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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Hell and your E-mail Address…Caution…

John 17:3 “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. “

Hell and your E-mail Address …Caution…

A couple from Minneapolis decided to go to Florida for a long weekend to thaw out during one particularly icy winter. Because both had jobs, they had difficulty coordinating their travel schedules. It was decided that the husband would fly to Florida on a Thursday, and his wife would follow him the next day.

Upon arriving as planned, the husband checked into the hotel. There he decided to open his laptop and send his wife an e-mail back in Minneapolis. However, he accidentally left off one letter in her address, and sent the e-mail without realizing his error.

In Houston, a widow had just returned from her husband’s funeral. He was a minister of many years who had been “called home to glory following a heart attack. The widow checked her e-mail, expecting messages from relatives and friends. Upon reading the first message, she fainted and fell to the floor.

The widow’s son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read:

To: My Loving Wife

From: Your Departed Husband

Subject: I’ve Arrived!

I’ve just arrived and have been checked in. I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then. Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.

P.S. Sure is hot down here!

That’s the humor for the day.

Now back to reality. Hell is real. Never forget that. And of course, there is someone who would wish that we did.

Prov  27:21a “Hell and destruction are never full…”

 Rev 20:14,15 “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Is Hell real or just a story…

Is Hell real or just a story

In the humanistic or self seeking world we live in Hell is not a popular topic. Outside of a joking context you do not hear about it much. If you go to a Bible teaching church that is faithful in proclaiming God’s word in total you will hear about it. If you go to a lukewarm church looking to increase attendance numbers and build its finances you may never here about the consequences of sin. And worst of all if you do not believe eternal damnation is real you will have no burden to have your sins forgiven or to reach spiritually lost family, friends and neighbors.

What do you believe this morning about the consequences of sin? If scripture is relevant for today, and it is, then those without Christ as Savior who die…

II Thes 1:8,9 “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of our Lord and from the glory of His power.”

Remember God and His truths do not change down through the ages like our ever changing technology advancements. His truths are absolute and can be counted on regardless of the age you live in.

Malachi 3:6a “For I am the Lord, I change not…”

There are many who will end up in hell and thought they were ‘Christian’ and even thought their lives and intentions were Godly.

Mat 7:22, 23 “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'”

The good news is that there is an escape from the consequences of sin …

I John 5:11-13 “And this is the record that God has given to us eternal life and that life is in His Son. He that has the Son has life and he that has not the Son of God has not life. These things 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.”

How about you? Will you hear, ‘Depart from Me’ or ‘Well done’!!?? Will you take the escape route that God offers?

How about the person sitting or living next to you? Where would they go and do they know that there is only one Way to heaven??????

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

How will they hear if we keep silent?

Choose you this Day…

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

Choose you this Day!

This morning think of all the people and organizations asking for your
priorities. They request and some even demand your attention, time and monies. Some are worthwhile while many are not.

They include the company you work for, your family, the bank, the local and national charities, your friends, your 401K, your immediate job, your health, your????

Here is the telling question. Did serving Jesus enter into your thought process? And if it did was it first or someplace down the list? If it was there or what place it was on the list says a lot about where our focus in life really is….! God’s desire for us is;

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

Joshua 22:5 “Take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which
Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to LOVE the Lord your God,
and to WALK in all His ways, and to KEEP His commandments, and to CLEAVE unto Him, and to SERVE Him with all your heart and with all your soul
.”

In a world demanding your priorities remember only one will last for eternity. I challenge myself and encourage you this morning to…..

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 (your location in this world), 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 we will serve is all up to us. So…………….

Romans 12:1,2 “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

First you must start by;

John 3:3 “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again,[a] you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

John 14:6 “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me”

If you are not sure if you are born again try reading the Gospel of John for the answer! Time is short and it is never to late!

James 4:14 “whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

The Ant and the Contact Lens – Fear…

Mat 11:28a “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…

The Ant and the Contact Lens – Fear…

A story by Josh and Karen Zarandona

Brenda was a young woman who was invited to go rock climbing.
Although she was scared to death, she went with her group to a
tremendous granite cliff.

In spite of her fear, she put on the gear, took a hold on the
rope, and started up the face of that rock. Well, she got to a ledge
where she could take a breather. As she was hanging on there, the
safety rope snapped against Brenda’s eye and knocked out her contact
lens. Here she is on a rock ledge, with hundreds of feet below her
and hundreds of feet above her.

