“Why Are You Troubled?”

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 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?  – Luke 24:38 NKJV

Luke 24:36-40 ISV

All day Sunday and Sunday night, Jesus appeared to different people.  As He revealed to each who He was, they were frightened.  The truth of all the things that Jesus had told them had still not become a reality to them.  Though for the better part of three years, Jesus had taught them in an effort to prepare them for His death and resurrection, it was still hard to accept the truth–Jesus is alive!   Could this really be Jesus resurrected from the tomb?  Yes, it must be so!
Looking back from this side of the cross, it would be very easy for us to criticize the disciples for their slowness to accept the truth.  It would be very easy for us to say, “how could they not believe?”  Yet, today when Jesus reveals Himself to us through the Holy Spirit, aren’t we just as slow to accept the Gospel as the truth?  Aren’t we just as doubtful?  Could this story really be true?  Does such love exist?  We have an abundance of information, both Biblical and historical, that these events occurred just as they are recorded in the Gospels. We have three witnesses, one of which the disciples didn’t have at this time and would not have until after Jesus ascended.  Our mission is to spread the Good News knowing that the Holy Spirit will confirm it as the Truth.

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

“Always Have Hearts Like This”

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28 “The Lord heard the request you made to me. And he said, ‘I have heard what the people said to you, and they are right. 29 Oh, that they would always have hearts like this, that they might fear me and obey all my commands! If they did, they and their descendants would prosper forever. — Deut. 5:28-29 NLT

God chose the children of Israel to be His people and as long as they were obedient, He blessed them and provided for them.  But, oftentimes, they were disobedient and God had to discipline them.  He has chosen us to be His peculiar people in today’s world.  It is His heart’s desire to bless us daily and provide everything that we need to live Godly lives.  We, like the children of Israel, often require discipline.  Because of choices we make, a just God cannot bless us during our times of disobedience.  This does not mean that every rough patch we go through means we have sinned, some of those times, God allows so that we can grow spiritually.  God is not looking for times to discipline us, He is looking for times that He can pour out His blessings on us.  He is looking for those whose hearts are totally committed to Him.  As we read in verse 29, God says “Oh, that they would always have hearts like this, that they would fear me and keep all my commandments.”   If we have that kind of heart, then God promises us that we will prosper forever.  He is still looking for those with that kind of heart today, hearts that are fully committed to Him.

9 The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. — 2 Chronicles 16:9a NLT

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

“My Peace I Give You”

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27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. — John 14:27 NIV

In our daily lives, why do we not experience the peace that God has made available to us? Is there a secret to finding and holding onto that peace?  Is it necessary to do something special or quote a particular verse to access the peace that God has so freely given to us?  Is that peace for now or for some time in the future?  Is that peace even real?  If we could discover how to find and hold onto that peace, wouldn’t it be a great blessing to us and a great message to a world in chaos? Maybe, it starts with our definition of peace.  God’s peace isn’t the absence of troubles or violence or loss or storms.  It is learning to have peace while we live in and go through those times.  Jesus, as a man suffered rejection, ridicule, betrayal, and tremendous persecution, yet He did not sin by worrying or being afraid, but held onto the peace that the Father gave Him.  We say,”Yes, but Jesus was _______”  and you can fill in the blank.  The truth is that while He was on earth, Jesus was fully human.  He walked, talked, grew tired, rested, became hungry and ate common food. He was, in fact, just like us, except that He didn’t sin. He is our example that peace is not a lack of certain issues but a gift that we must learn to experience everyday.  When He was in the boat with the disciples in the midst of the storm, He slept.  The disciples became anxious and feared for their lives. Jesus spoke, the storm dissipated and peace was restored to the sea. Jesus is with us in the boat as we sail through life.  When the storms come, ask Him to speak to your storm and experience His peace. So, it is not some secret formula, it is complete faith in believing what Jesus said.

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

“Strengthen Your Hearts”

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8 You, too, must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the coming of the Lord is near. – James 5:8 ISV 

James 5:7-9 ISV

God has a plan and He reveals as much of that plan to us as we need to know to do His will. As Paul pointed out to us:

26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. — Colossians 1:26-27 NIV

For whatever reason, He has chosen to keep the timing of His return a secret from us at this time.  We could get into huge discussions about this, but it would be an ultimate waste of the time God has granted us to be here on this earth.  We need to spend the precious days that we have doing the good works that God has prepared for us to do.  We need to do that without accusing, grumbling or judging others.  We need to spend our time in praise, prayer, worship and leading others to Jesus.  This is the kind of work that will endure the fire when it is tested.  This is the kind of work that will earn us crowns in glory.  The more crowns we earn, the more we will have to cast at the feet of Jesus in honoring Him when we get to heaven.  Our concern is to be sure that we persevere and complete the work that God has planned for each of us. He will be the judge of all that is said and done.

36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,  “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.”  — Hebrews 10:36-37 NIV

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

“So We Could Know the Glory of God”

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6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. – 2 Cor. 4:6 NLT 

2 Cor. 4:3-7 NLT

When we allow God to use us as His witnesses, we may not see the results of our labors immediately.  It has been determined that it takes more than 7 “touches”  or exposures to the Good News for a person to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.  Our God desires that everyone should be saved, but the “god of this age”, satan, has blinded many to the truth of the Gospel. They cannot see the Light because they are focused on the pleasures of this world and the desires of the flesh. Their refusal to see the Light does not alleviate us of the responsibility of being the Light of Jesus Christ shining in a world of darkness.  We have this Light of the knowledge of God’s glory shining in our hearts. God has placed His treasure, this knowledge of Him, in the hearts of human beings. These jars of clay are weak and decaying but the Light shining forth from them displays the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This power is from God and not from us.  That is why God has made us responsible for shining, but He has kept the responsibility for dispelling the darkness. We can be assured that if we do our part, He will faithfully do His part and souls will be added to the Kingdom.

