Atwater Community Church
Updated : 06/05/2018
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The Lord is doing a new thing
John 10 & Revelation 3:1-6
It is important to hear the Shepherds voice! Let me restate what our State Pastor says, It is abnormal for a Christian not to hear the Shepherds voice! Jesus says, I know my sheep and my sheep know their Shepherds voice.
I know my Shepherds voice all to well! He speaks to me daily, most times I am listening others I am asking questions. But what assurance I have when I hear His voice instead of peoples voice. Don’t get me wrong I hear people’s voices but only when they are confirming what My Sheperd has already shared with me. If my Sheperd hasn’t spoken it to me yet, I don’t need to hear it! Below is some of what my Sheperd has shared with me.
The Lord has revealed much of His will for Atwater to me over the last two years. This has meant that those who were not where they should be spiritually with the Lord were being called to repentance and restoration through God’s move of holiness for Atwater.
This is not for the faint of heart. It has been a long painful ordeal and many are still holding grudges instead of being repentant and allowing the Lord to restore them. At no point has God chastised me and said go and tell them their behavior is ok come back because we need the seats filled. No actually over the last six months we have had some of our lowest attended services ever! Yippie! Let me tell you as Pastor this does not feel good.
Revelation 3:1-6, the church at Atwater (Sardis) as revealed to me from the voice of Jesus, our Sheperd.
Jesus declared us dead, dead spiritually and dead in deeds! People had reduced their spirituality to judging others rather than focusing on hearing the Shepherds voice or praying for leadership, it came down to friendships over Jesus and His church, it came down to walking away from Jesus to fulfill selfish desires. It came down to loving self over loving Jesus and His commands. It has come down to name calling like Atwater, Christ’s Church is a cult, all because we the remnant have chosen to follow Jesus instead of friends and the world. I continually hear Christ’s voice encouraging myself, wife and remnant to stay on the path as Jesus is the gate. And when Jesus spoke to me that some in this church will not be coming with us into new building, I had no idea what was about to unfold over almost next two years! People close to us would have great sin exposed and refuse to be repentant and even expect me to apologize for holding them accountable for their bad behavior! It has been painful even to some in my family who have experienced Satan’s wrath but it will be counted a reward for them by Jesus!
But I have learned to rejoice in it because out of this there has been a shaking in all of us to step up and no longer be complacent but serve with zeal for the Lord!
If you come to our church today you will find good growing attendance, a loyal and committed group of Jesus loving people who are willing to sacrifice for our Lord in many small ways as well as large.
I thank the Lord for His favor and faithfulness to us continually as recently we have seen amazing things happen which have greatly encouraged us that staying the course with Jesus is much better than acting like a hirling and running off when things get ugly! Ever notice when someone runs off from a church you start hearing that church is going to close, it’s a mess......could it be the mess was leaving? I have yet to see a growing church where chances where no taken on individuals and things didn’t get a little messy. Christianity is messy! You take people whose lives have been ravaged by Satan and receive Jesus by faith, yet are still dealing with the ravaging's of the past. That’s messy! When things get ugly, that is when our faith is being tested the most!
You ought to walk and to please God.
1 Thessalonians 4:1
“I shall always remember (evangelist D. L.) Moody,” wrote one man, “for he was the means of leading me to Christ. I was in a railway train one day when (he) came in and sat in the seat beside me. We were passing through beautiful country, to which he called my attention, saying, ‘Did you ever think what a Heavenly Father we have to give us such a pleasant world?’ I made some indifferent answer; upon which he earnestly inquired, ‘Are you a Christian?’ I answered, ‘No.’ ‘Then,’ said he, ‘you ought to become one at once…. If you kneel down right here, I will pray to the Lord to make you a Christian.’”
Recommended Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Before the train reached the next station, this man had trusted Christ as His Savior.
We can all receive this Gospel. Jesus can set us free and wash us with His blood. If you haven’t received His offer of salvation, you should. If you aren’t a Christian, you ought to be!
We ought to remember that Christ has the power to help everyone who asks for His divine aid.
D. L. Moody
Read through the Bible: Numbers 3 – 4
Deliver the unchanging Word of God to an ever-changing world.
Well in Hand -Tuesday, February 6
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
People have always dreamed of telling the future; and the devil, leveraging that desire, has enslaved millions of people in astrology, fortune-telling, gambling, and the occult. There are also scholars who study current trends to anticipate tomorrow’s world. And science-fiction writers use vivid imaginations to create scenes of the future. They all have little success. You can read hundreds of science-fiction books from the first half of the twentieth century, for example, without finding one that envisions the Internet or the worldwide web. The writers simply couldn’t foresee how modern technology would unfold.
Recommended Reading: Psalm 31:14-15
But Jesus Christ knows the future—“yesterday, today, and forever.”
He knows your past, every moment of every day since your conception, all you’ve endured or experienced. He knows what’s going on right now in your life—every blessing, every burden, every tear, every fear. He knows what will happen tomorrow, and He has specifically told us not to worry about that (see Matthew 6:34). As we learn from studying biblical prophecy, the Lord has the future well in hand.
He has you well in hand too!
My times are in Thy hand;/ I’ll always trust in Thee; / And / after death / at Thy right hand / I shall forever be.
Hymnist William Lloyd
Dr. David Jeremiah
If the world knew Jesus is coming back next Saturday how would you live differently? How would people's behavior change? Would people still slander others? Would people still harbor unforgiveness? Would people still commit fornication, homosexuality and other sexual sins? Would people still commit adultery, physically and spiritually? Would people still commit murder, be it with their tongues or taking a life? Being that I know professing Christians who behave this way as well as people of the world, I doubt many would say yes I chose Satan and hell over Jesus and Heaven, yet they live like they are on their way to hell, telling themselves the lie that they are on the way to heaven. Justifying their sin along the way.
God's grace cannot be manipulated, God's grace is the power to overcome sin, not live in sin.
It's hard to live a life of sin when you claim to be Holy and walking in God's presence daily....Serve Christ well today and everyday!
Blessings, Pastor Jim
Want to spice your love life up? What your spouses love language? Find out and feed it, your marriage will never be better! Quincys is acts of service and receiving gifts! Mine are quality time and are you ready? Yes, physical touch!
I Have Decided to Follow Jesus
By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. If you’ve been a Christian for longer than a minute or two, you have likely heard these words. They are meant to articulate how we get to spend eternity with God. We don’t earn our way into heaven, but rather Christ paid the price of our admission.
But we often read more into this phrase than makes sense. It is one thing to simply believe that Jesus bought my ticket into eternity future and another thing to follow Him in the present. Many of us live as part-time Christians. We show up on Sunday and act like we’re loyal to Christ, but on Monday morning, we pull a Benedict Arnold on Him. In other words, we believe but we don’t follow.
We need to remember that Jesus was given all authority in heaven and on earth and that He is looking to transfer that authority to Christians for the making of disciples—followers—who can act as His emissaries until His return at the end of the age. In other words, it’s going to take more than mere believers to usher in God’s kingdom. It’s going to take sold-out ambassadors of Christ.
The best way I know to demonstrate this idea is in the words of that old hymn,
I Have decided to Follow Jesus,
No turning back, no turning back.
That’s the difference between salvation and commitment.
That’s the difference between believing and following.
That’s the difference between declaring and doing.
That’s the difference between showing up and submitting.
Christ wants more than just your faith. He wants every part of you, body, mind and soul. That starts with nothing short of surrender. Only then will you experience the real authority of Christ on earth.
For His kingdom,
Dealing with deceitful gross sin in the church.
1 Corinthians 5:1-5 The Apostle Paul writes to the church leaders at the church in Corinth.
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate. A man is sleeping with his fathers wife. And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who is doing this. So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.
Church discipline is tough! Especially now a days as people always pick at the way it is handled to deflect from their sin!
Paul did not say go and speak to the man, he said put him out of fellowship! Paul did not say. Make excuses for the man, he said put hm out of fellowship! Minor sins are different and not all sin is the same! Sin is sin but some are gross and can lead to death! The church needs to wake up! We don't judge the world but we judge each other but only for the correction and protection of salvation. In Pauls case above the man was indeed put out of fellowship, after repentance you can read in 2 Corinthians where Paul says it's time to restore the man. The man's soul was preserved for the day of redemption. When we blatantly grossly sin and proudly live it out trampling on the grace of God we are really turning our backs on God and walking away from salvation. This is blaspheming the Holy Spirit the one unpardonable sin!
Walking in love means caring and sharing our weaknesses with one another for accountability to preserve our souls for the day of redemption. Church discipline is therefore a loving act which is done to shake and stir one to repentance and restoration. Why is it so many refuse to receive it and blame leadership for doing what God has called them to do? Because they are more concerned with being caught than they are being restored!
Blessings! Pastor Jim
Mark 6:4, Jesus a Prophet without honor
Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor."
How true this is, people who are not familiar with God's anointed, honor and respect them far more than relatives, as relatives have known the person since birth and often do not recognize what God is doing now and in the future with His anointed. They allow past judgment veil their judgment and miss what God is doing, sometimes at a later date the eyes are opened and they realize, which was the case for Jesus family, but for the most part they did not realize it until Jesus was dead and resurrected. Hard to argue with a dead man when He is up walking and talking!
Jesus really was not a prophet, Jesus was a savior who happened to also fulfill the office of prophet. Their are religious groups that declare Jesus was a prophet but not savior. They start at the back of the bible talking about heaven, but do not tell you how to legitimately get to heaven. It is a scheme Satan uses to deceive people. They always refer to Jesus as a prophet and when pressed may concede savior, but don't believe it and when they suck people in its all about works, it is not a Gospel of grace, but of works which does not save!
Here are some ways Jesus fulfilled the office of prophet and Savior.
1. He was a man filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit and full of knowledge of God's word.....scripture teaches when we are saved we receive the Holy Spirit which is Christ in us, Jesus is the Word! Said no Prophet ever!
2. Jesus had intimate spiritual unity with the Father, He also said, if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. I am in the Father and the Father in Me, I am in you and you are in Me! No prophet ever said or could do that!
3. Jesus exposed the unfaithful and shallow hearts of religious leaders as they followed mans traditions instead of Gods word. Jesus is the Word, if you follow the word you are following Jesus and if you are following Jesus, you are obeying the Father.
4. Jesus focused on the moral and ethical principles of God's word.....holiness, righteousness, love, mercy to keep people in right relationship with God, instead of following religious ceremony.
5. Jesus called people to repentance, to change their attitude towards God, confess their sin, turn from their own ways and follow God's ways. Then Jesus provided a way out from the penalty of sin by being the atonement for sin forever himself. He who knew no sin, became sin, the Father poured out His wrath on sin ( Jesus, God's only Son) for all of mankind who will ever believe and follow Jesus Christ our savior. No Prophet ever could do. It took a savior! God came down as a man and saved mankind, only God could and would do such a thing. Never a mere man could accomplish this, if we could save ourselves Jesus would not have come.
So when the false teachers come knocking to tell you what your going to be doing in heaven, remind them not to put the cart before the horse! You have to get their first!
Acts 4:12, Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
Blessings! Pastor Jim
1. Personal Inner work (....hunger and thirst after righteousness....) before position assignment. If not living in the Kingdom....Kingdom will not flow through your heart.
2. Small Groups-being part of community and vision. Leaders lead best when they love most. Groups are a place where ACC vision is cast consistently.
3. Intentional Salty Relationships-consistent, regular priority in calendar and prayer.
4. Openness to receive-input/feedback
5. Tithe-giver of record at ACC
6. Taking advantage of leadership opportunities-ministry community etc
7. Heart of service-serving in places and times when the body needs extra help (outreach, club trust, drama team, trunk or treat.)
We need to be using this with every new person who desires membership, this needs to be a personal conversation. Ask to self analyze, how are they doing, what is strongest area? What is their next step?
This leads to leadership development.
As I sit at my dinner table drinking coffee and speaking with our Lord, I am reminded of His soft but ever present gentleness. I am reminded of how blessed my family is even in seasons of death. Gods presence in our lives carries us through. I am reminded how committed and loyal our young men and women are to Christ and Atwater CC. Their love and commitment to Christ at such a young age is amazing.
To be able to stand when in a season of trial or testing,we must understand it is only by our faith and trust in Christ that we are shielded and protected by God's power.
1 Peter 1:3-5, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, who through faith ARE SHIELDED BY GOD'S POWER until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
We will suffer loss, mourn, grieve but only for a time. There is a time for everything under the sun. God uses these times to reveal himself to us, to teach us in the end, it is only Him we can ultimately trust, yes we may trust our spouse or children, maybe a dear friend, but from dirt we come and one thing is for sure, back to dirt we go! In the meantime God showers us with His love and compassion, if we have no faith then we miss this and His power in our lives. And as we know the just shall live by faith!
Are you living by faith today? Or are you allowing Satan to take you to a place of hopelessness? Christian soldiers live by faith and are men and women of action not reaction. Christian soldiers keep march on until God calls them with new orders!
Blessings, Pastor Jim Glazier
Listening and Doing
Be doers of the word, not just listeners
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”
James 1:19-26 NIV
Get rid of all moral filth....all! We begin our new life in Christ by being born again through the word of truth and the Spirit of God. Growing in this life requires a continuing transformation of putting away sin and living a spirit led life. Sin offends the Holy Spirit and brings quick conviction, we must not ignore the spirit which we get confirmation of conviction by the word planted in us, the word of God.
The word planted implies that the Word must become a part of our everyday life, our very nature and character....who we become, a Christian, this is the fruit we must bear which brings us to our final salvation through sanctification. Therefore we do not merely listen to the word, we absorb it, we have a deep desire for Gods word and to live it out! Once Gods word is written on our hearts transformation takes effect so that when we do look in the mirror we see a changed Godly person who will never forget who they are in Christ!
PS. If you read the word without the power of the Holy Spirit you will not grasp the word. The word is spiritual and the fleshly cannot discern spiritual things. The Holy Spirit brings only spiritual things to life! One must be born again out of repentance, born of the flesh and born of the spirit of God! Apart from this you may call yourself a Christian but you only deceive yourself.
Blessings, Pastor Jim
Leaders who mentor future leaders are truly worthy of double honor.
We live in a nonsensical world, the world and the church both desperately need leaders. Yet we fill our young people with a mindset of entitlement and expect them to develop into leaders. It will never happen. Leaders are made not born! Leaders know it takes hard work, dedication and commitment. What entitlement brings is a generation of whining crybabies who only complain until they get their way and then they still are not happy! The reason they will never be satisfied is that they are serving the devil and not the creator! God created people with a deeply embedded desire to thrive, if one is to thrive we must know our purpose and be on a path to fulfillment of this purpose. Who sets the purpose? The creator of man, God, the bible tells us that God created us to glorify Himself. So we are here for Gods purpose, moving forward His kingdom under the direction of His only Son, Jesus Christ, and Christ's empowerment through the Holy Spirit. The Godhead, three in one, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
When a person recognizes their purpose in life is to serve Christ, glorifying the Father, it changes everything! They now have the power of God to overcome drugs, alcohol, porn, sexual abuse, they experience forgiveness and a setting free of all the bondages that once held them in chains! Some people like their chains and never experience Gods fullness, other fly in freedom like an eagle soars. We have a choice to make.
Those who chose freedom with Christ are the ones who are the best leaders. We have been crushed by our sin and raised up in Christ with a spirit of humility,(not weakness) we call things that have not yet been seen by the human eye into existence from the power of Christ in us. These are leaders! Moving in love, grace, compassion, yet being held accountable to Gods word and holding others accountable.
Most people don't want to know God, they just want to know about Him. To know God means we have a burning desire to please God, which means we testify about God and His ways. Prideful people don't want to hear that because it convicts them of their shortcomings (sin) and instead of being compelled to change they lash out so they can stay the same like entitled whiny little babies. These will never lead well because everything they do is motivated by fear and no trust in God. A spirit of fear comes from Satan not God. When we say fear God it means to reverence Him. Know His power and loving kindness.
A person is not fit to lead until they come to know God and continue relentlessly on a journey to know Gods ways increasingly daily. You see like any good leader we should have an unquenchable desire to be in Gods presence through prayer and worship in the Holy Spirit!
These are leaders, listening, learning and living life to the fullest in Christ!
If you think you might want to take this journey as a leader, contact me! 941-258-0113 or FB at this time my email is down. Should be up in a day or so!
Blessings, Pastor Jim
I Think I Can!
If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Many of you are familiar with the classic children’s story, “The Little Engine That Could.” It’s a tale about a little train engine who, through the power of belief (“I think I can. I think I can.”), pulls an unbelievable load up a mountainside. It has endured for over a century because so many of us connect with it; we want to be that engine.
Yet, if we’re honest, many of us actually relate better to those greater, bigger engines that are unable to pull the load up the hill. They convince themselves that the load is too big and that they can’t do it. Similarly, we face our own personal challenges with such disbelief. We approach seemingly impossible tasks, such as trying to lose weight or getting out of debt by looking at the size of the problem and becoming disheartened. “I’ll never lose all this weight.” “I’ll never pay that off.”
So, what’s that little engine’s secret? Why is he able to pull off a miracle?
As I see it, he has two things going for him. First, he thinks he can. It’s as simple as that. He truly believes in his heart that, regardless of the size of the load, he can actually get it up the hill. Second, he speaks his belief out loud. As strange as it sounds, there is a direct connection from the heart to the mouth.
As believers, we must stop looking at the size of our problems and start looking at the size of our God. He has promised to take care of us, and if we set our eyes upon Him, we will come to believe what He has promised. Once we believe He can, then we must say that we know He can. Romans 10:9 says, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” This is how we make it up the mountainside: by putting our trust in the One who knows we can.
For His kingdom,
Day 21 The Roman Road
Romans 7:1-6 Remarried
The Law only has authority over a man as long as he lives. The law has no authority over a dead man, even if he is alive on earth. A dead man will not recognize nor be ruled by the law. A dead man is not convicted by the law as it has no effect on him. But a man who is alive in Christ is ruled by the law, which is written on his heart.
When a woman is married to a man, if they divorce and she remarries while the man is still alive, she is guilty of being an adulteress and is judged under the law. But if the man dies, she is no longer bound to the man and no longer under judgment.
When the old sinful person dies to the law through the blood of Christ, they now belong to another. No longer serving Satan and their own selfish desires, but they have been raised from the dead to bear fruit for God. The law made man aware of their sin, but did nothing about sin. But now we have a husband of the church (Jesus Christ) and we the church are His bride, Jesus Christ has released us from the condemnation of the law so we can now serve in the new way of the Spirit of God.
Romans 8, teaches us that there is no longer condemnation for those in Christ who walk according to the Spirit of God! If you are in Christ, you have been set free from the condemnation of the law. We are now free to serve Christ to further the kingdom of God. This means we put away the old ways and walk in the new ways of the Spirit of God. This is freedom! Christ came to set the captives free, if Christ has set you free, you are free indeed!
If you have not been set free in Christ, what are you waiting for? Hanging on to that rebellious spirit? It only leads to death, put it away forever and be free!
Day 18 The Roman Road
Romans 5:12-6:23 Alive in Christ
We read towards the end of Romans 5, that sin was not taken into account before the law was given. The law was given that people would be made aware of their sinful nature and rely on God and not themselves. Through the sin of one man, Adam, death reigned. Through the free gift of Jesus Christ, those who choose to receive this gift through one man, shall be credited righteous and reign in eternal life with Jesus Christ!
So now that we have this free gift shall we go n sinning in hopes the gift of grace will increase? The Apostle Paul says,"No", we are buried in baptism with Christ and raised up into new life in Christ! This gives glory to the Father! So our old self is crucified, put to death, that the new person can live n righteousness and Gods blessing! Jesus died and rose again, this is the sign of new life! In the same way we have did t sin, now alive in Christ, so don't let sin reign in your body! Do not offer your body to sin in wickedness, do not obey your evil desires! Paul says, " sin shall not be our master!". You are now set free from the chains and bandages of sin and are now bound in righteousness of Christ!
A persons natural nature is to sin, but when we are saved, receive the Holy Spirit, we now are crucifying our natural nature and taking on Christ likeness, that means we see, think, act like Christ would. This leads us to holiness, God says, be holy for I am holy! You cannot be holy in your natural nature of sinful thinking. The Holy Spirit in you, which is Christ in you, is the only way one can become holy.
Are you struggling with sin? Take heart, you are in good company! One thing I have learned is that if you replace a struggle with time with Christ, praying, reading the word, talking with a Christian who cares about you and you can trust. You see you must replace time spent in struggle, with that time being spent with the Savior instead! So replace old things with Godly things! For most of us that means some old friends must go for the sake of your salvation and perhaps when they see the change in you, they too will be drawn to Christ!
Blessings! Pastor Jim
PS. I want you to know, nothing influences people more than when they see you making a stand and living out your faith....they can't argue with that, they can only be astonished!
Day 16 The Roman Road
Romans 5:1-5 Peace and Joy in Suffering
Our faith in Jesus Christ justifies us, therefore we are now at peace with God, no longer counted as enemies. This faith in Jesus Christ has gained us access to God and now we can rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Which means we can also rejoice in our sufferings which bring glory to God.
The sufferings which bring glory to God are the sufferings in which we are changed glory to glory into the likeness of Jesus Christ. If the Father is in Jesus Christ and He in the Father and Jesus Christ is in us and we are in Him, then we should have a likeness of our Lord and Savior. Therefore a refining process, or sanctifying process must happen. We are no Holy, but the one in us is! If we yield to the One in us (Jesus Christ) then we will be changed.
Being changed can be a painful process, especially if we fight it. We must remember, in our sufferings hope never disappoints us because God has pour His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. If you are not experiencing some suffering from time to time, one must ask themselves am I being changed into the likeness of my Lord?
James 1:3,4, the testing of our faith develops perseverance, which must finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James goes on to say, if you lack wisdom, you should ask God who gives it generously! Think about that, how many times do we make decisions on our own which negatively impact our lives and maybe our families lives? And all we had to do was ask God! Sometimes we bring suffering onto ourselves, through bad habits and fleshly decision making!
Remember this, it is Gods love poured out into our hearts that gives us hope in times of trial. Therefore there is always hope in God. No trial or tribulation you cannot overcome with the love and hope of Jesus Christ!
Day 14 The Roman Road
Romans 4 Abraham believed God
Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness. It is important to understand that it was credited to him before he was circumcised. God Himself credited Abraham's righteousness through Abraham's faith in God. Circumcision is a seal of the sign of righteousness.
We confess by faith Jesus is Lord and follow Him, which is salvation, and then we are baptized in water as an outward profession of an inward (heart circumcision) and sealed in the Holy Spirit of God as His. No man can ever take that away. When we are driven by works and negating the grace of God, nothing we do will ever be good enough, we can try harder but discouragement will be the fruit we reap.
Remember the promise comes by faith and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's children. Father Abraham is the father of many nations, Jew and Gentile alike. If one lives by faith in Jesus Christ, one is grafted into Abraham's family, the family of God! (Romans 11:23) when God told Abraham, his faith was credited to him as God's righteousness, it also meant that whoever is in Abraham's family, that by their faith in God, is also credited to them as righteousness!
So whoever, anyone, believes in Him who raised Jesus our Lord and savior, from the dead, this same Jesus Christ who was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification! Do you believe? Do you have this faith in God? If not what are you waiting for? And if so, are you sharing this good news with others as Christ commanded us? We open our mouths and give our opinions about everything else, can you open your mouth for Christ who saves souls? If we have the Holy Spirit, then we have power and boldness the scriptures tell us! So by whose power do we keep our mouths shut about Christ? Yep, you got it! Satans!
Be bold in Christ, share the good news!
Day 12 The Roman Road
Romans 3:21-31 Righteousness through Faith
Ever work really hard on figuring something out, racking your brains all day long without coming up with an answer? I have, then gone to bed only to wake up in the middle of the night to realize the answer was so simple and it was right in front of me the whole time! Wake up in the morning take care of the issue and feeling accomplished and set free the rest of day!
That's kind of how it is with mankind, we are stumped! Life just seems so difficult at times, people don't behave the way we want them too, fact is we don't behave the way we would like to and we go through life looking and wondering what the answer is. Sometimes we go through periods where life is good, then all of a sudden things fall apart! Life is like a roller coaster, peaks, valleys, some straightaways, then all of a sudden it comes to an end and is over!
That is not how God wants us to live! There is a righteousness from God that come from faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. This righteousness is for all people, because all people have sinned and fall short of the glory of God! This is why people fail us and we fail people. The good news is people are freely justified by Gods grace through redemption that came by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. We by faith have our hearts spiritually circumcised by God, no longer held to punishment of sin, have been justified. Think about this, if we lived our lives in and freely giving of that same grace God gave us. It would change how we deal with people dramatically! Instead of holding grudges and being angry with people we choose to freely extend the gift of grace to them, justifying them and releasing them of any penalty doled out in retaliation from us! It's a beautiful thing! Talk about peace! You want peace in your life? Extend Gods grace to people!
Day 10 The Roman Road
Acts 3:9-20 No One is Righteous
Jews and Non Jews are all alike and in spiritual slavery to sin! People are born with a sin nature and are constantly being pulled toward making sinful decisions. The result is we are all guilty before God! We all deserve God's judgment and wrath, resulting in permanent separation from God. We are by all accounts sinful and unholy people with no desire to be holy!
There is no one righteous, no one who understands, no one who seeks God, altogether become worthless, not even one does good, there is no fear of God in a persons eyes. Even if one attempts to keep the law, it will only make them more aware of their sin!
Salvation comes when one has an awe and reverence for God, this is the fear of the Lord. It makes us aware of our accountability to God, and gives us a desire to make peace with God, being restored back to Him, where we came from in the first place!
My youngest grandson told my wife and I about missing heaven and about some of his friends and particularly his cousin who he knew in heaven! This just floored us, it certainly got our attention as he is always talking, but when we heard his words it was like time stopped for just a moment for us to digest what he had just said! We looked at each other in disbelief, asked him a few questions about heaven and he answered matter of factly! I had heard about stories from young children remembering heaven but never experienced it myself from one of my children or Grandchildren until Saturday late afternoon.
We all need to get a clue! We are fussing and fighting with one another over things that have no bearing on the heavenly. Perhaps we need to wake up and maybe grow up spiritually and recognize if we don't get some things straight now eternity, getting back to heaven may elude us forever! Focus on what really matters....life and life eternally!
Day 9 The Roman Road
Romans 3:1-8 God's Faithfulness
What if some did not have faith? I listen to atheists today and they act like God doesn't exist and because they don't believe He exists, their lack of faith nullifies God's faithfulness! The Apostle Paul writes, "not at all". If a person is so weak and blind spiritually does not detract from God's faithfulness at all. You see, God is God! He is creator! If one is so weak as not to believe, what is that to God? Off to eternal death you go and it's all your choice. One cannot legitimately blame God for their own self destruction. It's like saying because I believe that God does not exist, He must not exist!
God laughs at the mockers, and we who have partaken of the Holy Spirit of God and have God alive in us, pity the fool who says, there is no God! Their lives are wasted on the things of this world, they are full of anger, bitterness and hatred, lashing out against God like little children throwing a temper tantrum!
Some people like to test God's faithfulness, kind of an idea that the more they sin the more God's faithfulness increases, God will not come running after you when you turn your face away from Him and blatantly sin or reject Him. But He will wait patiently for you to come back. This is why some in the early church were put out of the church, therefore handing them over to Satan to make their lives miserable and come to the end of themselves and be repentant, running back into the arms of a faithful God! What we think of God does not limit Him, I it does however limit what He will do in our lives! When we serve God faithfully, His blessings flow to and through us, giving glory to God. We reap a life of joy, happiness and peace in Christ. I might say this is a much easier life to live! It is a life of less strife for sure.
And once again the choice is all up to us! Choose wisely my precious friends!
Day 8 The Roman Road
Romans 2:24 God's name Blasphemed
I have a question, is God's name blasphemed because of you? Tough question which requires self examination. The Apostle Paul is coming down hard on the Jews who are religiously claiming and teaching the law, but not keeping it themselves. The exact reason Jesus called the religious leaders hypocrites. So worried about judging others, yet they themselves broke the law excessively, abusing the law and making excuses to justify their sin.
We see a model today very similar to this. People who claim to be Christian and yet behaving no better than the heathen. Affairs, addictions, lies, cheating, denying the facts, idolatry, drunkenness, fornication.....these who walk around with God's word as a symbol of their faith, praying openly only for people to see them, hoping for an advantage in whatever endeavor they are working on. These are blaspheming God's name, degrading the works of Jesus Christ, really putting Christ back on the cross.
Paul writes in Romans 2:28, a man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. A person is not a Christian if he is only one outwardly, behaving for profit.
One is a Christian only by circumcision of the heart, done by the spirit of God. The spirit has written God's love code on his heart, soul and mind and he loves God and God's people with all his strength. When I run into a person who claims to be a Christian but doesn't go to fellowship with other brothers and sisters, it tells me and God there is a heart problem. Heart problems usually come from pride or hurt. It's the same when I see a person church hopping, they never get planted and serve God to their abilities, they don't want people to really know their flaws, so when the heat gets turned up, usually an accountability issue, they run off to another church. Problem is, if it's a bible church, same issues arise, they refuse to deal with it and grow spiritually and take off for a new church. Hang around long enough and they recycle through your church various times, believe me I have seen it!
We must allow our selves to be transformed into the likeness of Christ and sometimes....most of the time, this means we have to examine ourselves honestly and listen to Godly people who are trying to help us, as they have been through it and know the benefits of dealing with issues and leaving them behind for a better relationship with Christ and other believers.
Day 7 The Roman Road
Romans 2:5-16 God does not show favoritism
God does not show favoritism to the Jew or the Gentile, the gift of grace is free to all who choose to accept it. God will give to each person according to what they have done. If one is self seeking, rejects the truth of the Gospel and follows evil, then there will be trouble and wrath!
For those who choose to follow the Gospel of Christ and glorify God, there will be great joy, glory, honor and peace.
A day will come when God will judge man's secrets, man,s works on this earth. This is the judgment of believers. There is no need to judge the works of non believers as they are already condemned and have no good works before God, no matter what they did or how much they gave. Apart from Christ no one is saved nor is good enough. There is no such thing as good enough! No one will ever be good enough to get into heaven, scripture tells us none are good, all have fallen short and need Jesus Christ to save them! You see, no favorites!
Now that you know your not good enough, maybe it's time to call on the one who died for you as the final sin debt payment because of His great and everlasting love for you!
Have you repented and asked Jesus Christ into your life, do you trust Christ with the eternal destination of your soul?
Day 6 The Roman Road
Romans 2:1-4 God's Righteous Judgment
For those who are approving people's faults, yet themselves continue to do the same faults and wickedness, will fall under God's righteous judgment. If we know better, if we know we are blatantly sinning against God and encouraging others to do the same, following our wicked ways, we have no right except to know we will fall into judgment from God. One has no excuse for this behavior.
Paul is explaining how the Jews have the Law and are under the Law, therefore they should know better than to sin. The Gentiles have no Law, they had not received God's written law, having defied God, were given over to their sinful ways. Paul is asking the Jews, why do you practice the same ungodly things the Gentiles do?
No one who is practicing sin has the right to condemn anyone else. Take the plank out of your eye before removing the speck in some else's! We who are the church of Jesus Christ, have no right to judge or persuade the unsaved if we are not following biblical laws and standards, being blind to our own immorality. When we do this the church loses credibility, worse yet we hurt the cause for Christ, as we are no better than the world!
The Church has to understand the world is watching us and holding us to a higher standard, ready to call us hypocrites when we fall short. And many have fallen short, adopting ungodly, unbiblical doctrines under the pressure from sinful groups from a worldly perspective.
This means each believer must be willing to be put under Gods microscope for a heart check of any ungodliness and be repentant and purified by God. We also must be willing to be held accountable by our brothers and sisters for the sake and cause of Christ!
All believers should partake in holy communion as often as it is taken we as believers should be taking a thorough examination of our relationship with Christ, taking care that we are yielding to the Holy Spirit walking holy and blameless before God almighty!