Of course, she looked and looked and looked, hoping it had
landed on the ledge, but it just wasn’t there. So here she was, far
from home, her sight now blurry. She was desperate and began to get
upset, so she prayed to the Lord to help her to find it. When she got
to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens,
but there was no contact lens to be found.

She sat down, despondent, with the rest of the party, waiting
for the rest of them to make it up the face of the cliff. She looked
out across range after range of mountains, thinking of that Bible
verse that says, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the
whole earth.” She thought, “Lord, you can see all these mountains.
You know every stone and leaf, and you know exactly where my contact
lens is. Please help me.”

Finally, they walked down the trail to the bottom. At the bottom
there was a new party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff.
One of them shouted out, “Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?” Well, that would be
startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it? An ant was moving
slowly cross the face of the rock, carrying it!

Brenda told me that her father is a cartoonist. When she told him
the incredible story of the ant, the prayer, and the contact lens, he
drew a picture of an ant lugging that contact lens with the words, “Lord,
I don’t know why you want me to carry this thing. I can’t eat it, and
it’s awfully heavy. But if this is what you want me to do, I’ll carry it
for you.”

At the risk of being accused of being fatalistic, I think it would
probably do some of us good to occasionally say, “God, I don’t know why
you want me to carry this load. I can see no good in it and it’s awfully
heavy. But, if you want me to carry it, I will.”

“God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.”

Mat 11:28 “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest
Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

The Pursuit of Peace and Happiness…

The Pursuit of Peace and Happiness…

Seeking peace and happiness is a goal for each of us throughout our lives. The issue is, just where does peace and contentment come from and do I even recognize what lasting and real peace and happiness are. Our world around us pictures being at peace as sitting in our easy chair sipping on a cool beverage with no cares, worries, or aches and pains. But is that really what it is? Not surprisingly scripture records that real peace and happiness are very different than what our worlds’ offers. That is not surprising considering the god of this world today is not the One true God and Savior. That makes it vital that we look to our God for lasting and real peace. The god of this world for this moment in time is all about deception. And it starts with deceiving mankind about what it takes to be saved and then into setting priorities that do not line up with God’s priorities.

II Cor 4:3, 4 “But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to those who are lost, in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who believe not. lest the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

That verse explains a bunch. Listen to the following quote on finding peace.

If you seek happiness, you will never find it; it will always elude you, it will always escape you. You will think you have captured it, but suddenly it is gone. Chasing it is like trying to catch a bubble-the moment you catch it, it has vanished, broken in your hands, and there is nothing left. That’s the whole mistake, says the Bible. Never make happiness an end in itself. It is always an indirect result. It is always a by-product of something infinitely greater. To put it positively: Happiness, says the Bible, depends upon two things only. First: It depends on our relationship to God and His righteousness. Second: It depends upon what I am, not upon what is happening to me. That is the secret.

-Martyn Lloyd-Jones,

Wow, happiness first depends on my relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and then in what I am rather than what is happening to me. Think on that for awhile. If that is the case, and I agree it is, then what I have allowed my Savior to do with my life has made me who I am………….! What are you allowing Him to do in your life this morning? And just who are you in His eyes………..!

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

Mat 11:28-29 “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

I Thes 5:23, 24 “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”

No Greater Love…

No Greater Love…

John 3:16a “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”

Military blogger L.T. Smash recounts a televised vignette that requires no further comment:

Martin Savidge of CNN, embedded with the 1st Marine battalion, was talking with 4 young Marines near his foxhole this morning live on CNN. He had been telling the story of how well the Marines had been looking out for and taking care of him since the war started. He went on to tell about the many hardships the Marines had endured since the war began and how they all look after one another.

He turned to the four and said he had cleared it with their commanders and they could use his video phone to call home.

The 19 year old Marine next to him asked Martin if he would allow his platoon sergeant to use his cell to call his pregnant wife back home whom he had not been able to talk to in three months. A stunned Savidge who was visibly moved by the request nodded his head, and the young Marine ran off to get the sergeant.

Savidge recovered after a few seconds and turned back to the three young Marines still sitting with him and asked which one of them would like to call home first, the Marine closest to him responded without a moment’s hesitation “Sir, if is all the same to you we would like to call theparents of a buddy of ours, Lance Cpl. Brian Buesing of Cedar Key, Florida who was killed on 3-23-03 near Nasiriya to see how they are doing.”

At that Martin Savidge totally broke down and was unable to speak. All he could get out before signing off was “Where do they get young men like this?”

A true display of God’s love. The ultimate example is;

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.”