Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What is the Answer?

A friend of mine one time was wearing a button just like the one you see above.  I pointed to it and asked, "What's that?". He reached into his coat pocket and gave me a Tract which started out, "Since you asked..." and then he proceeded to tell me about Jesus and what he did for us on the cross.  I have always admired that approach to the Gospel. It seems to me to be effective because we are not intruding and not pushing our faith on anyone...we allow them to ask the questions and allow God to make the answers they need to hear.

More importantly, it brings up the need that people have to have answers...correct answers to life's questions. Every Christian needs to know why they believe and  how to tell people what they believe. People need answers and they deserve that answer that is loving and from the heart.

That is all Jesus wants us to do, isn't it?  To love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love others just like He loves them.  That's not so hard to do when you look at it that way.

In, Disciples Are Made Not Born: Helping Others Grow to Maturity in Christ  – July 23, 2002 by Walter A. Henrichsen, there is a wonderful story of one college student that wanted to tell his roommate about Jesus (I am paraphrasing the story). Henrichsen discipled him and taught him all the right Scripture to say and how he should approach the topic.  When Henrichsen thought the lad was ready, he accompanied him to his dorm room, where to Henrichsen's horror., the student used all the wrong Scripture and he basically bungled everything that Henrichsen had taught him. At the end of the ordeal, the student asked his dorm mate, "Would like to accept Christ?" Surprisingly (to Henrichsen) the student said, "You bet I would!".  This event taught Henrichsen and important lesson.  It's not about YOU;  It's all about Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Many of us are afraid to share the Gospel, but seriously, it's just telling people an answer to their own question. How hard is that?  You already KNOW the answer!  "What's THAT?"  It's the power of Jesus working through you...that's what it is!

Have a Blessed and Safe Christmas!

Blessings All!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Choices of Pharaoh

There is a great story in the Old Testament that almost everyone knows.  It's the story of Moses leading God's people out of Egypt.  You can find the story in Exodus...It starts in Exodus 4 and continues for a few chapters.  In fact, it is one of the longer stories in the Old Testament and galvanized Israel as the people of God.  It's one of the keystone stories of their faith.  It also has several important lessons for us, but I would like to focus on just one of those lessons today.

The hardening of Pharaoh's heart is the story I would like to bring to your attention.  it's one that is often overlooked but it is significant in several ways.

1) Moses confronts Pharaoh, not by his own power, but he had the full faith and backing of the Lord.  Pretty much the entirety of Exodus Chapter  4 is devoted to this. Moses had several failings and he was not without fear, but the Lord answered every question and filled in the gapps for Moses at every turn. moses had only to be faithful in what the Lord tasked him to do.  We know the ending, so we know he was successful...not by his own power, but by the Lord's.  Such it is with the Christian as well...I must decrease, but HE must increase.  If we remember that, things will go much more smoothly.

2) When Moses confronts Pharaoh, Pharaoh at first, relented, but then because of his pride, Pharaoh hardens his own heart and refuses to let God's people go as He has demanded. This goes on for a long time.  God is patient with Pharaoh, even though He knows that Pharaoh's pride will get in the way of doing the right thing every time.  We need to be careful of this in our own lives as well.  Listen to what the Lord is saying and be obedient or suffer the consequences.  these consequences can be very serious. Even for the Christian.  Now you cannot lose your salvation, but like Pharaoh, we can indeed lose our life.  Be careful and obedient to follow what God wants in your life.  If we do, His blessings will come to us.

3) The pivotal verse, in my opinion, is this verse: Exodus 9:12 And the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had spoken to Moses.   You see, up until this time, in Chapters 7, 8 and the beginning of Chapter 9, Pharaoh had control and each and every time, Pharaoh hardens his own heart, but here in this verse Exodus 9:12 we see God hardening Pharaoh's heart. God was patient with him up until this point, but after that, Pharaoh's chances were gone.  This hardening of Pharaoh's heart was the turning point, and from then on, Pharaoh's fate was sealed and his destiny set. Way back in Exodus Chapter 4:21 the Lord said he would harden Pharaoh's heart, yet His grace extended a long tome before He did this, giving Pharaoh many chances to change his ways. Alas, hubris is what doomed Pharaoh to his fate.

Christians, we are in our own lives struggling with many hard issues and yet the Lord is patient with us so that we may change our ways.  Do not neglect such grace. It may not be extended forever.  For those of you you who are sitting on the fence and have not made a decision for Christ, please be aware that the time is short to do so. Please make a decision today...and choose life: Choose Jesus!

Blessings all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


"Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

This should be the position, posture and product of all Christian life. Not that we shine with our own light, but that we reflect the glory of the one who brings true life!. If people cannot see the change of energy and attitude as you go through your day, examine yourself to see if you are truly living the renewed life that only Jesus can bring to you!

