Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Bible’ Category

“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
 .
I take “As often as you eat,” literally.
 .
Some say that the breaking of bread and partaking of the cup (Communion) is for the Body of Christ corporately and not for the individual, citing Acts 2:42, “And ‘THEY’ continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”  they speaking to the communal aspect of communion. However, if you follow that logic then prayer and doctrinal studies is also (only) a corporate activity.
.
That can’t be the case.
 .
I’ve also heard it said that if we do it too often, it becomes a meaningless ritual. Well it is a ritual, but if ‘remembering Jesus’ two or three times a day becomes meaningless to you, then you have other issues you need to deal with.
Together or alone, Communion is communing with God and the reason me and my house (together or alone), celebrate Christ’s sacrifice by remembering Him at every meal. It’s not a huge or elaborate affair, nor do we believe it should be. Simply put, we simply remember what Jesus did for us in prayer. That’s all Jesus asked and that’s all we do.
.
How often should we remember Christ’s grace? 
Every time we eat and until He comes again.

Having said that, we have freedom in Christ and it would be legalistic for me to suggest that this is how Communion should be done every time, everywhere. Christians have the liberty to recall Christ’s atoning sacrifice as often as they please. If once a week or month is sufficient for you, who am I to argue.

Read Full Post »

“The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness (adultery and lust), not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:12-14)
 
sdMany people believe in parachutes. That is to say they know what they do and believe (for the most part) that they’ll perform as advertised, but they would NEVER put one on. Myself included.
 
And for many people, it’s the same way with Jesus. They believe Jesus is who God says He is, but they’re not going to ‘put Him on’ because to do so would mean to alter their lifestyle.
 
Some believe that they can put Jesus on just before they die. That’s like saying they’ll jump out of the plane just before it crashes, but having no idea when that will occur or that it’s happening now.
 
When the Bible talks about belief (or faith), it’s with the understanding that the ‘believer’ trusts to the point of obedience. In other words, if you truly believe (if your faith is real), you will do as Jesus (God) has commanded.

Read Full Post »

When Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Matthew 7:28-29

In Chapter 5 of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus delivers His Sermon on the Mount, beginning with the Beatitudes. It was in the previous chapter that Jesus began to gather His disciples and gave them this promise: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” So they followed Jesus all about Galilee, as He taught in the synagogues, as He healed the sick, and finally to a foothill where they would receive their first fishing lessons: ‘Ten Steps towards Salvation,’ more commonly known as the Beatitudes.

Afterwards it would be recorded that they were amazed at His teaching (probably) because these things had never been presented by anyone (specifically any Rabbi) before. I’ve heard it said that when the Rabbi’s taught, they’d preface their remarks with, “According to Rabban (our master) Gamaliel…” or, “As Hillel the Elder would say…” giving their authority and honor to their teacher. Jesus made no such prelude and as a result His astonished listeners took note that He spoke of His own authority. The doctrine Jesus presented was of His own making; it was new, it was provocative, and it was perfect.

It’s here that we identify the purpose of the Beatitudes as they are not merely ideals that focus on love and humility or even a moral standard by which folks should ascribe. No, there was a bigger picture being presented here, one that is characterized by a narrow path. It is the destination realized in the personal receipt of God’s grace via the redemptive of power of Christ’s finished work on the cross and I would submit that if we handle them in any other regard we are sidestepping their inherent worth.

As we expound briefly on each tenet, I’ll characterize the Beatitudes as drtsteps with the understanding that salvation is based upon faith alone, not works or steps. Having said that, in the Beatitudes we see a growth process that every believer goes through. Fundamentally these spiritual positions are the bases that an evangelist should broach, in this order, when sharing the Good News.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit”

If salvation in Jesus Christ is our ultimate destination (and it should be), then it’s clear to see that step one, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” has less to do with worldly ideals or moral character, but rather it is the realization of spiritual poverty due to (our) sinful nature. I believe Jesus is conveying to His disciples that in order to lead a soul towards salvation, the lost need to take ownership of their spiritual depravity. When the Apostle Paul wrote, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), this was the point he was driving home. It is no accident that poor in spirit is first in this sequence. It is in this vital first step that we first recognize that we’re not okay and move closer to discerning our solution in Jesus Christ and can begin to see the blessedness of the situation.

