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.”

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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.”

Are you Spiritually Dead or Alive…

Rev 3:1 ““And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.”

“Are you Spiritually Dead!”

In the book of Revelation or Apocalypse our Lord first tells us about 7 Churches in the first 3 chapters.  God is talking about those professing to be Christians. Remember as you read this that in the Bible the Church refers to the people and not a specific denomination.

I would like us to focus on one of those churches today. That is the church of Sardis mentioned in Chapter 3:1-6. The first 4 Churches mentioned had some level of commendation from God and had rebuke and challenge for what they needed to change to please God. Sardis is the only church with no commendation. They appeared to be religious to the world around them but God told them they were spiritually dead. So, what does it mean to be spiritually dead?  First you must be ‘born again’ to be spiritually alive and to be a member of Jesus Church. If you are depending on the Church you belong to you may be in trouble because no denomination is ever mentioned in scripture as being the only one and true church. So hopefully in your past at some time you have recognized you are a sinner in need of a Saviour and you have asked Jesus to save you from the eternal penalty for those sins. So, how can we know if we are spiritually dead or alive?

Let’s look at 8 questions or ways to evaluate our lives to make sure we are not spiritually dead.

  1. Do I have a lack of willingness to receive correction?
    1. Proverbs 3:11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction
    2. Where to find correction. 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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work”
  2. You boast, ‘I only listen to God and not to men!’
    1. II Pet 5:5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
    2. We are to obey the spiritual leaders of our churches and those in government who provide direction that does not contradict scripture.
      1. Rom 13:1 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.
      2. Heb 13:17 “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”
    3. Are you inclined to watch others and point out their mistakes?
      1. Fault finding is not a fruit of the Spirit but a demon spirit. It is the same spirit that satan had.
        1. Isa 14:12-14 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’
      2. The following are examples of ‘born again’ believers who made the mistake of focusing on others vs. their ministry for Jesus but to their credit corrected the problem.
        1. John 21:21, 22 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
        2. Luke 10:40-42 “But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
      3. Do you feel you are appointed to fix other people?
        1. You are not God’s Sherriff.
        2. Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you shall not be Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
      4. Do you feel you are closer to God than other people? Pharisees feel that way and their lives reflect it.
        1. Luke 18:10-14 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men–extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
        2. Satan had the same issue. Isa 14:14 “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’
      5. Do you demand recognition for what you do for the Kingdom of God?
        1. See question #5 verses about the Pharisees. They demanded the same.
        2. Knowledge of who God is does not alone set us on the right spiritual coarse. Romans 1:21 “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
        3. Our purpose in life should be to; I Cor 6:20 “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
      6. Is your prayer life mechanical or do you really feel that you are communicating with and listening to God?
        1. God wants our heart relationship with Him and it is not based on the quantity of our prayers. Mat 6:7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
      7. Do I have a critical spirit when I see the workings of the Holy Spirit? If you are not sure be careful not to condemn another brother or sister. It may be the Holy Spirit at work!
        1. Nicodemus was a Pharisee who sought out Jesus. He did not condemn the work of Jesus and Holy Spirit because it did not line up with his spiritual thinking and religious teachings. Read John chapter 3.
        2. No Holy Spirit in our lives equals…. Romans 8:9 “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”

So, how did your life stack up? Honesty is vital if we are to change. And if we are honest there is not a one of us who does not need to improve on one of those points.

If you are a ‘born again’ believer and some of these questions challenged you there remains hope from our Lord.

Rev 3:11-13 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ‘

An autopsy of the Sardis church suggests they were not killed by outside sources. They chose the way they went as do we. Outside sources or our worlds values are opposite God’s values for the most part but it is our choice as to which one we will follow and so was it for Sardis.

Joshua 24:14,15 “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 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.”

God’s directive and our choice!

Heb 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.”

satan at work in America…

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 them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

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

Satan at work in America….

