Connect

Stay connected!

The power of vision.

​What is the power of vision? Is it the vision John and I shared Sunday? No. There power of vision is not the vision. The actual power of vision is the Holy Spirit (Eph 3:20-21) working in and through us. We shared the vision statement Sunday. Then explained it in three things we believe we must focus on in every ministry at Calvary. 

Teaching the word. 
Reaching the stranded. 
Unleashing the church. 

Yet at the center of the circle are the two things we have found over and over again in our journey through the Book of Acts: prayer that connects us as the church to the Holy Spirit, thus accomplishing the vision of God. 

What does this mean for us

1. We need to have a daily, personal ability to pray and live in the fullness of the Spirit. 

2. We need to have a daily understanding that we pray not just personally, but also corporately. 

3. When we pray together, God loves it. So, on Wednesdays at 12 noon at the church campus we pray for an hour. Some come for 15 minutes. Others can stay the whole hour. Some can't come to our campus but have set their alarms to pray at 12 noon in some way. 

As we pray, God is present. 
Keep praying because .... 
The power of pray is not the vision itself; It's God Himself. 

Continue reading
  14 Hits
  0 Comments
14 Hits
0 Comments

Vision. What now?

Yesterday was a great day of celebration of not only what God has done, but of what He will do. You could cut the excitement with a knife. Thank you for your prayers and willingness to be a part of what God is doing at Calvary Ruidoso.

Here are the notes I used yesterday for the first part of the message where we focused on the vision in a simple way. Jesus wants us to live out the vision. Talk up life giving stuff, Live it. Pray it. And you may want to make a list of things in your life where you need to work on being life giving. My list is below. 

A church with vision unifies around that vision. In the days and weeks ahead we will be further exploring what it means to be a life giving people for God. 

Passivity is the enemy of passion. On this, let's have passion. Let's be aggressive. Share the life giving Savior and Lord with everyone. 

Love you all. 

Pastor Alan 
John 10:10

----------------------------------

Life giving churches choose the right side and pursue God there.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."
John 10:10

Life giving churches fight against the enemy in his territory.

"And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock,I will build
my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."  
Matt 16:18

Life giving churches remember God can do more than they think.

"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,
according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church
and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." 
Eph 3:20-21

Three examples of what it means to be a life giving … Person. Pastor. Church.

A life giving life …

Constantly pursues the life Giver - John 10:10
Refuses to camp in negativity - John 10:10
Speaks life - Prov 18:21
Walks by faith not by sight - Gal 2:20
Understands the plight of the stranded - Rom 3:23-24
Experiences each day of life as a mission trip - Matt 28:19-20

Continue reading
  22 Hits
  0 Comments
22 Hits
0 Comments

I FOUND THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH!

READ JOHN 4:1-45​  

 Ok, I really didn't find the fountain of youth. But I discovered something even better - living water! "What is living water," you say? It is the water offered by Jesus to all who thirst for hope, peace, love, joy and happiness. And the best thing about it, it lasts. It is for all eternity. And it is free to all who ask!

   Jesus offered this water to an adulteress woman when he said, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'give me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." This particular woman had been married 5 times and was currently living with a man. Even in our culture that raises questions in our minds, but can you imagine what it was like for this woman 2000 years ago in the religious culture of her day? She came to draw water in the heat of the day because she didn't have to endure the gossip of the other woman. Now we aren't told what happened to her previous 5 husbands, some may have died, but they may also have divorced her. What we do know, is she felt empty, hurt, rejected and alone. And no matter how many men she sought to satisfy her needs, she only become more empty and alone.

   What about you? Do you look to people or things to satisfy the need for hope, peace, love, joy and happiness in your life? Have they proven empty. The offer from Jesus is eternal joy. 

"Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life,"

   Forsake the things that have proven empty and embrace the gift of God - Eternal life in Christ Jesus, and you will never thirst again. 

Continue reading
  170 Hits
  0 Comments
170 Hits
0 Comments

Fasting and Prayer Guide

Prayer and Fasting Guide
January 1-21, 2019

Seek Jesus

1 - Read Psalm 139. Thank God for who He is in this passage. Thank Him for who you are (v. 14). Ask Him to search you deeply, confess sin to Him, and ask Him to lead you forward (v. 23-24)

2 - 1 John 1:9. Today, spend time confessing where sin is present in your life. Get serious about it. Agree with God about your sins. Receive true forgiveness from God (Rom 8:1). Turn from sin.

3 - John 10:10. Pray against the enemy's purpose. Ask the Father that you would be a life giving follow of Jesus Christ. Ask Him to enable you to reject the negative. Be encouraging today.

4 - Luke 9:62. Following Jesus looks forward and forgets what is behind us (Phil 3:13-14). As you see a new year ahead, leave what's not needed behind. Pray for faith to move forward.

5 - John 13:34-35. Ask the Lord to give you a fresh, Holy Spirit empowered ability to love. Pray, seeking to recognizing our witness is linked to our loving each other. Make a commitment to love.

6 - Acts 1:6-11. We are to be on mission with God (v. 8). Yet at times we are just standing around when we should be moving forward (v. 11). Ask the Lord to get you moving forward on purpose.

7 - Matt 6:14-15. Today, focus on forgiving everyone unforgiven in your life. If hard, good. Just do it. It doesn't mean you approve what caused the pain. It means you choose love and mercy for Jesus sake.

Serve Jesus

8 - Read 1 Cor. 12:1-7. Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal to your mind and heart, where and how you fit into the body of Christ. Pray for revelation truth of having an assignment and equipping of God.

