CHRISTians look Strange to our World…Why is that…

In our world today if you are a true Christian you will be seen as a strange bird and even viewed as hateful and narrow minded. First we must understand that the worlds definition of a Christian and God’s definition as recorded in His word the Bible differ greatly.

The world sees a Christian as anyone attending a church with the name of Jesus in its teachings. Many do not proclaim the whole word of God. The bible says a Christian does not involve the denomination you attend. Check it out for yourself by doing a word search of the Bible and you find not one of the denominations of the world. God’s definition is anyone from any country or race who is ‘born again’. For help in understanding what it means to be ‘born again’ check out the following;

  • The Gospel of John where Jesus tells a religious leader what it means
  • Ephians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Galatians 2:16-21 where God tells us how many of our good deeds are requird to ‘born again’. Just of few of God’s thoughts on our lives and our deeds needed to be ‘born again’.
  • So, why are CHRISTians seen as strange to this world?
    • Rom 1:21-23 “…because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”
    • John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
  • What is the ministry of Biblical Christainity while on this earth?
    • Matt 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”
    • Matt 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
      • Salt seasons and points out sin. Darkness does not like to be exposed.
    • We are to be different understanding the vast majority of our world will choose the ways of the world in an attempt to restore the broken relationship with God that sin causes;
    • Matt 7:13-14 “”Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
  • Our world will consider Christians ‘Strange’ if we point out sin for what it is and do not do the same.
    • 2 Tim 3:12 “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
    • Prov 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of ”

So, do not feel bad this morning if our world hates or persecutes you when you stand up for Jesus and His truths. It very well may mean you are a true ‘born again’ disciple of Jesus and suffering because of it. Be of good courage because;

Romans 5:3 “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;”

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.”

Then comes eternity……

John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also”

HE IS RISEN……..

Advertisements

The Great “I Am”…

The Great “I Am”

Here is the question for this morning. Who or Whom in your life is the Great “I Am”? When it comes down to it there are only two choices. It is either self or God. First and foremost, we must decide to be honest with ourselves. Our actions of the day typically are the great indicators of who or Who I have chosen to serve today. Did I start the day with prayer and some form of devotion? Is my goal today to broaden my worth or to assist others? Those type of questions will reveal what my answer to our first question is. Of course, once again, it requires I be brutally honest with myself.

Jesus offers us eternal reward, happiness, fulfillment and all the treasures that this world and self cannot. It will help us make the correct choice if we reflect on Who Jesus is. In God’s scriptures Jesus is given titles such as; The Word, Lamb of God, Son of God, Truth, Bread of Life, Resurrection, Vine and of course ‘I Am’. The name of Jesus and His titles affirm His preexistence and deity. The beauty being that He desires a relationship with us again that our sin broke. Listen to Jesus words recorded in the Gospel of John and His offer to us. Then you make the choice;

  • 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 thirst”
  • 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 10:7 “Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep'”
  • John 10:11-14 ” I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.”
  • John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”
  • 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 14:1,2 ” “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit”

Peer pressure and the expectations and controls of the society around us can influence our choices. That having been said we must remember that it remains our choice. We can never blame anyone or anything for the choices we make.

I Cor 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Joshua is a great example of making choices that are dramatically different than the society and peers who surrounded him. Out of a couple of million people of his generation who God rescued from Egypt he was one of only two who made the choice to serve God and could enter the promised land. Yes, I said two out of a couple of million. Wow, what a great example for us. So, what was his choice? Joshua choose to serve the great ‘I AM’. I am sure for Joshua it would have been easier to go with the flow and the crowd but he knew that is not what God wanted from his life. Listen to the stand he took and be assured you can do the same. Even when everyone around you objects!

Joshua 24:15 “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites (your country, state, city, etc.), in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Who or Whom in your life is the Great “I Am” this morning? Put your check mark on one or the other.

_____ Jesus

_____ Self

No Greater Love…

No greater love… 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.”

God’s Wings

An illustration in National Geographic several years ago provided a penetrating picture of God’s wings. After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the infernos damage.

One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he gently struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother’s wings. The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise.

She could have flown to safety but refused to abandon her babies. When the blaze had arrived and the heat had scorched her small body, the mother had remained steadfast. Because she had been willing to die, those under the cover of her wings would live.

Luke 13:34: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing?”

Don’t be too hard on Jerusalem. For you see we all have that same nasty tendency. How willing would you be??????????

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

Psalm 91:14 “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

Following Jesus and Finishing the Race…

Following Jesus and Finishing the Race…

To be a real follower of Jesus takes an awesome commitment!!! Have you taken that step? The biggest challenge is getting over the fact that the race is to lift up Jesus name and not for personal gain. Look at what God’s word says about denial.

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.

After we accept Jesus as our Savior He desires that we would serve Him. As with salvation God does not force service upon us.  But obedience is huge if we are to hear “well done” when we are at home in heaven with Him. We must remember that life on this earth is like a vapor in that it passes quickly and then comes eternity. You may remember your moment of salvation but do you remember presenting yourself to His service?

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

One example we have in scripture is Paul making this type of commitment. Because of it he was able to look confidently on his past service for the King. How is your view of the past? If you don’t like it, you can change how the future is played out!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, this life is both and race and a war against the evil all around us. When my earthly life is over and I enter my eternal home with Jesus, I hope to be able to say…

Eph 6:12-13 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

II Tim 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

How about you? Is it time to enter the war?

