Jump into the Water…You must be ‘Born Again’

John 3”3 “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Jump into the water…You must be ‘Born Again’

A young man who had been raised as an atheist was training to be
an Olympic diver. The only religious influence in his life came from
his outspoken Christian friend. The young diver never really paid much
attention to his friend’s sermons, but he heard them often.

One night the diver went to the indoor pool at the college he
attended. The lights were all off, but as the pool had big skylights and
the moon was bright, there was plenty of light to practice by.

The young man climbed up to the highest diving board and as he
turned his back to the pool on the edge of the board and extended his
arms out, he saw his shadow on the wall. The shadow of his body, was in
the shape of a cross. Instead of diving, he knelt down and finally
asked God to save him from his sins and come into his life.

As the young man stood, a maintenance man walked in and turned
the lights on. The pool had been drained for repairs.

How faithful are you in telling your friends about the most
important Person in your life? Remember your witness will take place
through His strength and not yours. But it must start on our end with a
submissive heart.

Mat 4:19 “And He said to them, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

 Phil. 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

 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.”

 

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Where to find, Phone Information Please….

Proverbs 18:24 “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

WHERE TO FIND, PHONE INFORMATION PLEASE…

When my parents were young they actually had a person who helped direct their phone calls. Yes, hard to believe but you can look it up on the world wide net.for a complete description.  My father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember well the polished old case fastened to the wall and the shiny receiver on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother would talk to it.

Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person and her name was “Information Please” and there was nothing she did not know.
“Information Please” could supply anybody’s number and the correct time.
My first personal experience with this genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement. I whacked my finger with a hammer. The pain was terrible but, there didn’t seem to be any reason in crying because there was no one home to give me sympathy. I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and held it to my ear. “Information Please” I said into the mouthpiece just above my head. A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.
“Information.” “I hurt my finger” I wailed into the phone. The tears came readily enough now that I had an audience. “Isn’t your mother home?” came the question. “Nobody’s home but me,” I blubbered. “Are you bleeding?” the voice asked. “No,” I replied. “I hit my finger with a hammer and it hurts.” “Can you open your icebox?” she asked. I said I could. “Then chip off a piece of ice and hold it to your finger,” said the voice.

After that, I called “Information Please” for everything.  I asked her for help with my geography and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math. She told me that my pet chipmunk, which I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts. Then there was the time Petey, our pet canary died. I called “Information Please” and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said the usual thing grownups say to soothe a child. But, I was inconsolable. I asked her, “Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?” She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, “Paul, you must remember that there are other worlds to sing in.” Somehow, I felt better. Another day I was on the telephone. “Information Please”, “Information,” said the now familiar voice. “How do you spell fix?” I asked.

All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much. “Information Please” belonged in that old wooden box back home and somehow I never thought of trying the tall, new shiny phone that sat on the table in the hall.

As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me. Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.

 

A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about half-an-hour or so between planes. I spent around 15 minutes on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then, without thinking about what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, “Information Please.” Miraculously, I heard the small
clear voice I knew so well. “Information.” I hadn’t planned this, but I heard myself saying, “Could you please tell me how to spell fix?” there was a long pause. Then came the soft-spoken answer, “I guess our finger must be healed by now.” I laughed, “So it’s really still you,” I said.
“I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?” “I wonder,” she said, “if you know how much your calls meant to me. I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls.” I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister. “Please do,” she said.
“Just ask for Sally.”

Three months later I was back in Seattle. A different voice answered, “Information.” I asked for Sally. “Are you a friend?” she said. “Yes, a very old friend,” I answered. “I’m sorry to have to tell you this,” she said. Sally had been working part time in the last few years because she was sick.
She died five weeks ago.” Before I could hang up she said, “Wait a minute. Are you Paul?” “Yes.” “Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you.” The note said, “Tell him I still say there are other worlds to sing in. He’ll know what I mean.” I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.

Never underestimate the impression you make on others.  Whose life have you touched today?

 

Author Unknown

 

As we make that impression hopefully they will see where our focus is…..

 

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.”

Run for your life…

Yes, we need to run for our spiritual life. How well do you do in fighting temptation? Remember the mind is as guilty of sin as is the flesh!

