understand what God values—in this case, self-control, generosity, and humility. 1 John 2:15-16 speaks on what “is of the world.”

Lastly, Jesus was able to resist the devil’s temptations not only because He knew Scripture but also because He obeyed it—the devil knows Scripture too. The apostle Paul wrote Ephesians 6:10-17 about the armor of God; think of these verses as steps—equipping yourself with each piece of armor to walk in each day; to wear as protection against the enemy’s attacks. Ephesians 6:17 tells us that God’s Word is the sword of the Spirit.


Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Real Talk – What Is Sanctification?

I’ve wanted to write this post for a while now. In the Real Talk post titled The Way, the Truth, and the Life, we learned that God’s Word is sanctifying truth (John 17:17). John 17:19 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13 are other verses that relate sanctification with the truth.

Sanctified, sanctify(ing) is to cleanse or set apart for sacred use; to declare or make holy. Sanctification is becoming more and more like Jesus Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit. And its meaning is described in Romans 6:1—8:39; submitting our flesh and thoughts to God’s Word and walking out our kingdom purpose through renewal and regeneration. I encourage you to read it!

What I would like to do for this post is make some connections between verses that use a form of the word sanctify:


For example, in Romans 15:16 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, sanctification has to do with the gospel.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 and 1 Peter 1:2 include the word peace; Acts 20:32, Hebrews 10:29, and 1 Peter 1:2 have the word grace.

According to 1 Corinthians 7:14, God regards marriage as sanctified through one believing husband or wife.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 states that it is God’s will, our sanctification: that we should avoid sexual immorality.

1 Corinthians 1:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, and 1 Peter 1:2 refer to being “called” or “chosen”—God’s foreknowledge of one’s salvation and purpose (Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:4).

Offerings are a theme of Romans 15:16, Hebrews 9:13, Hebrews 10:29, and 1 Peter 1:2; the blood of Christ as the perfect sacrifice, specifically, in Hebrews 10:29 and 1 Peter 1:2.

Jesus is speaking in Acts 26:18, when He appeared to Paul, telling us that we find sanctification by faith in Him; 1 Corinthians 1:2 and 1 Corinthians 6:11 tell us in Christ Jesus and His name.

Romans 15:16, 1 Corinthians 6:11, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, Hebrews 10:29, and 1 Peter 1:2 all point to the Holy Spirit as the source of sanctification.

What Is Sanctification?

Acts 20:32 focuses on how the message of God’s grace can build us up; 20:32 and 26:18 speak on the inheritance given us among those who are sanctified. Similarly, discipleship is the tutelage and teaching of biblical doctrine that leads to sanctification.


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Real Talk – Where Sin Abounded, Grace Did Much More Abound

When we speak about Jewish law, we refer to the old covenant – the law of God or the law of Moses. These are the Ten Commandments.

The Ten Commandments
Exodus 20:1-21 KJV

And God spake all these words, saying,

2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

13 Thou shalt not kill.

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

15 Thou shalt not steal.

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.

19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.

21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.

God gave us the Ten Commandments to reveal the law and justice of His nature and will. And as a guide for us to live lovingly and responsibly. There were three categories of law in the Old Testament. Some were ceremonial, some civil, and some moral.

By Jesus’ time, the Pharisees had added hundreds of religious traditions to the law. They often tried to accuse Him of breaking what had become more like a set of rules. Matthew 12:1-8 is one example that illustrates this.

Law-keeping became more important than God’s law of love. When Jesus spoke about a new way of understanding God’s law, He was trying to point people back to its original purpose – the moral and ceremonial laws given to help people love God with all their hearts and minds. Which Jesus later said were the greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37 NIV) And “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31 NIV)

In Matthew 5:17, we see that Jesus did not come to destroy the law but fulfill it. And John 1:17 shows us that Christ revealed the grace and truth of God’s nature and will!

