Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins– Ephesians 2:1(NASB)

“Grace is but glory begun, and glory is but grace perfected.”- Jonathan Edwards

Sin had us in a state of deadness.  Our trespasses and iniquities held us captive.  As Paul wrote in the New Testament, we were “slaves to sin.” Sin prohibited any ability to truly live.  We could see any way out of the grasp of sin.  Its stronghold had us blinded.  It blocked any sign of light from penetrating into our dark dwelling place.

God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins

– Colossians 2:13 (NIV)

Set Free

God set us free.  He freed us from guilt by grace.  He freed us from shame with salvation.  He freed us from pressure with perfection.

He set us free.

He set us free without condemnation.  He set us free with forgiveness.  He set us free through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.

No Longer Dead But Alive with Christ

By freeing us from sin, He made us “alive with Christ” (Col. 2:13).  He took us from one state of being (dead) and led us to another state of being (alive).  He freed us that we might have life and life more abundantly (John 10:10).  We have that abundant life in and with Christ Jesus.  He’s the reason we are free, but He’s also our Redeemer.

Suffer No More

He freed us, but He wants us to live like Christ.  He saved us, but He desires us to follow the example of His Son.  He set us free so that we might not suffer any longer.

Live today fully liberated by the might work of the Lord’s saving power.

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. – Romans 6:11 (ESV)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. – Jude 1:3 (NIV)

God’s people have been entrusted with “the faith.”

The ability to contend for the faith is based on commitment to the faith.  However, there is cause for concern in Christendom.

The Prop. 8 Debate: Arguing about What We are Against Rather Than for What We Believe

Homosexuality is a sin.  That’s biblical and sound.  However, adultery, lying, murder and a load of other things are sinful, too.  In church, we are to speak out against sin and speak up about salvation.  We cannot attack one group of sinners and turn a blind eye to others.  That type of soap box ministry feeds the media frenzy, but does little for the kingdom of heaven.

Preach the truth and teach how to live by the truth.

Denominational Divisions and Disunity 

For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 1 Corinthians 13:3 (KJV)

We are divided over doctrine.  We are divided over religious practices.  We are divided over women and their roles in the ministry.  We are divided over heaven and hell.  We are even divided over Christ, His deity, and His miracles, even His messages.

We are just plain divided.

Return to the Word and resubmit to His Spirit.

Let the Lord lead you in how to go forward with brothers and sisters in the faith.

Lackluster and Lost Leadership

I oftentimes contemplate whether we are part of that generation that was led astray, destroying the landmark left by our ancestors and removing the reminders of God’s faithfulness to us and those who came before us.

Are we the generation who did not know the Lord of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob?

Have we forgotten the Law of Moses?

Have we neglected the work and ministry of Jesus Christ?

Our leaders are leading us in the wrong direction.  They are leading us down the road away from God, where many of us have fallen away.  They have led us down a path that has led to our demise, all the while losing their own sense of calling and making their followers lose faith in them and the Christian faith that they represent.

Truth trumps everything else.  Let’s stick to the truth.  Let’s teach truth.  Let’s preach truth.  Let’s uphold the truth.

It may not cure everything at once, but it sure can cure a lot of things immediately.

Read Full Post »

11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:11-13 (NKJV)

Learning to become content is not easy.

Christians have a real hard time with it because they have to somehow find a balance between this world system and the Word of the Lord.  Many Christians have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, yet they find themselves at the mercy of the world’s temptations and enticements.  The desirable things of the world some to lure Christians down a dark pathway of rampant consumerism and debt that comes at the high cost for keeping up with the Joneses.

 

Consumer economics says that America has it backwards.  Our savings rate is almost nonexistent, but we are constantly measuring consumer confidence as an index of American corporate profitability.  Our educational system is steadily falling behind the rest of the developed world.  However, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index continue to serve as the benchmarks by which we measure mutual fund performance and the overall performance of stocks.  

I like the way Dave Ramsey poses it to callers to his weekly radio broadcast who have gotten themselves up to their eyeballs in debt and don’t feel that they need to make drastic changes.  Like so many of us within American society, they just haven’t started hurting bad enough yet to regulate themselves to PB&J sandwiches and tuna fish with crackers.

We can become content when we learn to live within our means.  Live on less than you make and you can save something on a regular basis, not just for emergencies and rainy days.

  • Consider how much you need for retirement.
  • Identify additional insurance needs like long term disability coverage
  • Do you have an estate plan?
  • Do you have a will?
  • Could you handle a job loss for 3 months? 6 months? How about over a year?

To become content, we have to learn how to live a simple and quiet life.  Paul shared such wisdom with the Thessalonians in his first letter to them: “. . . But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more;  that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you,  that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing” (1 Th. 4:10-12)

Becoming content with what you have is enough to get you scrutinized by your neighbors and family as cheap, not just frugal.  They will consider you some kind of coupon freak or bargain hunter.

You just keep saving.

People will say that you are ruining your own lives, even the lives of your children.  They will say that you will never reach the American dream.

Accept none of their gibberish.  Keep on saving.

Keep Benjamin Franklin’s money wisdom in mind: “Content makes poor men rich, discontent makes rich men poor.”

Read Full Post »

11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

– John 1:11-13 (KJV)

We know that He came.  He arrived almost in as miraculous fashion as His conception.  He arrived to poverty.  He arrived to persecution.  He arrived to save humanity.

However, what about before He arrived? What was going on?

John tells it like this in John 1:1-3 (NIV):

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made

Before He arrived, prophets spoke of Him coming:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.Isaiah 61:1-3 (KJV)

Before He came, angels spoke of His coming:

31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David – Luke 1:31-32 (KJV)

20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. – Matthew 1:20-23 (KJV)

. . . Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.  

He came to be with His people.  He came to live among them.  He came to bring them life and eternal life.

John’s Gospel says He arrived like this:  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14, NIV)

Isaiah’s prophecy in Chapter 53 described Him as:

. . .  he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But keep in mind that He came right on time.  He came for the redemption of “those under the law” just as Paul wrote so many years ago.  He came for all of the right reasons.

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.

– Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV)

Read Full Post »

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt,

their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.

– Psalm 14:1 (NIV)

Some recent Hollywood cinema attractions have been aimed
at the Christian audience.  God Is Not Dead and Noah are two box office blockbusters that have been gaining a lot of ground in Christian circles.  One is anything but a biblical based account of one of the most well known biblical characters of the Old Testament next to David, Moses and Abraham, while the other is definitely geared towards Christians and seekers alike.

We have been here before.

The Passion of Christ swept us all up into a frenzy a few years back.  It went so far as to even go authentic with language and use English subtitles in order to maintain the integrity of the New Testament’s usage of the Greek language.  It caused a media frenzy.  It caused an uproar among atheists.  It caused much discussion on the depth of sacrifice that Jesus endured for our salvation.  It hit right at the core of the soul’s dichotomy between humanity and holiness, total assurance  and total depravity.  It hit us all with shock value and made us look once again at the life and times of Jesus as well as His sacrificial work on the cross on Calvary.

We saw a similar stir to a lesser degree with Kirk Cameron in Fireproof  (2008) and Courageous (2011).  Unlike Noah and The Passion, these were made by Christians and presented in a manner that was not offensive but undoubtedly had Christian values and principles oozing out of scene after scene.  Outreach Magazine hosted movie discussions in theaters and churches all across the country with its church and para-church partners.  Other faith-based groups hosted viewing nights as well.  We got caught up in these movies and they offered us an opportunity to share the Good News in an environment where people could talk about Christianity without someone jumping on the defense on either side.

Noah is nothing short of artistic license at best.  It makes Noah into a totally different man than the one that many of us came to know through Sunday School lessons.  Sadly, it has been publicly shared that the intent of the movie was not to portray the biblical account of Noah but a very secular interpretation of him. (SMH in the name of Jesus and everything holy!)

God is Not Dead on the other hand, is the type of movie that allows us to walk along with those who dwell in logic and philosophy with our Bibles and history books open at the same time.  It offers us an opportunity to have an open dialogue about what can be done and how much we can explore beyond what we have heard from the pulpit or in Sunday School to truly defend the Gospel.

We are under attack as Christians.  If you did not know that, just go to your local movie theater.  It’s right there on the big screen before your eyes.

 

Read Full Post »

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son

– Colossians 1:13 (ESV)

We have been saved.

Our deliverance has come through Divine intervention in the Son of man who suffered, bled and died for sake, only to rise again from the tomb and conquer death itself to reign and rule this kingdom forever.  He did it to save us and he asked for very little in return other than for us to accept Him as Lord and live under His Word as his servants.

However, He did share a caveat with His followers.

We will suffer for His sake.

Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. – John 15:20 (NKJV)

But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you,delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. – Luke 21:12 (NKJV)

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. – Matthew 5:11 (NKJV)

We may not see it, but many suffer for His sake.  They claim His name in places where they face firing squads and lifelong imprisonment for doing so.  They preach His Word in places where death stares them in the face for uttering a word of the sacred text that others find to be blasphemous.  They walk in His ways in places where they are persecuted, punished and put out due to their newly found joy and freedom.

These are modern day martyrs.  They are not the early church believers of the First Century of whom we read about in Acts.  These are not the famed Apostles of Jesus who endured persecution by the Sanhedrin for speaking in His name.  No, these are men, women and children who were once Hindu, Muslim (Moslem) and countless other faiths prior to coming out of the darkness that Paul speaks of and into the kingdom of the Son of God.  They face terror and treachery, not for fame or glory.  They do so for the sake of the Savior.

For those of us in the United States and other free countries in the West and elsewhere, we must look at all of the freedoms that we take for granted and all of the freedoms that He has granted to us in light of the realization that we do not suffer like these other Christians.  The threat of losing your nonprofit status due to taking a public stance on abortion, immigration or same-sex unions/ marriages is not  persecution.  After all, there was a church that did good works and accepted free will offerings long before there was an IRS that provided an added tax benefit of a write-off for yearly contributions.

Let us renew our vision of working for the Lord.  Let us recharge our spirit of joy and thanksgiving as we exercise our freedoms to spread the Good News with fervor and tenacity.  Let use every ounce of our being to take this charge and calling of Christianity to a higher level of manifestation with prayer and through His power.  Let us awaken American and all of the communities, barrios, ‘hoods and trailer parks within it by a force of faith that sweeps every street and attacks every avenue with the Word of Jesus Christ.  Let us use Bible tracts, billboards, newspaper and magazine ads, Twitter feeds and hashtags, and everything else that we have within our legal means to spark a new spirit for the sake of the Savior.

There are those who still suffer for His name.  We may not see them.  We may never hear of them and their stories.  Yet, we must do our part for the kingdom in His name and for His sake.

Read Full Post »

Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.” – Exodus 24:8 (NIV)

This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. – Matthew 26:28 (NIV)

When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people.  He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” – Hebrews 9:19-20 (NIV)

Blood dripped down from the cross.  Droplets of shed blood hit the soil.  Many had bled there before.  Countless slain criminals had hung above the earth and died there, soaking the ground with blood.  However, something appeared different that day. 

The man hanging among the thieves was innocent.  He had been tried in a religious court that had refused to accept His message.  He had put up little defense against their accusations.  Even when they handed Him over to the Romans, He stood in silence as He faced His inevitable death sentence.  He said little as He endured the cruel beatings from the Roman soldiers.  He had offered no resistance when they forced Him to march with His cross through the streets.  Even as He hung upon the cross, the few words that He offered were mumbled as he neared death.

He had been called Rabbi.  John the Baptist had called Him the Lamb of God.  Some had said that He was the Christ (the Anointed One).  He was even called the Messiah by others.  Yet, some mistook Him for one of the prophets like Elijah or Jeremiah.

No matter what He was called.  He hung high above the ground and shed His blood for the salvation of the world.  Nothing would ever be the same once His blood was shed.  No one who called on His name and believed His message would not have the new covenant presented through His shed blood and slain body.

And that day was the preparation,
and the sabbath drew on.
– Luke 23:54 (KJV)

What Moses had offered in the wilderness was hardly anything close to what Jesus offered on Calvary’s cross.  Jesus bore all of our grief and sorrow for our sake.  Jesus offered a covenant that Moses could only imitate at that point.  Moses could only offer a ceremonial sprinkling of the blood for the covenant.  Jesus offered a prophetic and redemptive covenant that showed the power of God through His shed blood.  Souls are saved continually through what Jesus offered as a supreme sacrifice on that day.

Do not believe the naysayers.  Do not accept the lies and the misunderstandings.  The blood of Jesus still saves.  The blood of the Lord paid the price for our sins for our salvation.  He stood in and paid the penalty for our wrongdoing, for our transgressions and infirmities.

Let the covering of the blood continue to work on you.  Let the blood remind you of His sacrificial love.  Never forget that the blood of the slain Savior who suffered for sakes soak into your soul like it once soaked into the soil of Golgotha.  Let the image of that blood settle into your spirit and keep you close to Him in this new covenant.  Hold dear to Him as your Lord and savior, for His blood still has power.

For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer
sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh:
how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit
offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead
works to serve the living God?
– Hebrews 9:13 (NASB)

But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins,
he sat down at the right hand of God.
– Hebrews 10:12 (NIV)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »