On The Emmaus Road

Emmaus Road

Is it possible to know Jesus Christ and not know His presence?

For the last three years my husband and I have been studying  the early church, Jesus’ followers from back in the day and His disciples. As I sit here I am longing for my relationship with Jesus Christ to be so close I can smell his sweet presence, to have every thought in my mind only be on God’s will and my actions to be only as I see my Father doing.
In Luke 24:13-32 That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago. Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. They said his body was missing they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.” Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, but they begged him, “Stay the night with us since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. The he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”
Luke 24:16 But God kept them from recognizing him. Why did God choose to keep the two believers from recognizing Jesus? Scripture really doesn’t tell us why but I’m sure we all wonder and speculate as to why. It definitely makes me ponder how many “strangers” have appeared to us and talked with us only for us to not recognize the truth as He walks next to us. Wow! Blows my mind to think about encounters we may be having.
So these two disciples were walking along and talking about Jesus and here comes Jesus walking right up next to them but they were unaware of His presence. I think it sounds like so many of our churches and gatherings today – Jesus is being missed. Christians today know the facts just as these two disciples did, they can quote scripture and be full of theology but are our eyes blinded to where we don’t even see or know Jesus.
As Christians our first responsibility is to follow Jesus. John 12:26 Are we truly a follower of Jesus Christ today, do we know him and follow Him so closely that we are covered in His dust? Before you answer yes to this statement, I ask that you stop for a moment and pray; ask God to reveal to you as He knows you to be. Are our hearts set on Jesus; are we seeking to KNOW him and walk with Him. He knows us by our fruit. (Matthew 7:20) OR are we the Christians that go to church once or twice a week, or maybe a small group but we don’t seek Him daily, we don’t commune with Him each day because if we do our fruit juice will be overflowing from our time spent with Jesus.

I pray that we learn from the scriptures as we are on our Emmaus Road.  Let’s not get so consumed with our life and our pleasures that we are blinded and don’t know Jesus.

Praise Him!

The Temple of God

 

In my personal devotion time this morning I was reading on brotherly love and unity within the body of believers.  I could not help but to think on the condition of believers today.  The condition of the body of Christ is steadily declining into a self serving, self preserving state of being.  We no longer strive to put others before ourselves or to serves others, instead we mostly tend to go with whatever is pleasing to us individually; whether that is in the form of our material possessions, our jobs, our friendships, or our time.

 

In Psalms 133: 1 How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!

 

When we live in harmony we resemble the heart and life that is produced by the Word of God.  Brotherly love is profitable and pleasing.  Brotherly love brings abundance and blessings to our lives.

 

As brothers and sisters we must come together as one realizing that God is more important than we are as individuals and yield our life totally without reservations.  We need to take on the mind of Christ.  Christ became man and in doing so He taught us how to live the way God wants us to.  His life on earth is our example of how we are to live our life on earth as children of God.

 

In Philippians 2:5 we are told “Let this mind be in you”; this is a command, it is not optional.  Unity and brotherly love is a matter of attitude, motive, thoughts, conduct, conversation and community in our body.  We can say we are living in unity as commanded but allow a test or trial to come, something to challenge our unity and see where our reactions are.  Unity and brotherly love is the result of Christ manifested in the life of the believer.  We recognize it by the appearance of the character and the attitude of Christ within each believer.

 

Let’s take a look at Philippians 2:1-4  Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

 

When we go through a disagreement or quarrel with a brother or sister if anything comes about in our thoughts, actions or feelings that are not love we need to immediately “put them off”; dismiss them, put them down, set them aside.  We must set aside everything personal and think of the body of Christ.  Listen, the real test is when the devil gets involved and tries to stir things up among the body; how will we respond.  Will we come together as one in Christ realizing that God and His plan and purpose is more important than ourselves.

 

There cannot be life in a divided body; it is unhealthy and it gives the devil a toe hold to jump in and start wreaking havoc within the body.  Jesus Christ is our head and as the body we must do as the head does.  Follow His example, his leading.

 

As believers we must understand that we are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in each of us. 1 Corinthians 3:16 (NLT) Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?

 

We MUST get this – if we truly grasp that every believer is the temple of God and the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit wouldn’t our attitude toward one another change.  Listen, do we really understand this, our brothers and sisters are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, when we have bitterness, unforgiveness or strife against our brother or sister we are helping the devil out by hurting the temple of God.

