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.”

Advertisements

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

The devil and the Nuts…

I Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

The devil and the Nuts!

On the outskirts of town, there was a big old pecan tree by the cemetery
fence. One day two boys filled up a bucketful of nuts and sat down by
the tree, out of sight, and began dividing the nuts.

“One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me,” said one boy.
Several were dropped and rolled down toward the fence.

Another boy came riding along the road on his bicycle. As he passed, he
thought he heard voices from inside the cemetery. He slowed down to
investigate. Sure enough, he heard, “One for you, one for me. One for
you, one for me.” He just knew what it was.

“Oh my,” he shuddered, “its Satan and the Lord dividing the souls at
the cemetery.”

He jumped back on his bike and rode off. Just around the bend he met an
old man with a cane, hobbling along.

“Come here quick,” said the boy, “you won’t believe what I heard. Satan
and the Lord are down at the cemetery dividing up the souls.”

The man said, “Beat it, kid, can’t you see it’s hard for me to walk.”
When the boy insisted, though, the man hobbled to the cemetery.

Standing by the fence they heard, “One for you, one for me. One for you,
one for me.”

The old man whispered, “Boy, you’ve been tellin’ the truth. Let’s see if
we can see the devil himself.”

Shaking with fear, they peered through the fence, yet were still unable
to see anything. The old man and the boy gripped the wrought iron bars
of the fence tighter and tighter as they tried to get a glimpse of
Satan.

At last they heard, “One for you, one for me, and one last one for you.
That’s all. Now let’s go get those nuts by the fence, and we’ll be
done.”

They say the old guy made it back to town 5 minutes before the boy.

I Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

 James 4:7 “Therefore submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

Truth for Living…Where to find it…

2 Tim. 3:16a “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for…”

Truth for Living…Where to find it…

Libraries and bookstores are bursting with self-help books, most of which are products or byproducts of this world’s psychology industry. Requests for books to help with this or that problem abound, as if there is one special book, other than the Bible, that can do the trick. Self-help books promise way more than they supply. And without exception they attempt to make the reader believe someone other than the reader is at fault for the troubles of life.

However, there is one book that supplies exactly what it promises.  The Bible is the book that reveals God’s Truth for Christian living.

2 Peter 1:3-4 “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust”

The Bible is the source of truth for our lives and our Christian living. God has given us His Word, which is the truth about Himself, the universe, and mankind. He has given us His truth concerning life and eternity. The Scriptures give us truth that reveals the way of salvation for sinners, the way of sanctification and spiritual growth for believers, and the hope of eternity with Jesus. As believers follow God’s truth, they find love, joy, and peace, as well as purpose and direction for serving God and one another.

If you are looking for truth about God, about yourself, about others, and about how to relate to one another, you will find that truth in the Bible. If you think you have found it elsewhere, be very skeptical unless it can be traced back to the Bible.  And without exception if a man developed philosophy differs from the word of God it cannot be from God! If it can be traced back to the scriptures then you have God’s truths. Check out every tradition and philosophy of mankind with God’s word. Those that do not come from His word regardless of how good they sound are dangerous and to be avoided and discarded.
 
Acts 17:11 “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

How do I know that scripture is from God?

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

How do I know that the books of scripture are not just the teachings of men?

2 Peter 1:20-21 “Knowing this first thoroughly, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

Try reading THE one and only Good Book today………………