Handling Suffering as a Christian…

James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

James 4:13-15 “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”

Handling Suffering as a Christian

The title of today’s challenge sounds a bit strange. And if you are not a ‘born again’ Christian you have no chance of understanding and accepting it. We live in a world where many teach that health, wealth, prosperity and the total absence of suffering brings fulfillment. And of course, our human nature totally agrees with that thought. There are even teachers professing to be ‘born again’ that teach the same. They teach that to experience otherwise reflects a weak faith or sin. While it can be a result of sin the scriptures never proclaim that if we suffer for the gospels sake it is a lack of faith. Actually, it is just the opposite.

When we are drawn to Jesus as our Savior and we dig into His word to find meaning for our lives and we hear that, “”Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Wow, that stops us dead in our tracks. Many, who never study and never grow from the milk of God’s word to being able to handle the meat of God’s word never even address this question.

Can it really be true? If I am to live for my Savior who died for me can I expect some level of persecution? The answer from scripture is a loud yes. If the world disliked and even hated Jesus and we profess what He professed then the world will not like us either. That’s a tough one to swallow. Like you my flesh prefers that people would like me. And what if I am experiencing zero persecution. Does that mean my spiritual priorities are not correct? Yes, that could be the case. Ouch! We can only know that by asking God to answer that question and then we must do something contrary to our human will. We must truly be open to the answer. Remember the answers to prayer are yes, no and wait. Yes, is not the only option God has. When I hear no or wait it does not mean that God did not answer my prayer.

There are promises in the word of God that don’t seem much like promises to many believers. Persecution is one of them. Scripture proclaims that all whose purpose of heart is to live godly lives in this present world shall (certainly) suffer persecution, as did their Lord. Maybe we contemplate such verses and think they should say something like, “And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall be appreciated for their goodness and rewarded with approval, good health and fortune while in this world.”

The Holy Spirit through Paul said to the Philippians, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” We probably would be more comfortable if that were to read, “For unto you it is given…not only to believe on him, but also to be blessed with health, wealth and prosperity.” But it doesn’t say that. Reading and allowing the Word of God to change our lives are two entirely different things. Are you a reader only? Ouch, another convicting question.

So why would I want to be open to persecution??? As noted in James we are in this life but for a short time. Our lives are but a vapor that comes and disappears quickly. Our time to serve our Lord is short. This time on earth is but a grain of sand on the beach in comparison to eternity. And if you are a believer you will spend eternity with God. There is also a judgment seat or awards ceremony for believers. The judgment seat is not to judge our sins that Jesus took care of but to award us for services rendered while on this earth. I would rather hear, ‘well done’, than to hear how I missed the prize or to hear a silence because of lack of commitment on my part while on this earth.

We are to serve out of obedience. Disobedience is viewed by God as a tragic sin. Check it out over and over in scripture in both the OT and the NT. God never accepts disobedience. Our sins are washed away by Jesus blood so my salvation is secure. While works cannot save us they are very important after being ‘born again’. Serving Jesus while on this earth is now or should now be my focus! And when done correctly it will bring some level of persecution.

Remember persecution comes in many different ways including verbal, lost friendships, physical punishment, lost job opportunities, etc. In America at least for now the verbal, peer pressure and life style issues are the greatest persecution we see. So maybe all is not lost with that slap in the face that you just received, literal or figurative. Pray and think before you allow your fleshly frustration to take over. It may be that you are doing exactly what you should be for His glory!!!!!

Romans 12:1, 2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

The Ways of Mankind are…

The ways of Mankind are….

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

A Buzzard

If you put a buzzard in a pen six or eight feet square and entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of his ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of ten or twelve feet. Without space to run, as is his habit, he will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

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A Bat

The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkably nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off.

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A Bee

A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.

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In many ways, there are lots of people like the buzzard, the bat, and the bee. They are struggling about with all their problems and frustrations, not realizing that the answer is right there “above” them. Without Jesus as their Lord and Savior they only have themselves and the world around them to control their destiny. What an awful predicament!!!!

Prov 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”

Don’t be like the creatures and people who cannot see the forestry for the trees.

Heb 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.”

 John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

John 3:3-5 “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Baseball and getting Home Safe…

Eph 2:8a “For by Grace are you saved through faith…”

Baseball and getting Home Safe…

Bob and the Lord stood by to watch a baseball game.

