Heaven on Earth - by Stephanie M. White


How To Keep 
Christ in 

Luke 10:38-41 NIV
…a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made…"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Christmas is a busy time – many preparations have to be made and we will feel like Martha if we forget the one thing!  no matter what time of year it is, no matter what is going on, ONLY ONE THING IS NEEDED; only one thing is necessary – this is how Jesus describes taking in His Word.
Christmas is to be celebrated and enjoyed.  Each day should be a celebration of life.  We need to focus on Christ daily and then we will be thankful every day of our lives!  We keep Christ in Christmas and our daily lives by abiding in the Word.  As we abide in the Word we'll feel a desire to celebrate.
The word for Sabbath is only one letter different from the word for celebrate in the Hebrew language.  Celebrating is about resting – resting in Christ and what He has done for us!  celebrating is not supposed to be a time of intensity – it is to be done simply and it is to be enjoyed thoroughly.

The world makes Christmas seem like nothing but work – baking, cooking, shopping, wrapping, and so on.  Do not view these Christmas preparations as work – see them as a celebration of the family God has given you! 

A New Year; 
A New Focus


2 Chronicles 20:3 NASB
Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord…
Fear tries to invade our thoughts and feelings many times during the course of life.  Fear makes us feel intimidated and dreadful; it is a terrifying source of anxiety.  Fear is debilitating; it can be overwhelming.   

Fear is a tool that the enemy uses in his attempt to keep us from moving on to the good things that God has in store for us.  Fear of failure can keep us from trying.  Fear of rejection can keep us from reaching out.  Fear impedes; it does not facilitate; however, perfect love, the love of God, can keep fear out of our lives (1 John 4:18). 

God’s plan for Jehoshaphat was victory over the enemy; but before that triumph was enjoyed, he experienced fear.  He was fearful of defeat and loss. If he would have let fear paralyze him, then he would have never enjoyed God’s victory.  Jehoshaphat had to do something about the fear that he was experiencing – and he knew just what to do.  He turned his attention to seek the Lord; he focused on the perfect love of His God rather than the approaching adversary.

We can turn our attention, also.  In order to turn our attention, we must choose to focus on God’s promises rather than the fear that is attacking our thoughts.  It is important to understand that you alone determine what thoughts remain in your mind and what thoughts have to go.  No one can force you to think anything.  You may not be able to control what thoughts come your way, but you can control which ones you give your attention to.

We are told to take our thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5).  In order to take our thoughts captive, we must be aware of what we are thinking.  We must not idly allow vain thoughts to occupy our minds.  Be aware of your thoughts; take the time to evaluate them.  Do your thoughts line up with the Word of God or do they disagree with the Word of God?  Jehoshaphat recognized that his fearful thoughts did not line up with God’s promises; consequently, he turned his attention.  He chose to focus on God instead of the enemy.

Jehoshaphat began to feel fear but he rejected that feeling by turning his attention to seek the Lord.  Where is your attention turned?  You have a choice to make when fear is attacking; you have to choose to focus on the Word of God instead of on your circumstances. 

When you continually focus on your feelings or your circumstances, rather than on the Word, you will find yourself in a state of constant irritation.  Repetition always has an effect – positive or negative.  Continually reminding yourself of God’s promises will have a positive, Spiritual effect – but we must remember that the opposite is also true.  As we navigate through the course of life, we must repeatedly choose to turn our attention to seek the Lord instead of giving our attention to the enemy.  

1 Samuel 30:24 NIV
…The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to battle.  All will share alike.

David was humble.  The Bible says that he was a man after God's own heart.  "After God's own heart," simply means that he walked in the Spirit.  David understood that he had two natures.  He understood that God gave him a new nature, a new Spiritual heart, and that he still had a flesh to deal with.  David chose, just like we must, to walk in that new nature by abiding in Christ (and Christ is the Word).  When we choose to focus on Christ instead of on ourselves, we too will walk in our new Spiritual nature and we will be humble just like David was. 

David's humility led him to believe that no one was above another; he understood equality in Christ.  The men that David went to battle with were not so sure, however.  They wanted to receive more of a share because of their efforts.  These men were referred to as "evil" and "troublemakers" in God's Word.   Our flesh loves to stir up trouble! Our flesh loves to feel superior and deserving; conversely, our Spiritual nature is humble and recognizes that apart from Christ we have nothing of Spiritual value. 

