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Jesus Victory Over Sin

Romans 6:6-11 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.  For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.  And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.  We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him.  When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God.  So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

We all love to make plans and try to take control of our day, we make plans and then we face the roadblocks to our plans, the rest of the world likes to get in our way. There is a plan that hasn’t been altered or modified, that would be God’s plan, it has been the same since the beginning of time.

Satan knew that God’s plan to break the power of sin was an assault on his power, the grip that he had on man was coming to an end, Satan was fighting back for thirty-three years but he failed to stop the plan. Satan worked to spoil God’s plan from Jesus birth all the way to his death, from King Herod all the way to the soldiers nails, but the plan kept on.

Jesus set me free, my sin was taken to the cross and they have been removed from the record books, the spreadsheet that was being kept has been deleted without any payments being made by me. Jesus paid off the entire balance. The only payments that I can make is to live for Jesus in obedience to him, I can offer my life as a living sacrifice. (Romans 12:1-2)

I now have real life that is worth living. Life without bondage and fear, life with hope and a bright future, a life that will never end. I need to share this good news with everyone.

Thank you Lord for giving me real life without the bondage and fear that so many people are still trapped in. I pray that they will hear the gospel message and receive your powerful healing in their life.

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Obedience Isn’t Always A Logical Choice

Luke 5:1-5 As the crowd was pressing in on Jesus to hear God’s word, He was standing by Lake Gennesaret. He saw two boats at the edge of the lake; the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets.

He got into one of the boats, which belonged to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from the land. Then He sat down and was teaching the crowds from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” “Master,” Simon replied, “we’ve worked hard all night long and caught nothing! But at Your word, I’ll let down the nets.”

Jesus had been doing a lot of work in Capernaum for several days and he was drawing a large crowd. Today they were gathering around him very early, they must have missed some sleep in order to go find Jesus and listen to him teach and to watch the miracles.

It was so early that the fisherman were still cleaning up their nets after a long unsuccessful evening, there isn’t any longer night for a fisherman than the night that he catches nothing, these guys were ready to go home and get some sleep.

Instead of going home to get some rest the future disciples get a fishing tip from Jesus, at this point they have been up all night and their nets are probably cleaned up and are ready to be put away, nevertheless Peter does what Jesus asked him to do.

This time their nets are filled more than they have ever been with fish, they had to call their friends over to help them, what a payday this is going to be! No, they didn’t get rich, instead of cashing in on the biggest load of fish that these guys have ever had, they leave it all behind and followed Jesus.

I need to be obedient to what God wants me to do. Sometimes we get frustrated when the whole world seems to be against us, we can loose our focus and decide to quit but if God wants us to do something then we need to be faithful and obey, chances are that we will see bigger results than we ever thought possible.

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With all the fullness of God

Ephesians 3:19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

We’re blessed, as children of God, with knowledge of the love that Jesus Christ embodied in His self-sacrificial work on the cross. It’s unlike any other love that we can know here on this earth, in this life where everything is so limited. The love of a parent, a spouse, or a child can never even compare to the love of God

His love is beyond our knowledge, yet the desire Paul had for the Ephesians was that they could appreciate this love that surpasses human understanding. He wanted this that they might be filled with all the fullness of God. The same can be said for us today. Were we to fully know the love of Jesus Christ, we would be filled with all of the fullness of God.

Many attributes are discussed when it comes to God. He is mighty, He is all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present. The list goes on and on. But to really know God is to know His love. To know Him is to be known (and loved) by Him.

Christ Following

Matthew 4:19 “Follow Me,” He told them, “and I will make you fish for people!”

There are a lot of distractions in the world but for the Christ follower that wants to be obedient, the number one focus should be on making disciples, it’s what Jesus spent his time doing everyday. He started his ministry with the call to the first disciples and he ended his ministry by telling his disciples to go make some more disciples.

Jesus told his potential disciples up front what we was going to do with them but I don’t think that they really understood and I am pretty sure that they didn’t realize the process as it was going on. Jesus subtly brought them along one tiny step at a time, just the same as he has done with me, he knew that there would be a process and that I wouldn’t suddenly become a mature, faithful follower right away.