9 - Read Romans 12:1-3. "I pray for the revelation of your special and good purpose that You Lord have called me to live out. Show me the doors I'm to hold open for You."

10 - Read Eph. 4:11. Pray "Lord show me the work of the ministry You have equipped me do. Direct my ever action to the doors I'm to hold open. I thank you for the leadership You have provided for my preparation to open Your doors."

11 - Read Matt. 28:18-20. Pray "Lord show me who and how I am to disciple. Thank you Father for the calling and equipping to hold open every door You show me for Your children to know You and serve You."

12 - Read Hebrews 13:20-21. Pray, "Father renew my mind daily that I will open the doors You direct and close those You desire closed."

13 - Read Eph. 3:20-21. "I pray Father for me to constantly be aware You are the power and wisdom behind every door I open or close. It will never be of my own volition that I serve."

14 - Read Proverbs 3:5-7. "Lord I pray these words every day that only You direct my paths and I will not trust my understanding. You oh Lord are the wisdom I crave to live by."

Share Jesus

15 - Read 1 Peter 1. Ask yourself if the hope of heaven and eternity with God is the driving factor in your life? Also, pray for God's holiness to be reflected in you. Does this world mold and shape your view about God or does God shape your view of the world?

16 - Read 1 Peter 2. What is your witness? In other words, how has God changed you? Are you walking in the footsteps of Jesus? How does your life impact the world around you?

17 - Read 1 Peter 3. one of the marks of being a true believer is our ability to love; not only those who love us, but to love the unlovable and even those who hate us. Jesus said, "Love your enemies and do good to those who persecute you. How's this working for you?

18 - Read 1 Peter 4-5. Do you know that God cares very deeply for you? You are His child. He seeks to guide and comfort you. Do you believe He cares?

19 - Read 2 Peter 1. We know that we are saved by grace and not by works. We have put our trust in the work of God through His Son on the cross. But, do we play a role in the salvation we already have? Just as any child must eventually feed himself, so we must feed off God's word, applying its truths to our hearts. "Add to your faith virtue.

20 - Read 2 Peter 2. What are the marks of a false teacher?

21 - Read 2 Peter 3 . The day of the Lord is coming. What will He say to you when you stand before Him?



Continue reading
  43 Hits
  0 Comments
43 Hits
0 Comments

21 Days of Prayer and Fasting

Prayer and fasting.

When we say "prayer" it's all good. When we add "fasting" it gets weird right? OK. This is not that. We are asking you to pray about praying and fasting for 21 days from January 1-21.

Why fast?

Biblical fasting with prayer and the word, seeking to know God deeper, is our main purpose to consider fasting.

How to fast?

Here's a few things to consider

1. You can do partial fasts.

This would for example mean, you can fast from kinds of food. You can fast for certain times of the day. For example, you may say, "I will not eat while the sun is up." You may skip a meal or two. Or you may just say for 21 days I will not eat carbs or sweets. You may do the Daniel fast which is eating only vegetables. You may fast for only 5 days a week concerning food. Then have a different plan for the weekend.

2. When you fast drink much water and juices.

3. When you fast, spend more time in prayer, silence, and scripture reading.

4. Make a prayer list during these 21 days.

5. Your fast may be digital.

No TV. No phone. No social media. You may feel led to fast from something that does not involve food at all. That is an option, especially if you have dietary concerns. If it draws you closer to God, it works.

6. Remember, we are on the "guilt free" road.

You can start any time on the 1st and quit any time on the 21st. You may want to just fast for 2-3 days a week. If this is your first time fasting, you may want to spread it out. Fasting can be intimidating. Remember, we are not about legalism. We are about life and freedom.

7. Plan your fast.

If you don't plan it, fasting will be hard. You have to be able to say to yourself, "I'm fasting; I'm not eating this or that. I'm spending time in prayer instead." You will have to plan to not eat certain foods or it will be tough.

For example, I (Alan) will not be eating carbs or sweets for 21 days. I will be making a schedule of daily shakes and will probably eat salads for 21 days. (It's hard to write that :-) and I may allow for some kind of meat on the weekends. I'm not fully sure yet. But I will be writing it down and will be able to show you.

Also, don't see your fast as a way to diet or find better habits. What you are doing is simply creating a block of time to draw closer to God in order to discern his will and find direction in your life (and for the church). Read Romans 12:1-2.

For example, I (John) will be removing TV from my life for these three weeks. But I will be replacing it with reading and writing. The key to a successful time fast is to replace the wasted time with productive spiritual growth.

Here is a good comprehensive understanding of fasting and prayer from the late Dr. Bill Bright, from Cru. Take a look.

We will share more in the weeks coming.

We will set up some prayer options for you. There will be a devotional passage and prayer for each day. This will be in print and through digital media.

What if God wants to bring revival and awakening out of our time or seeking Him for 21 days?

We love you church. You're the best. If you have any questions about prayer and fasting, just ask us.

Pastors John and Alan



Continue reading
  57 Hits
  0 Comments
57 Hits
0 Comments

BE CONTENT

"I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:10–13, ESV)

The Providence of God can be summed up in this one verse.

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28, ESV)

Can you think of a more comforting verse than this? Providence comes from two Latin words: Pro, meaning "before," and video, meaning, "to see."