David quickly corrected the men.  He reminded them that God alone enabled them to secure the victory and walk away safely with the plunder. 
1 Corinthians 4:7 MKJV  For who makes you to differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
We, too, must understand this truth.  There is nothing Spiritual that we posses by our own efforts - everything Spiritual in our lives is the result of receiving from Christ. 

Too many times we are like these men - we believe that our efforts bring about the victories and "plunder" in our lives.  When we believe this lie, we must quickly be corrected also.  We must know that apart from Christ we can do nothing of Spiritual value.  We must realize that our efforts will be futile; we cannot produce Spiritual fruit on our own.  When we understand this, we will never feel superior or deserving; instead, we will want others to experience the freedom and joy we have in knowing that Christ is our everything.  

Held Together By Love

2 Corinthians 5:14 NIV
For Christ's love compels us…
Christ’s love compels us.  What exactly does that mean?    

To compel means to compress or arrest, to preoccupy, hold together, to constrain (to bring under control), to perplex.

The love of Christ compels us; it keeps us in the Word of God.  If we are in the Word for any other reason, then the Word will not produce the Spiritual fruit God intended.  Some read the Word out of duty or out of fear, for example; this is not the way the Word is to be received.  The Word is God’s love letter and it must be received that way.   God's wants His love to preoccupy His children.

The love of Christ is useful; it holds us together!  As we abide in the love letter of the Word we will find that God is holding us together.  The Word will keep us from falling apart in the midst of trials and problems.  The Word induces faith and faith produces Spiritual actions that will overcome our carnal reactions.  

His love brings us under control – it keep us in the Spirit and out of the flesh.   The love letter of the Word is our Spiritual weapon.  If we ignore the Word, we ignore our Spiritual power! 

Christ’s love can even sometimes be perplexing.  Christ’s love is the catalyst for  change in us and we cannot even explain exactly how the transformation takes place.   All we know is that the Word works – and it works because Christ loves us!   The Bible is God’s love in word form and we can never completely understand it's worth, but it compels us!

Exodus 34:21 NIV
Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.
Rest is found in Christ.  It's the entire leaning of our being on Him.  God spoke of rest repeatedly in His Word; He emphasized its importance.  He even did so to the point of requiring one’s life as the payment for ignoring the Sabbath rest. 

The Sabbath is not merely a day off.  The Sabbath represents resting in Christ and His finished work on the cross.   The Sabbath was an observance of living life according to God’s plan and not ours (Isaiah 58:13). 

God’s plan is for us to see the Word as our life and for us to abide in it.  We're to rest in the Word and the faith it produces.  Resting in Christ is trusting Him to do a work in us instead of trying to change ourselves. 

The breaking of the Sabbath required death because there is no life outside of Christ.  If we're not resting in Christ, then we're living a dead life (John 6:63) - a life of no Spiritual value.

During a harvest season we can be tempted to rest in ourselves.  This temptation provokes us as we begin to see fruit and blessings.  our flesh loves to take credit; our flesh is prideful.   We can be enticed to trust in ourselves more and God less if we're not focused on the truth.  There will never be a time when we do not have to rest in Christ.  Don't let the harvest give you a false sense of achievement.  Rest in the Word; remain aware of your desperate need for Christ at all times.  

2 Cor. 3:17 NIV
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Real freedom can only be found in the Spirit.  We cannot walk in true freedom outside of Christ. 

True freedom is not being free to do whatever you want.  True freedom is walking at liberty and ease in Christ.  It is dependence on Christ and freedom from self.  It is freedom from trying to be good enough to get to heaven and good enough to keep God "happy" with you.  It is living a life of confidence in Christ, not ourselves.  We can know that we have a home in Heaven because we have received what Christ has done for us.  We can know that God is happy with us because of Christ.  When we know these things we are free from self-effort and free to enjoy the goodness of God. 