The Lord’s team was playing Satan’s team.  The Lord’s team was at bat,
the score was tied zero to zero, and it was the bottom of the 9th inning
with two outs.

They continued to watch as a batter stepped up to the plate whose name
was Love.  Love swung at the first pitch and hit a single, because Love
never fails.

The next batter was named Faith, who also got a single because Faith
works with Love.

The next batter up was named Godly Wisdom.  Satan wound up and threw the
first pitch.  Godly Wisdom looked it over and let it
pass: Ball one. Three more pitches and Godly Wisdom walked, because
Godly wisdom never swings at what Satan throws.

The bases were loaded The Lord then turned to Bob and told him He was
now going to bring in His star player.  Up to the plate stepped Grace.

Bob said “He sure doesn’t look like much!”  Satan’s whole team relaxed
when they saw Grace.  Thinking he had won the game, Satan wound up and
fired his first pitch.  To the shock of everyone, Grace hit the ball
harder than anyone had ever seen.

But Satan was not worried; his center fielder let very few get by.
He went up for the ball, but it went right through his glove, hit him on
the head and sent him crashing on the ground; then it continued over the
fence for a home run!  The Lord’s team won.

The Lord then asked Bob if he knew why Love, Faith, and Godly Wisdom
could get on base but could not win the game.  Bob answered that he did
not know why.

The Lord explained, “If your love, faith and wisdom had won the game you
would think you had done it by yourself.  Love, faith and wisdom will
get you on base, but only My Grace can get you home.
My Grace is the one thing Satan cannot steal.”

Eph 2:8, 9 “For by Grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is a gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

How to Forgive…

Col 3:13a “bearing one another and forgiving one another…”

How to Forgive…

One day a while back, a man, his heart heavy with grief, was walking in the woods. As he thought about his life this day, he knew many things were not right.

He thought about those who had lied about him back when he had a job. His thoughts turned to those who had stolen his things and cheated him. He remembered family that had passed on. His mind turned to the illness he had that no one could cure. His very soul was filled with anger, resentment and frustration.

Standing there this day, searching for answers he could not find, feeling this entire world had failed him, he knelt at the base of an old oak tree to seek the One he knew would always be there. And with tears in his eyes, he prayed: “Lord- You have done wonderful things for me in this life. You have told me to do many things for you, and I happily obeyed. Today, you have told me to forgive. I am sad, Lord, because I cannot. I don’t know how. It is not fair, Lord. I didn’t deserve these wrongs that were done against me and I shouldn’t have to forgive. As perfect as your way is Lord, this one thing I cannot do, for I don’t know how to forgive. My anger is so deep, Lord, I fear I may not hear you, but I pray that you teach me to do this one thing I cannot do – Teach me To Forgive.” As he knelt there in the quiet shade of that old oak tree, he felt something fall onto his shoulder. He opened his eyes. Out of the corner of one eye, he saw something red on his shirt.

He could not turn to see what it was because where the oak tree had been was a large square piece of wood in the ground. He raised his head and saw two feet held to the wood with a large spike through them.

He raised his head more, and tears came to his eyes as he saw Jesus hanging on a cross. He saw spikes in His hands, a gash in His side, a torn and battered body, deep thorns sunk into His head. Finally, he saw the suffering and pain on His precious face. The impact was so great it was as if he could hear Jesus say; “Have you ever told a lie,” he asked?

The man answered, “yes, Lord.”

“Have you ever been given too much change and kept it?”

The man answered, “yes, Lord.” And the man sobbed more and more.

“Have you ever taken something from work that wasn’t yours, Jesus asked?”

And the man answered, “yes, Lord.”

“Have you ever sworn, using my Father’s name in vain?”

The man, crying now, answered, “yes, Lord.”

Many more times, “Have you ever”? The man’s crying became uncontrollable, for he could only answer “yes, Lord.”

Then Jesus turned His head from one side to the other, and the man felt something fall on his other shoulder. He looked and saw that it was the blood of Jesus. When he looked back up, his eyes met those of Jesus, and there was a look of love the man had never seen or known before. He now understood, Jesus didn’t deserve this either, but He willingly went through it for lost sinners.

And that was him!

Col 3:13 “bearing one another and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you must do so.”

