Reconciliation

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18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.  — 2 Cor. 5:18 NLT


God’s plan of salvation is simple. If we believe that Jesus was born to a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for our sins, was buried, arose from the tomb three days later, ascended into heaven where He is today interceding in prayer for us, we are saved. Nothing more, nothing less. You have taken the first step on your journey to heaven. Once we have asked Jesus to forgive us of our sins, God’s Holy Spirit takes up residence and abides in us. This causes us to look at everyone and everything differently. We are now a new creation, our old life is gone and we are now in Christ Jesus. As we continue on our journey, we need to spend time talking with Jesus and meditating on God’s Holy Word. This is a free gift from God and we are now restored in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Now, we have become His ambassadors to the world. God is asking each of us to join His work in bringing others into reconciliation with Him. The more we practice this lifestyle, the sweeter our relationship with Jesus becomes. We find that He truly does “grow sweeter and sweeter as the days go by”.  Jesus becomes everything to us and provides everything for us.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Post 11-26-2016

As You Work

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24 Each of you, dear brothers and sisters, should remain as you were when God first called you  — 1 Cor. 7:24 NLT


Somehow, we seem to have come to the conclusion that we have to be “called” into a special place to be ministers for Jesus Christ. And it is true that God does place a special calling on some people. He calls people to be apostles, preachers, teachers, evangelists, pastors, deacons and other positions. But it was never His plan that all of us should be called to those positions. It has always been His plan that each of us should be involved in full-time ministry wherever we are or whatever we are doing. How do we do that? Paul was a tent-maker and he continued to work at that trade for a time. He worked a regular job and preached and taught on the Sabbath. God tells all of us in the passage from 1 Corinthians to stay where we are and continue doing our regular work until He shows us something different to do. God has called some to be wage earners and workplace ministers. Pray this morning that God would show you how He is using you in your workplace. Every year, church attendance is dropping. Our society is to the point that God must have workplace ministers to show people the love of Jesus Christ.

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

Post 11-19-2016

Unless the Lord Build the House

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That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us! — Acts 16:9

Paul had wanted to go into the province of Asia and preach the Gospel. It doesn’t seem like there would be anything wrong with that, but God had other plans for Paul. This is a good example of how God works. He has a specific plan for each of us. That plan includes the what, the when, and the where. He has prepared certain hearts to hear and respond to His word. That word must be spoken at the exact time and place He has prepared. Unless we follow God’s plan, our work is in vain. Yes, God will honor it because His Word does not return void, but it won’t produce the harvest He had intended for you to produce. Complete obedience is the difference in 30 fold, 60 fold, or 100 fold.

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

Post 11-15-2016

Gifted to Give!

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 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.– Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV
 

Our salvation is a gift from God, we didn’t earn it by works and we didn’t purchase it with favor or money.  It was God’s plan before the foundations of the earth were laid.  As Paul said, if we boast, we must boast in Christ Jesus alone.  Does this negate works?  Not at all, we are saved to work, not by our works.  Just as it was God’s plan to send Jesus to purchase our redemption with His blood, it was always God’s plan that we would have a part in His kingdom work here on earth.  God has gifted each of us with a spiritual gift to be used in His work.  Some of us are preachers, others are teachers, others encourage, others have gifts of helps.  The list of gifts is lengthy, because we all have a part in God’s plan and purpose.  Make a commitment today to ask God about your gift and how to use it in His plan.

1 Peter 4:7-11 NKJV


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

Post 11-10-2016

What About Doubt?

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34 I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God.”

— John 1:34 NLT
John the Baptist was sent for the specific purpose of preparing the way for Jesus Christ the Messiah. He pointed people toward the time when Jesus would come to earth. He did this powerfully and unafraid even to the point of confronting Herod about his adultery with Herodias. He seemed to have no doubt about his purpose and God’s plan for his life. He carried it through even unto his death. In Matthew 11:11,  Jesus said no one who had ever lived was greater than John.

Matt. 11:11 (NLT) “I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is! 

John the Baptist would never doubt or would he?

John the Baptist had doubts and Jesus called him the greatest person to ever live.  So, if you have doubts about Jesus don’t let satan beat you up about it.  Jesus already knows that you have those doubts. Do what John the Baptist did, ask Jesus about your doubts.  Jesus can use those doubts to bring you into a closer relationship with Him.  As you draw nearer to Him, those doubts will start to disappear.  You will have joy in your salvation and strength to overcome all your battles.

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

Post 10-26-2016

Why?

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27 For the hearts of these people are hardened,    and their ears cannot hear,
and they have closed their eyes—
so their eyes cannot see,
and their ears cannot hear,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and let me heal them.’ — Acts 28:27 NLT
 
 
The Jewish leaders there in Rome had already heard the message of Jesus. They wanted to hear it again from Paul and to hear what he believed.  Any time and every time the name of Jesus is mentioned, it requires that we make a decision.  Whether we decide to reject Him, accept Him or to think about it, we make a decision.  Some of these leaders were persuaded to believe by what Paul said and others were not.  It is a mystery to us why all the people hear the same message but some respond positively and some respond negatively.  Did Paul quit preaching the Word because some refused to believe?  No!  For two years, Paul supported himself and continued to tell others about the Good News.  Paul understood that the results of his preaching the Word were not up to Him.  His part was to continue to be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  We are to do the same thing.  Keep preaching and/or teaching and not be discouraged because we don’t see any results.  The results are up to the Lord and the Holy Spirit, not to us.  We will see the results when we get to heaven. Until then we just keep living out God’s plan for each of us and let Him handle the results.
 
