Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Blood of Jesus


How much more . . . will the blood of Christ . . . cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death.  

Hebrews 9:14, NIV


Do you know people who arrogantly insist that if their good works outweigh their bad works, God is somehow obligated to accept them? As you look around, what "fruit" do you see others bringing to the place of sacrifice instead of humbly approaching God through the blood of His Son? The "fruit" of 

religious activity,

good works,

morality,

or philanthropy?

Many people do not want to come to the place of sacrifice, the Cross of Jesus Christ, because it intensifies the conviction of their own sin and judgment and is a reminder that heaven's gate is closed to sinners. God warns that "a man is not justified by observing the law," (Gal. 2:16, NIV) because "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" of sin (Heb. 9:22, NIV). So humble yourself, come to the Cross, and thank God for the blood of Jesus that is sufficient to forgive any and all sin.

Blessings,

Monday, August 27, 2012

Jesus Understands


I will pour . . . on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced.  Zechariah 12:10, NKJV



Hymn writers and artists have conveyed to us a picture of Jesus hanging on a Cross on a hill far away. In fact, the place of execution was just outside the city gate, beside the main road leading into Jerusalem. And those to be crucified were only raised two to eighteen inches above the ground. That meant all the dignity and modesty and purity of Jesus' physical person was stripped away and He was left naked to die in searing, scorching heat, writhing and groaning in agony, at virtually eye level with those who passed by on their way to and from the city.


In their rush to get to the temple area in time to purchase a lamb for sacrifice, did the pilgrims preparing for Passover even notice the Lamb that God was sacrificing for their sin? As Jesus poured out His life, people must have passed by without a glance.


In a small way, are you pouring out your life for those who don't notice? Jesus understands.


Blessings

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Love Forgives and Forgets


Love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8, NIV

King Solomon wisely admonished, "He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends" (Prov. 17:9, NIV). One of the definitions for love given in the New Testament is that, "Love does not delight in evil. . . . It always protects" (1 Cor. 13:6-7, NIV).


One of the greatest failures in the Bible was the apostle Peter. His most notorious moment of sin was when, after vowing that he would die for Jesus, he actually denied ever having known Him. And he denied Him not just once but three times. Yet God, in His mercy and grace, restored Peter so completely that he was given a prominent leadership position within the early church, opening the door of opportunity for the Gentiles to receive the gospel. And Peter, who understood the shame of failure and the humiliation of sin, encouraged Christians to "love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."


Blessings

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Blessing Through Brokenness


The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 

John 12:25, NIV

What is your reaction to that verse? Jesus is the One Who died for you and me! Surely He's not saying you and I must die for Him! Death is a pretty big stretch from your daily prayer, "God, bless me indeed," isn't it? And it's not nearly as full of wonder and excitement, and if we're honest, personal profit. God wants to bless you and me even more than we could think to ask, but the power that produces the blessing comes through brokenness and death. And not just any death, but death by crucifixion.


I will tell you honestly from experience that crucifixion is a slow, painful death to your self. It is impossible for victims to crucify themselves. Crucifixion is the result of our decision to yield ourselves to God as He allows various pressures and problems and pain into our lives. They are used to put us to death that we might be raised to an abundant . . . victorious . . . blessed . . . fruitful . . . powerful . . . Christlike . . . Spirit-filled life. And remember-after the Cross comes the resurrection and the glory!


Blessings

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Cross of Obedience


"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Matthew 16:24, NIV

Are you repulsed by the thought of crucifixion? I am. But I also know that when I look into the eyes of Jesus, I see a cross! 


And He has said to me, "Taz, if you want to be My disciple, if you want to follow Me, you must deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me. Because if you want to save your life, you're going to lose it in the end. If you choose to lose your life for Me, you will find it. For what good will it do you if you gain the whole world, yet forfeit your soul?" (Matt. 16:24-26, paraphrased).


The cross that Jesus commands you and me to carry is the cross of submissive obedience to the will of God, even when His will includes suffering and hardship and things we don't want to do. It is a willingness to totally, absolutely, irrevocably, and finally yield our lives to Him because we want what He wants more than what we want.


Blessings

Monday, August 20, 2012

Connect the THOUGHTS A Bible Quiz "3"


Okay!!! Here are the answers to QUIZ 2.....