“O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:24-25a)”

“Blessed are those who mourn”

Step two, “Blessed are those who mourn,” is the consequence of grasping step one; if there was sincerity in that first step, we will be mournful. It’s at this place where we may first recognize the blessing of Jesus as our comforter and healer. This is the circumstance we find the woman caught in the act of adultery in John 8:11. Jesus said to her (and He says to us), “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

The Apostle Paul wrote of this location as well: “[G]oddly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10).” We don’t get to this point unless we take ownership of the message presented in steps one and two.

“Blessed are the meek”

In step three, “Blessed are the meek,” we recall the maxim, ‘meekness is not weakness, but rather strength under control.’  In our Christian realm it speaks to submission to God (for) our own good, but more importantly for His good purposes. It’s here that God breaks us in the same way a rancher would break a wild stallion. Just as a broken vessel will give up its contents, so to in our brokenness we are emptied. In this place Jesus encourages us, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls (Matthew 11:29).” This is the blessing of the meek.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” 

We have realized our spiritual poverty, we have mourned and been comforted, and we have been emptied. In this condition it is only natural we would desire replenishment. We are hungry! At some point during the process, the Holy Spirit has taken up residence inside us to guide and to give us understanding. We also learn that steps two and three are maintenance steps and if a daily spiritual routine is not established, we will regress in some fashion.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”

Filled with His Spirit, we discover that the fruit of the Spirit is love and out of love grows mercy towards others. We recall Luke 7:47, “Wherefore I say unto thee, her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.” If we have been attentive students through the previous steps, we will likely appreciate the great volume of sin that Christ has cleansed on our behalf. Aside from all the blessings we will have received up to this point, this fruit bears witness to the changes God is making in us.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”

In step six we see the difference between the cleansed heart and the pure heart. All believers have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus, but a pure heart comes as a result of finishing the race, so to speak and step six speaks directly to the sanctification (or refinement) process. We see glimpses of God throughout our journeys, and of course we see Him more clearly when we are closest to Him, but it is when we finish well; our purified state, we shall see Jesus. In step six there is encouragement to continue on this narrow path.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”

Step seven speaks to evangelism and sharing the great wealth that we have received in Jesus Christ. It should be obvious that when we share the Gospel, we’re sharing the Prince of Peace, therefore in every instance we are peacemakers. Zacharias said Jesus will “Guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:79)”

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake…Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you”

Steps eight and nine (and ten for that matter) are related and often listed together as the eighth Beatitude. There is some redundancy and I sense that Jesus repeats Himself not because eight and nine are somehow more important than the first seven steps, but rather to emphasize that these things will occur if we are faithful and obedient servants.  We could also argue that if Jesus had omitted this information, He would have not given us the entire story.

We also see that these two promises affirm that if they are occurring, then we are walking properly. In other words, it is a prophetic pat on the back from Jesus Himself that we’re on the right path. In contrast, if these things are not happening in our Christian walk it should give us pause. It could be that we haven’t been practicing our peacemaking skills or that our tendency is to only preach to the choir.

“Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

We plainly see that it echoes steps eight and nine, but it reminds us we’re in very good company. The lesson of step ten is to exercise the blessings that we have received as a result of our salvation and our ongoing purification, and that we are paying it forward. We see the Beatitudes as a series of road signs bringing us to very specific places of blessings. It’s here in step ten that Jesus proclaims if we’ve enjoyed the journey so far and joyfully anticipate what lies ahead, it should be reflected in our attitude and demeanor. Again, if it’s not, something is askew.

In conclusion, I believe that in teaching His disciples the Beatitudes, Jesus provided a checklist of the issues that needed to be addressed when sharing the Gospel message. In one sense it was coded (as were the Parables of Jesus) so the masses would not necessarily glean from them initially, but these lessons weren’t for them necessarily, but for those who would be sent out to share the Good News. We could also note that in the same manner that the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9) is a model prayer not to be recited word for word (necessarily), so are the Beatitudes a model to be recalled in sequence as a reminder to the bases we should cover when sharing the Gospel message, the continual discipleship process, and of course for periodic self-examination, as per 1 Corinthians 10:12, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”

 

Read Full Post »

Being a Christian not hard, but if you think it is, you are blessed.
 
You’re blessed because the Holy Spirit has revealed to you that you’re operating in your self-centered, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, self-serving, and self-concerned flesh. You’re also blessed because there is a solution, Jesus put it this way: “Deny (yourself), and take up (your) cross and follow Me.”
 
Stop listening to those who are preaching that being a Christian is slhard. They are enablers. Unless they offer a carnal explanation, they’re errantly providing you an excuse to remain stuck in your flesh. They’re also calling Jesus a liar, for He said that His yoke (teaching) was easy and His burden (those things that come with being a follower of Jesus Christ) is light.
 
Remember, Christ’s teachings are easy and carrying the Christian load is light. If this isn’t the case for you, you’re not doing it right. Most likely you’re selfishly looking back to the fleshly desires of your heart, just like Lot’s wife did.
 
Disclaimer
No Christian is exempt from struggling in their flesh, no one. Some just do it more than others and have come to believe it’s the norm. However, when we falsely proclaim that the Christian life is hard, we’re ignoring the root of the problem and justifying Spirit-less behavior, but when we submit ourselves to the sanctification process, we are essentially allowing Jesus to make these ‘flesh-to-Spirit’ changes in us on a daily basis. Fighting the change; wrestling with God to remain in our flesh, is what’s hard.

For Study: 

“Walk in the Spirit” (Rom. 8:4)
 
“Set your minds on the things of the Spirit” (Rom. 8:5-8)
 
“Put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit” (Rom. 8:13)
 
“Be led by the Spirit” (Rom. 8:14)
 
“Know the Fatherhood of God by the Spirit” (Rom. 8:15-17)
 
“Hope in the Spirit” (Rom 8:22-25)
 
“Pray in the Spirit” (Rom. 8:26-28)


Read Full Post »

“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.” (Psalm 37:1-2)
 
Christians, satan’s minions are at it again, now striking us here in the NY/NJ area. It is in the midst of these disquieting times that we are called to be Biblical voices of reason. As others panic and search tdesperately for solutions, let us be the calm and fret-less ones that they can turn to. Our hope, our peace, and our joy is in Jesus Christ and we must bring Him into any circumstance as the calming Agent. This is our calling and this is our duty.

We shall not cave in. We will get up, go to work, and function as we normally do. Terrible things will always happen, but we will not be terrorized into silence or dormancy. According to my Bible, these tribulations make the obedient Christian stronger! We have the choice to cower or tower. Let us choose wisely. 

Believers and unbelievers together are negotiating the same troubled waters, but let the faithful continually proclaim the ease of Christ’s yoke and burden. Yes, we face the same pain, grief, and challenges, but Christ’s way is easier and lighter. Let us never be caught saying that being a Christian is difficult, when it is the faithless who are having the most burdensome times of it. In Christ Jesus we have the easier and lighter Way; we must be a reflection of Him in trying times. In the face of death we are fearless for one reason only: we have a hope rooted firmly in Jesus and all His promises. In troubling times it is crucial we share this hope. Share these words if you agree!
 
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive [d]and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Read Full Post »

The theme for this year’s National Day of Prayer (May 5, 2016) is ‘Wake Up America.’ The emphasis is upon the need for Christians to “return to the God of our Fathers in reverence for His Holy Name.” The representative verse the NDP committee has chosen is Isaiah 58:1a:

Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet.

I like it, but before we all set out to participate in this year’s event, I’d

ndplike to elaborate upon their import, at least as far as it pertains to consequence, as I suspect a certain presidential candidate’s name is going to come up a lot in our prayers today.  If (or when) God pours out His wrath on America it won’t entirely be because of a heathen in the White House, but because there are heathens in His house as well. So before we go around proclaiming, “Surely God’s wrath is coming now!” we should submit to a little self evaluation.

Let us consider the NDP theme Scripture verse from a few years ago:

“If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14, emphasis mine)
Take note that the passage does not begin, “If my people, which are called by My name, shall elect a godly man…”

If you’re a Christian and you’re concerned about the wrath that is coming, focus on the log that might be in your own eye — that person you’re shacked up with, that lifestyle you embrace, that porn you watch, that substance you abuse; you get the picture. Be ye revived! Some would say you aren’t even born again, so if that’s the case, be ye born again!

You say you’re saved and there’s nothing in your eye? Great! Turn your attention to that brother or sister wallowing in their habitual sin and lovingly bring them back into the fold.