Post 07-31-2016

Pray, Prepare, Present

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12 Afterward Mordecai returned to the palace gate, but Haman hurried home dejected and completely humiliated.  — Esther 6:12 NLT
We are familiar with the story of Esther and how God exalted her to the position of queen in a most unlikely situation.  Besides Esther, there are three other people God had positioned strategically for this particular time. God needed a man with the the authority to make things happen so He had positioned Xerxes as king.  He needed a villain, He chose Haman for this role.  Haman was the perfect villain for this time, he hated Mordecai and all of the Jews. God needed a hero, someone who would refuse to bow to the villain and with the backbone to stand up for God’s people.  He chose Mordecai who had a little known history with the king.  In the past, he had warned the king about a plot to kill the king and for this he had never been rewarded (at least not  in earthly ways).  Mordecai was also a man of compassion.  We know this because he had taken his cousin, Hadassah, also known as Esther and raised her as his own daughter after his uncle died.  God had prepared and positioned each of these people to carry out His plan to free His people and destroy the enemy.  God is preparing each of us to do the same thing today.  Are we ready and willing to do our part when all the people involved come together?   If not, how do we get ready?
15 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.  — 2 Timothy 2:15 NLT
Post 06-18-2016

Trust and Obey

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8 He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” Hezekiah’s words greatly encouraged the people.
— 2 Chronicles 32:8 NLT
 When Hezekiah became king of Judah, he tore down false idol and restored the Temple.  He brought back the priests and the Levites and re-established the worship services according to the words that Moses had recorded.  The people had joined in and given their tithes and gift offerings with joy and celebration.  It was a time of restoration in the land of Judah. Hezekiah had faithfully carried out his work.  As we know, satan does not like to see the work of God carried out successfully.  The only plan satan has is to see what God is doing and react to it.  So, God allows him to bring Sennacherib and the Assyrian army to attack Judah and Jerusalem.  Sennacherib had been successful in taking some of the walled cities of Judah and now his army had arrived at Jerusalem.  Hezekiah continued his work of restoration by completing the walls of Jerusalem and building an outer wall as well. He encouraged all of the inhabitants of Jerusalem to continue in their work and worship of the true God of Israel.  Hezekiah had faith that God would deliver the city from danger.  He understood that it was God that had made his efforts successful and not the power of man.  So, when he saw a great army of “mere men” arrayed against him, he trusted his God to deliver him and he was right in doing so.  Hezekiah and the priests cried out to God and God delivered them by sending an angel to destroy the Assyrian army. When we are obedient to God we do not have to fear regardless of what the situation looks like from a human standpoint.  “Trust and obey, there’s no other way”.
Post 06-05-2016

Standing Is Our Part

even-smaller-bug-light123 But David said, “No, my brothers! Don’t be selfish with what the Lord has given us. He has kept us safe and helped us defeat the band of raiders that attacked us. 24 Who will listen when you talk like this? We share and share alike—those who go to battle and those who guard the equipment.” — 1 Samuel 30:23, 24 NLT

All of us are spiritual warriors and we live in a spiritual warzone.  Some of us go to other lands to carry on the battle and this is important.  But just as important are those who stay behind and guard the “stuff”.  In our case, the “stuff” is carrying on services in local churches, teaching Sunday School classes and witnessing to those around us.  We are fighting the same enemy whether we go or stay.  What sense would it make to go to battle for others and lose our own families and neighbors?  One job is just as important as the other.  How could we carry on any campaign against the enemy, if we didn’t have workers who supported the war with their tithes?  God has given each of us talents and He has a plan and a purpose for each of us to use those talents in service to Him. 
Our mission, Mr./Mrs/Miss Christian, should we decide to accept it, is to determine what those talents are and use them for Kingdom purposes. There are no spectators on the battlefield.  Each of us has a job to do and God has blessed each of us with the talent to do it.  The war has been won, we know the final outcome.  Jesus wins!  But there are battles to be fought and we need to strap on the full armor of God, step up and take our position in the fight.  Just as God told Jehosphat, the battle is not yours, it is mine, but you and your people still have to take up your position on the battlefield.  2 Chronicles 20:15-17 
So it is today, God will win the battle for us, but we still have a job to do.  We must take up our position on the battlefield and stand while He fights the battle.
Post 04-16-2016 

For His Glory

even-smaller-bug-light129 “The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions. — Deut 29:29 NLT

Mark Twain once said “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”.  How true!  We are accountable for everything we understand about the Bible and we are accountable to learn and understand everything we can about the Bible.  We are also accountable to teach those truths to our children.  God has given us the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth.  As Paul directed Timothy, we are to study and work hard so we can present ourselves to God for His approval.
15 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. — 2 Tim. 2:15 NLT

Ephesians 1:9 tells us that God has revealed to us “His mysterious plan regarding Chirst” and in 2 Timothy 3, He tells us what that mystery is:

 

16 Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith:

Christ was revealed in a human body
    and vindicated by the Spirit.
He was seen by angels
    and announced to the nations.
He was believed in throughout the world
    and taken to heaven in glory.

There are still mysteries to be revealed at a later date, but there is enough revelation available to us now to keep us busy learning, understanding and telling it to the world.  That is what we will be held accountable for and that is our misssion.  If we do this, God will get the glory and that is our purpose int the world — to give God the glory.

Post 03-13-2016