9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. — Isaiah 55:9-11 NIV

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

“Peace of Mind and Heart”

27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. – John 14:27 NLT

Peace

God has sent the Holy Spirit to abide with us. He sent the Spirit in the name of Jesus. That is the Trinity of God — Father, Son,and Spirit. They are one and the same but with different functions. God created, Jesus redeemed and the Spirit calls us to accept Jesus and be a child of God. Jesus gives us the gift of peace. It is not peace that means there are no wars or violence or problems in our lives.That is what the world thinks of as peace. But true peace, the peace that Jesus gave us is the kind that keeps us calm in the middle of a storm, in the middle of medical emergencies, financial emergencies or any other bad situation that you can name. The peace of God is available to every child of God, but we have to decide to accept it and abide in that peace, just as we had to decide to accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord. We can accept the peace that Jesus offers us or we can hang onto our cares and worries and let the devil devour our peace and joy.

6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.–1 Peter 5:6-8 (NLT)

Humbling ourselves under the hand of God means that we completely agree with Him that He can and will do exactly what He said He would do. To believe anything less than that is to deny the Omniscience, Omnipresence and the Omnipotence of the great God that we serve.

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

Post 06-04-2020

"I Tell You the Truth"

19 So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. –John 5:19 NLT

John 5:16-21 NLT

Jesus used the healing of the man at the pool of Bethesda to get the attention of the people, especially the religious leaders, He wanted them to understand who He was and why He was there. But, like most of us, when we first encounter Jesus, the religious leaders looked for reasons not to accept the truth of who Jesus is. We find fault with how and why Jesus does the things He chooses to do. Here is a human being, who claims to be the Son of God. He is making these preposterous claims that He can heal, raise from the dead, and even forgive sins. In their eyes, this is blasphemy. What do we see, when we look at Jesus and His claims? Do we see the love of God and His great mercy or do we see what the religious leaders saw? If we are totally honest in our search for truth, we will be drawn to this man Jesus and His love for us. He will not force you to accept Him, but He is standing at your heart’s door asking you to invite Him into your heart and life. If you haven’t already done so, please take a moment and ask Him in now.

20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.  ​ – Rev. 3:20 NLT​

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

Post 03-21-2020

“Elijah Was As Human As We Are”

17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! ​ – James 5:17 NLT

James 5:13- 18 NLT

Of course, we know that God already knows our needs and our situation, but He has instructed us to ask and keep on asking. Jesus told the story of the persistent woman and the unjust judge. She kept pestering the judge until he gave her what she was requesting. God does not always give us what we ask, because sometimes we ask for things that we don’t need. Psalm 37:4 tells us that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts. Have you ever noticed that sometimes, when you pray fervently that what you end up asking from God is not what you were thinking about when you first started praying? That is when you can know that “the desires of your heart” have aligned with God’s Word and His will. Then the answer is always yes. But, if our desires don’t line up, then we often get a “no” or “wait”. Some people say that it is a cop out to pray “nevertheless not my will, but Yours be done”. But that is what Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. So, if He set the example, it is a good pattern to follow.

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

Post 01-05-2020

“Purify Your Hearts”

8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.– James 4:8-10 NLT

James 4:7-10 NLT

We need to make up our minds — are we for the Lord or are we for the world? How long will we waver between two opinions? This was the recurring problem that the children of Israel had.

21 Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow h​​im!” But the people were completely silent.–1 Kings 18:21 (NLT)

Since we know that God is God, we need to allow Him to be Lord of every part of our life. He will accept nothing less. We need to repent of our sins and God will restore us. God does not wink at sin and He doesn’t have a list that ranges from “little” sin to the “biggest” sin. He puts liars in the same category with thieves and murderers. We need to allow Him to “create in us a clean heart and renew a right Spirit within us”. Unconfessed sin in our lives breaks our relationship with God. We are still saved but until we repent, God is unable to bless us the way He longs to. We need to humble ourselves before Him and allow Him to cleanse us and revive us again.

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.–1 Peter 5:6 (NLT)

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

Post 01-01-2020

“Their Minds Are Full of Darkness”

18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him.— Ephesians 4:18 NLT

Ephesians 4:17-24 NLT

Paul is telling us not to live like ignorant and unconverted people do. They have not been regenerated and their minds are full of darkness. They do not walk in the light of the truth of the Gospel. Why? Because they have refused to heed the call of God’s Spirit and have refused to be obedient, so their hearts and minds are closed to any move by the Spirit. Therefore, they live only to satisfy the lusts of the flesh and they participate in all kinds of sinful activity. But we know better. Why? Because we have heard and accepted the Truth. So, we walk according to God’s Spirit. That means that we stop our sinful ways that were corrupted by lust and deception. We are now a new creature and we are guided by the Spirit of God. The real “us” that is carried around in these tents of flesh is being made into God’s image. We look forward to the day when we shall see Jesus. At that time, we will be totally converted into His image. “What a wonderful change in my heart has been wrought’ I’ve been washed by the blood of the Lamb.” Hallelujah and Amen!

Romans 12:1-2 NLT

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

Post 09-12-2019