Real freedom can only be found in the Spirit.  Where is the Spirit of the Lord?  Jesus told us that He would send the Holy Spirit to us and the Holy Spirit would live in us (John 14:16-17).  The Spirit of the Lord is in us and we walk in that Spirit when we connect with the Word of God.  When we ignore the Word of God we forfeit the freedom that God provides. 

When we ignore the Word of God we are prisoners of our flesh.  We cannot overcome our flesh and escape its power without the Word of God.  We are hopeless outside of Christ.  We need Him to rescue us and He is the Word.  Through the Word of God we will live a life of freedom – freedom from sin, freedom from fear, freedom from guilt, freedom from failure, and so on! 

            Walk in freedom - 
walk in the Word and experience all that Christ has set you free from!  

2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
We're to behold His glory and we're to do so with an unveiled face. To behold is to see reflected as looking in a glass (mirror).  Do you see Christ when you look at yourself?   Do you see who you are in Christ when you look at the Word?  If you don't, then you need to make a change!  We need to go with an unveiled face - we need to go without disguising ourselves.  Too many times we try to look at the Word as something we can conquer, but it's our mirror - not a challenge.  We disguise ourselves by pretending we can be good enough apart from Christ.  The Word shows us who we are in Christ and we will see that manifested in our lives if we'll remain focused on Christ instead of on ourselves.

            The next time you read the Word, view it as promises rather than something you must live up to.  For example, when you see that the Word tells you not to gossip, see this as a promise - if you walk in the Spirit you will not fulfill the flesh's desire to gossip (Galations 5:16).  We cannot conquer the flesh apart from Christ.

The more we focus on Christ, the more we will be transformed into His image!  We will mirror Him because we are focused on Him!  We will be transformed into His image - little by little - from one degree of glory to another!  


Exodus 23:16 NIV
Celebrate the Feast of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field. Celebrate the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field.
Celebrate!  Celebrate God’s goodness in your life!  Celebrate the harvest His Word produces in your life!  Celebrate all that you are blessed with!

God has blessed us in so many ways and there are too many times that we fail to remember to celebrate His goodness.  We can even overlook His goodness when we allow our minds to focus on the things that appear to be negative in our lives.  What are you focused on?  Are you focused on your problem or God's promise concerning the problem?  Focus matters!

Celebrating is an important part of life.  Too many times celebrating gets put on the back burner.  We get entangled in the day-to-day and we endure life instead of celebrating it! 

How can we incorporate celebrating into our lives?  We can set time aside on purpose.  We make our schedules; we choose what to do with our time.  It is true that we make time for what we deem as important – we need to see celebrating as important.   

David knew how good God was and he wasn’t afraid to celebrate (2 Samuel 6:21; Psalms 145:7).  Are we?  We need to abide in His goodness; we need to focus on the Word of God that declares all that God has done for us and celebrate.  He has made us righteous in Christ – that is something that should keep us celebrating for life!

John 11:1, 3 (NIV)  Now a man named Lazarus was sick…So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one You love is sick."
This verse says so much in so few words.  Two sisters were calling on Jesus to help their brother and all they said was, "Lord, the one You love is sick."  They did not beg Jesus to heal him; they did not list all of the reasons Jesus should heal him; they didn't scream and shout.  They simply told Jesus that the one He loved needed Him. 
Do we understand how much He loves us?  Do we go to prayer as
"the one He loves," or do we go as a beggar desperately seeking help?  When you know someone loves you, you can go to them without fear or doubt.  Some days it seems hard to believe that God loves us, but He does!  We need to fill ourselves with verses that declare His love for us so that faith will be produced in that area.  We let others tell us that they love us daily - we need to let God do the same. 
Go to God based on His love for you.  He helps us because He loves us!
Romans 8:37 ESV  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
Christ loves you!  He loves you so much that He wants to make you more than a conqueror.  He wants you to be triumphantly victorious!  Do you believe that?  Faith works by love (Galatians 5:6); God's love for us is the foundation every promise is based on so surround yourself with His love for you and receive from Him. 


Galatians 3:1-3 NIV
You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.  I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?  Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?

Our lives in Christ begin with faith and they must end with faith – and everything in-between must be done by faith.

We begin our lives in Christ by receiving the free gift God has given us.  We receive His payment for our sins.  We do this by faith – we hear what the Word has to say and faith is produced.  That faith then leads to the action of receiving. 