However, Providence isn't just seeing what happens beforehand, but seeing to it beforehand. In other words, God is able to take our circumstances and the activities of this world and use them to fulfill His greater purposes. And according to Paul's words in Romans 8:28, the believer can find purpose in any and all circumstances and events that take place in his or her life.

Paul wrote many of his letters to the church from Prison; not the most ideal of circumstances. And we know from other places in scripture that he felt deserted by men.

"You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes." (2 Timothy 1:15, ESV)

I believe there was a sense of loneliness in Paul's life having felt deserted by those he served and brought the gospel to.

"For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry." (2 Timothy 4:10–11, ESV)

In his letter to the Philippians Paul finds great comfort and encouragement from them because they send Epaphroditus with an offering for Paul's needs; showing the simple struggles of life we all share.

And yet, because of the Sovereignty of God, Paul has learned to be content, no matter what circumstance he finds himself in.

Will you find your strength in Christ today? Will you trust yourself to the God who has seen to your life beforehand?

Continue reading
  50 Hits
  0 Comments
50 Hits
0 Comments

Save Me From Myself

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. (Gen 3:8)

So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. (Gen 3:24)

This world is a mess; not because God made it that way, but because mankind looks to make a name for themselves rather than magnify the one name that matters; the name above every other name; the name of our Lord and our King, our maker and our savior; the name of the one true God – Yahweh, the great I AM!

Ever since Adam and Eve ate of that forbidden fruit, putting their wants and desires above the one who made them, mankind has been in a constant state of anguish; seeking relief in the Garden they have been cast from, but without the commitment to God who made them. What they can't seem to grasp is that relief comes from submission to God and His plan to restore man back to his place in the garden.

Which begs the question, why did God cast man from the garden? Couldn't the tree of life have restored them to the life they had with God before they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? The answer to that question is a resounding no! Rather, to eat from the tree of life would have sealed their fate as sinners, and therefore relegated them to an eternity separated from God. Therefore, it was an act of mercy for God to guard their entrance from the tree of life.

You see, God had a plan to restore humanity by allowing his Son to hang on a tree in place of sinful man. By so doing he judged sin and made a path back to the garden through Jesus Christ. Jesus became the fruit we must partake of in order to have life. He is the bread of life.

I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world." (John 6:51)

The path back to God comes through His Son.

And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."

Imagine this with me. The tree by which we find life is a rugged cross; a cruel form of execution designed for judgment against the worst of criminals, or an opponent's enemies. And instead of rightly putting us on that cross for our insurrection against Him, He hung in our place. Wow!

So, the path back to the garden of God comes through His Son Jesus Christ. Our part is to admit our need for Him. Which means we must acknowledge our own rebellious hearts; our desire to make a name for ourselves rather than glorify the God who made us. If you want access to God the Father, look to the Son. If you have lost all hope in the kingdoms of men, look to the kingdom of God where all is made right. Surrender and submit to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It is Gods invitation to you.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

Continue reading
  418 Hits
  2 Comments
418 Hits
2 Comments

Make America Great Again?


"And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, "Rabbi, when did You come here?" Jesus answered them and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him."" (John 6:25-27, NKJV)

In essence what Jesus is saying is, "you will follow anybody that feeds you." This was the predicament of the Germans after WWI and what made them susceptible to the lies of Hitler who promised to restore their glory and make them wealthy. They proved Satan right when he said of man…

"So Satan answered the Lord and said, "Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life." (Job 2:4, NKJV)

Erwin Lutzer comments on this mentality with these words.

"Survival is a powerful drive within us all, and most of us are willing to compromise our values in order to live. And if the government can guarantee our financial future, we support that government even if we intuitively suspect we are being led down a dangerous path."

At the end of 2008 this country reached a crisis that many of our top officials, including President Bush, felt would launch us into another great depression. There answer was to bail out the institutions that were "to big to fail". Bush was quoted as saying, this won't happen on my watch and as a result he paved the way for government to gain more control of its people. Many understood this could mean more government control, but in electing for comfort over having to tighten their belts, they compromised their values. Benjamin Franklin said of this mentality…

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."Benjamin Franklin

That is exactly what happened to Germany under Hitler. You may ask where was the church in Germany when Hitler was coming to power? They were minding their own business, hoping Hitler would just leave them alone. And as long as the church didn't mess with Hitler's policies, he left them alone.

However, there were a few who spoke out, but they were soon arrested and put into concentration camps, or executed. Ditric Bonhaufer was one of those pastors who challenged Hitler and died as a result of his resistance. And he would challenge Christians with these words.

"we will never be a victorious church until we see suffering as a divine gift."

Christians were afraid of what might happen to them if they stood up for what was right. And Lutzer concludes that

"The majority of the people, including the Christians in the Third Reich, no longer believed that Christianity was worth suffering for, much less dying for. They were willing to substitute Mein Kampf for the bible in exchange for jobs and the greater glory of Germany. Yet those who saved their lives lost them, and those who lost their lives saved them."

The church in Germany had lost sight of the kingdom of heaven and put their trust in temporal things. They had forgotten the words of Peter in his first epistle

"In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 1:6-7, ESV)

Christians above all people should understand that the path to greatness is through humility. As true believers we acknowledged our sin before a holy God and repented. We turned from the pride driven pursuit of self to pursue the God who not only made us but also saved us, when what we deserved was judgment. My concern however is that Christians see the greatness of our nation in its financial and military status rather than in its fear of a Holy God. Oh we may cry foul when immorality is clearly on display, supported and enforced by our leaders. But could that simply be a smokescreen for a greater passion inside of us – comfort and security? That is what heaven offers the believer. And Peter speaks of it as a future hope. Which means right now, as believers, if indeed we represent Gods kingdom, we will have trials and tribulations. Consider Bonheoffer's words again.

