“Behold the Man!”

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 “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face.
– John 19:3 NLT
 

The mockery and the persecution goes on and on. A whip with jagged pieces of metal that literally tore the flesh from His back, a crown of thorns that was pushed viciously down upon His brow and a another slap across the face. All this plus the verbal mockery of His truthful claims as to who He really was. Then Pilate goes back out to the crowd and says “I find Him not guilty”. Pilate could have stopped the proceedings then and there, but he chose not to do so. He has Jesus brought out wearing the purple robe and the crown of thorns and Pilate speaks to the people.
“Ecce homo!” “Behold the man”!
The crowd wants Jesus crucified and they let Pilate know that loudly. Pilate tells the crowd they can take Jesus and crucify Him. He knows they can’t administer the death penalty. It is just a ploy to assuage his quilt. Today, I say to all of us, “Behold the Man”, what will we do with Jesus? Will our words and actions or the lack thereof scream ‘Crucify Him’ or will they plead for His acceptance?
Behold the Man”!!!

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

Post 12-06-2017

It’s Our Turn

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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

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

Post 11-28-17

Keep On Keeping On!

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“I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith. – John 16:1 NLT
 

Jesus is warning His disciples and us that there will be times when the path will not be so smooth. There will be times when we are mistreated and offended for the Gospel’s sake, but we need to press on. Paul thought he was doing a service for God when he was persecuting and killing Christians. He was walking in darkness but he encountered a powerful Light that changed his life. As long as Jesus was here with the disciples He knew that He would be the target for all the abuse. But now that He was leaving, He knew that He had to reinforce the things He had been teaching them. We need that same encouragement every day in our lives. It is easy for us to become frustrated and want to give up, but we have a friend that sticks closer to us than a brother. He is always with us. As Paul learned after his life-changing event, we must suffer with Christ. There is a cross for each of us to bear. But we must remember and hang onto the conclusion that Paul came to in his journey.
18 The sufferings we have now are nothing compared to the great glory that will be shown to us. 19 Everything God made is waiting with excitement for God to show his children’s glory completely.Romans 8:18,19 NCV
6 God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure he will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes againPhilippians 1:6 NCV

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

Post 11-14-2017

Honored to Suffer With Jesus

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32 The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him. ​ – John 7:32  NIV

When it comes to the message of Jesus Christ, nothing in the message has changed and it never will. Apparently, the reactions and responses from the crowd haven’t changed much either. People see the same signs and hear the same words today. Just as it was then, there are some who believe and some who don’t believe. Not everyone that saw and heard Jesus believed, Not everyone that saw and heard Paul and the other apostles believed. Not everyone that hears the message from us is going to believe. However, just as Jesus, Paul and our other Christian ancestors never gave up, neither can we. They preached until the crowds persecuted and killed them. Not many of us will have to pay that price.
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy​ ​awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. 4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.—Hebrews 12:1-4 (NLT)

The things we suffer here and now are nothing compared to what Jesus has prepared for us in eternity. Count it all joy!


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

Post 09-17-2017

We Must Remain Faithful

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39 But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved. ​ — Hebrews 10:39 NLT


Early Christians had to suffer various kinds of persecution. They were beaten, imprisoned and insulted. They were also dressed in animal skins and used as prey for the dogs and the lions in the Coliseum to entertain the ruling class in Roman society. Eleven of the twelve disciples were martyred. We here in America know little or nothing about being persecuted for our beliefs. Until recently, we have enjoyed true freedom of worship and religious expression. That is changing now, Christians are being forced out of their jobs because they refuse to accept immoral principles that are in direct conflict with our Biblical beliefs. We need to stay in prayer, studying God’s Word and encouraging one another. Jesus told us that the time was coming when we would be tested.​

9 “Then they will hand you over to those who will torture and kill you. All nations will hate you because you are committed to me. 10 Then many will lose faith. They will betray and hate each other. 11 Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.–Matthew 24:9-11 (GW)


We already see this happening in many parts of the world. But remember what Paul said to encourage us. If we remain faithful. God is faithful to do what He has promised.
 
