Mary, the faithful sinner and CHRISTmas…

 Luke 1:46-47 “And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”

 Luke 1:26-32 “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.”

Mary, the faithful sinner and CHRISTmas

In the drama of the first Christmas there is a perfect example of walking by faith. God begins in Luke 1:26 – “In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph. The virgin’s name was Mary, The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus.'” A name above all names! In no other name is salvation found.

God’s request to Mary was that she walk by faith and trust Him. He asked her to take His hand and allow Him to lead her into something amazing. Mary did not insist that she see some piece of evidence before she accept God’s plan. We must understand that in the Jewish culture of those days a woman was stoned to death for having a child out of wedlock. Now think about the faith it took to obey.

God was leading her into a situation where she was suddenly and miraculously pregnant. And who’s going to believe that God is doing this? How about the arguments that may have gone through her head? She has a lot to lose if she walks by faith and goes where God wants to take her. She may lose her reputation as the “nice girl of Nazareth.” She may lose the man she loves when he hears she is expecting and he knows he’s not the father. The wedding she has dreamed about from an early age may never happen. And since, in the Jewish culture of that day, they stoned women for sexual sin, obedience could even cost Mary her life.

But Mary was a woman of faith. Listen to her response, “I am the Lord’s servant.” Those words show her heart. If Mary’s identity is, “I’m Joseph’s girl,” there’s no way she’s going

to do what God wants. If her image as the “nice girl of Nazareth” is her identity, she won’t do this. But Mary bases her identity on one thing and one thing alone. With open hands, open arms,

face looking up, she declares, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as You have said.” And because of that surrendered spirit and surrendered future, Mary carries God’s only Son in her body.

God’s most special assignments are for those who will let go of their fears and begin the walk of faith. When you know that God is asking you do something, and then the choice is; do I serve Jesus or my fears and desires? It may be to share His love with someone who has never heard (Mat 28:19, 20). It may be to develop and use your God given spiritual gift(s) for His glory. It may be to give up something very precious to you for the benefit of another (Agape Love).

It may be to turn the other cheek. It may be to be the salt that lovingly calls sin for what it is even in the face of much opposition. It may be to set aside the occupation the world and family and self gave you and take up the one Jesus has for you.

This Christmas season, take your Father’s hand and with child-like faith, tell Him, “Lord, take me wherever You want me to go.”

Heb 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him…”

If you are serious about walking by faith then take the time to check out Eph 2:8,9, Rom 12:1,2, Luke 9:23 and Phil 4:13

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The CHRISTian and Fishing…

The CHRISTian and Fishing….

My wife and I were just getting ready to go on a vacation fishing trip. What type of fishing do you enjoy the most? There is fishing for fish and fishing for men. One of them having eternal consequences depending upon which response you gave. In the book of Matthew chapter four verse 19 I am reminded that our Savior Jesus wants us to share about our faith so that others will come to know Him as we have. And hopefully you have. If not, this challenge sounds very foolish.If is does check this out (John 3:16, John 3:3, John 14:6, Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8 and 10:13) and you may see why it seems foolish.

Some including me at times in my life avoid fishing for men by thinking that my life is my testimony and I do not need to speak about the most important Person in my life.  Living a life that reflects Jesus is important but that alone cannot be used as a substitute for sharing our faith. Yes, I know most of us are scared to do so but listen to what our Lord says about fear and about trials and troubles that will occur in this life.

2 Tim 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

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

By the way, fishing for men is not reserved for the professional fisherman (evangelist or church leaders) only!!!!!  We all can enjoy the ministry of sharing our faith and the blessings that go with it!!!! It is like the spiritual gift of giving and some of the other spiritual gifts. With the spiritual gift of giving some you desire to and will give more than most believers but all believers are to give so that our Lord’s work is properly funded. Witnessing is the same. The person with the spiritual gift of Evangelist or Pastor will have the greatest desire to lead lost folks to a knowledge of Jesus and His sacrifice of our sins but all believers are to share their faith with a lost and dying world. That is why you live, work and play where you do. God knew you before you were born and place you where you live, work and play for a reason. The reason is to be light and salt for His names sake. Those locations and acquaintances are not of your design if you are following God’s will for your life.

Eph 4:1 “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love:”

Rom 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation, for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.”

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)”

America needs Israel and God…

America needs Israel and God

Genesis 12:3 “I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

There is a movement in our country and in our world to turn our backs on Israel and in some countries to eliminate them forever. When you look at scripture you find that it is a very dangerous path. God made an eternal covenant with the Jewish nation so to think that some nation or group of nations or group of Christians could ever change that is spiritual suicide. Also to abandon them would be to commit the same.

Israel is the one nation in our world created by God and has a covenant with God. A covenant like this is one that God will keep because God always keeps His word. Circumcision for the Jew is a sign of that covenant.

Gen 17:7-10 “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised;”

As long as we see the sun and the moon the covenant with Israel exists.

Psalms 89”30-37 “If his sons forsake My law and do not walk in My judgments, If they break My statutes And do not keep My commandments, Then I will punish their transgression with the rod, And their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless My loving kindness I will not utterly take from him, nor allow My faithfulness to fail. My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: His seed shall endure forever, And his throne as the sun before Me; It shall be established forever like the moon, Even like the faithful witness in the sky.”

Both the Christian Church and Israel have covenants with our Savior. One does not replace the other. And some Jews and some Christians have chosen to reject God’s covenant with them but that does not make it obsolete. The following are reasons why the Church does not replace Israel and the covenant God made with it.