"we will never be a victorious church until we see suffering as a divine gift."

Continue reading
  705 Hits
  0 Comments
705 Hits
0 Comments

TAKE THE JESUS PLUNGE

TAKE THE JESUS PLUNGE

REPENT! What are the images conjured in your mind when you see that word? Do you see the “flames of hell” swirling up around your feet? Perhaps you see the half crazed bearded man on a corner with a sign that reads, “THE END IS COMING”. Or it could be that anger is stirred in your heart because somebody would dare to judge your life and choices. “What business is it of theirs anyway?” “ This is my body and my life, therefore I will do with it what I want.”

Whatever your reaction to that word, let me give you a new picture to consider. Some of you are old enough to remember the “Nestea Plunge” – a commercial where someone is drinking ice tea on an excruciatingly hot day while plunging into a swimming pool? The word that comes to mind is “refreshing”! When I hear the word “repent” I see Refreshing.

            From Gods perspective the word repent is an invitation to come into His presence and experience times of refreshing.

“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus,” (Acts 3:19–20, ESV)

The word repent simply means turn around. The idea is to have a change of heart or mind that turns you in the opposite direction you are going. Sin is an archer’s term that means to miss the mark. It means to be off target. Paul tells us in Romans that every human being misses the mark of Gods righteousness. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) The consequence of this short fall is separation from God and eternal judgment.

Therefore the un-repentant person is going away from comfort and peace into misery and chaos. Oh they may experience happiness and fulfillment, but only for a moment.

“By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.” (Hebrews 11:24–25, ESV)

            The pleasures of sin are described as fleeting. Eventually a life separated from God ceases to satisfy. Soon we begin to sing along with Mick Jaeger those iconic words, “I can’t get no satisfaction”. Our lives become riddled with ruin as spouse’s leave, children rebel, bosses fire and our government breaks promises. Your world is falling apart and you cry out, “What hope is there”?

            There is hope in the word repentance, for it is an invitation from God to return to Him for times of refreshing and joy and peace and hope. The scriptures tell us “God doesn’t take pleasure in the destruction of the wicked”. God would tell you that He sent His Son to die for your sin so that you could be restored in relationship to Him. There is no sin He can't forgive. Isn't that refreshing!

            The invitation is for any who would believe and put their trust in the Cross of Christ: for Jesus took our sin upon Himself and died with it. He paid the price, taking the penalty for our sin. “By His stripes we are healed.” Will you put your trust in Jesus – the Son of God? If so you will experience times of refreshing and joy and peace and hope that is eternal. Consider these words from John the Baptist in John 3:36…

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:36, ESV)

God loved us enough to do what was impossible for us to accomplish. He provided for our salvation through His Son. Will you give the Lord Jesus the reward of His suffering – your very soul? Will you take the Jesus plunge?

Continue reading
  999 Hits
  2 Comments
999 Hits
2 Comments

THE ROOT OF THE MATTER

THE ROOT OF THE MATTER

THE ROOT OF THE MATTER

 

“For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.” (Romans 11:16–18, NKJV)

 

 Is God impressed with you? Before you answer that question let me give you some synonyms for impressed: awestruck, rapt, captivated, mesmerized and spellbound. So, is God impressed with you? Obviously not! For God to be impressed with you, you would have to be Him. Therefore why do you work so hard to impress Him when you can't?

   A better question for us to ask is, do we please Him? The writer of Hebrews tells us in 11:6,

 

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6, NKJV)

 

We please God by believing in Him. And He rewards us when we chase after Him. The idea here is trust. Have you placed your confidence in Gods work for your salvation?  Paul tells us "we are saved by grace through faith" in Gods work not our own. God worked for our salvation by sending His Son to die for our sin. If you want to live by the law, then the law will judge you. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT! However if you want to live by grace than you will believe and accept Gods provision for your sin - the death of His son.

   In chapter 11 of Romans Paul is confronting our tendency to be impressed with ourselves. God rejected the Jews because they trusted in their works, not because the gentiles were so much more impressive. And he proceeds to warn them if they want to base their salvation on works, then grace no longer exists for them, only their ability to impress God by living a perfect life - FAIL!!!!! 

 

"But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you."  (Romans 11:18)

 

   How do you view people from other churches, political convictions, life styles and cultural backgrounds? Do you see them in light of the grace God has shown you or have you written them off? (Read Ephesians 2:1-10)

   It's all about the root, not the branches. Be impressed with Jesus and others will be impressed with Jesus in you.

Continue reading
  905 Hits
  0 Comments
905 Hits
0 Comments

Romans 8 I Am A Child Of God

Romans 8    I Am A Child Of God

 

   “THERE IS NOW NO CONDEMNATION FOR THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS…”

   Have you embraced the full impact of these words into your life? Consider what they mean in the life of the person who has been beaten down by an overbearing father, an abusive spouse, a teacher that has given up on a tough student, the pastor or priest that uses guilt as a means of purification in the lives of those who fall short of Gods righteousness and, not least of all, the self condemnation we heap on ourselves when we simply don’t measure up.

