Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘gospel’

But as for me, behold, I am in your hands. Do with me as seems good and right to you. Only know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood upon yourselves and upon this city and its inhabitants, for in truth the Lord sent me to you to speak all these words in your ears.”

Jeremiah 26:14-15 (ESV)

Today’s ministers in the “free world” have it easy. Freedom speech combined with the right to assemble and freedom of religion make it real easy for today’s minister to stand boldly and proclaim the message of the Lord. Sadly, that is not the truth throughout the globe.

According to the World Watch List (WWL) of Open Doors:

  • 105 churches attacked, burned or vandalized each month
  • 11 Christians are killed everyday for their faith
  • 1 out of 21 Christians in South America experience high levels of persecution
  • 1 out of 6 Christians in Africa experience high levels of persecution
  • 1 out of 3 Christians in Asia experience high levels of persecution

We’ve got it easy and do not even understand the depths of persecution experienced by others for being of the same faith as us. According to Earthpages.org, we are experiencing a “global calamity” of 340 million Christians persecuted. Yes, much like Christian Mommas, I believe that we do need to pray for the persecuted believers across the globe. Yes, I believe many of us in the know need to do like Toby Mac and dc Talk sharing about the stories of the persecuted to inform others and raise awareness.

But I also believe it is boils down to the simple appreciation and actualization of our freedoms to go beyond simply preaching to make American believers feel okay with themselves.

Tune in Wednesday 11 AM PST

Rejoice and Be Glad!

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5:12

They persecuted the prophets who were before you.

They persecuted the prophets.

The people of God rejected the message of God so much that they went so far as to kill the messenger.

They found that their best solution to their problems, among all of their options, was to kill the messenger.

They felt that things would be better off as long as that messenger was out of the picture and not sharing that message.

But Jesus tells us to embrace the rejection and roll with the resistance. He says: Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account (Matthew 5:11).

Blessed?

Then, He says for us to rejoice and be glad when they do such things and try to persecute us since they did the very same things to the prophets who came before us.

He doesn’t just want u to accept it. He wants us to embrace it and engage it in such a way that we wear it as a badge of honor. He wants us to understand that we are doing this for Christ and in the name of Christ, and all that is being done against us is on account of Jesus Himself.

So, rejoice and be glad!

Give Them My Entire Message- Every Single Word

“This is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard in front of the Temple of the Lord and make an announcement to the people who have come there to worship from all over Judah. Give them my entire message; include every word. – Jeremiah 26:2 (ESV)

God’s spoken Word is to come across just as God intended for it to reach His people. The Lord’s instructions to Jeremiah were clear. There was no mistaking what God wanted said and who He wanted it said to nor why he wanted it said to them right there and at that time.

Perhaps they will listen and turn from their evil ways. Then I will change my mind about the disaster I am ready to pour out on them because of their sins. – Jeremiah 26:3 (NLT)

The Lord had hopes of their corrective actions, “turning from their evil ways”, leading to Him changing His mind about destroying them.

That’s our job as preachers and teachers of the Word. We got to go forward and give God’s entire message.

We don’t get to cut and paste the “good parts.” We don’t get to hide the parts where God’s anger and wrath are burning like a fierce, raging fire. We do not get to eliminate any part of the Bible that leaves us feeling convicted and ashamed, ready to break down and call on Him for mercy and forgiveness.

No, borther, we need those hard sayings of Jesus. No, sister, we need those harsh words of the Lord speaking from Mount Sinai. We need more than just the blessings of the Beatitudes. It needs to get uncomfortable when the Word is stirring up things in our spirits and souls rather than some feel good, just come as you are, and I’m okay you’re okay message.

We are called to preach an uncompromised message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to serve as ambassadors of Christ, ushering people from the doom of darkness to the awaiting light of hope and healing.

If we fail to preach it, we are doomed and deserve to be condemned for our negligence of our office and station in the ministry. If we are obedient, then we will proclaim His truth (not her truth or my truth) and we will experience things that the prophets experienced when they faced a hostile mob of God’s people. If we do so accordingly, we can face the ridicule, the harassment, the chastisement, and the harsh words of bitterness and rejection.

What is at stake is the loss of many of the faith, falling away due to our issues rather than doctrinal or theological issues. Read their testimonies and see why they left or never even gave Christ a shot due to what they saw His followers doing.

Read Full Post »

For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

– Galatians 1:10 (NASB)

standing-man-in-blue-dress-shirt-praying-3229850

Photo by Caleb Oquendo from Pexels

 

Do we find favor? Or, vice versa, does favor find us?

The question lingers on.

Yet, favor with God is entirely different from favor with men.  The Lord is said to look at the heart, while man is caught up in the outward appearance.  The world looks on and assesses what is on the outside and obvious, but the Lord searches the innermost parts of man and in His secret places for what is hidden from the natural eye.

Paul’s argument to the Galatians is that seeking to please man disqualifies you as a servant of the Lord, according to Galatians 1:10. The context of his argument is based on the profession of the Good News as the gospel and that there is no other gospel for consideration. His argument was rooted in the inherent defense of the Word of God against those who would twist and manipulate it to lead others astray with unnecessary ritualistic demands. What Paul was saying to the Galatians was that their faith should remain rooted in the gospel that touched their hearts and changed their lives.

When we read the early chapters of Galatians, we can sense how deeply immersed Paul was in the upkeep of the faith of these fellow believers. But we also get a sense of how much Paul did not worry about the favor of men.

22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” – Galatians 1:22-23 (ESV)

Something here shows us that Paul was not seeking notoriety for His Damascus Road experience or a warm reception from those whom he once persecuted. Paul just sought to be known for “preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” That was the case with Lee Strobel, C.S. Lewis, and Stephen Baldwin. Their efforts to disprove and destroy the effects of the Good News on others led to their own conversion.

unusual suspt

But can one find both favor with God and man?

The words from Proverbs 3:4 simply say it is possible: “So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.” The upbringing of the Lord Jesus demonstrate it is so, saying: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52, ESV).

Proverbs 19:6 helps us to understand that: ” Many seek the favor of a generous man. . .”  People will desire the favor of those who seem to have power and authority as in Proverbs 16:15 and 19:12. The problem is seeking man’s favor alone will never truly satisfy our souls.

So, it is possible to have favor with both God and man. We just cannot allow the pursuit of favor with man to outweigh our desire to find favor with God. Favor with man is just an added benefit that might come along with favor with God.  It is not a given that those who find favor with God will automatically also find favor with man.

The prophets experienced this firsthand. They were given the message of the Lord for the people, but they also were viewed as troublemakers and considered disruptive to the prosperity and peace that the people of God had discovered and tried to enjoy.  Oftentimes, the prophetic books of the Bible open with the fact that their message was a burden to bear for the sake of the people and in obedience to God.

Look at the life of David. He was anointed as a lad but not appointed until later.  Imagine living that life under the nose of King Saul. He served under him and you were married to his daughter as well as best friends with his son. But he was also destined to rule in Saul’s place. This put David at odds with Saul later.

Just imagine if what made you special made others skeptical.

What if it made them suspicious of your motives?

What if you being marked out for something special also left you marked as a target for ridicule and resentment by others?

Take a brief moment and think back to the last time you graciously showered someone else with favor. Was it a transforming experience or was it purely a transaction? Have you ever shared your power and influence in favor of someone who cannot even get their foot in the door?

Maybe it is time that you reflect back to the times when you needed favor.  Even better yet, think about the times when you fell out of favor and how badly you desired to regain your status.

To be a little more godly, we’re all going to have to figure out how to be a little more gracious and generous. When we do so, we can freely give to others without seeking anything in return.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. – 1 John 2:7

John was pretty clear.  He wasn’t writing about anything new.  It wasn’t anything that the believers had not already heard, either directly from Jesus or quoted by one of the followers who had walked with Him during His earthly ministry.

It was the same as it was in the beginning.

There was already an “old commandment” and that was “no new commandment.” It all was the same.

Nothing was new.

Jesus said what needed to be said.  He said it all from the onset of His ministry.  He continued with it throughout His ministry.  He wrapped up His ministry with the same thing.

His disciples and apostles were to continue in what He taught them from the beginning.  New followers were to do so also.  No one was to add anything to it.  No one was to compel others to get circumcised or recognize new moons or other feasts to become at one with Christ.  All that it took was a faithful belief in Him as the Son of God, the Savior, and the propitiation of our sins.

Nothing was added.

We have all that we need in Him.  We have all that we are to follow in His Word.  There is nothing new to it.  There is to be nothing added to it.  It is totally complete.

Read Full Post »

I am writing to you, little children,because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.- 1 John 2:12 (ESV)

We are called Christians.

That is how we are identified.  It is a label that has meaning for us.  It means that we are part of of the Family.  It means that we are part of the Fellowship.  It means that we part of the Faithful.

Most of all, it means that we are FORGIVEN.

How do we know that we are forgiven?

John said so in this epistleIf we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness(1 John 1:9, NKJV).