 

This was written by a teen in after one of our many tragedies in America.

 

Now I sit me down in school

Where praying is against the rule

For this great nation under God

Finds mention of Him very odd.

 

If Scripture now the class recites,

It violates the Bill of Rights.

And anytime my head I bow

Becomes a Federal matter now.

 

Our hair can be purple, orange or green,

That’s no offense; it’s a freedom scene.

The law is specific, the law is precise.

Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.

 

For praying in a public hall

Might offend someone with no faith at all.

In silence alone we must meditate,

God’s name is prohibited by the state.

 

We’re allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,

And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks.

They’ve outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.

To quote the Good Book makes me liable.

 

We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,

And the ‘unwed daddy’, our Senior King.

It’s “inappropriate” to teach right from wrong,

We’re taught that such “judgments” do not belong.

 

We can get our condoms and birth controls,

Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles.

But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,

No word of God must reach this crowd.

 

It’s scary here I must confess,

When chaos reigns the school’s a mess.

So, Lord, this silent plea I make:

Should I be shot; my soul please take.

Amen

 

I wonder who may be behind this?

 

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

 

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 them that believe not…”

 

One important thing to remember is that…

 

I John 4:4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

CHRISTians look Strange to our World…Why is that…

In our world today if you are a true Christian you will be seen as a strange bird and even viewed as hateful and narrow minded. First we must understand that the worlds definition of a Christian and God’s definition as recorded in His word the Bible differ greatly.

The world sees a Christian as anyone attending a church with the name of Jesus in its teachings. Many do not proclaim the whole word of God. The bible says a Christian does not involve the denomination you attend. Check it out for yourself by doing a word search of the Bible and you find not one of the denominations of the world. God’s definition is anyone from any country or race who is ‘born again’. For help in understanding what it means to be ‘born again’ check out the following;

  • The Gospel of John where Jesus tells a religious leader what it means
  • Ephians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Galatians 2:16-21 where God tells us how many of our good deeds are requird to ‘born again’. Just of few of God’s thoughts on our lives and our deeds needed to be ‘born again’.
  • So, why are CHRISTians seen as strange to this world?
    • Rom 1:21-23 “…because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”
    • John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
  • What is the ministry of Biblical Christainity while on this earth?
    • Matt 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”
    • Matt 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
      • Salt seasons and points out sin. Darkness does not like to be exposed.
    • We are to be different understanding the vast majority of our world will choose the ways of the world in an attempt to restore the broken relationship with God that sin causes;
    • Matt 7:13-14 “”Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
  • Our world will consider Christians ‘Strange’ if we point out sin for what it is and do not do the same.
    • 2 Tim 3:12 “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
    • Prov 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of ”

So, do not feel bad this morning if our world hates or persecutes you when you stand up for Jesus and His truths. It very well may mean you are a true ‘born again’ disciple of Jesus and suffering because of it. Be of good courage because;

Romans 5:3 “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;”

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.”

Then comes eternity……

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”

HE IS RISEN……..

Forrest Gump and the Pearly Gates of Heaven…

I John 5:11-13a “And this is the record that God has given 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 I have written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God
that you may KNOW that you have eternal life…”

Forrest Gump at the Pearly Gates of Heaven

The day finally arrives: Forrest Gump dies and goes to Heaven. He is
at the Pearly Gates, met by St. Peter himself. The gates are closed,
however, and Forrest approaches the gatekeeper. St. Peter says
“Well, Forrest, it’s certainly good to see you. We have heard a lot
about you. I must inform you that the place is filling up fast, and
we’ve been administering an entrance examination for everyone.
The test is fairly short, but you need to pass before you can get
into Heaven.

Forrest responds, “It shore is good to be here St. Peter. I was looking
forward to this. Nobody ever told me about any entrance exam. Sure hope
the test ain’t too hard; life was a big enough test as it was.”

St. Peter goes on, “Yes, I know Forrest but the test I have for you is
only three questions.

