Serving as Jesus did


Have you ever thought of serving the Lord for your lifetime? We are all called in one way or another when we hear or feel the call on our lives and in our hearts. We are also given talents and abilities which may not translate into much for this world, but they mean a lot in God’s Kingdom. Each word that you use in your life as a Christian has an effect on someone, particularly if it is your children or grandchildren. You may not see the end result of your influence in this life, but God will use your words in ways that you may not imagine right now.

God cares for His Creation, all of it! Each person who has been born and those who are yet to be born into this world, God loves them with a love that only He knows the depth of! We experience only a small taste of it when we have a family. Our children experience a taste of His love through us as we raise and love them and teach them about life, to the best of our ability. Can we learn to be His servants, His disciples while we carry on our lives here? Yes, but we must determine to do it and not just “try” to be better or “try” to learn how it is done!

So, how do we learn to know Jesus and how to be His disciple in this life? Actually, it is simple—by reading the Bible and learning from Him directly! Paul’s letter to the Philippians exhorts us to be like Jesus in all that we say and do in our life with Him. Read here:

Philippians 2:1-11

Being One in Christ

1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

The Attitude of Christ
(Isaiah 52:13-15)

5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

God approved of and ordains each of us to be His representative while we are in this life, this tabernacle as Peter put it. Yet, we are not supposed to sit in our home and read the Bible and pray and attend church! We are supposed to do something with our life in Jesus Christ! Tell others about His work in your life. Tell them about His love which called to your heart and caused you to realize that our life is not all that there is. Your life in Christ Jesus is just the beginning! Living the rest of your life to be the best reflection of Jesus that you can be with His Spirit inside giving you the strength to resist your old temptations and walk in a newness of His Life and His calling on your life until He comes to take the church to Heaven one day!

Our life without Him or the regeneration of our hearts is a cold and lonely place even if you have family and loving people around you. Because, without His love flowing in your heart and then giving it away to the people around you, the “love” that you have before Jesus is a poor imitation of the love that you have as His child. Our hearts don’t know how to truly love until we accept His Love for us because He is love personified!

Living in His Light


Have you considered being a child of God? We are all His creation, regardless of the country we live in or the religion which we claim to serve if we believe in Him at all. God loves each of us, whether you believe it or not. Yet, living in the Light of His Love and Grace is where most of us who believe are right now. How we live in this condition is our service to Him. There are many who simply don’t want to live according to His gospel or in His LIght!

Why? Like the gospel’s say, “they shun the light because they like the darkness“; it is simple and so easy to see it today. Criminals do all of their criminality in the dark where that can’t be seen and it is the same with sinful mankind. They don’t want their sins or their deeds brought into the light, whether it is the daytime or the Light of Jesus! God cares about all of mankind, but He knows which people will give their hearts to Him and His Son and which ones will not.

Your life and the lifestyle that you live is not unknown to God. He knows each person on this Earth and He knows their hearts even if they don’t belong to Him. This has never changed since even the time of Adam and Eve in the Garden. It wasn’t a surprise to God that they could not resist the serpent in the Garden who told them that “they would surely not die“.

When we are tempted by wealth or fame or more knowledge than we are ready for, it is always the Tempter who is dangling it in front of our hearts or our eyes so that we want it for our purposes, not God’s purpose. This part of the equation between man’s temptation and God’s grace toward us has never changed. Actually, the difference has only become more pronounced, except that man doesn’t want to see it or acknowledge it. You can see it every day on the news but unless you are looking at the world around you through your spiritual eyes tempered by God’s Word and His prophecies, it won’t be very apparent to you at all.

This is the very reason that the world doesn’t recognize how the Bible’s prophecies work because they don’t have their eyes turned to the Holy Spirit. You can’t see the working of prophecy unless you have faith in Him and your Spirit is showing you those things around you. As some people on television seem to think that Christians have a mental illness and that they can’t live in the world with “normal” people. Really?

Somehow, I think its a bit more like we are the ones who can see what is really going on around us and the rest of the world is just trying to make sense of all of it and it doesn’t make sense to them. Why? Because the workings of God don’t make sense to those who won’t or can’t see the world with spiritual eyes of faith.

Foolish


Today is two different days all rolled into one. Most importantly it’s the day that we, as Christmas, celebrate Easter as the day when Jesus rose from the tomb. To others it’s April Fool’s day. In any event, today is a special day. So, will you be celebrating Easter today with family worship or will you be sitting in at home?

I will be preaching about our Lord and Savior this morning, I pray that you will come to know Him as your Lord one day soon. God made a way for you to be saved from an eternity of punishment if you will just believe in Jesus for your salvation. There is no other way to be saved.

This pathway to salvation is very simple but many don’t come to know Him because it seems to be too simple. We want to make it harder so that we can contribute something to our salvation, but we can’t. Our efforts only get in the way and make it unprofitable to others who may think that they can work their way into heaven.

Truly life is busy and confusing at times, but we should try to be more like the apostles were. Taking the message wherever we go in life, that is our job. Telling others about our Savior is our vocation because Jesus gave His disciples a command and we are His disciples as well.

What happened on Easter?


The story which is celebrated in much of the world has to do with pagan ritual. Eggs and rabbits and things like that. These have nothing to do with our risen Savior.

Jesus told His disciples that He would rise again on the third day. Many people disbelieve that story today, even in the church. I mean, how can you manage to get three days between Friday and Sunday? Going by Jewish calendars and tradition it is simple. A day begins at sunrise and ends at sunset, at least to us. But, to Jewish people who lived in Jesus’ day, the next day begins at sundown on the day before. So, when the soldiers arrested Jesus in the garden on early Friday morning, part of that day had already passed by.

The sunrise brought the priests and the High Priest before Pilate to accuse Jesus and He was flogged, but that wasn’t enough. They wanted a crucifixion and the Sabbath began at sundown. From about the third hour until the ninth hour Jesus was on the cross, that would be 9 am until 3 pm for us. Counting from sunrise to sunset is the timing that they used because the preparation for the Sabbath had to begin at sundown, counting as the next day.

empty_tomb11He laid in the tomb from just before sundown on Friday, all day on the Sabbath, and most of the day on the first day of the week on Sunday. So Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are three days!

So…what happened on Sunday morning at around sunrise? A miracle to those who witnessed it for sure! A bright light which was brighter than the Sun in its strength, which pierced even the cracks around the rock which covered the entrance to the tomb. The stone which had been rolled over the opening of the tomb and sealed with the Roman seal was rolled away.

We don’t know what the soldiers saw at that moment. They could’ve seen the risen Jesus in His glory or maybe an angel, possibly two angels who told the disciples and Mary that He has risen just as He had told them that He would. I want to believe that those soldiers who were guarding the tomb saw Him in His glory and likely believed that He was the Savior, the King of the Jews and their Messiah. But, until we get to Heaven we will not know for sure what they saw or what they believed.

Our Savior is alive and is at the right hand of Power on High! There is no other name by which we must be saved to be in His Presence! The only requirement is that we believe in Him and in what was written about Him in the Bible, ask Him for your forgiveness and repent of your old way of life and follow Him daily. That is our job, our responsibility as believers and as Christians! To tell others about our Savior Who died to give them the ability to become Christians and partake in His Kingdom too. No amount of money or work to do to be eligible for salvation, just believe in Him.

The Be-attitude


Do you have this kind of outlook on life with Jesus? Be His in humility and love, not wanting prideful outcomes in your prayers. Living by the words of Jesus which He spoke on the Mount of olives (or as it is so often called, the sermon on the mount) is the beginning of your walk with Him. Here are some of the statements He made that day:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3-10

Jesus was not saying that we should be doormats or act like little mice. He was telling His audience then and now that we should be more like Him. Meekness is submission to control, not weakness. This is the same spirit which a horse has when trained to follow the direction of its rider because even a child can direct a strong horse with a bridle if the horse is trained right.

Jesus wasn’t telling His listeners that they should be happy to be persecuted but to learn to live in a state of dependence on Him for strength every day. All of the statements which He preached on the Mount of Olives were meant to show how to live daily in contact and dependence upon Him. It is a blueprint for your walk with Jesus.

Why is that so important today?

Because we are close to a time in the history of the world where things are coming to an end. I am not saying that the world will end in five or ten years but when the church is called home the world which is left will be on a short journey toward judgment by God. It may be another ten years or more before that happens, no one knows the day or the hour except God. But when it does happen it will plunge the world into chaos and the life of those who are still here will become far more difficult than anything the world has experienced in recorded history.

Why am I writing this today? Because of the number of people who don’t know Jesus. He is the only way to eternity or rather an eternity that you would want to live in. If you don’t want to know Him, that is fine but don’t complain when you are turned toward the lake of fire to spend eternity. God has provided a way to know Him more deeply and securely through Jesus because He paid your debt of sin in full at the cross. All you have to do to receive your gift of forgiveness is to accept Jesus as your Savior and believe in Him.

No amount of good deeds or money will change your destination or the outcome of your death. Believing in Jesus and accepting Him as your Savior will make an eternal change in your life today and into God’s Kingdom. Don’t walk away from Him or His call on your life! If you have felt Him calling to you, then answer the door of your heart and let Him in. Your life will never be the same again.

