Lift Up Jesus!

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Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.
— Titus 3:3 NLT
We should always remember that all of us were once sinners and slaves to sin.  We lived ungodly lives satisfying the ungodly desires of our flesh.  We wasted our lives chasing after earthly pleasures that fade away with the dark of night. But, Jesus Christ, through His mercy died for us and we have been justified by His grace. We could not and can not do anything to save ourselves. So, we need to keep those thoughts in mind and always live our life remembering that we owe a debt of love that we can never repay.  We need to thank God may times every day for all that He  has done and is doing for each of us.  We can show our gratitude by telling the old, old story that is still true today. We were born in sin and needed a Savior. Jesus is our Savior and our Lord. The story never changes. Tell it to those God puts in your path today. And tell it with love.  Let our thoughts, words and actions lift up Jesus.  We live in a fallen world filled with lost people looking for an answer to their feelings of loneliness and worthlessness. Our lifestyles should show them that there is only one answer and that is Jesus.
Post 10-14-2016

Celebrate! Give Gifts!

even-smaller-bug-light13 So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. 4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. — Galatians 4: 3-7 NIV

Unlike humans, God is not concerned with the segments of time, such as minutes. hours, days, months, etc.  He sees things throughout eternity. There is a “set time” for all of the events in His plan to take place.  God is never surprised by any event or action by any being.​  God did not see man sin and then quickly devise a plan to redeem him from that sin.  The plan had been put into place “before the creation of the world”.
 

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. — Eph. 1:3, 4 NIV​ ​

As the Divine Trinity, He could not shed blood, but He had ordained that without the shedding of blood, there could be no forgiveness of sin.
 

22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. — Hebrews 9:22 NIV

​To fulfill the law, He, Himself, became human so that He might shed His blood for our sins.​ 
 

But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. — Hebrews 9:26a-28 NIV

He came that we might be redeemed, forgiven, and made sons of the only true and living God.  He placed HIs Spirit inside of us that we might call out to HIm, “Abba, Father”.   We, who were once slaves to sin, have now been made sons and heirs of the Father.  And He is coming again to complete our salvation and take us home to live with Him for eternity. There is no better gift to be given and no better reason to celebrate a birth!  From slaves to sons,  from heathens to heirs!  Celebrate!  Give gifts!
 

10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.  ​
11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” — Luke 3:10, 11 NIV

Post 12-22-2015

Focus on Righteousness

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15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? ​ By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.—Romans 6:15-18 NIV

​We were​ all born in sin into a sinful world, We live in a fleshly tent that desires to sin. In our own strength, we will never be free from those desires. The flesh lusts after money, power, and pleasures. When we lived a sinful lifestyle, we were being obedient to the flesh and the flesh was our master. Though we didn’t realize it at the time, we were slaves to sin and we were held in bondage by satan. But Jesus died and rose again that we might be free from that bondage.  Now, we can make a choice to live a life that is obedient to Jesus Christ. We are covered with His righteousness. But our freedom does not give us license to live a sinful lifestyle. We will all still sin occasionally, but our focus should not be on sinning, but on living a Christlike lifestyle. We used to have a carnal mind and followed after carnal things, Now, we have the mind of Christ and follow after Spiritual things.

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus– Philippians 2:3-5 NIV

Post 07-10-2015

A Dead End Street

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15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.–1 Peter 2:15-17 NIV

Jesus​ instructed each of us to “render unto Caeser that which is Caeser’s” and that we must do. We need to pay our taxes in an attempt to keep our nation free. We need to obey the law to prevent chaos. But there is a line we cannot cross. It might have been legal for the money changers to conduct business in the Temple (at least, it was allowed by law), but it did not keep Jesus from chasing them out of the Temple.  
​Dr. James Dobson said:  “​We will render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, but in no wise will we render unto Caesar that which belongs to God.​”
1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.–Gal. 5:1 NIV
This nation​ is on a path to become a slave to greed and lust. Whether it is an individual or a nation, that path is a dead end street.
15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.–James 1:15 NASB
Post 07-04-2015

Are We Focused on Making Disciples or Clones?

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. 13 The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews.—Gal. 2:11-14 (NASB)
​Paul​ continues his crusade to help people to understand the freedom they now have since Jesus fulfilled the law. New converts then and now are not compelled to travel to Jerusalem and make sacrifices each year nor are we expected to meet any requirements of the law. We are required to love the Lord, our God, with all our heart, strength, mind and body. If we do this, we will see changes in our lifestyle. Not because of some written laws but because the love of God constrains us. We respond to the love of God. It is His love for us that keeps us.
2 ​ ​fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him​ endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.–Hebrews 12:2 (NASB)
6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.—Philippians 1:6 (NASB)

​Our focus​ is not to be on requiring others to take communion as often as we do or if they worship more reverently or loudly than we do (I could go on but you get the picture). We should be focused on making disciples that obey Jesus because they love Him, not in making clones that worship and/or serve like we do.
Post 03-23-2015

“What Do You Mean, Set Free?”

