Be Born Again

The Commands of Jesus Series

John 3:3,16  Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

“For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus made it crystal clear that there is only one way to get to heaven and that is through the means that he made available, but so many are not listening, they ignore the simple message as they look for a different plan.

We must realize that every man regardless of rank, position or the amount of power that he has, must be born again, there is not any fine print with some exceptions listed. We are all in the same sad situation before we meet our savior, without any way of repairing the relationship that has been damaged by sin.

Men love to deviate from God’s instructions and choose to deal with Him on our own terms, kidding ourselves into believing that we are somehow in control of the situation but God has set the terms for our relationship with him, terms that will not be changed or amended for any person.

I must pray that I never get used to the fact that people are going to hell everyday. I need to make the most of every opportunity to share my faith with a world full of people that are desperate for a Savior.

Thank you Jesus for giving me such a simple way to inherit eternal life. Help me to be bold in spreading the good news.

You might like to read:

Did You Hear The Good News?  //  God Has My Back  //  God Love’s His Church

Hope in God

Psalm 42:11 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Have you ever reached that point of being at rock bottom?  Have you ever been in the pit of despair, the place where you feel like you’re just never going to get out?  Did you feel hopeless?  The good news is, for those who belong to God there is always hope.

The truth of the matter is, becoming a Christian doesn’t guarantee that all o four problems go away.  It doesn’t guarantee sunny days and smooth sailing.  It certainly doesn’t mean we’ll never have to face depression.  There may be times that life seems bleak.  It doesn’t mean God isn’t with us through it.  He’s right there beside us.

There’s no easy way to explain why God allows us to go through those times without just lifting us out of them.  It may be that He wants to see us grow from the experience or that in some way it brings Him glory.  It may be in your circumstance that you’ll never know God’s purpose.  That’s hard, but there’s always hope.

God loves you.  He doesn’t want anything to harm you unless it’s somehow tied to His plan for your life.  Trust in Him.  Trust that He knows what’s best and has a kind heart towards you.  Cry out to Him and all Him to be your comfort.  Expect Him to rescue you from the pit.  He is good, all the time.

Be A Servant

The Commands of Jesus Series

Matthew 20:25-28  But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.  26  But among you it will be different.

Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,  27  and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.

28  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Everybody can relate to the words of Jesus in verse twenty-five, but there is verse twenty-six and beyond that really throws us off. Just about anybody that is in a position of authority has a tendency to take advantage of some perks that come along with the job. Most officials whether they are government or even church leaders are tempted to be treated better or to get something that they wouldn’t normally get.

Jesus makes it so clear, this is an issue that the Bible doesn’t leave open for interpretation, he tells them that the worlds leaders do “this” but for anybody that wants to follow Jesus example of  leadership, you are going to be a servant.

Serving was a very important subject that Jesus talked about a lot. Jesus knew that the best way for the world to see his love was for his followers to be awesome lovers, he knew that the world would know that we are his children by our love for others, especially for the people that persecute us.

Do you display enough love in your life that it makes people wonder why you are different?

I am so thankful Lord that you loved me first, help me to look past my rights and my selfishness and show your love to everyone that I have contact with.

You might like to read:
Jesus Wants His Disciples To Be Loving  //  I Am A New Creation  //  Choose Love

Learning from Lou

17 seasons, 2,130 consecutive games, 6 World Series Championships, 23 grand slams, he played in every All-Star Game until the day he was forced to retire, saying his farewell at age 36 in 1939, and to this day I’m convinced that the records he broke, ones that took between 50 to 70 years to even tie or break, would remain untouched if his time hadn’t been cut so short before he was called home.

Ever since I was a child there were few who invoked my imagination amidst my love of baseball like The Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig. Even as I marked his birthday yesterday with a quiet, solemn remembrance of the man, I found myself thinking about his legacy. What an amazing legacy it is even today when you sit down and consider it, a man whose name, even now, stirs a degree of reverence and invokes thoughts of greatness even  109 years after he was born, 71 years after his death.

What though does any of this have to do with discipleship? What does it have to do with living an effective life as a disciple of Christ?