1)   Objects in Jesus’ parables – Matt 13:47-50; Matt 13:45-46; Matt 13:31-32

2)   Twelve – Matt 10:1; Gen 49:28; Rev 21:21

3)   Men named Simon – Matt 10:2; Acts 9:43; Acts 8:9

4)   Names of Satan – John 8:44; Rev 12:9-10; Matt 12:24

5)   Judges of Israel – Judges 16:30-31; Judges 4:4; Judges 3:15

6)   Characters in the Book of Esther – Esther 2:5; 1:9; 3:1

7)   Sites of earthquakes – Acts 16:12-26; Matt 28:2; Exo 19:18

8)   Authors of proverbs – Prov 1:1; 30:1; 31:1

9)   Cousins – 1 Sam 14:49-50; Est 2:7; Luke 1:34-36

10)    Metalworkers – Acts 19:24; 2 Chron 2:13-14; Gen 4:22 

Here is quiz #3. Your assignment if you choose to accept it is to.........

CONNECT THE THOUGHTS! A BIBLE QUIZ "3"

If you are up to the challenge….10 questions…each question is worth from 100 to 1000 points. A Perfect Score is 5,500 points.

I will post ten questions, each with three common themes…..Your assignment... if you chose to accept it is to….CONNECT THE THOUGHTS! 

Come up with the common theme for each question…If you get confused, I will post the answers tomorrow (w/ supporting Scripture verses).

Quiz 3
1) 100 pts. – Wife of Cleophas, sister of Lazarus, Mother of Jesus


2) 200 pts. – fig leaves, a curse, dust


3) 300 pts. – King Ahasuerus’s scepter, a calf-shaped idol, the streets of New Jerusalem


4) 400 pts. – Jacob’s service for Rachel, loaves to feed four thousand, Naaman at the Jordan


5) 500 pts. – Diana, Baalim, Dagon


6) 600 pts. – Chilion and Orpah, Ananias and Sapphira, Isaac and Rebekah


7) 700 pts. – Haman, Judas Iscariot, Pharaoh’s chief baker


8) 800 pts. – Babel, Siloam, Jerusalem


9) 900 pts. – The Holy Spirit, the four horsemen of Revelation, Daniel’s book


10) 1000 pts. – grass, a fig tree, a man’s hand

Good Luck

Names of God


God has several names in both the Old and New Testament. Throughout the Old Testament, He has primarily six names which reflect Who He is and what He does. The New Testament, however, gives us primarily one name. As you read this article, keep in mind how you, as a Christian, can take these following names of God and apply them to your life.

 1. El Shaddai -- the Almighty God, meaning the God of more than enough. (Gen 17:1) 

 2. Elohim -- the plural form of God (the Trinity in unity acting as one. (Gen 1:1) 

 3. El Elyon -- the most high God. (Gen 14:18-20) 

 4. El Olam -- the everlasting God. (Gen 21:33) 

 5. Adonai -- LORD master or ruler of all. (Gen 15:1-2) 

 6. Jehovah -- the personal name of God in his relationship as redeemer . (Ex 6:2-3)  

Throughout the Old Testament, the name “Jehovah” appears 5,321 times. Jehovah is used for the LORD God. The actual Hebrew form of the word Jehovah was YHWH with no vowels in it (the Hebrew alphabet does not have vowels) YHWH was probably pronounced “Yahweh.” 

 YHWY was THE divine name for Jehovah. The Israelite did not even dare pronounce, so they used the word “Adonai” (LORD) instead. By using the word “Adonai,” the Israelite avoided the risk of blasphemy by improperly pronouncing God’s divine name. 

 Since Jehovah is the covenant name of God, expressing a personal relationship, it was natural that His name would be compounded with other terms to identify and make specific those relationships. Let’s look at the nine compound names of Jehovah – LORD. In these names, you will see that God is simply revealing His nature, His character, and His relationship to His people. 

 - Jehovah Elohim – The Lord God of Israel – the Creator of the heavens and the earth….in other words – all of the universes. (Gen. 1:1)

 - Jehovah Jireh -- the Lord our Provider. (Gen 22:14) - He reveals Himself as our provider – of all our needs. According to His riches in glory. 

