One Story – One Hope

even-smaller-bug-light1

Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. – Romans 15:4 NLT
 
 
All of the Scriptures, both Old and New are a continuing story of hope. In the Old Testament, the Jews were constantly reminded of the hope they had that God was with them and would deliver them in His timing. The prophets also told of a time when the Messiah would come to deliver not only the Jews but also the Gentiles. The New Testament continues that story of hope with the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We still look forward to the time when Jesus will come again to receive all of His children to be with Him in heaven. That is the hope we have that gives us encouragement to endure the time we spend as aliens here on earth.  While we are here, we are instructed to follow the example that Jesus set in His time here as a stranger and an alien. We are to accept one another as He accepted us, love each other as He loves us, edify and encourage each other.  We do this to bring glory, honor and praise to God, our Father. This is not possible in the flesh unless we mortify the flesh and submit to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, even unto death, if necessary.
23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? — Luke 9:23-25 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 04-27-2018

“Love is A Debt We Owe”

even-smaller-bug-light1

8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. — Romans 13:8-10 NIV

God is love, Jesus was God in the flesh, so Jesus is love and therefore He was the fulfillment of the law. The death of Jesus on the cross for our sins was love beyond our comprehension.  It wasn’t just love squared or love cubed, it was, and still is love to the power of infinity. The flesh is incapable of love in any degree, much less to the level of love that God has for us. Yet, we are instructed to work toward that goal. Is it a work  of futility?  For the flesh, yes.  For the Holy Spirit, no. While there is a plethora of emotions associated with love and acts of love, those feelings and emotions are not the reason we love. It is a decision we make. The death of Jesus on the cross was not a result of some emotional explosion in heaven, it was a decision made by the Trinity. Jesus paid all of our sin debt and we can never repay Him for that.  But, we still have a continuing debt that we can never pay in full. It is somewhat like a “full life” insurance policy. As long as you live, you owe regular payments on it.  Our debt of love will never be marked “Paid in Full”.  But we still need to be sure that it stays “paid up to date”.  Are we making regular, daily payments on our debt of love?

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 04-25-2018

“I Have Seen the Lord”

even-smaller-bug-light1

18 Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message. – John 20:18 NLT

Resurrection morning! Ain’t no grave could hold Him down!! The cross is a necessary step for Jesus to get back to His glory. He carried His cross, died to Himself for us and now He is alive forevermore! Do you see the example here? The cross Jesus asks us to bear is a necessary step for us to get to glory. We carry the cross, we die to ourselves for Jesus and we have life everlasting!! As Paul tells us we must be willing to share in the sufferings of Jesus. But wait, read the next verse. There is good news!
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.–2 Cor. 4:16-18 (NIV)
When we die to ourselves and bury the flesh, we can sing along with Jesus, “Ain’t No Grave Gonna Hold Me Down”!!

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 04-01-2018

The Power of the Cross

even-smaller-bug-light1

18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. – 1 Cor. 1:18 NLT

Paul’s main objective was to preach the Word of God. Yes, he stayed in each new location until he had people in place to take care of the flock, but his heart was always on starting a new work in a new location. Paul isn’t saying new converts don’t need to be baptized, he is saying he has appointed others to do that part of the work. A lot of good pastors have “burned out” by not following Paul’s example and trying to do all the work themselves. A good preacher does not have to be eloquent or powerful in his delivery. What he does have to be, is obedient to the Holy Spirit. In our world today, it is even more apparent that the message of the cross is considered foolishness by those who appear to need it most. The world does not have an answer for Jesus, so they resort to ridicule and abuse of the believers. Jesus said this would happen, so it should come as no surprise to us. But we must remain faithful, knowing that Jesus suffered unto death on a cross.
1 “All this I have told you so tha
t you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.—John 16:1-3 (NIV)

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 01-24-2018

 

Give It Up to Save It

even-smaller-bug-light1

24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. – Luke 9:24 NLT
 

After all the trials and the persecutions that Jesus went through on Thursday night, early Friday morning, He had to take up his Cross and carry it out of the city. Along the way, Simon of Cyrene was ordered to help carry the Cross for Jesus. While we can’t carry the actual wooden cross that Simon bore for Jesus, we each have a path that God has laid out for us. Somewhere along that path, we will meet Jesus. Then we will either accept Him or reject Him. If we accept Him, there will be a cross for us to bear. The cross may be financial, it may be physical, it may include rejection and persecution, but whatever cross we are called to bear, we can be sure that if we have listened to the whispers of the Holy Spirit and we have been obedient, we will be prepared for it. If the cross seems more than we can bear, it may be because we have not yet decided to die to our own desires. The only way to save our lives is to lose them for Jesus.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 01-07-2018

