True Love

Love came to take your place. Love paid the price for your sins. Love gave Himself for you and me and every person on the Earth. Love is not involved in games or entertainment or racing or cars or in any wealth building venture. Love is Jesus Christ, Love is God coming down to take our sins, Love is this small word which is bigger than all of the universe itself because it is the substance of God Himself.

The beginning of trouble

Pride can kill anyone. Pride is the beginning of the end for relationships, or churches or friendships. Pride is especially deadly to your relationship with God. God has said in His Word, “be holy because I am holy”. So why aren’t we holy? Probably because of the notion that we are human and can attain any amount of holiness, but that is not what being holy means.

The real meaning of holy is this: to be “set apart” or “dedicated” to God. Being holy is part and parcel of being a Christian! It doesn’t mean that we are sinless or that we can’t have fun but we must be a part of the world but stand apart from the world by being dedicated to the work of God on this Earth. When you live a life with pride in yourself you are placing yourself on the throne of your life, in effect you declare yourself to be “god”.

Pride is a very subtle drug which can cause you very BIG problems. It may not happen at the beginning and it will likely be so easy at first, but you will fall from the platform that you have stepped up on. Pride can convince you that you are more than you are. More powerful, more handsome, more forceful as a preacher, more successful than you really are. Pride can put blinders on your eyes and it can harden your heart to the point that the Holy Spirit cannot get your attention anymore.

Truthfully, pride is the mother and father of ALL SINS. Why do I say this? Because it was pride which caused Adam and Eve to fall, it caused Saul to disobey God and lose the job of being King of Israel, on and on through the Bible. Pride could be the chief demon of Satan’s army.

God and His Holy Spirit together can give you the strength to resist pride and only with their help can you do it. When you feel pride beginning to bubble up, get into God’s Word and seek His wisdom. Pray for His guiding hand in all of your life. In teaching, in preaching, in life, in everything that you do make sure that it is Jesus Christ that you are following every moment of every day.

Read and study God’s Word and make sure that it is the Holy Spirit which is leading you in everything that you do and say. Because there is no way that pride can bring you down IF you are following Jesus and His wisdom every day.

Remember the Proverbs about pride:

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 18:12 Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.
Proverbs 29:23 A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.

Jesus is the Light of the world

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
John 1:1‭-‬5 KJV

Jesus’ death began before the cross

Have you ever wondered about the night that Jesus was in the garden? Most of us know the story about Him going to the garden and asking the disciples to pray with Him. He was asking the Father if this cup could pass from Him and He was sweating drops of blood because of the stress and the fear that His humanity felt. He had very likely had an idea or vision of what was coming in relation to the crucifixion. But…even before His crucifixion, He was scourged.

The “cat of nine tails” was usually dipped in resin and then drug through broken glass or pottery and it had metal tips on the ends as well. This whip was about 2 ½ feet long and the Roman soldiers who wielded it did not like being in Judea nor did they like Jews. Most of Rome’s soldiers were well muscled as well so taking all of that into account, Jesus began dying from the loss of blood at least an hour before He was nailed to the cross.

By the time Simon the Cyrene began helping Him carry His cross, Jesus had lost enough blood that He was very close to losing consciousness. So, His death began much earlier than being nailed to the cross. He had felt the betrayal of one of His disciples. He had heard Peter deny knowing Him three times and even though He knew that it was going to happen, it still hurt Him emotionally. Just a few days prior to His “mock trial”, many people had hailed Him as their Savior, their Messiah, coming into Jerusalem. Yet, many of those same people had been paid to bring false accusations against Him during His “trial”.

All of these combined to bring His Spirit to a very low point, so it is not surprising that He cried “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” when He was on the cross. We think about all of the miracles that Jesus performed while He was teaching and preaching during His ministry and those are proof of Who He was as the Son of God. Most of us never consider that Jesus was born as a human baby to a human mother. His limitations and His emotions and fears and His doubts all were part of His humanity so He could identify with us in every way. He knows your depression and fear and heartache. He has felt bruised feet and hands while He was a carpenter with His human father.

