Jesus and the Birthday Party…

Luke 2:11 “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

Jesus and the Birthday Party….

Amid all the amusement and theme parks clustered in Orlando, Florida, there’s one that is pretty distinctive. It’s a Holy Land theme park that attempts to bring some of the scenes and the stories of the Bible to life. Our daughter and son-in-law were there not long ago with our two grandsons. And the kids, who are pretty up on their Bible stories, really enjoyed walking through those stories and meeting some of the characters (actually, people portraying some of those characters). The one that impressed our then two-year-old grandson the most was Jesus. A man portraying Jesus stood in the middle of the small crowd and He spoke some of the very stories that Jesus told in the Bible. But then came the moment our little guy will not soon forget. Jesus came over and picked Him up, just like Jesus did with the children when He was here. The next day Mom and our little guy were talking about his upcoming third birthday party, and suddenly out of the blue, he said, “I want Jesus at my birthday party.”

That’s a great idea: Jesus at your birthday party. Talk about a guest of honor! Actually, when it comes to the most important birthday of all, there’s no physical or spiritual birthday without Jesus. And if there’s no spiritual birthday, there’s no life. Eternal life, that is. The most important birthday of all is the day you get born into God’s family. You say, “Isn’t everyone God’s child?” Not unless they’ve been born spiritually into the family of the Heavenly Father. They’re His creation, but they’re only His child by birth.

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

Obviously, Birth One was the day you were born into your parents’ family. No birthday, no life. Jesus is talking here about Birth Two – the day you actually begin to belong to God. No spiritual birthday, no eternal life. Without being “born again” Jesus said you cannot enter God’s heaven. Because heaven is only for family – God’s family. Anyone can be in God’s family, no matter what their religion or their background, but not everyone is, because they’ve never been born again. In fact according to Mat 7:13, 14 most will never enter God’s family.

Mat 7:13,14 “Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in that way: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it.”

So how does one have that spiritual birthday?

Recognize you are a sinner and what the consequences to sin are and your need for a Savior.

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

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”

It’s all about what you do with Jesus. Why? Because the only way to be in God’s family is to take care of what keeps you from being one of His kids, and that’s called sin. He’s an all-holy, totally perfect God. You and I have turned our back on Him by sinning. Even with a lot of religion in our lives to give us a sense of being okay we are destined to eternal death. You see, only those who are ‘born again’ have eternal life. Being religious is called false security. We’ve used the mouth He gave us to hurt people, to lie and to swear. We’ve used the hands and eyes and ears He gave us to touch and explore what we never should have touched. We’ve hurt most the people we love most, we’ve lusted, we’ve boasted and we’ve been selfish. All that sin has to be paid for, but Jesus died as our substitute paying for it.

Jesus is the only One who can forgive your sin, because He’s the only One who died for it and then rose again to prove He can. He’s the only One who can get you into heaven. Sin requires a pure sacrifice to wash it away and Jesus is the only One who could be that sacrifice.

But you need a birthday – a definite beginning with Him. If you don’t have that, you have no chance of being God’s child. There is only One who can be that Mediator between God the Father and sinners.

I Tim 2:5 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

Have you missed your spiritual birthday? Which only comes the day you “believe in” Jesus; which means welcoming Him into your life with total trust in Him for forgiveness of your sins? If you’ve done that, you know you have been ‘born again’. If you don’t know, you probably haven’t. But you can this very day. Just ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and believe on Him.

Today’s date could become the most important day of your life if you make it your Jesus-day – your birthday. The day you receive the most awesome, most expensive birthday present of all – eternal life paid for with the life of God’s Son.

I John 5:11-13 “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

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Election Day Perspective…

Today is election day. I will vote for the candidate(s) who best lines up with God’s values and truths found in His word and sometimes it comes down to one issue. The important thing to remember is that our God is sovereign and allows or places into power those needing to be there for this moment in time in our world’s history. While that is comforting my responsibility remains the same.

Romans 13:1,2 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.”

Perspective

I do not deny the importance of this election, but it seems to me that we need a dose of perspective. So here is a “True/False” test.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, Jesus will still be King!