 

Before we act or speak to a fellow believer realize that we are acting or speaking where the Holy Spirit resides.  A temple means a holy place, the holy of holies.  Friends we are God’s Holy of Holies and so is each believer.  Does our life, love and unity with one another display this?  The devils seeks to destroy believers, the body.  God tells us not to give place to the devil.  Friends, he doesn’t just come in and take over, we give him that place.  We allow our pride or our hurt feelings to become more important than Christ’s command to love and live as He did.  We are allowing the devil to come and take over.  As believer’s we need to stop devouring one another and allowing Satan this place in our lives.

 

I want to go back in Philippians 2:1 and we see the word “therefore”.  I was always taught when we see the word therefore we must find out what it is there for.  So back up into Philippians 1:27 – 30. Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. 29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.

 

Perhaps you are facing an issue with a brother or sister right now, if so remember that your fellow believer IS God’s temple, the Holy of Holies, treat them accordingly.  Let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ.

Praise Him!!

 

 

 

Unforgiveness

 “To err is human, to forgive, divine.” – Alexander Pope

As we go through life, not one of us is immune to being hurt by someone or hurting someone else.  It will happen on purpose, by mistake or we may not realize we have even hurt someone.  Basically, people are people.  We live in a body of flesh that is imperfect in all ways and we must understand that no one is perfect.

God’s word clearly teaches if we have an issue with a sister or brother we need to take it to them in an effort to bring about restoration and reconciliation.  In today’s world of technology we have brought this to a new level by taking it to our sister or brother via text messages or emails.  This has enabled us to become bold with our words we use toward others because we are hiding behind this technology.  How can a true discussion that will result in restoration and reconciliation take place when you are not willing to sit down with the other person to work it out?

I’ve been doing some studying about forgiveness and really trying to dig in and grasp its meaning.  First, we must realize that forgiveness is the very center of the gospel.  2 Corinthians 5:18-19 (NIV) All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.  That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

So we are commissioned to take the message of forgiveness to the world.  God has forgiven us a life of sin yet we hold all sorts of things against each other.  How can we take the gospel message to the world when we can’t forgive others as Christ has forgiven us?

It’s something we all need to pray about and think about.  Mark 11:25-26 (NLT) But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.  Friends this is a clear spiritual command from God’s Word. Forgiveness requires an act of your free will to obey God’s command.  I have found many scriptures that have talked about forgiveness; however, this one really sets in how important forgiveness is to God.  If you do not forgive, your Father in heaven will not forgive you.  Wow!  Do you get that; that’s serious?  When you forgive you free yourself from forgiveness and strife. God does not look upon forgiveness favorably.  Bottom line, you cannot have God’s forgiveness unless you forgive.

We are told by Jesus that we would know who a person really is by their fruit, by the life this person produces.  The lack of forgiveness means the forgiveness that Christ has given them has not taken root in their lives.  Therefore, if a person lives with forgiveness it shows that they probably don’t understand the payment that Christ made upon the cross.   I know this is a hard teaching but it is God’s command and it is serious stuff.

Whether or not you understand why a person hurt you does not really matter.  If they ask for forgiveness we must choose to forgive them.  After all Jesus shed his blood for all the sins that we have or ever will commit.

In Matthew 18: 21 – 35 we read The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant.  In verse 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In this parable what is sticking out for me is that an unforgiving person is looked at as a wicked person.  At the very least, they are giving Satan a foothold into their life.  When we allow him a little entrance by having an unforgiving heart it will lead to all sorts of battles and attacks.

Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV) 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.

Listen, every offense we hold on to allows Satan an opportunity to bring hardheartedness, bitterness and strife.  When we choose not to forgive someone our prayer life will be hindered, God will treat us how we treat others, God will not forgive us and we open the door to all kinds of evil spirits and schemes of the enemy. Is forgiveness really worth any of that?

Luke 6:36-38 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Where are you with forgiveness; do you need to receive it or give it?  Friends, we need to do a heart check.  We need to bow down before God’s throne and ask Him to reveal any forgiveness we may have towards someone.

With many situations I strongly believe that we are unable to meet an expectation that is placed upon you and when you fail to meet that expectation they became offended.  This is especially true when it concerns people in leadership.

Every believer must learn how to live and walk in forgiveness. This totally goes against our human nature because in order to live and walk in forgiveness we must put aside our pride and humble ourselves before others.

We must realize there are many reasons why a person may not forgive you.  Perhaps, they didn’t really value the relationship and were willing to throw it away instead of restore it.  Maybe, they don’t want to be vulnerable and they use forgiveness as a shield because of past hurts.  Or pride may be at the center of forgiveness.

