It was God’s plan from before the beginning of time as we know it that every person that was born would have an opportunity to become His child and an heir. Under the law, man was a slave to that law and could not become an heir. When the set time had come, God sent his Son. Born under the law to a fleshly woman. God did this so that we could be adopted into His family. Now, that Jesus has been resurrected, we have the opportunity to become children of the Most High God and He would send His Spirit to make His home inside us. Because of the indwelling Spirit, we can call out “Abba”, which is Aramaic for Daddy. We are sons and heirs of God, not because of anything we did or could do, but simply because God loved us enough to make a way for us. He is not only our Father, but we have a closer, more intimate relationship with Him. So close that no matter how big we may get, we can still crawl up in His lap and He will hold us and love us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.–Romans 8:38, 39 (NIV)
John the Baptist was sent for the specific purpose of preparing the way for Jesus Christ the Messiah. He pointed people toward the time when Jesus would come to earth. He did this powerfully and unafraid even to the point of confronting Herod about his adultery with Herodias. He seemed to have no doubt about his purpose and God’s plan for his life. He carried it through even unto his death. In Matthew 11:11, Jesus said no one who had ever lived was greater than John.
Matt. 11:11 (NLT) “I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is!
John the Baptist had doubts and Jesus called him the greatest person to ever live. So, if you have doubts about Jesus don’t let satan beat you up about it. Jesus already knows that you have those doubts. Do what John the Baptist did, ask Jesus about your doubts. Jesus can use those doubts to bring you into a closer relationship with Him. As you draw nearer to Him, those doubts will start to disappear. You will have joy in your salvation and strength to overcome all your battles.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
There is only one Creator who would create a creature knowing that it would require His death to redeem that creation. What kind of Creator has that much love for His creation? God, and God alone, because He alone is complete, pure love. God, as the man Jesus did not die for some bogus religion of the world. He died to renew the relationship that He had with man in the Garden of Eden. We call that relationship, Christianity. There is no comparison of Christianity to any religion in the world. Christianity is eternal because it is based on Jesus Christ, who died and was resurrected for our sins. He knew from before the foundations of the earth that He would have to do that. Sin took away that relationship and introduced all kinds of false hopes, which the world calls “religions”. All those religions are named after and founded on the teachings of dead men. But, praise God, Christianity is named after and based on the teachings of a LIVING GOD and SAVIOR! One who longs to talk to You and show You His love in the tiniest details of Your Life.
If, up until now, you have only experienced “religion”, it is time for you to get into a “relationship” with the One and Only Living God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is standing at your heart’s door and knocking. Open up to the most beautiful and meaningful relationship you will ever know.
The Song of Solomon is a love letter from Jesus to HIs chosen bride, the Church. It explains how He sees the Church in its purest form, when all the members are living in unity with each other. It gives us a glimpse into the depth, length and width of His love. It shows what great lengths to which He will go to get us to spend time with Him. Everything He created was created for one purpose. That purpose was to bring all the glory to Himself. A part of that glory is the exaltation of the Church to the postion of His chosen bride. For the marriage to bring Him glory, the bride must be spotless. He has assured that purity by washing each member in His own blood. When the Holy Spirit comes to each of us, He is not bringing an invitation to the wedding, He is coming with a question from the Bridegroom. The question is, “Will you marry me?” Such love demands a response and a total commitment. Keeping that commitment is not always easy and in the flesh,it is seemingly impossible. But, it gets so much easier when we understand that a Holy lifestyle is really about having a love affair with Jesus. The thing that Jesus really wants from us is to be treated the way we treated our first real love. Remember that? That person was on our mind constantly,we were always contemplating how great it would be the next time we were with them and what we could do to please them. Jesus wants us to think about Him that way. Take some time today and just spend it loving on Jesus and allowing Him to love on you. He’s waiting to hear from us now.
11 “This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, and it is not beyond your reach. 12 It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’ 13 It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’ 14 No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it. — Deut. 30:11-14 NLT
At this time, the Holy Spirit had not yet been given to us to remain on the earth until Jesus retruns, so God gave the Israelis their instructions and commands through Moses. In the following chapters of Deuteronomy, we read that God instructed Moses to write all of these instructions in a Book. That Book is now included as the first five books of the Bible. Moses instructed the priests to keep the Book of Instructions beside the Ark of the Covenant at all times as a sign of remembrance to the Israelis of their covenant with God. It would also serve as a witness against them in times of disobedience. It was to be read to the people, in its entirety, every seventh year during the Festival of Shelters. God is a just God and never holds anyone accountable for things they can not know. He can and does hold us responsible for those we could know but refuse to learn.
Now, since Jesus has returned to Heaven, He has sent the Holy Spirt to abide in us and lead us into all truth. We have no reason for our disobedience. We may try to excuse ourselves because of a lack of knowledge, but that excuse won’t hold water since God has made the Holy Spirit available to be our Teacher. His love for us and our love for Him is more than sufficient reason to study, learn and obey as much as we possibly can. The Lord, our God, is a jealous God and he is unhappy with anything less than a total commitment to our relationship with Him.