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, our responsibilities as Christians will not have changed one iota.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the greatest agent for social change in America will still be winning the hearts and minds of men and women through the gospel, not legislation.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my primary citizenship will still be in this order – (1) the Kingdom of God , (2) my Family, (3) Jesus Church and everything else after that………

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the tomb will still be empty.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, Jesus death on the cross and His resurrection, not the government, will still be our salvation.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, our families will still be more concerned with whether or not we spend time with them than with who is President.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my neighbor will still be my neighbor, and loving him/her will still be the second greatest commandment. (Do you know the first?)

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the only way to see abortion ultimately overturned will still be winning men and women to a high view of life through the gospel of Christ.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the only way to see gay marriage ultimately defeated will still be sharing the biblical view of marriage through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my retirement will still not match my treasure in Heaven.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, “Jesus Is Lord” will still be the greatest truth in the Universe.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, we will still know that God is in control.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, I will pray for them.

And the directive for our CHRISTian lives remains the same….

Mat 28:19,20 “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

Humanism or Absolute Truth from the Bible…you choose…

Joshua 24:15a “And if it seems evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve;”

Humanism or Absolute Truth from the Bible…you choose…

Looking unto self, the author and finisher of my destiny, who for the pleasure set before me, I empowered myself, despising all those who disagree with me and I sit on my throne with confidence and pride.

“God created man in His image and man returned the favor.”

But as scripture says, let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Especially as God sees it because that is the only truth that counts. Man left to himself is…

Rom 3:10 “For there are none good, no, not one.”

Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all as unclean things, and all our
rightlessness’s are like filthy rags, we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities,
like the wind have taken us away.”

You may want to delete this challenge because of the tone so far but be careful. God never tells us an untruth, so we must view all of God’s truths as just that and ask, how does this apply to me. It is tough thing to see yourself as God sees you but vital.

The good thing is that all is not lost. The fellowship with God that sin (iniquities) destroys can be restored.

II Cor 5:21 “For He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God, in Him.”

Rom 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.”

John 5:11, 12 “And this is the record; that God has given us eternal
life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

So, what should be my Manifesto? The Biblical Christian Manifesto as given by our God 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

It cannot be said strong enough. Either my joy and reason for living is centered on self and the philosophies of men (religion), or on Jesus. Why else would Jesus say; “If anyone will come after Me, let them deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Me” and, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one can come unto the Father, but by Me”. In our world would view that is being ‘narrow minded’ and bigoted. And as long as it is from God, I am ok with being viewed that way. How about you? Let’s be salt and light today and not just one of the crowd.

Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Just put your community in place of the Amorites. It’s real and applies to you and me! The choice on who and what I will serve is all up to us. So…………….

Have a great day following the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus!!!!!!!!!!

God’s will for your Life…

II Peter 3:18 “But grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord
Jesus Christ…”

 God’s will for your Life….

A new Christian was walking with a more mature friend in a garden one
day and feeling a bit insecure about God’s will for his life, he inquired what
he should do.  His friend walked up to a rosebush, handed him a rosebud,
and told him to open it without tearing off any petals.

The new Christian looked in disbelief at his friend and tried to figure out
what a rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the
WILL OF GOD for his life But because of his high respect for his friend
proceeded to TRY to unfold the rose, while keeping every petal intact…It
wasn’t long before he realized how impossible it was to do so.

Noticing the younger Christian’s inability to unfold the rosebud while
keeping it intact, his friend began to recite the following poem…

It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of GOD’s design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.

The secret of unfolding flowers
is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so sweetly,
when in my hands they fade and die.

If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of GOD’s design,
Then how can I think I have wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?

So I’ll trust in Him for His leading
each moment of every day.
I will look to him for His guidance
each step of the pilgrim way.

The pathway that lies before me,
only my Heavenly Father knows.
I’ll trust Him to unfold the moments, just as He unfolds the rose.

How strong is your faith this morning????????? I know mine is being
developed daily by my Savior, Jesus. Good thing, for by myself I would
fail miserably.

II Peter 3:18 “But grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our
Lord Jesus Christ to Him be the glory both now and forever, amen.”

Listening to God…

Listening to God…

Can I sit and be taught by God today?

II Tim 3:16, 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, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

But aren’t those the books and teachings of men?

II Peter 1:20, 21 “Knowing this first, 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.”