Day 5 The Roman Road
Acts 1:28-32 Given over to a depraved mind, desperately in need of a savior
When people do not find it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, God gives them over to their depraved minds, another way to put it is God hands them over to Satan, who will gladly help them fulfill their wicked, senseless and heartless ways. These fully aware they are doing things that deserve punishment of God's wrath and deserve to die. These also continue in these things and encourage and approve of those who practice the same wickedness.
People seem to take great joy in their own wicked, destructive ways and are quick to stick up for others going down the same path. In some demented way they believe approving and being vocal about someone else's sinful ways takes the eye off of them and justifies themselves to continue their own wickedness. I have learned through the years to take a long hard look at the one pointing the finger at some one else! This is wisdom and why Jesus said, take the plank out of your own eye before trying to remove the speck in the one your accusing!
Bottom line.....People need saved from ourselves! We cannot trust our own minds, thoughts or actions unless there is a higher power than ourselves to hold us in check. There is good and evil, no in between, no being good enough. God requires perfection! Holiness, after all He is the great I Am! And nothing unholy can dwell with Him, this is why Lucifer who we now know as Satan and his angels were cast out of heaven and now control earth, his name means deceiver and he deceived the first Adam and his wife Eve. But God sent His Son! His only begotten Son, to save mankind from Satan and certain eternal death. It would be safe to say that any evil Satan does, God can turn to good. While Christ was going through the ten sacrifices to rescue mankind, one can only imagine that Satan thought, I'm going to win! Like a politician who has a big lead in voting, goes to bed thinking I'm the winner to only wake up to find that by some miracle the other person got more votes and snatched the victory away! This is exactly what the Father did through Jesus sacrifice on the cross! Satan thought Christ is dead, I have won! Imagine how Satan felt when they couldn't find Jesus the next morning! The grave was empty! Christ was alive and well and the victory snatched from Satan and mankind now has access to God and a path to eternal life by repenting and living for Christ! Best part is God gives us the Holy Spirit to seal the deal and Satan can never snatch us away!
So remember this if you are in Christ, serving Christ, you should be a part of a body of believers to continue growing and serving. This will bring strength to Christ's church which is His people. Happy Good Friday and Resurrection Day!
Day 4 The Roman Road
Acts 1:25 Exchanging the truth
We start of with verse 21 and go through verse 27. For some, Pauls words cut deep, the Apostle Paul talks about people claiming to be wise, being full of themselves, completely twisting the Word of God to justify their sinful ways. They neither glorify God nor give thanks to God, but are quick to blame God when things don't go their way! They claim to be wise, and became fools, exchanging the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man.
At some point God reaches His limit with people, you cannot deny God! You can try but only look foolish, seriously look around you....what do you see? Gods creation! People don't understand when you embrace sin and don't repent and reject Satan, the mind only craves more sin! God reaches His point where He just gives a person over to Satan and their sinful ways, to be crushed! God gives them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. God gave them over to their shameful lusts, Paul says, "women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones, men abandoned their natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Committing indecent acts with other men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
God gave them over! At some point man decides to keep feeding the flesh, the evil thoughts of an evil mind, making up ways to justify their sin. So they claim higher thinking and if one does not agree with them then you must be a hater and a low information person. I laugh at the ones who make statements like well this person is only getting votes from nominal and low information Christians! Hypocrites! No better than the Pharisees! Heaping judgment upon themselves for talking down about God's people! Judgmental and hellish comments.
All people matter to God! No matter if homosexual, fornicating, adulterer, drug addict, alcoholic, sexually abused, etc. But this does not change the fact that sin is sin! And the wages of sin is death. I don't get to change that rule, God doesn't get to change that rule, you don't get to change it! You can deny it, but will only be proved a fool! You can blame God, you will still be shamed! The only thing you can do to help yourself is not be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ! It is the power of God for forgiveness and salvation for everyone who believes. You see in the Gospel there is righteousness from God revealed and with the receiving of the Holy Spirit there is conviction of sin, God calling one to let Him transform your life. I am a Pastor, yet I cannot change your life, I might be able to help with circumstances, but limited. Only a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can change you. The Holy Spirit of God comes and dwells in us when we ask Him in and we must listen to that small still voice and yield to the Holy Spirit. How does one know the Holy Spirit is speaking? It will always line up with the word of God! Maybe not our own wants and desires, but Gods. God never wants us in a sinful situation, God wants to change us from glory to glory, meaning we become Godly people!
Being a Christian is not easy! But the rewards are stunning! So I encourage you today, turn from sin, repent and receive Christ, be reconciled to God and glorify Him! You will receive life and life abundantly!
Day 3 The Roman Road
Romans 1:18-21 God's wrath against mankind
The wrath of God is being revealed against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth, especially since what may be known about God is plain since God has made it plain to them. But in their wickedness they deny God, encouraging others to do the same wickedness and therefore receive the same wrath from God. They lift themselves up in arrogance, only to be pitied by those who have partaken in God, fully knowing that God is alive and living in them, yet these fools who refuse to partake continue to futilely convince that God does not exist! Could anything be more ridiculous! All they have to do is call on the name of the Lord in repentance and acceptance and they too would be received!
In the Old Testament the wrath of God, His hatred of sin and rebellion were revealed through things like the flood, famine, plagues, total destruction, scattering of people, burning of the land.
Today God's wrath or anger is seen by how he just gives people over to their wickedness, moral filth, spiritual corruption, deviate sexual sins, which leads to their own destruction and heaps death upon themselves.
In the future, God's wrath will include great distress for the ungodly of this world, the great tribulation and the coming day of judgment, where the loud mouths speaking, acting and encouraging people to do ungodly things, rejecting God and His Son, Jesus Christ as Lord, will heap upon themselves a terrible day of judgment and final separation from God forever.
I personally cannot fathom total separation from God, the godless live empty lives today, but to be empty and hopeless until the final destruction of their souls is frightening to say the least! It was most likely this separation from the Father that Christ wrestled with in prayer at the Garden of Gethsemane where He sweat drops of blood in anguish. But it had to happen that Christ take on sin so Gods wrath could be poured out on sin for final payment for man kinds sin debt! It is finished! This is why God just gives people over to their wickedness, leaving the possibility that they might repent and return to the God who created them! God is merciful! Praise God! Otherwise none would be saved from His wrath!
How about you? Have you repented? Have you asked Jesus Christ to lead your life? Have you invited the Holy Spirit into your life, to transform you into a Godly person, rejecting sin?
What are you waiting for? Judgment day can come at anytime! If you have questions just message me, it will be a private conversation, hopefully a life changing conversation!
Day 2 The Roman Road
Romans 1:16,17 The Power to Save
Paul is probably the only person we have record of who was excited to die! He is in Rome, eager to preach the Gospel knowing eventually it would lead to his death. For Paul to be dead was to live and to live was to die. He did not care to preserve his life on earth, but to serve Christ alone, knowing he would be with Christ where no one would or could hurt him anymore. Only those in Christ have this assurance and this is what drove Paul to share the Gospel of Christ.
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Are you ashamed of the gospel? Do you know what the gospel is? Every Christian should be able to share the gospel, we all have a testimony of what Christ has done for us. If you don't have a testimony, then most likely you are not in Christ. Just because someone goes to church, just because someone calls themselves a Christian, doesn't mean they are! It is a personal relationship, trusting Christ with your life, that saves you through repentance, restoration and reconciliation with God. It is Gods power that saves us, it was Gods love and power that held Christ to the cross, paying the penalty for our sin. The cup that Jesus was asking the Father to take away, was not the suffering, it was the moment when Christ became sin and was therefore separated from the Father. Christ took the punishment of our sin. He who knew no sin, became sin, taking the punishment of sin, so mankind would have a way back to a holy Father. That is the power of love, and until you have experienced this love, you will never know what real love is and you can never love authentically, it will always be conditional no matter how hard one tries.
The gospel of good news brings a message of hope and life for all people, it has no barriers!
Have you received the good news of the gospel? Have you received forgiveness and the power of Christ's love? It is there for the asking! What are you waiting for? Today is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it! Everyday of the rest of your life!
Day 1 The Roman Road
Romans 1:1-7 Set Apart for the Gospel of Christ
Paul a servant of Jesus Christ....how many of us can legitimately say we are a servant of Jesus Christ? That means that we have forsaken the ways, teachings and behaviors of this world and are dwelling on the Kingdom of God! I find there are times I do this and then it seems like I am getting sucked back to worldly ways. A spirit of discernment helps with this tremendously. We must recognize what is of Christ and what is of Satan, there is no middle ground!
Christ whose nature was a descendant of David, and through a Spirit of Holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God, by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord! Easter or Resurrection Sunday is its proper name, is without a doubt the most important Holy Time Christians have. If Christ as not resurrected, was not our first fruits of the resurrection then we only have another human, secular religion that once again does not deal once and for all with our sin problem!
Paul makes a reference to a Spirit of Holiness, making reference to the third person in the trinity, the Holy Spirit. Christ's holiness is what sets Him apart from evil and man. The Spirit of Holiness sets Christ divinely apart from mankind. Mark 1, Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist, a voice from heaven came saying "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." Then the Spirit led Jesus out into the desert to be tempted by Satan, and every time Satan tempted Jesus with either, the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, or pride of life, Jesus shows us how to battle Satan. Jesus uses the Fathers Word against Satan and Satan is powerless over Jesus. This is part of the obedience that comes by faith. If you do not know Gods word, what are you battling Satan with? Learned behavior, lashing out, trying harder to be better, all things of the flesh not the spirit. You will lose every battle with Satan unless you learn to battle in the spirit using Gods word.
Jesus Christ's power over Satan and death was confirmed at His resurrection. Because Christ rose we will rise also! We don't have to be dead in the ground to rise from death! Some reading this are alive but not well, dead in the spirit, losing battles over addictions, self worth and low esteem, sinful behavior, pornography, it is all of Satan, if it does not give glory to God, then it gives glory to Satan, who is already condemned to eternal death, awaiting sentence to be executed. We can chose Christ which brings life, a resurrected life here on earth, or we can choose death and follow Satan. A Christians job is to bring the Gospel of life and let people make a decision. Choose this day who you will follow, choose well my friends!
Day 30 The Acts of the Church of Jesus Christ
Acts 27:13-26 The Storm
Paul appealed to Caesar so he sets sail for Rome. Paul warns the centurion that it is late in the season and bad weather is settling in and it would be best to wait it out. Bad idea! Should have listened to the man of God! The good news for them is God had a plan and if God has a plan you can bet your life that it will be executed! God's mission for Paul was to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Rome and to Caesar! Pretty bold, don't you think?
In Paul, God knew He had a man sold out, one who considered his life nothing for the Gospel. For Paul, to die was gain! Paul understood he was already seated at the table with Christ in royalty! To live was to suffer, and to die was to be with Christ!
Very few people understand this concept, we spend so much time, effort and resources trying to save and prolong life, but if we are in Christ, we are already seated at the table with Christ and therefore have nothing to lose and everything to gain! People don't realize this though, they lead their lives and lead their children down paths of indifference towards God, relying on themselves, full of pride. Sorry thing is that it is all destined to come crashing down, broken relationships, drug and alcohol addiction, pornography, you name it, there is no sin the human depraved mind cannot come up with, and apart from God will gladly participate! So while enjoying and trying to fill their lives with worldly things they lose the spiritual battle for eternity.
The ship with 265 men aboard is now in the middle of a huge storm, the men are tossing anything and everything overboard, hoping the ship would hold together! Paul tells the men to hold their courage and not one of you will be lost. Paul tells the men an angel stood beside him, an angel of the Lord Paul serves, telling him he must stand trial before Caesar and God has graciously saved all the lives on board, nevertheless they must run aground on an island for safety.
Acts 27:24, do not be afraid. As long as God has a place and unfinished purpose for ones life on earth and that person is yielding and following the Holy Spirit, the Lord will protect them. This should give us assurance and confidence to accomplish great things in Christ!
Here's the deal.....Are you even on the radar? God is calling you! To a place and a purpose! Do you have the courage to walk away from the worldly things to experience Gods greatness in your life? If you do not ask the Holy Spirit to help you walk away from death and walk into eternal life in Christ Jesus. If you are seated in and with Christ at the Royal table, you now have purpose and fulfillment, you are being built up into a mighty house where the spirit of God dwells. It is like a river of joy and peace flowing within you! If you are not experiencing this, then don't you think it's time? Time to ask Jesus Christ to forgive you, to come into your life and restore the years that have been stolen from you and your family? It's time to get real with Jesus! And it takes courage!
The Ten Stages of Christ's Suffering
1. Matthew 26:37, He began to be sorrowful and troubled, His soul overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Three times He asked the Father to remove the cup given Him. Most likely the Cup was the fact that in order for the final sin debt to be paid, Christ would be temporarily separated from the Father.
2. Matthew 26:67, they spit, struck and slapped Jesus Christ. The disciples abandoned Christ and He was brought before the Jewish council and Caiaphas.
3. Matthew 27:2, they handed Christ over to Pilate, battered and bruised, hoping for Pilate to finish the job for them.
4. Matthew 27:26, when Pilate realizes there is no reasoning with the Jews, he had Jesus brutally flogged and handed over to be crucified.
5. Matthew 27:28,29, the soldiers mock and abuse Christ. They put together a crown of long thorns, beat him and force the thorns into his head.
6. Matthew 27:31, they tie a heavy cross beam to his shoulders, the weight and exhaustion take its toll and causes Christ to fall, Simon is forced to help Christ carry the cross. A picture of man carrying the cross of Christ. Christ was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our inequities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed! There is nothing we can do to save ourselves and any of our good works pale in comparison to the price Christ paid for us!
7. Matthew 27:35, They crucified Him. At Golgotha, Christ is stretched out on the beam, a large piece of wrought iron nail is driven through each wrist and feet.
8. Matthew 27:39, now that Christ is nailed to the cross beam, these lovely people decide to hurl insults and further humiliate Him in front of family and friends. Blood pouring out of His body for hours, pain throughout His whole body, feeling intense thirst, Christ continues to suffer.
9. Matthew 27:46, Why have You forsaken Me? Most likely the worst part of Christ's suffering, He begins to sense separation from God. He who knew no sin became sin, taking on the punishment of sin for mankind once and for all!
10. Matthew 27:50, the final stage of Christ's sufferings! He cries out Teleo, it is finished, the debt is paid for mankind, completely establishing Gods plan of salvation. No longer does man have to allow Satan to hold them in bondage to sin!
Everyone of these ten stages where prophecies in the Old Testament. When Christ called out "it is finished" it signified the end of the Old Priesthood and animal sacrifice which was continual as the sin debt had not yet been paid. When Christ paid the sin debt with His own blood, the debt of sin was fulfilled, the mercy seat requirement was fulfilled and Satan no longer had domain over man, if man chooses Christ by faith and not works which is of themselves.
Day 24 The Acts of the Church of Jesus Christ
Acts 23:11 The Lord stands near Paul
When God's will is to achieve a certain thing through a person, know this....God will bring it about! Man can make plans to destroy God's plans all he wants, but God will have His way as He has all power and authority!
Acts 23:11-35, is a perfect example of God making sure His plans are followed through by His servant Paul. In Verse 11 we read that the Lord stood near Paul and encouraged him that he will testify about God in Rome as he did in Jerusalem. The religious leaders played right into Gods hands. Their evil hearts were used by God to move Paul to Caesarea and Governor Felix. Pauls had already accomplished Gods plan in Jerusalem, Paul had testified about God, the religious leaders rejected God, fulfilling prophecy, so God could move Paul to His next objective!
Put yourself in Pauls shoes, you know without a doubt God is with you, yet the devil is using men to try and kill Paul. A tight spot for sure! It appears Paul may be killed right there in Jerusalem by religious zealots and Gods plans for him to testify in Rome and further west might never be realized.....think about times in your life when you have felt God has called you to do something, but the naysayers seem overwhelming telling you, you can never accomplish it. Laugh at them!!!! If God has called you to it, He will see you through it!
In the fall of 2006, my wife and I were called to Pastor the First Church of God on Atwater drive in North Port. I had very little experience and a reputation for speaking my mind, regardless of what others would think. We were told we were headed for disaster, the church was split and fractured and very divisive. The chances of success were very slim, don't waste your time and energy I was told time and again. Job wasn't the only one who had his detractors for friends! Lol
I ran into an brother whom I had not seen in many years the other day and he asked me if we were still at The little church on Atwater. I said yes, that it was going very well and we had begun the building process. He commended Quincy and I as he said, very few people or Pastors have the courage to hold unto what God has called them to in the face of adversity. They quit before they see success because they lose faith in God. I Thanked him! You see it has been 9, yes 9 years, Quincy and I have been Pastoring at Atwater, times we could have left for a bigger church and decided to stay as we clung tightly to Gods call. You see, it wasn't just me that God called, God confirmed my call to Atwater by standing near to my dear wife, telling her to take courage, that God was going to bring a great blessing about! Do you know 9 years later, some of the original people who were there when we arrived are still there! They tell me they wouldn't trade a moment of the journey, and that how blessed they are to be a part of Gods great plan for Atwater. One of them told me, you know Pastor, very few people in their life time get to experience what some of us have in this journey God is taking us on! A church scheduled to be closed and sold! God used a brash and cocky inexperienced Pastor who loved God and his timid, soft spoken wife who loved Him dearly to do nothing short of a miracle!
Be obedient to God's calling and He will stand near to you and you will see the miraculous!
Day 22 The Acts of the Church of Jesus Christ
Acts 22 The best Evangelism tool is your own testimony
The best evangelism tool is your own testimony! Telling people about your encounter with Jesus Christ. It's your story and there is no two stories alike! Our testimony is immensely personal and life changing and that should be why you share it! It goes something like this; I was blind but now I see. I once lived a life apart from God, allowing the devil to wreak havoc on my life. But I knew there was something better out there but what? Then someone told me about this Jesus, I had heard people talk about Him but it never sunk in, then one day, it was like a light bulb turned on real bright and why and what Jesus Christ came to earth for became clear to me!
Scripture tells us no person comes to Christ apart from the Holy Spirit! Why would the Holy Spirit come to a sinner? Simple, some one or ones prayed for the person, thereby sanctifying this person being prayed for causing the Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus Christ to the person being prayed for. Now if the person being prayed for yields to the Holy Spirit, they will come to Christ in repentance and follow Christ. Being we have free choice, a person can also choose to ignore the Holy Spirit.
One of the biggest lies Satan tells a person is they are good enough to get into heaven... It is a lie from the pit of hell! No One! No one is or can be good enough to get into heaven! Scripture tells us no good works of man can get them into heaven, we only get in by the grace of God and the shed Blood of Christ.
Sunday March 6 & 13, I am doing a two week sermon series on Measuring up. What it means to be seated with Christ. I have already done March 6, about how Jesus Christ is seated with the Father, and if you go to our web site www.atwatercc.com or our Facebook page you can listen to the messages. I encourage people to listen to our messages as two other young men have been preaching the Word powerfully! One is my son Brian and the other is a young man who has been with me over seven years and is amazing, his name is Edwin Benson, his testimony is breath taking. God has done amazing things in his life and his wife's life, we are blessed to have such anointed preachers!
Like the Apostle Paul did so many times, please share your testimony, it is yours and no one else's so people have not heard it before! If you say Pastor I have no testimony, then I know you have not had an encounter with Jesus Christ, I pray the Holy Spirit come upon you and you respond and receive Jesus Christ! Then you will have your very own testimony!
Day 21 The Acts of the Church of Jesus Christ
Acts 21:20-25 Legalism or hearts dedicated to Christ and Gods ways?
Sometimes we can easily get caught up in judging somebody or labeling them as a legalist because of some behavior they have that we think is inappropriate. That is exactly what is happening in this scripture. The Apostles however had taken the time to get to know and understand the Christians who were still holding on to parts of the Old Testament Law.
These Christians were hanging unto Jewish religious ceremonies that could not bring salvation. Can you imagine grown men being circumcised? Yikes! I'm out on that one!
The Apostles had just sent a letter to the Gentile believers about what rules and traditions they need to hold to: abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. I think I can do this! Must be why I'm a Gentile! Think about it the Christian Gentiles looking at the Jewish Christians who are keeping a good part of the law, they could have not understood and judged. We see this in the church from time to time. People who love Christ and Gods ways, but because of their religious back ground hang unto some things that others might judge as idols or falling back into Levitical Law.
But in fact these Jewish Christians enthusiasm for the law and customs did not come from an attitude of legalism, which is relying on the law and personal works to bring spiritual salvation or gain favor with God. No, these Christian Jews had hearts dedicated to Christ and loyal to Gods ways.
We must learn not to be quick to judge, slow to anger. We must also share the Word! People must know that just being good or doing our best and being sorry when we fail will NEVER be good enough for heaven! You see it doesn't work that way!
Jesus Christ fulfills the only requirement for spiritual salvation. It is when we call on His name, in repentance of sin, declaring Jesus Christ is Lord of my life and one surrenders their life, heart, mind and soul and clings to faith in Christ with all their strength, that one is saved from eternal death and now will live forever, even though our bodies decay! It's a free gift of God, not of works, that no man can boast in how good he is.
These Jewish Christians had in fact made Jesus Christ Lord of their lives and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and were empowered Christians. This is the important parts and the Apostles were smart enough to recognize it and leave them alone! You see sometimes we act like we are the only ones filled with the Holy Spirit and get very judgmental. We must trust the Holy Spirit is working in every believers life and make decisions accordingly!
Day 20 The Acts of the Church of Jesus Christ
Acts 20:20-38 Pauls Charge and Farewell to Ephesus
Paul had spent all the time he could with the church at Ephesus. He ministered, taught and preach the whole counsel of God to them. Gave the Elders parting instructions on how to lead in his absence. They all knew this would be the last time they would set their eyes on their beloved Apostle. Paul reinforced that people must turn to God in repentance and have faith in Jesus Christ. Paul did not hesitate to preach anything they needed.
It's tough being a preacher, Paul preached what The church at Ephesus needed to hear! Not what they wanted to hear, but what they needed to hear. Very seldom does a person want to hear what they need to hear! Lol many a person has left church on Sunday upset at what the Pastor preached on, believe it or not most of the time that's a good thing! If the Pastor is hearing from the Holy Spirit and one of the purposes of the Holy Spirit is conviction of sin, then guess what.....your sin will find you out! Lol you cannot hide sin from the Holy Spirit! It's impossible. You can quench or ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit, but you will be miserable.
Paul makes the comment in verses 23-24, that the Holy Spirit warns him of the dangers and hardships facing him for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul considered his life worth nothing to him, the Gospel worth everything to him! Paul was determined to finish his race, that is the task Jesus had given him of testifying to the Gospel.
You look around today and very few people are so committed to anything that they would call something their life works. It did not used to be that way. People lived life with purpose fulfilling their God given gifts and potential. When I got called to be a Pastor, I had no idea of the pain and suffering that would come along with it, not only myself but my wife too. If it were not my life's works being called by God, being equipped by the infilling of the Holy Spirit, I would have checked out long ago. When God lays something on you that is way bigger than you, there is no room for self centeredness, and like Paul one has to count their life nothing to their self and continue the task that Jesus Christ has set before us!
What has God set before you? What would you say Gods highest purpose is for your life? Salvation in Jesus Christ should be number one. But it might be to be the best parent, grandparent, friend, influence at work. To be an encourager, we are all called to serve at church, but some have special gifts and calling to serve in any area not just church.
Pray about this if you don't know exactly what your purpose is. Maybe you know your purpose but feel like your wheels are spinning getting no where, you need a little traction from the Holy Spirit, don't be afraid to step out and fulfill Gods calling on your life!
Day 19 The Acts of the Church of Jesus Christ
Acts 18:24-25, 19:1-6 What Holy Spirit?
Again we see where believers had not even heard of the Holy Spirit, although they were to a certain degree they had been influenced and operating under the power of the Holy Spirt as they had been baptized under the baptism of John the Baptist, recognizing the need for repentance and receiving Jesus Christ as Lord.
We read in Acts 18:24-25, where Apollos, baptized under John's baptism is preaching the word of God boldly in the synagogue. Impressed, Priscilla and Aquilla explain the way of God better to him, better equipping Apollos to preach.
In Acts 19:1-6, we see where Paul is in Ephesus and finds some disciples and they have never heard of the Holy Spirit either! They too had received John's baptism for repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord. Paul lays hands on, prays and the twelve of them receive the baptism of Jesus Christ which is an indwelling of the Holy Spirit which is Christ in us. It is one thing to be influenced by the Holy Spirit and another to be filled with the Holy Spirit, Paul says that we need to be continually be being filled with the Holy Spirit! It is not a once and done deal. We must take on the glory of Jesus Christ and His likeness. The more we become the likeness of Christ, the deeper and more meaning our relationship with God becomes and the more we recognize His presence in our life!We can live a Christian life influenced by the Holy Spirit or one being filled continually by the Holy Spirit. It's our choice.....choose wisely!
Day 18 The Acts of the Church of Jesus Christ
Acts 20:25-38 A Farewell to the church at Ephesus
The Apostle Paul after three years of living with, teaching and preaching ceaselessly the church at Ephesus, says goodbye. This is a final farewell as the Holy Spirit has warned Paul of the awaiting imprisonment and eventual death for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the leaders of Rome.
I believe every person has a destiny, Gods word tells us that God has a plan for each of us, plans of hope and to prosper us. Some ignorantly think this means we will have a pain free, monetary filled life, we call it prosperity Gospel, false teaching which takes away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ said for us to take up our cross. When a person in biblical times took up his cross, he literally did, just like Jesus, picked up his cross and carried it to a hill to be crucified! Our real riches are in heaven, it is a faithless person who believes they should never suffer, have all the material things they desire.
Listen to the riches Paul gave the church at Ephesus, Paul proclaimed the whole will of God to them, warns them to watch over themselves-tight knit community caring for one another, watch over the flock which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers-a great responsibility, warns that savage wolves will come to try and tear them apart- this is what the devil does in marriages, relationships and church! A spirit filled person or persons should recognize this and end it immediately and if some one does not heed warning, put them out of church for period till they repent. Paul warned them day and night for three years. Paul prays with them, commits them to God, wept and kissed them goodbye as they knew they would not set their eyes on one another until they met in heaven.Good byes I imagine were very emotional during these times, no cameras, Internet, iPhones. So when some one said farewell, you never knew if you would see them again.
People today seem to think very highly of themselves, we think everyone needs to know what we think about every subject whether we really know anything about it or not. Very seldom do we stick to the important facts, let's face it, we live in a self centered world which is destined for judgment.
Paul considered his life worth nothing, he was not concerned with building himself up or preserving his own life, no Paul had been genuinely touched by Jesus Christ and only Gods will mattered. Paul understood that his treasure was in heaven and to live was Christ and to die was Christ, Christ is all that mattered. It was from this position Paul was able to love people and willing to give all for them to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.Imagine if every person lived life like Paul, completely devoted to Christ, no more broken marriages, murders, gun control would not be an issue as you would not need a gun to protect yourself, just to hunt! But no, we live in a world where people are out right hostile about Jesus Christ, God is not allowed in schools so our kids have no moral compass, our jails are full ( but you can hear about Christ there). Think if the media glorified God, God was glorified at school, people actually attended and served in bible churches....crime would go down, people would be busy working jobs to take care of family unit instead of broken families riddled from drugs and alcohol. It would be a totally different world. Almost like heaven on earth! But no! Man knows so much more than God, so we do things our way and are getting the terrible results we deserve for abandoning God.When a Godly man is the head of the household, great blessing flows out of that! Believe me I have lived both ways and am experiencing the pain of doing things my way from early years apart from God, and also experiencing the blessing of my children and grandchildren from my years of following Christ! Life is full of choices, choose well my friends, choose Christ!
Day 17 The Acts of the Church of Jesus Christ
Acts 19:1-6 Did You Receive the Holy Spirit?
As we go through the book of Acts, the question, "did you receive the Holy Spirit?" Is often asked! I find it interesting that when it is asked it is always asked of someone who had not received the Holy Spirit. That tells me the Apostles could recognize if some one had or had not received the Holy Spirit through the gift of discernment. Most likely after a short conversation it became very evident if they had or had not!
Honestly most of our churches in America act like they are scared to death of the gift of the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in tongues! Yet one cannot biblically argue against it. Lol
I myself am guilty of doing water baptisms and not laying on hands to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit as I have been afraid of scaring some one off. But we are called to a holy boldness! I find it sad that the majority of large churches do not embrace the Holy Spirit and therefore struggle making disciples that lives glorify Jesus Christ. Acts 19:4-6, Paul baptized people into Jesus Christ and then layer hands on the person and prayed over them as the Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
We desperately want and need to be like the early church, but lack the holy boldness to take the Things of God to the next level. I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit after being made aware of the fact there was one, even after attending a men's bible study where I was assured it had all passed away. I very simply asked God to please give me all that He wanted me to have in order to serve Him to the fullest! I received the fire of the Holy Spirit at a Sunday night service at a church that mostly did not believe in it! God is amazing and no man or men can keep Him quenched for long! As worship leader began praying over the Blood of Jesus, I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit! It is something I am very thankful for! It empowered me to be the Pastor I am today. Personally I don't know how anyone can effectively Pastor long without it.
So I ask you today are you ready to take the next step? Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Now is the time! If you have not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, now is the time! Ask God to fill you, with His Holy Spirit!
Day 16 The Acts of the Church of Jesus Christ
Acts 17:16-34 A City full of Idols
Paul, Timothy and Silas split up for a short period of time. Paul ends up in a city called Athens which was full of idols. The Athenians were looking for gods to worship and even had an unknown God! They were religious people. They had all kinds of gods but did not know the living God! Sound familiar? It is the world today! Did you know in the Middle East Moslems are leaving Islam by the droves? Some mosques are empty! Even in Iran! They are realizing their prophet Mohammad is a fraud. This doesn't mean they are all turning to Christ, as some feel their is no god it's all a hoax.
Did you know in America about 4000 churches every year close, because they are empty? Idols have replaced them and the living God they represent! People in America don't even realize how much like the Athenians they are. The Idols can be seen from the road in front of their homes, cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, the partying. For some idols are sports, jobs, businesses, children, family, you see anything you put before your worship of the true living God is an idol! Ever notice when some one dies, the family comes in and all the toys go! It's a fire sale of idols, guns, tools, cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, RVs you name it, no matter what we own when we die, pretty good chance it's going down the road!
Think about how different a world it would be if we all sold our idols and invested in Gods Kingdom! The early church did just that and that my friends is why it grew so fast, it moved in the power of God. If there was a need the people got together and helped meet the need, no it wasn't socialism, it was kindness of heart! Nothing was demand from anybody, it worked just like it does at Atwater Community Church, a need is presented and the people meet the need. We did it a couple weeks ago for a family that is temporarily having a tough financial go of it. The need was made know, the leaders decided to help, money was given, payments were pledged to get this family through!
It was a great feeling to be part of a church that rose up in just a matter of minutes after need was made known. When idols sneak into our lives, they have the potential to harden our hearts so that we do not do the will of God, but we get too close to money and cling to our love of money. I look at it this way, God I'd the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, in other words, it's all His! My wife and I have found the more we give away, the more God increases! We can never out give God, but it sure is fun trying!
I challenge you today! Examine yourselves, where and what are your idols? We all have them for sure! Surrender them to God, tell God to do what He wishes with them, but most of all they give glory to God.
Day 15 The Acts of the Church of Jesus Christ
Acts 16:25-34 The Power of Praising God
I don't know about you, but there isn't much that gets me more excited than to see the power of God manifested through sincerity of person or persons calling out, praising God in the time of their suffering. If you come into Atwater Community Church and look up above the stage you will see a sign that reads God Is Love. This sign was hand made by a precious lady many years ago, right after I took the pastorate. God is Love, what most people want to ask is...Is God Love? Think about Paul and Silas, legs chained, in the middle of the jail where it stinks the most of body odor, urine and human feces. The pessimist would say if God is Love, how did I end up here because of doing Gods work?
The Holy Spirit filled persons are full of Gods Love and have experienced Gods love in such a way that all they can do is praise God, honor God by Glorifying God to the other prisoners and guards. So they do the only thing that can possibly give hope and they start praying and singing! But not just praying and singing to any God, but to the almighty God of Love! The foundations of the prison were shaken, chains were loosed, doors flew open and the jailer and his family were saved!