   That is what law and works that depend fully on the flesh does to us. We, along with others, tend to set ourselves up for failure. But God! Oh what a glorious phrase! But God! God provided a righteousness that is not our own. Look closely at verses 2-4

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:2–4, NKJV)

   Faith allows for us to believe God accepts us on the basis of His Sons performance, not our own. God said at the point of Jesus’ baptism, “This is my Son, with Him I am well pleased.” Therefore when we put our trust in Jesus, the Son of God, God is pleased with us. We are accepted on the basis of what God gave us, not on what we do.

   Have you put your trust in the righteousness of God, forsaking your own? One will bring condemnation while the other acceptance and peace.

   Continue reading through this amazing chapter and find out who you are in Christ Jesus. Ask yourself these questions as you read.

   Does Gods Spirit bare witness with me that I am His son or daughter? In other words, is there a connection between God and me that goes beyond the God to His creation relationship? Do I see Him, and experience Him, as a loving Father? Or do I fear Him in the way an unruly child fears his earthly father?

   Does acceptance by God overwhelm the rejection I feel from other people so that my confidence lies in Him alone?

   Do I have a sense of Gods help in my life when I face various trials? Is my hope placed in eternity and not in this temporary world?

Continue reading
  957 Hits
  0 Comments
957 Hits
0 Comments

Freedom At Last!

Freedom At Last!

Romans 7

   Have you been keeping the theme of this great book in mind as you read and study through Romans?

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”” (Romans 1:16–17, NKJV)

The idea of God working salvation in us through His power, to His purpose, releases us from that performance-oriented religion that works only defeat and discouragement in our lives. In chapter 7 of our study we see Paul’s frustration to do what is right according to the Law when his natural tendency is to do what is wrong. Does that sound familiar?

  The laws purpose is to reveal sin not deliver you from it; and in that respect it is good. But if you choose to live by it in order to feel good about yourself or to somehow impress God, you will only share in Paul’s frustration. Your life will become a rollercoaster of emotions in which you will have some success, but mostly defeat.

   For many Christianity has become more about following rules than experiencing His grace. I spoke with a man about his experience growing up in a Christian church. He told me that his idea of Christianity was about what he did right and what he did wrong. “There was no liberty” he said, “only burden”. For fifty years of his life he believed God was angry and disappointed with him, until he understood the hope of the Gospel.

   Martin Luther, the founder of the Lutheran Church, was even more overwhelmed with the idea that God was angry and disappointed with him because of his failures. He would beat himself and even grew bitter with God when nothing he did seemed to deliver him from the guilt and condemnation he felt. But then he read and understood those simple two verses in Romans that told him the Gospel was the power of God for salvation and all he had to do to please God is put his faith in the work of Jesus Christ, who died to save him. He was a man, like Paul, who cried out, “O wretched man that I am, who will rescue me from this body of death? Praise be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” After this revelation in his life, Martin became one of the great Christian leaders the church has ever known. He, like Paul, began to challenge the religious system of his day that controlled people through guilt, rather than leading them to the Gospel of grace. The result was great revival in which people walked in newness of life. No longer were they bound to their sin and to law, but they were now free in Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to live for God and for righteousness. Paul describes his ministry to the church at Corinth in this manner.

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:5–6, NKJV)

   Paul’s ministry became one that brought life and liberty, as did the ministries of Martin Luther, John and Charles Wesley, George Whitfield and many other great men and women of faith. For they had given up trying to work for Gods favor and instead surrendered themselves to the one in whom Gods favor rested, Jesus Christ our Lord and our savior, “who never sinned, but became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 cor 5:21)

   Would you say your Christian faith is marked by shame and guilt? If so, ask yourself why? Do you, like Paul, struggle with failure concerning what is right? How did Paul become free from this burden?

   How has your life changed since you embraced the Gospel – Gods work for your salvation?

Continue reading
  1039 Hits
  0 Comments
1039 Hits
0 Comments

A Higher Calling

A Higher Calling

A Higher Calling

Romans 6

I want to open our study in Romans 6 with a passage from Hebrews 12:1.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1, NLT)

   In our previous study we learned that the word sin in the Greek is an archers term that simply means to miss the mark. Gods standard of righteousness is His own righteousness and there is only one who meets that standard – Jesus, the Son of God. But the gift of God is eternal life to those who put their trust in Jesus. God attributes the righteousness of His Son to those who believe in Him because Jesus “became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor 5:21) Thus the Gospel is “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16)

   But what does the Gospel mean for our struggle with sins? By sins I mean: anger, lying, lust, greed, gossip and so on. Does becoming a Christian mean we no longer struggle with sin or, for that matter, can sin and not worry about it? That is the issue Paul is dealing with in Romans 6.

   At the closing of chapter 5 Paul makes the statement, “where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.” Paul was showing us the supremacy of grace over sin. There is no sin Gods grace cannot deal with. Unfortunately some were using Gods grace as a license to sin. Salvation isn’t God excusing sin through His Sons’ death, but judging sin. The judgment of that sin was violent and bloody. Therefore how can we continue in something for which Jesus had to die in order that we might no longer be bound to it? What would you think of the person whose life was saved at the cost of someone else’s only to see him or her go back to the thing that put his or her life in danger in the first place? You would say, “what a waste of a good life for a bad.” “Where is the gratitude?”

  The purpose of Romans 6 is to remind us that we no longer are bound to walk in sin, but we now have the power to walk in newness of life – a life free from the bondage of anger, drugs, lust, greed, lying and whatever sin that easily trips us up in our pursuit of the Kingdom Of God. Not only is the Gospel the power of God for salvation, but also the power of God to overcome the things that sow destruction in our lives and distract us from God. We no longer live to sin, but we now live to God.

   So when the writer of Hebrews tells us in Chapter 12 to strip off the sin that trips us up, he is reminding us that we were saved for better things.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1–2, ESV)

What sin, or sins, trip you up?

How have they hindered your pursuit of God?

How do they rob your joy?

Do you believe God has the power to free you?

Are you not delivered because you love your sin?

Would any who are reading this share with us how God has freed you from some besetting sin in your life and the joy and purpose that has resulted from that deliverance? You don’t have to be specific, just share the result of placing your trust in God in order that others who are reading this study might be encouraged.

Continue reading
  1027 Hits
  0 Comments
1027 Hits
0 Comments

The Second Adam

The Second Adam

   So are you tired of reading about sin yet? Paul seems really hung up on this subject doesn’t he? However, Paul understands that good news means nothing unless contrasted with the bad news. We are sinners and Jesus came to save sinners. That is good news!!!

   Sin is an archers term that simply means to miss the mark. Therefore Paul told us in chapter 3 that all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. God’s glory and perfection is the mark we must hit in order to be accepted by Him into His kingdom. In the latter part of Chapter 5, Paul reveals the culprit – Adam. God created Adam to have fellowship with Him, but when Adam disobeyed God, he fell out of fellowship with God. And every human being that came from Adams loins was born into that separation. Sin became our nature and we couldn’t do anything about it. Thanks Adam!!! But God had a solution – The second Adam.

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19, NKJV)

   In the Gospel of John, Jesus said He does nothing of His own will, but only what the Father has told Him to do. Jesus came into this world and lived a perfectly obedient, submitted life to His Father. Paul tells us the extent of that obedience in Philippians 2: 5-8

Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6–8, NLT)

   Jesus lived the life Adam fell short of. He lived the life we were powerless to live. And He lived that life for us so that we could walk with God in the “Garden”, as Adam once did. Don’t forget the reason we are not ashamed of the Gospel. “It is the power of God for Salvation to all who believe”. THAT IS GOOD NEWS! God did through His Son what we could not do so we could be with Him for all eternity. Oh how God loves us!

   If you had been Adam, do you think you would have done much better? Read the account of his fall in Genesis 3 and ask yourself what it was that made him stumble. What was it that moved Adam toward disobedience? Then ask yourself, what is it that moves me to disobey God?

Continue reading
  982 Hits
  0 Comments
982 Hits
0 Comments

Do You Believe God?

Do You Believe God?

   Chapter 4 of Romans is one of the critical parts of this book. Reading it may not seem that way, but when you begin to understand the pressure of Jewish culture and tradition upon early Christianity, you come to understand why Paul spent so much time on the subject of circumcision.

   God gave Abraham circumcision as a sign of separation to show the rest of the world that Abraham and his descendants were specially chosen by God to demonstrate his glory and reveal His plan to redeem His creation. Unfortunately the Jewish nation forgot the purpose for their calling – to bless all the nations of the earth. Rather, they would take what was given as a sign of separation unto God and make it a work or action that gave them salvation and right standing with God; much like communion, infant baptism and even believers baptism in some churches has become. None of these actions save us. Only faith in Christ and His finished work on the cross saves us.

   Therefore Paul goes right to the first mention of circumcision in the bible. In that section God tells Abraham in Genesis 17:11,

“and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.”

 The important thing is the covenant. What was the covenant? Gods promise to be His God and the God of all his descendants through Sarah who was not able to have children and who was 90 years old. Abraham was 99. Therefore Paul says that Abraham’s obedience was a sign of his faith. By being circumcised, and having his whole household circumcised, Abraham demonstrated faith in Gods promise and ability to do what he said He would do – give Abraham and Sarah a child they otherwise could not have, and to give them all the land of Canaan.

   Abraham put his trust in God because only God could accomplish what He said He would do, and it was accounted to him as righteousness.

“He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”” (Romans 4:20-22)

   But in being circumcised, he also demonstrated he believed God was willing to do what He said He would do. For many of us, we have no problem believing God can do anything He wants to do. Nothing is to hard or to easy, God simply can do anything. Our problem lies in the fact that we don’t believe He will do what He said He would do. Salvation is the free gift of God, purchased by the blood of His Son for any who believe. No work we accomplish requires God to move on our part, unless it is to believe Him when He tells us He sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sin. And yes, God is willing!

   The willingness of God to save us is illustrated beautifully in the life of the leper who asked Jesus to heal him. You will find the story in Luke 5:12-16. The leper had no question to Jesus’ ability to heal him, but he did have question as to his willingness, therefore he said, “If you are willing”. Jesus was willing and He did heal the man.

   Whether you like it or not, we are that leper. And we are completely powerless to do anything about it. We will die lepers unless someone who is powerful enough is willing to save us. God is and did. Put your faith in Him now.

   How do you struggle with believing God is willing to do what He said He would do?

   Also, what traditions or works do you have a hard time letting go of; thinking that through certain activities or actions (church, communion, baptism, style of clothing, hair length and so on) you must somehow win Gods good graces?

   How do, or how have religious people put pressure on you to perform for Gods good pleasure? How has that affected your relationship with God, and, for that matter, with other Christians?

Continue reading
  986 Hits
  0 Comments
986 Hits
0 Comments

"I" Am The Problem

"I" Am The Problem

   What is sin? While that question may seem obvious to some, for most it has become a question convoluted with the philosophical ideals of men who define truth to fit their own personal reality. So while looking at pornography is wrong to some for others it is ok, because in their reality what pleases them is good. Forget the fact that many lives are ruined both inside and outside the industry. The momentary pleasure comes at great cost, both to the user and to those providing the service.