The truth is, for all the incredible, amazing things Gehrig did, it’s the courage summed up in a few sentences from his final farewell, “… For the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth…. I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for.” It was that strength, knowing the impossible odds that he faced, the impossible odds that would tear from him any hopes he had for a future, that allowed for him to stand there, in front of God and those fans and say that, despite it all, there was so much he was grateful for and so much left to live for that he couldn’t find it in him to be angry or bitter about any of it, that gives to us an understanding in a lesson taught.

You see we can lose a bit of ourselves amidst the challenges and the difficulties that life has, finding the struggles overwhelm us. At times we can lose sight of ourselves and the fact that there are no temptations except those that are common to man, (1 Corinthians 10:13) as we let ourselves lose sight of the blessings that are in our lives. Yet it’s never the challenges that define us, nor the struggles that have the power over us, that is unless we let them touch us in a way that stirs that dissent and hardship within our spirits and our souls.

Yet, despite any of it, what we need to remember is that despite the adversity, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) to be more than conquerors in Christ, who loves us. (Romans 8:37) That sometimes means looking past the here and now, and the present hardship, even the things that seek to tear us down and cast a veil over us, to remind ourselves that despite the bad breaks, we’ve “… got an awful lot to live for” through the blessed reminder that “to live is Christ, to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21) telling us that nothing built of trial and turmoil has any power over us if we run the race with perseverance and hope. (Hebrews 12:1)

We might not have the world watching as we stand in front it for the answer we give to the deeper challenges we face in our lives, and if our blessed gift of time is cut short, we may not have memorials erected in our honor as people remember our names, speaking it with reverence long after we gone. Yet that just makes it all the more important for us to use our time and our days wisely while we live this temporal existence, it makes it all the more important for us to meet our challenges head on, and to live each day letting only that blessing and the hope of the strength given to us as what defines us in the faith and the love that guides us.

We are as strong as we let ourselves be, so let your strength be forged by courage in the fires of adversity, and know that each day is a gift, a chance to be more and do more, to meet the struggles head on, knowing that even at its hardest, it is nothing more than a testimony to the unbreakable spirit and will that abides in you through faith by the love of a Heavenly Father and the care of a blessed Savior, the works of a divine Spirit, that is with you all the days of your life.

The mystery of God

Ecclesiastes 11:5  As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

We must be careful in this day and age where we have seemingly limitless information available to us that we don’t think we know everything.  It’s really pretty easy to get all up in our own heads, thinking that the knowledge we’ve collected over the years about God somehow makes us experts on Him.  For those who do a lot of Bible study, the danger can be even more likely to occur.

The problem with thinking that we have God all figured out is that we lose our awe of Him.  We lose sight of the fact that it’s God who created even the most intricate details of life, some we have yet to discover.  There are universes upon universes and we only know a tiny fraction about our own.  How can we think we have it all figured out?

The thing is, we finite humans will never be capable of knowing all that makes God who He is.  We’ll never be able to figure out all that He’s made.  There’s so much left for us to discover, and yet, we’ll still only be touching the surface.  God is more than we can understand.  He’s more than we can imagine.  He’s beyond our abilities.  We need to do is acknowledge that some things remain a mystery and revere God all the more because of it.

Honor Your Parents

The Commands of Jesus Series

Matthew 15:4  God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’

Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”

The ten commandments can be split into two separate sections, the first involves commands that tell us how to relate to God and the second section tells us the ground rules on how to treat our fellow man.

The first command that pertains to our relationships with people is the one that tells us how to treat our parents. We are to show honor to them, that means not only respect and submission, but also to take care of a person, to nurture and sustain them.

It isn’t any surprise that God wants us to treat our parents with the highest regard, after all he told us to love our enemies and those that persecute us. So then even if you think that your parents don’t deserve it, you are not off the hook, we have to love our enemies so how much better should we teat our parents. No matter how old we get to be or how independent we become, we are still obligated to love and respect them and to take care of their needs when they cannot.

Lord help me to love my parents and care for them as they grow older. Thank you for Christian parents.

 

Guided by Love to Unity

What sort of Christian, what sort of Disciple do we want to be? How do we want our faith and our hope in Christ to be expressed? How do we want it seen by the world around us, reflected from the deeper places in our hearts and our souls?