Jesus spent three years in close daily contact with this group of men, showing them the new way of life and the new way of thinking, he did so through his teaching but most important he did it through his lifestyle.

Disciples don’t get made by themselves, I need to be intentional and make it a part of my lifestyle, I need to be about building relationships that God can use.

Help me Lord to step out and intentionally work at making disciples, I want to live so that my walk is consistent with my talk, so that you will get the glory.

Who’s In Charge

1 Peter 2:13-14 For the Lord’s sake, respect all human authority—whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.

Ever since the Garden of Eden, Satan has tempted us by questioning authority, he lied about God and Adam and Eve began to wonder about God’s intentions and whether the rules that he gave them were fair.

God’s commandments have been questioned every moment of every day ever since that day and we can see the consequences all around us but we still want to live life our way.

Accepting authority and being submissive is required of every child of God, it is necessary in our relationship with God and in every other relationship that we have. From family to the work place and in government, there is an order that God designed to help us live together in harmony.

We see the idea of submission demonstrated in the Trinity, all of them working together in unison, each of them fulfilling a role and each of them bringing glory to the other and doing what is beneficial to the whole.

✔ Jesus sought to bring glory to God the Father. (John 15:10)
✔ Jesus willingly died for us. (John 10:17-18)
✔ The Holy Spirit gives Jesus glory. (John 16:13-15)
✔ God the Father gave glory back to Jesus. (John 8:54, 17:24)

Too bad we do not get to enjoy this oneness and cooperative spirit from the people that we relate to but that doesn’t get us off the hook. We need to be submissive and give ourselves to helping others and building them up. (Philippians 2:3-8)

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What’s In Your Wallet

Matthew 6:19-21  “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.  Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.  Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

1 Timothy 6:17-19  Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.  Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.  By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.

Accumulating wealth is a great idea, go for as much of it as you can get, in fact let’s be greedy about it. Just be sure that you are talking about the treasure that you are storing away in heaven.

Just you use your earthly wealth correctly it will help you accumulate more heavenly wealth. The best use for our earthly wealth is to use it to help people in need and use it to help spread the gospel message around the world.

I must not be proud of how well I can provide for my needs or place my trust in my earthly wealth, instead I need to be generous and willing to help those that are in need that I have the ability to help.

Help me Lord to remember that my money belongs to you, help me to know how to use it for your purpose.

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Fix It

Matthew 5:23-24  “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you,  leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19  And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to Himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him.  19  For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.

Sometimes it seems so much easier to not fix a relationship than to face the issues and become right with that person, but God doesn’t care for the easy way of doing things, he went through a lot of great effort to make relationships right.

Through Jesus we have been shown the great lengths that God would go to in order to fix a relationship. He could have taken the easy way out and just wrote us off and let us self destruct.

The master of relationship repair made us right with him and we should be willing to go out of our way to fix the broken relationships that we have in our life. We are his representatives to the rest of the world so they will come to know the God of fixed relationships. He isn’t impersonal, he is relational, and he wants us to be the same.

Thank you Lord for making the relationship right between you and I. Help me to be busy showing people that relationships matter, especially the relationship with you that is possible only because of Jesus.

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Invitation to greater grace

Philippians 1:12-13 (NASB) “Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else”

The question I want you to ask yourself today is, “What circumstances in my life are turning out for the greater progress of the gospel?” So many of us pray for God’s will for our life or for Jesus to use us greatly to further His kingdom, but we become very discouraged when the circumstances in our life don’t line up to what we think that answered prayer should look like.

You may live in a neighborhood that’s not that great, surrounded by neighbors that you feel you have nothing in common with. You may have a job where you’re the only Christian and you feel isolated, maybe even mocked for your faith. You may have a family member who’s constantly challenging and questioning you because of your walk with Jesus. It may feel like God’s abandoned you. The truth is, God is setting up your life, to do work a work in and through your life, greater than you could ever imagine.

