A Friend called Jesus…

Hebrews 4:13-16 “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

A Friend called Jesus!

The song “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” resonates with so many of us because we all need a friend who can empathize with us in every circumstance. Jesus walked among the people whom He died to save in order to relate to individuals and to make those individuals realize that they could approach Him. Joseph Scriven learned he could share his heart with a Savior who knew on a personal level exactly what Scriven was facing. In 1857, Scriven wrote “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”

Many Christians know by heart the famous first verse, but few are aware of the powerful words in the second verse: “Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged. Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful-who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness. Take it to the Lord in prayer.”

Scriven knew the legitimacy of Christ’s friendship. He knew Christ had suffered, so it was easy for Scriven’s friendship with Christ to deepen when, the night before his scheduled wedding, Scriven’s fiancée drowned.

Scriven in his grief left Ireland for Canada. There, his great hymn itself was born out of anguish. The hymn was a part of a letter that he sent to his ill mother back in Ireland. He simply was reminding her how to get in touch with an old Friend.

Have you made Jesus your Friend?

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.”

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Judge not…Because…

Judge not…Because…

Mat 7:1, 2 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”

A professor at Loyola University in Chicago writes about a student in his Theology of Faith class named Tommy:

Some twelve years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for our first session in the Theology of Faith.  That was the day I first saw Tommy. My eyes and my mind both blinked.  He was combing his long flaxen hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders. It was the first time I had ever seen a boy with hair that long. I guess it was just coming into fashion then. I know in my mind that it isn’t what’s on your head but what’s in it that counts; but on that day I was unprepared and my emotions flipped. I immediately filed Tommy under “S” for strange. . . very strange. Tommy turned out to be the “atheist in residence” in my Theology of Faith course. He constantly objected to, smirked at, or whined about the possibility of an unconditionally loving Father/God. We lived with each other in relative peace for one semester, although I admit he was for me at times a serious pain in the back pew.

When he came up at the end of the course to turn in his final exam, he asked in a slightly cynical tone, “Do you think I’ll ever find God?” I decided instantly on a little shock therapy. “No!” I said very emphatically. “Oh,” he responded, “I thought that was the product you were pushing.”

I let him get five steps from the classroom door and then called out, “Tommy! I don’t think you’ll ever find Him, but I am absolutely certain that He will find you!”

He shrugged a little and left my class and my life. I felt slightly disappointed at the thought that he had missed my clever line — He will find you! At least I thought it was clever. Later I heard that Tommy had graduated and I was duly grateful.

Then a sad report came. I heard that Tommy had terminal cancer.  Before I could search him out, he came to see me. When he walked into my office, his body was very badly wasted and the long hair had all fallen out as a result of chemotherapy. But his eyes were bright and his voice was firm, for the first time, I believe.

“Tommy, I’ve thought about you so often. I hear you are sick,” I blurted out.

“Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer in both lungs. It’s a matter of weeks.”

“Can you talk about it, Tom?” I asked.

“Sure, what would you like to know?” he replied.

“What’s it like to be only twenty-four and dying?”

“Well, it could be worse.”

“Like what?”

“Well, like being fifty and having no values or ideals, like being fifty and thinking that booze, seducing women, and making money are the real ‘biggies’ in life.” I began to look through my mental file cabinet under ‘S’ where I had filed Tommy as strange. (It seems as though everybody I try to reject by classification, God sends back into my life to educate me.)

“But what I really came to see you about,” Tom said, “is something you said to me on the last day of class.” (He remembered!) He continued, “I asked you if you thought I would ever find God and you said, ‘No!’ which surprised me. Then you said, ‘But He will find you.’ I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at that time. (My clever line. He thought about that a lot!)

“But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was malignant, that’s when I got serious about locating God.  And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging bloody fists against the bronze doors of heaven. But God did not come out. In fact, nothing happened.

Did you ever try anything for a long time with great effort and with no success? You get psychologically glutted, fed up with trying.  And then you quit. Well, one day I woke up, and instead of throwing a few more futile appeals over that high brick wall to a God who may be or may not be there, I just quit. I decided that I didn’t really care about God, about an afterlife, or anything like that. I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more profitable. I thought about you and your class and I remembered something else you had said: ‘The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you had loved them.'”