2 For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ. — 2 Cor. 11:2 NLT
15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”–1 Peter 1:15,16 (NLT)
22 You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.–Eph. 4:22-24 (NLT)
When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, His Holy Spirit sets up a residence in our hearts. God has sent His Spirit to “lead us into all truth”. There are some things (and those things are different for all of us) from which we are immediately delivered. We could make a long list of those things: smoking, drinking, overeating, gossiping, lying, bitterness, hatred and we could go on and on. And those instant deliveries should encourage us to continue on in the faith. But none of us are instantly delivered from all our erroneous ways and habits. It is a daily process of being led by God’s Spirit and learning more of the truth. As we study God’s Word, we find more things that we need to allow God to change so that we can be transformed into His image. We all still sin, but we have to stay on guard and not let satan bring us down with guilt. We must repent. That means more than turning away from the sin, it means we turn to something else. Each time we empty a spot in our heart, we must allow God’s Spirit to fill it with something new. Pay close attention to Paul’s instructions in verse 24, “clothe yourself with the new self”. When we put off the old, we should be careful to put on the “new”. The “new” will guard us against the fiery darts of our enemy.
6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.—Romans 7:6 NASB
7 Make no mistake about this: You can never make a fool out of God. Whatever you plant is what you’ll harvest.8 If you plant in the soil of your corrupt nature, you will harvest destruction. But if you plant in the soil of your spiritual nature, you will harvest everlasting life. 9 We can’t allow ourselves to get tired of living the right way. Certainly, each of us will receive everlasting life at the proper time, if we don’t give up. 10 Whenever we have the opportunity, we have to do what is good for everyone, especially for the family of believers.–Galatians 6:7-10 (NLT)
Jesus went about doing good deeds and spreading the good news that the Kingdom of God was at hand. He is our example to follow. With all the bad news we hear each day, we need to be diligent in spreading the good news. God gives us abundant opportunities each day to plant good seed in good soil. The majority of people that you come into contact each day are looking for something to believe in and hold onto. They are looking for something solid and secure that is not going to change. We have the answer in the good news of Jesus and His free gift of salvation. People are drowning in the sea of uncertainty and doubt. We are holding the life rope they need. Take the time to throw it out and bring them to the shore to meet Jesus.
If we focus on Jesus and spreading the Good News, He will continue to strengthen us and fill us with joy. Again, we need to follow the example Jesus set by taking time to be alone with God, meditating on the Word and praying. These times of refreshing will keep us from growing weary of doing good. We will reap what we sow. So, let us be diligent in our journey here on earth and lay up our rewards in heaven.
1 Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee.This is how it happened. 2 Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples. 3 Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” “We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.–John 21:1-3 (NLT)
After some few days (at least 9, possibly more), the disciples decided to go fishing. They had seen Jesus and knew that He had risen from the grave, but the Holy Spirit had not yet come. For three years they had had a leader and a constant companion. Now, they were like sheep without a shepherd. As most of us do when we don’t know what else to do, we go back to doing what we used to do. Peter, having the strongest personality, seems to have become the temporary leader by default. They fished all night without success. “Busyness” for the sake of being busy is not usually very productive or satisfying.. They were most likely feeling very tired, alone and frustrated. When we have been with Jesus for a while and then we drift away, we have had that feeling. Kinda like you are lost at sea and just bobbing around on the waves. We may not know where we are or which direction to go, but Jesus knows exactly where we are and what we need. We have an advantage the disciples didn’t have at that time. We have God the Holy Spirit living inside of us. Unlike them, we are never alone. If you have these kind of feelings now or any time, just stop and let Jesus wrap you in His arms. He is waiting for us, just as the disciples will discover that He is waiting for them.
33 Then Pilate went back inside the palace and called Jesus to him and asked, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34 Jesus said, “Is that your own question, or did others tell you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “I am not one of you. It was your own people and their leading priests who handed you over to me. What have you done wrong?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If it belonged to this world, my servants would have fought to keep me from being given over to the Jewish leaders. But my kingdom is from another place.” 37 Pilate said, “So you are a king!”—John 18:33-37 (NCV)
”Are you the King of the Jews?” The question that Pilate asked or similar questions are still being debated today. Jesus answers with a question of His own. “Is that your question or did others tell you about me?” It is almost as if Jesus is asking Pilate, “do you care or are you just curious because others have asked that question?” Do you really want to know who I am? Pilate avoids answering the question by saying he is not one of the Jews and asks Jesus another question. “What have you done wrong?” Jesus answers by telling Pilate about His kingdom and His servants. He explains that His kingdom is in another place. Pilate responds with “So you are a King!” What is our response today? We may say, “Of course, Jesus is the King of the Jews!” But that answer avoids the real question: “Is Jesus the King in our lives here and now?” He is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all. He will not accept being the Number One God in our lives, He will only accept being the only God in our lives. Jesus died for our sins, how could we offer Him anything less than everything we have and everything we are. Please take the time to listen to this song.
13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.—John 17:13-19 (NLT)
We have the privilege of listening into a personal conversation between Jesus and our Father. As we read through the prayer that Jesus is praying for His disciples, we get a little glimpse of His love and compassion for them. Jesus is not asking God to remove all the bumps, He is asking Him to keep them safe as they travel the rocky road. He is also asking our Father to teach them the truth. Jesus, as the oldest of all God’s children, is taking the responsibility of being sure that the family is being taken care of while He is separated from them. Of course, He knows that our Father is going to take good care of the disciples, but His compassion demands that He set the example for them to ask. Not only that, but He is paying in advance for their care by giving His life on the cross. Jesus is the perfect example of a servant, a brother, a friend and a Redeemer.