One at a time


How can we advance our faith and our church in our community? One person at a time. That is how Jesus did it, at least at the beginning of His ministry. So, what should we do with our own testimony? Should we tell everyone or should we just talk to one person who needs to hear it and pray that it makes a difference in their lives?

Have you ever considered the impact of your testimony about the impact which Jesus had on your life? Few of us really think about this after we have accepted Him as our Savior. Even fewer think about what His influence has had in our own lives. It sounds a bit odd, doesn’t it? Why would you give your life and your heart to Jesus and then rarely think about Him or even the impact He has had in your life?

Although it seems that many people try to live a solitary life with Jesus as their Savior. That is not what He called us to be. We are supposed to be His witnesses in the world and His representatives in the world so that others might see the difference that He made in our lives! You can’t really live a solitary life with Jesus, can you? Yes, but it isn’t a lonely life as long as you acknowledge His Presence in your life each and every day!

John 5:1-18
After this, there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.…

I. THE PATIENT.

1. He was fully aware of his sickness and owned it. He was not like those who are lost by nature, who do not know it or will not confess it.

2. He waited by the pool expecting some sign and wonder. This is how many people wait, persevering in ordinances and unbelief, expecting some great thing, that on a sudden they will experience strange emotions and remarkable impressions, or see a vision or hear a supernatural voice. No one will deny that a few have been thus favored but such interpositions are not to be looked for. Jesus Himself is the greatest of wonders. In regard to this matter of waiting.

(1) That it is not the way which God has told His servants to preach. The gospel of our salvation is “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”(2) This un-gospel-like gospel of waiting is immensely popular. Why? Because it administers laudanum to the conscience. When the minister preaches with power and men’s hearts are touched, the devil says “Wait.”(3) Is not this “waiting” a very hopeless business? Of those who waited how few were healed? What right have you to expect that if you wait another thirty years you will be different?

(4) There lies our poor friend. I do not blame him for waiting, for Jesus had not been there before. He expected some person to have mercy on him and help him to get into the pool when the water was disturbed. Then when Jesus came and He expected Him to help him to get into the pool but Jesus said that your faith has made you whole.

(5) Having been so often disappointed he was growing in deep despair. Moreover, he was getting old; and life is wearing away with you. You have waited all this while in vain, sinfully waited. You have seen others saved, your child, your wife; but you are not. So how can you make a difference in your life? By believing in Jesus for your salvation and living with Him each day expecting Him to give you an eternity like He has promised to do for those who believe.

II. THE PHYSICIAN. (Jesus the Christ)

1. He made an election. This man was possibly selected because he was the worst case and had waited longest of all.

2. Jesus said, “Wilt thou be made whole?” not for information, but to arouse attention.

3. He gave the word of command.

4. There is nothing said in the text about faith, but the whole incident shows that the man must have had faith.

5. The cure which Christ wrought was —

(1)  Perfect. The man could carry his bed.

(2)  Immediate. The man was not carried home by friends and gradually nursed into vital energy.

Did he gradually get better on the way home? No! He was healed right there at the time that Jesus said so according to his expectation (faith).

 

Too much


Have you ever thought that God asks too much of us? I haven’t. God gave His only Son up to be killed on the cross so that all of us have the chance to be saved from our sins. Sometimes we do too much like I did today because it was cool outside, but God always does exactly what is necessary. He knows what is needed in every situation and for every need in our lives. So why don’t we trust Him for our salvation and for those needs in our lives more than we do?

Is it because we have too many needs? Is it because we don’t trust God enough to depend on Him for those needs?

Why do we think that our needs are too much for God? He is the Creator after all. He can create a star that is large enough that it would swallow almost all of our solar system, so what makes you think that a car payment or a disease in your family is too much for Him?Sun;_VY_Canis_Majoris_and_UY_Scuti_size

Our problems are easy for God to take care of IF we will give them to Him so He can. Many of us give our problems to Him and take them back as soon as we say “Amen”. Why? Because we don’t think He will do what we are asking of Him. So we take them back and essentially tell God, “I can do it myself”.

Have you ever thought that the reason for your prayer for Him to take care of whatever it is was because you couldn’t take care of it? Most of the time with disease or accidents we can’t take care of it on our own so why do we choose not to give it to God?

In most cases, it is because we are either not totally committed to Him or we really don’t have a relationship with Him (Jesus) in the first place. We have been to church or Bible school and we have heard the messages and even read the Bible a little so we think we are Christians…but we aren’t. Those are motions which we have gone through in our past but we have not given our heart to Jesus and we aren’t following Him in our daily lives.

Yet, we think that our prayers are being heard because we have had His blessings in our lives at some point. Those blessings may be because of someone else’s prayers for our blessing. They have a relationship with Jesus and it is their prayers which are being answered, not ours.