The Real CHRISTian…

The Real CHRISTian…

 I Pet 2:9-10 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a
holy nation,, His own people, THAT YOU MAY PROCLAIM the
praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had
not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”

A.W. Tozier

“The real Christian is an odd human being anyway. The Christian
feels supreme love for One he has never seen, he talks everyday with
Someone he cannot see, he expects to go to heaven on the virtue of
Someone else, he empties himself in order to be full, he admits he is
wrong so he can be declared right, he goes down in order to get up, he
is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is the poorest,
happiest when he feels the worst, he dies so he can live, he forsakes in
order to have, he gives away so he can keep he sees the invisible, hears
the inauditable, knows that which passes knowledge.”

The test. What is your life proclaiming? And of course remember, the
biblical requirement for being a Christian is that, ‘you must be born again’

Acts 11:26 “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch.
And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with
the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called
Christians first in Antioch.”

Luke 9:23 “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him
deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

HAVE A GREAT DAY SERVING JESUS and remember what real
priorities Jesus would have you to practice!!!!

The Resume of Jesus…

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Mark 8:38 “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

The Resume of Jesus

Address: Ephesians 1:20
Phone: Romans 10:13
Website: The Bible. Keywords: Christ, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Savior and Jesus

Hello. My name is Jesus -The Christ (Savior). Many call me Lord and Savior! I’ve sent you my resume because I’m seeking the top management position in your life. Please consider my accomplishments as set forth in my resume.

Qualifications

I founded the earth and established the heavens, (See Proverbs 3:19)
I formed man from the dust of the ground, (See Genesis 2:7)
I breathed into man the breath of life, (See Genesis 2:7)
I redeemed man from the curse of the law, (See Galatians 3:13)

The blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant comes upon your life through me, (See Galatians 3:14)

Occupational Background

I and God the Father are One…. (John 10:30).
I am eternal. (John 1)
I’ve never sinned, been tardy, absent, disobedient, slothful or disrespectful. (See II Cor 5:21, John 14:18)
I love you, even when you forsake Me (John 3:16, Romans 6:23)

Skills Work Experiences

Some of my skills and work experiences include: empowering the poor to be poor no more, healing the brokenhearted, setting the captives free, healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind and setting at liberty them that are bruised, (See Luke 4:18).

I am a Wonderful Counselor, (See Isaiah 9:6). People who listen to me shall dwell safely and shall not fear evil, (See Proverbs 1:33, II Tim 1:7).
Most importantly, I have the authority, ability and power to cleanse you of your sins, (See I John 1:7-9)

Educational Background

I encompass the entire breadth and length of knowledge, wisdom and understanding, (See Proverbs 2:6).
In me are hid all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, (See Colossians2:3).
My Word is so powerful; it has been described as being a lamp unto your feet and a lamp unto your path, (See Psalms 119:105).
I can even tell you all of the secrets of your heart, (See Psalms 44:21).

Major Accomplishments

I was an active participant in the greatest Summit Meeting of all times, (See Genesis 1:26).
I laid down my life so that you may live, (See II Corinthians 5:15).
I defeated the archenemy of God and mankind and made a show of them openly, (See Colossians 2:15).
I’ve miraculously fed the poor, healed the sick and raised the dead!

There are many more major accomplishments, too many to mention here. You can read them on my web site, which is located at: www dot – the BIBLE. You don’t need an Internet connection or computer to access my web site.

References

Believers and followers worldwide will testify to my divine healings, salvation, deliverance, miracles, restoration and supernatural guidance. (Acts and Epistles)

Luke 19:40 “And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”

In Summation

Now that you’ve read my resume, I’m confident that I’m the only candidate uniquely qualified to fill this vital position in your life. In summation, I will properly direct your paths, (See Proverbs 3:5-6), and lead you into everlasting life, (See John 3:3, 3:16, 6:47) if you allow Me to. I will save you from the punishment of eternal damnation for the sins you have committed. I am the only Way and One who can save you (John 14:6) When can I start? Time is of the essence, (See Hebrews 3:15).

And now, a few closing words from God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit!

Rev. 20:15 “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

John 14:4-6 “And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. “

Theology, Grace, Mercy and Donuts…

John 15:13a “Greater love hath no one than this…”

Theology, Grace and Mercy and Donuts…

There was a certain Professor of THEOLOGY. We will name him Dr Smith, a studious man who taught at a small college in the Western United States. Dr. Smith taught the required survey course in Christianity at this particular institution. Every student was required to take this course his or her freshman year regardless of his or her major.

Although Dr. Smith tried hard to communicate the essence of the gospel in his class, he found that most of his students looked upon the course as nothing but required drudgery. Despite his best efforts, most students refused to take Christianity seriously.

This year, Dr. Smith had a special student named Steve. Steve was only a freshman, but was studying with the intent of going on to seminary for the ministry. Steve was popular, he was well liked, and he was an imposing physical specimen. He was now the starting center on the school football team, and was the best student in the professor’s class.

One day, Dr. Smith asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. “How many push-ups can you do?”

Steve said, “I do about 200 every night”.

“200? That’s pretty good, Steve”, Dr. Smith said.

“Do you think you could do 300?”

Steve replied, “I don’t know… I’ve never done 300 at a time.”

“Do you think you could?” again asked Dr. Smith.

“Well, I can try,” said Steve.

“Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I have a class project in mind and I need
you to do about 300 pushups in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it,” said the professor.

Steve said, “Well… I think I can… yeah, I can do it.”

Dr. Smith said, “Good! I need you to do this on Friday.
Let me explain what I have in mind.”

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of
the room. When class started, the professor pulled out a big box of donuts.

Now these weren’t the normal kinds of donuts they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend with a party in Dr. Smith’s class.

Dr. Smith went to the first girl in the first row and asked,
“Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?”

Cynthia said, “Yes.”

Dr. Smith then turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would
you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?”

Steve said, “Sure,” and jumped down from his desk to do a quick
ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk. Dr. Smith put a donut on Cynthia’s desk.

Dr. Smith then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, “Joe, do
you want a donut?”

Joe said, “Yes.” Dr. Smith asked, “Steve would you do ten
push-ups so Joe can have a donut?” Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut.

And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten pushups for every
person before they got their donut.

And down the second aisle, till Dr. Smith came to Scott. Scott was on the basketball team, and in as good of a condition as Steve. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship. When the professor asked, “Scott do you want a donut?”

Scott’s reply was, “Well, can I do my own pushups?”

Dr. Smith said, “No, Steve has to do them.”

Then Scott said, “Well, I don’t want one then.”

Dr. Smith shrugged and then turned to Steve and asked,
“Steve, would you do ten pushups so Scott can have a donut he doesn’t want?”

With perfect obedience Steve started to do ten pushups.

Scott said, “HEY! I said I didn’t want one!”

Dr. Smith said, “Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and these are my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don’t want it.”

And he put a donut on Scott’s desk.

Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow.

Dr. Smith started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.

Dr. Smith asked Jenny, “Jenny, do you want a donut?”

Sternly, Jenny said, “No.”

Then Dr. Smith asked Steve, “Steve, would you do ten more pushups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn’t want?” Steve did ten, Jenny got a donut.

By now, a growing sense of uneasiness filled the room. The students were beginning to say “No” and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks. Steve also had to really put forth a lot of extra effort to get these pushups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

Dr. Smith asked Robert, who was the most vocal unbeliever in the class, to watch Steve do each push up to make sure he did the full ten pushups in a set because he couldn’t bear to watch all of Steve’s work for all of those uneaten donuts. He sent Robert over to where Steve was so Robert could count the set and watch Steve closely. Dr. Smith started down the fourth row.

During his class, however, some students from other classes had wandered in and sat down on the steps along the radiators that ran down the sides of the room. When the professor realized this, he did a quick count and saw that now there were 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.

Dr. Smith went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

Steve asked Dr. Smith, “Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?”

Dr. Smith thought for a moment, “Well, they’re your pushups. You are in charge now. You can do them any way that you want.” And Dr. Smith went on.

A few moments later, Jason, a recent transfer student, came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled in one voice, “NO! Don’t come in! Stay out!”

Jason didn’t know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, “No, let him come.”

Professor Smith said, “You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten pushups for him?”

Steve said, “Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut.”

Dr. Smith said, “Okay, Steve, I’ll let you get Jason’s out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?”

Jason, new to the room hardly knew what was going on. “Yes,” he said, “give me a donut.”

“Steve, will you do ten pushups so that Jason can have a donut?” Steve did ten pushups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.

Dr. Smith finished the fourth row, and then started on those visitors seated by the heaters. Steve’s arms were now shaking with each pushup in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. Sweat was profusely dropping off of his face and, by this time, there was no sound except his heavy breathing, there was not a dry eye in the room.

The very last two students in the room were two young women, both cheerleaders, and very popular. Dr. Smith went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, “Linda, do you want a doughnut?”

Linda said, very sadly, “No, thank you.”

Professor Smith quietly asked, “Steve, would you do ten pushups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn’t want?”

Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow pushups for Linda. Then Dr. Smith turned to the last girl, Susan. “Susan, do you want a donut?”

Susan, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. “Dr. Smith, why can’t I help him?”

Dr. Smith, with tears of his own, said, “No, Steve has to do it alone, I have given him this task and he is in charge of seeing that everyone has an opportunity for a donut whether they want it or not. When I decided to have a party this last day of class, I looked at my grade book. Steve, here is the only student with a perfect grade. Everyone else has failed a test, skipped class, or offered me inferior work. Steve told me that in football practice, when a player messes up he must do pushups. I told Steve that none of you could come to my party unless he paid the price by doing your pushups. He and I made a deal for your sakes.

Steve, would you do ten pushups so Susan can have a donut?”

As Steve very slowly finished his last pushup, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 pushups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

Dr. Smith turned to the room and said. “And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, plead to the Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.’ With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, he yielded up His life… And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten.”

Two students helped Steve up off the floor and to a seat, physically exhausted, but wearing a thin smile. “Well done, good and faithful servant” said the professor, adding “Not all sermons are preached in words.”

Turning to his class the professor said, “My wish is that you might understand and fully comprehend all the riches of grace and mercy that have been given to you through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who spared not the only Begotten Son, but gave Him up for us all for the whole Church, now and forever.

John 15:13 “Greater love hath no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

Amazing Grace – The Story…

Eph 2:8a”For by grace you have been saved…”

Amazing Grace – The Story…

I was born in 1725, and I died 1807. The only godly influence in
my life, as far back as I can remember, was my mother, whom I had for
only seven years. When she left my life through death, I was virtually
an orphan.

My father remarried, sent me to a strict military school, where
the severity of discipline almost broke my back. I couldn’t stand it any
longer, and I left in rebellion at age of ten. One year later, deciding
that I would never enter formal education again, I became a seaman
apprentice, hoping somehow to step into my father’s trade and learn at
least the ability to skillfully navigate a ship. And I determined that I
would sin to my fill without restraint, now that the righteous lamp of
my life had gone out. I did that all the days in the military service
and I further rebelled.

My spirit would not break, and I became increasingly more and
more a rebel. Because of a number of things that I disagreed with in the
military, I finally deserted, only to be captured like a common criminal
and beaten publicly several times. After enduring the punishment, I
again fled.

I entertained thoughts of suicide on my way to Africa.
I decided on Africa, because it would be the place I could get farthest
from anyone that knew me. And again I made a pact with the devil to live
for him.

Somehow, through a process of events, I got in touch with a
Portuguese slave trader, and I lived in his home. His wife, who was
brimming with hostility, took a lot out on me. She beat me, and I ate
like a dog on the floor of the home. If I refused to do that, she would
whip me with a lash.

I fled penniless, owning only the clothes on my back, to the
shoreline of Africa where I built a fire, hoping to attract a ship that
was passing by. The skipper thought that I had gold or slaves or ivory
to sell and was surprised that I was a skilled navigator. And it was
there that I virtually lived for a long period of time.

I went through all sorts of narrow escapes with death only a
hairbreadth away, on a number of occasions. One time I opened some
crates of rum and got everybody on the crew drunk. The skipper, incensed
with my actions, beat me, threw me down below, and I lived on stale
bread and sour vegetables for an unendurable amount of time. He brought
me above to beat me again, and I fell overboard. Because I couldn’t
swim, he harpooned me to get me back on the ship. And I lived with the
scar in my side, big enough for me to put my fist into, until the day of
my death. On board, I was inflamed with fever and enraged with the
humiliation.

A storm broke out, and I wound up again in the hold of the ship,
down among the pumps. To keep the ship afloat, I worked as a servant of
the slaves. There, bruised and confused, bleeding, diseased, I was the
epitome of the degenerate man. I remembered the words of my mother.

I cried out to God, the only way I knew, calling upon His grace
and His mercy to deliver me, and upon His son to save me.
The only glimmer of light I could find was in a crack in the floor above
me, and I looked up to it and screamed for help.

God heard me.