Do you have some chains that need loosed, things that have had you shackled maybe for years? In the Old Testament the musicians and singers went out first in battle singing the praises of God to give them victory! Then they went to war! Would you like some victory in your life, those things that have hindered you for way to long? Start praising and praying to God using Jesus name! Personally, my greatest victories in life are not my accomplishments, they are the times I cried out to Jesus and prayed and praised God! Those are the times I remember most, when God came down through His Holy Spirit and poured His love out on me, rescued me in times I had no understanding, no idea what was going to happen and absolutely no idea how to respond or even to respond. I also have learned that when God does not respond, then neither do I! That means God has it under control and I get to sit back and watch.....stay out of Gods way!
Chain loosing can be easy or we can make it difficult. If we learn to just rest in Jesus, praise Him continually through song and prayer, Jesus does the work in us, He cuts away the pain, hurt, shame and gives you joy and gladness in exchange! Now that's a good trade!
Are you ready to do some trading? Receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, surrender your life to Him, repent of your sins, and trade all your sorrows for joy, unspeakable joy, indescribable joy! I can't explain it, no one can give it justice, it's just Gods Love poured out on His people He loves dearly and wants the best for! Now that's the ultimate Father!
Day 13 The Acts of the church of Jesus Christ
Acts 13:27 Recognizing Jesus
Acts 13:27, The people of Jerusalem...the religious leaders, did not recognize Jesus, they condemned Him, and in doing so, fulfilled the very scriptures they read every Sabbath! Talk about blind! It makes one wonder, how do you read the Old Testament scriptures where Jesus is talked about over three hundred times. It tells us what Jesus will look like, how He will come, who He will be born to, miracles He will perform, His signs and wonders, how they will mistreat Him, how they will beat, crucify and bury Him and God will raise Him on the third day. Sabbath after Sabbath, week after week, year after year, generation after generation, the whole time talking about how great it will be when the Messiah comes, so the Messiah comes and they sadly miss Him! They help fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament, sadly today many people are missing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and for the same reasons the Jews missed Him. Pride, arrogance, selfishness, we get hung up on ourselves, refuse to even investigate Jesus, surrendering to Jesus would mean relinquishing control we dearly love. We are living in a time where many have heard of Jesus but few have encountered Jesus, fewer yet even care to encounter Jesus.
Jesus does not need our permission to interrupt our lives, all across the world we are hearing about Moslems and terrorists seeing Jesus in visions and dreams, these people are being saved by having an encounter with Jesus! God is no respecter of persons, He does not require we straighten our lives up before we can encounter Him, what is required is this, when we have this encounter, we follow Him! Salvation is at our doorstep, all we have to do is walk through to Jesus and follow Him. Recognizing Jesus does not mean we follow Jesus, the Jewish religious leaders taught about Jesus, the coming Messiah all the time, trained up their future leaders, priests and high priests, just so they would recognize the Messiah.
Encountering Jesus Christ leaves us with two possibilities, follow Christ and never be the same! Or not to follow Christ and stay the same course of destruction. We either serve God or we serve Satan, no in betweens, no middle ground, no being lukewarm. Either all in or all out!
Verses 28-37, the Apostle Paul points out just a few of the obvious prophecies that Christ fulfilled, it was then that many followers of the Jewish faith, were cut to the heart as they recognized Jesus Christ and decided to follow Jesus.
The liberal media cannot report all the encounters people are having with Jesus Christ today! If they did, their whole ideology would be destroyed. You see you don't have an encounter with Jesus and decide to follow Him and continue in a deviate lifestyle and continue glorifying that lifestyle! Living a sinful life is a life leading to eternal death. John 3, Jesus Himself says,"you must be born again" there is no such thing as a Christian who has not been born again! You cannot be a Christian and not have your life transformed by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is the one who does the transforming of a person, the person yields to the Holy Spirit, has their eyes opened to the things of God and gets a whole new perspective with a whole new life!
Have you had an encounter with Jesus Christ? Have you surrendered control to Him?
Do you need to ask Jesus Christ for an encounter? With Jesus asking is receiving, it's that simple.
Day 12 The Acts of the church of Jesus Christ
Acts 12:1-4 Earnest Prayer by the Church Prevails
There are times we earnestly pray for a miracle and God answers our prayer in a miraculous way, other times God's will must be fulfilled and we do not get exactly what we pray for. But remember all prayer must be according to God's will, if you need to know God's good and perfect will, you must know God and His word.
God allowed the wicked King Herod to kill James, Stephen was the first Christian Martyr, James was the first disciple martyred. It looked like Peter would be the second, but God miraculously intervened. Notice how the church responded to opposition and persecution with earnest prayer. This is our most powerful spiritual weapon! Think about it, Peter in a cell chained to two soldiers, in the custody of sixteen soldiers, and the angel of God walks him right out the front door! There was no sneaking around to escape capture, just March right out the front gate! Understand this; the early church lived and operated with absolute assurance that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
When the church in the west comes to understand and grasp this, it too will become a powerful force for the kingdom of God. It is in our most desperate of times we seem to be moved to pray the most. Why we have to feel the pain before we move to prayer is only a fleshly reaction to desperation. We finally decide to bring God into the situation as we have exhausted all other ideas and methods short of simple prayer. As Christ's church we have to make it a discipline to pray constantly and ceaselessly, tearing apart the schemes and plans of Satan. When the church prays, Satan is defeated, when church people start responding to everything in the flesh, Satan wins. Think about it! People leave churches over the most ridiculous things, never taking into consideration the spiritual things and who they will hurt. But let's face it, when people leave they are usually looking to hurt someone to begin with!
A true church family, understands there will be disagreements, but if Christ's love abounds, then there is real discussion and corporate prayer together to get at the real problem which is always a spiritual problem.
If we are to claim to base our church on the book of Acts, then we must be a church. Of fervent and earnest prayer. I knew a church once that moved deeply in prayer, the church flourished, grew numerically as well as spiritually, many converts. The person that inspired and led the prayer movement in that church tragically died, and when she died so did prayer movement and church severely declined and is still in decline!
When....will the church of Christ in the west, move away from all the methodology and get back to the basics? It all starts with fervent and earnest prayer of righteous people!
Are you one of these people? We have corporate prayer the first Tuesday of every month @ 7pm here at Atwater Community Church, we pray specifically for needs of our church then move to community and global issues and needs.The women of Atwater meet every Tuesday at 7pm to pray, salvations, healings, local and global needs. Come join us!
Day 11 The Acts of the church of Jesus Christ
Acts 11:22-29 A church plant at Antioch
In Chapter 11, Peter explains that the same Holy Spirit that fell on the Jews, evidenced by speaking in tongues, has also fallen on the Gentiles and they too have been saved by Christ and anointed to preach the Good News! Some of these Gentiles went to Antioch and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Lord and a great number turned to Christ.
This news reached Jerusalem and they sent Barnabas to Antioch to encourage them to stay faithful to the Lord. Barnabas and Saul spent a year discipline these new converts as they did not assume that those who received Gods gifts of forgiveness and spiritual salvation would remain true, as the devil certainly would discourage them to go back to their old life.Barnabas's duty was to encourage, help them grow in faith, love and personal friendship with Christ and others in the church. It is at Antioch that disciples were first called Christians, it was a term most likely originated to insult disciples and identify them as different from worldly people. To further encourage the church at Antioch, some prophets came from Jerusalem, to warn of a coming famine, so church could be ready to help brothers and sisters in Judea.
We see Prophets being used by God here to prepare the church to be ready to do good works. God sends prophets today, to encourage, warn and build up His church. Notice in verse 30, they send their gift via Barnabas and Saul. This is the church being the church and not just doing church. When a church gets in the doing church mode it stops glorifying God and focus turns selfishly inward to people in church only. This is a church killing sin, this church is doomed to die apart from repentance and doing what Christ has called His church to do and be.
You see it all starts with every Christian individually! Not saying well they didn't do this or they said that! No! You are called to be the church! What is your ministry? How do you serve God while sitting on your couch watching tv church to justify your alleged relationship with Christ, while you do nothing, not even showing up to worship corporately, then expect to receive all Gods graces, because you are a believer? Jesus said they will know you by your fruit! I know people in their eighties that love Christ and His church so much, they cannot stand it when they can't make it to church because of illness or pains of old age set in. It pains me to see these precious saints suffer, but they suffer well and some even lead ministries like elder care, senior gatherings and bible studies!
We all have a call, think if the early church did not serve, did not preach Christ, did not reach out to communities to help....what if there even would be a church, would it look like? You see, if you are in Christ, you are the church! Locally and globally! It starts with each of us being the church.
Day 10 The Acts of the church of Jesus Christ
Acts 10 The Centurion, Peter, the Holy Spirit and Power
Cornelius, a centurion in the Italian Regiment and his family were God fearing people. They prayed to God regularly and gave generously to the poor! These were Gentile people not Jews! An Angel comes to him and lets him know God has heard his prayers and seen his generosity. Even this Gentiles prayers reached the Lord! The Angel told Cornelius to send men to go get Peter at Joppa, so he did.
You need to read this account carefully and understand our God knows how to put a plan together! Think about our prayers, Gods will and how God orchestrates our prayers and His will together when we pray according to Gods word, which is in Gods will! It is amazing!
Now Peter is on a roof praying, God basically gives Peter a vision that he is to bring the Gospel of Christ to the Gentiles. Peter obeys the prompting of the Holy Spirit, goes with Cornelius's men. If we want God to do amazing things in our lives we must learn to pray and obey His Spirit. It is in this chapter that we realize God does not show favoritism with even the Jews here. He wants all people to be saved, even the pagan Gentiles......you and I!
As we wrap up chapter 10, notice while Peter is preaching to the Gentiles, the Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke in tongues and praised God! This was Peter's sign from God that these Gentiles has received the Holy Spirit and now needed water Baptism! Funny thing, so many times in church we try to lock God down in doing things in a certain order. Here God just blows the lid off by giving the baptism of the Holy Spirit before the traditional statement of faith and water baptism....how many churches would come unglued if this happened in their Sunday morning service!!!LOL why are we constantly trying to keep the Holy Spirit in a jar or box, only wanting to let Him out a little bit at a time, as we deem necessary! I am quite sure we are missing the whole blessing of God! When we allow the Holy Spirt to control us, instead of us controlling the Holy Spirit, Gods blessings flow to and through His people!
I want to encourage all of us to ask God today to have His Holy Spirit take over our lives and our congregations!
Day 9 The Acts of the church of Jesus Christ
Acts 9:1-9 Saul's Conversion
So a man that hated Jesus and his followers, who wanted nothing more in his pathetic life than to arrest and persecute followers of Christ, known as people of the Way. Really this is his life's work? Nothing else to do? Highly educated and trained in the ways of the Law and Old Testament yet still blind to the coming Messiah.
Things haven't changed much as it is still going on today! People twisting and distorting the truth of the Bible to fit their own agenda whether it be political or to justify sin. Jesus is Savior, He is not a liberal, socialist, nor Conservative. He is Lord! Master, Savior, He is the Alpha, Omega, First, last, beginning and end! People can twist and distort the truth on this earth all they want, it doesn't change who Jesus is, it doesn't change that He is coming to judge man. He is the only absolute truth, never changing and never forsaking!
Saul found all this out on his way to Damascus! Saul found out he was but a pathetic man, evil in all his ways! Yet favored by God, called by God, given a new name by God! (Paul) And now a servant of the Most High God! God was not impressed at all by his education nor his expert training, you see, Saul was but a mere man, a speck of dust which God created himself for His works, not mans!
God is not the least bit impressed by man, He is however most likely saddened by the growing sinful state of mankind and the continual rejection of His salvation through repentance of sin. Man for some time has been determining what man will call sin! Instead of declaring sin for what it is, man finds it easier although not spiritually profitable to blame God and justify sin. Of course what they can't explain is free will! Man has a choice! Even we who are born with a disposition to sin, sinful nature, we have the choice to live it out or not! We also have the choice to repent and be saved, filled with the spirit of God and have sin blotted out!
Man is naturally prideful and arrogant and rejects God and His offer of abundant life on earth and eternity with God in heaven. Instead man continues down the destructive path, serving Satan. Saul had an encounter with Jesus Christ, his life was forever changed! How about you? Have you had an encounter with Jesus Christ? Have you accepted and are now following obediently our Lord and Savior?
Day 8 The Acts of the church of Jesus Christ
Acts 8 The church persecuted and scattered
After Stephen had been stoned to death, Saul, whom we would later know as the great Apostle Paul, led a great persecution of the church, going house to house and dragging people off to prison. This only caused the church to grow, as it scattered and preached the word elsewhere and made converts to Christianity. It works the same today! As the Muslims have been scattered around the world they are coming to Christ in the droves! Yes terrorists are coming with them and with that great atrocities. But where the church is strong they are coming to Christ and where the church is weak (Europe) they are bringing chaos, raping and abusing women and children! This is the Islamic religion! Man made, fulfilling the lusts of man!
Everywhere the Gospel went signs and miracles followed, evil spirits were cast out of people and people were set free from the bondage of Satan! It's the same today, when people confess Jesus Christ and ask to receive the Holy Spirit in them, the Holy Spirit chases out the evil spirits. When the Holy Spirit enters a person the evil spirit can no longer dwell in them. But if the person does not yield to the Holy Spirit they surely can become oppressed to the point you would never know they were saved to begin with. This is why one must continually grow spiritually, growing more and more in Christ like ways. Never to be oppressed or possessed again!
Simon the sorcerer had this problem, being astonished by the power and miracles Philip performed he followed Philip everywhere he went, when Simon the sorcerer saw the laying on of hands for baptism of the Holy Spirit, he wanted that power, not to serve God but to buy the power to further his sorcery! Simon the sorcerer struggled with what every man struggles with, pride and self centeredness! It's all about me! The Apostles were Kingdom men and therefore rebuked Simon and told him to repent and a great fear came upon him.
In contrast to Simon the sorcerer, Philip comes upon the Ethiopian eunuch, who was already searching for the things of God, reading but not understanding the book of Isaiah, Philip teaches the Eunuch about Isaiah 53 and the good news of Jesus! The eunuch wanted baptized immediately in repentance to receive Jesus Christ!
Life is about choices, to make the right choices the heart, soul and mind has to be condition for the things of God. This brings a consistency in making right choices. The sorcerer was told by Peter his heart was not right, the eunuch on the other hand, had a conditioned heart and was reading Isaiah searching out God.
Where are you this morning? Are you conditioning your heart, soul and mind or are you in the come see, come saw mode, indifferent to God as if He doesn't matter in your life? You will make many choices this very day, will they be made with a heart conditioned for the things of God or for the things of man? Choose this day whom you will serve!
Day 7 The Acts of the Church of Jesus Christ
Acts 6-7 Stephens Holy Boldness
Acts 6 we see job descriptions set up in Christ's church. The leaders were busy trying to meet people's needs and were neglecting their own spiritual needs as well as the spiritual needs concerning the word for the congregation. This caused the Grecian Jews to feel neglected. This happens in church today all the time, because people neglect the word and focus on their own needs... It's called self centered. So the leaders get together and set a plan so they can get back onto a biblical track. Jesus said, we will always have the poor with us. In other words yes they cannot be neglected, but the leaders should not be doing the ministering as God has called them to minister the word and rightly divide so they can make disciples! That means godly men and women like Stephen serve in ministries that minister to the people, keeping people on a biblical applicable track with their lives.
I can tell you I get more phone calls from people who I have no idea what is going on or what to do as they did not call the leader of the ministry they are a part of for what ever reason, they call me and I have put persons in charge for a reason! So I can minister the word and prayer!
So the apostles get together and they choose seven men full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom to have responsibility over the people for the daily distribution of food. That is how ministries are started! Notice the Apostles lay hands on these seven and pray for them. Stephen in particular had Gods favor upon his life because of his deep devotion the Christ, the Holy Spirit empowered Stephen to perform great miracles, signs and wonders. Stephen also was anointed to preach the Gospel of Christ. Because of all these things Stephen was seized and brought before the Sanhedrin.
Stephen preach unapologetically to them and his words cut them, but instead of following the Holy Spirit, repenting and being saved, they choose to continue to follow Satan, it was just like Stephen told them,"you stiff necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: you always resist the Holy Spirit!" With these words they had decided they had heard enough from Stephen and the Holy Spirit and they stoned him to death. It would be a sad ending except Stephen looks up toward heaven and sees the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father!
You see no matter what evil does to the Christian, the Christian gets their reward! So they think they are killing Stephen as a punishment, but in reality they did him a favor as he went to God! You see Jesus welcomes His faithful into His loving arms, where there is no more pain, sorrow, heartbreak, no bills, no broken and difficult relationships, just pure unadulterated Love!
So what do you say, you ready to go out and get stoned to death! Lol probably not! But right now many Muslims are converting to Christ and losing their heads, families, all they own for the sake of Christ and a future with Christ in heaven! That my friends is faith! One of the most important questions Jesus asks is, " will I find faith on the earth when I return?"
Do you have faith In Christ? What are you doing daily to grow that faith? Having faith is more than showing up the Amercan average of 2 times a month at church! It is a daily walk with Christ and other Christians. Serving the church and serving outside the church, serving in your home, honor the word of God in your life. Being a Christian is not a part-time commitment, it is a lifestyle embedded deep down into the heart and soul of a person.
Day 6 The Acts of the Church of Jesus Christ
Acts 5 Fear seizes the whole church
There are times when fear is a good thing. Today we look at Ananias and Sapphira, these two unfortunately are poster children of God for what happens when we have idols in our lives and lie to God to protect those idols.
It is no mistake that at the end of chapter four, Barnabas sold some property and came and gave the money to the Apostles for ministry work. Nobody ask d Barnabas to do this, he just felt moved to do it, you see the believers were sharing in their possessions and giving to anyone who had need! This is the church being the church!
Ananias and Sapphira decided they would be looked upon as doing a great thing also, motivated out of jealousy. Only when they sold their property, they were a little to close to their money as it was an idol set up out of pride and greed, they held back some money, lying to the Holy Spirit and in the end they both fell down dead for lying, not to men, but to God!
We can see how God feels about selfish, prideful people from this account. Great fear of God came upon the church and I imagine that put lying at the top of the not to do list among the believers!! A church that has gross sin in it cannot glorify God because of sin the power of God is negated. Their has to be sincerity and accountability to God. Not legalism but a sincere desire for the body to deal with sin and Satan directly so that the power of God and the blessing of God may move in that particular church.
We see after this ordeal that the church was gripped in the fear of God and many miraculous signs and wonders happened among the people, but no one else joined them out of fear they two may drop dead from lying to God! As time went on and more and more people were healed God added to His church.
I guess we know how God feels about sin! When we are sinning, we are serving Satan not God!
Who are you serving? I challenge each of us to search our hearts for anything that might separate us from God and grieve the Holy Spirit. Cleanse ourselves through repentance and receive forgiveness from Christ. In this life we will serve one of two Gods, there is no middle ground of compromise. You will either Serve Christ or serve Satan, any religion that leaves Christ out as Savior is just that, a man made religion! Run from it! Jesus Christ is not a religion, He is the only way back to God the Father who dwells in heaven!
Day 5 The Acts of the church of Jesus Christ
Acts 4 Boldly proclaiming the Lord
After Peter and John boldly preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the crippled beggar is healed at the gate called beautiful, the religious leaders are shaken up. You see they thought they had gotten rid of the Christians and could merrily go back to their crooked ways. God is no respecter of men, and He cannot be quelled! The Holy Spirit filled Peter and John and now there would be no shutting them up or keeping them from doing Christ's good works short of death! But many heard about the healing and about that Christ was alive in them through the power of the Holy Spirit and if they would repent, be saved and follow Christ, they would have times of refreshing also! It was this message of the Gospel of Christ they preached and the church grew from 3000 to 5000 overnight!
Listen to Peters words to the religious leaders; "the stone (Jesus Christ) you builders rejected, has become the capstone. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
The religious leaders did not know what to do! They could not deny the enumerable miracles Jesus performed while alive, and now they cannot deny the miracle that His disciples just performed....in both cases too many witnesses!
People who deny Christ, never do a study of His works and all the evidence which has been brought forth, even today through archeological digs. They just make up lies, or listen to old lies. Why? Because they don't want to believe, a spirit of rebellion is strong in them, just like the professors and teachers that still teach evolution! The more technological things get the easier it is to prove God and Jesus Christ. DNA has done a lot to prove creationism and existence of God.
Here's the deal we can put our heads in the sand and go on with business as usual, or say, you know what I don't think I came from a monkey, but that I was fearfully and wonderfully created by a loving God, who knows I am prone to wander in sin, so He sent the perfect sinless Lamb of God, known as Jesus Christ of Nazareth, born of a virgin, walked this earth for 33 years performed innumerable miracles, healed the sick, the lame walk, the blind see, then take on sin for mankind and die, shedding every last drop of blood for every last person who has, is or will be born on this earth!
For thousands of years millions upon millions have believed and experienced the power of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit of God. The Bible is the number one selling book of all time! Through all the times in the Bible it all lines up, Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in the New Testament all different men from different ages! No, even Hollywood couldn't make this up!!
Do you believe? Do you have faith to believe? Or are you just going to live with your head in the sand in ignorance and a spirit of rebellion against God?
Day 4 The Acts of the church of Jesus Christ
Acts 3:17-23 Times of Refreshing may come
I know what your thinking. What does times of refreshed no mean? And more than that, what does it mean to me personally?
Acts 3, we see the beggar at the gate called beautiful, which is a great name for this gate as what Jesus did for the crippled beggar was indeed a beautiful thing! The crippled beggar has a time of refreshing from Jesus, as Jesus heals him. It was the man's faith in Jesus Christ that brought upon himself this moment of healing and refreshing.
Verse 19, Jesus tells the rest of the people who heard about the healing and came running, to repent, then and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.
Repent and turn to God, God has chosen to bless his people by the infilling of the Holy Spirit. The conditions for this blessing: Admitting and turning from our sinful ways and the sinful, corrupt ways of the world. This is the prerequisite to enjoying times of refreshing from the Holy Spirit of God. These times of refreshing are an outpouring of the Holy Spirit to bless the man of faith.
Think about the times in our lives when we were having difficulties, trials or maybe we had an illness or something catastrophic happened with our health, maybe it was a family crisis. When we pray and or others pray for us, the Holy Spirit can bring times of refreshing, healing in the physical body, healing in relationships, spiritual healing. This is all blessing from God! Maybe our finances need a time of refreshing, maybe we just need to know and feel the presence of God in our lives! Now that is a time of refreshing! These times of refreshing from God are times we are not likely to forget, as when God does these things it is an act of love on Gods part for His broken people. When you repent and turn to God, you are His. He is in Jesus, Jesus is in the Father, you are in Jesus and Jesus is in you! Therefore you will never be forgotten by God! You have rights and privileges that only royalty has! We are now heirs to heaven! Travelers on our way home from a foreign land called earth.Are you ready for times of refreshing? I am always ready for a touch from God! Have you repented and turned to God and away from sinful ways? If so you are on your way to times of refreshed no by the Holy Spirit of God!
Day 3 The Acts of the Church of Jesus Christ
Acts 2:42-47 The fellowship of believers
Yesterday, we read about the giving of the Holy Spirit and Peter being full of the Holy Spirit preaches and 3000 are saved and that number is growing daily! Well now they have more than 3000 believers that need to be discipled. Today we read about the first discipleship model.
In verse 42, we read about the four pillars of the early church, these are also the discipleship model every church should be built on.
*The Apostles teaching
*Fellowship- meeting together for worship
*Breaking of bread- eating and taking communion together. These were called love feasts.
*Prayer, prayer is where the power comes from. Peoples lives are transformed through prayer, and actually people's lives can be transformed by participating in all four of these pillars.
Peoples lives were being transformed in the early church because the church as a whole was diligent to keep all four pillars. People are still today transformed by the word when they read and let the word judge them and not them judging the word!
People can be transformed in in corporate worship by songs of praise and hymns, offering, communion and prayer as well as the preaching of the Gospel. In verse 43 we see the effects these four pillars had on people...filled with awe of God, this will happen whenever we come into His presence, there were miraculous signs done, people healed of different ailments, this all happens today when a church decides to worship together and get into the presence of God! This is facilitated by hearts and souls that want to know God more.
When we learn to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, we then learn to love people all people no matter their sins and circumstances as we read in verses 44,45.
Look at the loving response of the people in verses 46,47. They met together daily! They ate together daily with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and having favor with all people. They also saw the faithfulness of God as He added daily to their number!That is the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Are you being transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Have you accepted Him as Lord, Master and Savior? If not, why not? This is where abundant life starts, confessing you are a sinner, who needs forgiven by God and that Jesus Christ died, shed all His blood for you and every other person who has, is or will ever walk on this earth. Receive that forgiveness, become His disciple-a learner of Christ's ways. Find a good solid bible teaching church, one that will not compromise the word of God, yet is not legalistic and moves in the grace of God.
Day 2 The Acts of the Church of Jesus Christ
Acts 2:1-41 The Holy Spirit Comes
One thing for sure, when the baptism of the Holy Spirit comes upon a believer, there is no question about it! The Holy Spirit comes with wind and fire into the heart and soul of the believer and most often evidenced by speaking in tongues, which is different languages given by the Spirit. At Pentecost a violent wind came from heaven and tongues of fire rested on each. That for sure was a special act just for people to witness the power of God.
The main purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not speaking in tongues, it can be evidence, but scripture tells us the main purpose is for power and boldness to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is exactly what Peter does! He boldly points out who Jesus Christ is, their sin against Him, and what to do about it.....repent and be saved, and three thousand did!
Receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit is all about the heart, the condition of the heart for the things of God. If you have set idols up in your life, then it will be difficult to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I have known people who attend churches who refuse the whole counsel of God, preach against the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and because they don't want to be separated from their friends, actually pray not to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit as the speaking in tongues part might get them kicked out of church! They had made their relationships at church an idol before God.
I know a person who through the reading of the scriptures, realized God had more for them than what they were experiencing and being taught, so this person prayed to God, asking for all the gifts God had to equip them for ministry. This person prayed earnestly and God answered in a big way. Sitting in the front on a Sunday night worship service, the worship leader began praying over the Blood of Christ. It was during that time this person received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit! God is no respecter of men! We can make all the rules we want, try to put God in a box and keep Him and His power there until we desperately need Him, but there is no box, no man made rules that can tame God!
Have you received the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Are you operating in the spiritual gifts God has given you? Some are for your edification, others for the building of the body of Christ.
For more on spiritual gifts, read Ephesians 4, 1 Corinthians 12, Hebrews 2, Romans 11,12
Day 1 The Acts of the Church of Jesus Christ
Acts 1:1-11 You Will Receive Power
Luke wrote in the Gospel of Luke about all the things Jesus began to do until the day He was taken up to heaven. Things Jesus began means what we read in the Gospels is just the beginning of Christ's work on earth! After Christ rose from the dead, He purposely showed himself to many men including the Apostles over a period of forty days. At one point while sitting with His Apostles, Jesus tells them do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised. John the Baptist baptized with water but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus has now told them what will happen and in verse eight, Jesus tells them why. When you receive the Holy Spirit, you will be my witnesses, to the ends of the earth!
This power Jesus talks about is more than strength or ability. This power is work or action! The Holy Spirits power included authority to drive out demons and evil spirits who control people's lives. Anointing to heal the sick.
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is Gods way of releasing the power of the Holy Spirit into a Christians life. Notice Luke does not relate this baptism to spiritual salvation. Luke describes the baptism of the Holy Spirit as power coming on some one who is already a believer.
When we are saved, we have been drawn in by the Holy Spirit as no person comes to Christ apart from the works of the Holy Spirit. Once we are saved and ask for the Holy Spirit to empower us, He does so liberally. The Holy Spirit awakens us to Gods presence, power and gifts! Every spirit filled Christian gets gifts to use to further Gods kingdom. We have been saved and empowered for Gods purpose on earth.
The Holy Spirit witnesses both to and through the Christian to convince the world of Gods righteousness and truth, pointing to their need for Jesus Christ as savior, which brings glory to God. This produces faith and the more faith, the more witnessing, which produces glory the God!
Are you a Christian and afraid to witness to people, to share why you believe what you believe? Ask for the power of the Holy Spirit to come on you, to be baptized in the power to be a witness to the ends of the earth or at least your area of influence!
Jesus died for His church, His church has a purpose and mission and it's not to sit on its hands because it's already saved! It is to be working and in action, a living, moving, evolving organism, spreading across the earth, that all men who call upon Jesus Christ be saved.
I witness with the , when they won't , don't in mind. That means when they won't hear the Gospel, don't waste your time, plant the seed and move on! Who knows, the seed may take root at some time down the road when you meet again.
I encourage us all to share the Gospel, explaining why we believe what we believe. Being a Pastor, I get to do this just about every week, building up not just the congregations faith, but my own, as I am reminded just how far God has brought me! How about you?
Day 100 The Essential Jesus Who is Jesus...To You
Luke 9:18-27 The Essential Jesus Challenge
Once when Jesus was praying in private and His disciples were with Him, Jesus asked the disciples, "Who do the crowds say I am?" Then Jesus asked them directly, "who do you say I am?" Peter answers, "The Christ of God". Good answer, normally one might say go to the head of the class. But I think there is an even deeper question to be asked and to be answered by every person individually. You see we will all be judged on this question and how we would answer it. Who is Jesus to you? This should be a thought provoking question.
Let me tell you who Jesus is to me! Jesus is my eternal hope, the lover of my soul, it is His loving kindness that drew me to repentance. He is my master and Lord! Jesus is in me and I in Him! When I am weak, He is strong and is the lifter of my heart. When I call on His name, thinking all is lost, He rescues and comforts me. His compassion for me, draws me near and to also be compassionate and merciful to less fortunate people. I have learned to listen to His voice and be obedient even when it does not make sense to me!!!! He always honors my obedience to Him. Jesus is healer and Savior, and I would not want to live one day without Him!
Those are just a few things Jesus is to me, and you can tell to me, Jesus is alive!!
Is Jesus alive in your life? I challenge each of us to stop and take a few minutes today and ponder the question; who is Jesus.....TO YOU?
It has been so enjoyable to go through the Essential Jesus top 100 scriptures and be able to give you my thoughts on each one. I thank all who have followed, reading and commenting. This Sunday is the last sermon on the Essential Jesus. Next week we start Acts, a chapter a day mon-fri and I will write commentary on all twenty eight chapters. Love you all!
Day 99 The Essential Jesus Who is Jesus...to you?
Acts 9:1-19 Seeing the Light
The road to Damascus, this was a life changing trip for Saul, the hater of Jesus and His people. Saul was on his way to do some more of Satans dirty work, persecuting the body of Christ!
But Christ had seen enough, think Jesus Christ isn't watching over the actions of people on earth? Think again! This would be Sauls last trip as a powerful persecuted of Christ's church!
I find it interesting when people have an encounter with the risen Jesus, they immediately fall to the ground in submission and a transformation takes place. As much as Saul hated Jesus church, in the presence of Christ, there is no denying Christ. This is why it is written every knee shall bow and every tongue confess Jesus Christ is Lord! Question is will they do it during their lifetime or when it is too late...but rest assure all will do it!
Jesus could have left Saul blind, which would have been fine in the churches eyes, it would have been a little revenge and justice being served by the Lord! But no!,Jesus had a bigger plan, He usually always has bigger plans than us, this is why we should never lose hope and always trust in Him.
Saul gets saved, gets baptized and immediately starts serving Jesus, proclaiming the Gospel of Christ, leading many to the Lord.
Have you been saved? If so are you serving the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength? There are many ways to serve the Lord, and when you are in Him and He is in you, you will know because you will serve Him with Great Joy, unspeakable joy!
Day 98 The Essential Jesus Who is Jesus...To you?
John 4:1-42 Living Water
The Samaritan woman, out to draw water from Jacobs well in the heat of the day as she was full of shame, married five times and living with a man when she encountered Jesus! We can only imagine how she was shunned by the ladies of the village. It was a different culture back then. Regardless of the times and culture, Jesus message of love draws one to repentance and restoration. This is the living water Jesus offers, it is eternal and it is for everyone and anyone!