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will realize that I am he and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak what the Father taught me. 29​ ​And the one who sent me is with me — he has not deserted me. For I always do those things that are pleasing to him.” 30 Then many who heard him say these things believed in him. 31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you keep obeying my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone on earth. What do you mean, ‘set free’?” 34 Jesus replied, “I assure you that everyone who sins is a slave of sin.—John 8:28-34 (NLT)
​No matter​ how many times Jesus was rejected, He continued to try to get the people to believe Him. Jesus kept on saying what His Father had taught Him to say and some who heard believed Him. To those who believed, Jesus said “You are truly my disciples if you obey my teachings and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” The people replied that they had never been slaves, so how could they be set free? Jesus assured them that everyone who has a lifestyle of sin is a slave of sin. So it was with us, we were slaves to sin before we accepted Jesus as our Savior. He has set us free by making us a new creation in Christ Jesus. As soon as we accept Jesus, we become citizens of heaven and new creations. But living a holy lifestyle is a continuous process that we must work at everyday.
2 Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.–Romans 12:2 (NCV)
—Post 12-19-2-14

We Must Endure Suffering With Patience.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

18 You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. 19 For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment. 20 Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. 21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.–1 Peter 2:18-21 (NLT)
​In today’s society and in most countries, we no longer have slavery. But in our workplaces, we do have taskmasters that often treat us unfairly. So, Peter’s admonition to endure with patience is directed to us. Just as Jesus is our example of enduring unjust pain and persecution, so are we to do the same. God is our Jehovah-jireh, our provider. He has provided us with jobs so that we can provide for our families. Instead of complaining and gossiping about our bosses, we should be thankful for the provision. No matter who signs the paycheck, God is our provider. We are to set the example for those around by having a grateful attitude and not joining in when others are criticizing the employer(s). Jesus promised us that we would be treated unjustly and offended by the world, so we should not be surprised by the unjust treatment we receive. We have not yet been required to be faithful when we are facing death for Christ’s sake. We should have the same attitude that the apostles had in the First Century.
40 The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go.​ 41 The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus–Acts 5:40-41 (NLT)
Post 09-13-14

Jesus Took on Flesh and Blood

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.

14 Since all of these sons and daughters have flesh and blood, Jesus took on flesh and blood to be like them. He did this so that by dying he would destroy the one who had power over death (that is, the devil). 15 In this way he would free those who were slaves all their lives because they were afraid of dying. 16 So Jesus helps Abraham’s descendants rather than helping angels. 17 Therefore, he had to become like his brothers and sisters so that he could be merciful. He became like them so that he could serve as a faithful chief priest in God’s presence and make peace with God for their sins. 18 Because Jesus experienced temptation when he suffered, he is able to help others when they are tempted.–Hebrews 2:14-18 (GW)
J​esus took on flesh and blood and became human just as we are. He became like us so that He could experience the same things we experience. Because Jesus was willing to do that, He knows our feelings and our weaknesses. He understands the situations we go through and the temptations we face. The difference is that He went through these same things without sinning. Because He is perfect, He is more than qualified to serve as the sacrificial Lamb for our sins. His perfection also qualified Him to be our chief Priest. It also qualifies Him to judge us and correct us when we sin. God made Him a little lower than the angels and then restored Him to His glory in heaven, where He is, even now, interceding for us when we fall to temptations.
Post 07-10-14

Repentance and Remembrance

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.

1 Remind believers to willingly place themselves under the authority of government officials. Believers should obey them and be ready to help them with every good thing they do. 2 Believers shouldn’t curse anyone or be quarrelsome, but they should be gentle and show courtesy to everyone. 3 Indeed, we, too, were once stupid, disobedient, and misled. We were slaves to many kinds of lusts and pleasures. We were mean and jealous. We were hated, and we hated each other. 4 However, when God our Savior made his kindness and love for humanity appear, 5 he saved us, but not because of anything we had done to gain his approval. Instead, because of his mercy he saved us through the washing in which the Holy Spirit gives us new birth and renewal.–Titus 3:1-5 (GW)
Repentance is feeling remorse for our wrong actions, But, in a Biblical sense, it goes much deeper than that. It requires not only feeling remorse and turning away from our old lifestyle but it requires us to turn to something new and different. That something new is a holy lifestyle. We place ourselves under a new authority. We turn from being led by our flesh to being led by God’s Holy Spirit. His leading will cause us to submit to those put in authority over us in the home, the church, the workplace, school. and society. We should no longer use foul language or be quarrelsome. Remember that we were once slaves to all kinds of lust and pleasures. We were mean-spirited and jealous. Lovers of ourselves and haters of everyone else. Sometimes we might think, “Oh, I was never that way”. If we truly believe that then we would also have to believe that Jesus died in vain. But we know that God gave His only Son to save us. Not because we deserve it, but just because He loves us. We walk in the Spirit, but sometimes we need to be reminded of where we once were.
Post 07-02-14

We Are Serving Christ

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.

18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly. 20 Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged. 22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord. 23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. 25 But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites.–Col. 3:18-25 (NLT)
​Our ​attitude should always be one of obedience to God. This attitude should be reflected in our love and service to our fellow man. What that relationship is does not allow us to change the way we do things. We are working for Jesus, He is our only Master. If we can be sure that what we are doing and how we are doing it pleases Him, then He will give us an inheritance with Him as our reward. Working here on earth does not get us rewards from God in the here and now. Those rewards are laid up in heaven where nothing can destroy them. The blessings we receive here on earth are just that, they are blessings given to us freely by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?–Romans 8:32 (NASB)
Post 05-15-14