Mat 5:27, 28 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

The same applies to anger, jealousy, and envy and on and on. Temptation leads to sin when not dealt with as God instructs us to. Yes, while the word sin does not seem to be in our world’s current dictionary it is as real and painful as it always has been.

Of course, step one is acknowledging there is a battle going on.

Run for your life…..

Guard your mind as much as your body. Sin occurs in the mind as well as our actions.

 Mat 5:28 “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his mind.”

 Rom 12:2a “And be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”

Choose your friends wisely.
I Cor 15:33 “Do not be deceived; ‘ Evil company corrupts good habits.’”

Choose what you view wisely.
Psalm 101:3a “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes…”

Flee temptation.
I Tim 2:22 “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

I Cor 6:18a “Flee sexual immorality…”

Practice wholesome (Holy) living.
Phil 4:8 “Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”

Fully surrender to Christ.
Mat 16:24 “If anyone will come after Me, let them deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Me.”

 Mat 6:33a “But seek you first the kingdom of God and its righteousness…”

Col 2:6,7 “As you have therefore received Jesus Christ the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”

By Jesus power and not your own strength you can be successful!!!!

1 Cor. 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Philip. 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

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……..

Forrest Gump and the Pearly Gates of Heaven…

I John 5:11-13a “And this is the record that God has given us eternal life and that life is in His Son. He that has the Son has life and he that has not the Son of God has not life.
These things I have written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God
that you may KNOW that you have eternal life…”

Forrest Gump at the Pearly Gates of Heaven

The day finally arrives: Forrest Gump dies and goes to Heaven. He is
at the Pearly Gates, met by St. Peter himself. The gates are closed,
however, and Forrest approaches the gatekeeper. St. Peter says
“Well, Forrest, it’s certainly good to see you. We have heard a lot
about you. I must inform you that the place is filling up fast, and
we’ve been administering an entrance examination for everyone.
The test is fairly short, but you need to pass before you can get
into Heaven.

Forrest responds, “It shore is good to be here St. Peter. I was looking
forward to this. Nobody ever told me about any entrance exam. Sure hope
the test ain’t too hard; life was a big enough test as it was.”

St. Peter goes on, “Yes, I know Forrest but the test I have for you is
only three questions.

Here is the first: What days of the week begin with the letter T?
Second: How many seconds are there in a year?

Third: What is God’s first name?”

Forrest goes away to think the questions over. He returns the next
day and goes up to St. Peter to try to answer the exam questions. St.
Peter waves him up and says, “Now that you have had a chance to think
the questions over, tell me your answers.”

Forrest says, “Well, the first one-how many days in the week begin
with the letter “T”? Shucks, that one’s easy. That’d be Today and
Tomorrow.”

The Saint’s eyes open wide and he exclaims, “Forrest! That’s not what
I was thinking, but…..you do have a point, and I guess I didn’t
specify, so I give you credit for that answer.”

“How about the next one?” asks St. Peter. “How many seconds in a year?”

“Now that one’s harder,” says Forrest, “but I thunk and thunk about
that and I guess the only answer can be twelve.”

Astounded, St. Peter says, “Twelve! Twelve??! Forrest, how in Heaven’s
name could you come up with twelve seconds in a year?”

Forest says “Shucks, there gotta be twelve: January second, February
second, March second……”

“Hold it,” interrupts St. Peter. “I see where you’re going with this,
and I guess I see your point, though that wasn’t quite what I had
in mind, but I’ll give you credit for that one, too. Let’s go on with
the next and final question: Can you tell me God’s first name?”

Forrest replied, “Andy.”

“OK, OK,” said a frustrated St. Peter, “I can understand how you came
up with your answers to my first two questions, but just how in the
world did you come up with the name of ‘Andy’ as the first name of
God?”

“Shucks, that was the easiest one of all,” Forrest replied. “I learned
it from the song….”Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me, Andy tells
me I am His own…”

St. Peter opened the gate and said: “RUN FORREST, RUN!!”

That was the humor. For the truth side there is a heaven and there is a hell. We will all frequent one of them for eternity? And of course the exam to get in is based on what we did with following God’s truth while on this earth. There are no exceptions so be very sure you are passing the test…………….here it is.