He felt hunger and fatigue during His time of testing in the wilderness for forty days. He felt alone even among thousands of admirers because of His mission which was coming to an end. Jesus felt all of these things which we feel but many of us don’t consider this when we read the Bible or listen to a sermon. Because the Bible doesn’t give details about His emotions or His feelings most of the time. So why do I write this now? Because we should think about our Savior’s time as a human being. Every feeling and temptation which we feel or have felt, He experienced during His life on Earth. That is what makes Him so easy to relate to and easy to believe in simply because He lived as one of us until He went back to His throne in Heaven.

Make sure of your salvation and your belief in Him while there is still time because after the church is taken away, choosing to become a Christian will be much harder to do.

Everything that He went through on this day, He did because of His love for humanity.

Don’t notice the outside, look within

Shoes in Church
I showered and shaved……………. I adjusted my tie.
I got there and sat……………. In a pew just in time.
Bowing my head in prayer………… As I closed my eyes.
I saw the shoe of the man next to me……. Touching my own. I sighed.
With plenty of room on either side……… I thought, ‘Why must our soles touch?’
It bothered me, his shoe touching mine. But it didn’t bother him much.
A prayer began: ‘Our Father’…………. I thought,

‘This man with these shoes has no pride. They’re dusty, worn, and scratched.

Even worse, there are holes on the side!’
‘Thank You for blessings,’ the prayer went on.
The shoe man said…………….. A quiet ‘Amen.’
I tried to focus on the prayer……. But my thoughts were on his shoes again..
Aren’t we supposed to look our best? When walking through that door?
‘Well, this certainly isn’t it,’ I thought, glancing toward the floor.
Then the prayer was ended………… And the songs of praise began.
The shoe man was certainly loud….. Sounding proud as he sang.
His voice lifted the rafters…….. His hands were raised high.
The Lord could surely hear… The shoe man’s voice from the sky.
It was time for the offering…….. And what I threw in was steep.
I watched as the shoe man reached… Into his pockets so deep.
I saw what was pulled out………. What the shoe man put in.
Then I heard a soft ‘clink’ as when silver hits the tin.
The sermon really bored me………. To tears, and that’s no lie.
It was the same for the shoe man… For tears fell from his eyes.
At the end of the service…….. As is the custom here.
We must greet new visitors, And show them all good cheer.
But I felt moved somehow……….. And wanted to meet the shoe man.

So after the closing prayer…….. I reached over and shook his hand.
He was old and his skin was dark….. And his hair was truly a mess…..
But I thanked him for coming………. For being our guest…
He said, ‘My name’s Charlie………… I’m glad to meet you, my friend.’
There were tears in his eyes……… But he had a large, wide grin…
‘Let me explain,’ he said…………. Wiping tears from his eyes.
‘I’ve been coming here for months…… And you’re the first to say ‘Hi.”
‘I know that my appearance………..Is not like all the rest.
‘But I really do try………………..To always look my best.’
‘I always clean and polish my shoes…Before my very long walk.’
‘But by the time I get here……..They’re dirty and dusty, like chalk.’
My heart filled with pain………… And I swallowed to hide my tears.
As he continued to apologize………. For daring to sit so near
He said, ‘When I get here………… I know I must look a sight.’
‘But I thought if I could touch you…Then maybe our souls might unite.’
I was silent for a moment…………. Knowing whatever was said
Would pale in comparison…I spoke from my heart, not my head.
‘Oh, you’ve touched me,’ I said…….’ And taught me, in part’
‘That the best of any man…………..Is what is found in his heart.’
The rest, I thought,…………… This shoe man will never know.
Like just how thankful I really am…That his dirty old shoe touched my soul.
Live each day as your last, for we never know our time here on earth. Love and Peace My Friends and remember that it is not how we look on the outside but how we look within.