Funny interaction between this woman and Jesus, it is only natural that the woman thinks and responds in the flesh when Jesus tells her that if she would ask Him, He would give her living water! Isn't that what this world needs but doesn't ask for? How many people are broken, desperate, anxious, depressed and suicidal, no matter your situation you can ask for living water and Jesus will immediately respond to your request!
Whoever....any person, anyone no matter the depth of their sin, drinks the water I give them, will never thirst. The water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life!
John 14:20; on that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.
Colossians 3:3; For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
This is living water, the old man dies, we are now in Christ and Christ is now in us! This is eternal as we are now sealed by the Holy Spirit of God. Christ is our life, this is what makes us different from the worldly person. Sin has died, life springs up in us as Christ is in us and we are in Him, drawn by His great love for us!Have you asked Jesus for living water? Or are you still trying to eek out life on your own? Jesus is the only absolute truth you will ever find. Taste and see that His living water gives life and life abundantly!
Day 97 The Essential Jesus Who is Jesus...to you
John 3:1-21 You must be born again
Being born again is not a physical thing, it is a spiritual transformation of a fleshly person becoming a spiritual person. A person is born of water, this is child birth, it is the physical entrance of a person into Satans domain. In order for this person to overcome Satans control they must be born again of the Spirit of God. This is an awakening prompted by the Holy Spirit of God so that Gods purposes on earth may be fulfilled and God glorified.
The wind is unseen, we have no idea where it comes from and it can change direction and speed at any given moment. So it is with the Holy Spirit. We cannot see the Holy Spirit and He can change life's direction in a moment when a person yields to Him. We know the Holy Spirit comes from God, Jesus tells us so, and we know the Apostles were baptized by the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in tongues, other languages in Acts two, followed by Peter boldly proclaiming the Gospel of Christ and 3000 being saved. The Holy Spirit is to direct Gods activity and effect on those who decide to be born again. This includes all peoples, cultures, ethnicities, all nations can be healed if they yield to the Holy Spirit!
God did not s no His Son into this world to condemn it, but to save it, through conviction and repentance in Christ and becoming a Christ follower. This is belief and being born again and transformed by thenSpirit of God!
The Holy Spirit brings revelation of absolute truth of who Jesus is, the Son of God, the savior of the world, and their is no other name on earth which man can be saved!Do you believe? Are you born again and spirit filled? In other words are you allowing the Holy Spirit to transform you into a spiritually filled and minded person? If not, ask and you shall receive!
Day 93 The Essential Jesus The Second Coming of Jesus
Don't be Deceived 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
The Man of Lawlessness, the men of lawlessness we see at work today, working against things that have been set in order ages ago to help keep people focused on God as their sustainer of life and all that is good. These lawless men work against God. So it is with the one they serve, the anti-Christ. Many Anti-Christ's have come and gone, sent on their way to judgment. And so it will be with the lawless man who supports and advocates against the things of God. I won't mention them but they are quite obvious and even those claiming to be children of God support some of these anti-Christ activities.....Gods justice will reign in the end.
Verse 4, apostle Paul writes about the man of lawlessness; He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in Gods temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Interesting, when we purposely do things counter to building up Gods kingdom, we are saying we are better than God and in fact Gods ourselves....not unlike why Lucifer, who we now know as Satan, was cast out of heaven along with his fallen angels for their rebellion against God!
Good news! Verse 8: And the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of His mouth and destroy by the splendor of His coming.
People perish because they refuse to love truth, the politically correct call it hate when truth of Gods scripture is presented. Most of the time they don't even know Gods scripture and if they do, they don't believe in the power of it. Let me tell you how they read the bible, understand they have already set themselves up as little Gods, full of pride, so when they read the bible they judge scripture, how different their understanding would be if they read it like God intended and let scripture judge them!! That is when the power of God enters into their lives and they can recognize their sinful ways and the fact that they have been fighting against the Almighty God!
So lawless people perish because they refuse to believe the truth and God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie! They will all be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness! That's paraphrasing parts of verses 11-12.
Jesus is the only absolute truth, He never advocates sin! He does advocate holiness! It is what He died and rose for. Nothing unholy can come before God, Jesus is our shield for the penalty of sin. This does not give us a free sin pass! No it means we may make mistakes and some unknowingly, but a pure heart is a heart of repentance and humility.
Day 92 The Essential Jesus The Second Coming of Jesus
1Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 The Lords Return
The Rapture: 1Thessalonians 4:16,17, For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
This is Christ's return to gather His church before Gods wrath is poured out on an evil, sinful world. Knowing this should help the church to encourage Christ's faithful to follow Christ right up until either their death or Christ's return. There is no turning back or walking away!
Concerning the time of Christ's return, the apostle Paul tells them, just as Christ said, no man knows the day or time, Jesus Christ himself does not know! Only the Father knows and the Father will give the command in that moment. For the world it will come like a thief in the night, a complete surprise! But those those in Christ, it should not surprise us at all, we should be living a life of faith, ready at any moment for Christ's return!
Are you ready for Christ's return? Are you serving Christ faithfully? Some will be serving themselves faithfully, even some that call themselves Christians! These will be quite surprised as they will be looking up into the sky while the real church is taken up! Sad and best! Why not be found faithfully? Jesus asks, will I find faith on the earth when I return?
Be found faithful by Jesus! Stop what you are doing right now! Make a decision to follow Jesus! Let Jesus take all the confusion, anxiety, depression in your life and instill the peace of God into your life! Become a learner, a disciple, find life and life abundantly in Christ Jesus!
Day 91 The Essential Jesus The Second Coming of Jesus
Acts 1:1-11 He's Coming Back
After Jesus resurrection, He did much teaching, preparing the apostles for what was to come. The giving of the Holy Spirit in which they would be baptized, and giving them general instructions like waiting in Jerusalem for the Fathers gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told apostles about Johns baptism with water, and that they not only be baptized in water but also be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
In verses 9-11, we read where Jesus is taken up before their very eyes! Jesus left so the Holy Spirit could come and do the works in men that Christ church could flourish.
This Holy Spirit would give them power to be Christ's witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. This tells us one of the main functions of the Holy Spirit is evangelism. By the power of this Holy Spirit, Christians have been Christ's witnesses all around the world!
Scripture tells us no man comes to Christ apart from the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit brings true repentance. When we pray for some one to be saved by Christ, we should pray for the Holy Spirit to come to the person convict them of sin, bringing them to repentance and drawing them to Christ. The Holy Spirit works through the believer to convince people of their need for a savior, conviction of sin, it will show Gods love, truth, holiness which is right behavior. Apart from the Holy Spirit we all behave badly in Gods eyes.
This Holy Spirit not only affects the people we pray for, but He affects the believer also, when one is first saved the Holy Spirit works in the believers life, showing the power of God to transform a person and their life, many times overflowing into the persons around them, family and friends and transforming their lives also! The Holy Spirit fills a persons life with the character traits of God. Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, perseverance and self control! Think about a person living in these character traits, how about a household, a church, a community or even a whole nation! A person who lives in these traits surely loves God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength! When we learn to seek and yield to the desires of the Holy Spirit we live a peaceful life in Christ!
In the Gospel of John, chapter 16, we read about the works of the Holy Spirit, things of righteousness, conviction of sin, conviction of the world of guilt, judgment in regard to sin, this spirit of truth will lead the believer in all truth!
I pray now you understand the importance of Jesus Ascension, Jesus was taken up, so that, the kingdom of God could be moved forward in power all around the world! Men and women being saved for eternity, all across the ages! Christ's message never goes silent! His church continues marching on even under dark oppression from Satan using different evil religions to quiet it. Whenever the church is persecuted, it makes Christ's message even more believable and the church grows! You see if it was a false message Satan would not fight against it so hard and other religions would not persecute Christianity as it would be just as false as their religion! NO! Christ is alive in the believers and the message of the gospel penetrates and changes lives, bringing love and peace to withstand any persecution!
Have you invited the Holy Spirit into your life, receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, being empowered by God to speak boldly His message of truth and love?
Day 88 The Essential Jesus The early church of Jesus Christ
Revelation 2:12-29 I Have this against you
If you love Christ, you immediately can liken the warnings about sexual immorality to certain churches today who think you can be spiritually in Christ while supporting sexual immorality, whether it be supporting couples being promiscuous, living together or even a homosexual lifestyle, there have even been churches who say that clergy can be engaged in a homosexual lifestyle.
What's happened here is the church is no longer the church of Jesus Christ as it has moved from a spiritual movement to a cultural movement, succumbing to the ways of man, moving away from God.
Christ is warning the churches of Pergamum and Thyatira about sexual immorality, interesting is that Jesus Christ commends them for their deeds of love and faith. Understand when you condone some ones sin, you are not loving them! You are letting them go down the path of destruction. Listen to what Christ tells the Apostle John to write; you tolerate Jezebel, her teachings mislead my servants into sexual immorality and eating of food sacrificed to idols. Christ gives time for repentance and then hands out judgment on those who commit adultery with her. Those who follow her ways.
Does that sound like the long blond, blue eyed Jesus the world wants us to buy into? Listen to what Jesus has John write in verse 18. These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze! This is the Jesus who will bring judgment on evil in this world.
The message is repent, follow Jesus and be saved for eternal life in Christ Jesus.
People can say the bible is a history book at best, the fact is history repeats itself because people are haughty and prideful. The Bible is the best selling book in the history of the world, it is the inerrant word of God, written by Gods people under the influence of Gods Holy Spirit.
We all have a choice to make, follow Jesus Christ or follow Satan! There is no middle ground! You believe and live the whole counsel of God or reject the whole counsel of God!
What do you say?
Day 87 The Essential Jesus The early church of Jesus
Revelation 2:1-11 Repent and be faithful
These next few days will be powerful reading, don't miss it! Today's reading is all about Jesus encouraging and warning the churches at Ephesus and Smyrna.
Let's start with Ephesus; this church was diligent in doing good deeds and Jesus acknowledges that, but there was one thing and it was the most important thing, they had fallen away from their first love. The churches first love has always got to be the leader of the church, Jesus Christ! We must always put being in His presence before anything else. Seeking His will for His kingdom. Scripture tells us we are to worship in spirit and truth....this is Jesus Christ and our love for Him will show through our worship and desire to be with him in prayer, praise and thanksgiving. When we sing songs together in worship they should be songs of adoration of Jesus, songs that connect hearts to Jesus, songs that bring us to empty ourselves of the world and draw us back in repentance, love and adoration.
So you see a church can be doing everything right, but yet so focused on good deeds that it forgets its first love! Good deeds are great, but the savior requires relationship first! Obedience in love is always better than sacrifice!
The second church is an impoverished church. Jesus said, ,I know your afflictions and your poverty-yet you are rich! They were rich in their relationship with Jesus! Because they were rich in their relationship with Christ, they were able to withstand the persecutions they were under and about to go through! Jesus tells them to be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life....the ultimate prize, eternity with Christ! He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death, which is, spiritual death and eternal separation from God.
If you think things are bad now, it's nothing compared to being separated from God. Imagine a Godless world, this is where many, including leaders of nations are going. To think you can mix different religions and ideologies together is something even God won't do! It brings division and idol worship as well as all kinds of pagan worship such as sacrificing of children, which is different from abortion which just outright kills the child, people who practice child sacrifice do so to appease their dead Gods! Another practice is rape of women, which we are seeing going on in Europe, when you have a religion that encourages rape of women as they are second class people and then you have leaders who encourage the rapist to come to their country, it is totally against Gods plan and they will not be concerned with getting a crown of life as they are serving Satan and His army. These will be destroyed, they will have no part in eternity with God.
Tomorrow we will look at chapter 2 some more and again we will see a description of Jesus at the second coming, that is not the blond haired, blue eyed pacifist, but one of wrath and a conqueror!
I do not want you to think of Jesus as this blue eyed, blond haired savior, who is a pacifist and encourages people to come to him, promising eternal life without life transformation and the putting off of their sin. Their is no such thing as salvation apart from a humbled repentant heart. But the real Jesus is a warrior who hates sin and evil, he loves people but hates their evil deeds, therefore His wrath must come and come it will at His second coming!
Have you made your peace with Jesus, it's real easy to tell who has because they will have the peace of God in their lives. They won't be ranting and raving, thinking they know it all, supporting evil deeds, cursing up a storm, no they will live in the fruit of the spirit, Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, perseverance and self control, there is no law against these, no excuses not to be living a life flowing in these!
Blessings! Pastor Jim
P.S. I want to praise God for the release of men in Iranian prison being wrongfully held as ransom. No matter the circumstances of their release, they are coming home and that is a great thing. This isn't the first time Iran has done something like this, they are an evil empire and it will happen again, I understand that, nevertheless, praise God the are safe, and continue to pray for last man their who is of Jewish descent and is wrongfully held, but because he is Jewish stands little chance of being released by these semetics.
Day 86 The Essential Jesus The early church of Jesus
Revelation 1:1-20 A message for the Churches
The Revelation of Jesus Christ through the Apostle John. It is important to note in this scripture that it is a revelation of Jesus evaluation of His churches 60-65 years after His resurrection and ascension back to heaven. It also reveals future events concerning end time tribulation, when God unleashes His wrath on earth along with Christ's return to reign on earth.
Jesus message to the seven churches, warns, challenges, encourages and builds up the believers. How this is needed today! At Atwater we preach Jesus unapologetically, it is His church and He is the head of it and therefore it is Jesus Christ who we worship, not the culture we live in. Jesus is speaking of spiritual things here and the things He is warning about seem to be cultural issues of mans behavior. When the church becomes driven by mans behavior (culture) then it is no longer Christ who is worshiped but man.
It is Jesus Christ who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. It is interesting how many churches are culturally driven, and usually larger churches that have more attendance. The Holy Spirit is kept quiet in these churches for the most part, until it might be beneficial in a certain situation. They usually have a band to knock it out of the park, but music is stopped when spirit might move, something said, and then start back up. I know because I have been a part of these churches. Experienced very little spiritual growth. These are the types of churches Jesus Christ warns about.
I find it interesting how Jesus Christ is described in verse 13-15, not anything like we see in pictures or alleged digitally enhanced pictures on Facebook! Listen to this for yourselves, and you tell me, dressed in a robe down to his feet, golden sash around his chest. Hair like wool, white as snow, eyes like a blazing fire, feet like bronze glowing in a furnace and his voice like the sound of rushing waters! When was the last time you saw a picture of Jesus like that!
When John saw Jesus Christ, he fell at His feet as though dead! Now that's my savior! I don't want some long blond haired blue eyed handsome white guy depicted as my savior!!
The white hair and blazing eyes represent wisdom, dignity and penetrating insight. The long blonde hair and blue eyes represent a Fabio type of savior!
When Jesus comes back, He is coming back as the almighty one and His wrath will be poured out on evil! This is why we preach the Gospel, this is why Christ revealed Himself to John to give warnings and encouragement to continue the spiritual battle of saving souls from condemnation of eternal destruction. And if someone doesn't believe and follow Christ they are condemning themselves!
Prayer is a powerful weapon for furthering the Gospel of Christ! Pick a person or persons to pray salvation for. Pray earnestly and with thanksgiving for their salvation and discipleship. Watch the power of Jesus work in their lives and in yours!
Day 85 The Essential Jesus The Resurrection of Jesus
1 Corinthians 15:1-58 His resurrection and Ours
We have a lot to cover this morning! I pray you reread several times so you do not miss any of the Apostle Pauls words.
Paul starts with making his case on the resurrection of believers. He reminds us it is only by the Gospel of Christ that anyone is saved. There is no other name under heaven and earth which man can be saved! Hold firmly to this! Christ died for our sins, He was buried, on the third day according to Old Testament Scriptures, Christ was raised! Christ appeared to Peter, and then the twelve, after that he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, some who where still living when Paul wrote this!
Paul tells us that Jesus Christ is the first fruits of those who have died in Christ.
Paul in verses 42-44, Paul sums up how the body is resurrected, the body as we know is perishable, but raised imperishable! The body is sown in dishonor, but it is raised in glory! It is sown in weakness of sin, but it is raised in power! It is sown in natural flesh, but raised up as a holy spiritual body! Not all bodies of Jesus followers will see death, Paul speaks of a mystery, what we call the rapture, some will be taken up in a flash, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. The dead in Christ first will be raised at this time and then the alive in Christ! All will be clothed in immortality, raised imperishable.....no expiration date......eternal life with the Father! The Father gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
This promise and hope is for followers of Jesus Christ only! Jesus Christ is the one who makes us Holy, so that we can be in the presence of God.
Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is yet to come! If that does not get you excited, then you must already be buried! Lol what a way to start the morning! Glory to God in the Highest!
If you are not a follower of Christ....WHY NOT? Why not? Life is short, God has numbered our days, don't waste your life on the cares of this world, hand them over to Christ and watch what He does with your life and your cares! No one on this earth can love you like Christ does, God is love!
Day 84 The Essential Jesus The Resurrection of Jesus
John 20:1-21:25 Eyewitness Accounts
This is a lot of scripture to take in. The empty Tomb, Jesus appearance to Mary Magdalene, His appearance to the disciples, to Thomas the doubter, Jesus telling disciples to cast their net on the right side of the boat and they catch 153 fish! Then Jesus cooks breakfast! How cool is that! Jesus reinstates Peter, gives Peter his marching orders to take care of the flock.
So many eyewitnesses saw and spoke to the resurrected Jesus, He went around doing miracles in His resurrected body, so that, there could be no denying His resurrection, Jesus spent forty days on earth in His resurrected body, teaching His disciples and giving the final order to empower the Apostles to start His church. The Apostles stayed in Jerusalem, waiting for the Holy Spirit. As you can imagine the Apostles were not popular in Jerusalem and would have preferred to go back home. But they had seen and encountered the resurrected Jesus! They had been in the presence of their resurrected Lord! They would never be the same, they would never doubt again. They would give their lives for their Master and His church!
Because the disciples had been in the presence of their resurrected Lord, the way that they thought changed! They were no longer clinging to their lives! They knew their lives were not their own, a great price had been paid for their salvation, and now they were compelled to serve Christ, His church and not man!
Have you been in the presence of Jesus Christ? Have you received the Holy Spirit? Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can continually spiritually live in the presence of God on this earth.
Quite often people will say to me, I'm just not freely it! I feel dry, disconnected, things are not going well for me. I don't understand.....I understand! What you really said is you miss the presence of God in your life! You have lost your focus, usually on ones self....perhaps half hearted prayers, half hearted praise, half hearted repentance of sin, half hearted thanksgiving....get what I'm saying? We have to learn to worship God in spirit and truth, so get in the spirit and let it move and convict you, with some truth about what is really going on inside of you!! Ouch!!!
It doesn't feel good at first, but true repentance is great for the soul! Think about Peter when Jesus three times shows him grace and forgiveness for denying Jesus three times......Peter was restored and went on to do great ministry! That tells me if we are to do great things in Christ name, we must, we must, we must keep a repentant heart and focus on Jesus will not self!
Day 84 The Essential Jesus The Resurrection of Jesus
John 20:1-21:25 Eyewitness Accounts
This is a lot of scripture to take in. The empty Tomb, Jesus appearance to Mary Magdalene, His appearance to the disciples, to Thomas the doubter, Jesus telling disciples to cast their net on the right side of the boat and they catch 153 fish! Then Jesus cooks breakfast! How cool is that! Jesus reinstates Peter, gives Peter his marching orders to take care of the flock.
So many eyewitnesses saw and spoke to the resurrected Jesus, He went around doing miracles in His resurrected body, so that, there could be no denying His resurrection, Jesus spent forty days on earth in His resurrected body, teaching His disciples and giving the final order to empower the Apostles to start His church. The Apostles stayed in Jerusalem, waiting for the Holy Spirit. As you can imagine the Apostles were not popular in Jerusalem and would have preferred to go back home. But they had seen and encountered the resurrected Jesus! They had been in the presence of their resurrected Lord! They would never be the same, they would never doubt again. They would give their lives for their Master and His church!
Because the disciples had been in the presence of their resurrected Lord, the way that they thought changed! They were no longer clinging to their lives! They knew their lives were not their own, a great price had been paid for their salvation, and now they were compelled to serve Christ, His church and not man!
Have you been in the presence of Jesus Christ? Have you received the Holy Spirit? Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can continually spiritually live in the presence of God on this earth.
Quite often people will say to me, I'm just not freely it! I feel dry, disconnected, things are not going well for me. I don't understand.....I understand! What you really said is you miss the presence of God in your life! You have lost your focus, usually on ones self....perhaps half hearted prayers, half hearted praise, half hearted repentance of sin, half hearted thanksgiving....get what I'm saying? We have to learn to worship God in spirit and truth, so get in the spirit and let it move and convict you, with some truth about what is really going on inside of you!! Ouch!!!
It doesn't feel good at first, but true repentance is great for the soul! Think about Peter when Jesus three times shows him grace and forgiveness for denying Jesus three times......Peter was restored and went on to do great ministry! That tells me if we are to do great things in Christ name, we must, we must, we must keep a repentant heart and focus on Jesus will not self!
Day 83 The Essential Jesus The Resurrection of Jesus
Luke 24:1-49 He's no ghost
In Luke's account of Jesus resurrection, the women come upon the tomb, two men (Angels) remind them of what Jesus said in Galilee. The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again. Then they remembered Jesus words.
One can only imagine all the major events Jesus performed in His short time on earth. One account says there is not enough pages to record all that Jesus did. Jesus was way more than a prophet of God! Jesus resurrection seals that case! Jesus was God in the flesh! His resurrection and Ascension more than confirms this!
I find it interesting that in verse 30, when Jesus went to eat with the two in verse 13, Jesus took the bread, gave thanks, broke it, and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus. I believe there is amazing supernatural power in the breaking of bread, when we very simply, give thanks to the Father! To many times in scripture do we see Jesus giving thanks to the Father just before a miracle! Think about the feeding of the five thousand.... How many other times, one can only wonder, imagine Jesus coming to your house for a meal, giving thanks and you or a loved one gets healed or a need gets met!
Hear this, Jesus said, His disciples, followers would do greater things than Himself! If that is the case, shouldn't we be giving thanks before every meal! And we should be giving thanks at every prayer! Another testimony of believers! Think about that next time your out to eat and are hesitant to publicly give thanks to the Father!
I find another interesting point, again in verse 40-42, The disciples, Jesus followers, gave Jesus a piece of broiled fish and while He ate it in their presence, He started talking and in verse 45, it reads, Then He opened their minds so they could understand scripture.
Although the scripture does not say Jesus gave thanks be fore He ate, you can bet it was a given, just one of those things Jesus did always before He ate and in many accounts before a miracle.
Jesus tells them He is going to ascend to the Father and send what the Father has promised, power from on high! So they did as Jesus told them and stayed in Jerusalem, meeting until the power from on high came.
The main points in this bit of scripture I would like you to take thought in, are giving thanks to the Father, before a meal and in your prayer time.
Secondly is the power from on high, Jesus knew if He left the disciples on their own, they would not discern spiritual things and the Gospel would die with them! They were common ordinary men and to expect any more would not be realistic! But! With power from on high! Jesus Christ's church would be built and stand the test of time, standing even when the gates of hell are fighting against it! Satan hates Christ's church and will do whatever He can to tear it down and destroy it! This is why we see people who come to Jesus, killed by agents of Satan, more commonly known as practicing Muslims. These are not radical Muslims, they are practicing their faith! Think about that.....only people who are filled with the power from on high can overcome this spiritual war. Empowered by the Holy Spirit!
Are you a Christian empowered by the Holy Spirit? If not, why not? There is no greater power and it is only by this power you can overcome the flesh! Ask Jesus to fill you with His Holy Spirit, and He will!
Day 82 The Essential Jesus The Resurrection of Jesus
Mark 16:1-20 Go.......and preach!
Very early the first day of the week......Sunday, the women purchased spices to anoint Jesus body. Along the way they were talking about how they were going to roll the stone away. When they arrived, God had already rolled the stone away, Jesus had already been resurrected, and the women encountered an angel of the Lord. Funny thing, the women do as instructed by the Angel and no one believes them, when they tell that Jesus has risen!
Why is it they walked with Him for up to three years, Jesus told them He would be resurrected and when it happens no one believes it, not even the disciples themselves.
It's the same today! We get saved receive the Holy Spirit, believe we have been set free from sin, and yet live like captives trying to roll our stones away by our selves instead of trusting Jesus and fully relying on the first fruits of the resurrection! We will never live a fully resurrected life on this earth until we learn to trust Jesus in every situation, small or large. With Jesus what looks overwhelming to us is small beans to Him! But some of us like to play the sympathy card and walk around going, woe is me! And woe is you is right! For you have been set free and chosen to live in captivity! What do you think the chances are this person will ever hear those words from Jesus.....well done good and faithful servant! More like, way to live a lifeless life after I died so you could have an abundant life! Ouch!
A resurrected life is a life lived full of faith! When no one else believes, you believe! A resurrected life is a life lived in obedience to God, serving His will, not your own! Stop reasoning in your mind and start living a spirit filled life! Jesus sent the disciples out to preach and obediently they preached, they lived the life they preached. Not all people are preachers, but our lives should preach for themselves, which should draw people near us!
Let me ask you this.....is your circle of friends closed? Have you talked about Jesus and church to everyone you know? Maybe it's time to intentionally make some new friends, friends that need Jesus. Actually take the time to get to know them, don't talk about Jesus or church, but actually show people you care about them....pray for God to open a door where He can stick His foot in, give you the words, and watch God work. Too many of us are operating in our own power and not the timing and power of God.
Day 81 Essential Jesus The resurrection of Jesus
Matthew 28:1-20 He is Risen
Sunday morning at dawn, Jesus rose from the dead, leaving sin buried! With the rising of Jesus came the rising of His church! This is why we celebrate in worship on Sunday's! Truth be known we can celebrate in worship any day! To be locked into any one day is a man made religious rule. Jesus wants us to worship in spirit and truth every day! He is Lord!
Interesting that after the resurrection of Jesus, the angel of the Lord tells the two Mary's to go tell His disciples. The women dash off full of joy, rejoicing, run into Jesus, clasp His feet and worship Him on the spot! I know, I know, it's not the Sabbath, but there is no religious leaders around to see! Lol
We should have that seem response when we worship Jesus, when we see His marvelous works. Just drop to our knees and worship him!
Have you ever noticed a common theme in the bible when it comes to Satan? When ever He attacks, it is with lies, deception, half truths of scripture, all to discourage people from experiencing Gods best in their lives.....this is why Jesus asked will He find faith when He comes back! The deceiver is roaring and trying to cheat the elect out of their victory, we see this in Matthew 28:11-15, where the religious leaders payoff the soldiers who were guarding Jesus tomb, to say the disciples stole Jesus body. This was Satans lie to circulate among the Jews. Might have worked if not so many people saw Him in His resurrected body!!! Lol
To wrap; Jesus meets with His disciples, telling them that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him! He is now empowering His disciples to continue His work and build His church throughout the earth! Every tongue, every tribe, every race! No one is exempt from this church, it is one people, one body, one spirit, one baptism, for Gods great works!
Are you part of this church? Are you serving this church? All of us should have a ministry to glorify Christ.
Day 80 The Essential Jesus The Crucifixion of Jesus
Luke 23:26-56 Dead and Buried
The crucifixion of an innocent Jesus had to be. He who knew no sin, took on and became sin so that the stronghold of eternal death held man no longer. The wages of sin were paid on the cross with Jesus Christ's crucifixion. You see it was just the beginning of a unconditional love gift of grace for mankind. Interesting, as Jesus was being led to the cross, that the daughters of Jerusalem were wailing in anguish, about what was happening to their Master. Jesus tells them not to wail for Him, but to weep for yourselves and your children. Verse 31, Jesus words,"For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?" In other words, if they treat me like this when I am here with them to bring new life, miracles, signs and wonders, what will their fate be when Jesus comes back with judgment? Wow!
So the penalty for sin has been paid and now sin is buried with Jesus. Interesting analogy, Jesus became sin, the penalty of sin died with Jesus for those who believe and are ready to bury their sin. Their is no such thing as salvation apart from repentance and burying our sin in Jesus. This is a setting free, next comes newness of life, the rebirth and resurrection of the new man.
Have you buried your sin? One of the biggest things Jesus followers struggle with is their past, the devil wants you to live there so you will be hindered in your new life and maybe give up! But the power of God takes away all condemnation! Newness of life means just that! You are a new creation in Christ! Born again and filled with the Holy Spirit! Now live life in the abundance of Christ!
Day 79 The Essential Jesus The Crucifixion of Jesus
Luke 22:66-23:25 The Innocent Condemned
The council of Elders, chief priests, teachers of the law, after breaking their own laws by taking Jesus forcefully at night, are now asking Jesus, "are you the Son of God?" Not happy when Jesus confirms that He is the Son of God, they make up lies and drag an innocent Jesus off to Pilate. So Pilate asks Jesus are you the king of the Jews? Jesus says yes! That's good enough for Pilate who finds Jesus innocent! The devil wanted Jesus dead, thinking he could win against God. You see the sin that got Satan (Lucifer) kicked out of heaven was the sin of rebellion against God. (Blasphemy) unforgivable! Satan is doomed to destruction, so Satan wants to take as many of Gods creations with him to be destroyed, maybe he thinks he can change Gods mind. No evil is allowed in heaven. (Revelation 21:27, nothing impure will enter the new Jerusalem.)
So to save Gods creation from being destroyed with Satan and his rebels (demons) God sent his only Son in the form of a man, who never committed a sin, the only true innocent man to ever walk the face of the earth, to die, shedding His blood to pay the final blood sacrifice, atonement for sin, so man can choose eternal life or eternal death. It's mans choice.
That reminds me of my earlier years of marriage, when Quincy would get after me for doing something she perceived to be very wrong, (which was quite often) I would tell her but I'm an innocent man! She would laugh and say," not since I met you!"You see mans definition of innocent and Gods definition of innocent don't align. Mans idea of innocent is; I'm just as good as the next guy! That is not innocent, what that means is I'm no worse than that sinner next door. We do not measure our innocents by Gods standards, Gods standard is Holiness, righteousness, purity. You see there is nothing impure about the Trinity! Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three in one of the same.....pure, sinless, God says be holy for I am holy! We can never be holy if we measure ourselves by another unholy entity, whether it be a person, false God, whatever. The measuring line for holiness is by the only living holy entity, the Father, the head of the trinity.
This means that the final sacrifice, a pure and truly innocent Jesus Christ died for mankind to attain holiness and entrance to the holy city, the new Jerusalem, and live eternally with the trinity in holiness. When we receive and follow Christ, we are made holy in the Fathers eyes. Yet we at times sin! The Holy Spirit when we ask for it and yield to it, convicts us of sin so that we might grow in holiness. We are a works in progress, this is why fellowship with other Jesus followers, ( church, prayer, bible study and meditation) are so critical to the growth and understanding of a new Jesus follower. If you don't do these things you will not grow and understand Gods ways and most likely grieve the Holy Spirit and even possibly fall out of fellowship with God.
You may say Pastor, I am dealing with horrific sin in my life, drugs, alcohol, sexual addictions, etc. I want you to know, YOU will never overcome them! You don't have the strength, power, ability to overcome, but in Christ, when we are weak, He is strong! Ask for Christ to take over in the situation and you may have to affirm that Christ is in control when urges come, but Christ has the power, strength, and all ability to carry you through to success. Success may be immediate or it may take awhile, it all depends how much faith you have, if you have lack of faith ask God who gives it liberally!Blessings from a not so innocent man, who walks in the shadows of an innocent Jesus Christ, and draws his strength from Christ!
Day 78 The Essential Jesus The Crucifixion of Jesus
Matthew 26:69-27:10 Peter disowns Jesus
More prophecy fulfilled, Before the rooster crowed, Peter denied his beloved Master three times, the disciples deserted Jesus when He told the crowd, He was not calling on Angels nor fighting, that He would be going as a lamb to slaughter that scripture would be fulfilled.