Romans 8:37-39 NLT


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

Post 05-06-2017

Deception

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1 Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.
–1 Timothy 4:1 NLT
As time passes and the return of Jesus gets closer and closer, we can expect that satan will increase his efforts to turn people away from the Gospel of Jesus. He will do this by increasing persecution, deception, and false teachings. We see these things increasing all over the world each day. More and more of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being imprisoned and martyred each day. We even read of things here in our country that earlier generations would have thought impossible. There are so many people whose consciences have become”seared” over. This speaks to a condition where people have gotten to the point that they feel no remorse for the wrongs that they do. Everything God created is good, but some of those things can be used for evil. Money. power, authority, sex were created to be used for good, but in the hands of some, they become evil. We must be very careful not to require more for a person to be saved than what Jesus requires. Believe that He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified on a cross, was buried, arose after 3 days and later ascended to heaven where He sits at the right hand of God. That is all that is necessary for salvation. Anything else, is doctrine or works, which may or not be good, but they certainly can’t save you. We need to spend time with Jesus each day so that we are not easily deceived.

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

Post 03-28-2017

Dead, Yet Alive With Christ!

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And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering. — 2 Thess. 1:5 NLT

Most Christians in the Western World have not experienced the kind of persecution to which Paul is referring. Probably the worst persecution that we receive is losing (temporarily, hopefully) the friendship of someone close to us because of our belief in the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here, Paul is talking about those early Christians who gave their lives for the Gospel. I would guess that most of us have wondered, at some time or other, how far we would go for the Gospel. Would I really lay down my life for Jesus?  Paul tells us that we should consider our physical bodies as dead already. 

For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. – Col. 3:3 NKJV

Since this is true, we should consider our physical bodies already dead. But our Spirit will always be alive because of what Jesus did for us at Calvary. So, if we are attempting to live the lifestyle that Jesus wants us to, isn’t the decision already made? We agreed to die with Christ and mortify (put to death) our fleshly desires so that we will be raised with Christ in our new immortal bodies. It is all about faith and trust. Will God do what He said or not? The answer is “Yes, of course, He will.” In His mercy, He will protect and perfect us and in His justice, He will repay the persecutors


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

Post 03-22-2017

Take Up Your Cross

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14 And then, dear brothers and sisters, you suffered persecution from your own countrymen. In this way, you imitated the believers in God’s churches in Judea who, because of their belief in Christ Jesus, suffered from their own people, the Jews.
— 1 Thessalonians 2:14 NLT
We can talk about a lot of different things and different “gods” and most people may not even pay attention to what we are saying. But when we talk about the Good News, which is “the very Word of God”, we will get some sort of reaction. The Name of Jesus is not neutral and when it is spoken, it requires that a decision be made by the hearer. No response or not accepting is still a decision. If we allow the Word to continue its work in us, we will be persecuted by the worldly factions. Since the Creator was persecuted, even to death, how can we, the creation, expect not to be persecuted?
 

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

Post 03-16-17

God In Us!

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19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, — Col. 1:19 NLT

What an  amazing God and what amazing grace!  He made a creature that He knew He would have to die to redeem from sin.  He gave up all of His glory and chose to live among such lowly, filthy creatures.  Creatures consumed by sin and fleshly lusts.  He suffered persecution, bore our sins in His sinless body and endured beatings so that by His stripes we could be healed.  He could have stopped there but He didn’t.  He died a shameful death on a cross for our sins, was resurrected and lives in heaven interceding for us there at the right hand of God.  He could have stopped there but He didn’t.  He came back as a Spirit to abide inside of us so that we who chose to accept Him as our Savior would never be alone.

27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. — Col. 1:27 NLT
GOD IN CHRIST AND CHRIST IN US!  AMAZING GRACE!
Post 10-08-2016

Open My Eyes, Lord!

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41 “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.” — John 9:41 NLT
Jesus had just healed this blind man by making mud with dirt and His own spit. Can you imagine anyone in today’s society allowing Jesus to put that compress on their eyes?  Can you imagine how many lawsuits Jesus would have been faced with because of His actions?  How many shots and vaccines would this man have been advised to take because the spit of Jesus had touched his skin? Even back then, Jesus and the once-blind man had to suffer rejection and persecution because Jesus did this good deed on the Sabbath.  It is not recorded that even one person besides the blind man himself, was excited and happy for him.  When called by the Pharisees, even his parents refused to stand up for him because they feared rejection themselves.  Isn’t still that way today?  When we see good things happen to people, don’t we question and doubt?  Don’t we try to tear down rather than build up?  Don’t we look for hidden reasons that this happened?  After all, it is just smoke and mirrors, right?  As long as we think we can see, we will not ask for sight.  As long as we trust our own intellignece, we will not ask for God’s wisdom.  We, like the Pharisees and religious leaders will remain blind and ignorant because we claim we can see and understand when we cannot even imagine what God has in store for us.  Not just in the sweet by and by in heaven, but right here and right now.  We must ask God to open our eyes to see and our hearts and minds to believe so that we can access all the power and wisdom that He wants to give us.
Post 05-20-2016