Paul said so in Colossians.  And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses (Colossians 2:13, NKJV).

Jesus said so in the Gospels.  Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men (Matthew 12:31, NKJV).  Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.(Luke 6:37, NKJV).  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained (John 20:30, NKJV).

Ultimately, we have to learn to live differently as being forgiven for his name’s sake (1 John 2:12).  We have to learn that we are forgiven, and then we can learn how to live in the knowledge of our forgiveness.  Finally, we must learn to live and forgive, so that we can live in freedom among the forgiven.

Read Full Post »

Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many,  and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’  But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’  And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’  Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ – Luke 14:16-20

The parable reveals how believers can make excuses about what they are not willing to do despite what the Lord is inviting them to participate in with Him.  You see, His “great feast” is by invitation only but of “those who were invited” they all made excuses.

The church resembles the world when we consider the work od the church.  We have more people sitting than serving.  He have more people taking in the Word than those taking action with the Word.  In fact, we don’t accept the world’s 80/20 principle.  In the church, we have adjusted the odds to 90/10, accepting it more as fact rather than a challenge for us to overcome with prayer, fasting, teaching, training, and mentoring.

Jesus spoke of the cost of becoming His disciple throughout this very chapter of Luke (vv. 10-11, 13, 26-27, 33).  He reminds us that our main aim in this life is to live a life of sacrifice for His sake.  We sacrifice by taking a servant’s position, seeking to satisfy others more than ourselves.  As His disciples (followers), we are to serve those who cannot pay us back just as we are debtors to the One who paid a price that we cannot pay back (Luke 14:14).  By doing so, we support others and serve the Lord by reflecting His example and meeting His expectation of us.

Since we have been called by Christ, let us not turn back or create excuses.  For every reason why we won’t or don’t do more, He hung, suffered, bled, endured and died to give us all the reason that we need not to quit or walk away from His calling on our lives.

Don’t dwell in a place of complacency or mediocrity.   Get back on track with the Lord.  Give Him all of you, all that you have to give Him since nothing was held back when He save you and I.

We have been called by the Master.  We have been called and we cannot turn back, not now and not ever.

Read Full Post »

Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
 – Isaiah 53:10 (NKJV)

God’s people are to live in such a way that their lives please God.  God’s people are to live to please God.

It doesn’t sound like the Christianity that many of us signed up for when we walked down the aisle of our home church and accepted Christ as Lord and Savior in our lives.  It does not resemble the only-believe sermons that echoed in tent revivals throughout Middle America during the times of Progressives prior to the Industrial Revolution of America.  No, it does not even seem to resemble any of the tenets of religious righteousness that seem to make the headlines as the Religious Right.  That doesn’t sound like the normal Christian life that many pastors, evangelists and others have spread throughout the nation and the world about prosperity, being born again, and serving to be saved. No, it doesn’t sound like any of that at all.

However, that is what the Word says.  We are to live in a way that pleases God.  We are to model our lives after the service, sacrifice and suffrage of Jesus Christ.  Isaiah’s “Suffering Savior,”  the “man of sorrows,” presents us with a humble manner of submission that we can see and reflect in our own daily lives.

Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. . .

Sadly, we often interpret God’s pleasure as an image of the Heavenly Father looking down and smiling upon Jesus on the cross.  That sounds far from the accurate interpretation of the matter.  God’s pleasure in the situation is the satisfied debt of sins.  The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross satisfied the debt of sin through the Lamb of God who was “without blemish” (1 Peter 1:19, NKJV).  Therefore, Jesus submitted to God and offered Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.  As John says, He serves as “the propitiation of our sins.” Read Hebrews 2:17 and 1 John 4:10 about His sacrifice for our sins.

He paid a debt that we could never repay on our own.  He had to serve as the propitiation of our sins in order to satisfy the debt that we could never repay ourselves.  As Paul wrote, salvation is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).  He stepped up and stood in for us, only to sacrifice all and suffer for our sakes.

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

1 John 5:2-4 (NKJV)

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. – Philippians 2:5 (NKJV)

We need to reflect Christ’s sacrificial living.  Paul stated that we should have the mind of Christ.  Peter said that we should suffer just as Christ suffered.  James, the brother of the Lord, said that we should embrace being tested and tried.  We are to live in a manner that satisfies God.  We are to please God.

Our daily lives are to please God.  Let not Christ’s suffering and sacrifice appear to be in vain.  Do not disregard the cost of salvation.  God did not hold back.  He offered His best.  We, too, are called to offer our best.  God offered His best in Jesus Christ.  God expects us to offer our best by following the example of Jesus Christ.