   However, philosophies of men aren’t the only blame for the confusion that surrounds defining sin. The church, with its lists of do’s and don’ts, is just as guilty. For their list of rules becomes a way to put their own righteousness on display apart from God. People who, “Follow the rules”, tend to judge others who don’t, heaping condemnation, guilt and shame upon them, keeping them from God rather than bring them to Him. This is one of the main reasons Jesus dealt so harshly with the religious leaders.(They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.) I wonder how shocked the church would be if Jesus were to come and start turning over our “money tables”? But I digress.

   According to Paul in Romans 3:9, sin isn’t something we do, but something we are under.

What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.” (Romans 3:9, NKJV)

In other words we are in submission to sin, under its power; whether we accept the law of God or not, all have sinned and are under the power of sin. That is the point Paul is trying to bring across in chapter 3 of Romans, and why he proclaims the Gospel to be the power of God for salvation in chapter 1:16-17.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”” (Romans 1:16–17, NKJV)

   If I were to give sin a simple definition I would say it is self. This past weekend a speaker asked us what the opposite of Love is. The obvious answer was hate, but he told us we were wrong. The opposite of love is self. Others have pointed out that the middle letter in sin is “I”. We all, both religious and non-religious (Jew and Greek) need to come to the place of saying, ““I” am the problem and “I” don’t have the power to do anything about it. God help me!”

   The good news is He does help the one who cries out to Him. For Paul goes on to say,

But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.” (Romans 3:21–22, NLT)

   Love is on display as Jesus hangs on the cross, forsaking self for others. Are you hanging your faith on the work of God – the great I AM and the cross of Christ, or some man made philosophy or religion whose only power is to keep you under sin? Eternity is at stake. 

Continue reading
  838 Hits
  2 Comments
838 Hits
2 Comments

BE RECONCILED TO GOD

BE RECONCILED TO GOD

Is there any family portrayed in scripture that doesn’t have issues? Cain killed Able. Ishmael taunted Isaac. Jacob deceived Esau and had to run for his life. Jacobs’s sons killed a whole village of men. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery because of their jealousy. David took another mans wife. His son raped his daughter. And because David didn’t do anything about it, her brother, Absalom, killed the brother that raped her. Latter Absalom would usurp the kingdom from David and ultimately die for his rebellion. Even Jesus didn’t live in a perfect family. During His ministry his family thought He was crazy and we are told that even his own brothers and sisters didn’t believe in Him. We would all love for our families to be the peaceful, uplifting, kind hearted people we see in Hallmark movies, but the reality is, many of our families resemble those that we see in the bible. Why is this the case?

At issue here is the fact that all families are made up of sinners: people who live for themselves and not for God. Therefore we shouldn’t be surprised that every family that has ever existed, and will exist, deals with issues on one level or another. What we need to ask is how can we overcome those issues? Jesus Christ!

In Romans 7 Paul is talking about his struggles with sin. Though he desires to do right, the reality is he often caters to his sinful passions. He wants to live for God, but he always succumbs to himself. At one point he cries out in desperation, “Who will rescue me from the body of sin and death?” To which he replies, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

The truth is every family is dysfunctional because every human being is dysfunctional. But Jesus has set us free from succumbing to the sin that breed’s dysfunction. Read what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5 paying particular attention to verses 14-21. These verses describe what the person who puts their trust in Jesus becomes.

  1. The true Christian is someone who is now controlled by the love of God and not by his sinful, self-centered passions.

“Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life.” (2 Corinthians 5:14, NLT)

2. The true Christian now lives to please God.

He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.” (2 Corinthians 5:15, NLT)

3. The true Christian is no longer who he was

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT)

4. The true Christian is reconciled to God and tells others they can be reconciled to God and to each other.

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:18–20, NASB95)

The word reconciliation implies that there has been a rift in a relationship. The rift is between God and us. He created us for Himself, yet we live to please ourselves. The result is a rift between one another at different levels. Marriages break up, children fight and families are destroyed, because at the heart of each rift is a self-centered person who can only live for themselves.

            The good news is we don’t have to live at war with one another. Submit your life to God and be reconciled to Him so that He can begin to reconcile you to your family. Once you have died to yourself, you can more clearly see the needs of others and live for Christ by loving them as He did with that agape, unconditional love that moves people into a place of hope and of peace.

            Will you be reconciled to Him today?

Continue reading
  1002 Hits
  0 Comments
1002 Hits
0 Comments

Go Make Disciples

Go Make Disciples

“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.” (Matthew 28:19–20, NKJV)

After Jesus rose from the dead, and before He ascended into heaven, he told His disciples to go into the world and make disciples of all nations, teaching those disciples all that Jesus had taught them. In other words, replicate in others the work I have done in you. Because of their faithfulness, and the faithfulness of Christian disciples throughout the centuries, many of us today have heard, and responded, to the message of the Gospel. Paul was one of those who faithfully followed the Lords command and reproduced in others, like Timothy and Epaphroditus, the heart to continue the work of the Christ.