Those should be, when we stop to think about it, relatively easy questions to answer, shouldn’t they? After all, the Word of God, simple and beautiful by its very nature, is uncomplicated when it offers us the understanding we need to dwell in the knowledge of what it means to be one of Christ’s Disciples, to follow in the footsteps and the path of our blessed Savior. (1 Corinthians 1:11) Of all the commands that came before, the instructions and the laws that wove around the most ancient of covenants, His was unadorned by ritual and ceremony, by pomp and procedure. Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Triune God, (Matthew 28:16-20) showing them the path of faith and hope through a love that edifies, strengthens and nourishes those around us in the miracle that is His blessings. (John 13:34-35)

This is why He Himself, a poor carpenter from Galilee, born in the most meager of estates in Bethlehem, was viewed as so much of a threat. It didn’t matter who you were or where you came from or where you had been, you were welcomed to Him. Yes, what God wanted, what God expected was important, but, in a wisdom that so often seems to elude the comprehension of men, He knew there was no rules that meant more to God than that we love Him, and that we love our one another with the full strength and full conviction of our hearts and our souls, our spirits and our minds. (Matthew 22:37-41) This was the blessing we could be by which all abundant life shined as a beacon to the world around us.

So often though we get tend to get bogged down by doctrine and the fights that it brings, we get so hung up on one or two passages in Scripture that we tend to let that define our faith more than anything else. We let ourselves become known for the things we are against as we let it serve as a wall surrounding us that keeps others out, rather than letting our faith and love serve as a door to let them in.

Now, to be clear, a proper understanding of Scripture should never be debased, nor should it be shied away from. The Word of God is meant to be studied, to be learned from, as it offers a path through its instruction to a righteous life. (2 Timothy 3:16) Yet nowhere in the Bible does it say “He who believes and is baptized, believing in all the right doctrine shall be saved.” Why? Because God transcends us in His wisdom and His hope for us even as He knows we aren’t going to completely understand or grasp it, telling us to dwell in unity with one another and turn from those who would tear us apart, who would destroy the fabric of harmony and peace between us. (Romans 16:17-18)

After all, in the end, it’s only God Himself who judges the hearts, the words and the deeds, the lifestyles and the choices of those souls that enter His Kingdom, not us. The path, if we believe the words of our blessed Savior, the Good Shepherd who guides and protects us, it is not a path that is paved through strictest adherence that abides in law, it is the path that has been paved by Him (John 14:6) in His tender mercy, His loving care, and His healing touch.

You can do more as a Disciple in the humble works of faith with a kindness to others, seeking to be a blessing in the world around you than you could ever do by hiding, locked away in a fortress of law and doctrine, shunning the world harshly for the offenses that it causes you. In that you have the capacity, through the power of the Spirit, to do more with the gift of grace that God has given you if you let yourself. It’s just a question of if you’ll let yourself, knowing that God will use you for more if your heart is truly open to love, hope and charity, and the wonders they can bring.

So again, what sort of Disciple do you want to be? What sort of blessings do you want to bring through your faith? It can be a blessing blossoming with the radiance of the truest beauty that springs forth from your soul, it’s just a matter of setting aside your pride and letting the Spirit nurture it to that point. After all, it is this love, this hope, in the principles of Christ’s blessed example that makes Scripture relevant, passing from age to age even to the present one.

Deny Yourself

The Commands of Jesus Series

Luke 9:22-25  “The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things,” He said. “He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day He will be raised from the dead.”

23 Then He said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow Me.  24  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it. 25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?

The most prevalent false doctrines that the world embraces is selfishness and greed. The world’s motivation is to get everything that it can get at any cost, but that is the problem, they have been deceived and they haven’t seen what the price tag is on what they are buying into.We have before us the most extreme example of a person that lived for others, Jesus was not selfish, he suffered for the sake of others, he was wrongfully rejected when he could have been the most popular guy in town, he was killed instead of being judgmental and punishing the people all around him that he had the right to condemn.

Here is the reality of the situation, even if you get every piece of wealth that the world has to offer, every treasure that there is but if you didn’t follow Jesus then you have lost it all.

I need to remember what the price tag was for my eternal destiny, I have been bought at a very high price, the debt of my sin has been paid and I need to show my gratitude for Jesus sacrifice by living each day for him.

Lord, help me to fight against the world’s economic policy, the stakes are too high, I need to give up my life for Christ sake so that I will be saved. Lord help us to never forget how great a sacrifice that you made for us.