 - Jehovah Rapha -- the Lord our Healer (Ex 15:26) 

 - Jehovah Nissi -- the Lord our Banner (Ex 17:15) 

 - Jehovah Shalom -- the Lord our Peace (Jud 6:24) 

 - Jehovah Raah -- the Lord our Shepherd (Psm 23:1)

 - Jehovah Tsidkenu -- the Lord our Righteousness (Jer 23:6) 

 - Jehovah Sabaoth -- the King of Glory (Psm 24:7-8) 

- Jehovah Shammah -- the Lord is there or present (Ez 48:35)

 In the New Testament, God is primarily referred to as “Heavenly Father.” He no longer claims to have one family in the Jewish people. His desire is to have many sons and daughters, as many as who will accept Him through His Son, Jesus.

Blessings

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Are You Saved?


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


Jesus hung on the Cross for three hours, wracked with white-hot physical pain, tortured mentally and emotionally, crushed by the weight of guilt and shame and sin that was ours but became His. Suddenly, the birds stopped chirping, the vultures stopped circling, the breeze stopped blowing, and everything became deathly still as darkness-pitch-black darkness-descended. The cries that could be heard were no longer just coming from the victims on the crosses but from the bystanders as they cowered, then fled in panic. Even the hardened soldiers must have shuddered at the supernatural power and anger that permeated the atmosphere.


As terrified people looked up, searching the sky, there were no clouds to block the sun but it was nowhere to be seen! Where it had been was just blackness! Why? The eerie darkness that descended was not just nature feeling sorry for the Creator who was nailed to the altar of the Cross. It was the very judgment of God for your sins and mine.


Your sin has been judged at the Cross, so you can be saved from judgment. Are you saved?


Blessings

Friday, August 17, 2012

He Wants to Be Your Life


No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. 

1 Corinthians 2:9, NIV

One of the pictures in John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress is of a man bending double from his waist, sorting through a can of garbage, carefully extracting the little bits of tinsel he finds there. Behind him is standing an angel who is offering him a solid gold crown studded with precious jewels, but the man is so engrossed in the garbage he never notices the angel.


When we get to heaven, will you and I be ashamed of our preoccupation with "garbage" in this life-garbage that prevented us from dying to our desire for it, turning around, leaving it all behind, and reaching out for what God wanted to give us? Why is it that we seem to cling so tightly to what we want, and in the process lose what God wants us to have? God wants us to have power and blessing and glory. But you don't obtain it by adding Jesus to your life-He has to be your life!


Blessings

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

We Can't Earn Salvation


By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9, NKJV

On the hill of Golgotha, When Jesus was stripped of His physical clothes, the execution squad of soldiers divided what little He had between them-His belt, sandals, and other things. But when it came to His beautifully woven inner garment, they decided that instead of tearing it into four pieces, they would gamble for it. So while Jesus hung slightly above them, groaning in excruciating pain, they callously ignored Him and tossed the dice. (John 19:23-24) Their ribald laughter and the clatter of the dice as they were thrown made a sharp contrast to His pain-wracked sobs so near by.


People today still toss the dice for the robe of His righteousness. While coldly ignoring His death on the Cross, they gamble for His "robe" by betting their eternal lives on the chance that they can earn acceptance with God through their religiosity, or their sincerity, or their morality, or their philanthropy. But the only way to obtain it is to exchange it for your own filthy shreds of righteousness at the Cross.


Blessings

Monday, August 13, 2012

Never Separated from God


"I and My Father are one." John 10:30, NKJV

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46, NIV) The words came from the cracked lips and the crushed heart of God's Son as His tortured body and fevered mind were pushed to the outer limits of endurance. For the first time in eternity, the Father and Son were actually separated. They were separated by all of your sins and my sins, which came between Them.


Even when Jesus had been alone in a crowd, or alone on a mountainside, or alone on the lake He had never truly been alone! His Father had always been with Him. He and His Father were so close they were One. To be separated was a spiritual death that was worse than a living nightmare. It was hell!


No one on this side of hell will ever know the loneliness Jesus endured on the Cross-in your place and mine. When we claim the Lamb as our own sacrifice for sin, we will never be separated from God, because Jesus was.


Blessings

Sunday, August 12, 2012

CONNECT THE THOUGHTS QUIZ "2"

OK Quizsters! Here are the answers and Scriptures for Quiz 1.


