Focus On Jesus

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13 “With your unfailing love you lead the people you have redeemed. In your might, you guide them to your sacred home. — Exodus 15:13 NLT

God led the Israelis through the Red Sea and across the desert with the physical presence of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  It was possible for them to travel twenty-four hours a day without getting lost.  It must have been very reassuring to see the presence of the cloud and the fire and know that they were traveling in the exact direction God wanted to travel at all times. God did not lead them in a straight path from Egypt to Canaan. There were detours that avoided certain areas and dangers.  There were delays and a lot of murmuring and complaining.  We have a guide that is with us twenty-four hours a day as well.  He lives inside us.  But for us to know and understand His directions, we have to spend time talking with Him and meditating on His Word.  There will be detours in our lives as well.  All of those detours are allowed by God and are designed to teach us and to keep us safe from harm.  But just as the Israelis spent way too long in the desert because of their disobedience, some of our detours are caused by our mistakes and bad decisions.  Most of us will probably spend more time complaining than we do studying the Word.  Nevertheless, God is faithful and forgiving and just as He eventually got the Israelis to the Promised Land, He will guide us safely to His eternal, sacred home.  He has never failed and He never will.  Trust Him with all your heart, mind, soul and body.


1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. — Hebrews 12:1, 2a NLT

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

Post 09-24-2018

A Super-Mega Camping Trip

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 46 The total of all those who were numbered was 603,550. – Numbers 1:46 ISV
 
 
When reading the Bible, I always find Numbers a hard book to get through and not just because of the names that are hard to pronounce but also because of all the numbers.   But the upside of Numbers for me is that when I need encouragement about how big my God is, I can read a few verses from Numbers and realize how great and majestic my God is.  The number above, 603,550, is a fact and it does not include the tribe of the Levites or any women.  It does not include any males less than twenty or older than 50/60.  So, it is very easy to see that there was well over a million people on this camping trip. Some estimates go as high as 3,500,000. Even if we take the low end, just imagine the logistics, the materials and the food supplies needed for the journey.  Imagine taking all the population of Albuquerque, NM and leading them on foot through the desert past Gallup, NM.  You have got to lead them, feed them and keep them clothed.  If my God can do this and He did, then He can take care of me.  It is puzzling to me that I can trust God with my soul for eternity but not for tomorrow’s lunch.  So, once again, I must make the same request the apostles made:

5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”  — Luke 17:5 NIV
 

And He is always faithful to do exactly that!

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

Post 09-10-2018

Living Stones

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As you come to him, the living stone who was rejected by people but was chosen and precious in God’s sight, – 1 Peter 2:4 ISV
 
 

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was rejected by His own people.  He could do very few miracles in His own hometown because the people there thought of Him as just a carpenter, the son of Joseph and Mary.  We can expect to be rejected as well, the created should not expect better treatment than the Creator received. Just as Jesus was ridiculed and rejected by those who knew Him only as a human, so can we expect to be treated the same way.  This rejection did not keep Jesus from loving and ministering to those around Him who accepted the words that He spoke. Neither should ridicule or offensive remarks keep us from loving and witnessing to those around us.  Jesus was chosen by God to give up everything, come to earth and live among humans who would not welcome Him as the Son of the Creator.  We are chosen by God to give up nothing to receive everything and live among humans as holy priests.  Our sacrifice is spiritual, we speak the words that the Holy Spirit gives us.  This is acceptable to God.  The ultimate end of the earthly ministry of Jesus was not shame but glory.  If we trust in Him and remain faithful, our ultimate end will not be shame but an eternity in heaven praising Jesus because He was faithful and was chosen to rule the universe.

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
​ “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
​ be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” — Rev 5:13 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-23-2018

Works Are Necessary for Kingdom Growth

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25 But the one who looks at the perfect law of freedom and remains committed to it—thereby demonstrating that he is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of what that law requires—will be blessed in what he does. – James 1:25 ISV

Do works save us? Certainly not!

