Rescued!

“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22 NASB

“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.” Colossians 1:13‭-‬18 NASB

Jesus came as the Son of GOD, to save us and to forgive our sin: “For to which of the angels did He ever say, “You are My Son , Today I have begotten You ”? And again, “I will be a Father to Him And He shall be a Son to Me”? Hebrews 1:5 NASB

Why? Why would GOD sacrifice Himself to die for us? Because even though the Old Testament Law was important, it was insufficient to completely cover our sin. Sin came into the world through man, so Jesus was conceived without man to keep His human body pure. The preacher Adrian Rogers said that Jesus is all God and all man; man to be able to die, God to pay the ultimate price for our sin. Jesus died ONCE for ALL.

” ….. then He [JESUS] said, “Behold, I have come to do Your Will.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second. By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Hebrews 10:9‭-‬10 NASB

He died for me, and He died for you, so we don’t have to! ALL we have to do is to profess Him as LORD. AMEN.

Greater Good

“But the greatest among you shall be your servant.” Matthew 23:11 NASB

As I skim through social media, it occurs to me that the “greatest” among us today are about as far from being servants as we could imagine. Spoiled, cosseted, and overpaid celebrities from Hollywood, sport venues, and certain financial and political arenas are being toasted and held up for worship as the experts on life. It’s as if they are the gods we should look up to, and that we should follow without question. Many of them certainly act like they are above all human laws and morals. It’s all about lust. Lust for control, for sex, for the almighty dollar; it’s all about power. As Christians, our guide, our Law Book, is the Bible. It is very clear on idolatry, lust, and temptation.

“You shall have no other gods before Me. “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.” Exodus 20:3‭-‬4, Deuteronomy 5:6-7 NASB

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:15‭-‬17 NASB

“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.” James 1:13‭-‬14‭, ‬16 NASB

So, Greater Good. Servanthood. It’s different for every person. How does it look for you; on you? It’s not for everyone to wash the feet of others (figuratively at least, if not actually), although I believe that unless you’ve done it, you’ll never understand true servanthood.

Something To Look Forward To!

“Then he showed me a river of the Water of Life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of GOD and of the LAMB, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the Tree of Life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of GOD and of the LAMB will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His Face, and His Name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the LORD GOD will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.” And JESUS said: “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Revelation 22:1‭-‬5‭, ‬12‭-‬13 NASB

I love reading the books of the Revelations of John.  To have been honored to see the future of all man was probably both the most exciting and the most terrifying thing in his entire life. Whenever I get too upset about the current world affairs, I can refer back to Revelations. Everything – everything and everyone will face the end of time as we know it, together and with no defense.

Does that frighten you? It should! Unless you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, bypassing any of man’s requirements, and acknowledging that He is the One and Only way to salvation, the description of heaven that John wrote about in the above passage won’t exist for you. Eternity will go one of two ways. Those who accept Jesus spend eternity with Him, and those who reject Him will spend eternity in agony.  Too simple? Need more structure? Think you need an earthly advocate in the form of a priest to intercede for you, or that you have to be a “good” person? Are you too “bad”; you’ve done unforgivable things? No one is too bad, just as no one is good enough to get there on their own.

One thing, and only one thing will ensure your eternity with Him. Read this carefully:

Jesus said to him, “I AM the WAY, and the TRUTH, and the LIFE; NO ONE comes to the Father but through ME. John 14:6 NASB

Father, I pray that the one who needs You reads this, and accepts Your Own Son today as their Saviour.  Amen.

Sin v. Virtue

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 NASB
“Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad.” Psalms 105:3 NASB

January 2, 2020 – Looks like we all survived the New Year festivities! What about the dreaded New Year Resolutions? How are we doing with those? Many years ago, I made the decision not to make resolutions anymore. Honestly, I think that one of the best resolutions that anyone can make is to take life one day at a time. If we aren’t spending our time looking over our shoulders for pursuit from our past, or fretting about the future, how much time would it free up for us?

The best ones of all?

“Rejoice in the LORD always; again I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 NASB
“Glory in His Holy Name; Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.” Psalms 105:3 NASB

We can focus on which of the seven ‘deadly’ sins we struggle with (for me, that would be all of them) – pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth – or we can put our focus on the LORD and the seven virtues Jesus modeled so faithfully for us – prudence, justice, temperance, courage, faith, hope, and charity.