It will serve us all well to remember that God’s wrath is not coming solely because your guy at the gas station is a Muslim, your doctor in the hospital is a Hindu, your mechanic at Pep Boys is an atheist, or your man in the White House is bombastic. These are folks we should be sharing the Gospel with,  but remember, when His wrath comes it will be partly because of the filth within the body of Christ, the Church. That should sting a little.
.
“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger (wrath) of God is coming.” (Colossians 3:1-6 NLT)
.
That Colossi-warning was written not to the world, but to the saints (Ephesians 5 repeats the warning to the church), and one of the reasons why 2 Chronicles 7:14 is applicable not only to historic Israel, but to our nation today. So perhaps when we pray today, we should focus not on others (so much), but ourselves and in the spirit of revival.
.
“Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God…(Praise the Lord, but)…whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (Romans 5:9; John 3:36b)

Read Full Post »

“If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there my servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” (John 12:26)

I am a follower of Jesus Christ and I don’t mind if you call me religious. The way I see it, Jesus has provided His followers a variety of activities, if pursued, will draw the Christian closer to Him and thus deepen their relationship. Some of these activities include prayer, Bible study, corporate worship and Bible teaching, communion, baptism, holy matrimony, sharing the Christian faith, charitable and sacrificial giving, and submission to the plan and will of God. I have no problem whatsoever referring to these things collectively as the components of the (my) Christian religion.

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
 
I grasp that some folks have been hurt by false religions, of which there are thousands. I also understand there is an entire group of people who falsely believe that ‘doing’ the components of the Christian religion, such as going to church or reading the Bible, is what saves them. I am not one of those people and hopefully you aren’t either. You should know that Jesus does not hate the elements of the Christian religion (how could He; He gave us these building blocks), but hates that some folks errantly believe (or teach) that this religion will save them.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
 
I recognize that the Christian religion, that is to say the components of our Christian faith, do not have the power to save anyone. Our salvation Burden-is-Lightis by faith alone, believing that Jesus Christ completed all the work that was needed to be done, on the cross at Calvary. We are saved not because of these religious things we do [to deepen our relationship with Jesus], we are saved because we believe Jesus died for our sins and paid the penalty we were due. In honor, glory, and praise to our Savior Jesus Christ, we are active participants in the religious activities He has given His bride, the church. The cherished relationship with our Lord and Savior is effectuated by means of these religious practices. If we ignore them, our relationship suffers. 
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matthew 11:29
 
I get it when some Christians proclaim, “It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship,” as they strongly desire to convey to non-believers that the components of our faith cannot save a person. However the statement is misleading because the non-believer then witnesses these same people doing religious things and are left confused.
And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer?  but ye have made it a den of thieves. Mark 11:17
 
The non-believing community would be better served if we (the church) would shun our little catchphrases, and strive to share the whole story. We might win over a religion-hater by telling him or her, “It’s not a religion,” but without a more substantial explanation, we risk losing them when they come face-to-face with our religious activities.

The church would be better served if we clung more to Christ’s commands and shared them, rather than our catchy slogans.
 

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 2 Timothy 4:2

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Overcoming The Times

Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Whosoever Believeth in Him

Whosoever believeth in Him (Jesus Christ) should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Michael Gaither - Dedicated 2 Jesus Christ

and Jesus said, Take Heed that No Man Deceive You, For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Dedicated 2 Jesus-Birth Pangs

America Without Jesus-A Political-Socialist Society

Illuminating Truth

"For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world--to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice." John 18:37

Greater Cause

Addressing Daily Issues From a Biblical Worldview

Disciples of hope

Living the hope that comes from Christ

thriftcycler

Thrift Store Tripping and Frugal Living at its Best

In the Little Things

Finding meaning in the madness and the mundane

claytonzeimet

intersections of a spirit filled life

The Perfect Dad

Every man dies. Not every man truly parents.

Jesus Is The Light Of Men

Devotionals of Christian Beliefs and Teachings

The Neff & Whilden Wedding

Kick off Your Flips Flops & Dance the Night Away

Food for Thought-Videos

Jesus-Yeshua is God Manifested In The Flesh

Kendall Lyons

Faith, Media & Culture

God charts the road

A road that represents the course of those who desire to follow God

%d bloggers like this: