When Darkness Prevails

even-smaller-bug-light133 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. — Mark 15:33 NLT

3  I dress the skies in darkness,    covering them with clothes of mourning.” — Isaiah 50:3 NLT
 
At noon on Friday, the sun was hidden as nature mourned the approaching death of our Lord and Savior.  At three o’clock on Friday afternoon, the Light of the world was extinguished.  It was a time of deep darkness and mourning for all of nature and the followers of Jesus.  It seemed that satan and his demons had won a great victory.  At three o’clock, the natural light reappeared.  Could this have been a sign that the Spiritual light would also reappear, that all was not as it seemed to be?  A heaviness lay over the people and the land.  Friday night, all day Saturday and Saturday night was a time of grieving and wondering.  Could they have been wrong about this man, Jesus?  Was He not really the Messiah?   A time of fear, could they be the next to die?  For a moment, imagine that you are one of the disciples at that very time.  Look at the situation through their eyes, not knowing the final outcome of this event.  Take the time to imagine the scene on the cross and mourn the death of your teacher and closest friend.  His promise that He would always be with them must have seemed pretty hollow about then. Would your faith have carried you through this event?  What would your reaction have been?  Would you have been able to remember and believe all the promises at this particular point?   Would you still beilieve that He would arise after three days? Now, back to the present.  Will our faith carry us through what God has in store for us now?  When temptation stares us in the face, will we give in?  Knowing the whole story, how will we respond to the times of darkness and mourning in our lives?  Will we remember that there is hope?  Will we remember that “joy comes in the morning”?
Post 03-26-2016

Why is Assembling Together Important?

even-smaller-bug-light134 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” — Mark 3:34 NIV

Our society becomes more and more mobile with each new generation.  This has been true from the beginning until now and it doesn’t show any signs of changing.  This fact has an upside and a downside.  The upside is that God uses these changes to spread the Gospel.  Paul went on missionary trips on roads built by the Romans.  His travels in one lifetime would have been imposssible a few generation earlier.  For years, people debated about whether or not it was possible for every human to hear the Gospel.  Now we know that that could be done with one message bradcast on satellite TV.  Of course, there are many worldly benefits as well.  The downside of all this mobility is the loss of family.  We no longer live next door to our parents, siblings or any close relatives.  That fact contribues to a lot of loneliness and also the sense of what “family” really means.  But, God knew this was coming so He made it possible for us to have family wherever we find ourselves.  Each one of us lives in communities where, with a little effort, we could be surrounded by family.  Jesus was, at first, rejected by His family.  Yet, this did not deter Him from having a family.  If you find that your occupation and/or your decisions have taken you a goodly distance from your family, find a Church that believes in the brotherhood (and sisterhood) of Christ.  There you will find a new family that can mean just as much or more than your natural family.  And, of course, there is always Jesus, a friend who sticks closer than a brother or a sister or a mother or a father.
Post 02-18-2016

Contentment

even-smaller-bug-light110 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

When we hear the term abundant, our minds quickly turn to material possessions, postion, and money.  Those things have little to do with abundant living in the Biblical sense.  The list of millionaires, actors, and other famous people that have committed suicide in the prime of their lives proves this to be true.  Perhaps, we need to rethink what brings true joy in this present time and in the future.  It needs to be someone or something that is steadfast, true and unchangeable.  It must be someone or something we can have with us all the time.  It must be someone or something that we have instant access to whether we are having a “good” day or a “bad” day. It must be someone or something that is affordable whether we are rich or poor.  God knows that we need money, food and things to make the journey but He also knows that dependence on those things will not bring us joy or peace.  We need friends but they can’t be with us every second of every day.  What we really, really need is to learn to access the shalom kind of peace that Jesus bought for us at Calvary.  If we can’t trust Him for our daily bread, how can we trust Him with our souls for eternity?   Abundant living is an attitude of the heart.  You can’t buy it with all the money in the world, a friend can’t give it to you, a doctor might prescirbe it but the pharmacy can’t fulfill the prescription.  It only comes when we learn the lesson that Paul learned,  “not that I was ever in need”.
11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. — Phil. 4:11-13 NLT
Post 02-05-2016

Chosen and Befriended

even-smaller-bug-light

17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. — Hebrews 11:17-19 NIV

​Abraham had lived for years waiting on the fulfillment of God’s promise of a son through which he would become the father of many nations. The son, Isaac, finally came when both Abraham and Sarah were well past normal child-bearing age.  Now, after a few short years with Isaac, God is asking Abraham to kill the dream. How could this possibly be?  Surely, Abraham had misunderstood what God said.  But, no, Abraham had completely understood what God said.  God knew how much Abraham trusted Him but Abraham needed to know that as well. If God has given any of us a vision or a dream in the past and it has not yet happened, do we trust God enough to let it die? Do we trust Him to bring that vision back to life, even if it takes a miracle?  The birth of Isaac was a miracle and the ram being caught in the bush was a miracle. Ah, you say, but Abraham was a chosen person, a friend of God’s.  God might do that for Abraham but not for me.  But, you would be wrong.  We are all chosen by God and we are all friends of God. God has not changed and He is still doing miraculous things on this earth.  If it takes a miracle for God to fulfill His promises to us, there are plenty of miracles left and more than sufficient power to make those miracles happen. We must believe. God does not always respond to every need, but He always responds to faith.

