Jesus and the Birthday Party…

Luke 2:11 “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

Jesus and the Birthday Party….

Amid all the amusement and theme parks clustered in Orlando, Florida, there’s one that is pretty distinctive. It’s a Holy Land theme park that attempts to bring some of the scenes and the stories of the Bible to life. Our daughter and son-in-law were there not long ago with our two grandsons. And the kids, who are pretty up on their Bible stories, really enjoyed walking through those stories and meeting some of the characters (actually, people portraying some of those characters). The one that impressed our then two-year-old grandson the most was Jesus. A man portraying Jesus stood in the middle of the small crowd and He spoke some of the very stories that Jesus told in the Bible. But then came the moment our little guy will not soon forget. Jesus came over and picked Him up, just like Jesus did with the children when He was here. The next day Mom and our little guy were talking about his upcoming third birthday party, and suddenly out of the blue, he said, “I want Jesus at my birthday party.”

That’s a great idea: Jesus at your birthday party. Talk about a guest of honor! Actually, when it comes to the most important birthday of all, there’s no physical or spiritual birthday without Jesus. And if there’s no spiritual birthday, there’s no life. Eternal life, that is. The most important birthday of all is the day you get born into God’s family. You say, “Isn’t everyone God’s child?” Not unless they’ve been born spiritually into the family of the Heavenly Father. They’re His creation, but they’re only His child by birth.

John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Obviously, Birth One was the day you were born into your parents’ family. No birthday, no life. Jesus is talking here about Birth Two – the day you actually begin to belong to God. No spiritual birthday, no eternal life. Without being “born again” Jesus said you cannot enter God’s heaven. Because heaven is only for family – God’s family. Anyone can be in God’s family, no matter what their religion or their background, but not everyone is, because they’ve never been born again. In fact according to Mat 7:13, 14 most will never enter God’s family.

Mat 7:13,14 “Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in that way: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it.”

So how does one have that spiritual birthday?

Recognize you are a sinner and what the consequences to sin are and your need for a Savior.

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

John 1:12 “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.”

It’s all about what you do with Jesus. Why? Because the only way to be in God’s family is to take care of what keeps you from being one of His kids, and that’s called sin. He’s an all-holy, totally perfect God. You and I have turned our back on Him by sinning. Even with a lot of religion in our lives to give us a sense of being okay we are destined to eternal death. You see, only those who are ‘born again’ have eternal life. Being religious is called false security. We’ve used the mouth He gave us to hurt people, to lie and to swear. We’ve used the hands and eyes and ears He gave us to touch and explore what we never should have touched. We’ve hurt most the people we love most, we’ve lusted, we’ve boasted and we’ve been selfish. All that sin has to be paid for, but Jesus died as our substitute paying for it.

Jesus is the only One who can forgive your sin, because He’s the only One who died for it and then rose again to prove He can. He’s the only One who can get you into heaven. Sin requires a pure sacrifice to wash it away and Jesus is the only One who could be that sacrifice.

But you need a birthday – a definite beginning with Him. If you don’t have that, you have no chance of being God’s child. There is only One who can be that Mediator between God the Father and sinners.

I Tim 2:5 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

Have you missed your spiritual birthday? Which only comes the day you “believe in” Jesus; which means welcoming Him into your life with total trust in Him for forgiveness of your sins? If you’ve done that, you know you have been ‘born again’. If you don’t know, you probably haven’t. But you can this very day. Just ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and believe on Him.

Today’s date could become the most important day of your life if you make it your Jesus-day – your birthday. The day you receive the most awesome, most expensive birthday present of all – eternal life paid for with the life of God’s Son.

I John 5:11-13 “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

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My Source of Wisdom…Which will I choose…

Look carefully and listen carefully on how God views the wisdom of our world.

Isaiah 55:8, 9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Joshua 24:15a “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you
this day whom ye will serve
;”

 My Source of WISDOM  – Which  will I choose….

World says = I have my rights!
God says= 1 Cor. 6:20 “For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in
your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

World = Trust your instincts!
God = Philip. 3:3b “…rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”

World = Pride in yourself in mandatory to feel good about yourself!
God = Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit
before a fall.”

World = Speak boldly of your accomplishments!
God = 1 Peter 5:5-7 “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.
Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for
God resisted the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves
therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.”

World = You are good!
God = Romans 3:10 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: ”
Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness’s
are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind,
have taken us away.”

Is it ok to feel good about yourself? Yes, as a ‘born again’ believer I am special because of Jesus in me!  Not because of myself.
2 Cor. 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things
are passed away; behold all things are become new.

World = Strength in self brings security and strength!
God = 2 Cor. 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my
strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory
in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

World = Find yourself and be true to yourself!
God = Luke 9:23 “If anyone will come after Me, let them deny themselves,
take up their cross daily and follow Me.”
Mat 6:33a “But seek you first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness…”
2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”

World = Believe in yourself!
God = Philip 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.”

World = Hard times should not happen to me, I deserve better!
God = Romans 8:28″And we know that all things work together for good
to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

World = Live for today for who knows what tomorrow may bring!
God = 1 Thes. 5:1-6 “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no
need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the
Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety;
then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child;
and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that day
should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children
of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep,
as do others; but let us watch and be sober.”

If you are interested in what tomorrow really will bring read the remaining portion
of  I Thes 5 and Rev 19, 20, 21, 22.

World = Fear comes from within, you can control it!
God = 2 Tim. 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power,
and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Don’t you find it amazing that what our world believes and teaches and what our inner self thinks and teaches is so contrary to God’s ways and thoughts? There is a logical explanation. Why is it that the world’s ways are so much different than Gods ways?

Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

 2 Corinthians 4:3,4 “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”

Therefore….

Joshua 24:15a “And if it seems evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you
this day whom ye will serve…”

Which Source of Wisdom will you choose…I am not responsible for that…

The ________ made me do it? Is that really true?

Which Source of Wisdom will you choose…I am not responsible for that…

The world’s wisdom = Dysfunctional people are the result of circumstances and/or past
generations that have passed down defective genetics.  Therefore most people cannot and should not be held accountable.  They are simply a product of their circumstances.

God’s wisdom= The sin nature that we all have is inherited resulting in spiritual and physical    death. Each person is accountable for his or her actions. God accepts no excuses. Check out Genesis chapter 3 to see when mankind first started trying to pass the buck for his and her sin.

Rom 1:20 “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

Rom 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Rom 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The bad news is that I am a sinner and accountable for all of my actions.

Romans 5:18,19 “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”

The good news is, there is a solution in restoring my broken relationship with God.

John 3:16, 17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved

Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.”

1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,”

Our lives and future generations will be affected by our sins.

Gal 6:7 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

Ex 34:7b “…visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”

While the sin nature is inherited, each of us is accountable for our actions and as noted in scripture there is a cure for our sin penalty.

Godly Discipline…

Hebrews 12:11-13a “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful, yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet…”

Godly Discipline

Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

THINK ABOUT THIS
For two years, scientists sequestered themselves in an artificial environment called Biosphere 2. Inside their self-sustaining community, the Biospherians created a number of mini-environments, including a desert, rain forest, even an ocean. Nearly every weather condition could be simulated except one, wind.

Over time, the effects of their windless environment became apparent. A number of acacia trees bent over and even snapped. Without the stress of wind to strengthen the wood, the trunks grew weak and could not hold up their own weight. Though our culture shuns hardship, we would do well to remember that God uses it for our good that we may share in his holiness”.

Jay Akkerman

James 1:2-3 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers’ temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. “

Proverbs 13:24 “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children.
Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.”

The Ant and the Contact Lens – Fear…

Mat 11:28a “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…

The Ant and the Contact Lens – Fear…

A story by Josh and Karen Zarandona

Brenda was a young woman who was invited to go rock climbing.
Although she was scared to death, she went with her group to a
tremendous granite cliff.

In spite of her fear, she put on the gear, took a hold on the
rope, and started up the face of that rock. Well, she got to a ledge
where she could take a breather. As she was hanging on there, the
safety rope snapped against Brenda’s eye and knocked out her contact
lens. Here she is on a rock ledge, with hundreds of feet below her
and hundreds of feet above her.

Of course, she looked and looked and looked, hoping it had
landed on the ledge, but it just wasn’t there. So here she was, far
from home, her sight now blurry. She was desperate and began to get
upset, so she prayed to the Lord to help her to find it. When she got
to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens,
but there was no contact lens to be found.

She sat down, despondent, with the rest of the party, waiting
for the rest of them to make it up the face of the cliff. She looked
out across range after range of mountains, thinking of that Bible
verse that says, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the
whole earth.” She thought, “Lord, you can see all these mountains.
You know every stone and leaf, and you know exactly where my contact
lens is. Please help me.”

Finally, they walked down the trail to the bottom. At the bottom
there was a new party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff.
One of them shouted out, “Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?” Well, that would be
startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it? An ant was moving
slowly cross the face of the rock, carrying it!

Brenda told me that her father is a cartoonist. When she told him
the incredible story of the ant, the prayer, and the contact lens, he
drew a picture of an ant lugging that contact lens with the words, “Lord,
I don’t know why you want me to carry this thing. I can’t eat it, and
it’s awfully heavy. But if this is what you want me to do, I’ll carry it
for you.”

At the risk of being accused of being fatalistic, I think it would
probably do some of us good to occasionally say, “God, I don’t know why
you want me to carry this load. I can see no good in it and it’s awfully
heavy. But, if you want me to carry it, I will.”

“God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.”

Mat 11:28 “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest
Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Give Thanks to God…Every Day…

Proverbs 3:21 “My son, let them not depart from your eyes- Keep sound wisdom and discretion.”

Give Thanks to God…Every Day…

“Shall I thank God at this Thanksgiving and all year long? Why was I born at this particular time in the history of the world? Why was I born in a spotless delivery room in an American hospital instead of a steaming shelter in the dank jungle of the Amazon or a mud hut in Africa? Why did

I have the privilege of going to school with capable instructors while millions around the world, without a school book, sit or squat on a dirt floor listening to a missionary?

“How does it happen that my children are tucked into warm beds at night with clean white sheets while millions of babies in the world will lie in cold rooms, many in their own filth and vomit? Why can I sit down to a warm meal whenever I want to and eat too much when millions will know all of their lives the gnawing pangs of hunger? Do I deserve to share in such wealth? Why me and not other millions?

Why was I born in a land I didn’t build, in a prosperity that I didn’t create and enjoy a freedom that I didn’t establish?

Why am I an American sitting comfortably in my own living room this Thanksgiving rather than an Indian squatting in the dark corner of some infested alley in Calcutta, shivering in the cold, or a Cambodian in the rubble of what used to be my home, or a terrified, running Nicaraguan in the jungle, or wondering if I will be alive for tomorrow in Afghanistan or Syria?

Do I deserve it? By what right do I have it?”

I Peter 2:3 “if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

GIVE THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rev. 7:12 “Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God forever and ever. Amen.”

The Pursuit of Peace and Happiness…

The Pursuit of Peace and Happiness…

Seeking peace and happiness is a goal for each of us throughout our lives. The issue is, just where does peace and contentment come from and do I even recognize what lasting and real peace and happiness are. Our world around us pictures being at peace as sitting in our easy chair sipping on a cool beverage with no cares, worries, or aches and pains. But is that really what it is? Not surprisingly scripture records that real peace and happiness are very different than what our worlds’ offers. That is not surprising considering the god of this world today is not the One true God and Savior. That makes it vital that we look to our God for lasting and real peace. The god of this world for this moment in time is all about deception. And it starts with deceiving mankind about what it takes to be saved and then into setting priorities that do not line up with God’s priorities.

II Cor 4:3, 4 “But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to those who are lost, in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who believe not. lest the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

That verse explains a bunch. Listen to the following quote on finding peace.

If you seek happiness, you will never find it; it will always elude you, it will always escape you. You will think you have captured it, but suddenly it is gone. Chasing it is like trying to catch a bubble-the moment you catch it, it has vanished, broken in your hands, and there is nothing left. That’s the whole mistake, says the Bible. Never make happiness an end in itself. It is always an indirect result. It is always a by-product of something infinitely greater. To put it positively: Happiness, says the Bible, depends upon two things only. First: It depends on our relationship to God and His righteousness. Second: It depends upon what I am, not upon what is happening to me. That is the secret.

-Martyn Lloyd-Jones,

Wow, happiness first depends on my relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and then in what I am rather than what is happening to me. Think on that for awhile. If that is the case, and I agree it is, then what I have allowed my Savior to do with my life has made me who I am………….! What are you allowing Him to do in your life this morning? And just who are you in His eyes………..!

John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Mat 11:28-29 “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

I Thes 5:23, 24 “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”