1. Romans 9, 10, 11 talk of Israel not a cast away.
a. Rom 11:1 “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying…”
2. Rom 11:17,18 Some of the Jewish people just like the Gentiles rejected God’s truths and paid the penalty for that rejection but it was not the whole Jewish nation. Check out the 7 churches in Revelation 1-3 and see how many believers fall short and did the same. The covenant is made new and not disbanded.
a. Heb 8:7-13 “ For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah– not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”
3. Israel was blinded for a moment in time so that we Gentiles would have the opportunity to be saved. That truth does not reflect a covenant disbanded. Israel will be blessed for their function in our salvation.
a. Rom 11:25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
b. Rom 11:26, 17 “And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27 For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”
4. In Revelation 7 we see the 144,000 evangelists during the tribulation. They come from the tribes or families of Jacob and Israel. If the covenant was disbanded than this would not make sense.

The Church does have a responsibility to Israel;
• Psalm 122:6 Pray for Israel
• Isa 40:1 Bring comfort to Israel
• Isa 62:1 Speak out in defense of Israel
• Gen 12:3 Bless Israel or you or your nation will be cursed if you curse them
• Rom 15:27 God will bless those who bless Israel. America has reaped this promise and unfortunately is close to abandoning it.
• From Israel we obtained the;
o Jesus
o Mary, Joseph, Moses, Isaiah, David, Joshua, Matthew, Mark, John, Peter, Paul, etc
o The Prophets
o The Scriptures
o The Patriarchs
o John 4:22 Salvation is of the Jews
o Israel the small postage stamp of a nation has always been the focus of our world and will continue to be until Jesus returns to put an end to sin and satan.

The conclusion is simple. God loves both the Jew and the Gentile and for that I am eternally grateful and I for one will never turn my back on God’s covenants with either group.

A Still Small Voice… are you Listening…

Rev 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock…”

Still Small Voice…. are you listening….

Back when the telegraph was the fastest method of
long-distance communication, a young man applied for a
job as a Morse Code operator.

Answering an ad in the newspaper, he went to the
office address that was listed. When he arrived, he
entered a large, busy office filled with noise and
clatter, including the sound of the telegraph in the
background.

A sign on the receptionist’s counter instructed job
applicants to fill out a form and wait until they were
summoned to enter the inner office. The young man filled
out his form and sat down with the seven other applicants
in the waiting area.

After a few minutes, the young man stood up,
crossed the room to the door of the inner office, and
walked right in.

Naturally the other applicants perked up, wondering
what was going on. They muttered among themselves that
they hadn’t heard any summons yet. They assumed that the
young man who went into the office made a mistake and
would be disqualified.

Within a few minutes, however, the employer escorted
the young man out of the office and said to the other
applicants, “Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming,
but the job has just been filled.”

The other applicants began grumbling to each other,
and one spoke up saying, “Wait a minute, I don’t understand.
He was the last to come in, and we never even got a chance
to be interviewed. Yet he got the job. That’s not fair!”

The employer said, “I’m sorry, but all the time
you’ve been sitting here, the telegraph has been ticking out
the following message in Morse Code: “If you understand this
message, then come right in. The job is yours.” None of
you heard it or understood it. This young man did. The job is his.”

We live in a world that is full of activity and
clatter, like that office. People are distracted and unable
to hear the still, small voice of God as He speaks via His
creation, from His Scriptures, or in your life via trials, discipline and                                                                                              of course via the life example of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Are you tuned in to God’s message? Can you be still and know that

He is God. Do you believe God when He says, “This is my Son,

whom I love . . . Listen to Him!”

Author Unknown

Rev 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears
My voice AND OPENS the door, I will come in to him and dine
with him, and he with Me.”

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.”

Truth and Faith to Live by…

John 8:32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Truth and Faith to Live by…

A boy was sitting on a park bench, with one hand resting on an
open Bible. He was loudly exclaiming his praise to God. “Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! God is great!” he yelled, without worrying whether anyone
heard him or not.

Shortly after, along came a man who had recently completed some
studies at a local university. Feeling himself very enlightened in the
ways of truth and very eager to show this enlightenment, he asked the
boy about the source of his joy.

“Hey,” asked the boy, in return, with a bright laugh, “don’t you
have any idea what God is able to do? I just read that God opened up
the waves of the Red Sea and led the whole nation of Israel right
through the middle.”

The enlightened man laughed lightly, sat down next to the boy,
and began to try to open his eyes to the “realities” of the miracles of
the Bible.

“That can all be very easily explained. Modern science has
shown that the Red Sea, in that area, was only 10-inches deep at that
time. It was no problem for the Israelites to wade across.”

The boy looked surprised. His eyes wandered from the man back
to the Bible, laying open in his lap. The man, content that he had
enlightened a poor, naive, young person to the finer points of
scientific insight, turned to go.

Scarcely had he taken two steps when the boy began to rejoice
and praise louder than before, “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! God is SO
great!” The man turned to ask the reason for this resumed jubilation.

“Wow!” exclaimed the boy happily, “God is greater than I
thought! Not only did He lead the whole nation of Israel through the

Red Sea, He topped it off by drowning the whole Egyptian army in only 10-inches of water!”

Hebrews 10:38 “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man  draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

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 should boast.”

II Tim 3:16,17 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished
unto all good works.”

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.”