Whatever the underlying issues are we must focus on the examples of Jesus.  We need to stop focusing on the offender and the hurt and forgive as Jesus forgave his offenders.

To that end, I encourage you to seek God and close all doors to the enemy.  Make the commitment now to let go of all bitterness, strife, resentment and unforgiveness.  It is time for the body of Christ to come to maturity in this area.

Praise Him!

Walking In The Spirit

Most of the ministry Pastor Felix and I deal with people that have life controlling issues.  These life controlling issues can be anything that deals with any aspect of Substance, Behavioral or Relational; drugs and alcohol addiction, sexual addictions, eating disorders, depression, co-dependency, etc.

Tomorrow night we are starting our new Insight Groups.  During these sessions we help and encourage people to reveal, confront, deal and heal from life controlling issues so that they can live victorious lives.  I’m convinced that in order for us to overcome our issues, if we are not saved born-again believers then our first action is to confess and repent that Jesus is Savior and Lord of our lives.  If we are already a born-again believer we have got to understand the true meaning of being a “new creature”.

Friends, the Bible tells us clearly that we are to dwell in the secret place of the most High.  That secret place is Jesus!  We must abide in Jesus.  So check this, when you receive Jesus into your life as Savior and Lord you become instantly a new creature in Christ old things pass away and all things become new.  So we are laying down the “old creature”.

So why do we struggle in our daily lives against life-controlling issues?  Well, we start reverting back to our “old carnal nature”; we allow Satan a foothold when we do this.  At some point, in some facet of our daily walk we have stopped abiding in the secret place of the Most High.  Listen friends, Satan can only steal, kill and destroy the part of you that is outside the abiding in Christ.  In Ephesians 4:27 we read about not allowing Satan to have any ground, it says anger gives a foothold to the devil. So where does anger come from; self.  We give Satan ground by dwelling in ourselves whether it be by anger, unforgiveness, jealousy, envy, strife,pride,  gossip, covetousness or hatred, if you allow it to continue then you are giving ground to Satan.  To be free you must break this stronghold by crucifying the flesh. We must realize that nothing is protected outside of abiding in Christ, this walking in the Spirit, not your jobs, not your husbands, not your children, not your money – nothings is protected.

We have a choice to make every hour of every day.  Are we going to crucify our flesh, our “old nature” and walk in the Spirit by abiding in Christ or are we going to make the CHOICE to step outside of our protection, our secret place and give in to the lusts of our own fleshly desires.

During the course of our sessions we begin to see people start waxing and waning, sometimes eventually quitting altogether. So why are these groups so hard for us to stay in?  It is painful; it is unpleasant at times to deny ourselves of our self.  It is not our birth given fleshly nature to deny itself, only in Christ can we truly accomplish this.  So when we start allowing the Holy Spirit to deal with us it can get ugly for us and sometimes the urges become so strong that we make the CHOICE to revert back to them.

Notice, I keep saying we are making those choices.  Why?  Because it is our choice whether or not we are going to walk in the Spirit or walk in the Natural.  God tells us in his word to resist the devil and he will flee James 4:7.  So in order to do that it takes action on our part.  You may be tempted by Satan every minute of every day but it is your choice either to resist him or give in to him.  Once we are saved, we have God living inside of us in the form of the Holy Spirit, if we allow Him; He will direct our path, and guide our steps.  Satan cannot gain an inch unless . . . unless, what? We allow Him.

Bottom line, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, Galatians 5:16.  Jesus us tells us to pick up our cross and follow Him, our cross is the cross of our flesh – our natural lustful worldly desires.  We are born again believers.  We are born again into the righteousness of Christ Jesus; therefore, if I abide in Christ and He abides in me I will live victorious.

You may ask, as we have been asked, why are so many Christians “falling”?  They are falling because at some point they stop abiding in Jesus.  They stopped walking in the Spirit; they gave Satan a foothold and in doing so Satan is able to destroy and kill.  We need to pray for our fallen brothers and sisters in Christ.  We need to pray for their choices.  They do not need “delivered” they need to crucify their flesh.  Jesus delivered them on the Cross of Calvary.

Today, this hour, this minute, make the CHOICE to abide in Christ and crucify the flesh because Satan cannot touch what is in Christ.

Praise Him!

Stewards

 

STEWARDS

Being a steward is someone who takes care of someone else’s property. God owns everything we just possess it.  As Christians we were bought with a price. We are stewards over our body, influence, talents, attitudes, money, possessions, and time.

1 Corinthians 6:19-21 (NLT) 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

 God has given us freewill; however, we have to keep in mind that one day we will answer to God as to how we were stewards over what He has allowed us to have.  Since we belong to God we are responsible to Him for what we do with what we have, do, say, act, etc.  I want to look at a few areas in our lives that God owns but has given us stewardship over.

First, our body:  Romans 12:1-12 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.

 Our bodies now belong to Him, for His use we are to keep it clean, holy, and healthy.  Do we keep our selfish desires of the flesh in check?

Second, our influence:  If you claim to be a Christian you must realize by now that people will watch you more close.  What do your peers think of you?  Does your influence make your peers want to be a Christian because of what they see in you?  Does your influence lead them to or away from God?

Third, our attitudes:  Do you allow God to control your attitude or do you allow your circumstances dictate your attitude.  If you are having a particularly rough day will it reflect in your attitude?  How is your attitude toward the people in your life and your own household? Are you focusing on everything that is wrong and negative instead of the good or positive?  At some point in our lives we have faced challenges; a loss of a loved one, loss of a job or a home, an illness or sudden injury, those things we have no control over; however, we do have control over our attitudes during trials.  Our attitudes should reflect our position as God’s child not our current circumstance or trial.  Rejoice at all times, even in the bad.

Fourth, our talents:  God has gifted us with certain abilities and talents that we need to use for His glory and edification of others not our egos. Romans 15:2-3  We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.”

We are to be faithful in what we were given and not covet others gifts, talents, abilities or ministries.

Fifth, our money and possessions:  In an article I seen it was stated that 29% of all Christians tithe.  Wow!  What a statement.  I can’t help but wonder do these people really even know God.  Because it is apparent to me that if you know God then you live your life in total surrender to Him and His will; right?  After all, did we not forsake all for the call.  We buried the old man and put on the new in Christ.  If you want to know where people’s hearts are then follow where their money goes.  Then you will find what interests them most.

Material Possessions if we are covetous to give then we are rebellious to God.  Take a look at the rich young ruler.  He loved his possessions so much that he gave up eternal life with Jesus Christ to hold on to his wealth.

Sixth, our time:  How many times have we heard or said, “there’s never enough time in a day” or  “where did the day go, time flies.”

Ephesians 5:16 (NLT) 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.

What are we spending our time doing?  Are we wasting time on things that are eternally unprofitable?  Yes, we do have to work, eat and sleep but we should do a schedule check to make sure we are using our time for God and the things of God.  We have so little time to do what we are called to do we better stop wasting it.

James 4:14 (NLT) 14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.

We are living on God’s time.  Every day is a gift from God and we will be accountable to Him with what we do with our day.  Once the day is gone the time is lost and we can never regain that time again.   As I was doing this study it was touching upon the youth we are charged with raising and teaching.  When we take our kids to church what are we looking for in a youth group; classes, groups, or activities?  So, I did some searching and checking back into the recesses of my time as a youth and here is what I came up with.  Back in the day we spent time with other youth groups doing sword drills and listening to God’s Word. Today we are so busy in our churches that just like the adults if we can woo them in with all the glitz and glamour of what we have to offer then it is the same for the kids and the parents will want their kids there as well.  It is just time to stop worrying about hurting feelings and speak the truth.  We are filling our kids with so many activities that we leave them very little time for God’s house and when we do finally take some time to get them there for 1 hour a week we fill that time with religious activities.  We are losing our kids here and growing a generation of emptiness when it comes to the word of God.  After all, if we teach them about purity and modesty they won’t want to come back, so let’s go do some scavenger hunts, go to Kings Island, or whatever it may be.  We better wake up!!

Finally, the gospel.  Romans 10:13-15 (NLT) 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

You have a responsibility in spreading the gospel whether it be on a foreign mission field, a hometown mission field, at your work place, or in your neighborhood you have a responsibility.  Either you are called to go or called to send.  I’m not talking about short term missions here I’m talking about the missionary that gives all to go live in an area and build relationships with the people and teach them the things of God and give them the gospel.

Do you accept the charge?

We must remember our bodies belong to God, our influence and attitude should be Christ reflective.  Our talents are a gift from God for His use and glory, our money and possession all belong to him not just the 10% we need to spend it the way He instructs us. Our short time on this earth we are commanded of God to spread the Gospel not waste the day.

 

Praise Him!

Altar of Prayer

 1 John 2:6 (NLT)  Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did

To walk as Christ did means we must obey His teachings, follow His example of complete and total obedience to God and loving service to people.  We must notice that Jesus ministry was filled with prayer.  The disciples walked with Him daily, seen His altar of prayer and wanted Him to teach them how to pray.  It’s important, it’s a must in our daily walk to be ambassadors of Jesus Christ to this world.