1)    Olives – Matt 24:3; Josh 24:13; Gen 8:11
2)    Seventy -  Dan 9:24; Luke 10:1; Matt 18:21-22
3)    People raised from the dead – 2 Kings 4:32-37; Acts 20:9-12; John 11:43-44
4)    Strong winds – Acts 2:1-2; Matt 14:26-32; Job 1:18-19
5)    Slaves – Gen 39:1-3; Exodus 2:23; Phil 10-16
6)    Seven – Rev 1:20; Acts 6:1-6; Gen 7:2
7)    Relatives of Moses – Exo 4:14; Exo 2:23; Num 26:59
8)    Army Commanders – 2 Kings 5:1; Chr 11:6; Judg 4:4-9
9)    Characters in the book of Nehemiah – Neh 4:3; Neh 8:2; Neh 2:1
10) The tongue – James 3:6; James 3:8; James 3:6



Quiz 2

If you are up to the challenge….10 questions…each question is worth from 100 to 1000 points.

I will post several questions each with three common themes…..You challenge if you chose to accept it is to….CONNECT THE THOUGHTS!  

Come up with the common theme for each question…If you get confused, I will post the answers tomorrow.

Perfect Score = 5500 pts.

1)   100 pts. -  A net, a pearl, a mustard seed

2)   200 pts. - Jesus’ disciples, tribes of Israel, gates of the new Jerusalem

3)   300 pts. - An apostle, a tanner, a sorcerer

4)   400 pts. - The father of lies, the accuser of the brethren, Beelzebub

5)   500 pts. - Samson, Deborah, Ehud

6)   600 pts. - Mordecai, Queen Vashti, Haman

7)   700 pts. - The Philippian jail, Jesus’ tomb, Mt Sinai

8)   800 pts. - King Solomon, Agur the son of Jakeh, King Lemuel

9)   900 pts. - Saul and Abner, Mordecai and Esther, Mary and Elizabeth

10) 1000 pts. - Demetrius, Huram-Abi, Tubal-Cain

Saturday, August 11, 2012

God Reaches Down To Man


I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6, NKJV

Karl Barth, one of the twentieth century's premier theologians, said that all religion is man reaching up to God in his own way, according to his own terms, on his own merit, in his own strength. Christianity alone is God reaching down to man.


All non-Judeo-Christian religions are an expression of man's defiance of God, including His way, His will, and His work. If you ask most people today why they think God will let them into heaven, they will say something like, "I try to be good. I go to church. I'm not perfect, but I believe God will weigh my good deeds against my bad deeds, and I hope the good outweighs the bad. If it does, He will let me into heaven." It is man's pride that believes God somehow owes him a heavenly home or eternal life as a reward for good deeds or extra effort or earnest sincerity. But heaven cannot be earned or deserved or bought, which is why God has reached down and just given us Jesus!


Blessings

Thursday, August 9, 2012

"It Is Finished"


He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. John 19:30, NKJV

After nine hours of standing on His feet, after being scourged, slapped, and manhandled, after six hours of hanging on the Cross, the average person would have barely had enough life and breath left to even whisper. But Jesus, the Lamb of God, with life still fully flowing through His body, shouted out in a clear, ringing, triumphant voice, "It is finished." The price for our redemption had been paid! The sacrifice for our sin had been made! Sin was forgiven! Guilt was atoned for! Eternal life was now offered! Heaven has been opened! 


It is finished!


You don't have to do more good works than bad works.


You don't have to go to church every time the door opens.


You don't have to climb the stairs to some statue.


You don't have to be religious.


You don't even have to be good!


It is finished! Sin is forgivable for everyone! The price has been paid!


Blessings

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Message We Declare


The Message We Declare


The 23rd Channel

The TV is my shepherd, I shall not want.
It maketh me to lie down on the sofa;
It leadeth me away from faith;
It destroys my soul;
It leadeth me into the paths of sex and violence for the sponsors sake.
Yea, though I walk through the shadow of my Christian responsibilities,
there is no interruption, for the TV is with me;
Its cables and remote control, they comfort me.
It prepareth a commercial for me in the presence of my worldliness.
It annointeth my head with humanism and consumerism; my coveting runneth over.
Surely, laziness and ignorance shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house, just watching TV all the time. 