How many of us have no problem believing that we are saved by the work Christ has done for us, but when it comes to every-day life we ignore what Christ has done for us.  Instead of depending on Christ, we continue to depend on ourselves. 
Human effort will never accomplish the Spiritual.  We cannot produce Spiritual fruit in our flesh.  Our goal should be to mature in Christ and that only happens as we continually focus on the Word of God. 

We are foolish when we believe we can do anything Spiritual on our own.  One of the definitions of foolish is “sensual;” foolishness is of the flesh.  Foolishness is dependence on man rather than on God.  We must begin and end focusing on Jesus Christ.

Our Spiritual lives cannot be realized outside of Christ.  He authored our faith and He will complete it (Hebrews 12:2).

2 Cor 5:14 
For Christ's love compels us…
Christ’s love compels us.  What exactly does that mean?       
To compel means to compress or arrest, to preoccupy, hold together, to constrain (to bring under control), to perplex.
The love of Christ compels us; it keeps us in the Word of God.  If we are in the Word for any other reason, then the Word will not produce the Spiritual fruit God intended.  Some read the Word out of duty or out of fear, for example; this is not the way the Word is to be received.  The Word is God’s love letter and it must be received that way.   God's wants His love to preoccupy His children.

The love of Christ is useful; it holds us together!  As we abide in the love letter of the Word we will find that God is holding us together.  The Word will keep us from falling apart in the midst of trials and problems.  The Word induces faith and faith produces Spiritual actions that will overcome our carnal reactions.  
His love brings us under control – it keep us in the Spirit and out of the flesh.   The love letter of the Word is our Spiritual weapon.  If we ignore the Word, we ignore our Spiritual power! 

Christ’s love can even sometimes be perplexing.  Christ’s love is the catalyst for  change in us and we cannot even explain exactly how the transformation takes place.   All we know is that the Word works – and it works because Christ loves us!   The Bible is God’s love in word form and we can never completely understand it's worth, but it compels us!

Never in Need

Philippians 4:11-13 NLT
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have…I have learned the secret of living in every situation…For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.


How many of us can say with Paul that we were never really in need?  We can when we're walking in the Spirit.  This may sound like a harsh statement but it's true.  In the Spirit we ARE blessed with every blessing there is.  It's our flesh that leads us to feel that we're lacking.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd; He provides for and takes care of His sheep.  He is not slacking.  We must understand what we really have in Him.  For example, we may feel like we're in need because of a financial situation, but the root of that problem cannot be solved with more money.  The real root of the problem is doubt, fear, anxiety, and a lack of peace.  We are afraid we will lose our home or we are disquieted because we do not have what someone else has or we doubt that we'll ever get out of debt.  More money will only provide a temporary bandage.  What we really need is already ours in Christ - we simply need to receive it.  The love, peace, hope, and joy of God is ours for the taking.  He wrote His Word to us to supply us with it.  What are we doing with it?  Paul learned over time that what he really needed he already had and he learned it by focusing on what he had in Christ rather than his situation.  He had everything he needed in Christ and so do we!  

Faith is a Fight - 

to help you win the victory 
through Christ! 

The Love of God
1 John 5:3 KJV
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.
The love OF God is that we keep His commandments – not love FOR God. 
The love of God is displayed in our ability to "keep" God’s Word; He enables us to keep His word because He loves us.  What does it mean to “keep” the Word?  The word “keep” means to focus on, to keep your eyes on, and to hedge about as with thorns.  God loves us so much that He gives us the ability to focus on His Word.  He gives us His Holy Spirit and because we have His Spirit we can understand and connect with His Word; we can protect it in our lives. 

It is important that we do not misunderstand this verse and believe that if we love God we will do no wrong.  If we think that, we will find ourselves very confused; we may even begin to doubt our salvation.  We will be placing the focus on ourselves rather than on God – where the focus belongs. 

Peter believed that he loved Christ enough to never forsake Him, but Peter was met with the truth when he vehemently denied Christ three times.  Jesus warned him that he would deny Him, but Peter did not budge.  He repeatedly declared his love for Christ instead of crying out to Him for the help he needed to avoid the denial.  We must understand that nothing good dwells in our flesh; we are desperate for Christ – we cannot even love Him apart from Him.  

