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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Job 14:1-6 and Psalm 139:16 teach us that God has determined and numbered our days before we were born. In other words, God knows exactly when we’re going to die, which begs the question, “Is there anything we can do to change or prolong that date?”
 
I believe there is and I’m slightly dogmatic about it because God has said that if we walk in obedience and keep His decrees and commands, He will give us a long life (1 Kings 3:14) and if we honor our parents, we may live long in the land (Ex 20:12). When we consider that God is omniscient, knowing the beginning from the end, we can trust that He has factored in our obedience, or lack thereof, before He chiseled our obit day in stone.
 
Taking it a step further I believe we can prolong our lives if we stop smoking, doing drugs, and abusing alcohol, and start exercising, eating right, and taking care of our bodies, because God, again knowing all future events, has factored in both our harmful and beneficial behaviors, before we were born. That is to say, our favorable activities and obedience to God are not merely things that may improve the quality of life in the time we have been allotted, but rather things that God has considered in determining the length of our lives.

Of course we must also remember that God considers things we know nothing about that may result in a long or short life, and Godly obedience and healthy living are not the sole factors that decide how long we live.

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When we are sharing the Gospel we must include the Law in our conversations. Our listeners need to see their guilt, their helplessness, their depth of sin, their opposition to God, and their only solution in Christ Jesus. They also need to know the consequences of their sin, but we will leave that for another post.
 
The Law and it’s Purpose
 
1) GUILT: “The law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God.” (Romans 3:19)
 
2) HELPLESSNESS: “For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” (Romans 3:20)
 
3) ANTI-GOD: “Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God.” (1 John 3:4)
 
4) SIN-FILLED: “Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin.”(Romans 7:7a)
 
5) SOLUTION: “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:24)
 
Do not make the mistake of sharing a squeaky-clean Gospel – merely saying that Jesus died for our sin is not enough. People need to know what sin is, accept their guilt, learn the consequences, recognize their inability to do anything about it, and acknowledge that Jesus is their only solution for their sin problem. I have seen data that shows that when we omit this information, 80% to 90% of people who received Jesus eventually reject Him and return to their sinful ways.

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“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)
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I take “As often as you eat,” literally.
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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.
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That can’t be the case.
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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.
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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.

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“Everyone must submit to governing authorities.” (Romans 13:1)
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Not every Bible verse we read may give us peace and comfort initially. A good portion of Scripture is instructional, designed for our well-being particularly when we’re unable to see the bigger picture. This was the
ecase for me four years ago. Romans 13:1-5 was not a comforting piece of Scripture to me, but I discovered peace and comfort in God in my obedience to His word. Like it or not (and I did not) Barack Obama was my president and I was going to submit because God said so. To put it another way: I feared not the man, but the Lord. I still do, therefore #Notmypresident was never an option.
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Now (for me) the tide has turned and I have a sense these Godly directives will be a bit easier for me to follow, but for you maybe not so much. Perhaps these last four years for you were smoother, but now you’re faced with submitting to folks you may very well despise. As I’ve previously outlined – I feel your pain and I can relate to what you’re going through. I am here to tell you that if you truly fear God, you would do well to comply with His directives. In so doing there is peace and there is comfort.
“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do.” (Romans 13:1-5)
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Now of course this is all grand counsel if you are a Christian. If you are not, the Bible and all of God’s tenets are foolishness to you, which happens to be another position I can relate to. The solution for me was to submit to Jesus Christ and His perfect will for my life. Prior to receiving Jesus as my Lord and Savior, there was no peace or comfort, only temporary solutions to problems that I had absolutely no control over. In Jesus I discovered the solution.
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If you’re still reading and you’re not a Christian, I suspect that perhaps you’re feeling God attempting to draw you closer into a relationship with him. If that is the case, the onus is upon you to respond to Him and I’d encourage you to investigate further.
Please don’t hesitate to comment or ask a question.

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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)


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Crass or crook: those are our options come election day, 2016 unless of course you choose to opt out of the process this year.

I understand.

thYou and I wish the choices were rather between ‘class and crook‘ so we could sleep better after the election, but that is not our reality. Lets face it folks, collectively as a nation this is our fault and we have gotten what we deserve.

What should we have expected after decades of moral decline? Are we really surprised that crass shows up on the scene when we have been approvingly inviting adultery, fornication, and lewdness into our living rooms via cable TV for the last however many decades? I am not surprised, but I am guilty.

Let’s Look at Porn

Porn is just the tip of this filthy iceberg, but did you know that according to one source, “While few people openly admit to watching porn, 66 percent of all men and 41 percent of American women view pornography at least once a month.”

I’ve watched porn, have you? (that’s a rhetorical question and you are not obliged to answer). Frankly, I am the one who is ashamed and embarrassed of my past behavior and how it has led to our present condition. How can I possibly judge the words that come out of a man’s mouth in a private conversation when my words and deeds over five decades have contributed greatly to the moral decline of this country. I am an accessory to this perversion, having participated in the creation of an environment where illicit behavior is both condoned and encouraged. Sure, I’ve repented and turned away from these heinous activities and turned to Jesus, but that in no way negates the fact that I have been complicit.

Having said that…

I know plenty of crass people (don’t worry, I’m not going to name names). I also know plenty of crooked people, having been in law enforcement for so many years. The thing with criminals is that their former conduct often disqualifies them from holding public office as well as many other jobs. Like it or not, that is the law of our land.

This is not the situation with one of our presidential candidates. Technically speaking, she is not a criminal; she has not been formally charged with any criminal activity, nor has she ever been found guilty of any charge. Having said that, we as a nation cannot help but notice the huge cloud of criminality that hangs over her head. Many of us notice it and talk about it daily, and many others notice and work to sweep it under the rug. Of course the situation is only exasperated when our Attorney General and Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation seem to be working with and for the suspect, rather than the good of our country.

It all just smells oh so foul.

As I said before, I know plenty of crass folks. And so do you. The truth be told most of the people we deal with are or have been crass. This list includes, but is not limited to doctors, lawyers, teachers, policemen, mechanics, and the list goes on and on. I could tell you stories and you could tell me stories. And they could likely tell stories about us. However, there is one thing that many (if not most) of these people have in common: they know their job and they do it well.

So it is with the crass fellow who happens to be running for President of these United States: he knows his job, he does it well, and there is not a raging storm of criminality hovering above his head. He’s crassy, not classy, but he is forgiven.

So there we have it. I’m voting for crass over crooked. I’m not excited about it, but I believe crass has better credentials when it comes to getting this nation economically, Constitutionally, and securely  stabilized.

The Bigger Picture 

I’d be remiss if I left out these pertinent Bible passages:

Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Romans 6:23, “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 10:9, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Romans 10:13 “for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 

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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.
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“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)
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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.
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“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)

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