Friday, 30 March 2018

Death The Offspring Of Sin

Proverbs 14:27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

      My thoughts this Easter are of what Jesus did for us.
      The announcement of new offspring is normally a joyful occasion. However, not in the case of sin's offspring of death. Death became the result for all mankind because of sin and it was going to take a miraculous event to overcome every aspect that death could dish out. There was no way out of death's grasp until Jesus took on death and won. Isa. 25:8-A He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces.

      The amazing thing is that Jesus single-handedly destroyed the power of death through the Crucifixion and His powerful blood that was given on our behalf. 1 Cor. 15:54 Now when this the perishable shall have put on the imperishable, and this, the mortal, shall have put on immortality, then the word having been written will come to pass: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." 55 "Where O death, is your victory? Where O death is your sting?"
      It is hard to understand the depth of love that has been poured out on each one of us through Christ's perfect self-given offering for sin. Through the finished work of the cross, God made sure death was dealt with forever. Rev. 1:18 I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. There is nothing in the universe that can compare to the infinite and total finished work that Jesus' sacrifice brought into the deepest parts of our being when Jesus is accepted by faith. 
      To pass up a relationship with the Lord - and an eternal relationship at that - would be ludicrous. Who would not want to be on a first name basis with God? Jesus did that very thing for us through His sacrifice. Who would not want to be known as God's friend? Again, Jesus did that for us. John 15:15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because everything I have learned from My Father I have made known to you. 
      Death and corruption once had the upper hand on humanity, but after Jesus took away death's power, fear, and destructive works, we were set free from its grasp. We can now live our lives from a position of being seated with Christ. Eph. 2:6 God raised us from death to life with Christ Jesus, and he has given us a place beside Christ in heaven. 
      We will also live forever, but in the life and presence of God Himself. This is no small thing that Jesus accomplished for us. It is the greatest gift that will ever be known to man and will always be as fresh a gift as the first day Jesus became the Lord of our life. Rom. 8:37 In everything we have won more than a victory because of Christ who loves us. This gift will last throughout eternity, always new and revealing God's love for us continually. 
      We live in a world where the wages of sin is still death. Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. However, we do not have to live under the authority of death any longer. Jesus is Lord of all and reigns over all. He has defeated death through the perfect sin offering of Himself. All authority has been given to Jesus and He is sharing the blessing of that powerful victory with us. 
      Thank you, Lord, for defeating death for me. It was all your work and idea, Lord God. I am forever grateful. Amen and amen.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Temptations Come In Threes

Proverbs 28:21 It isn't right to be unfair, but some people can be bribed with only a piece of bread.

      CS Lewis said, "No man knows how bad he is till he has tried so hard to be good."
      The human condition is tempted in three areas of life, just as it always has been and always will be. Man is made up of spirit, soul and body and all aspects of our human being will be tested. 
      Jesus was tempted in the desert forty days in the same three areas of life that every individual on earth is tempted in. After fasting forty days the Gospel of Matthew says that Jesus hungered and the devil's temptation was to feed the needs of the flesh. Matt 4:3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 
      What are your fleshly hungers or cravings that are out of control? Can you be bribed out of your relationship with the Lord with covetous wants? Do you crave your neighbour's house, spouse, car, pay-cheque or anything else they have? The bread we hunger for can cause us to sin, but like the Lord Jesus, we have the solution - the word of God causes us to triumph. Matt.4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. 
      We will be tempted in the area of our spiritual needs, just as Jesus was. Matt.4:5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. It is interesting that the devil tempted Jesus from a position of religious belief. Satan was saying, "Stand on the peak of your religious belief and throw yourself off the ledge in full presumption out of religious fervor. Use your organized religion as your foundation for eternal decisions." Again, Jesus answered the enemy with the word of God. Matt.4:7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test. 
      Are you being tempted to stand on the soap-box of your religious beliefs to belittle or persecute a sector of the human population that Jesus also died for? Have we become so hell-bent on being right and slandering without grace, based on our denominational platforms? 
      Jesus asked us to go into the world and preach the good news that His salvation is available to everyone who received it by faith. He did not ask us to point out people's sins or transgressions. That is the Holy Spirit's job. John 16:8 And when He comes, He will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment. 
      The temptations that come for the soul is a hard battleground because our emotions are so tangled up in feelings of pride, jealousy, and grandeur. However, we can take heart in the fact that Jesus also overcame this temptation with the word of God; therefore, we have the power to do the same through Christ, our Lord. 
      Matt.4:8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” I love the dismissiveness and authority of Jesus' words. Matt.4:10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only. No big windup of an indignateous speech, just the powerful words of, "Away from me, Satan!
      When we are tempted to trade in the values of our soul for a morsel of fleeting fame or temporary glory, let us remember that we have a more sure thing than what Satan can offer. The glitz and glam that sparkles for a short time will fizzle out on our deathbeds. Selling our souls for the so called fifteen minutes of fame is not worth a lost eternity of joy and peace we have in Christ. We have been given the righteous position of being with our heavenly Father now and forevermore.
      Temptations may come in threes, but the power of the Godhead helps us overcome in threes as well. 1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. God and I are a majority, just as anyone who is in Christ is. We do not need the offers that come from hell to be a somebody. We already are the sons of God. We are the Lord's kings and priests ministering to God. We have a place in life and it is a beautiful place to be. Thank you, Jesus, for showing us that we too can say, "Satan, In Jesus name, away from me."