“Let us seek to know Him in the Word. It is in the Word we will find the Holy Spirit. Don’t read too many other things. Some of you will say, “Look who’s talking!” Well, go ahead and say it, I don’t mind; but I am reading fewer and fewer things as I get older, not because I’m losing interest in this great, big, old suffering world, but because I’m gaining interest in that other world above. So I say, don’t try to know everything. You can’t. Find Him in the Word, for the Holy Ghost wrote this book. He inspired it, and He will be revealed in its pages.”

–A.W. Tozer

That being the case…
II Tim 2:15 “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

 

So, who’s feet did you sit at this morning to start your day?
Sitting before the Lord

“Here then I am, far from the busy ways of men. I sit down alone; only God is here. In His presence I open, I read His Book; for this end, to find the way to heaven. Is there a doubt concerning the meaning of what I read? Does anything appear dark or intricate? I lift up my heart to the Father of lights: ‘Lord, is it not thy Word, “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God”? Thou ‘give’s liberally and upbraids not’. Thou hast said, ‘If any be willing to do thy will, he shall know.’ I am willing to do, let me know thy will. I then search after and consider parallel passages of Scripture, ‘comparing spiritual things with spiritual’. I meditate thereon, with all the attention and earnestness of which my mind is capable. If any doubt still remains, I consult those who are experienced in the things of God, and then the writings whereby, being dead, they yet speak. And what I thus learn, that I teach.”

–John Wesley, Preface to Standard Sermons

It does take commitment.

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

Is it well with your Soul…

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Is it Well with your Soul…

Maybe it is just my imagination and I hope so, but it seems to me that much of Christianity does not see the persecutions and trials of this world as having merit. Am I wrong and how does my life stack up is the nagging question? I know that in my heart I do not like persecution and trials so if I can avoid them, I will. Then I see scripture that says if there is no objection to my life style by the world then I may be a Christian in hiding. And worse yet, if no trials then I might not be saved. Ouch, that thought process is not one that I wish to pursue.

First I check out my eternal life and find I am confident that I have asked and am trusting in Jesus sacrifice for my sins to be sufficient for my salvation. Nothing can be added from my end (Gal 2:16-21). Then comes the question of how my life as a believer stacks up to His will for me. If I do not change to meet my Savior’s will for my life just what will I hear at the Judgment Seat of Believers. I know my sins are washed away so they will not be on display there but how about my life’s work or lack of work for my Savior after being “born again”?????

The second verse of “It Is Well with My Soul” puts persecution in perspective.

Tho Satan should buffet, tho trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,

And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

And an example from scripture helps us to put trials into perspective.

Paul is one of those examples. As we review his life as recorded in scripture we see that he was given “a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him” (2 Corinthians 12:7). Almost every saint of every age could echo Paul’s concerns and the request for God to remove those thorns.  Trials do come to each child of God.

That is a given. How we look at them is not. “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you” (1 Peter 4:12).  God had a purpose in Paul’s life, and He has a purpose for us.  Paul couldn’t clearly see the purpose, and, at times, we can’t either. We can, however, “glory,” as Paul did, or “rejoice,” as Peter advises, or “count it all joy” as James records in response to the knowledge of God’s loving oversight.

 

I love this thought from that passage on removing the thorn in II Corinthians. I memorized it so I could have it ready when the difficulties of my life are better understood by listening to my God. Paul accepted God’s answer to his prayer that he requested three times and the answer was.  God’s grace is sufficient; you need that thorn in your life for a much greater purpose and outcome than the immediate fleshly satisfaction of it being removed.

II Cor 12:8-10 “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Who do I Serve…

Who do I Serve?

Each of us whether knowingly or not places a god or God in front of us daily. While our world teaches that all religions lead to God that is not what the Bible teaches. Someday each of us will give account of our choices. Did we choose self, a false religion or did we choose Jesus? This morning the question is, who will I follow? Our time is short because Jesus is coming back a second time……………….! Are you ready?

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.”

There is only ONE God and ONE Savior||

Isa 45:21, 22 ” There is no God other than Me; A just God and a
Savior; There is none beside Me. Look unto Me, and be saved, all ends of
the earth: For I am God and there is none else.”

Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other
name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be
saved.”

Heb 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and the finisher of our faith
who for the joy that was set before, endured the cross, despising the
shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

The following is one of my favorite verses and it applies to you and I today just as it did to the nation of Israel when God the Holy Spirit had it spoken and recorded for our benefit.

Have a great day either finding Jesus or serving Jesus!!!!!!!!!

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