Galatians 2:15-19 tells us that obeying the law will not make us acceptable to God or save us. But it is holy, and just, and good (Romans 7:12) and still has an important role as a guide for us in the Christian life.

The Cross
Romans 5:20-21 KJV

20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we begin operating under the new covenant – grace by faith. Romans 3:25 shows us that the shedding of Christ’s blood on the cross paid the penalty of death for our sin – propitiation. Jesus stands in our place! And through faith in Him, we stand acquitted, or not guilty, before God (Romans 3:21-24).

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6)! Having been tempted in every way, He can sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:14-15). Through Him, we can come boldly unto God’s throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). By that same grace, we are raised in heavenly places with God in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-6). And He will always catch us when we fall!


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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Real Talk – The Way, the Truth, and the Life

John 14:5-6 KJV

5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The Way, the Truth, and the Life

As His disciple, Thomas asked, “how can we know the way?” Jesus replied that He is “the way” and that “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” How many ways are there to God? If we believe that God’s Word is truth (John 17:17), the verses above tell us that Jesus is the only way. How so?

In the next verse, Jesus says, “If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.” (John 14:7 NIV) Mark 15:37-38 tells us that the curtain in front of the temple was torn in two when Jesus died on the cross, showing that His sacrificial death opened up the way to approach our holy God.

The following are some examples of a believer’s relationship before God the Father through Jesus Christ:

Jesus is their mediator (Romans 1:8; Hebrews 7:25); their advocate, interceding for them before the Father (Romans 8:34). Their lives are covered and safe with Christ in God. And that means their imperfections too (Colossians 3:3).

Is this path to God too narrow? In actuality, it’s wide enough for the entire world. Each person has a choice to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. If our perspective focuses on how limited it is, perhaps we should be praising God for giving his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16)!

God's Love

As the way, giving our life to Jesus is how we come to God. As the truth, He is the fulfillment of God’s promises. As the life, He is the source of eternal life that begins now and lasts forever.


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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Real Talk – Faith and Deeds

James 2:14-18 KJV

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

Faith and Deeds

When I first read James, I thought to myself, oh snap, did I give misinformation!? I take that very seriously. I’m not a teacher. Nor am I ordained in any office of the five-fold ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). But I do believe that just by posting this, I will be judged more strictly (James 3:1).

At first, it seems James’s teaching in the verses above and Paul’s in the following verse contradict each other:


Romans 3:28 KJV

28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.


But if we look more closely, we see that they complement each other.

Intellectual assent is an agreement with a set of Christian teachings. If we only agree with these truths, our faith is incomplete, and our lives will remain unchanged. Because if we truly believe, it will transform our conduct and our thoughts. That’s major!

It’s one thing to read God’s Word, to understand, and to agree. But it’s something else to believe faithfully and not waver (James 1:6).

Our good deeds will never earn our salvation. Instead, a changed life and good deeds are the results of true faith. Paul teaches to those who try to be saved by deeds instead of true faith. James warns not to confuse intellectual assent with true faith. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (James 2:19 KJV)

In summary, we cannot earn our salvation through acts of loving service or our obedience. However, these actions do demonstrate our real commitment to God. Good deeds do not replace but rather prove our faith in Christ.


Interesting Fact: Jesus’ brother James, a leader in the Jerusalem church, wrote this letter. Not the apostle James.


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Real Talk – Marketing 101 (A.D.)

The apostle Paul once studied under Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). Gamaliel was an honored Jewish teacher of the time (Acts 5:34). Therefore, the apostle Paul possessed an extensive knowledge of the law.

With the Holy Spirit’s guidance, he also understood his audience, which is a crucial aspect of present-day marketing. When speaking to a Jewish audience in Acts 13:13-52, he began with themes that were familiar to them. And when addressing a Greek audience in Acts 17:16-34, he understood that Jewish history would be meaningless. So he pointed out what they believed about their god. But in both cases, he centered the rest of his sermon around the resurrection of Christ.

Marketing 101 (A.D.)