Friday, 16 March 2018

A Touch Of Grace

Proverbs 3:12 For whom the LORD loves he corrects; even as a father the son in whom he delights.

      Someone said, "To heal a wound you need to stop touching it."
      There is no better example of grace at work than to read the accounts of Jesus walking among the unwashed and leprous. Whether it was a deep-rooted hurt within a soul, or a clearly seen deadly infection on the outer body, or the demonic possession of a person's mind and will - Jesus could and did touch with healing grace.
 Acts 10:38 And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

       How often do we wait till there is a full infectious outbreak in our lives before we humble ourselves and pray for a gracious touch from our savior? Why do we keep touching the wound we are suffering from, rather than applying the healing balm of God's grace to our situation? The answer I come up with when I ask these questions seems to be our pride and fears get in the way, because we do not always believe the love God has for us. 
      The love of God should never be in doubt, but for some reason, the doubt of God's love looms large in many people's minds and hearts. We sometimes forget that God, by His grace, loved us first before we could do anything right or wrong or even existed. We were simply loved and are loved to this day. 
      We can rest in the grace of God's love, because it is His grace to give us and not ours to earn. Just because we are being corrected by God does not remove His love toward us. The opposite would be true, because God corrects those He loves. Prov. 3:12 For whom the LORD loves he corrects; even as a father the son in whom he delights.
      We are so fortunate to have the word of God at our reach twenty-four-seven, to be able to soak in its life-giving force to renew our mind to the truth of what God says about us and how much He loves us. Jer. 31:3 The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. 
      Just one touch of God's gracious love can and will change our whole life, plus the direction it is headed in. King David coveted the touch of God upon him. David knew the moment God touched him, there would be an immediate result. Psalm 51:7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 
      Yes, Lord, with your touch on my soul, mind, body, and heart there will be a profound and immediate holy result. I will be cleansed, washed, and healed because your thoughts toward me are grace, love, and favor. Help us, Lord, to stop touching the wounds that infect us and help us to truly give them over to your healing and restoring touch of grace. Make us whole in the love you have for us and let the joy of the Lord be our strength. In Jesus name. Amen!

