Only One Man

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50 You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” – John 11:50 NLT

After seeing Lazarus come out of the tomb, some of the people believed and others went to tell what they had seen. When they told the Pharisees and the leading priests, this group called a meeting of the whole Jewish council. The council was afraid that if Jesus kept doing miracles, He and His followers might become too powerful and upset the Romans. Then the Romans would remove them from the Temple and take away the authority they had been allowed to exercise over the Jewish people. Without realizing what he was saying, Caiaphas, the high priest for that year, prophesied that Jesus would die for the redemption of the Jews and other nations to make them into one body, the Church. But, since they could not sentence anyone to death, they needed the Romans to do that for them. God uses people to fulfill His plans and He has a purpose for every life. Some are willing agents. Isaiah, Moses, Daniel, David and the apostles are good examples. Others are used by God, even if it is unwillingly and unwittingly, to accomplish His purpose. Pharaoh, Caiaphas, Judas and Pilate are examples of this type of agent.

Col. 1:15-20 NLT


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

Post 10-15-2017

“Freely I Give…”

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18 No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” – John 10:18 NLT
 

The decision for Jesus to be the perfect Lamb sacrificed for our redemption was made long before the world was spoken into existence.
18 You know that in the past you were living in a worthless way, a way passed down from the people who lived before you. But you were saved from that useless life. You were bought, not with something that ruins like gold or silver, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, who was like a pure and perfect lamb. 20 Christ was chosen before the world was made, but he was shown to the world in these last times for your sake. —1 Peter 1:18-20 (NCV)
Jesus the human did not want to die on the cross any more than you or I would want to die such a cruel death. But Jesus as the second Person of the Trinity knew from time immemorial that He was going to do just that. Since Jesus was the Word and the Word was with God, Jesus was there when the decision was made and was in full agreement with the plan. So, He could truthfully say that He had the right to give His life and to take it back. Taking His life back was a reference to His resurrection that the Jews did not understand at that time. Being spiritually blind, they thought Jesus must be crazy or demon possessed. Before we accepted Jesus, we had no understanding of what Jesus was doing and why He was doing it. But, now that we know, it is our responsibility to carry the Good News to others. Let us freely give our time in spreading the Gospel so that others may have life eternal.

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

Post 10-05-2017

WHY?

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12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. — James 1:12 NLT
Why do Christians have to endure trials and persecutions? I suppose people have been asking this question since the first century. The disciples never quite understood why Jesus had to suffer and die until after the Resurrection. God does not allow us to go through suffering so that He will know where we are on our journey, He allows it so that we will know. He allows it so that our “I can” will turn into “No, I can’t but God can”. “No pain, no gain” applies to spiritual growth as well as physical. Would understanding the “why” really make the pain any less real or painful?  I am sure that since Jesus was in on the plan of redemption, He understood the why, but that didn’t keep Him from asking His Father if there might not be another way. As he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane.
 

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”–Matt. 26:42 NIV

 

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

Post 04-10-2017

Live Obediently

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30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
— Ephesians 4:30 NLT

God created the world with the spoken Word. It is held in place by the Power of His Word. Our words have power, they can be words of life or words of death. When we speak words of death and live disobedient lives, we grieve God’s Holy Spirit. It pleases God for us to walk right and talk right. If we hold resentment and anger in our hearts, it becomes a root of bitterness. That root grows because the flesh feeds it and soon it pushes out all forgiveness and love. Being kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving kills the root and we follow after the example of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. You can’t please God and the flesh, you must choose which it will be.

James 3:7-12 NLT

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

Post 02-21-2017

He Forgives Us When We Fail

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15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. — Hebrews 4:15 NLT
If it had been possible for us to live a perfect, sinless life, then Jesus would not have had to die on the Cross for our redemption. But God knew that we would fail and come short of perfection. It is no surprise to Him, so He made a way, before the foundations of the earth were laid, for us to be reconciled with Him. A simple, yet very expensive plan. One that we could not purchase for ourselves, so Jesus purchased it for us. Once we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, God’s Holy Spirit comes to live (abide) in us. He is our teacher and guide, but He will not force us to be obedient, it is still our choice, Our flesh wars against doing God’s will and when we give in, we must confess our sins and ask God for His forgiveness. We can do this boldly and without fear of punishment. Because of His great love and mercy, we will find the grace that we need when we need it most. We should fear (respect) God, but we are not to fear (be afraid) of God. Our love for Him should cause us to respect and obey Him. We will fail but God is waiting with open arms to forgive and restore us to Himself.