Prayers work when there is faith involved in them and in the person praying. God listens to the request and the faith of the one who is praying as well as the focus of the prayer. A child in a hospital or their parent’s treatment for cancer or some other disease may be the focus of the prayer but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes it is a prayer to give traveling mercies to someone on a plane or driving somewhere. Occasionally it is a prayer for a passing grade on a test for someone.

Does God care about these things? Yes, He does. If He cares for the food provided to birds don’t you think that grades or healing or your car keys mean just as much to Him?

Give your heart to Jesus and keep Him in your life every day, no matter what you may be doing because He does care for you.

How does the love of God compare?


There is no comparison between God’s love for His creation and for us in all of the Earth. No human can understand God’s love because His love is deep and without limits. He loves us because we are made in His Image and we are to be His servants into eternity. We will not be as slaves in this but we will be willing servants as bondservants in ancient days. They loved their masters and did not wish for freedom and would serve him even if they were to be set free.

God’s love for humanity is fierce and limitless and yet the angels have no understanding of His love for us. Why should God love mankind so? Because He is God and if it pleases Him to love us in this way then He will do it! God is our Creator and has made us be His adopted children, we are not forced to be His but we are voluntarily His children because of His love for us!

So, why do we live as if He doesn’t love us or doesn’t care for us? Mostly because of the fact that we can’t see God even though we can see all of His Creation and it shows His majesty and His creativity and His artistry in Creation! It is His Creation after all! We didn’t have any part in it except when He created us. He knows your talents and abilities and all of your problems. He gave you your talents and your sense of humor and your abilities so He knows more about you than you do about Him.

Why not pick up the Bible and learn more about your Creator and your Savior and get to know Him personally. Then when you hear His voice speaking to you, you will recognize Him and then you can respond accordingly! God wants the best for you but only if you know Him and He knows you can both of you benefit from what is best for you. Give your heart to Jesus and let Him come in and clean up every part of your life so that you can represent Him in every area of your life as well.God is good all the time

Do you feel broken?


I do, sometimes. There are days when I feel broken to the point of being depressed. Then there are days when I feel as if I can’t reach out to God. He feels distant, and it makes the day feel empty and cold. The only redeeming knowledge that I can bring to the day is that God is always near me. But, even in knowing this sometimes I can’t shake the feeling of being alone, even when I know I am not.

Many of us feel this way but we don’t know what to do about it. Brokenness is the feeling of being…well not whole. It doesn’t have to be caused by any specific thing or person, it just happens. It happens to people who aren’t Christians as well but their lives are already in a state of being broken anyway. Because there is Someone missing in their lives. It is the absence of the Holy Spirit and Jesus in your life which causes us to feel broken before we become Christians.

We search and seek all kinds of stimulants and sometimes people to take the place in our life which feels empty. The problem is that nobody on Earth can fill that space and no amount of money or drugs or alcohol or sex can fill it either. The drugs and alcohol may give you a whole feeling for a while, but it eventually wears off and the hole feels bigger somehow. It is a vicious cycle which Satan lures us into before we accept Jesus as our Savior.

After we accept Him it is still Satan who makes us feel worthless or alone and even depressed and that is when we feel broken and without God. We need to remember that He is always with us regardless of the situation we are in or even how far we feel from Him. God never loses sight of you nor does He let you out of His hand. When you have given your heart to Jesus for real, not some emotional experience, you can never be taken away from Him. You may walk away from the church and you may stop reading your Bible for a time but He is still near you and only a prayer away from your side.

BeautifullyBrokenGod mends us when we are broken and when He does this we are made more whole than we were before. God has never made a mistake and nothing ever catches Him by surprise. Don’t think that just because you may have made a mistake or thought something or even did something wrong, that God won’t take you and make you better than you were.

Even when your idea of being broken seems to be too bad for anyone to fix, God can. He can take a murderer like Moses or a Pharisee like Saul, who hunted down Christians to be put in jail or stoned, and He can make them into men who were changed into His most useful servants. God can make a universe out of nothing, what can He do with you?

Are you certain?


Do you know for sure, without a doubt, that you are saved and sanctified by the blood of Jesus? Have you read through the gospels and wondered if any of this was real? When I was younger, I wondered if the Bible itself was real or was it just some fantastic book put together a long time ago. The more I studied it and read it and then read it again, I came to realize that, especially when I read about the martyrs and how they died for their faith in Jesus, this book and the stories in it had to be real! Because people would not die for a lie!

God loves each of you so much that He sent His Son to the Earth clothed in humanity’s flesh to be the sacrifice for ALL of our sins! It doesn’t matter if you are black or white or Asian or Turkish or from Kenya or Norway or Australia…God loves you!