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.”

John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, except a man be born again he cannot see the
kingdom of God.”

Titus 3:5a “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but by His mercy He saved us….”

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 would boast.”

So, when you leave this life what will God say to you? Enter or I never knew you…………….

God looks at the Heart…

I Sam 16:7b “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

 God looks at the Heart….

Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to our patients at the clinic.

One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man.  “Why, he’s hardly taller than my eight-year-old,” I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body. But the appalling thing was his face — lopsided from
swelling, red and raw.

Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, “Good evening. I’ve come to see if you’ve a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there’s no bus ’til morning.”

He told me he’d been hunting for a room since noon but with no success, no one seemed to have a room. “I guess it’s my face…I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments…”

For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me: “I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning.”

I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch. I went inside and finished getting supper. When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us. “No thank you. I have plenty.” And he held up a brown paper bag.

When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes. It didn’t take long time to see that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body.  He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her five children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury.

He didn’t tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other sentence was preface with thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer. He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going.

At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children’s room for him. When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and the little man was out on the porch. He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, “Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a treatment? I won’t put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a chair.” He paused a moment and then added, “Your children made me feel at home.

Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don’t seem to mind.”  I told him he was welcome to come again. And on his next trip he arrived a little after seven in the morning. As a gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen. He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they’d be nice and fresh. I knew his bus left at 4:00 a.m. and I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us.

In the years he came to stay overnight with us there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden. Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed. Knowing that he must walk three miles to mail these, and knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly precious.

When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning.  “Did you keep that awful looking man last night?  I turned him away! You can lose roomers by putting up such people!” Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice. But oh! If only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear.

I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God.

Recently I was visiting a friend who has a greenhouse, as she showed me her flowers; we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms. But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket. I thought to myself, “If this were
my plant, I’d put it in the loveliest container I had!”

My friend changed my mind. “I ran short of pots,” she explained, “and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn’t mind starting out in this old pail. It’s just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden.”

She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was
imagining just such a scene in heaven. “Here’s an especially beautiful one,” God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman.  “He won’t mind starting in this small body.”  All this happened long ago — and now, in God’s garden, how tall this lovely soul
must stand.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I Sam 16:7b “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Pride goes before Destruction…

Pride goes before Destruction…

When is the last time you said to yourself, “Wow, look what I’ve done”?

Pride is something our world says is very good for us. Listen to how God would have us to view pride.

Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Proverbs 25:6,7 “Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king, and do not stand in the place of great men; For it is better that he say to you, ‘Come up here’, than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince, whom your eyes have seen.”

Fill in the blank. I can do all things through _________ who strengthens me.

The answer from scripture is, Christ. The answer from our flesh within and our world is my inner strength.

It’s a very tough thing to recognize your unworthiness while a very easy thing to see yourself as worthy of all things. It requires we be honest with the evaluation of ourselves. And most important it requires us to view ourselves as God views us. So that must be based on God’s standards and not our own or we will feel ok about self and world strengths and motives. Humility is not natural to us. Unfortunately neither is honesty.

So, be very honest with yourself. The first step in change is recognition. Recognize you are a sinner and that to have ‘eternal’ worth you must place yourself unto another person’s control. That person is Jesus. To be lifted up by our Lord and Savior is the ultimate compliment and encouragement. Our God is the only source of strength we need. God never forces us to accept His empowerment. The choice is mine.

I Pet5:6, 7 “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your cares upon Him for He cares for you.”

By now many are saying you have got to be kidding me. How am I to have confidence in myself and live accordingly? According to our God who can never lie nor be wrong in and of ourselves we are wicked and will make wrong choices. So we must bit our tongues so to speak and choose the only way that can be absolutely correct.  Remember you are special because of Jesus and not because of you! That attitude changes all of our priorities. It’s ok to feel special when Jesus is the reason you are! The evidence of Jesus love for us is Calvary! Here are just of few of God’s truths

on this topic to meditate on.

Prov 14:12 “There is a way which seems right unto a man; But the end thereof are the ways of death.”

Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah.”

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