Here is the first: What days of the week begin with the letter T?
Second: How many seconds are there in a year?

Third: What is God’s first name?”

Forrest goes away to think the questions over. He returns the next
day and goes up to St. Peter to try to answer the exam questions. St.
Peter waves him up and says, “Now that you have had a chance to think
the questions over, tell me your answers.”

Forrest says, “Well, the first one-how many days in the week begin
with the letter “T”? Shucks, that one’s easy. That’d be Today and
Tomorrow.”

The Saint’s eyes open wide and he exclaims, “Forrest! That’s not what
I was thinking, but…..you do have a point, and I guess I didn’t
specify, so I give you credit for that answer.”

“How about the next one?” asks St. Peter. “How many seconds in a year?”

“Now that one’s harder,” says Forrest, “but I thunk and thunk about
that and I guess the only answer can be twelve.”

Astounded, St. Peter says, “Twelve! Twelve??! Forrest, how in Heaven’s
name could you come up with twelve seconds in a year?”

Forest says “Shucks, there gotta be twelve: January second, February
second, March second……”

“Hold it,” interrupts St. Peter. “I see where you’re going with this,
and I guess I see your point, though that wasn’t quite what I had
in mind, but I’ll give you credit for that one, too. Let’s go on with
the next and final question: Can you tell me God’s first name?”

Forrest replied, “Andy.”

“OK, OK,” said a frustrated St. Peter, “I can understand how you came
up with your answers to my first two questions, but just how in the
world did you come up with the name of ‘Andy’ as the first name of
God?”

“Shucks, that was the easiest one of all,” Forrest replied. “I learned
it from the song….”Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me, Andy tells
me I am His own…”

St. Peter opened the gate and said: “RUN FORREST, RUN!!”

That was the humor. For the truth side there is a heaven and there is a hell. We will all frequent one of them for eternity? And of course the exam to get in is based on what we did with following God’s truth while on this earth. There are no exceptions so be very sure you are passing the test…………….here it is.

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

John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, except a man be born again he cannot see the
kingdom of God.”

Titus 3:5a “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but by His mercy He saved us….”

Ephesians 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 would boast.”

So, when you leave this life what will God say to you? Enter or I never knew you…………….

If I were the devil…sound familiar…

Eph 6:12,13a “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God…”

IF I WERE THE DEVIL (From Paul Harvey)

I would gain control of the most powerful nation in the world;
I would delude their minds into thinking that they had come from man’s effort, instead of God’s blessings;
I would promote an attitude of loving things and using people, instead of the other way around; I would dupe entire states into relying on gambling for their state revenue;
I would convince people that character is not an issue when it comes to leadership;
I would make it legal to take the life of unborn babies;
I would make it socially acceptable to take one’s own life, and invent machines to make it convenient;
I would cheapen human life as much as possible, so that the lives of animals are valued more than human beings;
I would take God out of the schools, where even the mention of His name was grounds for a lawsuit;
I would come up with drugs that sedate the mind and target the young, and I would get sports heroes to advertise them;
I would get control of the media, so that every night I could pollute the mind of every family member for my agenda;
I would attack the family, the backbone of any nation; I would make divorce acceptable and easy, even fashionable, because if the family crumbles, so does the nation;
I would compel people to express their most depraved fantasies on canvas and movie screens, and I would call it art;
I would convince the world that people are born homosexuals, and that their lifestyles should be accepted and marveled;
I would convince the people that right and wrong are determined by a few who call themselves authorities, and refer to their agenda as politically correct;
I would persuade people that the church is irrelevant and out of date, and the Bible is for the naive;
I would persuade people that there are no absolutes, that a person must do what is right for them in each situation;
I would dull the minds of Christians, and make them believe that prayer is not important, and that faithfulness and obedience are optional;
I guess I would leave things pretty much the way they are.

Good Day
Paul Harvey

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

James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore unto God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”