Commitment is measured by Attitude…

Commitment is measured by Attitude!

Mat 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he
will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be
loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve
God and money.”

IT’S STRANGE, ISN’T IT?

Isn’t it strange how a 20 dollar bill
seems like such a large amount when
you donate it to church, but such a
small amount when you go shopping?

Isn’t it strange how endless an
hour seems when we are serving God,
but how short it is when we watch a
basketball game for  2-3 hours ?

Isn’t it strange how 2 hours seem so
long when you’re at church, and how short
they seem when you’re watching a good movie?

Isn’t it strange that you can’t find the
words to say when you’re praying,
but you have no trouble thinking what
to talk about with a friend?

Isn’t it strange how difficult and
boring it is to read one chapter of
the Bible, but how easy it is to
read 100 pages of a popular novel?

Isn’t it strange how everyone wants
front-row-tickets to concerts or games,
but they do whatever is possible to sit
at the last row in Church?

Isn’t it strange how we need to know
about an event for Church 2-3 weeks
before the day so we can include it in
our agenda, but we can adjust it for
other events in the last minute?

Isn’t it strange how difficult it is
to learn a fact about God to share it
with others, but how easy it is to
learn, understand, extend and repeat gossip?

Isn’t it strange how we believe everything
that magazines and newspapers say, but we
question the words in the Bible?

Isn’t it strange how everyone wants a
place in heaven, but they don’t want to
believe in Jesus to get there?

Isn’t it strange how we send jokes
in e-mails and they are forwarded right
away, but when we are going to send
messages about God, we think about it
twice before we share it with others?

IT’S STRANGE, ISN’T IT?

Mat 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there
your heart will be also.”

The Middle East and Jesus 2nd Coming…

The Middle East and Jesus 2nd Coming…

 Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

1 John 3:2 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

Jesus is Coming Again! World events continue to keep a focus on the Middle East which reminds us of His return. Some interesting items of note about the Middle East;

1. The Garden of Eden was in Iraq.

2. Mesopotamia, which is now Iraq, was the cradle of civilization!

3. Noah built the ark in Iraq.

4. The Tower of Babel was in Iraq.

5. Abraham was from Ur, which is in Southern Iraq!

6. Isaac’s wife Rebecca is from Nahor, which is in Iraq.

7. Jacob met Rachel in Iraq.

8. Jonah preached in Nineveh – which is in Iraq.

9. Assyria, which is in Iraq, conquered the ten tribes of Israel.

10. Amos cried out in Iraq!

11. Babylon, which is in Iraq, destroyed Jerusalem.

12. Daniel was in the lion’s den in Iraq!

13. The three Hebrew children were in the fire in Iraq (Jesus had been in Iraq also as the fourth person in the fiery furnace!)

14. Belshazzar, the King of Babylon saw the “writing on the wall” in Iraq.

15. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, carried the Jews captive into Iraq.

16. Ezekiel preached in Iraq.

17. The wise men were from Iraq.

18. Peter preached in Iraq.

19. The “Empire of Man” described in Revelation is called Babylon, which was a city in Iraq!

And you have probably seen this one. Israel is the nation most often mentioned in the Bible. But do you know which nation is second? It is Iraq! However, that is not the name that is used in the Bible. The names used in the Bible are Babylon, Land of Shinar, and Mesopotamia. The word Mesopotamia means between the two rivers, more exactly between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The name Iraq means country with deep roots.

Indeed Iraq is a country with deep roots and is a very significant country in the Bible.

No other nation, except Israel, has more history and prophecy associated to it than Iraq. Isn’t it interesting where the focus of our age is? With all the turmoil around keep in mind….

John 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

I Love you…

Heb 12:2a “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…”

I Love You

“I love you”, he whispered as we sat in the night.
His arms closed around me so warm and so tight.

“I love you, but I know that others will call.
Still, please know I’ll be there to catch every fall.
The others may wound you, life’s lesson you’ll learn.
Don’t worry, I’ll be right here when you return.

Some moments, you’ll hurt me with anger and hate but I’ll never leave
you, you’re well worth the wait”

And though I denied that we ever would part, new loves flirted
playfully, winning my heart.

But the few nights of pleasure just lasted till dawn.
Then each, like the others, was suddenly gone.

“I love you” a voice whispered out of the cold.
“My hand is still here for you, ready to hold.

If nothing more from you than love do I gain.
I’ll still wait forever. You’re well worth the pain.”

I wanted to care; let him into my heart.
My life felt so empty when we were apart.

But I longed for adventure, excitement, and thrill.
The few needs that His perfect love couldn’t fill.

“I love you”, he said as he raised up his hands.
“But you’ll never be with me the way that it stands.

So bring on the nails and I’ll suffer the loss.
If it means I can hold you, it’s well worth the cross.”

–Carolyn Holmes

Heb 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith,
Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising
the shame and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”

Mary of CHRISTmas, a faithful sinner…

 

Luke 1:46-47 “And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”

 Luke 1:26-32 “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.”

Mary of CHRISTmas, a faithful sinner…

In the drama of the first Christmas there is a perfect example of walking by faith. God begins in Luke 1:26 – “In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph. The virgin’s name was Mary, The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus.'” A name above all names! In no other name is salvation found.

Acts 4:12 “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

God’s request to Mary was that she walk by faith and trust Him. He asked her to take His hand and allow Him to lead her into something amazing. Mary did not insist that she see some piece of evidence before she accept God’s plan. We must understand that in the Jewish culture of those days a woman was stoned to death for having a child out of wedlock. Now think about the faith it took to obey.

God was leading her into a situation where she was suddenly and miraculously pregnant. And who’s going to believe that God is doing this? How about the arguments that may have gone through her head? She has a lot to lose if she walks by faith and goes where God wants to take her. She may lose her reputation as the “nice girl of Nazareth.” She may lose the man she loves when he hears she is expecting and he knows he’s not the father. The wedding she has dreamed about from an early age may never happen. And since, in the Jewish culture of that day, they stoned women for sexual sin, obedience could even cost Mary her life.

But Mary was a woman of faith. Listen to her response, “I am the Lord’s servant.” Those words show her heart. If Mary’s identity is, “I’m Joseph’s girl,” there’s no way she’s going

to do what God wants. If her image as the “nice girl of Nazareth” is her identity, she won’t do this. But Mary bases her identity on one thing and one thing alone. With open hands, open arms,

face looking up, she declares, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as You have said.” And because of that surrendered spirit and surrendered future, Mary carries God’s only Son in her body.

God’s most special assignments are for those who will let go of their fears and begin the walk of faith. When you know that God is asking you do something, and then the choice is; do I serve Jesus or my fears and desires? It may be to share His love with someone who has never heard (Mat 28:19, 20). It may be to develop and use your God given spiritual gift(s) for His glory. It may be to give up something very precious to you for the benefit of another (Agape Love).

It may be to turn the other cheek. It may be to be the salt that lovingly calls sin for what it is even in the face of much opposition. It may be to set aside the occupation the world and family and self gave you and take up the one Jesus has for you.

This Christmas season, take your Father’s hand and with child-like faith, tell Him, “Lord, take me wherever You want me to go.”

Heb 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him…”

If you are serious about walking by faith then take the time to check out Eph 2:8,9, Rom 12:1,2, Luke 9:23 and Phil 4:13

The Ten Commandments and the 21st Century…

Luke 10:25-28 “And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ” And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

Ten Commandments and the 21st Century

There is a feeling among many people that the 10 Commandments that God gave to our world are not relevant for today. Why would that be? First and foremost is the fact that the god of the world today, satan (II Corinthians 4:3, 4) does not want us feeling that God’s truths have value for our lives. But when you read them it only makes sense that they point out the wrong that mankind can do or as God calls it sin.

Some feel that truth can change down through the ages and the commandments were given to Israel 3500 years ago so they do not see them as relevant for our modern society.  They see them as a history for ages past. If you believe in God and His word it refutes that error by proclaiming that God never changes and the truths He reveals in His word in the Bible never change (Malachi 3:6, II Timothy 3:16, 17). That being the case then the truths God revealed in the Ten Commandments are as relevant today as they were 3500 years ago. It is important to understand that if the Bible appears to be foolish to follow or study that is probably because you are not a ‘born again’ CHRISTIAN. Check it out in I Corinthians 2:14.

Some simply do not believe that God exists. I find that sad and mind boggling. In Romans 1:20 we are told that all you need to do is look around you and you understand that the complexity of our world, the animal kingdom and mankind had to have a Creator.  It takes faith to believe in God and faith to believe He does not exist. But those believing the lie that He does not exist are in for a shock when they have to stand at their judgment seat (Revelation 20:11-14) and understand their rejection of their Creator. Mankind was created in God’s image and for that I am eternity grateful. How’s that for an awesome truth about your complexity and nature? Believing you evolved from a lower form of life simply gives you a reason to accept sinful behavior but that behavior does not fly with a Holy God and you will be held accountable (Romans 14:12).

Some in Christian circles feel that when the NT portion of the Bible says that they are free from the law that they are no longer obligated to it or subject to the consequences of breaking it. That also is fallacy.  Their eternal destiny may not be changed by breaking the laws called sinning but they are still subject to the consequences of doing so (Phil 6:7). The law and commandments as God tells us in His word were given to us so that we would understand what sin is. They are as relevant in the NT age we live in as they were in the OT.

Noted below are the Ten Commandments and just some of the NT parallels for each. Many take it a step further in that the mind can and does create the same sin that the body can. So, if anything the NT expands the truth of and need for obeying the Ten Commandments today.

  1. Exodus 20:3 ‘You Shall have no other gods before Me”
    1. Mat 4:10 “Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only”
  2. Exodus 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them”
    1. I John 5:21 “Little children, keep yourselves from ”
  3. Exodus 20:7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain”
    1. John 20:30, 31 “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name”
  4. Exodus 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.
    1. Mark 2:27, 28 “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
  5. Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and mother that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
    1. Eph 6:2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise:
  6. Exodus 20:13 “You shall not murder”
    1. Mat 5:22 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.
  7. Exodus 20:14 “You shall not commit adultery”
    1. Mat 5:28 “Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart”
  8. Exodus 20:15 “You shall not steal”
    1. Mat 5:40 “If someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well”
  9. Exodus 20:16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
    1. Rev 22:14, 15 “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a ”
  10. Exodus 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
    1. Luke 12:15 “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed”

A Friend called Jesus…

Hebrews 4:13-16 “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

A Friend called Jesus!

The song “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” resonates with so many of us because we all need a friend who can empathize with us in every circumstance. Jesus walked among the people whom He died to save in order to relate to individuals and to make those individuals realize that they could approach Him. Joseph Scriven learned he could share his heart with a Savior who knew on a personal level exactly what Scriven was facing. In 1857, Scriven wrote “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”

Many Christians know by heart the famous first verse, but few are aware of the powerful words in the second verse: “Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged. Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful-who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness. Take it to the Lord in prayer.”

Scriven knew the legitimacy of Christ’s friendship. He knew Christ had suffered, so it was easy for Scriven’s friendship with Christ to deepen when, the night before his scheduled wedding, Scriven’s fiancée drowned.

Scriven in his grief left Ireland for Canada. There, his great hymn itself was born out of anguish. The hymn was a part of a letter that he sent to his ill mother back in Ireland. He simply was reminding her how to get in touch with an old Friend.

Have you made Jesus your Friend?

Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

How Cold is Sin…

Heb 12:1a “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…”

How Cold is Sin…..?

It was Christmas Eve in Korea. An expectant mother walked through the snow to the home of a missionary friend where she knew she could find help. A short way down the road from the mission house was a deep gully spanned by a bridge. As the young woman stumbled forward, birth pains overcame her. She realized she could go no farther. She crawled under the bridge.