Interesting is that the very people who knew the scriptures inside out, taught the scriptures to the people, the religious leaders, turned a blind eye to what the scriptures said. If they did not have hardened hearts they would have realized, Jesus Christ was the Messiah and what a privilege it was to have Him in their midst! But this is what evil hearts do, ignore the Word of God, scoff at it, distort and twist it to fit their distorted and twisted mindset. Still going on today, Jesus was a liberal, I hear all the time, I doubt Jesus would go along with killing unborn babies, nor any of the other sinful lifestyles people try to justify.
It is a sinful heart the embraces and justifies any sin, and if it's listed in the Old Testament, it hasn't passed away in the New Testament. An evil, sinful heart is just that and there is no justifying it to Christ as He is absolute truth and no evil can hide from Him, He is the discerner of human hearts. This is why after Peter disowned Christ three times, Peter was cut to the heart with disappointment in himself, Jesus new Peter had a repentant heart and forgave him and encouraged Him to fulfill Christ mission, feed my sheep.
There will be times if you are a Christ follower when the flesh, your human heart will deceive even you, and you will fail! This is why we must feed the Holy Spirit and live in the presence of God daily. Should we fail, it is a repentant heart that will draw us back to Jesus. Did you know sometimes we have to experience troubles and failures in o dear for God to us us in a new way. It's a learning curb, when we fail,we can fail our way to success. Think about the person who never tries, never fails, never learns, faith never grows.....danger is one can take faith for granted and even fall away.
Have you had failures? I have, and anyone who I know who has accomplished anything for the kingdom of God has also. But we live, we learn and we serve better! So get out there and fail your way to success in ministry! Lol
Day 76 The Essential Jesus, The Crucifixion of Jesus
Matthew 26:47-56 Betrayed and Arrested
Jesus betrayed by Judas, just as Jesus said he would. Jesus could have fled ahead of time, Jesus could have formed an army and fought, Jesus could have summoned 12 legions of angels and ended the whole injustice. Better yet He could have just walked through the midst of them, leaving them to wonder where He went! That was a good one!
But no! Verse 39, Jesus ends His prayer with the Father, yet not as I will, but as you will. Jesus went a second time to the Father, ends that prayer, may your will be done. Jesus prayed a third time to the Father and same thing, the Fathers will be done.
So Jesus being obedient to the Father, went as a lamb to slaughter and saved mankind nod from eternal death.
Ever pray for something that perhaps was a little self centered, and not get the answer you wanted, so you figure you will keep praying until you get the answer you want, figuring God will relent and give you your way? The mind can be a pretty ugly place sometimes. It takes a strong relationship with Christ to pray and say, Gods will be done and not our own! Gods will is always the better way, God knows the plans He has for us, we don't, so if God has plans for a hope, future and prosperity, wouldn't it be better to say Father your will be done, your kingdom come!
How different would the world be if Jesus had been disobedient to the Father? If you think it's bad now, think about the days of Noah! Every sin under the sun being practiced relentlessly, evil manifest at every turn! Not much different than the direction the world is going in today, you say. Today we blame God for our sexual preferences that once were considered sin, and declare it is not sin at all. But the human mind is quite capable of lying to itself and justifying anything to the point we actually believe it. So as we become an atheistic society, being politically correct trying not to offend anyone but God, we set ourselves up as Demi-Gods, not unlike Satan himself!
So once again we come to the question, who are you going to serve? Satan or Christ? You see there is no middle ground, our depraved minds that says we don't want to offend any person, but we will offend God, desperately looks for middle ground, a sort of compromise. God isn't in the deal making business when it comes to holiness and righteousness. Your either in or out, your call and God will honor whatever you chose! Chose wisely my friends!
Day 74 The Essential Jesus Scripture Union
Matthew 18:15-35 Unlimited Forgiveness
Got a touchy one this morning! Unlimited forgiveness just is not natural to man. Vengeance and getting the upper hand are more natural, fulfilling the flesh and sin of pride.
Luke 6:37-38, one of my favorite verses in the bible. Judge not and you won't be judged, condemn not and you won't be condemned, forgive and YOU will be forgiven! Give these things and they will be given to you! A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you! This verse can apply to many things we deal with in life, and if we follow it, we will have great joy and great peace, never walking in unforgiveness. When people tell me, they just cannot forgive a person, I know they are in great trouble! You see forgiveness is a choice, not an emotional feeling, pastor I'm just not feeling it! I can't forgive so and so after they did this to me! Well bottom line is, it's not about you!!! It's about the glory of God! When we put ourselves aside, think and put into action the things that glorify God, this moves God and the blessings flow!
Matthew 18:15-20, lays out Gods guidelines for confronting one who sins against another. Talk together in private, pleasantly discuss issue, if their is no repentance, then get one or two others and discuss issue. So far things are done quietly, causing little embarrassment and plenty of room for one to repent, be restored and move on in fellowship....Gods plan!
Now, if still this gross sin is not repented for, then it goes before the whole church and everyone knows about it, like in 1 Corinthians where the son who is having an affair with his fathers wife is put out of the church. Same deal here, if no repentance person is to be put out of fellowship until such a time of repentance. But notice if the person does repent they are immediately restored to fellowship! Such was the case of the man in 1 Corinthians, Paul asks where he is, go get him! Forgiveness is not an option for a Christian and God will except no excuses! Matthew 6:15, if YOU do not forgive me their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins! Wow, that verse puts things into perspective!
You don't want to be like the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-35, but always error on the side of mercy! It might hurt your pride a little, but you will be rewarded for giving glory to God the Father!
Who do you need to forgive? Do it now! If not in person, then in your heart!
Day 73 The Essentials of Jesus Scripture Union
John 14:1-14 A Prayer Guarantee
This is without a doubt an amazing piece of scripture. If you have faith to be saved you will understand what Jesus is saying, if not then it will make zero sense.
Jesus has just given the bad news that where He is going the disciples cannot go with Him. In John 10:9, Jesus tells His disciples that He is the gate to heaven, whoever, whoever means anyone of any race, any social status, no matter their sin, whoever enters the gate through Christ will be saved! Jesus tells disciples in the start of chapter 14, don't be troubled, trust in God, trust in Him (Jesus) also. Jesus wants us to entrust Him with all our issues in the life and to trust Him with our souls for the next life!
Jesus goes on to tell the disciples in my Fathers house are many rooms, Jesus is going there to prepare a place for His followers. When the place is prepared, at some point the Father will send Jesus back to get His followers, that we can all be together in heaven with the Father and the Son and Holy Spirit. John 13:33,36, Jesus tells the disciples my time is short and where I am going you cannot come. Jesus was going to the cross to die for all mankind to longer be under the punishment of sin. From there to a resurrection and Ascension back to the Father. John 13:36, confirms this when Peter questions Jesus and Jesus reply is, where I go you cannot follow now, but you will follow later! Indeed Peter did follow later.
John 14:4, Jesus tells them, you know the way to the place I am going. John 12:26, confirms this, whoever serves Me, must follow Me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. That is a promise for the ages! We all can rest assure if we put aside our will and serve Christ's will, we are fulfilling the will of the Father, and with that comes great reward!
Jesus sums this all up in verses 13,14, Jesus will do whatever we ask that will give glory to the Father, ask for it in Jesus name and Jesus will do it! This is why devout Christians get upset when they are asked to pray but not use Jesus name! To do this is futile and a waste of time. Occasionally I get asked to pray for commissioner meetings etc, I usually grant the request unless I cannot use Jesus name as it might offend someone and that would not be politically correct. So the question becomes to we please God or men? I choose God every time. How about you?
Day 72 The Essential Jesus Scripture Union
Mark 3:20-35 The Unforgivable Sin
After Jesus appointed His twelve disciples, He gave them authority to drive out demons, later on after He appointed the seventy two, He gave them authority to overcome all power of the enemy. Mark 6:7,13.
The religious of this time and even Jesus family did not understand this power and authority, thinking He was out of His mind. It's the same way today, when you speak of spiritual things like the spiritual world, people freak out! It is from this world people are taken captive because of their sin. Where sin increases, demonic activity increases, and people do evil things.
Even in the natural mind the teachers of the law make no sense, when they said,"He is possessed be Beelzebub. By the prince of demons He is driving out demons." No one can enter a strongman's house without first binding him. Jesus when driving demons out, by the authority of the Father, binds them, they have no choice but to obey Him! No where in scripture do we read that the demons did not obey Christ. Some did ask for the lesser penalty, to be cast into swine and the pigs ran off the side of a cliff!
Satan and His demons have blasphemed the Holy Spirit, eternity is sure for them in the form of final judgment of destruction in the lake of fire. This punishment is for their disobedience, rebellion and rejection of God. What could possibly make people think they could do the same and say Gods love will save us is beyond me. You have to accept and reciprocate Gods love, it is not just one sided. People who reject God are blaspheming the Holy Spirit and God is not sending them to destruction, they are choosing destruction!
In verse 35, Jesus Christ tells those seated around Him, whoever does Gods will is my brother and sister and mother.
This very day many people have a choice to make, they can choose to continue rejecting God and stay on the path to destruction or they can say "today I will do Gods will"! I will ask God into my life, I will repent of my sin and serve my Lord and Master, Jesus Christ! This is falling under Christ's Lordship. Lordship is an old term, not user friendly nor politically correct, yet quite appropriate when one comes to complete surrender to Christ, they are falling under Christ's Lordship. Whatever is of Christ, they say and do Christ's will, always furthering the kingdom of God!
Day 69 The Essential Jesus Scripture Union
John 17:1-26 Prayer for Unity
Jesus in verse twenty one asks the Father, that all believers be one, just as as the Father is in Jesus and Jesus in the Father.
In Verse three Jesus tells us what eternal life is; that people may KNOW the Father and Jesus Christ. Not know about! But know personally, know Gods attributes, know what pains Gods heart, it should pain yours, know what gives the Father and Jesus Christ joy, it should also give us joy! This means we can KNOW the peace of God! Think about Christ on the cross, He wasn't screaming, full of anxiety, fear, no! He knew His mission, prayed to the Father to remove His suffering if possible, but everything Christ did was according to the Fathers will. This goes back to the Father being in Christ and Christ in the Father, they Knew each other! They were not just acquaintances! They knew each other in the deepest sense! Christ was with the Father before creation!
We are to strive to KNOW the Father and Jesus Christ the same way! This is the unity Christ is talking about! Complete agreement! This is Christ command to the church, to this point it hasn't happened. I believe it will take a great crisis to unite the church on one Father, One Christ and One Holy Spirit and one Baptism into Christ.
The only way can Know the triune God is by accepting by faith, through the free gift of grace, repenting of sin and making Christ Lord of your life. Submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This means we decrease and Christ must increase in our life. Total surrender! Nothing short will do! To KNOW this triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit you must know the word of God! You must let the word of God judge your life instead of you judging Gods word. We are not the deity! Although there are times we act like it! Sinful!
This unity Christ talks about does not come with compromise! The world seems like it's idea of unity is filled with compromise, trying to please all parties, political correctness if you please! This is like making everyone their own deity, they are God. God is not in the people pleasing business, but I can assure you that those who set out to please God, even if they have failures, will experience the glorious riches of God. Those that don't care to please God, working hard to please themselves.....well only a fool in their heart says there is no God!
Choose this day who you will serve!!
Day 67 The Essential Jesus
Luke 10:1-24 Joyful Prayer
Jesus sends out the seventy two, putting Satan on notice that Gods kingdom is moving forward on earth and no longer would Satan have full control. The harvest was certainly plentiful and the workers were certainly few in times past, but now the Lord of the harvest is on earth doing ministry! There's a new sheriff in town! Lol
Interesting the marching orders Jesus gives the seventy two, if there is peace for them at a house, that is where they are to stay, if there is no peace dust off your sandals as to signify they have nothing to do with the kingdom of God and move on! Don't waste valuable time, don't stir up any commotion which could hinder the work of God. Those who welcome the message will be saved and those who don't welcome the message won't be saved! Pretty simple and no in betweens, the message is the message, take or leave it!
Verse nineteen, the missionary journey was quite successful and Jesus is full of joy! Jesus warns the disciples that He has given them authority over the dangerous forces of evil, (Jesus reference to trample on snakes and scorpions) and not to rejoice over it, but to rejoice that their names are written in heaven. Pride comes before the fall!
Jesus full of joy, prays and gives thanks to the Father for the wise have not understood, but Jesus disciples (the lowly in society) have understood!
It is Jesus wish that all people understand and receive Him, unfortunately some are full of pride and are blinded by the evil one, refusing to receive Christ. One can only give the message, what the receiver of the gospel does with it is their business. Unlike other religions of the world, we don't beat, behead, torture one until they receive Christ! The gospel is a message of love, a free gift to the world! Think about that this Christmas!
Day 66 The Essential Jesus Scripture Union
Mark 1:29-39 Morning Prayer
Morning prayer, the best time to pray and get your marching orders for the day! This is exactly what Jesus does, he heals Simons mother in law and immediately she gets up and serves them! Take note men, next time your wife is sick, pray over her and maybe she too will get up and serve you!! Not the point of this mornings scripture, but fun to point that out!
The real point is that Jesus had been a very busy Jesus! Healing people, casting out demons, this takes power and power comes through anointing of God. Anointing of God comes from spending time with God in prayer. An exhausted Jesus is up before daybreak the next morning talking with the Father, getting His orders for the day!
Notice when Simon and his companions become a little impatient with Jesus, Jesus replies with what the Fathers will is for that day. Jesus reminds the disciples why He has come to earth, His mission to preach His gospel and drive out Satan's demons from people.
You do not do either one of the things the Father asked Jesus to do without prayer, and as far as driving out demons, some require fasting and prayer! Do a little survey of churches and my guess would be not a whole lot of driving demons out is going on. Matter a fact I have found through the years most Christians like bible studies, but actually applying the parts like driving out demons is not for them. We like to get our ears tickled and usually bible studies end up being a history lesson and not an actual teaching of, hey now we know how to do this particular spiritual thing, let's go do it!
Let's face it, we usually don't do anything spiritually that takes us out of our comfort zone! I believe this is why we see so few miracles in the church today. Sing a song, somebody say something, sing another song or two, take communion, sing a song take offering, get a 20-30 minute tickle me Elmo pep talk, sing a short song, go home! And that's all most people do until next Sunday. There is no power in that, it is nothing short of ritualistic. God wants people to earnestly seek His kingdom! His will! We should be having healings in our services, people so convicted of sin they run to the alter and confess to God, weeping tears of repentance! The Holy Spirit should be moving in all Christian churches this way.
When the leadership of a church gets on board with Jesus ways, they pray! When they pray, the Holy Spirit shows up and we know we are n the presence of God by the acts of God!
This starts individually, spreads throughout the church and the next thing you know is you have an Acts 2:42 Church!
Day 64 The Essential Jesus Scripture Union
Mark 5:21-43 A Healing Touch
Today's scripture deals with two women, both needing healing, one with an issue of blood for twelve years and the other was dead! The theme is just believe! Have faith!
I find it interesting that a large crowd was pressing in and around Jesus as he was headed to Jairus house. With all those people rubbing against Him, Jesus feels power go out of Him! You see somebody touched Him with belief! Somebody touched Jesus in faith! It is a persons faith that touches Jesus and causes power to flow out and heal! Sometimes I think we do not see prayers answered because we are just brushing against Jesus! It takes faith!
This poor woman with the issue of blood, for twelve years was unclean, spending her last money looking for a cure form the world. The world does not have a cure for an spiritually unclean problem! Only Jesus has a cure for that, and it's an everlasting cure!
So we see great faith from the woman with issue of blood, we see great faith from the father of the sick daughter, can you imagine having Jesus in your house to heal your child and for some one to send Jesus away, the child is dead! Physically or spiritually raising people from the dead is Jesus area of expertise! Wow Jesus is the First Fruits of the Resurrection, and if you have seen Jesus, physically or spiritually, you have seen the Father!
The heart of God is for His children to live! Live in his life, a life of spiritually abundance, and eternally in the next life. Our bodies, yes even mine! Lol will see decay, just look in the mirror! But our souls, our souls will never see Sheol, the grave! Praise God! Do you know see why it is so important to live a life of faith. Stop leaning on your on understanding and lean on Gods!
Day 62 The Essential Jesus Scripture Union
Luke 5:17-26 Paralyzed No Longer
This is a great lesson for us today! Jesus heals the paralytic simply by forgiving his sins!
Saved or unsaved person, sin has ill effects! Sin invitees the strongman into our lives to hold us captive, to make us sick, to blind, to paralyze. When a saved person lives with sin, they have a deadly bedfellow! Sin paralyzes! It causes confusion, cuts off the blessing of God, the anointing of God and at some point brings judgment! A saved person is filled with the Holy Spirit, sealed with the Holy Spirit, yet can still make a conscience decision to sin. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin, so this person is quenching the spirit of God knowingly! ( not a good thing)
The unsaved or as Quincy and I like to put it, the pre saved usually have no conviction of sin, are living life as an enemy of God, knowingly or unknowingly. They certainly do not have the spirit of God guiding them, they operate on a moral compass of learned behavior. What's except able in the world must be ok! If it's not against the law then it must be good! They fall under the judgment and wrath of God as unsaved.
So think about the saved person who decides to knowingly and willing sin! Scripture tells us to confess your sins to one another. There is good reason for that! Through our journey with Christ, there will be times we still fall short, in those moments we need a Barnabas, some one who will come along beside us, encourage us to repent and receive forgiveness, that we should escape the chastisement of God. We read in scripture where God chastises the ones He loves! It's like psalm 23, thy staff and rod, they comfort me, Gods chastisement protects us from falling away, getting off the path of righteousness. This should provide a comfort to us.
There can very well be a direct connection between sin and sickness, repentance and forgiveness is an vital part of the healing just like it is a vital part of salvation process. There is no restoration apart from repentance! Now think about who you know whose life is being torn apart, filled with illness, blindness, or paralyzed because of sin. Lead them to Jesus, by Christ stripes we are healed!
Day 61 The Essential Jesus Scripture Union
John 9:1-41 Blind Eyes Opened
We get a pretty good idea how the human mind works with this scripture! The question the disciples ask is pretty much the status quo for thinking today. They come upon a blind man, so immediately it is some ones fault! Who sinned this man or his parents? We are pretty quick to assign blame, we call it the blame game! It's got to be some bodies fault, who will the fall person be? That's the flesh for sure! Is this how a Christian should think? No!
Jesus takes it into the spiritual realm, nobody sinned! But that the work of God may be displayed! How often are we quick to applaud some one when really it is God who should be getting our praises! All good things come from God!
Even though it is the Sabbath, Jesus mixes up some powerful mud and sends the man to wash in the pool of Siloam and the man can now see! What was once physically blind can now see! The Pharissee's are upset that this happened on the Sabbath! They don't see things with spiritual eyes but with fleshly eyes! Pride does this to a person, blinds them to the things of God.
Jesus wishes that people be saved and healed every moment of every day! Jesus wants our spiritually blind eyes to be opened by faith in Him, for the good works of God to be shown through man. Jesus is no respecter of persons, He loves everyone no matter their past, Jesus focuses on a persons future, He knows that the Father has plans and a hope for every single person, the question is, will we walk with Jesus or walk away from Jesus?
I came to a point in my life where I decided to walk with Jesus, fully committed and have never regretted that decision! There have been plenty of good times and plenty of bad times, but Jesus has always sustained me and my family as well as our church!
The thing about having your spiritual eyes opened is you recognize your sin and how bad we really are, we now see our need for a Savior! Jesus is the only Savior!
Have your spiritual eyes been opened? If not, why not today? Repent of sin and receive Jesus Christ as Lord of your life!
Day 60 The Essential Jesus Scripture Union
Matthew 21:18-22 Powerful Earth
Jesus is pointing out that there is a direct correlation between faith, belief and then asking for something that is in line with Gods desires and purposes. I wrote earlier this week about Jesus giving thanks for the two fish and five loaves before it was multiplied to feed the five thousand.
If we want to see God answer our prayers then their needs to be belief, faith before we ask. Do we believe what we are asking fits into Gods desires and purposes? To truly answer this we must have some kind of relationship with God. If we know God, and not just know about God, then we are assured He hears our prayers unless there is gross sin involved.
We can rest assure God hears the simplest of our prayers, they don't have to be long and draw out, they can be but a few words that touch His heart! When we have a heart for the things God has a heart for, He is sure to answer! He loves His people, even if they are just simple minded ordinary people! It's about having a pure heart, not a head of knowledge!
So with this in mind, what mountains do you need God to move for you? It could be addictions, anything from quitting smoking, overeating, pornography, drugs, prescription or non, alcohol, maybe your in a bad relationship, things need to change, the other person needs to change and be certain you need to change! Name the mountain in faith, believing God will answer your prayers and He will!
Day 59 The Essential Jesus Scripture Union
Matthew 14:22-33 Walking on water
There is some real meat in these verses of scripture and we need to pay attention to detail. Jesus had just performed the miracle of multiplication. He took five loaves of bread and two fish, gave thanks and fed five thousand people! That's pretty good! But Jesus was just warming up! The disciples had started their training in faith and Jesus was constantly stretching their faith, it's the only way faith grows!
But before Jesus does His next faith building miracle, He gives us the model of how to tap into His power. Jesus sends the disciples away, goes up on a mountainside all by Himself to pray to the Father! Time alone praying and worshiping God is where Christ draws strength! I know when I spend my time in prayer and worship with the one true living God, no matter what the devil or world throws at me, I have confidence and trust that what the devil means for bad, my God can turn to good! Many times my vehicle has needed maintenance and disrupted my schedule during day, or my house has needed repair and I end up talking and praying with some one who has a serious need. These are divine interventions, we just have to make ourselves available for God to use us. If we are focused on ourselves and are complaining about repairs or maintenance instead of saying, ok God, how are you going to use this time for your glory? You see, this is where the blessing of God is, just be obedient, listening for Gods still quiet voice.
When Jesus walks on water and Peter gets all worked up and wants to walk on water out to Jesus, he makes one crucial mistake and it's the most common mistake by Christians today.
Peter takes his eyes off Jesus, and puts them on the problem, wind and waves, the storms of life, life's troubles. Why is it we sometimes are surprised when we encounter troubles? It is written in the bible, in this world (Satans world by the way) YOU will have TROUBLE! How we handle that trouble speaks volumes about our character!
Perhaps the most frequent thing God tells us not to do, is fear not, do not be afraid or a phrase like these dealing with fear. God is faithful and one of the fruits of the spirit is faithfulness! Take courage! Don't be afraid, God is with you! If you are a born again, spirit filled, Jesus follower, you have nothing to fear! If you were to die today, you will have already experience as much hell on earth as you will ever experience! God has sealed you with His Holy Spirit and you are His all the way to eternity in heaven with Jesus!
Have you given your life to Jesus Christ? Ask and received forgiveness of sins? Been filled with His Holy Spirit! Have you asked the Holy Spirit to fill you? Are you feeding that Holy Spirit through prayer and the word of God, loving God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength?This is the beginning of faith building, you have to start at the beginning, there is no pass go and get into heaven on your good works! It is a heart conditioned by God for the things of God.
Day 58 The Essential Jesus Scripture Union
Matthew 14:13-21 The Miracle Meal
Jesus feeds the five thousand! What an amazing example for praying and giving thanks over your meal before you eat! What do you want multiplied in your life? What are you in need of? What is someone you know in need of? You see Jesus gave thanks before the miracle for the miracle that was about to happen! You might call that praying the unseen into existence! What! Wow Faith! Think how everyone's faith was built up that attended this Jesus conference! I have been to a bunch of Pastors conferences and there is always a big spread from some food establishment that has been paid a pretty penny to prepare. The only miracle involved would be if any of us Pastors had left overs! Not a chance! Lol
Ms Q, Quincy my wife, Q is an affectionate nickname. When we go out to eat, love to see people praying over their food. Now if you know Quincy, she is always thinking, we are in a restaurant and we give the order to waitress, she says to me lets pray for our food now before the cooks touch it and let's pray for the cooks! Sometimes when you eat out prayer is the only thing protecting us from a case of food poisoning! Think about that! You can bet she is praying up a storm if I cook dinner some times too!!!
Jesus wants to be multiplied in your life and all lives for that matter! All people matter to Jesus, no matter race, color, social status, rich, poor, you name any person no matter how good, bad, Jesus wants to transform their lives! Jesus wants us to pray in faith for each other, yes even your mother in-law! Who do you know that needs Jesus multiplied in their lives? Pray a prayer of faith, giving thanks for their salvation and filling of Holy Spirit, that they would experience the hope, love, joy and peace of Christ!Jesus Birthday celebration has already started at Atwater, as we always celebrate Advent, it adds such a richness to this time of year. Takes the focus off materialism and puts it where it should be.....The Miracle of the Father sending His only So to save a lost and broken world!
Day 57 The Essential Jesus Scripture Union
Mark 4:35-41 Calming the Storm
Jesus calms storms, He calms the storms of our lives if we ask Him. Jesus is not shaken or worried about storms, He has full confidence in the Father and in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is why Jesus never entrusted Himself or His decision making process to man. Jesus knows what's in the hearts of men.
We live in a time where people do not trust government, government by all accounts has done a lousy job of building the people's trust. Full of lies and misleading information. Once you loose the trust of someone or some group, it is very difficult to earn it back. We are seeing that right now! A dictatorship never earns the trust of people, when leadership is in communication and leading well, the people will follow no matter what party is leading. Far to long this country has been without good leadership, it has been all partisan politics and instead of a country being united it is divided more than any other time in my lifetime.
Jesus Christ is the ultimate leader, through the power of the Holy Spirit and prayer, Jesus communicates constantly. We as people just need to be listening. People are filled with fear when the leadership is poor. John 4:18, There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
None of us have been made perfect yet, although if you listen to some you would think they are! We are living in a storm right now! One moment Muslims call there religion an ideology and the next moment their ideology is a religion! The devil always uses confusion as a tool. So we can teach Islam in our schools because it's an ideology. And then they can fall under religious protection as its a religion.....see what I mean! And it's all ok with our government!
Jesus is the only one who can calm this storm! We need to be praying for Jesus to calm the storm. It's hard to preach Christianity to someone who wants no better than to kill you. That takes great courage!
Many of us cannot begin to look at the worlds problems as we have a fair share of our own! Many struggle with drug addiction, prescription and non prescription. Funny thing, drugs are against the law, how is it people still manage to easily procure them? These people and their children need Jesus to calm their storm! Alcoholism, these people need Jesus to calm their storm, the poor and needy, need Jesus to calm their storm! The single parent struggling to get by needs Jesus to calm their storm! The family that is on the brink of breaking up, needs Jesus to calm their storm! Get my drift.....we all need Jesus, for in this life there will be troubles and sometimes we get a little relief for a period of time, maybe government assistance, but again, they will let you down! Jesus Christ is the only one who can calm your storms and the storms of this world! Have you cried out to Him and made Him Lord of your life. Are you willing to let Jesus be in charge and calm your storms.
Day 56 The Essential Jesus Scripture Union
John 2:1-11 Water into Wine
Jesus first recorded miracle is at a wedding at Cana in Galilee. When they run out of wine at the wedding, Jesus mom, Mary, says to Jesus,"they have no more wine." Jesus, it seems is a little reluctant at first, mom takes over and tells the servants to do what ever Jesus tells them.
There is six empty pots, the kind used for ceremonial washing, the servants filled the pots with water and Jesus turned the water into wine, but not just any wine! Jesus turned this water into choice wine and if I had to guess, it was probably the choicest of wines! Now some people like to debate on whether or not the wine was alcoholic. I think when we go in that direction we set ourselves up to miss the bigger point.
I can just imagine Jesus at the wedding, talking and laughing with people, I seriously doubt He was drinking fermented wine, but then again He is Jesus and perhaps it would have no effect what so ever on Him! After all, He did walk on water, I don't know if you have tried that one, but I have, I don't get far, but I do get wet!!!
Jesus is watching this world intently, just like I'm sure He was watching the people at the wedding wondering how many of them would perhaps except Him as Savior and who would reject Him. As Jesus looks intently at this world, sitting on His throne waiting for orders from the Father to return, He sees a lot of empty pots I'm sure, people who are running on empty, trying the worlds ways to fill the void in there lives, that can only be filled by Jesus! The pots I believe represent people, empty lives, just happy to survive, I been there, not much fun. The water in the pots might represent all the worlds ways we try to fill the voids in our lives, could be material things, lust, drugs, alcohol, you name it and man can think of the most evil things.
When we come to Jesus, He only sees us through the lens of forgiveness, He sees possibility, a future and a hope for each of us. Jesus has the power to turn water into the choicest wine, He also has the power to turn us into the choicest of people, royalty, on our way to the kingdom of heaven! Jesus has transforming power to change a person from an enemy of God into a friend of God. Jesus power is not limited because of how bad our sin is, how miserable an existence we are living, no Jesus power has no limits, all it takes is for us to come to Him, repent of our sin, call on His name! Live for Jesus, learn His ways, learn His word all of it not just the New Testament. Jesus was in church every Sabbath, He was teaching and preaching, praying, healing, delivering, this is the church of Jesus Christ.
What's your pot look like? Is it empty? Is it full of water? Or have you called on Jesus to make you the choicest of wines? Royalty, loving and learning the ways of Jesus.Many people know about Jesus, this won't save them. What does save is when people know Jesus on a personal and intimate level! How do you know Jesus?
Day 55. The Essential Jesus
John 15:1-17. Vine and branches
Jesus starts out saying, "I am the true vine, the Father is the gardener that cuts off every branch (people) that bears no fruit. The people who never produce or quit producing for the kingdom of God will be cut-off. These are people with no spiritual life in them which come from enduring faith and love for Jesus Christ.
Every branch (person) who does bear fruit He prunes, so it will be even more fruitful! These are those who have spiritual life in them, the Father cuts away the things which hinder this person so that they experience spiritual transformation, they continue growing into Christ like people. At times this process can be painful and uncomfortable yet it brings discipline and challenge and glory to God. This is why one must remain in Christ to the final end as it is all for the glory of God. There is no quitting, no turning back, you see living a life for Christ is not for cowards and cry babies, there may be times we are kicking and screaming to God, but if we remain in Christ it is a short lived pain for a long term gain! This is living in the victory, the Father will be pruning the branches, His people, until our very last breath! This requires jumping off the cliff of blind obedience to Christ time and again, having our faith tested, we who are in Christ will be tried and tested time and again and this is how we grow spiritually.
My dad had a saying," what don't kill you boy, will make you stronger! There have been many times when I thought the testing might kill me, but I always have thought of 1 Corinthians 10:13, no temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
So there you go! God will not let it kill us, it's never as bad as it seems, although it can be bad, but God has already set up the rescue! It's all part of the refiners process of purging sin from us, we can either draw near to God, or turn our backs away. Once again it is about heart condition in making the right choices! Stick close to the vine for heart conditioning.
Day 54 The Essential Jesus. Scripture Union
John 10:1-18. The Good Shepherd
This mornings reading is about Jesus being our Good Shepherd. There will always be people looking for the short cut to heaven. There is none! The thief and robber are false shepherds, unfaithful leaders. Think of all the different religions in the world, all man made with no deity, no atonement for sin. Some of them use evil such as murdering unarmed innocent people in the name of their God for special privileges in heaven....their heaven only exists in hell. Religion means nothing to our living God, it is but another tool of the devil!
If you have evil in your heart then these religions may appeal to you. If you have Jesus in your heart, then you discern their evil. Jesus is the Gate, Jesus said, I tell you the truth, and Jesus is absolute truth! I Am the Gate, whoever enters through Me, will be saved! You see there is no other name on earth which men can be saved!
These days many Christians who are lukewarm are being led astray because of there rebellion to really plug into Jesus, they do the religious thing and maybe go to church on Sunday's, but their worldly values shine the rest of the time. I find Facebook interesting, you can easily tell whose faith is real and whose is weak or non existent by their posts or rants of cursing. Our sources of what we share can be interesting also. Saw one where a Pastor was being bashed, the source of course was from an atheist source, shared by a supposedly Christian! Brilliant!
The Good Shepherd is called good because He was willing to lay His life down for all people, He wished that all people would experience His goodness, mercy (forgiveness), love and compassion. While we were still in our sins, Christ died for mankind to be delivered from sin and the penalty of sin. When we become Christians there should be an ongoing purging of sin from us, under the power of the Holy Spirit we should be experiencing transformation. Therefore we don't have to run around telling people or having people ask if we are Christians, they should be able to tell just by the way we live! If we are living like the rest of the world then you will not be recognized as a Christian and believe me, you will be judged like the world for your rebellion against God.
The Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ was willing to die for you! Will you except that, repent of your sins, ask and receive His Holy Spirt, be saved and transformed, being a disciple of Christ? I have a Grandson who when he has done something wrong will come to me and say, grandpa, I made a poor choice, we discuss it and I love on him and we move on, never to mention again his poor choice! Jesus is the same way! Except His love, receive His life abundantly!
Day 53 The Essential Jesus Scripture Union
Matthew 25:1-46 The Kingdom is like
The parables about the kingdom of heaven, Ten Virgins, Talents, Sheep and Goats, all intertwined with a common theme. What are we going to do with what Christ has given us. Will we sow into the Kingdom of Heaven, or just squander away our prize.
Christ constantly calls us to examine our spiritual condition. We want our hearts to always be conditioned to the things of God, not the world. Should we drift back into worldly thinking, when the bridegroom come we may miss Him. But if we are busy about the Kingdom of heaven, His return will be no surprise. We remain focused on kingdom work, not worldly accomplishments. Christ in the parable of the Ten Virgins indicates that a large portion of the Church will not be prepared at the time of His return.
One of the things that troubles me greatly about the Church, is perhaps a lackadaisical attitude toward prayer, a church that does not pray regularly together and does not pray at the gathering to accommodate new people, leaves itself wide open for worldly things to sneak into the church and therefore it will not be ready when the bridegroom returns. This includes men and women.
I believe the church in America is very complacent and entertainment oriented. We will come to an hour or so service, but it has to be filled with emotional pick up, yet not to much, should the Holy Spirit move and offend some one who is on their way to hell. We must have our clicky groups. And not have midweek services as it's just to much to ask people to bring their children to a midweek program, as the worldly public schools who could careless about our kids spiritual condition have all kinds of programs 7 days a week and who cares about God anyway or learning about God. I watch Christian family one right after another teach their kids to worship sports, academics, etc over God. I thank God my wife and I resisted the allure! I coached sports for some teams my kids played on. Rules were if you were on our team, no practice weds evenings and no games Sunday! God has taken very good care of our children, all are happily married, all own homes and newer vehicles, working jobs with pensions and ALL serving God in the local church.
You see my kids parents know the bridegroom is coming! We want Christ to find all our kids and grandchildren serving Hm at His return.
How about you? How about your family? Will you be prepared at the bridegrooms return? Think about that, won't you?
Day 52 The Essential Jesus -- Scripture Union
Matthew 20:1-16 The Generous Landowner
Known also as the parable of the workers in the vineyard, Jesus once again is checking the hearts of men! The workers are those of us who are at work in Gods kingdom, serving God with different results, but all to the glory of God.
We should never be envious of another's spiritual blessings, and we who are being blessed should never feel superior to others. We should always be sharing Gods concern and generous grace, avoiding an attitude of envy and resentment towards others spiritual blessings. We don't know what they went through (trials and troubles) to receive those blessings.
We should always be concerned that Gods kingdom is being furthered through our own ministry. And if some one else is being spiritually blessed remember Romans 12:15, rejoice with those who are rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.
Remember, the Apostle Paul's words about the body of Christ being knit together as one body, one church in Christ Jesus! Romans 12:16, live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
It's about coming along side one another, building each other up in Christ, to further God's Kingdom. I have a brother named Kirk, who always reminds us everyone needs a Barnabas! Barnabas means son of encouragement. Because of Barnabas speaking up for a man who hated Christians named Saul, who had an encounter with a supposedly dead, but really the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus, we know have the wonderful life writings of one Apostle Paul.
You see God specializes in things that once were dead and making them alive in Christ!
How about you? Are you alive in Christ? Are you encouraging people to do ministry? Do you rejoice with those who are being spiritually blessed?
Day 51 The Essential Jesus. Scripture Union
Matthew 13:1-58 Good Crop or Weeds
More parables! The disciples were perplexed as to why Jesus was speaking to the people in parables, the knowledge of the kingdom of heaven had been given to the disciples, not the ordinary man. Ones heart had to be right with God to understand Jesus parables. The word parable means "placing beside in comparison". Once again it is a heart situation, if one had a heart for the things of God, they would discern exactly what Jesus was saying about the kingdom of heaven and the hearts of men.
The Word of God is like seed, when the word is sown, it must take root in good soil. Just as soon as it's sown the evil one is looking to see if it fell on good soil or just a path where it will get trampled over, or perhaps it has fallen on rocky places and there is some joy albeit short lived, then there is thorns, were it gets choked out by the worries and cares of this world!
But then there is good soil, the heart yearns to know about the things of God! The heart desires to know God, not just know about God! The heart has been touched by God because the person has been touched by Gods word and the transformation from a worldly and carnal person to a spiritual person has begun! This man like the mustard seed starts with the smallest of faith, cultivates it through the understanding of Gods Word and yielding to Gods spirit, growing into a great child of God with great faith! This person, who has a love for the things of God, is the one who will be counted as good seed for Gods kingdom, the weeds the grow up with this person will either grow with in great faith or be cut off and burned at the end of age.
Reflect: these parables speak of receptive soil (hearts). What factors make for a person to have or not have a receptive heart? Do you want to be good soil where Gods Word can take root and grow? It's all about the condition of ones heart!
Day 50 The Essential Jesus. Scripture Union
Luke 18:1-14. Uncommon Prayer
Today's reading is about praying and not giving up and being humble exalting God. Because of the widows persistence the judge relented and did what was right! God moved the heart of the judge so that, justice could be served on behalf of the righteous widow. God will bring justice for His children who cry out to Him!
How many call themselves Gods children and don't have enough faith to cry out to God, it is pride that keeps us from calling out to God! I hear excuses like, I don't want to bother God with such a small thing, I can handle it right now, if not then I will call on God, NO, neither is faith, and both show the sin of arrogance and pride. How simple to just take everything to God, living a life of faith!
When we lose perspective that we are sinners and imperfect we are fulfilling the sin of pride of life. Thank you God that I am so great, is not the prayer of a repentant sinner! Every day we should ask and thank God for having mercy on us! For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted! Praise God!
God will bring justice on His children's behalf when we cry out to Him! The bigger issue is, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? How's your faith? Faith doesn't get built up by judging others and crying out for justice, however it does get built up when we humble ourselves and ask for mercy!
Day 49 The Essential Jesus Scripture Union
Luke 15:1-32. Lost and Found
How awesome is it when we loose something precious to us, maybe it was something someone we love gave us and we misplaced it, we have looked all over for it and when we do find it, wow! What excitement! Then we cling to it and make sure we don't loose it again!
A while back I was searching for a picture of my mom and dad, we had a flood in the house and everything got packed and moved. I searched and searched, gave up, when I would start thinking about it, I would start my search over, then one day out of nowhere my wife moved some boxes and I realized I had not looked in them and sure enough! One happy Pastor! Grabbed that picture and put it back where it belonged!
It's the same when it comes to lost people, we search and search for absolute truth, something we know that will never change, it's the love of God, it never changes, it's the same yesterday, today and forever. God loves people! He loves you and He loves me! Nothing makes heaven rejoice more than when one of Gods lost people comes home like the parable of the lost son. When people come to their senses and say to themselves why am I doing life without Jesus? I am going home to Jesus, He is my safe refuge!
Today is Thanksgiving, for those of us that have decided to make Jesus our safe refuge it is an eternal thankful day, not that we should not be thankful everyday, but today is just a little extra! We should reflect on how crazy and determined the early settlers must have been! They left what they knew for religious freedom, (they never did escape taxation) Lol like that's possible in this life. But I am thankful for the steep price they paid for the generations to come! Many paid with their lives and lives of their loved ones.Let us be thankful and prayerful today, Philippians 4 tells us to rejoice in the Lord always, be gentle and not anxious, prayer and petition, with thanksgiving and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. You know this is how Apostle Paul made it through beatings and captivity, this is how people are making it today through persecution throughout the world.
Day 47 The Essential Jesus - Scripture Union
Luke 12:13-21. Rich toward God
The Parable of the rich fool, Jesus addresses greed and that we being in the flesh must guard against it! We have a natural tendency to want to take life easy, eat, drink and be merry, just like in the days of Noah! To have greed is to thirst for more, a selfish and wrongful desire for more does not refer to providing for ones own needs and those of ones family needs.
We must spend part of our lives working to provide for our needs, and we must be careful where we invest our time, efforts and resources to becoming rich toward God, as this is where our true rewards lie.
Pursue the kingdom of God and all its righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. This means we are to pursue the things of God, by His standards and His purposes!
Again, Jesus looks into the heart of man and challenges us to look into our own hearts. The question we have to ask ourselves is, are we serving God or are we serving ourselves? No man can serve two masters, we cannot serve mammon and God!
The time is coming for each of us when our lives will be demanded, have you laid your riches up in Christ, for Heavenly rewards, or will your rewards be divided up and sold by flesh in this world? There is nothing wrong with leaving some inheritance behind, but the real treasure is in what one sows into the kingdom of God.
Where are your treasures stored up?
Day 46 The Essential Jesus. Scripture Union
Luke 10:25-37. A True Neighbor
The Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus had a habit of asking a question to answer a question. The man wants to know what he must do to inherit eternal life? Jesus asks the man, what does the Law say? When we have questions the first answer we should be asking ourselves is, what does the word of God say? As usual the correct answer is in the condition of ones heart. Love The Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself!
This parable emphasizes true faith and obedience that leads to spiritual salvation and a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. If you have the love of Christ in you, then you will have a heart of mercy and compassion, having mercy on the less fortunate and those who have made poor decisions in life and are now paying a steep price for those poor decisions.
This doesn't mean we don't speak truth and the gospel into people, it does mean we come along side and walk with them, encouraging them to do better in the power of Christ.
Identify someone who has a need in a specific area and see if you can help them in some way.
Day 45 The Essential Jesus. Scripture Union
Matthew 24:1-51 Watching for the end
The signs of the end of age, it's pretty obvious we are there. Jesus tells us no one except the Father knows the time of the end, not even Jesus. So what do we as Jesus followers do until then? We do exactly what the bible tells us to do. Be faithful, going forth making disciples, baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching Christ's commands.
We must not be struck with fear, which is a sign we have taken our eyes off Jesus, this will lead us to be deceived by the evil one. We must understand we will be hated, persecuted and wickedness will increase. All this is happening now.
There will be false prophets, therefore everything must be measured against the word of God. In the days of Noah the world partied, sinned and mocked Noah and God right up to the end, ignoring the warnings of Gods judgment! It did not matter to God one bit if the atheist said He didn't exist! He is the great I Am and what man thinks doesn't matter!
For the Christ follower the pain of the Great Tribulation will be cut short by Christ's second coming. The question to be answered is will the elect of Christ remain faithful? Are you looking forward to Christ's second coming? Did you know as believers we are to be praying for Christ's return?
Day 44 The Essential Jesus. Scripture Union
Matthew 23:1-39. Woe to the Hypocrites!
Jesus hits the religious right between the eyes! Anyone who thinks Jesus was a pacifist is mistaken. Jesus said exactly what He meant! And knew exactly when to say it! Jesus was not politically correct at all, He certainly offends the prestigious religious leaders and all that follow them, this is what led to Him being beaten nearly to death and then killed on a cross outside the gates of Jerusalem. The religious leaders wanted to be politically correct, which meant Christ had to be put outside the gates, killed with the Gentiles! Jesus did not come for the religious, He came for the ones the religious were persecuting and misleading, putting burdens and man made rules that they had no desire to keep themselves. Being that Jesus came for people outside the gates of Jerusalem, it was only fitting that He should die with them, for them!
We see the religious all the time, they distort Gods word, embrace worldly theology in their churches to justify their own sin. Interesting that these groups are declining denominations who are in decline because people are looking for authenticity, meaning they are looking for the real Jesus not a man made Jesus! The bible tells us that before Christ returns there will be a unifying of the church, not all churches, but the authentic, genuine church of Christ! We are seeing a dividing now. The church of Christ which stands on Christ's word and not man's! This is the church that is unifying and standing together today. The Hypocritical church which embraces false man made doctrines will be left outside the gates of Jerusalem, Zion.
Also those in the church of Christ, who under the pretense of love, tolerance and unity-refuse to recognize and speak out against false behavior according to Gods word, not man's, are participating in the evil works of false prophets and teachers! 2John 1:10,11. "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. Anyone who welcomes him shares in their wicked work." Wow right from the word of God!
Jesus warns us about looking clean and religious on the outside and filthy on the inside, once again Jesus is getting to the heart of matters. You see He teaches that it is our heart that matters to Him, not our outside appearances to impress man! We all know plenty of people who get all dressed up for church, put on their Sunday best, act very pious and even during the week may where a chain cross or bracelet and yet be filthy on the inside, addicted to porn, sex or drugs....white wash tombs spiritually dead! Maybe Jesus described you? Jesus did not say these things so much to condemn people to hell as He did to shake and wake people up and show them their need for an authentic relationship with Christ!
How is your relationship with Christ?
What could you do better to make that relationship thrive?
Day 43 The Essential Jesus Scripture Union
Matthew 7:1-29 Cautions and Concerns
In chapter seven, Jesus is transitioning some from preaching on our relationship with Him to how our relationship with Him should impact our relationships with one another.
Jesus condemns the practice of judging others while ignoring our own faults. Believers need to make sure we are submitting to Christ's commands and standards. Are we practicing what we preach, which is leading by example. Christ's is not denying the fact that we need to discern bad behavior nor condone it. There are plenty of bad behavioral patterns from the world that when they creep into Christ's church, dilute the word of God, attempting to make it null and void. There has to be correction and discipline. The Apostle Paul chastised the church at Corinth for tolerating gross sin, they in turn dealt with it, putting unrepentant person out of fellowship for a period of time. Jesus goes on to teach in verse 6, do not give to dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs! Some just don't care to hear the word of God and be corrected and repentant. They just want to hear their sin is acceptable.
We must not act like hypocrites, this is worldly and sinful. Ask, Knock and Seek, when we have issues we can boldly take them before the throne of God! Our communication and relationship with Christ is critical when it comes to effective prayer and see kingdom purposes manifest. Remember small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to eternal life, and only a few find it! How will we recognize that few, by our fruit, an evil person cannot bear good fruit, they can try and maybe even deceive some people for a period of time, but the truth will always surface. A good person cannot bear bad fruit, people can say the fruit is bad, but most likely, they do not know the word of God, therefore they don't know what Good fruit looks like! The word of God is always infallible and useful for correction and bearing good fruit. This is why it is so important to know the word of God, have it written on your heart as well as your brain. I have met many smart people who knew the word of God, written on their brain, but had no fruitful relationship with Christ, therefore the word was not written on their hearts! These are what Jesus refers to as hypocrites! The ones who say Lord, Lord, but will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
The Syrian refugee issue and terrorist attacks have stirred up a controversy as there seems to be no way to know good guy from bad. Now I am in dangerous territory and know it! Seems to me, if we look at it from a spiritual perspective it might help. We must assimilate these people in. There needs to be teaching of Americas traditions, religious and secular moral law. Problem is we have shifted so far from God and are not operating under His umbrella of protection. Teach them what it is to love Christ, if they accept then give them the opportunity to bear fruit. Let them volunteer at a food pantry etc, as Christians we have some responsibilities to mankind, but to blatantly open ourselves up to possible terrorist attack is ungodly, immoral and casting our pearls before swine. My heart goes out to these refugees and we need to do what is possible to make them comfortable until we figure something out.
We who live in America are blessed, we complain about things that these people have never experienced, on the other hand, there has been a great amount of blood shed to make this country what it is. So we must protect the foundation and integrity of this country and that means getting back to following the word of God, regardless of who it offends. A country cannot continue to blaspheme the word of God and expect the blessing of God.
Wrap: Jesus talks about in Matthew 7:24, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on a rock, when the storms come, the house stands because the foundation is strong!
Day 42 The Essential Jesus Scripture Union
Matthew 6:1-34 Gods Priorities
Chapter 6 is really about Gods priorities in our lives. He is telling us how to live and what and how we should prioritize if we want His blessings.
Do not do things so that we get man's approval, but do things from the heart, in the secret place where only you and God share with each other. That's a personal relationship from the heart and soul of a person, really that's where God ministers to our souls.
Hypocrites do everything out in the open to be built up by man, to hear man's approval, which comes from a spirit of pride. Remember one of the three sins Satan tempted Jesus with in the desert was the pride of life. ( look at me and what I have done!) It should be, look at what God has done through me, not of myself. If you do not know what to pray, Jesus teaches a model that you can pray exactly how it is or you can break it down into scripture when we pray.
Three times in this scripture reading Jesus basically warns, not to be like the hypocrites, now who could He possibly be referring to except the religious leaders of this time. They had more or less set up a political system under the guise of being religious. Full of pride, looking for man's popular vote to move up in position. Not unlike some denominations that we have today.( Oops did I say that! PC police will be watching me!) Just like yesterday's sermon Jesus gave in chapter 5, Jesus is always getting to the heart condition, if your heart is in His hands and you are fully trusting Him and not yourself, you are right where you need to be!
One of the biggest reasons a person sins is worry and anxiety, not trusting Jesus means we are trusting Satan! Keep that in mind.....scary!
What challenges you the most? Is it worrying about your checkbook, savings for retirement, insurance? I am 57 years young today! Lol I have started driving myself crazy, looking at the stock market and it has had plenty of ups and downs, not concerned about my retirement, as a preacher you never retire! But I want my wife Quincy to be able to retire early so she can cook for me more often! Lol we want to do some traveling and camping, visiting family etc. I realized I was not trusting in Jesus to take care of her retirement, I was driving myself crazy! So I have given it to Jesus and He will tell me when the time is! Isn't that much easier on myself?
What do you have that's pushing your buttons that you need to give over to Jesus completely?
Day 41 The Essential Jesus Scripture Union
Matthew 5:1-48, The Sermons of Jesus. But I tell you....
Wow! Jesus seemingly deals with all kinds of issues in what has been called The Sermon on the Mount. From the beatitudes, blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the pure in heart, peacemakers, the persecuted, blessed when people insult us, and do evil against us! Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven!
Jesus has made us salt and light, He has called us not to lose our flavor our saltiness, our ability to influence the world, resist moral corruption, bring healing to the hurting, physically, emotionally and spiritually. We must continue being filled with the Holy Spirit or lose our saltiness. Christians are the light of the world and are called to shine Christ likeness into the darkness of the world.
Jesus came to fulfill the Law, not abolish it, He takes what men perceive as a physical obeying of the Law and turns it into a heart, soul and mind issue, from murder, adultery, to divorce, oaths, an eye for an eye and loving our enemies, which right now in our time is becoming increasingly difficult as it is very apparent our enemies religion teaches to kill us infidels. And we seemingly have a government that is bent on making sure we are killed! So where does that leave us as Christians, abandoned by our government, but yet called and chosen as Christ bride, His church. Christ's calling supercides any government intervention, so the question becomes do we follow Christ or do we follow a corrupt government. We are called to submit to leaders put in charge as none get to be in charge apart from the will of God. I believe there is a great shaking of the church happening right now and the dross is being burned off and the true church of Christ will emerge. Somewhat smaller, but moving greatly in the power and authority of Christ. Interesting Jesus tells disciples to love your enemies and to pray for those who persecute you! I understand tax collectors are not killing Christians, but we are still called to pray for Muslims, how different would the world look if Muslims became Christians. There are places in Michigan where it is not safe for a Christian to walk, do you want that in your neighborhood? Better get praying and better get loving your enemies for they are here and more are coming!!! Remember Jesus reigns! Does He reign in your heart?
Day 40 The Essential Jesus Scripture Union
Luke 5:1-11. A new kind of fishing
The beginning of discipleship. Jesus starts identifying who His disciples are, notice He was not in The temple looking for the sharpest students. Nope, Jesus is at the sea side picking out His disciples with which He would train up and change the world! Jesus starts with smelly fisherman! These men were certainly not smarter in book education, they were not bolder or more spiritual than others, they simply recognized something special about Jesus and responded in faith!
The big lie in today's world is, get into a big time college, get a big time education and you have it made in life! It is one of the gods of this age! Also a big lie! There are no guarantees in this life, my wife works at the post office, there are plenty of people working with her that have spent a small fortune on their education and are no better for it. They struggle with life just like everyone else, many have no spiritual life and I am sure feel duped as every month they make their student loan payments with their postal pay check. To get into the post office all you need is a clean record, score 70 or so on test and even if you score 100 you don't get paid anymore than anyone else! So Jesus was not concerned with disciples education, He had seen the Pharisees, Scribes, Saducees and other religious of that day and they had no heart for God. They lived puffed up lives, braggarts about what they accomplished and who their parents could afford for them to have as a teacher of the Law. Not unlike today, when some one brags on what college they attended. Interesting that the housing crunch of 2007 was basically started by business scholars from one of this nations prestigious colleges, who were hired by a banking firm to find new ways to leverage bad loans on the stock market. These geniuses brought down the worlds economy at the urging of the federal reserve presidents blessing, thinking this will be great. I don't think the people who lost their homes and broken marriages would say it was a great idea!
Jesus is always looking at the heart of men, Jesus is the discerner of hearts, this is why He choose His disciples the way He did. Jesus discerned the hearts of the disciples, knowing that they were ready to jump off the cliff of blind obedience to their Lord! These smelly, not so smart fishermen, had hearts for the things of God, therefore they answered the call of God!
How about you? How is your heart? Would Jesus discern that you are ready to jump off the cliff of blind obedience to Him? Too follow Him wherever He would want you to go? To put aside your fleshly ideas and ideology to embrace the Spirit of God and His Kingdom?
Only you know the answer! Hows your heart?
Day 39 The Essential Jesus Scripture Union
Luke 4:31-44 Power and Authority
No prophet is accepted in His hometown or family members, but when Jesus left and went to Capernaum, they were amazed at His teaching because it had authority, authority to cast out evil demons. Interesting that the evil demons recognized Christ authority and power over them, but most people did not! The demons even declared Christ to be - The Holy One of God! You see Satan knows who Christ is and that's why He tempted Christ in the desert, as the devil knew he was defeated! With authority he ordered demons out from the people they held captive, sin opens the door to demons and they hold people captive, veiling them from their deliverer,Jesus Christ. So people deny Christ, take away His authority and deity, saying He was just a good man! No He was God in the flesh! He lives on today through the Holy Spirit in the Jesus follower.
The Greek word for authority is exousia, meaning, the freedom and right to decide or act. It involves capability and power. Jesus exousia came from the Father, which came from knowing the Father. Jesus gave this same exousia to His followers, those who know Jesus, not just know about Him. Christ anointing to followers flows out of relationship with Christ. Believers will not experience the full benefits of Gods kingdom without confronting and gaining victory over Satans kingdom. This cannot happen if the church embraces sin, more and more churches and denomination are accepting of sinful lifestyles to the point that even clergy are accepted with sinful lifestyles. Satan has won with these. They have embraced sin, given up on Gods holiness command, be holy for I am holy. No, they have embraced the ways of the world which is controlled by Satan and therefore fall under Gods judgment and wrath as the world does.
Remember Jesus has won the victory over Satan and the worlds ways, Jesus will judge the world and condemn it and execute the judgment. We who are in Christ are His, we should be feeding our spirits and souls with His word and prayer, so when the trials come we are not tossed around like babies, crying and ranting immaturely, but standing firm in Christ! Full of faith, being a witness to the world, that when trouble comes knocking we have an advocate in Christ through the Holy Spirit of God, who will stand for us, take our burdens, if we are willing to hand them over! Declare Christ's power and authority in our lives!
How do you respond in troubled times? Would you say your response gives glory to God or Satan? Do you live like a victor in Christ or a victim of Satans?
The only way you can give glory to God in troubles is spend time with Him, whose Word says He will give us double for our trouble!
The Essential Jesus - Day 38 Scripture Union The beginning ministry of Jesus
Luke 4:14-30 A Prophet without honor
Jesus returns to Galilee, but the Jesus who returns is not the same Jesus who left! Jesus returns in the power of the Holy Spirit! One of the main workings of the Holy Spirit is conviction of sin. Without conviction of sin, one does not see their need for a savior or repentance, they can just go their own way to destruction never looking back.
They did allow Jesus to teach in their synagogues and it was no coincidence when He was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah! Jesus read to the people about Himself in Verses 18-19, The spirit of the Lord is on me! God has anointed me! To preach good news to the poor in spirit! Proclaiming spiritual freedom for the prisoners! Recovery of sight for blind, physically and spiritually blinded! Release for the spiritually oppressed! Proclaiming the year of the Lords favor!! We are still living in that year!!! Those filled with the Holy Spirit cannot quench the Gospel of Christ! It must boldly come out of them, declaring the favor of the Lord and deliverance from captivity and oppression from Satan! To open the eyes that have been veiled by Satan! You see the scripture has been fulfilled and no man, no devil in hell can suppress it! People have the power of the Holy Spirit to rise up out of oppression and captivity to open their minds to the things of God and to close their minds to the worlds ways and therefore laying their sins down, taking up their cross and serving Jesus! That means the couch potatoes get off the couch, rise up and get into church, small groups, teaching children and adults the ways of the Lord! No more addictions, no more murder, no more adultery, physical not spiritual, by the power of Gods Holy Spirit loving beyond any human ability, forgiving beyond any human ability, serving beyond any human ability, only by Gods power!
Put yourself aside, let the Word and Spirit convict you of sin to bring you to repentance and be delivered! Put on a spirit of humility, stop thinking to much of your prideful self and surrender your life to Christ and let Him lead! That my dear people is where the peace and victory which is beyond all human understanding is! So you can soar in this life like Eagles or flounder like Turkeys! It's your choice! No pun intended with Thanksgiving around the corner! Well maybe just a little pun! Lol
Day 37 Scripture Union The beginning ministry of Jesus
Luke 4:1-13 Temptation in the Desert
Jesus has been baptized by John the Baptist, and now (Full of the Holy Spirit) returns from the Jordan river and is led by the Holy Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
During this time with Satan, important things are revealed to the believer. We see the three main sins that Satan uses, that man is susceptible to. The pride of life, lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes. Think about these three, lust of the eyes- I like what I see and I want it, material world things catch the eye! Lust of the flesh-he or she is much better than the loser I'm married to, so I will go after that person even if I have to break up two marriages, because I deserve to be happy! Sound familiar? Keep an eye on social networks and you can't miss it! Finally, the pride of life-says look at me! I have power and I want more! I am my own God! No spirit of humility here! And don't waste your time looking for it either!
The major lesson of this scripture I believe is, if you are a follower of Christ, understand you have made Satans hit list, especially if you are preaching the Gospel. If you are a lukewarm Christian, you are relatively safe for now, although Jesus has some harsh words for the lukewarm.
If we are to wage warfare in the spiritual realm with Satan, then we must be full of the Holy Spirit, when I say full I mean our relationship with Christ has to be priority and we must be prayer warriors. We can never accomplish anything in our own power we must always use Christ authority and power to break strongholds and addictions. If you are easily wound up and filled with anxiety and fear, your will be devoured by Satan until you learn to completely put all your trust in God. This brings peace and confidence which is way beyond the natural minds understanding.
Jesus kingdom is not an earthly one, Jesus kingdom is a spiritual one and it is in the spirit where the battles of life are won! Jesus kingdom is to be established in the hearts of His people who have refused to follow the ways of Satans world.
Romans 12:1-2, Paul urges believers to offer their bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Not conforming to this world but being transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you can discern, test and approve what Gods good, pleasing and perfect will is. If we are busy fulfilling the big three sins we will never know what Gods will is for our life, we are living outside His will and blessing.
Dogs can be great pets and learning tools for us, when we picked up our Lab Sadie, the breeder told us she loves to please. Well we got her home, we loved on her, she loves on us and sure enough, she try's her very best to please us! Follows our commands even when she would much rather be doing what dogs do, sniffing and running around off the leash. She knows it's only allowed in fenced area. Our creator, created us out of love, gave us a great earth to live on, provides everything we need to live and enjoy life. We make such a mess out of things sometimes instead of just being concerned with pleasing God! If He loves us, and we love Him, then we should want to please Him, God is our source for life and He wants us to live life to the fullest! The key to pleasing God is continually be being filled with His Holy Spirit, so we can please Him and He can bless us! I have yet to serve God and not be blessed by God!
How's your heart? Is it established in the love of Jesus Christ? Can you say Christ's kingdom is established in your life, so when Satan comes to tempt, like Jesus you will be full of the Holy Spirit and defeat the Devils schemes?
Day 36 Scripture Union The beginning ministry of Jesus
Matthew 3:1-17 Preparing the way
John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus. Johns baptism was for repentance of sin, the old covenant required animal sacrifice for atonement of sin. John prepares people to receive Jesus through being baptized for repentance of sin.
You don't get to Jesus without repentance of sin, there is no cheap grace. The only way to salvation is repentance, repentance always comes before renewal and restoration.
To repent is to turn around-to make a complete change, turning from evil and turning to God through faith in Christ. True repentance leads to spiritual salvation and a personal relationship with Christ which brings peace. This is being born again and only by the Holy Spirit of God can this happen.
Verse 11, John the Baptist, baptized with water for repentance of sin, but Jesus Christ baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire. This is where we get the term born again and spirit filled. Only these will get into heaven. It is by the works of Christ and nothing of yourself the one is saved from judgment. Ephesians 2:8-10, for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are Gods workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Jesus is the answer to breaking the barrier from shame and guilt, which only comes from sin and the evil one. Jesus came to set the captives free, not all captives want freed though! Some enjoy their misery! Full of pride and unrepentance they continue down the path of destruction.
One thing about a truly repentant person who is filled with Holy Spirit is that they bear fruit! The fruit of the Holy Spirit can be found in Galations 5:22-23, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against these things there is no law! We should be practicing and producing these things daily!
Daily we should be living a repented life according to the Holy Spirit of God in us, therefore bearing much fruit and prospering the Kingdom of God!
Day 35 The Birth of Jesus
Luke 2:41-52. My Fathers house
Luke 2:40, is the lead in for today's lesson. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. What an awesome world it would be if parents nurtured their children and brought them up to know Jesus! Teaching our children about the ways of the Lord should not just be a good idea, for parents who know the Lord it is a requirement! Grandparents should be teaching their grandchildren about Jesus as well! How should it be that we get into heaven, but have no idea if our children or grandchildren will make it there because we have no idea about their relationship with Christ.
As Christians we are charged to preach the gospel, not to say, Oh that's personal, mind your business. Will you mind your business as they go to hell because of your ignorance and rebellion?
When Jesus was twelve years old, he went to the Temple with his parents for the feast of Passover. On their way home the parents realize Jesus is missing, they turn around and head back to Jerusalem to find him. They find their twelve year old in the temple courts teaching the adults! Parents understandably upset, ask why he did this? A twelve year old Jesus could only answer with truth, I had to be in my Fathers house! I remember one time at a large church I was in leadership at, our youngest son was friends with the Pastors son. We finished Sunday night service and we're all meeting at a friends house for coffee. We arrived first thinking our son was with Pastor and his son. The Pastor arrives thinking his son was with us and our son, we all were quite surprised when we arrived back at church to find them just resting in their Fathers house! We all like Mary and Joseph where quite relieved. Lol
When we raise our kids in church we are sowing into their present lives and also their eternal lives! Our kids desperately need to be in church. The world does not think so! It used to be that weds nights and Sunday's where set aside for church. Anymore the schools and sports programs could care less about our kids spiritual lives! They have practice and programs weds nights and all day Sunday! It takes devoted Christian parents who know and care what's best for their kids to say no to this. It is the worlds way not Gods! And the world is passing away, there will be no trophies or parents huge egos in heaven. There will be judgment and reward. Remember we are in the world, but not of the world so don't think like the world or you will only get what this world has to offer!
Jesus's mother treasured all the things of Jesus youth, he did not sit inside staring at a video game all day and after school, but he spent time with other children and studying Gods word, this is why he was able to teach adults in the temple courts. I can assure you Quincy and I have three boys that at twelve years old would have been able to teach some adults! They were in church Sunday mornings, Sunday nights and weds nights and loved every minute of it. They serve in churches with their wives and children and are filled with joy and blessing from God! They are not perfect anymore than their mom and dad, they love Jesus and serve faithfully and reap the blessings of God for it.