“So, I began with the hardest one, my Dad. He was reading the newspaper when I approached him.”

“Dad.”

“Yes, what?” he asked without lowering the newspaper.

“Dad, I would like to talk with you.”

“Well, talk.”

“I mean . . . It’s really important.”   The newspaper came down three slow inches. “What is it?”

“Dad, I love you. I just wanted you to know that.”

Tom smiled at me and said it with obvious satisfaction, as though he felt a warm and secret joy flowing inside of him.

“The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then my father did two things I could never remember him ever doing before. He cried and he hugged me. We talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning. It felt so good to be close to my father, to see his tears, to feel his hug, to hear him say that he loved me.”

“It was easier with my mother and little brother. They cried with me, too, and we hugged each other, and started saying real nice things to each other. We shared the things we had been keeping secret for so many years. I was only sorry about one thing — which I had waited so long. Here I was, just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to.”

“Then, one day I turned around and God was there. He didn’t come to me when I pleaded with Him. I guess I was like an animal trainer holding out a hoop, ‘C’mon, jump through. C’mon, I’ll give you three days, three weeks.’ Apparently God does things in His own way and at His own hour. But the important thing is that He was there. He found me. You were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for Him.”

“Tommy,” I practically gasped, “I think you are saying something very important and much more universal than you realize. To me, at least, you are saying that the surest way to find God is not to make Him a private possession, a problem solver, or an instant consolation in time of need, but rather by opening to love. You know, the Apostle John said that. He said: ‘God is love, and anyone who lives in love is living with God and God is living in him.’ Tom, could I ask you a favor? You know, when I had you in class you were a real pain. But (laughingly) you can make it all up to me now. Would you come into my present Theology of Faith course and tell them what you have just told me? If I told them the same thing it wouldn’t be half as effective as if you were to tell them.”

“Ooh ….. I was ready for you, but I don’t know if I’m ready for your class.”

“Tom, think about it. If and when you are ready, give me a call.”

In a few days Tom called, said he was ready for the class, that he wanted to do that for God and for me. So we scheduled a date. However, he never made it. He had another appointment, far more important than the one with me and my class. Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed. He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of man has ever seen or the ear of man has ever heard or the mind of man has ever imagined.

Before he died, we talked one last time. “I’m not going to make it to your class,” he said.

“I know, Tom.”

“Will you tell them for me? Will you tell the whole world for me?”

“I will, Tom. I’ll tell them. I’ll do my best.”

So, to all of you who have been kind enough to hear this simple statement about love, thank you for listening. And to you, Tommy, somewhere in the sunlit, verdant hills of heaven — I told them, Tommy, as best I could.

With thanks,

XXXXXXXXXX

Professor Loyola University in Chicago

Forwarded with corrections

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.”

Give Thanks to the Holy ONE…

I Thes 5:16-18 “Rejoice evermore, Pray without ceasing, In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Give Thanks to the Holy ONE…….

The following is something to ponder:

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof
overhead and a place to sleep … you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace you are among the top 8% of the worlds wealthy.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness … you are more blessed than
the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the
agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation… you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death … you
are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If your parents are still alive and still married … you are very rare, even in the United States.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful … you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can hold someone’s hand, hug them or even touch them on the
shoulder … you are blessed because you can offer healing touch.

If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone
was thinking of you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people
in the world that cannot read at all.

Have a good day and count your blessings…and more importantly praise the One who
provided them………

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today….
“It’s already tomorrow in Australia!”
Charles Schultz

 

According to scripture we will have a new heaven and new earth after the Millennium period of time. Are you ready…..?

 

Rev 21:1-3 “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.”

 

 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.”

Psalm 118:1 “O give thanks unto the Lord for  He is good; because His mercy endures forever.”

Give Thanks to God…

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

Give Thanks to…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation…

I Thes 5:16-18 “Rejoice evermore, Pray without ceasing,
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in
Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation!

Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation created a reference point for a country in the midst of civil war and urged citizens to pause and give thanks for its blessings. That proclamation continues to serve us well during times of uncertainty. It concludes like this:

“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of a Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascription’s justly due to Him for such singular deliverance’s and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony and tranquility and Union.”

Psalm 118:1 “O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good;
because His mercy endures forever.”

The Final Closed Door to Heaven…

The Final Closed Door to Heaven!

When was the last time you tried to enter into a building and
the door was locked and while someone was inside they would notl et you in? You were probably frustrated, or angry or very sad because whatever was needed to enter you did not have!

Scripture records the worst of this type of situation. It
records where people who thought they were going to go to heaven

based on their good deeds or their church membership find out that

God’s design for entering heaven is vastly different then what they

were taught to believe.

 

Listen as scripture records this terrible moment and as
importantly make sure you are not the one not being allowed in! Many

see themselves as Christians but are not.

 

Mat 7:21,22 “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall

enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My

Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day,
Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name

have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

 

Based on their lives on earth this group expects to be allowed
to enter heaven. Each of us has a non-cancelable, non-postponeable

appointment with our Creator. “It is appointed to man once
to die,” the Bible says, “and after this the judgment.” And in that
instant, when God decides we have taken our last breath, our heart

has beaten for the last time, only one thing will matter. Not our religion,
not our title, not our net worth, or our fitness, or our references, not
even our Christian activity. God will evaluate your entry based on one question,

“What did you do with My Son, Jesus?”

Scripture records God’s answer to our request for admission based on our deeds!

 

Mat 7:23 ” And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:  depart from me, you that work iniquity.”

Eph 2:8,9 “for by grace have you been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory.”

So why is it that God does not recognize those having done what
appeared to be many good deeds on earth and wanting to use that as their

justification for spending eternity in heaven with God?
Scripture records the answer!

Gal 2:16,21 “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the
law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be
justified. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”

My paraphrase of Galatians 2:21 is that if I can work my way to
heaven then Jesus death for my sins was in vain. It was not sufficient!!!!!

We can add nothing to Jesus’ sacrifice for sins!

What are you placing your faith in this morning for getting to
heaven? Your good deeds, your family heritage, your church affiliation???

And as importantly how about those around you. Your family, your friends.

What are they placing their faith in? Have they heard the real Gospel?

Listen as Jesus speaks to us;

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

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

Have you been ‘born again’? If you are not sure, drop me a note and we can talk….

II Cor 6:2b “…now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation)”

Real Faith to Live by…

John 2:23-25 “Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.”

Real Faith to Live By….
There were those who followed Jesus around, waiting to see the miracles. Think of the excitement this must have caused. So they followed him, because they were looking for the rush, the thrill of being close to the action. Jesus knew their hearts. They believed he was
a miracle worker, maybe a prophet. They did not, however, believe he was the Messiah.
It is quite possible that these people, who followed Jesus to see the next miracle, were also some of those who later shouted, crucify him. How could that happen? How could people go from followers to haters? They simply could not accept his claim that he was and is the Son of God.

How can faith be that deficient or weak? Faith is deficient when we rest it solely on our experience of Jesus, and not based on who Jesus is and what He did for us. Stated in another way, when we trust Jesus based on what He can do for us, or based on some miracle that He might have done for us, rather than based on the fact that Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins then our faith is at risk of becoming like the world. Show me and then I will believe. The book of Daniel provides one of the most potent examples of men whose faith did not waiver, even under severe pressure:
Dan 3:16-18”Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.'”
This is a great passage that shows men who believed that God was God, regardless of what might happen to them personally. God was still God, even if they were consumed in the fire. Jesus is still looking for those who would believe in him for who he is – the Christ, the Son of God. And follow Him regardless of the outcome. Our ways and thoughts truly are not God’s ways and thoughts as noted in Isaiah 55:8 so we dare not think that we know what is best for our
lives and for God’s Kingdom.

How is your faith and your acceptance of God’s will for your life this morning?

Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”