“It Is Finished”

even-smaller-bug-light1

30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. – John 19:30 NLT
Even while hanging on the cross in agony, Jesus was still concerned about others. He instructed John to take care of His mother. A sip of sour wine from a hyssop branch and then came the last words from the cross, “It is finished!”. Three words that are so full of meaning that men have spent the years since trying to understand the extent of what was said. What was finished? His life? No, this was just an interlude between humanity and heavenly. His work on earth? Yes, but exactly what was His work? If it was just to redeem us by dying on a cross, then what was the rest of it about? Jesus was sent to fulfill prophecy, there is no doubt about that. But a majority of His work was to be an example to us and show us how to live for Him. Our persecuted brothers and sisters will tell you that dying for Jesus is the easy part, it is living for Him that is hard. But with his death on the cross, Jesus paid the price for everything that we need to live and die for Him. There are over 200 names for Jesus in the Bible. Each one either gives us an attribute of Jesus, the work He (as the Holy Spirit) does on earth for us or a need that He fulfills for us. There is nothing He left undone. His part as God the man was truly complete. “It is finished”!

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 12-10-2017

Majestic Then, Now and Forever!

even-smaller-bug-light1

19 And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth,
the King of the Jews. ​- John 19:19 NLT

Jesus went out bearing His own cross to the place called Golgotha, So Pilate causes an inscription to be written and attached to the cross. Pilate thinks he is mocking Jesus. The chief priests want Pilate to change the title, but he refuses. After all of his dancing around the situation, he now wants everyone to think that he is really in control. “What I have written I have written” states Pilate. Yes, you have Pilate and it is the truth that you have written, but it is long after God had written it. God had established that fact before the first human was ever formed.
1 Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. 2 And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. 3 The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.—Hebrews 1:1-3 (NLT)
Yes, Pilate, your title was true but incomplete, not only King of the Jews, but King of Kings and Lord of Lords! How majestic is Your Name!
9 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!—Psalm 8:9 (NASB)

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 12-09-2017

“Where He Leads Me, I Will Follow”

even-smaller-bug-light1

43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come, follow me.” – John 1:43 NLT
 

Once we answer the call to “come and see” and we have “tasted and seen” that the Lord is good, our next step is to follow the Lord. While the plan of salvation is simple and free, following the example that Jesus set for us is not easy and it is not free. He gave up His glory in heaven, came to earth and died for us. Should the created expect to do less than that for His Creator? From the worldly point of view, this is asking a lot, but from God’s point of view, it is the best thing that you can do. The only way to save your life is to let it go.

33 If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it—Luke 17:33 (NLT)


For our sake, Jesus laid down His life, so that He could take it up again to be our Redeemer and Lord. So, we must lay down our lives for His sake.


23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?—Luke 9:23-25 (NLT)


”Come, follow me”! When we decide to this for Jesus, we find a life that is truly worth living.


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 08-04-2017

Far Greater!

even-smaller-bug-light1

15 John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’” – John 1:15 NLT


John fully understood his mission as the forerunner of Jesus Christ. According to Isaiah, John’s purpose was to “prepare the way of the Lord”. John understood that as Jesus began His ministry that his own ministry would start to diminish. He was looking forward to that day. Jesus came to fulfill the law and redeem us from the curse of the law. He redeemed us from the curse of the law, but not from the blessings of the law. He came to make those blessings more abundant.

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.—John 10:10​ (NKJV)


Because His death on the cross finished (fulfilled) the law, we “have all received one gracious blessing after another”. Those that have seen Jesus have seen the Father.

9 Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?–​-John 14:9 (NLT)


Those that were alive at that time saw Him physically and we have seen Him spiritually as He is revealed to us though the Holy Spirit abiding in us.
Jesus is the ONE! He is THE ONE AND ONLY ONE that can save us from sin!!!!

It is our mission to spread the Word to a lost and dying world.


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 08-01-2017

Building Bridges

even-smaller-bug-light1

Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees[b] or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time.
— Titus 3:9 NLT

It is because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, that God has given us His Holy Spirit to abide in us. The Holy Spirit’s role is to teach us and guide us “into all truth”. He is also the earnest that seals us so that we can be assured of everlasting life with Jesus. Therefore, because of that, we can be secure in our salvation. Knowing this, we can focus on leading a Holy lifestyle and setting an example for others to follow. We need to stay away from foolish and frivolous arguments. This is not a call to separate ourselves from sinners. We need to associate with them (being careful not to fall into temptations ourselves) and build bridges with them so we can witness to them. We must embrace the value of every human, though, sometimes we will not be able to embrace their values. Seize every opportunity to witness to the unbelievers.

Mark 2:13-17 NLT


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 04-16-2017