“Not Even the Powers of Hell…”

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. — Romans 8:38 NLT

Romans 8:35-39 NLT

Each of us goes through a myriad of situations in our lifetime. Hardly a day goes by, (probably none) that we don’t have some sort of frustration in our lives. Does this mean that we have lost our salvation or that God no longer loves us? No, God hates sins, but He does not hate the sinner, His heart is set on forgiveness and restoration. Our fellowship with Him can be broken and interrupted, but the very second we repent, He is waiting with open arms to receive us back into fellowship with Himself. If we don’t have this assurance of salvation and forgiveness, then as Paul said, “we, of all people, are most to be  pitied”. But we do have it because it is dependent on the faithfulness of God, not on our faithfulness. So, in the darkest of times, when we don’t “feel saved”, God is still God and Jesus is still interceding for us.  Nothing can separate us from His love and His care. Our hope is eternal.

1 Cor. 15:12-20 NLT

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

“The Tongue Can Bring Life or Death;”

21 The tongue can bring death or life;  those who love to talk will reap the consequences.— Proverbs 18:24

Words are powerful. God spoke the world into existence and He gave Jesus all authority in heaven and earth. Jesus gave that authority to us.  So, we have the power to speak words of life and blessing or to speak words of death and cursing.  Do your words produce life or death?  Since we are indwelt by the Triune God, we have the words of life. The world needs something to believe in and hang onto. Speak words of life to those around you and you will not only bless them, but you will find as you speak those words and they become real to you, your attitude improves. The Beatitudes are called that because speaking blessings should always be our attitude. James warns us that the tongue is a dangerous weapon that we are unable to control. 

James 3:5-8 NLT

We must allow the Holy Spirit to control our tongues for us and it will produce fruit that brings forth life.  Let the fruits of the Spirit rule over you and you will become a life-giving stream to your family and friends.

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

“Where Are Your Accusers?”

10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman,“Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” — John 8:10 NLT

John 8:1-11 NLT

In this short passage of Scripture, we get to look at sin from all four sides.  There is sin as the devil sees it, a tool for death and destruction.  There is sin from the human viewpoint as seen by the accusers.  There is sin from the viewpoint of the one who committed the sin.  Then there is sin from the viewpoint of Jesus, a wrong that demands forgiveness.  The accusers had caught this woman in the very act of adultery, how this happened we are not told and we don’t need to know.  Under the law, the woman was guilty and deserving of death.  Jesus had come to change all of that.  He was bringing a new way of looking at and treating the guilty party.   From the reaction of the accusers when Jesus questioned them, we know that, at some point, all of them had transgressed the law.  In Jesus’s way of thinking, regardless of what they had done, they were as worthy of death as the woman was.  Under the law, there was big sin and little sin.  Under grace, there is just sin, liars are lumped right in there with murderers.  We may often find ourselves in the position of the accusers or in position of the woman who committed the sin.  Jesus was using this situation to teach a two-fold lesson. First, He was teaching them the Golden Rule: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.  If we were caught in this situation, would we want others to show us mercy?   Then we must show mercy.  The second and most important lesson is that sin is forgivable and that is the road we should choose.  To receive God’s forgiveness, we are required to forgive others of their sins.

MATTHEW 6:7-14 NLT

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

“Leads Us Away From Sin”

even-smaller-bug-light1

10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.  – 2 Cor.7:10 NLT 

2 Cor. 7:8-11 NLT

In his letters to the church at Corinth, Paul had admonished them to take corrective action against those members that were not living a Christian lifestyle  They were participating in sexual sins and not showing proper respect when taking communion. He wanted the church to be a shining light in a dark city.  Although he spoke to them firmly, it was because he loved them as his own children and wanted to see them maturing in the faith. When we have erred, we need to accept correction from those who love us and want us to be stronger Christians. If we feel guilty and condemned, we should remember that condemnation comes from satan, not from the Lord. Condemnation is “worldy” sorrow that leads to death.  Conviction is “godly” sorrow that leads to repentance and life. When we feel convicted of an error, we ask God for His forgiveness.  We all fall down at times, but God is waiting to pick us up and restore us to Himself. It just requires us being honest with ourselves and with Him.

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. — 1 John 1:8-10 NIV

Once we have accepted God’s forgiveness for our sins, we need to forgive ourselves and move on.  We must never allow satan to use past sins to condemn us. This only leads to pain and confusion. Rejoice in the freedom that comes with confession and forgiveness and live in the truth of God’s Word.

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

“I Lay Down My Life’

17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”–John 10:17-18 (NIV)

The Holy Spirit has been given to us as our guide, but He will never make us do anything against our own will. We have the power and the authority to make the same decision that Jesus made. We can decide to hold onto our earthly, physical lives if that is what we want or we can decide to put our lives on the cross that Jesus gives us to bear. We will never do this as long as our own pride and other people’s opinions of us are more important than pleasing God. There is one funeral that we all need to attend and that is the death and burial of our fleshly desires. Anything that we put above our love and obedience for God has to be removed. It is a decision that Jesus had to make and so must we. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus ended His prayer with “not My will but thine be done”. So should our prayer be as well.

