“Are You Ready?”

1 In the beginning the Word already existed.
    The Word was with God,
    and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.- John 1:1-2 NLT


John 1:1-5 NLT

He was, He is and He always shall be.  The Trinity, the Triune God was, is and ever shall be. They were, They are and They always shall be. They existed before time as we know it, They are alive today and They always shall be.  Two are in heaven, One abides in us. Together, They planned what was, what is and what is to come.  God’s spoken and written words are infallible, inerrant and immutable.  Their plans are unchangeable. They are the Author and the Finisher of our faith.  As it is written, so it was, so it is and so it will be.  What we believe does not and cannot change what was, what is and what will be.  What we believe will only determine our part in it and where we spend our eternity.  They are immovable and unstoppable. They are coming back and nothing or no one can stop them.  Our part is to believe Their story, tell Their story and live rejoicing every day because of Their story.  We, as Christians, have the one and the only true story and true hope. History has confirmed the truth of Their story over and over.
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”  – –The Revelation of Jesus Christ to John the Baptist 1:8 NLT


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

Post 12-30-2018

“Keep On Telling the Story”

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71 “Why do we need other witnesses?” they said. “We ourselves heard him say it.” — Luke 22:71 NLT
When I read this verse, I often think, “How could these people be face to face with Jesus and refuse to believe?”.   But, then, I am reminded of how many times I was called by the Holy Spirit and refused to believe.  It is easy for us to assume that we would have acted differently than those people did then.  We let ourselves off easy thinking that we would have surely believed Jesus in this situation.  But, just as Abraham told the rich man who requested that he send Lazarus back to his home town to speak to his brothers, if they won’t believe Moses and the prophets, they won’t believe even if they saw someone return from the dead.  On the day that Jesus was crucified, there were prophets and holy people of old whose bodies were released from the grave and they walked the streets of Jerusalem, but not all of Jerusalem was saved.

The point is this, people that have lived since the Holy Spirit was sent to call us, lead us and comfort us, have more reasons to believe than most of those people back then.  We can look back over history and see more of God’s promises fulfilled than they could and yet, there are many that still refuse to believe. We will hear the story multiple more times than most of them heard it, but not all will believe  Every person will hear the story and have the opportunity to receive Jesus as their Savior, yet not all will do so.   As time goes by, hearts grow harder and harder.  A few years ago, it was reported that we had to hear the story seven times before we accepted Jesus.  Now, that number is reported to have risen to fourteen. Our work is to keep telling the story and we must keep telling it more and more, so those around us will have more opportunities.  But the results of our telling the story are in God’s hands.  Our work is to tell, His work is to confirm it in the hearts of those He has chosen.

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

Post 12-22-2018

“Get Ready! Stand Up And Tell Them!”

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17 “As for you, get ready! Stand up and tell them everything that I’ve commanded you. 
– Jeremiah 1:17a ISV
 
God had just told Jeremiah to go and tell the rulers and the people of Jerusalem that the city would soon be overrun with armies from the north.  Once the disaster started, it would be over quickly, like water pouring from a pot that has been tipped over.  It is understandable that Jeremiah probably was not too excited about delivering that message to the kings and their armies.  Jeremiah would soon learn the lesson that we need to learn.  God never sends us on a mission that He has not prepared us to go on.  He never sends us alone, He is always with us.  If He says we will not be defeated, then we can be assured that He will prevail for us.  It is our weakest moments that God uses for His glory.  He wants the odds against us winning to be so great that when we do win and the world sees it, they have no choice but to say that our God is the Great Almighty God.  Jeremiah was told to “gird up his loins” (KJV) to prepare himself physically for the battle since he would be facing people.  Since our warfare now is not against people but against spiritual rulers and demons, we are told to “gird up the loins of our minds”. (KJV).

13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world — 1 Peter 1:13 NLT​

Whether the battle is physical or spiritual, the battle is not ours, it belongs to the Lord.  He will overcome and we will not be defeated.  But, just as Jeremiah was directed to stand up and deliver the message to the people, our instructions are the same.  So, we need to prepare ourselves and our minds for the tricks of the devil and be ready to stand up and tell the world everything that God will give us to say.


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

Post 10-26-2018

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

Using Our Talents to Witness

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and I’ve filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and all kinds of craftsmanship – Exodus 31:3 ISV
 
 
Not only did God choose these specific men to make all the things needed to fulfill the laws of worshiping Him, but He gave each a special skill.  God is still doing the same thing with those He has chosen.  He has called each one of us and filled us with the Holy Spirit.  Not to sit on the sidelines but to accomplish a specific task for His glory.  If we are unwilling to do that task, whether it be cleaning the bathrooms or preaching the sermon, then the worship service is incomplete.  Most of our sins are those of omission rather than commission.  Our choices of what we do and/or don’t do and the attitude with which we do them preaches a message that is louder than words. That message is seen and heard by everyone we pass by each day.  Does our message draw people closer to Jesus or does it leave them wondering if they even want to be a part of His Kingdom? As we go along life’s journey, are we more like the priest, the temple assistant or the good Samaritan?  Do we soothe and bandage wounds or do we cross the street rather than taking the time and effort to help those who are hurting? (Parable of the good Samaritan- Luke 10:30-37)

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

Poat 09-30-2018

Restoration

even-smaller-bug-light1​1 ​Brothers, if a person is caught doing something wrong, those of you who are spiritual should restore that person gently. Watch out for yourself so that you are not tempted as well.  Gal. 6:1

Galatians 6:1-3 ISV

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

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

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

Post 09-26-2018

Don’t Just Stand There

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12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?”  13 Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, 14 so ignore them.  — Matt. 15:12-14a NLT
 
Pilate washed his hands and declared that he was innocent of the blood of Jesus.  He could have just as easily told the crowd that he would not allow them to take Jesus because he found nothing deserving of death in the actions of Jesus.  Without Pilate’s permission and without him furnishing the guard detail to carry out the crucifixion, the crowd would not have been able to crucify Jesus.  The Jews had no authority to sentence anyone to death or to carry out the death sentence. Though Pilate did not participate physically in the crucifixion, neither did he stop it from happening even though he had the authority to do so.  Pilate had worldly authority to do something.  We have a higher authority who has authorized us to speak out when the name of Jesus is being blasphemed and God’s name is being taken in vain.  Do we think that we can hide behind our fear of offending others and not speak out?  Do we think Jesus is pleased when we stand by and do or say nothing when injustices are taking place before our very eyes?  Jesus put His life on the line by offending the religious leaders and rulers of that day. He gave up His life so that we could have the authority to speak and act in His name. If we can trust Jesus to save us and keep our souls safe throughout eternity, surely we can trust Him to protect us when we follow His example and His commands.

10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.​ I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. — Isaiah 41:10 NLT

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

Post 09-18-2018