Oil to Keep Our Lamps Burning

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1 The Lord said to Moses, “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually. — Leviticus 24:1 NLT

Consider the olive.  The tree grows in stony soil where other trees cannot grow.  A new tree is started with a seed or a cutting and then transplanted.  It grows for seven years before it has any berries on it and it is about fourteen years before the crop reaches maturity.  In Old Testament times, the fruit was harvested by shaking and beating the tree with a reed or a stick.  This injures the tree so much that it will only produce fruit every other year.  Once it starts to produce fruit, it will continue to produce fruit for centuries.  After the fruit is harvested, it is pressed to get the oil from it.  This oil was then used to keep the light in the Tabernacle lamps burning continually.  Jesus said that we are now the light of the world.  For us to be the pure light that we should be, we must go through much of the same process as the olive.  God transplants us from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light  and we start on a journey.  It will take some time for us to mature and produce fruit. We need to be shaken at times to get us out of our comfort zones.  We need to be disciplined at times to get us back on the straight and narrow path.  We have sinful, fleshly desires and those desires are not going to go away without a fight.  So, God allows us to be pressed down until there is nothing left but a heart with pure motives.  Then and only then are we able to be the light to the world and deliver it from the darkness of sin.

8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.– 2 Cor. 4:8-10 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 10-09-2018

“Who, Me?”

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12 The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!” – Judges 6:12

Judges 6:12-16 NLT

We serve a mighty God who is always surprising us by doing things a different way and with the most unlikely  people.  Most of those people say no when they first hear of God’s plan to use them. They have a few things they need help to overcome before they will actually accomplish what God has called them to do. Moses couldn’t talk, Jeremiah was too young and the list goes on and on.  And then of course, there is Jonah who just didn’t want to go to Nineveh because God was too merciful and would end up forgiving the Ninevites. When the Holy Spirit nudges us to do something for the Lord, what is our response?  Are we the not me, Lord, you got the wrong person type? Remember God formed us and He knows exactly what we are capable of, it isn’t so much that He needs us, it is more that He loves us and wants to have an opportunity to bless us.  He can only do that, if we are obedient to His requests.

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

Post 06-02-2018

Power Is For Witnessing, Not Wasting

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Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time. – Titus 3:9 NLT
Paul’s advice to Titus was given at a time when the discussion about the law was the single most divisive issue in the new church.  Did Jesus fulfill the law or abolish the law?  We have grace but don’t we still need to be circumcised? Even the apostles had differing opinions on some of these things. In today’s church, we get involved in foolish controversies over things not nearly as important as the law. Carpet colors, steeple or no steeple, immersion or sprinkling and the list goes on and on. Not one of these discussions will lead a soul to Christ but they may very well turn people away from the church altogether. They are definitely unprofitable and useless.  Jesus instructed us to “go and make disciples”.  He did not instruct us to go and make denominations, etc.  When we are in front of outsiders, our conversations and teachings should be limited to instructing people in how to be saved. All true Christians agree on the plan of salvation. That is the story Jesus wants us to tell. It is simple and powerful. Wherever we are or whomever we are speaking to, our sentiment must be the same as Paul’s:2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. — 1 Cor. 2:2-5 NIV

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

Post 05-02-2018

Empowered to Do Good

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He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. – Titus 3:4 NLT
God sees the big picture and is concerned with eternity. He is also concerned with each of us and the “now” , the present.  The present is where our lives intersect with eternity. It is the only part of eternity that humans can see and deal with. We can’t change the past and we don’t control the future. Yes, our past experiences affect our present decisions and those decisions certainly may have future consequences, but what those consequences will be are not in our control.  So, right now, today, let us “devote ourselves to doing what is good”.  That is the example that Jesus set for us.

38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. — Acts 10:38 NIV

God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power. We have access to this same anointing today. Without it, we are incapable of accomplishing the work God has for us to do.  With the anointing, all things are possible and we can do things that are “excellent and profitable for everyone”. Ask God and He will give us everything we need to accomplish His good works.
32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  — Romans 8:32 NIV


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

Post 05-01-2018

Grace and Peace

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This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead. – Galatians 1:1 NLT

Paul reminds the Galatians and us that he is an apostle sent by Jesus Christ and God the Father. Paul did not, in his own flesh, decide to be an apostle to the Gentiles. He was chosen by God for this specific task.
I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry—Romans 11:13 (NIV)
Then Paul goes on to remind them and us that we have grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Encouraging each other is something we should practice everyday until it becomes a habit. In the turbulent society that we live in today, we all need encouragement and a reminder that there is a safe harbor for us to come to when we need rest and peace.
8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.—Psalm 4:7 (NIV)
10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.​—1 Thess. 5:10, 11 (NIV)
Peace and rest are just two of the gifts we receive because we are joint heirs with Jesus. His obedience to death on the cross brought glory to the Father. Our obedience in living for Jesus will bring more glory to the Father forever and ever.

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

Post 12–18-2017

“River Run Deep”

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 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” – John 7:38 NLT
 

 

Jesus tells the crowd the same thing He had told the Samaritan woman at the well. There is water which we can drink and never be thirsty again. This water is the living water which is the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. The One that takes up His abode in us, so that we are always being filled and refilled, so that we could never be thirsty. Just as the woman at the well had accepted this message, so did some of the crowd here in Jerusalem. They said “this man surely is the prophet”. But others said He can’t be, the Messiah will not come from Galilee. There will always be people who refuse to believe regardless of the signs or the situation. But, instead of being puzzled as to why they don’t believe, we should remember our own history before we accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord.
3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit—Titus ​3​:3-5 (NLT)
Because we have been redeemed by God’s grace and mercy, we should remember to always be thankful and pray that others will accept this free gift of God’s mercy and grace. That is the work that God has given us to do as laborers in His harvest.


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

Post 09-19-2017

“Come Back to God”

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But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. — 1 Peter 2:9a NLT

​Those that are exposed to God’s Light must make an immediate decision. They will either accept Him or reject Him. There is no neutral ground. “Almost persuaded” is not good enough. We must become totally committed to Jesus. When we trust Him completely, we will never be disgraced. But for those that reject Jesus, they will stumble and fall. If they choose to continue to reject His free offer of salvation, then they choose to go to hell. We have been called out of darkness into His wonderful Light. Therefore,we must be the Light that draws others out of darkness. We have been chosen, made royal priests and a holy nation. We must be ambassadors of that nation and spread the Good News so that others can become citizens as well.

19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” — 2 Cor. 5:19,20 (NLT)

We must speak boldly with no fear of rejection. After all, it is not us, personally, that they are rejecting. They are rejecting Jesus and His plan of salvation. Our part is to scatter the seed, it is God’s part to see that they take root and grow. We must labor in the fields understanding that we may not see the results of our work while we are here on earth. Our treasures are laid up in heaven.


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

Post 06-19-2017