Live to please God.  Live a repentant and revived life.  Live a renewed life as a new creation in Christ Jesus.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. – Hebrews 11:6 (KJV)

The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. – Psalm 147:11 (KJV)

“It is the quality of our work which will please God and not the quantity.”
-Mahatma Gandhi (Gandhi quotes)

Read Full Post »

Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.- Psalm 115;3 (NIV)

The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths.
– Psalm 135:6 (NIV)

God can do whatever He wants to do.  In theological terms, it is called His sovereignty.  In other words, He is God and answers to no one except Himself.  He is God alone, answering to no one.

Since God is sovereign, we can be assured that God can also use whomever He decides to use.  He used a stuttering murderer to deliver His people out of Egypt.  He used a young man to serve as His prophet to His people.  He used a shepherd boy to demonstrate how to be a man after God’s own heart.  He used a poor young woman to bring the manifestation of the Messiah into the world.  He used a religious zealot to spread the gospel to Gentiles throughout the world.

He uses whomever He chooses to use.  He can use you, too.  Don’t overlook what God can do and how He can do it to bring Himself glory.

Look at this story below to just how God can use anyone or anything.

21Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. 22But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road.

24Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. 25When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again.

26Then the angel of the Lord moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. 27When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. 28Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”

29Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”

30The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”

“No,” he said.

31Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.

32The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.c 33The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her.”

34Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back.”

35The angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but speak only what I tell you.” So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.

– Numbers 22:21-35 (NIV)

Read Full Post »

“We cannot expect people to be saved by our messages

unless we really try to instruct them by what we say to them.”

 – C.H. Spurgeon

Let’s do something different in 2012.  Let’s try to become a little more radical, even revolutionary, with how we share the Word of God with others.  I do not mean for us to get people in an uproar or upset.  I dare not mean for us to simply cause people to become rebels.  I simply implore and beseech us to revolutionize how we live out the gospel of the Lord.

Take an example from some of the modern-day revolutionaries out there:

  • John Burke: The Soul Revolution and No Perfect People Allowed are books by Burke that can help us see how to radically alter our approach to church and Christianity.
  • Brennan Manning: Author of The Ragamuffin Gospel, Manning shares that we cannot serve as self-appointed gatekeepers in this timely treasure of a grace-oriented perspective on the Christian faith.
  • Shane Claiborne: His aptly titled The Irresistible Revolution sent shock waves throughout the Christian community as he shared about the Simple Way and his personal reflections on the Word and the ways of the world in war and peace, even what we have come to accept as love.
  • Francis Chan: “Jesus asks for everything,” Chan wrote in Crazy LoveHe gives us a straight talk on what we should be in Christ and where we fall short if we do not submit to the Lord.
“Mother Theresa always said, “Calcuttas are everywhere if only we have eyes to see. Find your Calcutta.”
Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical
 
Let’s revolutionize our ministry in 2012.  Be blessed.

 

Read Full Post »

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)

Read Full Post »

Then Jesus said unto them,
Take heed and beware of the leaven
of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

– Matt. 16:6 (KJV)

Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered,
so that they were trampling on one another,
Jesus began to speak first to his disciples,
saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees,
which is hypocrisy.

– Luke 12:1 (NIV)

Your glorying is not good.
Know ye not that a little leaven
leaveneth the whole lump?

– 1 Corinthians 5:6 (KJV)

The church has to watch out for a lot of confusion.  Confusion can creep into the church and consume it.  Confusion can come in all sorts of ways.  It can take over.  It can take some folks out.  It can turn off and turn away other folks.

Here are some samples of the types of church folks who breed confusion:

These few examples just touch the surface.  They certainly do not represent all of the confusion creators in church, but they surely are present in some churches.  We have to guard ourselves, as the Lord said, against such hypocrisy.

As the church of Jesus Christ, we have to wage war with confusion in our midst.  We must battle confusion with clarity.  We must teach Christ with clarity.  Our clear teachings on Christ, His life, ministry, death, burial, and resurrection should help others to understand the example that Jesus provide for every believer.  We need to teach the Gospels, Acts and the New Testament Epistles clearly and continually.  We cannot forget our calling for perfecting the saints.

Be sure to visit these blogs for more on the body of Christ and sound doctrine:

http://northmtzion.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/winds-of-change/
http://thatchristmaydwell.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/what-part-of-the-body-of-are-you/
http://marcussteadministry.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/unity-in-the-body-of-christ/
http://lyleandpaige.wordpress.com/2011/11/05/acts-432-35/

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »