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……..

Do you have an Inner Peace…

Phil 4:7 “…and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Do you have an Inner Peace…
*–*–*–*–*–*

How do you know if you are experiencing inner peace?

See if you have any of these “symptoms”

Do you have….

–An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.

–A loss of interest in judging other people.

–A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.

–A loss of interest in judging self.

–A loss of interest in conflict.

–A loss of the ability and desire to worry.

–Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.

–Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.

–Frequent attacks of smiling.

–An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than to make them happen.

–An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to
extend it.

–And most important. A belief in Jesus as your Lord and Savior and the knowledge that you will spend eternity with Him.

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.”

Isaiah 52: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!'”

Jesus is Coming to Earth Again…

Jesus is Coming to Earth Again!

Jesus came the first time as the Lamb of God to be sacrificed for the sins of mankind. Anyone trusting in Him and His sacrifice for their sins will spend eternity with Him. Most expected Him to come the first time as a ruling King and rescue the Jewish nation from the slavery and control of Rome. His first coming was recorded in…

Mat 2:1, 2, 11 “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’ And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down AND WORSHIPPED HIM.”

Did you know that Jesus is coming AGAIN as a Lion from the tribe of Judah|||||?

Dan 12:2-4 “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine, like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

All of mankind must choose between Jesus and eternity with Him or… Some to everlasting death (hell) and some to everlasting life with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. So, how do I make sure that I am with Jesus for eternity and not doomed to everlasting punishment?

Acts 16:31 “So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Note scripture does not say to add any trust in your Church, your good deeds, your wealth or any other work you do to be saved and spend eternity with Jesus. So, which Judgment Seat will you be at when Jesus returns? If you are not 100% sure of where you will spend eternity now is the time to find out.

 Ephesians 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 should boast.

 Titus 3:5 “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit”

 Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

 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.”

Everyone placing their faith for where they will spend eternity into something. How about your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers……..? What are you placing your faith in?

 Romans 10:14 “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him?

And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him?

And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”

Before it is Too Late…

James 4:14 “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.”

Before it is too Late…

I looked upon a farm one day. That once I used to own;
The barn had fallen to the ground. The fields were overgrown.
The house in which my children grew, where we had lived for years’,
I turned to see it broken down. And brushed aside the tears.

I looked upon my soul one day, to find it to had grown
with thorns and nettles everywhere. The seeds of neglect had sown.
The years had passed while I had care for things of lesser worth;
The things of heaven I let go when minding things of earth.

To Christ I turned with bitter tears. And cried, “O Lord, forgive!
I haven’t much time left for thee, not many years to live.”
The wasted years forever gone, the days I can’t recall;
If I could live those days again. I’d make Him Lord of all.

Ecc 12:1, 13, 14″ Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the
evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have no delight in them’.
The conclusion, when all has been heard, is; fear God and keep His commandments
because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”