Thirty-one years passed, I married a childhood sweetheart.
I entered the ministry. In every place that I served, rooms had to be
added to the building to handle the crowds that came to hear the gospel
that was presented and the story of God’s grace in my life.

My tombstone above my head reads, “Born 1725, died 1807. A
clerk, once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was
by the rich mercy of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, preserved,
restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he once long
labored to destroy.”

I decided before my death to put my life’s story in verse.
And that verse has become a hymn.

My name? John Newton.
The hymn? “Amazing Grace”

Eph 2:8, 9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not
of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone would boast.”

Jesus, the Great ‘I Am’…

JESUS, THE GREAT ‘I AM’…

In our world today, there are many religions with some being among the largest in our world that do not believe that Jesus is Who He is and proclaimed to be. Many believe that Jesus was a great man and even a great Prophet but not God.

To find the truth we need only to listen to Jesus Himself and understand where He is today. It comes down to faith and we know without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). Most importantly do not listen to what any man teaches, or religion, if the teaching differs from scripture. If you believe the Bible to be from God (2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:21-22) and protected down through the ages (Mat 5:18) so that mankind cannot change it then listen to God. As John 8:32 says; ‘you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

In every chapter of the Gospel of John the Apostle, Jesus as One part of God is proclaimed. In John He is given the title of ‘the Word’, the ‘One and Only’, the ‘Lamb of God’, the ‘Son of God’, the ‘True Bread’, the ‘Life’, the ‘Resurrection’ and the ‘Vine’.  Jesus proclaims His preexistence and His eternal deity. The following are just a few of the places in the Bible showing that Jesus is God and the great ‘I Am’.

  • John 1:1-5 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
  • John 6:35 “And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never ”
  • John 8:12 “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
  • John 9:5b “…I am the light of the world”
  • John 10:7 “Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.”
  • John 10:11 ““I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”
  • John 10:14-15 “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”
  • John 11:25-26 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
  • John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
  • John 15:5-6 ““I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”
  • Hebrews 10:12 “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God”
  • 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God

John the Baptist not John the Apostle was sent to earth to proclaim the coming of God the Son as our Savior. While we are not John the Baptist, we do have a similar ministry (Mat 28:18-20) to proclaim the Gospel and that Jesus is coming again.

  • John 1:22-23 “Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
    “Make straight the way of the Lord,”’ as the prophet Isaiah

The most important fact proclaiming Jesus to be God is that He is no longer in the grave as He would be if He were a mere human. HE ROSE FROM THE GRAVE and today is at God the Fathers right hand making intercession for the sinners we are. If Jesus were just a great man or a Prophet His body would still be in the grave.

  • 1 Corinthians 15:13-14, 17 “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!”
  • 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.”

JESUS IS GOD, ARE YOU READY IF HE WERE TO COME BACK TODAY?

  • 1 John 2:28 “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.”

‘Born Again’, how is it possible…

‘Born Again’, is it Possible…

Have you been “Born Again”? For many that is a foreign concept or one that our world has told us only the religious fanatic’s use. But did you know that without being “Born Again” you cannot enter heaven when you leave this life? In the Gospel of John chapter 3 Nicodemus came to Jesus by night for fear of being seen and was told he must be “born again” to enter into heaven and spend eternity with God. Nicodemus was a Jewish religious leader but did not know the God that saved. So he came to this One proclaiming to be the source of anyone’s salvation who will trust in Him. The ‘born again’ truth confused him. He asked how that could be. Could he again be born from the womb? Jesus responded that after the physical birth we must all be spiritually “born again” to restore the relationship and eternal life we lost when we all choose to sin. Check out John 3 for yourself.

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.”

If you have been ‘Born Again’, here is the plan Jesus has for you|||

Col 3:1-3 “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, and not on things on this earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

II 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.”

If you are not sure whether you have been ‘Born Again’ today is a great time to sit down with a good book. You may want to start in the Gospel of John and pay particular attention to the 3rd and 14th chapters!!!

John 3:3 “For truly I say unto you, except a man be ‘Born Again’, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

John 14:6 “And Jesus said unto them, I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes unto the Father, but by Me.”

So, if you were to die today, where would you spend eternity? You do not have to hope or not be sure of your eternal destiny. Listen to God’s offer…..

Hebrews 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”

1 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 ye have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

Is the fact that you must be ‘born again’ something your friends and some family members need to hear before it is too late? Jesus said;

Mat 4:19 “follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.”

HAPPY FISHING……..