SONG 23  Burger King Version

DOES THIS SOUND ACCURATE? It is or could be for some people.

Ephesians 5:15-17 "Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is."

Instead of contributing to the world's evil, we should be doing whatever we can for the Lord! Far too many Christian people like to run with the world and contribute little to the kingdom of God.

This is one reason why I feel I need to do some work for the Lord every day. Otherwise, I feel like I'm stealing from God and giving in to the world.

The message that the world is declaring is many things. It is: enjoy life, take it easy, watch all the TV you want, etc. It is eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. Meaning enjoy yourself to the hilt, because when we die, that's all she wrote!

The world's message is many things but we must not be taken in by the world!

Ephesians 5:8-11 "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them."

Someone wrote: Several years ago I read of a terrible accident in which several youth were killed when their car was struck by a train. At the trial the watchman was questioned: “Were you at the crossing the night of the accident?”
“Yes, your Honor.”
“Were you waving your lantern to warn of the danger.”
“Yes, your Honor,” the man told the judge.
But after the trial had ended, the watchman walked away mumbling to himself, “I’m glad they didn’t ask me about the light in the lantern, because the light had gone out.”

Has your light gone out? We all have our days when our light is not shining at all. And God sees when our light has gone out.

We must not be taken in by the world. Instead we need to declare the message of God about Jesus and as contained in scripture: Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God!

Let's take note of the message that John declared.

1- The message is: There is no darkness in God
2- The message is: Claiming to know God doesn't mean you do
3- The message is: Confession and walking in the light go hand-in-hand

I. THE MESSAGE IS: THERE IS NO DARKNESS IN GOD

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. No darkness. No sin. No error. Nothing evil in God.

In basic training, our first sergeant made things very clear. He told us, “Don’t question anything I say or tell you to do. Don’t worry—I hardly ever make mistakes. Matter of fact, I’ve made only one mistake in my life. I once thought I was wrong about something. It turned out I wasn’t.”

Is that the way it is? Well, there might be some people who actually feel that way about themselves but more than likely, we may feel a whole lot less than perfect. THIS IS MORE LIKE IT:

I remember a day, quite a few years ago, I had gone shopping for my family. The wheel of my grocery cart was making a horrible scraping sound as I rolled it through the supermarket. Nevertheless, when I finished my shopping and saw a woman needing a cart, I offered it to her, explaining, "It makes an awful noise, but it works."

"That's okay," she said, taking it. "I have a husband at home just like that."

Guess what? WE ALL ARE LIKE THAT! We work but we often make an awful noise because of sin in our lives! BUT NOT GOD! THERE IS NO DARKNESS IN HIM!

II Cor. 5:21 "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." There was no sin in Jesus. If there's no sin in Jesus then there is no sin in God the Father!


These scriptures declare that Jesus never once sinned. Our message is this: There is no darkness in God or Jesus! We have a perfect God and Savior!

However, one of our problems is understanding how anyone could be completely perfect. We've never seen it or heard of it. The only way we can ever understand it is through the life of Christ. Examine His life and ministry on earth. Can you find any darkness, any sin in Him? I don't think so. This is why when people outside of Christ accuse us of wrong-doing, we must always point to Christ. HE IS OUR MESSAGE, OUR HOPE, OUR SAVIOR.

People can slam us all they want, but they cannot accuse our Savior of being sinful.

II. THE MESSAGE IS: CLAIMING TO KNOW GOD DOESN'T MEAN YOU DO

If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

I grew up in New York City, in Harlem, during a very turbulent time in our history. I was there for the race riots after the killing of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. I was raised in a house that was predominantly Catholic, but also had members of the Black Panther Party..

"I always had a lot of questions about the world, even in kindergarten. A big question to me was fairness. If I'd grown up in some other religion, would I get the same shot at Heaven as a Christian has? My uncle would come into my room and talk to me. I was very fortunate to have that dialogue with him, but in high school I started to realize that I felt differently from others."

"I had crises of faith," "I thought you had to experience things if you want to know right from wrong. I'd go to Christian revivals and be moved by the Holy Spirit, and I'd go to rock concerts and feel the same fervor. Then I'd be told, 'That's the Devil's music! Don't partake in that!' I wanted to experience things religion said not to experience."