The love of God provides us with everything we need to participate in our  Spiritual nature.  God loves us so much that He gives of Himself – we have His Spirit, we have His Word. 

His commands are not grievous – they are not a burden. We are not supposed to try to live up to them; we are to live through them!  The Word is meant to be our place of rest; we are supposed to abide in the Word and rely on God to do His work in our lives.  This is the love of God.

God's Word is His love letter to you!!  Read it!!

Get Lost – IN GOD’ S LOVE!
Song of Sol 1:4
Take me away with Y--let us hurry! Let the king bring me into His chambers. We rejoice and delight in You; we will praise Your love more than wine. How right they are to adore You!
*take me away, Jesus, & take me quickly! Let Him take you in His presence –abide in the Word! Go to that place of shelter & love!
*when we get alone with God & let Him love on us something happens – we rejoice! We’re overwhelmed with His love & all we can do is rejoice!
rejoice: brighten up. To cause or make to be full of glee (delight, hilarity, excitement, joy). Cheer up. Very.
delight / be glad: to spin around because of aggressive emotion (usually the emotion of joy).
*what definitions for what the love of God can do for you! There are too many of us running low on God’s love for us!
*praise or remember His love more than wine!
praise / remember: to mark so as to be recognized. consider, mention, be mindful of. Think on. Make to be remembered.
more than: among. A part of. Because of. Above.
wine: intoxication (under the influence, to make intensely excited or overjoyed). Effervesce (to be lively; high spirited or excited). Banqueting.
*we can mark His love by the intense feelings it produces! If we are feeling beat up, depressed, guilty, etc. then we can know that we are not under the influence of His love! His love is found among extreme joy and liveliness!
*wine can mean banqueting.
Song of Sol 2:4 KJV He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me [was] love.
*the word for banqueting is the same Hebrew word for wine.
*according to the Hebrew spelling we see that we get to this place of being under the influence of His love by humility & when we find ourselves in this place, this is real life – this is Spiritual living!
Jude 1:20 MSG …staying right at the center of God's love, keeping your arms open & outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!
Jer 31:3-4 The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again & you will be rebuilt…
*during the off-season you need to be rebuilt.
build: to repair. Obtain children. Make; set (up); surely.
*the Hebrew spelling shows us that we need the Seed (the Word) if we’re going to be repaired, put together, fruitful, & secure. The Seed is the center of having Jesus as the Master & receiving His power; It is the center of producing fruit & praising God for it.
*his love is everlasting – nothing we can do & nothing we go through can change that!
*remember that God loves us! He’s not angry with us – look at what the Word says about anger – does it describe God’s relationship with you??
*also remember that God’s anger is righteous but it is for the unsaved – not us!
*the Word tells us that God has love for us! What is love?
*if love is patient, then God is patient. If love does not keep a record of wrongs, then God doesn’t keep a record of wrongs…
Lam 3:21 Yet this I call to mind & therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
*His great love is what keeps us going – it gives us hope (the ability to wait, trust, expectance)!
*we never have to worry about what happens next when we are abiding in His love!
*if we ever feel like we lack faithfulness then we need to focus on His faithfulness! if we ever want to love God more then we need to focus more on His love for us! Spiritual love & faithfulness are not about us!
1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
*when we are told to “love” God it is the Hebrew word “ahab.”
*this word means to have affection for; love; like. It is masculine (it is not fruit producing!). 
*the Hebrew spelling tells us that love is the connection between God & man. We’re connected by grace – the Word & its influence in our daily lives. Connecting with God this way makes Him the Master of our house & releases His power!
*when the Word talks of His love for us it is the Hebrew word “ahaba.”
*this word means the same thing as “ahab” except it is the feminine form of the word – it is fruit bearing!
*our love for God does not produce Spiritual fruit!! It’s HIS love for us that produces the fruit! It’s all about HIM! He deserves all the praise! We deserve no credit for loving God!
*one extra letter “hey” is in this word – GRACE!! God loves us through the Word! The Word is the key! It is the ONE thing!
The one thing important enough to mention twice in the spelling of the Hebrew word for God’s Love for us!
*now is not the time for you to try to earn from God – there is never a time for us to try to earn from God! If we get this twisted & try to produce more love for God or try to make ourselves more faithful, we will fail. Our ability to love God & produce Spiritual fruit are only found in Christ!

What Are You Trusting In?

Psalms 147:6, 10-11 AMP The Lord lifts up the humble & downtrodden…Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving…He delights not in the strength of the horse, nor does He take pleasure in the legs of a man. The Lord takes pleasure in those who reverently & worshipfully fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy & loving-kindness.
*many times when we look at words like “humble” & “downtrodden” we think of a person who is in demeaning & oppressive circumstances – but that is because we are not looking at this Spiritually. Being humble & downtrodden from a Spiritual perspective is a good thing! It means that you understand who you are apart from Christ! That is why you are singing to the Lord with thanksgiving! You realize that any good or Spiritual gift that you have is from Him! You realize just how much you really have to be thankful for!
-understanding who you are apart from Christ catapults you into total dependence on Christ!
John 15:5 AMP I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me & I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.
*a real understanding of this verse will keep you from trying to do something Spiritual on your own~ & as a result, it keeps you from producing works of the flesh that count for nothing!
*too many Christians feel like THEY are doing something for the Lord! They feel like they are coming to church because they love Him, they are giving sacrificially to Him, they give up their time to do something for others for Him, & so on!
Isa 57:12 I will expose your righteousness & your works, & they will not benefit you.
*we cannot continue to live like WE are doing God a favor!
Job 35:8 Your wickedness affects only a man like yourself, & your righteousness only the sons of men.
*all of the “righteous” things we THINK we are doing mean nothing as far as God is concerned! If there is any reward or acknowledgment of what we’ve done it is only by man! OUR righteousness only affects other men like us – men in their flesh; it is not a Spiritual action!
*God is not concerned with “the strength of the horse” or the “legs of a man;” God is concerned with what we are doing THROUGH HIM, NOT on our own!! What we can do on our own outside of Him is nothing but filthy rags in God’s eyes (Is. 64:6) – it needs to be filthy rags in OUR eyes, too!!
*open your eyes to what you are doing & WHO is really doing it!
Psa 40:10 I do not hide Your righteousness in my heart; I speak of Your faithfulness & salvation. I do not conceal Your love & Your truth from the great assembly.
*hiding His righteousness does not mean that you do not reveal others’ sin to them! It means you try to take credit for the righteous things that happen in your life ~ you hide His righteousness by taking the credit for yourself! How many Christians talk more about themselves than God! Well, I go to church because I love God, I went to the homeless shelter to help out, I go to Sunday School faithfully, I always give – even when it’s a sacrifice, & so on! Instead, we should be saying, “I am blessed with the ability to come to church because God loves me!” “Praise God for the homeless shelter & the work HE is doing there.” “God’s Word is so amazing & He teaches me so much & it sets me free!” “God is such an awesome Provider!” and so on!! We are concealing God’s faithfulness when we take the credit for being faithful!! We cannot be faithful without HIM!! We are hiding His salvation when we take credit for the deliverance He brings into our lives – how many times do people turn a victory over a habit into an idol?! We conceal His love when we claim it is our love for Him that motivates us!! We do not do things because we love God – we do what we do because HE FIRST LOVED US (1 John 4:9)! We couldn’t even love Him if it wasn’t for Him! We cannot even take credit for our love we have for God! Now that is humbling!! We cover up His truth when we put our lies on the forefront! We MUST take the focus off of us!!
Heb 12:2 KJV Looking unto Jesus the author & finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, & is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
*my focus needs to be totally on Christ! He is the AUTHOR AND the FINISHER of my faith – He is my EVERYTHING! I have nothing outside of Him!
“The Lord takes pleasure in those who reverently & worshipfully fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy & loving-kindness. “
*what is the only way to please God?
Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God…
*you need faith to please God! The source of faith is the Word (Rom. 10:17). When we are dependent on the Word that is when faith is produced!
Our dependence on the Word is a lack of dependence on ourselves!
We fear Him – which means we are in awe of Him; we know it is ALL about Him!
*our hope needs to be in HIS mercy – not our righteousness but His love that reaches out to meet our needs in spite of us! It is His love that changes us! Faith works by love (Gal. 5:6)