44 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last.–Luke 23:44-46 (NIV)

Are we ready to commit our whole lives, mind, soul, body, and spirit into the hands of God? The way of the cross leads home, but we have to go through the cross, the blood and the darkness to get there.


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

“Jesus Told Him”

18 “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”—John 21:18-19 (NLT)

Jesus is prophesying to Peter about how he would die. Peter was led to the cross by others and was crucified upside down at his request. Peter felt unworthy to be executed in the same method that Jesus was executed. At least eight of the twelve apostles died as martyrs with two, Peter and Andrew, being crucified. There are some leaders that teach that life as a Christian is free of stress and problems. This is not validated by a study of the Scriptures. In fact, just the opposite is taught.

33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”–John 16:33 (NLT)

Jesus tells us in this verse that we will have trials and sorrows. Not just the normal troubles of those in the world, but more because we love and obey Him. But He also tells us that we can have total peace in Him. His peace is not a lack of trouble or violence, it is peace that we can access in the midst of all that. Jesus has overcome the world and we are overcomers through Him. We can’t be conquerors and overcomers if there are no problems to overcome or no mountains to conquer.

Conquerors

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

“A Secret Disciple”

38 Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. – John 19:38 NLT


Joseph and Nicodemus

After the death of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea asked for permission to take the body and bury it. Joseph was a man wealthy enough to have his own tomb dug for him. He was also a member of the Sanhedrin, as was Nicodemus. Nicodemus was wealthy enough to purchase the hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes, both of which were very expensive items in that day and time. It would have taken someone influential and well-known to approach Pilate and ask for the body of Jesus. Though they were both influential and wealthy men, they were both secret disciples of Jesus because they feared both the Romans and the other Jewish leaders. They could have been imprisoned (as Joseph was in later years), beaten or sentenced to death. The question we need to ask ourselves today is this: “What are the fears that keep us from openly serving Jesus?” What keeps us from telling family, friends and neighbors about Jesus?

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

“Blood and Water Flowed Out”

34 One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. – John 19:34 NLT

He Gave His All!

One would think that after all the things that the leaders had just done, that a body on a cross on the Sabbath would be of little consequence. But, we can only guess that that would have offended their piety. When the legs of those hanging on the cross were broken. the full weight of the body was pulling down on the arms and torso making it more difficult to breathe. This caused the person to expire more quickly due to a lack of oxygen. By the time the soldiers came to the cross that Jesus was hanging on, He was already dead, so they didn’t break His legs. Instead they pierced His side with a spear causing all the fluids to run out of His body. This fulfilled more prophecies concerning the death of Jesus. Just as a sacrificial lamb had to be completely bled out before it could be sacrificed, so was Jesus. He gave up everything for us- His royalty in heaven, His life, His very last drop of blood. What are we willing to give up for Him?

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

“Who Are You Looking For?”

4 Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” he asked. – John 18:4 NLT

John 18:1-4 NLT

Jesus was fully aware of what would happen this night and every night until He ascended into heaven. But, because He loved us so much, He was willing to face the persecution, the ridicule, the mockery, the beatings and the agony, that was the cross. Jesus had known this from time immemorial, yet He came to earth and dwelt among us in the flesh. Our finite minds cannot grasp or understand this infinite, unconditional love. But there is a void in us that can only be filled with this love. The world is looking for this love without knowing or understanding why. There was a time in each of our lives when we were in the same place as the lost people around us. We were looking for something or someone. If we had been asked, “Who are you looking for?”, we probably would not have understood that we were looking for Jesus and our answer would not have been so quick and sure. But then, someone took the time to share with us about the love of Jesus and we realized that He was who we were looking for. Even if we are staring death in the face just as Jesus was at that time, are we willing to take the time today to ask someone “Who are you looking for?” and then share the love of Jesus with them?

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

“They Hated Me Without A Cause”

25 This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures: ‘They hated me without cause.-John 15:25 NLT

John 15:22-25 NLT

Jesus says that if He had not come to earth to tell us His story then we might have a reason to continue in sin. But now we have no excuse to continue living a sinful lifestyle. If we hate our neighbors, we will also hate Jesus and our Father, God. Still, every day we hear about more violence and more persecution. Christians are being beaten, and they are being thrown out of their homes just because they won’t deny Jesus. In North Korea, when a person accepts Christ, the pastor always makes sure that the person accepting Christ understands that they are signing their own death warrant. Even though, Christians are bringing a message of life to a dying world, very few people want to hear about it. Why? Because satan roams the world looking for those he can destroy. Just as God is perfect, complete love, satan is total, complete hate. satan’s motivation and weapons are envy, deceit and hate. Why do others hate Christians? Jesus made it very simple, they do not need a reason, a hater is going to hate.

Post 06-10-2020