8 For it is by grace you have been saved,through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.  — Eph. 2:8, 9

Then why are works important? If we look back at the Great Commission that Jesus gave us in Matt. 28:18-20, we find that He tells us to do more than just get people to confess their sins. Jesus commands us to “go and make disciples.” What is a disciple?  Webster defines “disciple” in this way:

someone who accepts and helps to spread the teachings of a famous person

One can be a Christian without actually being a disciple. You can accept Jesus as your Savior and go on with your lifestyle pretty much unchanged (I don’t know how that is possible, but some claim to be able to do so).  But a true disciple follows after his chosen leader, uses His life as an example to follow, spreads His doctrines and teachings and encourages others to do the same. Those who are disciples of sect leaders and worldly religions take the idea of being a disciple much more serious than a lot of us Christians. Some of them take it so far as to be considered “militant” in their actions.  Their actions are governed by anger and hate and wrong teachings.  Our actions are governed by love, but that just means that we have to be kinder in spreading the Gospel of Jesus, not less active or effective. We have a message of perfect love and freedom, which is what the world really desires. We have the Holy Spirit inside us and working with us using the same resurrection power that raised Jesus from the dead. If we are obedient to Jesus’s words that we should “make disciples” then we will “be about our Father’s business”.  That requires us to do the same works that Jesus did when He was here on earth. As Christians, we are not called to be spectators but, rather to be participators, in the work.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 07-31-2018

Freedom to Witness as We Work

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23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. – Col. 3:23 NLT
 
Most of us do not have jobs that are commonly considered to be “full-time” work for the Lord.  But, what we need to remember is that whatever our vocation is, that is where we are planted and where we need to bloom. Where we are right now is our mission field.  We have more opportunities to witness every day than those employed by the church.  The pastors and other staff are there to encourage us in our daily lives and minister to the flocks that God has given them.  Most of their conversations are with other Christians, whereas, we are on the battle front everyday. Their job is to equip us to minister in our workplaces. When we are out in the world working for others, we must do so cheerfully and efficiently.  We should be working to please the Lord.  If our work pleases the Lord, it will be found to be more than acceptable by man.  Will we always be recognized and rewarded by our employers and/or our fellow workers?  No, but that should be of very little concern to us. God sees all of our works and stores up rewards for us in heaven. When we are faithful in serving God in the workplace, we can be assured that He notices it.  We live in a work-a-day world, but we are bondservants to Jesus Christ.  He is our Master and our Provider.  When our work pleases Him, we can be assured that we will receive the promotions and rewards in His timing. Be thankful for the provisions that God has made for each of us. If we have a grateful attitude, we won’t need to “put on a happy face”, we can just let the joy of the Lord shine through us and that will attract others to Him.

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

Post 07-04-2018

“Let Your Light Shine”

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For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. – 2 Cor. 4:6 NLT
 
When we allow God to use us as His witnesses, we may not see the results of our labors immediately.  It has been determined that it takes more than 7 “touches”  or exposures to the Good News for a person to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.  Our God desires that everyone should be saved, but the “god of this age”, satan, has blinded many to the truth of the Gospel. They cannot see the Light because they are focused on the pleasures of this world and the desires of the flesh. Their refusal to see the Light does not alleviate us of the responsibility of being the Light of Jesus Christ shining in a world of darkness.  We have this Light of the knowledge of God’s glory shining in our hearts. God has placed His treasure, this knowledge of Him, in the hearts of human beings. These jars of clay are weak and decaying but the Light shining forth from them displays the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This power is from God and not from us.  That is why God has made us responsible for shining, but He has kept the responsibility for dispelling the darkness. We can be assured that if we do our part, He will faithfully do His part and souls will be added to the Kingdom.

 
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. 
— Isaiah 55:9-11 NIV

 

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

Post 06-08-2018

Choices, Decisions, Consequences

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25 He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. – Hebrews 11:25
Every day, we make choices about the things in our lives.  A lot of those decisions are almost robotic or habitual.  We do this at this time because we always have.  Some decisions require us to actually consciously think about them before we decide what to do.  Every now and then, we have what we refer to as “big” decisions.  These are the things that affect our lives today and in the future. Some of those decisions will be irreversible and affect all the people in our circles of influence whether we want them to or not.  Some of us will be given opportunities to make world-changing decisions, maybe all of us.  Do you think Moses had any idea that his decision that day was a world changer?  To him at that time, it was probably a small decision that only affected the lives of a few people. But, consider this, “what if” Moses had not made the decision he made. “What if”, he had decided that he liked the riches and the glory of Egypt more than his people, what would have happened? Reminisce with me today. Let’s think back over our lives, how many “what if” times have we had?  How many times has God given us opportunities to change our little corner of the world and we made the wrong decision?  The next person the Holy Spirit nudges us to witness to could be God’s choice to be the Moses or the Billy Graham of the next generation. “What if” we don’t follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and talk to that person about salvation?  Today, let’s make a renewed commitment to be faithful in following the leadership of the Holy Spirit and encourage those around us. Let’s be faithful in the “little” things because “what if” there aren’t really any “little” things in our lives?  Now is “the time” and where you are is “the place” to make that “big” decision!

 

14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” — Esther 4:14 NIV

 

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

Post 05-19-2018