1 John 2:1 NIV
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
The Word was written to us; it is God’s gift to us.  The Word is our weapon against our flesh and the sin our flesh produces.  David said that he hid the Word in his heart to keep him from sin (Psalm 119:11).  Sin can be avoided through our consistent intake of the Word; unfortunately, sin is never avoided entirely.  We are in a Spiritual battle and we decide which nature controls us based on what we do with the Word.  Will we keep our focus on the Word or will we focus elsewhere?  There will be days when we ignore the Word and sin will reign – what happens on those days?

John tells us that when we sin we have a defender.  Jesus Christ is speaking in our defense when we sin.  Wow!  How many of us truly believe that?  Many times we believe that we cannot go to God when we yield to our flesh; we believe that He is against us.  Some Christians believe that they cannot go to God when they sin because it seems like some verses communicate that assumption.  They look at verses that speak about sin separating us from God, but forget that Jesus Christ took care of all of their sin.  Our sins are as far as the east is from the west and they cannot keep us from God any longer because of what Christ has done for us.  He paid the price for all of our sin completely.  There is no balance due by us.  Our sin can only keep us from God if we let it!  We must see our sin as an indicator.  Our sin should open our eyes to a need in our lives – a need for more of the Word.  You should never let your sin keep you from God, because you will never prevail over it without Him! 

When we find ourselves in sin we can come boldly to the throne for the help that we need because Jesus is our righteousness; He earned our right to come to God because we never could. Apart from Christ we can do nothing of Spiritual value; we are Spiritual impoverished on our own.  We need Him!  Our flesh should open our eyes to our need for the Word in our lives; it should lead us into the open arms of Christ!  If your flesh is keeping your from God, then it’s being perverted.  Your sin should emphasize your need for Christ and lead you to your Defender!  We cannot overcome sin without Him!  

The Cross

Col 2:13-15  When you were dead in your sins & in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us & that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross.  And having disarmed the powers & authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

*the cross - do we realize the many facets of it?  Just in these 3 verses alone we see 5 things accomplished by the cross: 

1. the cross gave us life.
John 3:16  For God so loved the world that He gave His one & only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

*what Christ did for me on the cross enables me to have eternal life!
*I need to accept what He did for me if I want that life!  I need to believe in Him and receive His free gift!!

John 3:15  that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.

2. because of the cross our sins are forgiven.
Acts 13:38  Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.

*through Jesus I have forgiveness of sins!  Through Jesus & His sacrifice for me on the cross!  Total forgiveness!

1 John 1:7  …the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.

3. the cross did away with the law & the rules & regulations that were against us.
Eph 2:14-16  For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one & has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments & regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, & in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility.

*we used to be separated from God because of our sin, but thanks to the cross I am now in relationship with God!  The barrier was my sin - my sin that the law pointed out.

Rom 5:13  for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law.

*the law gave sin life.  The law was in itself good, but sin is not.  And now this law made our sin visible!  It was always there, but the law made it evident.
*Jesus Christ destroyed that barrier of sin.  He did it by abolishing, in HIS flesh, the law.  He made the law void - it could no longer separate me from God because of what Christ did!  It has zero power over me as a Christian. 
*now, in Christ, I am a new creation - a new person, a Spiritual person!  I am at peace with God through Christ!  Through what He did in His body for me! *through the cross He destroyed the hostility that the law created between me & God!  He took the punishment I deserved for my sin!

2 Cor 5:21  God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

4. the cross disarmed the powers & authorities - the evil ones.
John 16:11  … the prince of this world now stands condemned.

Heb 2:14  Since the children have flesh & blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil--

*through the cross, Christ disarmed satan -- he is no longer a threat to the Christian, to the Christian who is walking in the Spirit - focused on who they are in Christ!! 

5. the cross brought triumph or victory over the powers & authorities for us.
Luke 10:18-19  He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes & scorpions & to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

*because of the cross I have power!  Power that destroys the enemy!