Friday, 9 March 2018

All My Friends Are Sinners

Proverbs 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

      Luke 5:32 I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.
      I have walked with the Lord for a long time and am sure, beyond certainty, that I will always need the Lord to live a life of righteousness. There is no getting around the need for a savior, no matter how profound a theology or a new enlightened idea might sound. 
      We will always need Christ so that we can honestly and truly repent. For me and all my friends, there is no other name under heaven who can wash away our sins, other than the Lord Jesus. Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
     To many, I sound narrow-minded and even radical when I say what I have said about the Lord being the only way to our heavenly Father and true repentance. I am only repeating what Jesus said, and I believe Him since He is the only one to conquer death and tell us about it. John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 
      I have not met anyone else during my lifetime who has even come close to what Jesus has done or accomplished in saving mankind from their sins. We only have to believe in Jesus and what He did through His blood sacrifice on the cross to be restored into friendship with God the Father. 
      All my friends struggle with all the same problems and temptations that I struggle with. We stand in wonder and dismay at all the tragedies in the world. We know we cannot find salvation within ourselves, and because of that fact, we plunge deeper into need. We can do nothing about it because it is going to take a savior beyond ourselves, who is God, to fix the mayhem man has created through their sin nature. John 15:5 I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. We need a sacrifice that has been accepted by God Himself. Jesus is that sacrifice.
      The world is awash with religious leaders and ideas who claim they can patch up or reduce the effects of sin in life. However, these human beings are limited to their solipsistic views, life-expectancy, and geography to have an eternal world-wide answer that all my friends, and I need to be utterly rid of all sins in our lives once and for all. 
      Jesus, the risen Lord, has dealt with all sins ever committed. Christ did this for all mankind for now and throughout eternity. Grace upon grace has washed us clean, if we accept it by faith. No antics or jumping through hoops of fire to receive this gift of life - just faith in the finished work of what Jesus did on the cross. 
      As Jesus said, He came for those who knew they needed to repent from their sins. Luke 5:32 I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent. Those who do not think they need to repent and see themselves as righteous outside of Christ have the same problem a sinner has. They just don't see it yet. 
      This is why I say, "All my friends are sinners until they accept the righteousness of Christ." If you are a member of the human race, then you need a savior and Jesus is the Lord of your salvation. Rom 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. How much is all? All have fallen short, whether you believe it or not. 
      So, a note to all my friends who were sinners. Jesus Christ made you righteous in Him and because of Him only. Give God the praise and thanks due Him because of all He has done for you. He took our sins and washed us clean, so we can shout with joy. Jesus is LORD! I am the Lord's and He is mine. Sng. 6:3a I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine. Amen and amen!

Friday, 2 March 2018

And God Cried With Tears

Proverbs 31:8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.

      Whether we acknowledge it or not, we have a lovesick heavenly Father who is always coming after us in love. The gracious father in the parable of the prodigal son sees his son from afar and runs to him and kisses him, welcoming the lost son home. 
      Grace is so abundantly poured out upon us through the mercies of our heavenly Father that we have a hard time seeing the grandeur of it. With tears, our God longs for us to be His own. Jer. 14:17 Therefore thou shalt say this word unto them; Let mine eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease: for the virgin daughter of my people is broken with a great breach, with a very grievous blow.
      We can fall within a downward spiral to a place where we still believe in God, but we are no longer sure if God believes in us. There is nothing further from the truth. God says, "Before you were born I knew you." God's vision for our lives and our individuality is seen from His perspective of infinite completion. 
      The Lord sees us being with Himself throughout eternity and beyond. Our lives are not some random go along, eat and breathe till we die story. We were created on purpose, with a purpose, and for a purpose. Imagine. God thought of you and here you are; a living, breathing person who is the focus of His affection.
      It is a fact that God keeps pursuing us, yet we reject Him with no regard to the damage we set into motion. Luke 13:34 Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Your people have killed the prophets and have stoned the messengers who were sent to you. I have often wanted to gather your people, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you wouldn't let me. 
      God is stating His case that we physically fight Him off, yet He keeps coming for us. Hosea 11:2 The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols. 3 I myself taught Israel how to walk, leading him along by the hand. But he doesn’t know or even care that it was I who took care of him. It is we who run away from God and not God who runs away from us.
       Prov. 31:8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. If God is asking us to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves, it stands to reason the Lord has already done this for us. When we were lost in our trespasses and sins, it was Jesus who spoke up for us and offered Himself a sacrifice for the sins of the world. 
      When we were in need of overcoming power to defeat the works of the enemy, it was the Holy Spirit who spoke up for us and came and lived within us blessing us with His baptism. When we reject the love of our heavenly Father, it is He who woos us back to Himself for an everlasting relationship through Jesus our Lord. What more can God do for us? How many more tearful persuasions does God have to pour out on us till we acknowledge and believe the love God has for us?
      John 11:35 Jesus wept. If this scripture is ever caused by our actions, then let it be for the sake of joyful friendship with God and not the misery of loss and rejection on our part. Let us pursue God with the same effort God puts into chasing us. I know it is impossible for us to be as intense as our heavenly Father is when it comes to giving away His perfect love because God is love. However, we do have a choice to love God with all our heart, mind, strength and soul. 
      As for me, I hope that any tears that come from God because of my life are absolute tears of joy. Psalm 9:1 I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.