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Archive for the ‘redemption’ Category

For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.- Romans 5:19 (NIV)

For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.
Hebrews 10:10 (NLT)

So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. – Hebrews 13:12 (ESV)

The debt of sin paid by His death.  I love how Isaiah 53 puts it in such poetic and picturesque terms, especially in the old English.

4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah calls Him a “man of sorrows.”  How else would you describe a man mocked for offering Himself as a sacrifice to for the world? What other label would you place upon a man sent to His own and they received Him not? Think of how hard it has been to love and forgive those who have hurt you or slandered you.  Imagine if you had the power to wipe them out with your very words.

Thank God for Jesus being the God-man.  He was fully God and He was fully human.  He had enough God in Him to refrain from unleashing armies of angels on Jerusalem that day.  He was human enough that He bled, though.   He was so godly that He asked the father to forgive the people who persecuted and ridiculed Him out of their ignorance, “for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). 

He wasn’t hung in the midst of the marketplace.  He wasn’t stretched before the other zealots  and insurrectionists for seditious acts of rebellion against the emperor and his constituents.  Pilate may have ordered it, but the Lord orchestrated it to happen.  He was taken to the outskirts of town and hung amidst the outcasts.  The King James Version used the phrase: and he was numbered with the transgressors.

Jesus died at Calvary.

Jesus died on the cross.

Jesus died as a cure for our condition.

… and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.– Isaiah 53: 12 (KJV)

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Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven– Luke 6:37 (NIV)

People who have been forgiven should be forgiving people.  Grace, mercy, love and patience should all intertwine in order to offer forgiveness to others.  Since God has forgiven us through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, we should forgive others just as He has forgiven us.

Take into account the wrongs that you have done against God.  We call them sins.  They are the little and the big things that separate us from our constant and consistent fellowship with God.  We need to see how our interactions with others are in alignment with our professed faith and belief in God.  Sadly, we may find ourselves more out of alignment with God’s ways and His Word than we would like to think.  How we treat others may not be as glaring to us until we weigh it all in proper perspective with how God wants us to treat others.

 The dialogue between Peter and Jesus about forgiveness has been utilized out of context many times, but it opens the believer’s eyes to a new dynamic about forgiveness.   Jesus assures Peter that what may be viewed as acceptable by human standards is not what is acceptable by the standard set for God’s people.  Even if it is our own people who offend us, we should be able to forgive them countless times.  That’s not easy.

We have to understand that we have been forgiven of all  of our sins by the work of Jesus on the cross.  Therefore, since we have been forgiven, we have an understanding of having a debt that we could not pay for ourselves.  We should see that our brother or sister’s trespasses should be forgiven without our convicting or condemning them for what they have done.  We should, as forgiven people, forgive them because of what has been forgiven of us by Him.

Take your forgiveness up a notch.  If you find that hard, take it to God in solemn and sincere prayer.  drop the grudge and bury the hatchet.  There’s no sense in taking someone else through hell for what they have done against you when your Holy Father has refused to send you to the depths of hell for all that you have done against Him.

God forgives.  Be like God.  Forgive more and more.

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For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.- Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)

Satan gets a lot of credit in the church.  Much of what the average Christian gives over to Satan is truly undeserved credit.  Satan is a fallen angel and a created being just like us.  The biblical story of Job demonstrates that he only does what God allows him to do.  He still must work on a limited basis.  He has no real power beyond what God affords him.

However, Satan is real.  He is not lurking behind some shadowy mist that drifts in and out of the atmosphere.  He is present, seeking to destroy all that can bring glory to God and tear down anything that builds the kingdom of heaven.  He is a liar and will stop at no means to kill, steal and destroy.

Satan attacks on a spiritual level.  If you leave him room, he will get between you and your spouse, you and your children, and even you and fellow believers.  His methods are divisive and destructive.  His aim is to keep us from growing closer to God.  He wants us to turn our backs on God.  He hopes that we will give up hope and seek help from anywhere but God.

He attacks at some critical times.  Check out these two examples for starters.  Later, after you have thought about it, check out the Lord’s words to him through prophecy (Isaiah 14:12-17).  It may help you understand some more about how he goes about things and why he is so persistent in attacking us.

Offering: Satan subtly seeks to convince us that the church doesn’t need our money.  After all, you hear yourself rationalizing, they’ll only waste it away with poor stewardship anyway.  That’s the type of thinking that can invade one’s heart and mind.  It’s a spiritual attack.  He wants to separate us from God.  He doesn’t mind starting with a small seed of doubt.  He’ll keep on us and at us until he reaches us somehow.  Be on guard.  Be in prayer.  Don’t give him a foothold.  Faithfully seek God out.  It’s the type of battle that can only be won by His spiritual might, not our own.

Invitation: Angels jump for joy and sing praises over one soul coming to the Lord for salvation.  Satan is a fallen angel.  He doesn’t rejoice over souls being saved in the name of the Lord.  He wants to get into the heart and mind of the unbeliever and show them how unworthy they are and why they don’t belong in church to begin with.  He attacks the unbeliever as the pastor prays and offers the invitation.  He seeks to embarrass the unbeliever and make the unbeliever fear the rejection of all of those people who seem to be staring and gawking.  He uses whatever he can to keep that person from even considering that now is the right time.  He even says that they can take care of it another day and in another way but not here and not now.  That’s junk. 

Be careful what you let get into your head and your heart at such a time.  He wants to keep you from the freedom that you will have in Christ.  He wants you to continue to be burdened by what has been bothering you for the longest.  He doesn’t want you to experience anything that is remotely close to salvation and all that it offers you.  He wants to keep you away from the church and out of God’s family. 

Don’t allow him to even start.  Learn what he is about and how he attacks believers and unbelievers alike.  Know that he will continue until he is utterly destroyed.  Meanwhile, he will seek to destroy as many as he is able to get a hold of as often as he can.  He has nothing that he can offer you that will last for an eternity.

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Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.- John 12:11 (KJV)

Lazarus was raised from the dead by Jesus.  He emerged from the grave and lived on.  His living was not in vain by any means.  Surely, Lazarus lived on as a testimony of the very power of Jesus.

The Gospel of John speaks of Jesus as deity, as God, and as part of the Holy Trinity.  Jesus demonstrated His power in raising Lazarus from the dead, but Lazarus’ life testified about the power of Jesus over the grave simply by his living.  It is said that many believed on Jesus because of him.  The people came not  just to see Jesus but to also see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead  (John 12:9, KJV).   Even the chief priests sought to kill Lazarus, according to John 12:10.

How live our lives will serve as a testimony to others.  Some will accept it and embrace us.  Others will reject it and seek to diminish our testimony.  Just live it out in faith.  Someone will see what the Lord has done in your life.  Perhaps, after they hear your life’s story and your testimony, they will seek the Lord for themselves and allow Him to enter into their heart.

 

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 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.-Psalm 119:11 (KJV) 

  

 

 

 Denzel Washington has truly been redeemed.  “The Book of Eli” has served as a true artistic redemption for Denzel in the eyes of many who had felt he had lost some of his luster after “Training Day.”   

Denzel had captivated our attention with his stirring portrayal of Malcolm X in Spike Lee’s “X” and wowed us to tears as an endearing father in “John Q.”  He even won us over as the cocky attorney in “Philadelphia” and the unconventional reporter in “The Pelican Brief.”  Denzel had our hearts and keep us going back for more, movie and movie.  And then came “Training Day”. . . 

 Fast forward from “Training Day” to “The Book of Eli.” It’s like night and day.  If you thought Denzel took you to the limits in “Training Day” with his cinematic portrayal of a dirty L.A. cop, then you really can’t categorize the stunning and suspenseful Eli that Denzel depicts in “The Book of Eli.” In case you were done on Denzel after “Training Day,” he will leave you lost for words in ‘The Book of Eli.” 

Why did we not get a lot of reviews and trailers regarding “The Book of Eli?” Hollywood is the answer.  When you consider the way 2004’s ‘The Passion of Christ” and “The Chronicles of Narina” were treated by Hollywood reviewers and film critics.  Think for a moment and recognize that we cannot seek the world’s approval while advancing the Gospel of Christ.  We desire the world to accept Him and His Word, not for us to be accepted by the world.  I praise those who venture out the cinematic norm to share movies with messages that cause us to reflect and return to the Word of God once again.  if you haven’t seen “The Book of Eli,” rent it or borrow it on DVD from someone.  It’s a great flick.  

By the way, let Denzel go on making movies in peace.  Truly, he has been redeemed. 

  

  

 

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And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Mark 13:10 (NIV)
The Good News is to be spread throughout the world. The Gospel of salvation and redemption, according to Jesus Himself, must be preached to all nations. The Word of God that saves and redeems the lost must be shared worldwide. Jesus said so.
How?
The church is called to share the Word with the world. The Spirit gives the church power. That’s part of the way God has it in place. The Son came and showed us the way. Now, with the Son risen and ascended, the Spirit leads us in the way. The Son and the Spirit give the church all that it needs to reach the world just outside of the church’s doors.
All we have to do as the church is step outside of the doors of the church and into the streets of our local communities. We need to have our eyes open to the conditions of those around us. We need to see ourselves as salt and light in the most missional sense. Our given mission is to share about Him and show others the way to Him. Let us share the Word by both word and deed. Let our walk talk more than our sermons. Let our ways and works speak more than our mouths and lips. All we do should speak and share about Jesus Christ, the Savior.

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“God is more eager to answer than we are to ask.”- Smith Wigglesworth

We answers.  Our hearts cry out for answers.  We wish to make sense of all that we experience in this world, so we cry out to God, seeking an answer from the Most High God to all that we experience here on earth.  Yet, we fail to realize that God has already answered most of questions in the Book.  He has carefully crafted and sketched a blueprint for our living, preparing us through earthly life for eternal life.

46If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.

47But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”

John 5:46-47 (NIV)

The Book speaks about a relationship with God.  In Genesis, God introduces and establishes the relationship and by chapter 3 things occur and sin comes into play causes an issue within the relationship.  The remainder of the Book continues on how the relationship plays out with this barrier of sin.  Yet, it never really seems fully taken care of by the offerings of bulls and lambs.  A prophecy keeps coming up with Joel, Isaiah, and others demonstrating how One must come to take away the sins of the world, the Lamb of God who will serve as the ultimate sacrifice.  Then, after Malachi, things switch gears.  Jesus arrives and sets change in motion, bringing the Good News of God and offering life more abundantly through His personal sacrifice.

The answer that many of us are awaiting has already arrived and arisen.  The answer is Jesus.  Jesus is the adequate answer.  Jesus is the appropriate answer.  All of those questions that we have should not be placed in  Jesus’ hands.  If you recall the story, His hands have holes in them from when He suffered for our sinsPut your burdens in His trust.  Most importantly, Jesus is the available answer.  He was made available through the love of God for the whole world.  He is available because He sticks closer than a brother.  He is available today through belief and faith.  He is the answer.

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.- 1 Peter 5:7 (KJV)

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First Love

We love Him because He first loved us.
– 1 John 4:19 (NKJV)

It has fascinated me for years. My daughter and I just had one of our theological debates about it in the car ride from school the other day. Even my fellow brothers in the ministry discuss and share their opinions, views and experiences regarding it all of the time. What is it?

Love of course. You can’t truly talk about God without love coming up somehow. In fact, as Christians, we have to come to the realization that if it were not for love, God would not have sacrificed His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Redemption, regeneration, grace, mercy, justification, atonement and many of these other concepts that come up related to salvation itself all point back to God’s love for His unlovable people (Romans 3:23; John 3:17; Luke 6:31; Romans 5:8; Isaiah 53). Love settles the score. Love seals the deal. Love never fails. Love is constantly working on our behalf. Love gives life.

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Seek ye first the kingdom of God . . .- Matthew 6:33 (KJV)
God desires for us to make Him a priority. He’s already told us that He’s jealous and that we should have no other gods beside Him. He’s exhausted His all in trying to redeem us. He extended all of His love to us through Jesus (John 3:16). The issue is that we need be sure to get these things in order as we go through our daily walk. We must make God a priority. We must make first things first.
We must make first things first. It’s not because we have to do so. It certainly is not due to Him forcing us and twisting our arm about the the whole matter. It is a matter of the heart. It is about us feeling a deep-rooted desire to be in touch with God ona personal level. That’s when we strat on the path towardsmaking God a real priority. In fact, that’s the type of spiritual transition that God expects us to make after we’ve been in touch with Him. We make a change based upon the change that has taken place within me.

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