There is no secret formula to become a Christian, other than believing in Jesus’ sacrifice for your sins and giving your heart to Him in repentance of those sins. That’s it! Then, walk with Him daily for the rest of your life so that others might get a chance to see Him in you! Christ died for you and for every other person in the world. He paid the price for your sins so that you could have eternal life through Him.

Why did He do this? Because of God’s LOVE for you, that’s why! God did not pick and choose who was going to be saved and who wasn’t, the choice is up to you! When you feel that conviction in your heart and know that if you died today or tomorrow without Jesus, you would go to hell. Make a commitment to Jesus as His disciple from this moment on so your life will have a true meaning and a purpose now and into eternity!

God loves you and wants the best for you in His Kingdom so make sure that you are serving Him in your lifetime.

GodsBlessing

What is your experience?


Have you thought about your experience with Jesus? What about your salvation? The reason that I am asking this question is that each of us experiences each one in a different way. Some of us get emotional and nearly fall apart because of the grace that is given to us when we accept Him. Some of us fall down and worship Jesus and walk away from the experience a changed person and one which will do all that they can by telling others about Him.

The experience, especially if it is truly genuine, changes your heart spiritually and your life permanently! Salvation is not an experience which you can go through without the Holy Spirit and choose to turn it on or off when you want to go back where you were. True salvation begins when your heart is broken because of the Holy Spirit showing you through faith that your life is sinful and it needs to change. Sometimes this realization is brought about at a church service other times it is by a night or three or more in a jail cell. God will use whatever is necessary to get your attention and sometimes it is painful.

God loves us but like any Father or Mother, He sometimes has to use tough love to get a stubborn child to listen! Many times…we truly need this tough love and until God has your undivided attention, He will bang your head against whatever is necessary to make you listen. Why do I say this? Because, when God wants you to listen and He has a specific lesson or purpose for you, that only you can fulfill, He will not let go until you come around.

God knows the talents and gifts which He has given to you. You may not be aware of them until you have given your heart and life to Him, most of us aren’t. I never would’ve gotten in front of a group of people to speak for ten minutes or more if I had not been called by Him to be a preacher. I struggled against this calling for years until finally He got my attention enough and didn’t really give me a choice about it.

Some people think that God forces us to salvation, but that isn’t true. He will call to you and prod your heart, sometimes for years, but until you realize that you need Him in your life, it won’t make much difference. If you think that you have an arrangement with God and consider yourself good enough without accepting Him as your Lord and Savior, you may never hear His call on your life because you don’t think you need Him or the salvation that He is offering.

At that point, you are just like those Pharisees in Jesus’ day…too religiously minded to be any Earthly good to themselves or to anyone else! God only uses those who know that they need Him. Truly our Creator doesn’t need us in any way other than what He can see in your heart and your life. He can cause things to work out in His time so that your life or mine will line up with His will and purpose. He has already given you a talent or gift that He can use in His Kingdom but only if you answer the call on your life to change like the disciples did.

Peter denied the Lord three times on the night of His “mock trial” before going to Pilate. Paul was a Pharisee and was doing everything that the priests would give him permission to do in order to get rid of the “Jesus followers” or the Way. Both of these men were changed by the Lord’s actions of redemption and healing toward Peter and by Jesus’ confrontation of Paul on the Damascus road. Both of these men became true witnesses to the Gentile world as well as to the Jews after their redemption and conversion.

So…what about you? Are you willing to give your heart to Jesus as a follower and a disciple? If you have felt His call on your life, don’t put it off or ignore it. God loves you.

 

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.

Do you hear what I hear?


This is part of a wonderful song for Christmas which I have loved for years. These days, there isn’t much that you hear about Christ on a daily basis, sometimes even a weekly one. People don’t want to hear the Truth of God’s Word unless they are in need of God’s help. The problem with this is that God is not a genie! We are not supposed to treat our relationship with Jesus as one where we seek His help when we need it, but when things are going well we don’t want Him around!

God loves each one of us far more than we can even understand, and yet we don’t seem to give that love back to Him. Jesus came to Earth as a baby, born to a virgin long ago. He also came to pay the price for ALL of our sins and be our Savior if we will only believe in Him. So…what is the problem that many of us seem to have with Jesus? Is it that He was born Jewish? He preached long ago and we don’t think that His message is relevant today? Could it be that we don’t want to offend anyone with our faith so we don’t tell anyone about Him or our belief in Him?

The message and the lessons which Jesus taught have more to do with today than at any time before now! We are to love each other as we are loved! Why can’t we look past our perceived differences in skin color and culture and just see another person in need of Jesus? Why is it so hard to get past our genetic differences and just see the similarities?

I mean, we all have two arms and legs, most of us have hair (some more, some less), all of us have two ears, two eyes, and one mouth (even if that last one gets us into more trouble than it should)! That is why the Bible says that we should be quick to listen and slow to speak.