There alone between the trestles she gave birth to a baby boy. She had nothing with her except the heavy padded clothes she was wearing. One by one she removed the pieces of her clothing and wrapped them around her tiny son around and around, like a cumbersome cocoon.

Then, finding a discarded piece of burlap, she pulled it over herself, and lay exhausted beside her baby.

The next morning the missionary drove across the bridge in her Jeep to take Christmas basket to a Korean family. On the way back, as she neared the bridge, the Jeep sputtered and died, out of gas. Getting out of the Jeep she started to walk across the bridge, and heard a faint cry beneath her. She crawled under the bridge to investigate.

There she found the tiny baby, warm but hungry, and the young mother frozen to death.

The missionary took the baby home and cared for him. As the boy grew, he often asked his adopted mother to tell him the story of how she had found him.

On Christmas Day, his 12th birthday, he asked the missionary to take him to his mother’s grave. Once there he asked her to wait a distance away while he went to pray. The boy stood beside the grave with bowed head, weeping.

Then he began to disrobe. As the astonished missionary watched, the boy took off his warm clothing, piece by piece, and laid it on his mother’s grave. Surely he won’t take off all his clothing, the missionary thought. He’ll freeze! But the boy stripped himself of everything, putting all his warm clothing on the grave. He knelt naked and shivering in the snow.

As the missionary went to him to help him dress again, she heard him cry out to the mother he never knew: “Were you colder than this for me, my mother?” And he wept bitterly.

When Christ came, He stripped himself of every royal garment and entered into our world of hatred and cold indifference. Why did He do it? Because He saw centuries of broken lives needing a Savior. And then He died as a sacrifice for sins He did not commit. How could this be?

The sin of human hearts. The long history of men making slaves of other men. Centuries of cannibalism and cruelty. Starvation and suffering. The worship of false gods in temples made with hands. War, bloodshed, crime, and greed, those things broke the heart of Christ. But so did we.

Our coldness broke His heart and now it freezes Him out. We complacent Americans who are saved, satisfied, and sitting! We who pray, “Give us compassion for a lost world,” and then “sacrifice” a dollar for missions. We with our elegant homes and brimming garbage cans. We who have the money, knowledge, and manpower to take the gospel to every creature, and yet we don’t. We who say we love the lost, and neglect to tell a lost neighbor about a loving Savior.

Jesus love lies frozen between trestle lips that ought to be warm to speak for Him. Lord, we take off our garments of pride and self-righteousness, glittering but transparently filthy rags that they are, and lay them at Your feet. In our naked need we cry, “Were you colder than this because of us, Lord?” And we weep bitterly, because we know You were.

by Ruth Seamands

Heb 12:1,2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the Throne of God.”

Absolute Truth…

Malachi 3:6a “For I, Jehovah, change not; ….”

Absolute Truth!

In a world that seeks change there are some things that never change and
it’s a good thing they don’t. Yes, there are absolute truths we can count on. The key is that they can only come from a Source that cannot be in error. Did you catch that?

The ONE source of truth on this earth we have and woe to them who try to change it is…

Deut 4:2 “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take away anything from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”

Gal 1:8 “But even if we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel to you
than that we have preached to you, let him be accursed…”

Rev 22:18,19 “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of
this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

How can we be sure of God’s word being absolute truth? Because, THE SOURCE is God and not mankind…!

We all place our faith in something or someone. Who or what are you placing your faith in this morning? I totally trust….

2 Tim. 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

You say, but didn’t men write the Bible? NO, God used men and situations from their lives to record His truths but God Authored it.

2 Peter 1:20-21 “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

And God promises to protect it down through the ages so that everyone has a chance to hear His truths and trust in His Son, our Savior, Jesus.

Mat 5:18 “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved”

In this mixed up and ugly world having truth at our fingertips is comforting.
So, did you start your day by reading truth……..or????