In Philippians 2:19-30 Paul highlights the lives of these two disciples. Paul says of Timothy,

But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.” (Philippians 2:19–24, NKJV)

Paul declares Timothy to be like-minded with him in his genuine care for people. One of the greatest aspects of Christ’s character that drew people to Him was that He was genuine and sincere. When He wept for Lazarus the people around him responded by saying, “See how He loved him”. And when the leper said to him, “If you are willing you can heal me”, Jesus responded with I am willing and touched the man and healed him. A true disciple of Christ no longer lives for them selves, but for the one who died for them.

and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:15, NKJV)

Cleary it was evident in Paul’s life that he was not living for himself and that character was reproduced in Timothy.

            Epaphroditus came from the Philippian church that Paul planted in the midst of persecution. He came to Paul to bring the offering the people gathered for Him to care for his needs. On his way he became sick and almost lost his life. Paul says of him.

Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.” (Philippians 2:25–30, NKJV)

Paul calls him a fellow brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier who came close to loosing his life for the sake of the work of Christ. Jesus gave His life so we could be freed from the bondage of sin. We all know that Paul was willing to lay down his life for the sake of the Gospel and was ultimately beheaded. Now we look at Epaphroditus and see he was willing to lay down his life as well. The mark of a true disciple of Christ is seen in their willingness to no longer live for them selves, but to live for Him who laid down His life for them.

            We need to follow Christ’s example, just as Paul and the other Apostles and countless faithful servants of Jesus over the last 2000 years have done. Let people see the sincerity of your faith and love. Share with them the hope of the Gospel and reproduce in them servants of Christ who are willing to lay down their lives for His sake.

Continue reading
  971 Hits
  0 Comments
971 Hits
0 Comments

HAVE YOU ASKED HIM?

HAVE YOU ASKED HIM?

 

 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:7–11, NKJV)

            It is clear from this passage that God is not a distant God. He is directly involved in the lives of His children looking to provide for their every need, and even some desires. However, lest we misunderstand the words of Jesus to mean all people and all things, we need to look carefully at what He says in this passage.

            First of all Jesus refers to Him as our Father who is in heaven. Not every human being on this earth is a child of God. Oh, we are all His creation, but only a select few can actually claim to be Gods son or daughter.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:” (John 1:12, NKJV)

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, NKJV)

Who is it we are supposed to believe in? Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son of God. Not until we accept Jesus as the one who atoned for our sin and purchased our life with His death on the cross can we be considered children of God. And if we are not children of God, we have no right to ask Him for anything. If the kid next door comes over to ask me for the keys to my car so he can take his girl friend to the prom, I’m going to tell him to “get out of here, go ask your own dad.” However, if my own son asks me for the car so he can take a date to the prom, I might question him, or give him a hard time, but because he is my son I will give him the keys. “How much more,” according to the words of Jesus, “will our Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

            Which brings me to the second point I wish to make. How are we going to receive anything from our Father who is in heaven unless we ask? Oh, God sometimes lavishes gifts on us to our complete surprise, but I believe He is truly blessed when we ask so that we know He is listening and we can testify to the goodness of God in our lives. I wonder how much we don’t have because we don’t have the courage to ask Him. If it is bread you lack, ask Him. If it is finances you lack, ask Him. If it is healing you need, ask Him. How will you know what He intends to do for you unless you go out on a limb and simply ask. God doesn’t expect you to jump through hoops, He is simply asking you to believe.

            But before you think you can have anything you want, understand that God is the perfect Father in every sense of the word. If we are asking with selfish motives, He won’t give us what we want. If He sees something better for us by not answering our prayer than He won’t give us what we want; because His ultimate goal is to be glorified through our lives. And that occurs when we become more like Jesus. After all He saved us so we would no longer live self centered, self-consumed lives, but so that we would live for the Glory of His Son.

and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 1 Corinthians 5:15

            Will you ask Him today for the need you have. Remember, His love for and willingness to provide for you is not based on how good you are, but on how good He is.

Continue reading
  1813 Hits
  0 Comments
1813 Hits
0 Comments

COME BOLDLY

COME BOLDLY

COME BOLDLY

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14–16, NKJV)

I know the passage here in Hebrews 4 speaks to the ability of the believer to come with confidence into Gods presence. However, that doesn’t mean we come into His presence with a chip on our shoulders. Our ability, our right, to come into His presence was obtained through His grace. Therefore when we come, we must come in humility.

I recently learned that ancient Jewish Rabbis believed that there were two thrones in the heavens: one of Judgment and one of Mercy. God certainly judges sin and meets out the punishment it deserves, but He also demonstrated mercy by not giving people what they deserved in punishment for sin. The Jewish Rabbis could not reconcile the two. Therefore they thought that there must be two thrones in Heaven: one for mercy and one for judgment. What they didn’t understand is how God would reconcile the two through the gift of His Son.

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NKJV)

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5, NKJV)

Therefore, there is one throne in heaven and it is described to us here as a throne of Grace – Gods undeserved favor. And we can now, because of Gods grace, come boldly into His presence and seek mercy and help.

            The boldness with which we come speaks to confidence. David Guzik, in his commentary on this puts it this way.

“Boldly does not mean proudly, arrogantly or with presumption. Boldly means we may come constantly. Boldly means we may come without reservation. Boldly means we can come freely and without fancy words, boldly means we can come with confidence. Boldly means we should come with persistence.”

We may come whenever and wherever we want. We may come without guilt. We may come being ourselves. We may come assured of His acceptance of us. And we may, and should, come with persistent expectation. But we must do this with humility and reverence and thankfulness. After all it is only because of His grace that we may come. Will you enter in, by His invitation, to the throne room of Grace today? God is waiting patiently to meet with you.

Continue reading
  1083 Hits
  1 Comment
1083 Hits
1 Comment