Cold as ice


I think that this winter we can all identify with the cold outside whether we would like it or not. It has been cold this winter and it isn’t over yet. So, how does this phrase “cold as ice” have anything to do with following Jesus? Well, if you have a few minutes to read and ponder this I will try to tell you.

GodcantakecareofyouThe global climate changed, past tense, after the Flood and it was very cold in some places and warmer in others than it had been previously. For the record, I don’t believe in the so-called global warming that you hear about in reference to almost any climatic change these days. Earth has always had its cold spells and warmer spells in the past and will likely keep on doing that for many years to come.

The reference which I am making today to “cold as ice” is the way which many people turn away from the love and peace offered to them through Jesus. It is a gift which you can’t afford and there is no price which you can pay to buy it, it is actually free to each person IF…they will only believe that Jesus did this for them and accept it. But, many people in our world want to find their own pathway to Heaven, one which they can travel when they want to and take a detour off of the path when they feel like it.

Living a Christian life with Jesus as your Savior is not an on again/off again affair. It is not a take it or leave it idea or decision, it is a life choice. Not a lifestyle, but a choice just as most other things in life are which have a true and lasting effect on your everyday life. The problem is that people in our world today are cold toward God’s Word and His Son. They don’t want to believe that He is the Savior that they have been searching for during their lifetime.

Most want their salvation to be a 50/50 partnership where they do so much and God picks up the rest of the tab for their salvation. But, just as in marriage, this is not a partnership where it is split down the middle. God and Jesus paid the WHOLE price for you and for every person ever created and the only thing that you can bring to the table is a heart and soul which knows that it NEEDS Jesus! Whenever you get to that point, the Holy Spirit usually lets you know, you only have to ask for Him to come in and save you from yourself, your sins and the consequences of them.

There are no amount of “good works” that you can perform which will make your salvation more real or lasting because Jesus did everything needed on the cross. We can’t add anything to His work any more than you could add fuel to the Sun and make it hotter. There are enough which has been done to pay each of our sin debts because the blood that Jesus shed paid for each person’s debts from the beginning of the world until the end.

It is the coldness of our hearts which cause us to ignore the gift which is offered for our salvation. It is also our own selfishness which puts us in that shape as well because we want to keep doing things our way and we don’t want to change. Nor do we want Jesus to change our hearts so that we are comfortable with Him being in our lives to make us more like Him.

So, how much of the world is selfish enough to be described as “cold as ice”? If you search for the answer on the Internet it will be somewhere between two-thirds and three-quarters of the world’s population who really don’t want much to do with Jesus. Many of them will actually say that they attend church weekly or pray to God daily, which is nice but where does their heart belong? Does Jesus know them well enough to have them written in the Book of Life?

Those questions can only be answered by God and they will be answered when they stand in front of Him, but at that point…it will be too late to change your mind or ask Him to come in and fix your sinful heart. Make sure that you know without a doubt where you are in that relationship because when you truly find out it may be too late to change.

What kind of impact will you make?


We are starting a new year, not exactly an Earth-shaking event. But…will you have an impact in our world or your world this year? Sometimes we make resolutions for the year when it is brand new and fresh but after a couple of paychecks and possibly a trip to the doctor’s office…well those resolutions get placed in the closet until next year. So, can we have an impact on those we love or the workplace?

GodisNearActually, we can IF we will let God into our lives and let Him influence our living from day-to-day! I know that there are people who don’t like to hear about religion in general, regardless of whether Jesus is part of it! But, the fact is that everyone needs Him whether we realize it or accept it or not!

Could we have an impact on the world without allowing Jesus into our lives on a daily basis? Yes, but it wouldn’t have an eternal outcome if we did it all on our own. Teachers in high school and college have an impact on their student’s lives during the year, but how much do you remember of tenth-grade algebra class? I would guess that, like me, you don’t really remember much of it (unless you actually work in a field that you USE it every day)!

Being a Christian is very different from learning algebra or geometry because it is a decision which we are called to by God and the Holy Spirit. It is not a decision that you make on your own, although you do have to decide to accept the offer of salvation from Jesus. You can’t just decide that today I am going to become a Christian because it is a calling from God which prompts you to realize that you need Jesus in your life.

Being a Christian and living life as a Christian is not a hard thing to do, but it is a life that you have to learn to do. Studying the Bible and learning about the grace of God and His plan for your life is part of living your life for Jesus! Repenting or walking away from your sins is another part of being a true Christian. Sitting in church or Sunday school once or twice a month and not changing your lifestyle doesn’t make you a Christian. Although many people who go to church once or twice a year think that they are Christians, even though they haven’t been baptized or changed anything about their lives!

You can have an impact in this world and in eternity by living your life for Christ so that others will see its effect on you and want what you have.