Quick2Listen

It doesn’t matter what you are speaking about or who you may be listening to, make sure to measure your words before you speak and listen to what is being said, carefully seeking the truth in what you are hearing. As one wise person said, “Taste your words before you spit them out”; in that way, you will know if they are good or not. People will think you are wise or smart depending on your speech. If your speech is full of big words but not much substance then you will seem to be smart but like a politician you aren’t saying much at all.

Consider your words and your speech because God hears every word, whether you are His or not.

Jesus loves you!


The entire world seems to be on edge because of that phrase and I have no understanding of the reason. It is true that He wasn’t from Bethlehem, but He was born there. His Earthly parents were descendants of David, but it seems that bit of information was overlooked by many. He came to do the work of God on this Earth in order to pay the debt which the whole of humanity has owed since the garden of Eden!

So many wise men have lived in the past. Some in the distant past and some fairly recently, but they are only teachings of a human mind…wise though they may be, to most of us normal people. God’s wisdom, which is in the Torah and the Writings as well as canonized in the Bible, is foolish to the world around us because much of it goes against what the world wants to hear!

Everyone, it seems, wants to live in their own reality with their own truth and no consequences at all if it offends others. We shouldn’t live in a world like that! I mean, how can your truth not be offensive if it involves a behavior that I find offensive? If everyone lived their lives this way there would be total chaos in the world and nothing would ever get done! Riots and shootings would become the normal way of life and anyone who couldn’t live that way would just have to live in a bunker underground! What a dreadful life that would be.

God didn’t create this world and all of us in it so that we could live in a singular space of our choosing which means we could do as we wished and to hell with everyone else! That is the same world which was destroyed when God brought the flood when Noah lived. Everyone was living and being what they wanted, the way they wanted and if you didn’t like it then they would likely kill you for the fun of it. What a rotten world that would be!

If you haven’t given your life to Jesus, what are you waiting for? None of us are guaranteed to be here tomorrow and dying without Jesus as your Savior is a true death sentence because your soul will experience death in hell because you are apart from the Author of Life! Giving your heart to Jesus and asking for forgiveness of the sinful life that you have led prior to knowing Him begins your eternal life anew. Don’t turn away from God’s gift.

What is your focus?


What do you really want? Life and energy flows where you focus your attention in the world. God has given each of us enough energy and ability to accomplish everything that He has for us in this life. So what is your focus? Health and happy family life? Or has someone convinced you that you that your life can only go so far because God has limited us to be in this body.

God never said that. He created humanity to be an immortal being, but our ancestors listened to Satan and his lies and temptation and followed him. If they had only followed God, they and we would be in a far different world than we live in today. Although, God knew that they would be tempted and go along with Satan’s lie, so He made a plan, a way to cure the curse that our ancestors laid upon humanity.

The problems which we have today…the drugs, the guns, the wars, the cancers, etc. All of these are because we are still following demonic thoughts which we don’t realize are being put into our brains by demons! All of these “human problems” are there because of our minds listening to the wrong spiritual authority!

Even Christians think along the same lines because we think that we are thinking these thoughts on our own and most of the disease laden thoughts are placed in our minds by principalities under the direction of Satan. How can we get these kinds of thoughts out of our heads? By reading God’s Word every day throughout the year, every year! Keep God’s Word in your mind and think about it, meditate on it and then you will know when a thought creeps in which doesn’t line up with Scripture.

Make sure of your status as a Christian also. There are many people who claim to be Christians, even claim to believe in Jesus, but there are many churches that are closing their doors, why? Because many of those who claim Christian belief aren’t attending church. Belief in Jesus and thoughts of success and reward are not the same thing. Prosperity and fame are what the rest of the world looks at in their definition of real success.

Success in the eyes of God is believing in Jesus and following Him in this life, regardless of the problems or the blessings in our lives. We have a God who says:

          “My thoughts are not your thoughts,
               neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
          For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
               so are my ways higher than your ways
               and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8–9)

God doesn’t think like us, regardless of how much we try to make Him into a human being. He isn’t, He is our Creator and so much more! The “new age” Christianity says that we have the power to change our lives for the better just by thinking of what we want in this life. Really? I have been thinking about all the debt that I have had over the years and instead of bringing wealth into my life, I have more debt. How does that work? IF you want to believe this hocus-pocus type of “universal energy” is God, be my guest. But, don’t look in my direction after you die and say “He told me that this worked!”; because I did not.

God loves us and HE does want the best for us, but there isn’t a scripture anywhere in the Bible where God tells us or the Israelites to just sit down and think about what you want and it will be provided! If the universe granted wishes like that, there wouldn’t be any poverty or hunger in the world. God is Holy and righteous and there is no shadow of evil in His Person, but that does not mean that He won’t use evil in this world to accomplish His purposes. He used the Pharaoh in Egypt and Babylon and Assyrians as well to accomplish His purposes, so why not?