By the time I entered college, I had pretty much fallen away from my fundamental beliefs. "When I got untethered from the comfort of religion, it wasn't a loss of faith for me, it was a discovery of self," "I had faith that I was capable enough to handle any situation. There was a sense of peace in understanding that I have only one life, here and now, and I'm responsible."

I had a serious problem. Somehow or other, I had gotten off track in regard to Christ and Christianity. Someone or something has convinced had convinced me that what God says in His Word didn’t count!

I'm not saying I wasn’t a decent person but I certainly had a clouded idea of what it meant to be a Christian. I had bought into that theology that as long as you're a good and decent person and give something to society then that's all that counts as far as God is concerned. BUT WE KNOW THERE IS MORE TO IT THAN THIS.

If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.

I'm not suggesting that there isn't darkness in our lives, because there will always be SOME darkness in our lives. Why? Because we live in a world of sin and because we all have a sin nature as long as we live in the flesh.

Does this mean we will always be tempted to sin? Probably. But it doesn't mean that we have to give in.

If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.

THE WORD OF GOD STANDS TRUE. Claiming to know God doesn’t mean a person does.

III. THE MESSAGE IS: CONFESSION AND WALKING IN THE LIGHT GO HAND-IN-HAND

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

A lady named Amy Carpenter said: Stuck in rush-hour traffic, I couldn't help but stare when a burly biker wearing a black leather jacket and chaps pulled up next to me on a shocking pink Harley-Davidson. My first thoughts were, "Is that really a pink Harley? I wonder if he's..."

Just then the traffic cleared and he pulled in front of me. On the back of his helmet were stenciled the words "Yes, it is. No, I'm not."

A man named Ed said: I got stuck in a traffic jam while commuting into Los Angeles one day. The woman in the SUV in front of me took full advantage of the slowdown.

She whipped out her eyebrow pencil, lip gloss and a mirror, applying the finishing touches on her face in the ten minutes it took us to creep through the Cahuenga Pass. Finally, the traffic broke up and as she zoomed away, I caught a glimpse of her vehicle's license plate: NTRL BTY. (natural beauty)

I would say that was not NATURAL BEAUTY. But there is something far worse than having a hypocritical license plate and that's being a hypocrite!

A pastor decides to use one rich parishioner to set an example. "John," he says, "you're a successful businessman; surely you could contribute more to the building fund." John replies, "But my mother is in a nursing home, my daughter just lost her job, and my son is starting college … If I can say no to them, I can say no to you too."

Whenever you say "no" to a needy family member and have the means, you are not walking in the light.

My friend and ministry brother, Chris’s mother is 55 years old and is dying of cancer. Last week Chris drove two hours one way to Virginia Beach to take his mother to the doctor on three different days. She hasn’t been the best of mothers, but Chris is being a good son. I am so very thankful.

There are many other things that may indicate that a person is not walking in the light as they may claim to be doing.

Jim Bakker of the PTL Club (and Assembly of God church) failed in the lust department and greed department and ended up in jail. After he got out of prison in 1994 he wrote a book (1996) entitled, "I Was Wrong." And he was.

Jimmy Swaggart, famed evangelist from Louisiana, (also Assembly of God church) was caught with a prostitute more than once.

I am not happy about these incidents, because, obviously, they damage the message of the gospel of Christ. They hurt the witness of Christ in this world. BUT...we all do things that hurt Christ and our witness for Him.

But the good of all this is: We can repent and change. We can confess our sins (no matter how large or small) and He will forgive us. We can walk with Him. We can return to a walk with Him!

We all need to walk in the light as best we can and that means walking with Him. Walking daily with Him is the only way to walk in the light and let our light shine! We get our goodness from Him, not us! We become better by rubbing shoulders with Him! PRAISE HIS NAME!

CONCLUSION---------------

I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day. I'd rather one would walk with me than merely tell the way. The eye's a much better student and more willing than the ear. Fine counseling is confusing but example's always clear.

You may not remember any of the sermons that I preach but you will remember who I am and what I am.

We have a message to declare and speak, we must. And live it, we must. And then some in this world may come to believe and be saved in Jesus. 