There will always be times when we don't feel like we can represent Christ because of what we have done or what we have done to us, but suck it up person of God and move on! Jesus has showed us the way....let us follow Him one step at a time! With our master we will stand or fall...and stand we will!

Blessings on your day!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thanking God

Romans 1:8  First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.

Many of us pray to God and are thankful for His blessings in our life. Paul takes it up a notch with this simple statement of how he prays for the Roman church.

He says, "First, I thank my God... "

First and foremost Paul thanks God...and not just any god...but "my God" Paul has a personal relationship with the All Mighty.  This is not just some generic prayer he is praying. It is a personal and very moving prayer to his God whom he knows and makes known in Spirit and in Truth. many times we hear prayers that are general and they seem as if they are intended for believers and non-believers alike.  When Paul prays to his God...it is a prayer that is intended for the believers ears alone.

He says, "...through Jesus Christ for you all"

Paul does not approach God the Father alone, but "through Jesus Christ". We have  a tendency to approach the throne of the All Mighty much tot flippantly. We need to have more respect. Jesus said, Luke 12:5 "But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!" He was talking about the Father here. No other being has that authority but Him. And yes...fear Him and respect Him.

He says, "...for you all" 

Paul also does not single out people when he is praying about the Romans. "..for you all" There is an interesting story in 1 Samuel 30:21-25 where David confronts some men in his army who do not want to divide the spoils of war with some of the support people who stayed behind the lines to care for the camp. These were called wicked and evil men. When David hears of their plans, he tells them this. ” 23 Then David said, “You must not do so, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us, who has kept us and delivered into our hand the band that came against us. 24 And who will listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down to the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike.”   You see, David understood that winning the battle takes everyone doing different tasks.  Some seem to be more important that others, but in reality, it takes everyone exercising what gifts God has given them and what He has called them to do to be successful.  In any church this is true as well.  The Romans were made up of many different types of people, but it was everyone who shared in the battle and they share in Paul's praise for what they have done.  May it also be so with us today.  It takes everyone of us working with Jesus as the head to make a church work

Finally Paul states, ..."because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world."

This is what it's all about, isn't it?  It's not about fame or power or money. It's because of Jesus and His love and sacrifice for us that we can proclaim faith. Oh that our FAITH would be proclaimed throughout the whole world! Not out Denomination or Church or pastor...or even what we do...only that our Faith be proclaimed as being true and honest and uplifting.  If that be true, then surely at the end of our journey we will hear God himself say, Matthew 25:23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ Amen.

Blessings All!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Paul Lifts the Gospel

In the 1st chapter of Romans we see Paul encouraging the church in Rome.  He is very clever at doing this and establishes where is heart is at right from the get-go. Just as Jesus was lifted on the cross, Paul Lifts the Gospel to another plain...Let's look at it together...

1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,

Verse 1: Paul establishes himself as an Apostle and servant of Jesus Christ. He does this in many of his letters because he had a bad reputation of persecuting Christians before his conversion experience on the road to Damascus. Have no doubt Paul is a 100% changed man.   And such are we changed as well, if by faith, we have accepted the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and have repented of our sins and move forward in our lives following the Christ who sacrificed himself for us!

2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures,

Verse 2: This Gospel, this GOOD NEWS that comes from God himself was a promise that the Old Testament pointed to. Now we have the New Testament a new way with which God will save souls bent on self-destruction. This Gospel is Jesus and what he did on the cross for us! But bear in mine, Paul did not have the New Testament. He only had the Old Testament and so, he shows that Jesus is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. These are the "holy Scriptures"!

3 concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;

Verses 3 through 6:  Paul never misses an opportunity to present the Gospel of God and so, here, we see him presenting it in a capsulated form. Paul is talking to jewish Christians in Rome and so he establishes the fact that Jesus is a Jew...and not just any Jew, but a "descendant of David according to the flesh"! This is important when talking to jewish Christians and encouraging them in their faith. this Jesus, a Jew was shown to be the son of God but not just for the Jews alone but also for the Gentiles.  You see, for a Jew, there were just 2 types of people.  Jews and Everyone else who was not a Jew...the Gentiles or Goim...they were all considered to be barbarians and unclean people.  You would never see a real Jew have anything to do with a Gentile...that is until the Gospel of Jesus was established and Paul says that this Gospel reconciled even the gentiles to God through the sacrifice of Jesus' death on the cross!  This is indeed GOOD  NEWS...for everyone now!

7 to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Verse 7: Paul encourages and blesses.  We, as Christians need to do this more often.  There were plenty of problems in the Roman church for Paul to address, but he starts off the tone of the rest of the discussion by showing the Romans how much love he has for their church and how much love that God has for them as well.  Notice he is talking to believers here...to those "called as Saints" but he is very emphatic in stating that he wishes them grace and peace from both God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

This is my blessing for you as well! Grace and Peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! Amen!

Blessings All!