Who is Jesus….

John 1:1&14 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

Who is JESUS

IN CHEMISTRY, HE TURNED WATER TO WINE.

IN BIOLOGY, HE WAS BORN WITHOUT THE NORMAL
CONCEPTION.

IN PHYSICS, HE DISPROVED THE LAW OF GRAVITY WHEN HE
ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN.

IN ECONOMICS, HE DISPROVED THE LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURN
BY FEEDING 5,000 MEN AND THEIR FAMILIES WITH TWO FISHES & 5 LOAVES OF BREAD.

IN MEDICINE, HE CURED THE SICK AND THE BLIND,
WITHOUT ADMINISTERING A SINGLE DOSE OF DRUGS.

IN HISTORY, HE IS THE BEGINNING AND THE END.

IN GOVERNMENT, HE SAID THAT HE SHALL BE CALLED
WONDERFUL, COUNSELOR, PRINCE OF PEACE.

IN RELIGION, HE SAID NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER
EXCEPT THROUGH HIM.

JESUS HAD NO SERVANTS, YET THEY CALLED HIM MASTER;
HAD NO DEGREE, YET THEY CALLED HIM TEACHER;

HAD NO MEDICINES, YET THEY CALLED HIM HEALER.

HE HAD NO ARMIES, YET RULERS FEARED HIM.

HE WON NO MILITARY BATTLES, YET HE CONQUERED THE WORLD.

HE COMMITTED NO CRIME, YET THEY CRUCIFIED HIM.

HE WAS BURIED IN A TOMB, YET HE LIVES TODAY.

I FEEL HONORED TO SERVE SUCH A LEADER WHO LOVES US!

JOIN US AND LET’S CELEBRATE HIM; HE IS WORTHY.

REMAIN IN GOD AND SEEK HIS FACE ALWAYS.

AMEN

John 10:27-30 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”

 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.”

JESUS IS RISEN and is my…

JESUS IS RISEN and is my….

Isaiah 40:31 “But those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint

He is the First and Last, the Beginning and the End!
He is the keeper of Creation and the Creator of all!
He is the Architect of the universe and
The Manager of all times.
He always was, He always is, and He always will be…
Unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated, and never Undone!
He was bruised and brought healing!
He was pierced and eased pain!
He was persecuted and brought freedom!
He was dead and brought life!
He is risen and brings power!
He reigns and brings Peace!
The world can’t understand him,
The armies can’t defeat Him,
The schools can’t explain Him, and

The leaders can’t ignore Him.
Herod couldn’t kill Him,

The Pharisees couldn’t confuse Him, and
The people couldn’t hold Him!
Nero couldn’t crush Him,
Hitler couldn’t silence Him,
The New Age can’t replace Him, and

Donahue can’t explain Him away!
He is light, love, longevity, and Lord.
He is goodness, Kindness, Gentleness, and God.
He is Holy, Righteous, mighty, powerful, and pure.
His ways are right,
His word is eternal,

His will is unchanging, and
His mind is on me.
He is my Redeemer,
He is my Savior,
He is my guide, and
He is my peace!
He is my Joy,
He is my comfort,
He is my Lord, and
He rules my life!

He is risen from the dead!

He sits today at God the Fathers right hand!
I serve Him because His bond is love,

His burden is light, and

His goal for me is abundant life.
I follow Him because He is the wisdom of the wise,
The power of the powerful,

The ancient of days, the ruler of rulers,
The leader of leaders, the overseer of the overcomers, and

The sovereign Lord of all that was and is and is to come.
And if that seems impressive to you, try this for size.
His goal is a relationship with ME!

He will never leave me,

Never forsake me,

Never mislead me,

Never forget me,

Never overlook me, and
Ever cancel my appointment in His appointment book!
When I fall, He lifts me up!
When I fail, He forgives!
When I am weak, He is strong!
When I am lost, He is the way!
When I am afraid, He is my courage!
When I stumble, He steadies me!
When I am hurt, He heals me!
When I am broken, He mends me!
When I am blind, He leads me!
When I am hungry, He feeds me!
When I face trials, He is with me!
When I face persecution, He shields me!
When I face problems, He comforts me!
When I face loss, He provides for me!
When I face Death, He carries me Home!
He is everything for everybody, everywhere,

Every time, and every way.
He is God, He is faithful.
I am His, and He is mine!
My Father in heaven can whip the father of this world.

So, if you’re wondering why I feel so secure, understand this…
He said it and that settles it.
God is in control, I am on His side, and

That means all is well with my soul.
Everyday is a blessing for GOD Is!

 Isaiah 46:9 “Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me,”

JESUS IS RISEN and WILL COME AGAIN…

John 20:1-7 Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings.
Why did Jesus fold the linen burial cloth after His resurrection? I never noticed this….

The Gospel of John (20:7) tells us that the napkin, which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes. The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded, and was placed separate from the grave clothes.

by Beth Butler Burks

 Jesus told us He is coming a second time……

Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, ‘They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and I don’t know where they have put him!’ Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see… The other disciple outran Peter and got there first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in.

Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying to the side.

Was that important? Absolutely!

Is it really significant? Yes!

In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition.

When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it…

The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not dare touch that table, until the master was finished. Now, if the master were done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table.

The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, ‘I’m done’.
But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because……….. The folded cloth meant,

“I’m coming back!”

HE IS RIESEN AND HE IS COMING BACK!!!!

John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”