If we focus on these virtues and on rejoicing in the LORD always, don’t you think everything else would fall into place? The enemy will fight us on this, and he’ll fight hard, because he doesn’t want us content in the LORD. He’ll throw roadblocks and ‘bricks’ at you, but know this:

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the Love of GOD, which is in CHRIST JESUS our LORD.” Romans 8:38‭-‬39 NASB

Yes, it’s hard right now, but our eternal life with our LORD will be worth it! HALLELUJAH and AMEN!!

“But JESUS Kept Silent …”

“… And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the Living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the Right Hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” ” – Matthew 26:63‭-‬64 NASB

What a powerful statement!

Jesus never bragged about Who He was. He stood silent when He was accused of being seditious against the government, and in fact, He never called on His followers to overthrow the government. He was tried and convicted on hearsay, so that He could stand before us, and die for us, on the cross. Could you – can you – stand by and be accused of crimes and keep silent? Do you? At work or school, at home, how many times have we defended ourselves, rightfully or wrongly? Especially when working around kids, a very common phrase we hear is “but I didn’t do anything!” I have defended myself many times (right or wrong), and I’m sure I will many more times in the future.

But Jesus kept silent….. The only truly innocent person to ever live, when accused, kept silent. The God of the Universe, Creator, Son, Living LORD Who calls Heaven home, showed us how to live and how to turn the other cheek. He was born for that moment. No argument, no grandstanding, no yelling. What a wonderful example for us to follow as we move into a new year.

Jesus and The “Littles” …

How did Jesus treat children? Not, as some people do, expecting them to “be seen and not heard!” Blessing children is scriptural from Genesis and on throughout the Scriptures, both Old Testament and New Testament.

“And they” (the Greek word used indicates the fathers as spiritual leaders bringing their families, their children) “were bringing children” (infants up to 12 year olds) “to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them.” (The disciples are blocking people instead of being a bridge to Jesus. They were acting as bodyguards, trying to hinder or stop anyone from coming to Christ, when they should have instead been encouraging.)“But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant” (angered) “and said to them” (His disciples), ” ‘Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child” (with empty hands, coming as they – weak, helpless, dependent) “will not” (the Greek word translates as never ever) “enter it at all.’ And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.” – Mark 10:13‭-‬16 NASB (also see Luke and Matthew)

** Side note: This passage is not about infant baptism; it is about blessing the children. Baptism is an outward, public declaration of putting our faith and trust in Jesus Christ; i.e. entering the kingdom, by being immersed in water, representing the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord.

We must come to Jesus as a child; we can offer nothing to Him because He is the Creator of all things. Without Him, we have nothing. From the hymn Rock of Age, written in 1763 by the Reverend Augustus Toplady:

Nothing in my hand I bring
Simply to Thy cross I cling
Nothing in my hand I bring
Simply to Thy cross I cling
Naked, come to Thee for dress
Helpless, look to Thee for grace
Vile, I to the fountain fly
Wash me, savior, or I die

His Promise

We are powerless over our lives, past and present, and our lives are unmanageable on our own. We recognize that we need something more than ourselves; a “Higher Power ” (AA), or as we know, GOD. Only He can be trusted to bring sanity, wholeness, and healing to us.

This is a paraphrase of the First and Second Steps of AA and Celebrate Recovery, to be embraced by anyone* who realizes that they are not in control of their lives. *That means everyone. No matter how together and in control you think you are, with God, you are spiraling out of control. It may be a really slow spiral, or it may be twisting and turning so quickly that you can’t get a breath.

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NASB

“But he promised me….. ” Something men do, and don’t follow through on. That’s what we have to go on; what our experiences teach us. Even though I know this to be true, every time it happens, a little piece of my heart dies. We see betrayal every day, and yet we are supposed to believe that some higher being is going to be different?

I do. I believe that a higher being, the Higher Being, the LORD, is different. I know He is different. He has listened to me for years, letting me rant and rave, yell and curse, and still He stayed with me.

Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.
Isaiah 35:3 NASB

The righteous cry, and the Lord hears And delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalms 34:17‭-‬18 NASB

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8‭-‬9 NASB

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Proverbs 28:13 NASB

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:1‭-‬2 NASB

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9 NASB

Until you can admit that your life is not yours to control, and that, in fact, you are out of control, you are lost. The LORD seeks us. He seeks you.

Step One: Admit you are powerless.