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Archive for November, 2011

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. – Colossians 1:15 (NIV)

Jesus is the only the begotten Son of God the Father.  He has an earthly birth to a virgin mother through the power of the Spirit of God.  Some don’t teach about Jesus being born to a virgin.  Some do not teach Jesus as being God and human, divine and flesh.  Theologically, that takes some real faith and belief.

Our perspective on Jesus is built up by the witness of the Word of God.  The Bible tells us about Jesus.  The Bible teaches us about Jesus.  The sacred biblical text asserts the divinity and deity of Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One.  If we trust and believe the Bible as truth, then we must accept who the Bible says Jesus is and not any other source, even those written by Christian theologians and others.

Paul wrote of Jesus being the image of God who man has not seen.  He is supported in the Scriptures by the words of John in both the Gospel of John and in John’s first epistle to the saints.  Jesus came and offered us Immanuel, “God among (with) us.” As John stated plainly in the opening chapter of the Gospel of John: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (v. 14, NIV).

We need to believe beyond what we see.  Many of Jesus’ own disciples, those closest to Him, did not believe that He had risen and returned.  Thomas is given the label of  “Doubting Thomas” due to his failure to believe unless he had seen Jesus with His scarred hands and His pierced and wounded side for himself with his own eyes.  Yet, did not Peter run to see the tomb, with John following along with him, after receiving the news of the risen Lord?  Jesus said it plainly in John 20:29: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known. – John 1:18 (NIV)

No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. – John 6:46 (NIV)

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“If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.”
D.L. Moody
 
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – Psalm 103:2 (NIV)
 
How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me? – Psalm 116:12 (NIV)
 
Think back over the past week.  The main event of this past week was Thanksgiving. 
 
Thanksgiving is a compound word, combining  “thanks” and “giving.”
 
How much giving and thanking did you do last week?
 
Black Friday came and went with all of its eventful lore.  Cyber Monday has already started. 
 
Give thanks by giving back.
 
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. – Psalm 107:1 (NIV)
 
Get ready for the “giving season” that has plenty of opportunities available for you to give back.  Think about all of the gifts that God has already given to you. Give thanks by giving back during this winter holiday season.  Prepare to celebrate Christmas with great joy as you offer thanksgiving through what you do along with what you say.
 
The day of  Thanksgiving has already passed, but the opportunity  to share is still available to you. 
 
 Search for volunteer service opportunities in your area.  Use Urban Ministry to locate such seasonal opportunities.
 
Give thanks.  Give back.
 
Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. – Psalm 105:1 (NLT)

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“Know why your business matters.” – Bob Briner, The Management Methods of Jesus

If you are in business, you need to know why your business matters.

In fact, you need to know why your business matters to God.  You need to see how your business fits into God’s plan.

Think back.  Let your mind run free to the time when you imagined going into business for yourself and before you started your business.  Think about the purpose and intent for your business.  Jot down those ideas and memories.  Record them for yourself.

Take a good look at what you have written down.

Look at the kingdom potential of your business.  How could your business expand or enhance the kingdom of God? Did God inspire you to start your business? How does God and His Word fit into your business plans?

Here are some ways to revisit your business:

  • Go to God’s Word.  See what God has to say.
  • Pray to God.  Hear from God on the matter of business.
  • Seek godly counsel.  Talk with your pastor.  Join a Christian business roundtable or network.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going. – Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NASB)

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25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. – Acts 11:25-26 (NIV)

Paul (Saul) and Barnabas went to Antioch on a mission.  Earlier, in verses 20-21, men from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch and shared the “good news” and “a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.” Word of this reached Jerusalem and Barnabas, who was “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith”, was sent to Antioch where he encouraged the believers (vv. 22-24).  That’s when he went for reinforcements, seeking out Paul (Saul) in Tarsus.

The Book of Acts gives the Bible reader an account of the missionary journeys of Paul.  Barnabas, also known as “Son of Encouragement,” went to Tarsus and brought his partner to Antioch.  They spent a year there, teaching and discipling a diverse population of believers.  Obviously, they did some good works because the people were called “Christians,” followers of Christ.  At some point, their teaching and fellowship must have hit home with those with whom they shared the Word of God.

Think it through.  There were those who brought the Good News that sparked the movement among the people.  Barnabas stepped in and offered some support to the new converts.  After that experience, Paul (Saul) was brought in to assist Barnabas in discipling the people at Antioch.  That was teamwork.  The teamwork occurred in phases or stages.

We need to examine the example of these men further.  Our ministries need to do something similar.  There needs to be a team who can go into uncharted territory and break new ground with the Gospel.  They need to be able to share the Good News with fervor, winning hearts and souls along the way.  They need to return to the house of God, sharing what they discovered as fertile ground, so that others like Barnabas can come in and edify the new believers with words of comfort, gladness and encouragement.  From there, those encouragers can leverage their relationship with the believers and other evangelists and workers who can support and strengthen the believers.  That’s teamwork.

We need prayer warriors who can intercede on behalf of lost souls and those evangelists and missionaries.  We need workers within the ministry who are taught and trained, equipped to do good works beyond the confines of the house of God.  We need those who have the spiritual gift of exhortation, comfort, and other special gifts to serve in a variety of capacities in order to reach a dying world.

It takes a team who can work together to bring a community together in the name of Jesus.

5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.
– 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 (NKJV)



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Spreading the Gospel

“Christian men are not to be used for anything but God. They are a set-apart people; they are vessels of mercy, they are not for the devil’s use, not for their own use, not for the world’s use, but for their Master’s use. He has made them on purpose to be used entirely, solely and wholly for Him.”
C.H. Spurgeon

. . . I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
– 1 Corinthians 9:22 (NKJV)

“The Bible was not given for our information but for our transformation.”
D.L. Moody

We have been called to reach people for Christ.

We have some options in reaching people for Christ.

Better yet, we have some open opportunities to reach people for Christ.

We can spread the Gospel:

Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! -1 Corinthians 9:16

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Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
and do not do what I say?
– Luke 6:46 (NIV)
You shall observe My judgments and keep
My ordinances, to walk in them:

I am the LORD your God.
– Leviticus 18:4 (NKJV)

When accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we also accept Him as Lord.  We embrace His sacrifice for our salvation.  We accept His suffering for our sins.  Yet, we stumble when it comes to His lordship over our lives.
 

In Leviticus 18, God addresses His people through Moses the man of God, affirming His relationship with the people by stating repetitively: I am the LORD your God.  The phrase repeats throughout the divine dialogue between God and His people.  God states it through Moses and establishes His relationship with His people based on His decrees and statutes given in the wilderness.
 

Read Psalm 145:13. It speaks of God’s “everlasting kingdom.” Nathan shared the words of God with David in 2 Samuel 7.  God promised David: And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever (2 Samuel 7:16, KJV).
 
Let us fast forward to Jesus walking the earth as the Son of David.  He came as the Messiah and the Christ, “the Anointed One.” The Savior would reign and rule as Lord forever.  His kingdom would extend beyond Jewish bloodlines like He shared through His prophets.  He came and sacrificed Himself for us.  He kept His promise to redeem us.  He offers the sinner in us all reconciliation.  He lives as our Lord.
 

Look at how we handle Him ruling over us as Lord.  We cry out to Him, expecting Him to offer us healing and help.  Yet, we must regard Him as Lord.  We must serve as His loyal subjects, for He is the King.  Those who serve the King do as He says.  They do each and every act according to His commandments in true submission.
 
If He is your Lord, do as He says.  Leave your ego out of it.  Keep your faith as your focus.  Do just as He says.  He is Lord.  Submit to Him.  Do as He says.

 
He is your Lord.
 
Do what He says for you to do.
 
Do just what the Lord says.

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So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.- Luke 5:16 (NKJV)

Meet with the Lord daily.

It sounds a lot easier than it really is for the average person.  It takes some effort on our part.  Meeting with the Lord has its benefits.  It can be both inspiring and edifying.  Yet, many of us struggle with how to actually meet with the Lord.

We spend countless hours trying to figure it all out, believing that we can get it together in one sitting.  We grapple with the notion that we can meet with the Lord despite our own human inadequacies.  The Lord makes it possible.  He offers us an invitation for communion with Him.

Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. – Mark 15:38 (NKJV)

The veil was a barrier.  It marked the separation of the people from their God.  It represented the limits of one’s approach to the Holy One due to iniquity.  The veil depicted the need for a mediator to go to God on behalf of the people.

The sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Savior, changed all of that.  The work of Jesus on the cross tore the veil in two and from top to bottom.  Jesus gave us direct access to the Father.

Here are some methods for meeting with the Lord daily:

  • Prayer
  • Meditation
  • Bible study
  • Fasting

We come to the Lord just as we are with all of our fallacies.  He accepts us as we are and grants us access to Himself.  He receives us.  He hears our prayers.  He lets us come to Him under the cover of grace, mercy and forgiveness in the name of love.

Spend some quality time with God.  Don’t let your religious practices become some ritualistic and routine that you lose your fervor.  Keep the fire of your faith burning.  Stay in communion with God daily.  Devote some time out of your day and spend it with God.  Get to know God by going directly to God.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.
There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to
help us when we need it most
.
– Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)

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