Connect the Thoughts - A Bible Quiz

(As the theme song from Jeopardy plays in the background.........)
If you are up to the challenge….10 questions…each question is worth from 100 to 1000 points.

I will post several questions each with three common themes…..Your challenge... if you chose to accept it is to….CONNECT THE THOUGHTS! 

Come up with the common theme for each question…If you get confused, I will post the answers tomorrow (w/ supporting Scripture verses).

Perfect Score = 5500 pts.

Quiz 1
1) 100 pts – a mount, groves, Noah’s dove
2) 200 pts – Daniels’s “weeks”, the “other” disciples, forgiveness times seven
3) 300 pts – the Shunammite’s son, Eutychus, Lazarus
4) 400 pts – Pentecost, Jesus walks on water, Job’s children
5) 500 pts – Joseph, the ancient Isrealites, Onesimus
6) 600 pts – churches of Revelation, the first deacons, clean animals on the ark
7) 700 pts - Aaron, Gersham, Miriam
8) 800 pts – Naaman, Joab, Barak
9) 900 pts – Tobiah, Ezra, King Artaxerxes
10) 1000 pts – a fire, an unruly evil, a world of iniquity

GOOD LUCK!





Blessings

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Without Christ


Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. John 12:26, NIV

Jesus encouraged His disciples by promising, "where I am, my servant also will be." There is nothing in this world that I desire more than the presence of Jesus in my life.

Nothing . . .

not houses or honors or health,

not cars or careers or children,

not money or marriage or ministry,

not fame or family or freedom,

not promotion or pleasures or position,

not strength or success,

not ability or achievement,

not even love or life itself.

Nothing!

What would it be like not to have Christ in your life? I think that it would be hell-literally.

Blessings

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Stand Up for Jesus


Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus.  John 19:38, NIV

Because Jesus had just been executed as a criminal and an enemy of Rome, Joseph's request was exceedingly bold. As a prominent member of the religious community, he ran the risk of provoking not only Pilate but also the other Jewish leaders who then could have excommunicated him from the Sanhedrin and the temple.

Joseph's action was especially astounding since previously he had been so timid and fearful of the opinions of others that he had kept his belief in Jesus as the Messiah a secret. Now, however, he came out of the closet and "with Pilate's permission, he came and took the body." Even more astonishing, "he was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night" (John 19:38-39, NIV).

The Father's heart must have been deeply moved and heaven's host must have applauded with joy to see these two fearful, prideful Jewish men throw caution to the wind. They had been silent when they should have spoken. They had denied their faith when they should have asserted it. But no more! Now they were standing up for Jesus!

Blessings

Friday, August 3, 2012

Light Reigns Over Darkness


The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.  John 1:5, NIV

When you and I live lives that reflect Jesus, His light in us reveals the darkness of sin and rebellion and ignorance in the world around us. This may begin to explain why your old friends have rejected you or your coworkers avoid you or your neighbors shun you. If they are living in darkness, the light in you makes them uncomfortable.

Our world lives in spiritual darkness, separated from God. But people have adjusted and, generally speaking, are comfortable in their "twilight zone." They may not be able to "see" God or others or themselves clearly, but they see well enough to get along in life.

When a person who belongs to Jesus Christ lives a life that reflects:

  • His integrity and morality and purity, 
  • His holiness and righteousness and truthfulness, 
  • His goodness and godliness and grace, the light of his or her life can cause others to react with spontaneous rejection. 


But be encouraged! The Light not only reveals the darkness, it also reigns over it.

Blessings

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Pattern to Live By


Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. Exodus 20:9-10, NIV


Life on Planet Earth is fast becoming a rat race, and a mad scramble to get ahead that is leaving brokenness everywhere. We desperately need a pattern to live by that will enable us to live our lives successfully. Such a pattern already exists; it was set at the dawn of Creation by God Himself. But we are not following the Creator's directions.


Our twenty-four-hour day is based on the earth's rotation on its axis. Our twelve-month years are based on the revolution of our planet around the sun. But the only basis for the seven-day week that is used worldwide as a pattern for humanity's lifestyle is the Creator's example: "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work" (Gen. 2:2, NIV)


While God's week included rest on the seventh day, it also involved work for six days straight, giving us a pattern for the discipline of our lives. How close does the pattern of your life follow His?


Blessings