9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. — 1 Peter 2:9

24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. — Prov. 18:24
2​8 When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them,“Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
​ ​“Yes, Lord,” they replied. 29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you” — Matt. 9:28, 29
Post 09-01-2015

The Perfect Big Brother

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

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.
Post 02-20-2015

“That’s Very Strange!”

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

30 “Why, that’s very strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don’t know anything about him! 31 Well, God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will. 32 Never since the world began has anyone been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he couldn’t do it.” 34 “You were born in sin!” they answered. “Are you trying to teach us?” And they threw him out of the synagogue. 35 When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and said,”Do you believe in the Son of Man?”—John 9:30-35 (NLT)
​Th​is blind man that Jesus had healed had become very bold. He tells the Pharisees and the religious leaders that it is strange that they, of all people, would not know something about this man. After all, they were the teachers of the law, they were the shepherds that were supposed to lead and take care of the flock. How could they possibly not know anything about a man who could heal people? He also tells them that God is ready to hear those who worship Him and do His will. No one has ever opened the eyes of a person born blind. Only a man sent from God could do that. This angered the leaders even more, to the extent that they cast him out of the synagogue, telling him that he had been born in sin. At least, they got that part right.
At this point, the former blind man might have been wondering why the leaders had so many questions and so few answers. He was probably feeling like he needed a friend. But, as always, when we need a friend, Jesus shows up. He is still showing up today. Jesus is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother. And, yes, He is still asking us the same question He asked this man, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
Post 12-28-2014

Pursue Righteousness, Love, and Peace

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.


2 Timothy 2:22-25 (NLT) 22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. 23 Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.
We should always avoid any action that makes us appear to agree with sinful deeds. Rather, we should seek the guidance of God’s Spirit and live a life that shows love to our fellow man. We should not neglect to have regular companionship and worship with our fellow Christians. This will strengthen us and help us to follow after Jesus. We should never allow ourselves to be lured into arguments over doctrines and beliefs that go beyond what God requires for salvation. We need to show the love of Christ by showing patience in difficult situations. Don’t be the one to blow your horn in traffic or complain in the grocery line. Use those times to whisper prayers and praises to our Lord and Savior. Then you will find that God blesses those times and you are able to teach others by your actions and your words. Be humble, remembering that you used to live the same kind of lifestyle when you were held captive by satan. Lead a lifestyle that causes others to want to have the freedom and the attitude that you have.
Post 10/15

Listen Carefully

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.


Hebrews 2:1-4 (NLT) 1. So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. 2 For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. 3 So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak? 4 And God confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose.
We must not only listen to the truth we have heard and read in God’s Word. We must accept it and believe that it is true. Once we do this, it requires that we ask for and receive God’s free gift of salvation. This message will never change and there are dire consequences to not accepting Jesus as our Savior and Lord. There are false teachers who will tell you there are different paths to heaven. Do not be deceived by these people. God will punish them in due time. Over and over, God has confirmed that His Word is true and that He is faithful. His great love for us requires that we accept it. Anything less than a full acceptance of His love and salvation is an affront to the Creator of the universe. He is still showing His unending love for us by providing for us, guiding us in paths of righteousness and hiding us in the palm of His hand. Is there any reason that a person would not accept such a wonderful, free gift right now? If you say later, you have made a decision and you may never have another opportunity. Do not ignore this great salvation.
Post 10/12

Love Without Limits

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.


Ephesians 3:14-20 (NLT) 14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
God is the Creator of all things. Therefore, they are His to give as He desires. His resources, like His love, are unlimited. Our tiny human minds cannot begin to imagine the depth. length, width, and height of God’s love. There is only one force that is powerful enough to cause a Creator to create a creature knowing that He would someday have to die on a cross to redeem His creation from eternal death. It is a love that certainly is too great for us to understand. Now, we can only try to imagine that kind of love, but one day we will know the fullness of God’s love. Today, we see in a glass darkly, but one day, we will see clearly. His love is the power in us that causes us to want to love our friends and our enemies. There are 3 great motivators for humans: greed, power, and love. Greed only lasts till the money runs out, power only lasts until you reach the top rung, but love is unlimited.
So give love graciously and abundantly, there is no end to the supply of love.
Post 10/9

Death: Friend or Foe?

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.


54 And, when we are all redressed with bodies that do not, cannot decay, when we put immortality over our mortal frames, then it will be as Scripture says:
Life everlasting has victoriously swallowed death.[j]
55 Hey, Death! What happened to your big win?
Hey, Death! What happened to your sting?[k]
56 Sin came into this world, and death’s sting followed. Then sin took aim at the law and gained power over those who follow the law. 57 Thank God, then, for our Lord Jesus, the Anointed, the Liberating King, who brought us victory over the grave. 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 (The Voice)

Death became a reality for the human race when Adam and Eve succumbed to the temptation of the serpent in the Garden. Adam and Eve died spiritually at that very moment. Later, they would also die physically. At that point, satan probably thought that he had won a great victory with his friend, death. Little did he know that when He convinced the people to crucify Jesus that death would also become His enemy. When Jesus rose victoriously from the grave, satan knew that he had been dealt a mighty blow. We who have accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord have been baptized into His death and Christ’s death and resurrection is the redemption of man from his fall into sin. So, God has used death, satan’s big glory to defeat satan and turn it into His glorious victory. Now, we who are God’s children will never suffer the second death that satan and his cronies will endure for eternity.
Posted for 09/09