When Paul set out on his mission, I’m sure he did not picture his ministry taking place in a Roman prison chained to a guard. He may have pictured it taking place in a town square, preaching to eager listeners, welcomed into homes for a meal and a cozy place to lay his head. And I’m sure those situations happened a lot in Paul’s life and that was very good. But when Paul was thrown into prison, when he was brought before the courts, when he was chained to the praetorian guard, that’s when Paul experienced Christ the greatest.

Because Paul kept preaching the gospel, even from prison, he gave other Christians great boldness to take their faith to the next level. You may not realized it, but other Christians that surround your life see what you’re going through. When they see you being faithful during tough times, it encourages them.

Because Paul was chained to a praetorian guard, he was able to share the gospel with men who he wouldn’t have had a chance to otherwise. Their may be somebody God is putting in your life that He want’s to reach through you. It may seem impossible, but we serve a God who makes all things possible.

Because Paul was brought before the courts, the gospel was made known through out the Roman Empire. You may be in a place where you feel like a sheep thrown to a pack of wolves, but never forget the great Shepherd is with you always. You’re not an isolated Christian, but Christ’s light for a very dark place.

Because of the grace of Jesus Christ, a situation that looked very dire, turned out for the greater glory of God. It’s during these tough times that we not only experience and know God in a greater way, but it’s also where he uses us in a greater way. It’s also where we experience the greatest grace. So here’s my final question for you. What grace is Christ inviting you to participate in today to show His glory in and through your life?

Measuring Greatness

Luke 9:23 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.

Luke 9:46-48 Then his disciples began arguing about which of them was the greatest. But Jesus knew their thoughts, so he brought a little child to his side. Then he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.”

We live in a world that is “measured.” Most of us know our age, how many hours a week we work and how many miles it is to get there. Who doesn’t like to know how much they are getting for our money?

One of our favorite things to measure is how well we compare to the other people around us. Look at the average Facebook profile and you will see plenty of evidence that some people think very much about themselves. Their kids are great, their vacations are amazing and they have the most incredible time everywhere they go.

Jesus rewrote the book on how to measure greatness. Disciples of Jesus are supposed to be denying self and following a man that didn’t build himself up, or accumulate any wealth and he didn’t act like a big deal even though he was.

We seek to build up ourselves and please ourselves with the conveniences and toys that are available in this rich country we live in. It doesn’t take long to realize that it is difficult to carry all those things around and still have the strength to carry our cross as well.

Help me Lord to reject the urge to build up myself. I need to follow your example and serve others.

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How Generous Will You Be?

The “wise” choice is to be generous.

Luke 10:34-35  Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.

35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’

I wrote a post about the parable of the good Samaritan, and I thought of something that I had never seen before in the story. Everybody usually focuses on the victim, the Samaritan or the guys that pass him by without any offer of kindness. While I was working on the post it occurred to me that I have never heard anyone talk about the innkeeper.

It dawned on me that the innkeeper has been given an opportunity, the Samaritan has begun a good work and he has asked the Jewish innkeeper to complete the rehab on the injured man and after promising to repay him for his expenses, the Samaritan leaves. We don’t know what the innkeeper did but we do know that he has options, he can take care of the Jew that was beaten or he can take the money from the Samaritan and do nothing.

If he decides to care for the man, the innkeeper could:

  • Keep a running tab of every single expense, he could be honest but legalistic about everything that it cost him.
  • Be a thief and inflate the bill, he could make it look like the guy received the best care and that he was living in luxury.
  • Be like the Samaritan man and practice generosity as well.

The innkeeper could have looked out for himself and padded his own pockets as his reward for being bothered with this guy or he could be as kind as the good Samaritan was and help without any restrictions.

This Christmas we need to be very careful that we live generously. Not generously to the people around us that already have too much stuff, we need to see the needs that are around us and look for ways to meet them, we need to see the world through the eyes of Christ.

God wants me to be honest and to be generous in love and mercy, I need to be aware of the opportunities that come my way everyday, and even more so as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.