In the same way, understanding our audience will help us introduce the Good News. And that is only one small detail I find most interesting of the apostle Paul’s enormous, yet humble, character. A man stoned and beaten (both in and out of prison) (Acts 14:8-20; 16:16-40), shipwrecked (Acts 27:1-44), placed under house arrest (and still wrote letters to all the churches) (Acts 28:16-31), and finally faced death in a cold Roman prison (2 Timothy 4:6-8)—all for the sake of the gospel.


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Real Talk – God’s Got This

John 16:33 KJV

33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

God's Got This

Oh Lord, what we are facing in our nation and all over the world right now! But from the words of Jesus to His disciples, “take heart!” (John 16:33 NIV) We will inevitably face struggles, but we are not alone! Let us remember that Jesus is with us and the ultimate victory is ours to claim (Revelation 1:17-18)! And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 KJV)

There is also this verse: “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3 NIV) So what does it mean to be “hidden with Christ”? The meaning of hidden here is that a believer’s life is covered and safe. We need not hope only for the future; eternal life begins when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior (1 Peter 1:3)! Once again, we can take heart that our salvation is secure, and we can be free to live for Christ each day!


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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Real Talk – Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God . . .

. . . and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33 KJV)


Okay. So what does that mean, right? Lately, I have been curious. So I took a look.

To “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” means that we should seek God first when we need help. We should try our best to make His character our own. We should think His thoughts, thinking of things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise (Philippians 4:8). And in everything we do, we should be sure to serve and obey Him.

In this day and age, just about everything else we encounter in a typical day can distract us from God. We must actively seek Him, or any of these things can become what is most important. What is it that is most important to you?

Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God . . .

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Real Talk – Trustworthy in Handling Worldly Wealth

Luke 16:10-11 KJV

10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

Trustworthy in Handling Worldly Wealth

Last week’s Real Talk post was The Secret of Being Content, and this week I would like to write about managing money. I used to be reckless and irresponsible with my finances. It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom that I thought to myself, it’s a good time to start over! And because I never want to be in that position again, whenever my spending begins to accelerate, I hit the brakes and ask myself a few questions:

Is this a wise decision?
Is this a responsible decision?
Is this purchase a necessity?
Is there a better time to purchase this?

The following are biblical truths: it should never be about spiritual pride or religious effort (“confidence in the flesh”) (Philippians 3:2-3 NIV). “And without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV). False teachers (“those who reject the truth”) will try to persuade believers to base decisions more on human judgment (“myths or to the merely human commands”) than on discernment through prayer and God’s Word (Titus 1:10-14 NIV).

But personally, the financial responsibility comes from the desire for excellence before the Lord. It’s just something that I like to do for Him. I truly believe that He delivered me from my homelessness. I also believe that being trustworthy with the little I have is reassurance for the eternal. I can’t even fathom what the true riches of God’s kingdom will be!


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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Real Talk – The Secret of Being Content

I have been buying new shoes at a discount department store lately. Before military school, I went to a public high school. And this is Real Talk, so let’s be real. Especially in high school, I cared about popularity. And I felt that being accepted at that school was related to wearing expensive clothing. And that stayed with me until I came to Christ. Anytime I bought clothes, everything had to be name brand.

But that’s not the reason why I went to military school. The reason is that I was a mess. The more I chased the acceptance of the in-crowd, the further it became.

The Secret of Being Content
Buying inexpensive clothing also contradicts the worldly view of materialism.

The apostle Paul wrote about knowing “what it is to be in need” and “what it is to have plenty” (Philippians 4:12 NIV). And after reading his story (Acts 7:58—28:31) and his letters, this particular verse especially speaks to me.

There were times in my life, like when I was growing up, that I certainly had. And there were other times in my life, like in my testimony about being homeless, that I had not.

But I declare with great joy 😁 that the Lord has set me free and given me confidence in this area! To be content with maintaining a budget and no longer living beyond my means.


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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™