Rom 16:20  The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

*soon here means speedily!  I do not have to live under satanic attack!  If I put my focus where it belongs, on Christ, He will crush satan speedily!! 

Acts 28:5  But Paul shook the snake off into the fire & suffered no ill effects.

*we can go through trials, we can go through problems, we can have satan come against us, but we do not have to suffer harm! 
*because of the cross I have the victory!              

Psa 60:12  With God we will gain the victory, & He will trample down our enemies.

1 John 5:4  for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

1 Cor 15:57  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

*victory is certain through Christ!  Because of what He did for me on the cross I can walk in victory!  But remember how the victory comes - by faith, through Christ! 

Rom 10:17  Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

*our victory was bought & paid for on the cross, but we need to be in the Word of God if we want to walk that victory out!!                        
*everything that the cross purchased for us is released to us through the Word of God!!



Matthew 7:1 KJV 
Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Matthew 7:16 NIV 
By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
People freely throw out the phrases, “Christians are judgmental,” and “Don’t judge me,” but I am not sure that they really understand the true meaning of these phrases.  To refrain from judgment does not mean to live blind to the sin that is in the world.  We recognize a tree by its fruit.  If a person is involved in anything sinful, we recognize that – it is obvious.  The acts of our sinful nature and the acts of our flesh are contradictory.  If a person is walking in the Spirit, they will recognize the difference.  If we see a fellow Christian indulging in the flesh, then we will want to help them understand that sin is destructive and we will want to see them make a change.  Paul even instructed us to restore our brothers and sisters who are involved in sin (Gal. 6:1).  To restore is to repair, to adjust.  A person cannot be restored without first recognizing that the actions they are involved in are not Spiritual.  We need to be able to talk to each other; we need to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).   The truth is the Word. 
To judge another is to pass sentence on them; in other words, it is trying to do what only God has the right to do.  To judge is to condemn; it is to determine a person’s motives, their love for God, and their worth.  When we are involved in judgment, we are lacking love.  Love covers a multitude of sins – the Hebrew word for “cover” includes the definition to overwhelm.  Love will swallow up sin because love is of God.  The power that is in the love of God is greater than any sin!! 
“Don’t judge me,” is man’s lame attempt to ignore the sin problem.  We must receive our brother’s recognition of the sin that is in our lives if they are speaking in agreement with the Word in love.  If we do not, then we are clearly more comfortable in our flesh than we are in the Spirit.  Therein lies the problem. 

We must receive the truth in love.  We can know that anyone who loves us wants what is best for us.  Sin is destructive; it is fatal.  As they give us the Word and we receive it, we will see a change.  The Word is the Seed we require for Spiritual fruit.  We can defeat sin through the power of the Word – and He is the Word (John 1:1).  




Stephanie's newest book is now available! 
The Two of Me is an in-depth study of the two natures each Christian has. 
To order plesae
go to the
*Stephanie's book,

Stephanie's revised version of
"Heaven on Earth,"
is now available for
for $10.00 plus
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About Us
Stephanie White is a Christian author and teacher of God's Word.  Currently, she is teaching at her mom and dad's church, UPPER ROOM MINISTRIES, in Youngstown, Ohio.  Her book, "Heaven on Earth," is now available from Xlibris Publishing.  Her second book,
"Faith is Worth Fighting For,"  and the revised
version of her book, "Heaven on Earth,"
are available on the Orders Page on this site!
You can contact Stephanie by email at:
Stephanie is married to Christopher and they live together with their wonderful son, Eddie.
If you would like to contact Chris or Eddie you can do so by email:
Experiencing Heaven on Earth
can only be accomplished
by focusing daily on the Word of God.
We have a Sunday School class
 that emphasizes just this! 
Every Sunday at 9:30 AM we study
the Word in depth and we are going over
the Hebrew roots of the Word of God. 
We would love to have you join us!
4301 New Rd.
Youngstown, Ohio 44515
Sunday School @ 9:30 AM
at UPPER ROOM MINISTRIES in Youngstown, Ohio.
Sunday Morning Worship @ 11 AM
Wednesday Bible Study @ 6 PM


 For more Bible studies please go
Most of the past Bible studies from thios site are found on this page.