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

Post 01-25-2017

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

Redemption and Restoration

even-smaller-bug-light11 Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. — Galatians 6:1-3 NLT

Yesterday, I wrote about witnessing by spending time with sinners.  We are called to do just that, but in doing so, we need to use wisdom and discernment.  Being saved and filled with the Holy Spirit does not keep us from making bad decisions.  If we have weaknesses of the flesh, we need to avoid those situations where we would be needlessly tempted.  We don’t put ourselves in harm’s way unless we are sure that we have been called to do that.  Just as it would be foolish to step into the street in front of a speeding truck to try to prove that God always protects us, it is foolish for us to put ourselves in dangerous situations if God has not called us to do so.  Not many of us are David Wilkersons (The Cross and the Switchblade) who can successfully face the dangers of the worst parts of New York City to witness to gang members.  Nevertheless, we all have a calling to witness to those around us.  The mission field starts in the home and goes outward from there.  We do not want to be like the seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19) who ended up battered and naked.  We must use discernment in where, when and to whom we witness, but that is never to be used as an excuse not to witness.  We may not be sure of all of God’s will for each of our lives but there are two things we can be sure of in this journey with Jesus.  We are to make disciples as we go, we all have our marching orders to do that.  We are supposed to restore the fallen as well, but do so circumspectly avoiding the very appearance of evil.

19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,  baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”– Matt. 28:19,20 NLT
Post 01-30-2016

We Are All In or We Are Not In At All!

even-smaller-bug-light16 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:  “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”   7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.  — James 4:6-9 NIV

​The Old Testament law was given to show man that he could not live up to the perfection required for redemption.  Man could not and cannot do anything to save himself.  Those living in that time who thought they were doing a good enough job to satisfy God’s requirements for redemption were caught up in prideful thinking. They became so full of pride that they actually added laws to the ones God had already given.  We can only assume that they thought they were improving the situation, when, in fact, they were putting burdens on the people.  So, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who was full of grace and mercy.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. — John 1:14 NIV

We are saved by grace through faith​ and Jesus wants to continue to give us grace upon grace.

16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. — John 1:16 NASB

​It is this continued gift of grace that allows us to overcome the flesh and submit oursleves to God. Without it, we would be like the religious leaders of ancient times and become so full of pride that we would be useless in spreading the word of God. There is nothing in this world that is worthy of praise when it is compared to the joy and the hope that we have through Jesus Christ. 

30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” — 1 Cor. 1:30, 31 NIV

If anything or anyone in this world brings us greater joy, pleasure and happiness than knowing Jesus, then we are double-minded.  We should mourn and wail while asking God to forgive us and bring our focus back on Him and Him alone.

Post 12-02-2015

No Easter, No Christmas

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17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. — 1 Peter 1:17-20 NIV

​There is nothing that we can offer to God that is acceptable for our redemption.​ Before the creation of the world, the price for our salvation was agreed upon by the Trinity. Nothing less than a sacrificial Lamb without blemish would be acceptable. In the Old Testament, the lamb had to be sacrificed over and over. In the New Testament, the perfect Lamb is sacrificed once for all sins of all times, past, present and future. 

25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.— Hebrews 9:25-26 NIV

​His work is finished​. We, as Christians, have a work to do that will not be finished until the end of this age. We are foreigners, aliens and ambassadors here on earth. Our work is to spread the Good News that Jesus Christ has died and rose again to seal our redemption.  Without Easter, there would be no reason to celebrate Christmas, It isn’t just a Christmas story. It is a story that needs to be told everyday, everywhere to every person.
Post 07-30-2015

Did Christ Die in Vain?

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

1 Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with​ ​Barnabas, taking Titus along also. 2 It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. 3 But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 4 But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. 5 But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.—Gal. 2:1-5 (NASB)
​Paul had been​ teaching in Antioch and then he went on his first missionary journey. This journey lasted about three years. When he returns to Antioch, he finds that the church at Jerusalem had sent messengers up to Antioch. They were sent to tell the Gentiles who had been converted to Christianity that it was necessary for them to be circumcised. Paul had not taught that to the new converts and did not believe that it was necessary. In fact, Paul taught that God did not require new Gentile converts to be circumcised. We still have people in our society who are bound by the traditions that they were taught. We must understand that God the Holy Spirit abides in us. He is our guide and our teacher. We have much liberty in Christ Jesus, but we are not to use that liberty to grieve the Holy Spirit or to mislead others. Jesus said that if you were bound by the law and did not fulfill every iota of the law, then you cold not enter heaven, That is why God sent His Son as the perfect sacrifice for our redemption. From that time forward, there is no sacrifice required. If there were need for more sacrifice, then Christ died in vain..
24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere​ ​copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.–Hebrews 9:24-26​ (NASB)​
Post 03-21-2015