Verse 52, wraps up our lesson, Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in the favor of the God and men.Reflection: what amazes you most about Jesus?
Day 34 Scripture Union The Birth of Jesus
Matthew 2:1-23. Visit of the Magi
Herod the great, what a not so nice King! King Herod was cruel and hard hearted, he murdered many including a wife and three sons. But the religious and political people loved him. Herod was responsible for many buildings being built and starting the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem.
The Magi specialized in science, medicine and astrology. The Magi came looking for the King of the Jews and started their search in Jerusalem. King Herod gets wind of what they are doing and fears for his throne, therefore the King of the Jews must die.
I find it interesting that Magi from southern Arabia are looking for the King of the Jews, while the Jewish religious leaders are tight with Herod who wants to kill the King of the Jews! The Jewish religious leaders were too busy as they had a temple to build and jockeying for political position.
The Magi looked with sincere hearts and found the King of the Jews, and worshiped Him, giving expensive gifts! Where do you go or look when you need to spend time with Jesus? What is the most costly gift you have ever given to Jesus? Some of us will immediately think of the biggest financial gift, but I believe the most expensive gift we can give is ourselves, heart, mind and soul. You see if we give that, it is priceless in Christ's eyes! When we give our heart, mind and soul the financial gifts joyfully follow! You see it's not what I have to do or give but what Christ has laid on our hearts to joyfully do and give!
I want to close with this: verses 12, 13, 22 God gave warnings through God dreams. Have you had a God dream? Have you asked Him for one? Ask, knock, and seek Jesus and you shall find Him! Where do you look for Him? Where do you go to spend time with Jesus?
Day 33 The birth of Jesus
Luke 2:1-40 Born in a manger
The birth of Jesus brought good news of great joy! God did not spread the word through royalty or people of high social status, but through some lowly uneducated, smelly shepherds! What an honor it had to be for them, an angel of the Lord announces to the shepherds that Christ has been born and tells them where to find Him, and if that wasn't enough then a great company of heavenly host appeared with the angel praising and singing Gods glory!
Why didn't God announce Christ's birth through royalty and highly educated people of social status? Makes one wonder doesn't it? Could it be the intellectuals would have been skeptical and insecure about their positions with King Herod? (Matthew 2:13, an angel of the Lord warns Joseph to get up and escape to Egypt as Herod wanted to kill baby Jesus.)
You see it is the cowardly that are concerned about their position in society, it is the cowardly that can say it's ok to take the life of an unborn child, it's the cowardly that don't want anyone to have guns to protect themselves and others, it's the cowardly that distorts and misquotes the bible for their own agenda and justify their sin. It takes a person of courage, strength and fortitude to stand up for Christ, justice and be willing to jump off the cliff of blind obedience to God. Our fore fathers left Europe because of their strong beliefs in a government by the people for the people, their right to worship Christ without government interference. In Germany I am told the Government basically runs the church, the church is dead in Germany. Yes they have pretty buildings more like museums. All because educated cowardly people ran government.
God knows man's heart! This is why He used uneducated smelly shepherds to bring the good news that Christ was born, God knew they would jump off the cliff of blind obedience to God and serve Him and not their own agenda! One might think I have an agenda against educated people, I do not, some of the greatest writings in the bible are by educated people, the one thing that separates the courageous educated person from the cowardly is the Holy Spirit! A person no matter what their education, when filled with the Holy Spirit, gets their strength, wisdom, discernment and power from God and does not lean on his own understanding or mans education. You see mans education is mans knowledge, therefore it's limited, but God is omniscient, all knowing, omnipotent, all powerful and omnipresent, everywhere, not man! Man thinks way to highly of themselves, it is only the man with a humble spirit who totally surrenders to God, and that takes a courageous man because the cowardly will persecute. Man has always fought against God, twisting His Word for their own agenda. The cowardly embrace religions while the courageous follow Jesus and are persecuted and slaughtered either by words or physically daily. Funny thing as the world declines there is getting to be more cowards than courageous, you see it's part of Gods plan, only those who live by faith in Christ and not lip service as my dad used to say, only those who live by faith will enter heaven, but get this, every knee will bow and every tongue confess Jesus Christ is Lord! Are you fighting for Him or against Him. If your not sure, ask yourself this, are you following Gods word, are you serving Christ and His church. I laugh when I hear people say the church is full of hypocrites, what could be more hypocritical than to think your going to heaven but won't have anything to do with Christ's church!Now this has been a pretty in your face writing today. But it's all truth and biblical. Think about the lowly shepherds who courageously spread Gods message in a world where it certainly was not politically correct. What would you do if God picked you to go out and spread His message?
Day 32 The birth of Jesus
Matthew 1:18-25 Joseph's Dream
The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel which means God with us.
It is interesting that the genealogy just before verse 18, gives the family history " the father of" with all the names down to Joseph, then a change. It does not say that Joseph was the father of Jesus but rather that Joseph was "the husband of Mary", of whom was born Jesus.
We can see Joseph was a good man, a righteous man. He did not want to hurt Mary, did not want to expose what he thought was her sin, but to divorce her quietly. One can imagine the difficulty of this decision, but this was Gods plan unfolding and Joseph had no small part. Joseph has an angel come to him in a dream, telling Joseph of Gods plan to save people from their sins, and that the baby in Mary's womb was conceived of the Holy Spirit, fulfilling what the prophet Isaiah spoke. (Isaiah 7:14) I want you to notice Joseph did not whine or complain that people would know the baby in Mary's womb was not his and the gossipers would try to destroy their reputation, he did not argue with God over how can this be! No! Joseph jumped off the cliff of blind obedience and into Gods plan full of trust!
Again, imagine if all Jesus followers would listen to God and blindly follow Him! How different would the body of Christ look to a lost world. How blessed would all Jesus followers be!
Men, put yourself in Joseph's shoes, how might this story have turned out? Would you be obedient like Joseph? In today's sinful, hateful world, good chance Mary aborts the savior of the world, Jesus would have been dissected and instead of them casting lots for His clothes, His body parts sold to the highest bidder!
Challenge: Ladies put yourself in Mary's situation, how would you respond? Men put yourself in Joseph's situation, would you trust God and stand by Mary loving and protecting her? These are questions that have to be answered daily in our fallen world, will love rise up in in less than ideal circumstances?
Day 31 The Birth of Jesus
Luke 1:26-56 Mary's Son
The immaculate conception, also known as the virgin birth. Religious people have a tough time with this one, even heard of one major denomination decided to not preach or teach on the virgin birth as it's just to difficult for people to understand! Religious people are not filled with the Holy Spirit of God, so yes, to their highly man made educated minds it is difficult. It's hard to understand things of the Holy Spirit when you reason them out in what you know and not let God fill you with His spirit so you can discern spiritual things!
Hebrews 11:1-3, teaches us that faith is being sure of what we hope for (salvation, we are saved by our faith in Christ) and certain of what we do not see. By faith we believe the universe was formed at Gods command, so what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
So we believe the Father created the universe, scripture says that all that is, is created through Jesus Christ. So we can believe in Gods creation, believe in Jesus Christ's miracles, death, resurrection and Ascension, but the virgin birth is too difficult! I have a very unpastoral word for that kind of thinking.....idiotic!
I want you to slowly read Mary's song, verses 46-55, take in Mary's words, they are beautiful, my soul glorifies the Lord, her spirit rejoices in her savior. Do you take some time daily to let your soul glorify the Lord Jesus? This will make your spirit rejoice! I doubt very many people take time to nurture their soul and to feed their spirit,(some think it's just a Sunday church thing and expect to get all filled up for the week....another idiotic thing) if we did take the time daily to feed our souls this world would not be in the shape it is and we would not have major divisions over sinful things. A soul that is ministered too and a spirit that is rejoicing is not feeding a depraved sinful mind! It is glorifying God and one no longer glorifies their shame! Think about that. Mary's song goes on giving glory to God in the rest of her song! What a sweet precious girl she must have been, pure of heart.
Think of what the world could look like if we raised our kids to be pure of heart and to love God. We should all have hearts like Mary, coming to the Lord Jesus like little children.
Mary gets a bit of a troubling word from God, see how she reacted, sang a song of praise to God! When we get troubling news we should sing a song of praise to God, nothing is to difficult for Him! Remember we are saved by faith, not our educations.
Take some time and write down what God has done for you and express your gratitude.
Day 30 More Prophecies of a Savior
Isaiah 61:1-11 Bringing Good News
Another beautiful piece of scripture, quoted in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. The year of the Lords favor! Verse one we immediately see the trinity and nature of God. The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me. God has anointed Jesus Christ to preach the Good news through His spirit. For those in Christ, we have been anointed to preach the Good News to the poor in spirit also. Not the poor financially, there are plenty of people who are poor and do not have a humble spirit, refusing to acknowledge Christ as Savior. What is the Good News? The Good News is the Gospel of Christ. Christ came to bind up the broken-hearted, He mends broken hearts, to proclaim freedom for the captives, most people do not even realize they are being held captive by Satan. You are either a friend of God or an enemy, there is no in between! Christ releases the captives from darkness to proclaim the year of the Lords favor! By making Jesus Christ Lord of your life, surrendering your life to Him, following Him, which means learning His ways, not relying on what other people say but studying His word with His Holy Spirit which gives revelation and understanding.
In verse three we read about how God wants to give a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Think about this; if you are a person who is wired tightly and tends to be emotional, sometimes lashing out to your own destruction, this scripture is for you! Let the Sovereign Lord rest in you! Let Him bring peace and eternal joy into your life, it's one thing to live life as a survivor and a whole other thing to live life as a victor! Anyone can persevere and survive, but only those who have the spirit of the Sovereign Lord can live a life of joy and victory no matter the circumstances!
I remember being in the hospital one time and having a dear friend who did not have the spirit of the Lord, but later I would lead him to the Lord, say to me, man you are a survivor, you get knocked down in life and bounce back with a vengeance! Next day my spirit filled Pastor and precious wife visit me and rebuke his statement, telling me I am more than a conqueror in Christ, there is no such thing as being just a survivor! Man they prayed over me, I rose up went home praising God full of His joy and went out and conquered all that He had given me! Went on to go into ministry, even with all the naysayers who were speaking words of death! I Have ministered greatly for the Lord the last fifteen years! All our children and their wives serve the Lord!
You will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God and instead of shame you will receive a double portion instead of disgrace, rejoicing in your inheritance! Everlasting joy can be yours just by receiving and following Jesus Christ!
What are you waiting for? Follow Gods ways, love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and it will be well with your soul! Amen and Amen
Day 29 More Prophecies about a Savior
Isaiah 52:13-53:12 The Suffering Servant
What we are reading today is probably the finest of all the scriptures, the prophecy about the price the Messiah would obediently pay to purchase man's soul for eternity in heaven. But only those who believe the message will experience the reward at life's end. To believe is not to just open ones mouth and utter I believe in Christ, even Satan believes in Christ!
If one believes, one follows! I have my favorite sports teams, if you look in my house you will easily be able to tell who they are. Cups, hats, cell phone apps, shirts, someone would say your a fan of this team. If I love my wife, children and grandchildren, I wouldn't just say it, people know that I love my family and just a few minutes of conversation they would know it, it's what I'm about!
If we believe in Jesus Christ, then we should be living the life of a believer, loving Gods commands and speaking out against injustice and horrible evil. The politically correct would call you a hater. Better to be called a hater than to be judged by God for following the worlds ways. No one who calls themselves a Christian can support the evil that is going on, they can align themselves politically, but that is the worlds way and it will get worldly results.
Jesus was beaten to the point of disfigurement, scripture Isaiah 52:14, his figure was so beyond human likeness. Then they put Him on a cross! You and I killed Jesus! He died for our sin, Christ paid a debt that we could never pay. He closed the gap between us and the Father. The veil in the Temple, the holy of holies was split in two and no longer did only the High Priest have access to the Father, but now all who follow Christ have access.
Christ a man of sorrows, took up our infirmities, all our short comings and was pierced for our transgressions, by His wounds we are healed. Christ was assigned a grave like the wicked, but the grave could not hold the Righteous Servant! He has ascended to the right hand of the Father and makes intercession for the transgressors, you and I. This is why we are to pray for the lost, show the love of Christ which includes repentance of sin, many times Jesus told people to sin no more. He would be called a hater by today's standards and ridiculed by worldly people and media. We see it all the time today, we read it in the Old Testament, the prophets of old delivering Gods message to turn from sin and repent....seldom does a nation do it and ends up in judgment, destroyed and broken. One time I can think of is Nineveh, they received the Prophet Jonah, repented and were spared from Gods wrath for a period of time, later God totally destroyed them to the point you cannot tell they ever existed by what was left.
Remember, God is good, and all the time God is good. He sent His only Son, to die, the final atonement for sin. Sin is a soul problem, keep from sin, follow Gods ways, love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and it will be well with your soul! Amen and Amen
Day 28 More Prophecies of a Savior
Isaiah 42:1-9 The Chosen One
Behold My Servant! God is saying, "here is My Chosen One" God will put His spirit on His Chosen One and His Chosen One will bring justice to the nations! He won't have to cry out on network television, You won't see Him on some mega church tv channel preaching! He won't be announced at the White House although He is denounced! There will not be a special session in congress to introduce His agenda or special interest group or lobbying for one party or another to be bought for His agenda. No, not at all, out of His faithfulness He will bring justice, He will not falter, be discouraged be evil agendas, He will not stop until He establishes justice on earth!
When God puts His spirit on someone, that someone now has their marching orders! When the spirit is poured out one has been commissioned, empowered to accomplish Gods purpose. Gods purpose is always to be about convicting of sin and restoration of people into a right relationship with God. Now you who are of the politically correct thinking would call this hate, but only out of ignorance because one day you will realize it's true love! We see in Acts chapters 1 and 2 that God poured His Holy Spirit out on the early church to establish His kingdom on earth, and that the main purpose of this is for evangelism.
Christ, The Chosen One came to be a light first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles, to offer a covenant with God, through forgiveness of sins, a personal relationship with Christ which leads to salvation! Notice you don't get one without the other! This means that some eyes that are spiritually blind to Christ must be opened and people must be moved from spiritual darkness of sin and guilt as whether we want to admit it or not, we are guilty in Gods eyes until we come into the spiritual light of Jesus Christ. This light brings release from Satans darkness and self destruction. Romans 5:12
Hebrews 8:6-13, 9:15, Christ is the Mediator of the new covenant which brings release from darkness. This is why the Father sent the Son....Have you been released from darkness?
Have you received the Holy Spirit of God, are you shunning evil? James 4:7-8, Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you, cleanse your hands you sinners and purify your hearts, you double minded.
You see humility cures worldliness, The Chosen One loves you no matter how ugly your life may be or has been, He loves you with a never ending love, a love that will never fail nor ever end, can you imagine that kind of love! It has to be supernatural because no human can possibly love that way! Won't you rest in Christ's love today?
Day 27 More Prophecies about a Savior
Isaiah 9:1-8 A special child
There will be no more doom and gloom in Israel, the future looks bright! God uses Isaiah to bring some good news. A savior will be born and one day lead Gods people into a life of joy, peace, justice and a right relationship with God. The Messiah will come and reveal truths, He would minister in Galilee bringing spiritual salvation and hope, expanding the community of Gods people by including the Gentiles in His message. He frees people from the captivity of sin and oppression.
This child would grow up and be known as Mighty God, Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. This child would reign over Gods people forever! Jesus has established a government and peace that there is no end referring to Christ's establishing His kingdom and true spiritual peace by receiving His forgiveness, new life and a personal relationship with God. This is all spiritual but a day is coming when it will be physical! Christ will return and defeat the evil on this earth and all who support its agenda.
The Lord almighty will return, rule over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness....and He will not care what education or degree people have, their foolish pride will be dashed away, burned up in a heap of ashes.
Have you received this special child as your Lord and Savior? Is He the Master of your life? Does He have Lordship over you? This means complete surrender to Christ, trusting Him with your life and soul.
Interesting how we have been reading warning after warning about not having a genuine relationship with Christ. People will read this blog, but will they heed the warnings from God?
I can only give out the information, what people do with it is entirely up to them and where they wish to spend eternity.
Day 26 More prophecies about a savior
Isaiah 7:1-25 God with us
This scripture is about paying the price for not having faith in God. King Ahaz of Judah would not trust God to save them from their enemies. God offered to help and instead even after Isaiah's warning King Ahaz trusted Assyria. Who would go on to be their captors, destroying the lands of Israel ( northern tribe) and Judah (southern tribe) they would go on to be enslaved for seventy years.
How many times have we been enslaved and many still enslaved to Satans ways of destruction because we refuse to enter in or go deeper with our relationship with Christ. How many refuse the infilling of the Holy Spirit. People just go their own ways relying on their education or a political party and system instead of trust in their very own creator and savior.
The sign Immanuel is a sign for mankind to be saved from themselves. People love sin, they dismiss Gods word, reject His ways and go their own ways, which always leads to a persons tearing down of self, very seldom will a person confront themselves with their own sin, people deflect, blaming others and pointing out others sin. The blame game never works, and it will certainly not work with God!
Isaiah 7:14, is a promise that God is going to set up the rescue for a sinful people. Immanuel, virgin will be with child, was fulfilled through the birth of Jesus Christ by the Virgin Mary. Immanuel means God with us, when we receive Christ, asking Him into our lives and receive the Holy Spirit we are saved. This is just the beginning of the journey, to be a Christian means to be a Jesus follower! Not just to say I am a Christian, if you are not a Jesus follower, becoming a disciple. That means when Christ's church gathers, you gather, you study Gods word, you love Gods people. It is a lifestyle! To say you are a Christian and not be part of gathering or only go on Sunday and not feed your soul any other day, is dangerous to say the least. Jesus Himself said, so because you are lukewarm, which is neither hot nor cold- I am about to spit you out! (Revelation 3:15,16)
Matthew 24:12,13, Jesus tells us, "because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved." Where do you stand? Do you support evil, if you are you might as well as do evil, because the one who judges knows the heart. There will be no cold nor lukewarm towards Jesus and His ways in heaven. You receive Him and serve Him by being empowered by His Holy Spirit or you don't. I cannot change lives only God can.
Are you living your life like God is with you? (Immanuel) or are you just plodding through life? Real life starts in Christ!
Day 25 Scripture Union Prophecies about a Savior
Zechariah 12:1-13:9 The Pierced One
The day is coming when Israel will look upon The One they pierced, their Messiah. Jesus will deliver Jerusalem from any that attack. Jesus Christ will destroy any and all nations who attack Jerusalem and Christ will pour out a spirit of grace and mercy on the house of David. Jerusalem will mourn for the One they pierced and grieve bitterly. Their sin will be before them. The prophecy goes on to say a fountain will be opened to them to cleanse them from sin and impurity.
There will be a third of the inhabitants of Jerusalem that will be refined like silver and tested like gold, they will call on Jesus name and he will answer they are my people and they will say The Lord is our God!
Living a sinful life is costly, Israel has rejected their own Savior, but the day will come when the minority will be shown right! They will be the repentant remnant the Lord will cleanse from sin and save.
How is your soul? Is it saved, or are you living in rebellion and sin? Are you nurturing your soul or are you running with the majority who are clueless and going their own way? Jesus wants to cleanse you and hear you say He is your Lord, and He will say they are my people!
Challenge: The Day of the Lord is Coming, with it comes judgment and salvation, which will you receive?
Apply: This prophecy refers to a fountain to cleanse from sin and impurity, when you wash your hands say "Jesus cleanses me from sin"!
Day 24 Scripture Union Prophecies of a Savior
Zechariah 9:9-17. The Humble King
You will find this prophecy fulfilled in Matthew 21:1-11, Luke 19:28-38
The coming of Christ to the earth would be great cause for rejoicing and celebrating, but not for His conquering power, but because of His spirit of humility. Philippians 2:5-8, we see we should have the same attitude as Christ. Christ has the very nature of God. Unlike Satan Christ did not consider equality with God or place Himself above God, Christ mad Himself nothing, taking the nature of a servant.
So Christ came to earth, the earth He created, took on the appearance of man, which was created through Him. Took that fleshly body to the death on the cross. God then exalted Christ to the highest place and gave Him the name above all names, that every knee shall bow before Him and every tongue confess Christ as Lord. You see it doesn't matter if you reject God and Christ, you will bow before Him and confess Him just before your judgment is carried out.
How natural is it for humans to want revenge for some perceived evil, Israel wanted the Messiah to exact revenge on Rome for conquering them. Picture this here comes their Warrior King riding on a donkey, waving and blessing people, healing their illnesses, forgiving their sins, deriving from demons and proclaiming salvation, even to all peoples. Telling them you may reject me but the Gentiles will receive me! Ouch!
Man is always looking to their own glory, Christ calls us to glorify God just like He did!
Challenge: watch the news, watch for a clip of a politician, who is the politician giving glory to? Themselves or God? A smart person closes their eyes to the party and focuses on the one who is giving glory to God, you see the one that puts others and God first, will be blessed from God. Now I don't know about you, but I want to follow the one who is blessed of God and His nation will be blessed as they lead and not some arrogant loud mouth, prideful person who you know God will not bless.....I must say when you look through that lense it narrows the field done pretty slim.
Day 23 Prophecies about a Savior
Micah 5:1-5, The Sheperd from Bethlehem
A promised ruler from Bethlehem, Micah prophesied that a godly ruler would come out of Bethlehem who would fulfill Gods promises to his people. Micah is referring to the Messiah, who is from ancient times, from eternity and without beginning or end. John 1, in the beginning was the word (Jesus Christ) and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Scripture goes on to say Jesus was there in the beginning and all that was created through Him, and through Jesus there is life and that life is the light of men. That light shines into darkness, but darkness does not understand it. Darkness is the world under Satans control.
Revelation 1:8, I am the Alpha and Omega, says the Lord, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty! Colossians 1:15-17, Apostle Paul tells us about the Supremacy of Christ. Christ is the image of the invisible God, Christ created all things including thrones of power or rulers or authorities, created by Him for Him. Christ is before all things, and in Christ, He holds all things together! Wow now that is power and authority!
This baby from Bethlehem, you can see why Satans world was trying to kill since His birth, He was and is the creator, the One who will pronounce death and destroy Satans world. This is why people of the world reject, rebel, make comments like Jesus is all loving, so we can do what we want, do all kinds of evil, abort the children He is sending to earth. But no, these fools will feel the wrath of His judgment at their death. They will cry like babies asking for mercy, but they shall receive none, their time to repent will have passed and judgment will be swift. It is written in scripture every knee shall bow and every tongue confess Jesus as Lord...then on to judgment.
This baby born in Bethlehem, born of a virgin, on the run from Herod, despised by religious leaders, when I say religious, it is those who believe in salvation by works and following man made rules or the twisting of Gods commandments. I personally despise being called religious. I am a follower of Christ! I am saved by the grace of God, I stood before other believers gave my confession in Christ and was immersed in water for baptism and have received the Holy Spirit of God! How about You? Had enough of playing games with Jesus, want the real deal and not religion? Call on the name of the Lord and be saved!
Day 22 Prophecies about a Savior
Jeremiah 23:1-8 The Righteous Branch
This Scripture is an indictment to the spiritual leaders and also the kingdom rulers, Kings. Woe to the shepherds, a promise of sorrow and judgment on Judah's spiritual leaders. The priests and false prophets were getting rich off the people, Jeremiah prophesies they would be destroyed, captured and sent into exile in a foreign land. That's exactly what happened!
God will gather a repentant remnant from them, bring them back home and give them shepherds who would care for them and teach them the truths of scripture. Do you know people don't live up to their potential and just settle for whatever in life for their lack of knowledge and understanding of scripture. Ignorance and indifference of Gods word can be costly.
Some lives are destroyed, some families are destroyed for the lack of scriptural knowledge and understanding. It is costly to be in rebellion to God and the price for it is steep! It is especially steep for those who know better and yet show up to church on day of worship and never grow spiritually. This is being lukewarm, not a good thing. People who have a genuine salvation experience have a craving for Gods word, and Gods people, so they may please God.
Quincy and I have a yellow Labrador and she loves nothing more than to please us and she knows we love her for it. She is a love hound always wanting attention and usually gets it! It's them same way when we get saved, we love God so much we want to please Him and that's all that matters, He in return will never turn us away, always showing us His affections and blessings.
Jeremiah, prophecies that though the Kings will be judged and destroyed, God will raise up another King, The Righteous King Jesus! The day will come when people will say as surely as the Lord lives He has judged the earths Kings and Rulers and all evil doers who are outside of a genuine relationship with Christ and they too will be destroyed! Righteousness will reign! Think about the things that will pass away....abortion, abortionists and their cohorts will be judged, evil will be judged, their will be no more drugs to lead people astray, no need for jails and prisons, no need for politicians ( this is getting good! Lol) immorality will disappear, no more lies, no more cheating, no more broken marriages, no more poor and impoverished.
For the most part the world does battle against the flesh, with flesh. This is why the world is in the shape it is. We fight against principalities, rulers and princes of darkness in the spiritual world, so in order to win, we have to fight a spiritual battle, not a fleshly battle. In order to fight a spiritual battle we have to be filled with the Holy Spirit, continue being filled and that means we must surround ourselves with likeminded people, not people who insist on fighting and losing in the flesh. You must be born again and Holy Spirit filled! Why, because Jesus Himself said so in John 3! Will you repent of all your sin, ask and receive Jesus in you, being empowered by the Holy Spirit now!
Day 21 Prophecies about a Savior
Genesis 12:1-9, The Great Blessing
The Great Blessings comes when Great Obedience leads the way. Abraham had no plan! But God had a great plan to bless Abram. The Lord tells Abram to leave everything that he was familiar and comfortable with. Abram left his country, his people, and family, he had no idea where he was going only that God was going to show him the land.
How often do we want to be blessed by God in an extraordinary way? Most of us do, the question usually is are we willing to jump off the cliff of blind obedience in God like Abram did? Let's face it, most of us determine right off if we want to do what God is calling us to, or we offer up a quick, I need to pray about that, which is us looking for a cop out.
I have had but a few times I can really say I was willing to jump off the cliff of blind obedience without kicking and complaining like a little child. (This is my moment to brag) Some of you know Pastor Rick Sloan, he is our teaching pastor. At the time this happened, I was being mentored by him and planting a church. He called me up and said Jim, I am going to Uganda and I would like you to come with me. I had never been on a mission trip before so I had no idea what was involved, all I knew was the Holy Spirit welled up in me and the words I spoke I'm not sure were mine or the holy spirits, doesn't really matter I guess because where I go the Holy Spirit goes with me! He is not an option! So I immediately said yes I would really like that, he said great I will get back to you with the details. I hung up and just stood still like a statue thinking, what just happened here!! Lol So we went to Uganda and preached the gospel for 12 long days, out in jungle, in the city of Kampala. We preached each of us usually three times a day, twice out in the jungle during the day and once each in evening in Kampala. Those people love the word of God! They love to be prayed over and I was blessed beyond anything I could imagine, my back was healed, the tooth I was told needed a root canal just before I left was healed!
Unfortunately there are many more stories where I have grumbled and complained, whining like a little child to the Lord, because I refused to jump off the cliff of obedience without being pushed! Here's what I have found out in these times, when we don't have enough faith in God to make that jump of obedience and trust, and we fear, know that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is more than able and faithful to carry us. When our faith fails I believe His faithfulness to us increases, this helps us get past our fears, we may fail a few times, but God is faithful and will never give up on you!I will wrap with this: What is it that God is asking you to do? Are you willing to jump off that cliff of obedience and trust, or is fear got a grip on you? Remember God is more faithful than we are, don't measure your faithfulness to His or you will never jump!
Day 20 Essential Jesus Psalms about a Savior
Psalm 118:1-29 The Stone Rejected
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever! Whoever fears the Lord should be declaring this! Even when the Lord chastises us we should be de paring this! When we are in the pit of trial and tribulation, we should be declaring, the lord is good and His love endures forever! Give thanks to the Lord!
Main themes of Psalm 118, the lord is with me, it is better to take refuge in the lord than to trust man, ( we need only to look at politics and clearly understand this, none are good, all have been bought!) it is better to take refuge in the lord, than to trust in princes!
The Lord should be our strength or song and our salvation. The Lord is always there for us! We are only made righteous through the Lord, none other! His love endures forever may have been the last song Christ and disciples sang before they went to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Christ was arrested and led to His temporary death.
Many of the songs we have sung in church have come from Psalm 118. Give thanks for the lord is good and his love endures forever, should be a song written on the hearts of every believer, most I would gues not even recognize it. I will enter his courts or gates with thanksgiving and praise is another, this is the day the lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. And many more. We sometimes slam the old hymns and early contemporary songs, but they are laced with scripture, most from the psalms. Think about that, we are singing the same words that King David sang!
Jesus is with those who love and obey His word. Funny thing, how does one obey something that is not written on their heart? We don't because something does not have significant meaning unless it has captured our hearts!
Has Jesus truly captured your heart, do you love to read and obey His word, do you really know God is good and His love endures forever? Only through genuine faith, does one shut of their FB and computer and pick up their bible, reading and letting Jesus capture your heart. If you want a high and a setting free peace, it is only found in one place. By placing your heart in the potters hand!(Jesus Christ) let him peel away the sins and hurts from the past, breathe new life into us.Jesus is the capstone and everything that lives must measure up to His standard, being that nothing that lives can measure up to His sinless righteous standard, Jesus made away for all that choose to live with Him can. Accept Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, entrusting Him with your life, repenting of your sin and living a life for Jesus, loving Him and one another. Have you done this? Would you say your relationship with Jesus is where it should be today? Are you confident of your eternity? These are serious questions which one with wisdom will give serious thought! The fool in his heart says there is no God! The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God! Amen
Day 19 Essential Jesus Psalms about a Savior
Psalm 110:1-7, A Royal appointment
The theme of Psalm 110 could be God has a plan. The Lord says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." This is the Father speaking to the Son! This psalm speaks to Christ's authority and leadership as Messiah, The Anointed One, it speaks to Christ's role as Highpriest forever.
Acts 2:33-35, the Apostle Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, quotes Psalm 110:1, to emphasize Christ's Lordship. He is Lord! Just like the old hymn we have sung so many times, the real question is, who will make Him Lord of their life and the High priest of their family forever?
Jesus is a high priest, in the Old Testament the person who held position of High Priest did so understanding his time on earth was short and death was certain. Jesus Christ came in the order of Melchezidek the High Priest, but Christ's reign is forever as He is royalty and over came death and sin through the cross, resurrection and Ascension to the right hand of the Father.
Christ will come back, will crush the earthly evil leaders on the whole earth, none will escape His wrath. Those who oppose Gods kingdom, purposes and way of life, will be judged. Revelation 19:11-21.
Let me ask you this, if Christ were to come this very moment, are you ready to meet Him? Or would you be fearful of His wrath, knowing you have been fighting against God, or perhaps you are indifferent towards God? If you are doing or supporting something that is contrary to the Word of God, then you are fighting against God and have every right to be concerned about meeting Jesus.
But when you make Jesus the Lord of your life, loving Him and His people, not fighting against God, then we should have every confidence and assurance of salvation when we see Him face to face. If you love Jesus then you serve Jesus, that's why He established His church and church gathering.
Apply: have you really made Jesus Lord of your life? Are you looking forward to His return?
What do you think is most significant about His return? About when you see Him face to face?For me, I think of all the mistakes I have made as a Christian, and through my repentance have received forgiveness for a loving Jesus. I think of the times He has been gentle with me as I was a little slow on the learning curve. I think of the times of sorrow, losing loved ones, where Jesus comforted me, lifted me up. I personally look forward to seeing Him for no other reason but to say thank you! How about you?
Day 18 Scripture Union The Essential Jesus, Psalms about a Savior
Hated without a reason, Psalm 69:1-36
Wow! This psalm starts out "Save me, O God." How many times have I cried that out, some times for God to save me from myself! Lol. When we come to the place where we understand our own tendencies, weaknesses, we realize there are times we need saved from ourselves! But that is not so much what the author is writing about in this Psalm.
The author is describing a person in the depths of despair, suffering in every possible way because of his devotion to God. You see the One who knows about God, does not understand the one who actually knows God and loves God. Until you come to this point, one is still an enemy with God, but thinks because they know about him are safe.
The author is looking for refuge from the ungodly, while still maintaining his zeal for God. Interesting how things have not changed. If one has a zeal for God, he is ridiculed. I think America would rather have a Godless leader then one who loved Jesus and had a zeal for God. This is how we end up with a corrupted government at all levels. But if you go back to Israel and the tribe of Judah, they were far better off with the religious order set up by God, then when they had Kings. They really only had 3 Godly and good to the people kings, the rest were corrupt!
One thing for sure, there will always be someone around who doesn't like you, is jealous of you, talk about you, it may be family members or co-workers, alleged friends. It never feels good, but like the author you can refuse to accept their words and call upon the Lord for justice. And justice will be served up, as their table will become a snare as scripture says.
One thing for sure, when justice is served up by God, it is God who gets glorified. The fear of the Lord brings reverence of the Lord. When one learns to have reverence of God, they are careful about their behavior to those who are in Christ. One of Jesus's last commandments to the disciples was to love one another as I have loved you. We should not expect that same kind of love from the ignorant, they don't know any better, so when they go on a rant, remember they are still enemies of God and clueless.
Think about this, when we are ridiculed, we can call down fire and brimstone on the offenders or we can name them to God and pray that God will change their heart and attitude. Wow, I think Jesus would more like to change the heart and attitude, but He will chastise if need be. So let's close with this prayerLord, show me the right way to react when others mistreat us. Help me to treat them as You would me.
Day 17 Scripture Union Essential Jesus Psalms about a Savior
Scorned and suffering Psalm 22:1-31
This psalm of David is one of the most popular psalms of all time. Many a preacher has preached many times from this psalm. One of my all time favorites is from Jim Cymbala, Pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle, called Bulls, Lions and Dogs. Psalm 22 is known as the psalm of the cross. It is quoted often in the New Testament as it portrays Christ's suffering on the cross. This psalm is a cry of agony and grief from a godly person who has not yet been delivered by God from their sufferings. David is predicting the suffering that Jesus Christ would endure, dying for the sin of mankind. It also points to Christ's resurrection three days later. All the earth will bow, every tongue will confess Jesus is Lord and every knee will bow down to Jesus. For some as they do this it will be to late, they will have lived a life of neglecting Jesus, therefore rejecting Jesus. Revelation 3:15,16, Jesus warns about being lukewarm towards Him. If we are cold towards Jesus, then we know what to expect at judgment time. If we are hot towards Jesus, we have full assurance of reward at judgment time, but lukewarm, leads to great disappointment! We say we are in Christ in our minds, but yet we have no fruit in which Jesus said, they will know you by your fruit. So we claim to be in Christ, but yet in reality Jesus knows our hearts as He is the discerner of hearts. When we are hot enough we know, born again spirit filled means that we have repented and asked Jesus Christ into our lives, the Holy Spirit indwells us and the peace beyond all earthly understanding starts to take hold. We learn to call on Jesus in our distress, surely our outbursts and rage goes away as we learn to put things into the hands that can handle any troubles this world has to offer! We learn the joy of the Lord and His peace and gentleness. Think about the fruits of the spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. These are the fruits that should be manifest all the time and when the testing of the Bulls, lions and dogs come calling.
So it can be good for us when the Bulls, lions and dogs come. Which represent the troubles of this world, and in this world you will have trouble! Jesus who knew no sin, became sin died as the final sacrificial lamb to overcome sin in this world. Being that this world is still Satans how foolish of us as mere people to try and live in it without the redeeming power of Jesus Christ inside us!
Jesus was scorned and suffered for each person who has lived, living today and will ever live, so that we may overcome this world and have salvation for the next in heaven.
What distress are you or some loved one having today? Can you declare the majesty and goodness of the Lord in the distress? It's where the deliverance is.
Apply: Read Luke 23:26-43, take note of the parallels of the man suffering in Psalm 22 and the suffering Jesus took at the cross. Take some time worship Jesus now and thank Him for the sacrifice and suffering He was willing to endure to make peace between you and God.
Day 16 Essential Jesus Psalms about a Savior
Psalm 2:1-12, You are my Son
Why do nations conspire? Acts 4:25-27, You spoke by the Holy Spirit through King David in the Psalm. The Lord asks why do nations rage and peoples plot in vain? People fight against God in so many ways, but the most common one I see is; we have rights! We should have the right to do this or that even though it may be detrimental to people and an abomination before God. This is because we don't even consider God, nor even have a real relationship with God, but we will declare we are Christians!
Let me ask this, if we live in a country where 81 percent claim to be Christians, shouldn't this country look a little different? Everywhere we look, anything to do with God is being attacked. We kill our unborn and justify it because we have rights! We are a country that worships cocaine and heroin, because we don't want to deal with the reality that lives of children are torn apart as families are being torn apart because we want to be happy! It's all immoral! It's all an abomination before God and furthermore we are destroying ourselves. We are a self destructive country and we fight and waste billions of dollars to destroy ourselves and dishonor God.
Psalms 2:4-6, God mocks the worlds efforts because the time is coming when God will put an end to people's rebellion and will fully establish His kingdom on the earth at the end of time. It doesn't take a genius to see that time is drawing near.
When the Father sends Jesus to rightfully rule over the nations and to defeat all who oppose Him, then His rightful followers,(not the imposters who just claim to be Christian, the LORD KNOWS THE HUMAN HEART) these will reign over the nations. Revelation 2:26,27, 20:1-6
Psalm 2:2, His Anointed One, The Messiah Jesus Christ, God has commissioned and empowered to rescue people from sin, restore their relationship with God and rule over Gods kingdom. Psalm 2:7, My, today I have become your Father, is a proclamation of Christ's anointing, empowering and ultimate authority over all creation. This is a promise from God that no earthly King has ever gotten nor ever will!
Isn't it about time mankind quit fighting against God? Quit thinking so highly of ourselves?
Think about this, what would the world look like if all the leaders honored Jesus Christ as Messiah, anointed One? Do you think the world would act a little different? Why does this seem so hard for people?
Pray for leaders all across the world to honor Jesus Christ as Lord. Ask God to make Himself known to them in a mighty and powerful way, perhaps they will yield!
Day 15 Scripture Union Previews of a Savior
One Greater than Jonah Jonah 1-4:11
Jonah failed to recognize the One greater than himself. The Lord Almighty. Jonah had his own plans, looked down on Gods plans, with a rebellious spirit, deliberately was disobedient to God. Jonah got the same old results from his disobedience. God does not change, He is the same yesterday, today and forever, so the results of disobedience never change, it always brings on calamity!
Interesting that when God chastises one of his own, even the world recognizes it. Many a wayward evangelist has strayed and been put on public display for their sin. The Apostle Paul writes about when unrepentant Christians are disciplined, they are to be put out of the church and handed over to Satan until their repentance! That's pretty scary to me, but the alternative is to perish eternally with Satan, so you see, even Satan is used to give glory to God!
Jonah ends up in the belly of a great fish until his repentance and thanksgiving to God. You see we can joyfully do Gods will or do it kicking and screaming, but Gods wishes will be done!
True obedience is a blind obedience to God. How many times do we know what Gods will is, through His spirit or Word and yet we rebell, saying, " I will pray about the matter" fact is there is nothing to pray about! You know it and God knows it! We are just looking for a way out like Balaam in Numbers 22. Instead of jumping off the cliff of obedience we waver and in Balaams case if not for his talking donkey his disobedience would have led him to death. And Gods Word tells us there is sin that leads to death!
Jonah 4:11, we read about the compassion of God, God wants all to repent and lead a repentant life. There were 120,000 people in Nineveh that God wanted to have mercy on, they repented, God relented, all to the disappointment of Jonah. Jonah was a servant of God, but lacked the love God had for all people. God loves sinners, He wants to show mercy, but repentance is always required before reconciliation with God.
God sent Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, to die on a cross, taking the penalty of sin for all mankind. Have you repented and been reconciled to God? If you have, are you leading a repentant lifestyle which is representative of someone who has a close relationship with Christ? If not why not? Jonah being in the belly of a great fish is representative of us being chastised of God for our disobedience.
Know this as I close: Jesus Christ loves you! Are you willing to reciprocate that love by by jumping off the cliff of blind obedience? That is where great blessing is!
Day 14 Scripture Union The Essential Jesus
1 Kings 8:1-21 The New Temple
The Ark of the covenant was the only piece of furniture in the Most Holy Place, originally the Ark contained two stone tablets which the Ten Commandments were written by the finger of God. It also contained a gold jar full of manna, which God provided as food, as the Israelites wandered through the desert. Thirdly, Aaron's almond staff that supernaturally budded.
King David had wanted to build the Temple for the Lord, but it would be his son Solomon who the Lord would chose to build His Temple. Interesting that the Lord filled the Temple with His glory when the Ark was brought into the Temple. Gods glory is always present at work whenever His Word is honored and obeyed. (John 15:7-11)
1 Kings 8:13, A place for You to dwell. Did not mean this is the only place for God, God is everywhere. It did mean that Gods presence and power would be seen and experienced in a special way, Christ is present with His people in a special way when they gather together in his name to honor and worship Him. This is one of the reasons we are told in Hebrews not to forsake the gathering together. It is speaking directly to those who neglect the gathering of the saints, what we call church, whenever it gathers. Some around the world still gather daily, regardless of how many days a week you gather, this gathering is done out of love for God and love for Gods people.
I have at times been criticized because we at Atwater gather quite often. Some have told me, I would have them gathering daily if I could! I assure you there are some at Atwater who would gather daily if we did. Some gather in their own homes together on their own, I don't even have to be there. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
Ephesians 2:21,22, in Christ, the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His spirit. You who are in Christ, are the dwelling place of Gods spirit, therefore you are the glory of God and are to give all the glory to God! You cannot obey Gods commands sitting home on the day or days of the gathering staring at the tv preacher, it is not the same!! People who are shut in's, grieve as they often can no longer make it to the gathering of the saints.
Ephesians 3:16-17, Paul prays for believers to be strengthened by Christ with power through His spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Being rooted and established in love.
There is nothing like the gathering of born again, holy spilled filled, Jesus lovers. We pray over each other, share burdens with each other, see the miracles of answered prayed together. It is by far the exciting experience I have ever had on planet earth, it grieves my heart should I miss the gathering at Atwater.
Reflect: How did God make His presence known in this new temple?
How and where do you sense the presence of God most? What facilitates that?
Apply: Take time tomorrow to sit quietly, read a favorite bible passage, listen or sing a hymn, pray and sense the presence of God.
Day 13 Scripture Union Previews of a Savior
The Bronze Snake - Numbers 21:4-9
These Israelites truly were a stiff necked group! Instead of asking Moses to pray to God for food as they were not content with what they had, they whined and complained against God and Moses.....again! There is a lot to be said for being content with what you have in this scripture. The Lord had heard enough and punished the Israelites sin severely. The wages of sin are great and for some it is death.
In verse seven we see confession of sin is not only good for the soul, but also for the saving of ones life! Repentance is good!
Once again the Lord punishes Israel for its sin, and after repentance, the Lord restores. The bronze snake healed anyone bitten by the venomous snakes. Sin has a venom, it can kill, destroy and it separates us from God.
The life giving power of the bronze snake points to the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, who was lifted up on a cross to bring life into all who would look upon Him.
John 3:14,15, "just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life."
The bronze snake provided a physical healing for the Israelites. Jesus Christ sacrifice provided a spiritual healing for anyone who would look upon Him in faith! Meaning follow Him, Serve Him.
Those who desire to be set free from their sin and receive salvation must turn their hearts in believing obedience to the Word of God in Christ.Reflect: Why did the Lord send snakes? Why doesn't God punish sinful people like that today? What might the snake on the pole symbolize for Christians?
Day 12 Scripture Union Previews of a Savior, Gods Provision Exodus 16:1-35
On the first day of the first month, God has Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt. When Pharaohs army bears down on them at the Red Sea, God provides a way across for all of them, (most likely at least a million) then has the sea swallow up Pharaohs army! How's that for some supernatural provision from a living God!
So now we pick it up in Exodus 16, on the fifteenth day of the second month, they complain about the Lord not feeding them, wishing they were back in captivity! Interesting that they were at the Desert of Sin when the grumbling came!
The Lord decides to test them, in their grumbling He provides manna in the morning. The people were to gather just what they needed except on the sixth day gather enough for two days, as they were not to leave their shelter on the Sabbath, to commemorate the Lord delivering them out of Egypt, it was to be a day of rest. This is the Sabbath established.
The Lord provided meat in the form of dove for them eat. The Lord provided everything they needed, even as they whined and complained like little children. Even with Gods provision many disobeyed anyway. Interesting that the Manna would end up in the Ark as a symbol of Gods provision, along with Aaron's staff and the Ten Commandments. All Gods provision.
In spite of all that the Lord had done, the people grumbled and complained against the Lord, they were quick to forget His miracles of provision, this certainly was an attitude of what have You done lately for me!! It's all about me Lord!
They never did learn to just rest in the Lord and trust Him. They ended up a generation, wandering and dying in the desert for forty years as reward for their faithlessness!
God raised up a new generation under Joshua and Caleb, full of faith in the Lord! Warriors who would trust in the Lord to win their battles! 1Corinthians 10, the Apostle Paul warns us to learn from Israels history. Paul writes about the forefathers all saw the provisions of God, drank from the same spiritual rock that was Christ, as Christ was there from the beginning, this is just more evidence. They did not please God, so their bodies are scattered across the desert!
Apostle Paul warns, do not be idolaters, indulge in pagan revelry, do not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did and 23,000 died in one day!! God is serious about sin!
Do not grumble as some did and were killed by the destroying angel.
I don't know about you, but I do not take Gods free gift of grace lightly! God is always there to provide for us. Stay in communion with God, honor God at all times, teach your children, to honor and trust God, that the word of God would be in their hearts so that in the day of trial, they should pass the test and not be grumbles and complainers, ranting and raving at the lack of provision of God.
Day 11 Scripture Union, Previews of a Savior
A Special Celebration Exodus 12:1-30
The Hebrews served over 400 years as slaves to the Egyptians. God sees the suffering of His people, meets with Moses and Aaron. The Lord lets them know He is doing something new, it will be a time of new beginnings for the Hebrews. To earn the peoples trust and glorify Himself as well as put forth a preview of the Christ to come, The Lord establishes Passover also known as Feast of unleavened bread.
The Hebrews are to have a celebration ahead of time of the Lord setting His people free. This Passover marked a new beginning for Gods people. No longer would they be slaves! The Lord is setting them free from captivity, starting a new journey in their lives.
The Lord tells them to slaughter an unblemished Lamb, put the blood above and to the sides of their doors, so the plague the Lord is about to send will pass them over. This is why it's called Passover. Being that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God in the New Testament we see that the Passover is really a preview of the Lamb of God (Jesus Christ) who was to come, die on a cross, shedding His blood for salvation of mankind (those who follow Christ), His blood providing atonement and protect from the penalty of sin (eternal death).
Interesting that the Lord had the Hebrews all dressed and ready to go to start their new journey in the morning and no meat was to be left! When we decide to be followers of Christ and accept His shedding of blood for atonement of our sin, the old man or woman is washed away by the blood leaving no sin to bring along! One is starting a new journey, clothed in the righteousness of Christ and ready to serve Christ! Free indeed!
Reflect: What symbols or ceremonies remind you of Gods work on your behalf?
Apply: What parallels do you see between the Lords supper and Passover?
Day 10 Scripture Union
A Call to Repent Amos 5:1-27
Amos 5, is a lament and call to repent for the nation of Israel. The Lord has called out their great sin, let them know His judgment is their destruction. His wrath is coming, the Lord even refuses to hear their worship of Him. Think about how disgusted the Lord must have been with Israel's sin.
People have gone their own way, gone into idolatry, doing abominable things in the eye of the Lord. The people have been warned by prophets time and again. The Lord wanting them to repent and escape His wrath. Just like the times we live in, Israel justified their sin in their own eyes.
I had to laugh in disgust as I saw a post about supporting Planned Parenthood as only 3 percent of their so called healthcare includes abortion. We that equals out to more than 2.7 million abortions! I had an so called educated woman and she made sure to let me know she was an educated woman, tell me it was a great organization. Well the morally bankrupt in Government can justify and fund these devils, but nothing gets past the Lords eyes! Just like Israel, judgment will come and swiftly.
The Lord is always extending His arm of forgiveness but only for those who repent. People live like the day of the Lord is never coming, yet we watch people sin and suffer for their sin, living miserable existences and making poor choices, tearing lives and families apart for their own selfish desires. It's the natural fleshly human way. Me me me!
Yet God sent Jesus to die for us, so our eyes could be opened to the true light which over comes the darkness of this world. There will always be poor choices made, but it only takes one right choice to overcome sin. Chose to become a follower Of Jesus Christ. Not just make a profession and go one living the same way, but earnestly become a disciple (learner) of Jesus Christ.
Reflect: why was God so angry with Israel? Why might God be angry with America?
What can you and other Followers of Jesus do?Apply: Set a time to pray regularly for your country, asking God to help your people see and repent of their sin and turn their hearts to Him. Begin now!
Day 9 Scripture Union The Essential Jesus
Sin has consequences Isaiah 59:1-21
Sin, confession and redemption, Isaiah 59:1-8, though the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, there is sin that separates us from God. God hides His face because our inequities have separated us from God. Verses one through eight describe spiritual short comings, rebellion against God in order to go our own ways. Do what we want, be happy! Sound familiar? It is these things that have prevented people from receiving Gods promised blessings.
Inequities have separated us means, we have a perversion or crooked behavior, we are guilty of being immoral and doing unjust acts towards God. This puts a wall up between us and God, thereby cutting off the flow of blessing from God. When this happens this person has no peace and no one who walks with this person will have peace. (Misery loves company so beware!)
The Lord sees all the sin and is appalled that people do not stand up and shun evil and when justice does speak it is driven back by evil, people living in darkness. Working to drive the light back. We see this in major issues today like marriage, abortion, sex trafficking where companies receiving government funds advocate evil through abortions for under age girls used as sex slaves. The light speaks out, but darkness appears to be the majority, that is until it effects their family!
I find it interesting that In verses 17,18 Isaiah writes about the Armor of God putting on the garments of vengeance, according to what they have done God will repay wrath to His enemies (darkness) and retribution to His foes. From the West, men will fear the Lord! Interesting considering when this was wrote America was and still is considered the west!
It appears Isaiah's writing looks ahead to Gods vengeance, judgment at the end of the present age....see Revelation 19 if you would like a deeper glimpse.
By now we can all stand a little good news! Verse 20 gives us hope, "The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins, declares the Lord." Spiritually this refers to Christ's coming for all those who would receive Him. Christ is redeemer, Savior, Deliverer, Liberator, Rescuer and He will come to those who truly turn from their sins and serve Christ's purposes. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17)
Reflection: what are the most obvious sins mentioned? How do you think God feels about them? How has sin ( yours or someone else's) affected you?
Remember sin separates us from God. Confession is good for the soul!
Day 8 The Essential Jesus
Psalm 14:1-7, No one does good
The fool is the person who lives as if there is no God. Fools reveal their foolishness by rejecting Gods word, I see this even in people who claim to be saved. They don't read the bible so they have no behavior change, therefore they cannot heed Gods word. Foolish people are prideful in that they are easily offended, i.e....how dare you mess with me! Holding grudges, broken relationships and in fact what they are telling God in the end is they are their own Gods and their behavior shows a rebellious spirit towards God in fact rejecting God.
To say your a Christian and to actually be one is the difference between destinations of Heaven or hell. These people do not pursue a relationship with God, likely they do not pray unless absolutely desperate.
Ephesians 2:1-3, we are dead in our transgressions and sins, following the ways of the world, Satans domain, enemies of God! Gratifying the cravings of the fleshly sinful nature, following its desires and thoughts. This making us objects of Gods wrath.
Romans 3:23, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God!
Romans 3:10-12, there is no one righteous, not even one, there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.
Things are not looking good for mankind as we read these scriptures! But there is hope!
There is a righteousness from God through faith that eradicates the penalty of sin and can transform a person of wrath into a person of godliness. This comes through faith in Jesus Christ. John the Baptist was a forerunner of Jesus Christ, he baptized for remission of sins, people repented and turned from their evil ways, they changed their minds and decided to follow God. Jesus comes on the seen is emersed in baptism by John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus, this is our model.
We are to repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Spirit before, during or after water baptism. The important thing is you invite the Holy Spirit into your life, which is baptism by fire spoken by John the Baptist. This is where life change happens, but you must feed the Holy Spirit in you to continue life change. That means reading, not just reading but studying Gods word with understanding with help from Holy Spirit, then live it out and watch the blessings of God be poured out on you. Keeping in mind that even chastisement from God is a blessing! None of us are good, but by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ we can e pertinence life change and holiness.
Day 7 Scripture Union The need for a Savior
A rebellious people Exodus 32:1-33:6
Precious ones, this is not a pleasant topic this morning. But it is one we must address, it deals directly with our relationship with God. You should have just read about a people who God had blessed abundantly, had mercy on, led them out of captivity, protected and provided for every inch of the journey.
Yet these people have rebelled, one of their leaders has led them into great sin, the sin of idolatry. This leader Aaron, his poor leadership in the absence of Moses shows his lack of understanding and faith and trust in God. It also shows his lack of grasping the vision that God cast of God taking the people out of the desert and into to the promise land. A golden calf is not taking anyone anywhere!! Nor will anything else we make an idol, it will all die in the desert.
Exodus 20:1-3, clearly and plainly states, "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other Gods before me."
Three times in Exodus 32:1-33:6, does God refer to the Israelites as a stiff necked people. In other words, God has blessed them many times over, provided for them, only to see their great lack of faith and trust in Him. Hebrews 11:1, tells us faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen. The Israelites could not see God, but experienced God time and again. The problem was they had set Moses up as an idol, to them Moses was the representation of God! When Moses was not around they decided to make a God they could see! Which takes no faith, no trust at all! Therefore they do not feel challenged to faith and trust, they can just rely on themselves who they have now set up as Gods. They have fallen into the trap of wanting to be happy, so fulfilling this by sinning to their own sinful wants and desires. Sound familiar? I see it everyday....me me me! I want to be happy! So much for everyone else!!! This is America today! This is why we have great sin, the deterioration of the family unit. It's been happening for a long time, our jails are full, our kids are hooked on alcohol and drugs. Some say well they just need jobs, well yes we all need gainful employment, but that is a symptom, not a solution. The real problem is a spiritual problem, Idolatry, we make idols of ourselves, well I deserve to be happy! Well as you can imagine things did not go well for the idolatrous Israelites, God condemned them to die in the desert, so for forty years they wandered in the desert until they died. Joshua and Caleb led the faithful into the promise land!
Many people are wandering in the desert today because of idolatry, obedience to God can never be replaced by anything else if you want to live in the blessings of God! If people were living in obedience to God our churches would be full, the poor would no longer be hungry and homeless, the drug addicts would be delivered, the abused would be healed! It would be a completely different world! But we go one stumbling in disobedience out in the desert with a lack of trust in God and too much trust in man! Expecting government to fix our problems! Which will never happen!
Three questions that we need to answer for ourselves, so we don't die in the desert.
1. Why did the Israelites turn to worship an idol?
2. What other Gods do you worship today? What keeps you from fellowship with God, and fellowship with Gods people?
3. Why do you think this happens?
Day 6 Scripture Union The Need for a Savior
The First Sin, Genesis 3:1-24
Interesting that Genesis 3 starts by telling us that the serpent (Satan) was more cunning than any beast of the field, which the Lord had made. In other words the serpent was deceitful, underhanded, a liar, out to get mankind.
As innocent as it may have seemed, Adam and Eve were easily led astray. Unexpectedly and suddenly they found themselves cast out of Gods presence in the garden and paying for the consequences of their sin.
As we can imagine things must have been pretty good being in Gods garden and being the objects of His love. It only takes a moment, a lapse of putting God first and being obedient to God, to find yourself in the same kind of jam that Adam and Eve found themselves. God is holy and anything that is to be in His presence must also be holy.
If we look at Genesis 3:6-8, we see that the first Adam failed miserably and suffered from the same three temptations that Satan tried on the second Adam, Jesus Christ. The second Adam, Christ being God, a holy vessel, new no sin could not sin and therefore did not fall to Satans temptations. These three temptations, lust of the eyes, lust of the flush, and pride of life are what Satan uses to try and take down and destroy Gods people with. We see in Genesis 3:6-8, Satan is very successful at times! So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasant on the eyes.....how often do we sucked in by this one, pleasant on the eyes! Now for lust of the flesh! She took the fruit ate and gave some to her husband and the husband God put in charge of everything, does what? He eats it too! So much for leading his household and protecting his wife! Then we move on to verse 8, pride of life. Adam and Eve cover their nakedness as now they had their eyes and flesh opened to good and evil, they hid themselves from God hoping to hide their sin and hold unto their status with God in the garden! Your sin will ALWAYS find you out! Believe me!
God shows up, very unhappy with Adam and Eve, but it is the serpent (Satan) to whom God pronounces eternal death to! Adam and Eve are banished from the garden, but Genesis 3:15, God declares the first Gospel of Christ! I will put an enmity between you and the woman, between your seed ( Satans three sins he tempts the world with) and the woman's seed (Jesus Christ) yes Satan you will bruise His heel ( death on the cross) but Satan He will bruise your head! The word bruise also means crush! Jesus Christ crushed Satans head, Satan is under Christ through Christ's redemptive work on the cross. Christ died to save mankind from the same penalty of sin that Satan is condemned to eternal death. John 12:31,32. Romans 16:20, and the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly!
When we accept Christ as Lord of our lives, receive His Holy Spirit. We now have the power and authority that Christ has given us to overcome the three temptations of sin that Satan uses to destroy the lives of people! Have you made Christ Lord of your life? Are you living in a life flowing relationship with Christ daily? By that I mean do you commune with Christ, in His word, prayer, meditation, loving and adoring your savior? This leads to a blessed life! Not trouble free, for in this world you will have troubles!! Lol but you can live above them by giving your troubles to Christ...trust Christ! Blessings!
Day 5 The Essential Jesus
The Cornerstone 1 Peter 2:4-10
Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone and if we have tasted that He is gracious, then we should desire from the depths of our hearts the Word of God, desiring to grow spiritually, maturing into Christlike, Christ minded people.
Desiring to grow spiritually we come to Jesus as living stones shaped and ready for construction. Ready for service! To those under construction, Jesus the foundation is precious, being the cornerstone which aligns the living stones.
Jesus is the foundation stone from which the placement of all other living stones in the spiritual house is determined. Those who trust in Jesus will never be embarrassed by making Him the focus of their lives! Amen
There are those of unbelief, after examining Jesus to see if He meets their needs, declare Jesus worthless. These are the prideful, self-centered and arrogant ( headed for destruction) for these people. Jesus is a stumbling block, a rock of offense! But to those who a being saved, you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. Gods own special people, who will worship God, privately, personally, and corporately in gatherings regularly. Scripture tells us not to forsake the gathering of fellowship, meaning worshiping together, breaking bread together, praying together, studying Gods word together, encouraging one another in love.
Are you doing these things above? If yes, are you inviting others into the light?
If you are not doing the above, don't you think it's time to get serious about your faith?
Day 4, Scripture Union The Essentials of Christ
Hebrews 1:1-4, Christ is superior to all
In the Old Testament God spoke through prophets, if you look in the back of the Old Testament in your Bible you will find first major prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. The next eleven books are minor prophets. These people God used to speak through. In the New Testament till Christ comes back, Christ is who God speaks through. Some people think Christ is just another prophet, but in fact Christ is the Messiah and is superior to all!
Scripture teaches us Christ is the Word, Way, Life and Truth, and that Christ sustains all things through His word! Now that's power!
Christ is supreme over all things including Angels, this is why we are to worship Christ and not angels, nothing is equal with the authority of Gods Son.
Hebrews 1:2-3, the author of Hebrews confirms Christ's supremacy by listing seven revelations about Christ as Son of God.
1. God spoke through Christ.
2. Christ is the creator and heir of all things.
3. Christ is the radiance of Gods glory.
4. Christ is the exact representation of God the Father.
5. Christ sustains all things by His powerful Word.
6. Christ provides purification of sins.
7. Christ sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
Let me close with this: Go outside today and look at the sky, the stars, ocean or moon. Remind yourself that Jesus is the one who made and sustains it all!
Day 3, Scripture Union The Essential Jesus, The Image of God
Colossians 1:15-23, Christ is the image of the invisible living God. If you have seen Christ you have seen the Father. Christ is the Firstborn over all creation, therefore nothing was created that Christ did not create. He was before all things and it is Christ that sustains all things.
Christ is the Head of the body, His church. Christ is the firstborn of the dead, meaning the first to be resurrected from the dead that He might have supremacy over all. This means that Christ has the completeness of God, with all His powers and characteristics. Christ died for all of us, reconciling His own creation back to Himself. We are called into faith in Christ, to be Christ followers, this is what it means to believe, not just utter the words but to live them out in the power of Christ.
Day 2, Scripture Union The Essential Jesus, Humbled Yet Exalted
Philippians 2:1-11, Imitating Christ's Humility
The Apostle Paul is speaking to the church at Philippi. This same message should resound loudly in the ears and hearts of people today. Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. In humility value others above yourselves, don't be consumed by your own interests, but the interests of others, showing compassion in that you care and others are valuable.
Christ endured the pain of the cross for all people, beaten, mocked, chastised and bled out a horrible death. To purchase the souls of people so they could be happy?!!!!! All I want is to be happy I hear all the time! What people are really saying is I want my own way and I don't care how anyone who cares about me feels! I want to sin and I don't want to be held accountable for that sin and if you don't agree, I won't talk to you or worse yet the dreaded unfriending on Facebook!!! Lol how immature! Christ did not die on the cross so you can live your adulterous life, He died on the cross, He who knew no sin became sin taking the penalty of sin. So think of that before you go one your next FB rant or unfriend someone with a different viewpoint! I can see Jesus unfriending people!!! Not! People matter to Jesus to the point he convicted them of their sin to save their souls! Try doing that in a self centered world we have today!!! Haters! Lol
Humility is a funny thing, we love it when someone humbles themselves to us, but it just about takes an act of God for us to humble ourselves and put people before ourselves! I include myself in this also, no one is above Jesus and we are all a work in progress if we are submitting ourselves to Jesus, which is bearing fruit and proving out our salvation.
So let's all of us work on submitting and yielding to the Holy Spirit to make us have the same mindset as Christ Jesus!
Day 1 Scripture Union The Essential Jesus
John 1:1-18, The Word made flesh
In the beginning! I always like to start at the beginning, but sometimes I like to jump to the ending to see how it all works out in the end! Wouldn't it be great if we could do that with our lives then go live out the middle? Well God does know how it works out from beginning to end, and He has plans to prosper us and has a future laid out for us, all we have to do is trust God. Easier said than done for most!
Here's the bottom line, in the beginning Jesus was with God, all things made were made through Jesus. Whatever was made was created by Jesus. And the Psalms teach us that all creation worships the creator Jesus, that means everything has a way to worship. The stars, moon, sun, trees you name it! All of creation is to glorify God.
Jesus is the true light that gives light to all coming into this world, that is if you should make it past being aborted. The world serves Satan which represents darkness so naturally the world does not recognize Jesus, that is until the light shines into the darkness and darkness is revealed for the evil it is. Destroying lives, lying to deceive, murdering physically and verbally as well as killing. Darkness when helped by people and governments as we have today thrives and people lose, you see people are prone to fall into darkness, when we feed our minds the worldly things and not Godly we will be subject to Satan's way of thinking.
Jesus pierces that darkness and all who embrace the light, no matter how much darkness their life has endured, will be welcomed into the light, where the light shines there is no guilt and shame from when one was in darkness. Jesus say who ever receives Him, who believes and lives out their faith, He gave the right to become Children of God!
Are you a child of God? If so let Jesus shine through you! If not, and you would like to be contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.