We must crucify the flesh and line up our desires with God’s will in total surrender to our own wants, desires and idols.  We have to cut off the old life – die to self.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NLT) 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

When the Holy Spirit lives inside of us uninhibited by our flesh there is no limit or extreme He will take in His passion to warn & save others.  Just as Jesus did when He walked this earth.  Jesus knows the cost of this.  He left heaven became man he suffered, he tired, he was tempted just as we are, he became POOR for our sake and ultimately became sin for us through His crucification.

Galatians 2:20 (NLT)  20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

We can’t serve two masters, we must not be lukewarm.  If we are to walk as Christ walked, lived as He lived, be His representatives here to this world then we need to crucify our lusts, our natural desires.  We need to lay down the idols that master our lives.  Our idols or our masters are anything that we place over God’s wants and desires; love of money, our business, our busy schedules, our families, our kids sports activities. We have become so pre-occupied by the cares and busyness of our lives that it steals our time, it takes away from our altar of prayer then we lose passion for God and the things of God.  We choose to pursue success, prosperity and self and they do not profit us spiritually or impact His kingdom.

Listen to me, God is not going to interrupt your facebook time or scream at you during your kids football or soccer games.  We must must must crucify the idol of “self” upon our altars of prayer.

Today God still desires your faithfulness to Him, your daily repentance, and a separated life from the world and a burning passion for Him and His kingdom.

Remember that saying What Would Jesus Do?  Well, really ask yourself if you are to walk as Christ did and you are to be in His image, His representative here and now to this world in this life what do you need to sacrifice on your altar of prayer.  It is time for those of us who claim Jesus as Savior to make Him Jesus Savior Master and Lord of our lives.  Crucify our wants and desires and allow your desires to become God’s will then and only then will He give you the desires of your heart!  Get it?

Praise Him!

What Does This Church Have To Offer Me?

 

Today when we think about church we tend to think in terms of  what does this church have to offer me.  How can this church serve me; what kinds of programs and worship do they offer and will I be expected to do anything.  Are the seats comfortable, do they have a coffee bar, does the band crank it up or quiet it down.

Do we go to church in search of the presentation being God’s plan, His pattern if you will, of reaching the lost.  The cross and Jesus shed blood.  Jesus took our sins upon Him so that we could spend eternity with God.  He was our bridge, His blood is the cure for our sin sick nature.

Do you think that perhaps today in many churches we are running sideshows with attractions, schemes and methods being used to lure people into church.  We plan our service to entice and entertain.  We place clowns and comics in the pulpits.  We are not the first people to lose sight of God’s plan and pattern.  The child of Israel lost the vision and corrupted the pattern just as we do today with our sideshow attractions.

The cross is no longer central in the church.  We hide the cross in all of the attractions.  Sin is hidden in the dark, the light is convicting.   The light of the truth makes sinners feel uneasy.  Let’s be honest, the cross is a bloody devise of torture.  It’s horrific.  So if we hide it in the shadows behind the amusements and entertainments we use to entice people we make it look more attractive.  It becomes more comfortable.  Therefore, we can draw more people in.  WE will draw more people in.

Jesus says if I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me!

The cross MUST be the ONLY attraction.  It is wrong to bait people into church.  Jesus saves through the blood of His cross not the latest Christian celebrity or program.  We must preach Christ crucified not our policies, not our buildings, not a movement.  The church must stop preaching all this and Jesus too.  We’ve got to tear down the groves and tapestries that hide the cross so that the world will see their sins on the cross.

How can we go into church and sing How Great Is Our God and corrupt His pattern.  As I was studying this morning I was remembering back to all the times that I attended the old fashioned tent meetings out in the elements of an open air tent where ladies cooled themselves with the wave of a hand fan.  The praising and preaching that was brought back then and the message of the Cross Crucified had people running to the alter.  Now, it’s bow your heads, close your eyes nobodies looking.  Be bold people, be humble, confess and repent.  Pick up your cross and follow Jesus.  Amen!

Today we have man-made services and buildings in an attempt to make religion operate to serve us.  The new cross as is proclaimed today is this, “come and get”.  Enjoy a pippin hot cup of coffee, relax in the theatre seats with plenty of leg room and enjoy the music.

The old cross is to come and give.  The old cross did not bond with this world and we should not either.  I find myself longing for the days of old.  The days where the boldness of where preachers loudly proclaimed Christ Crucified!!

So again, ask yourself,  “What Does This Church Offer?”

Praise Him!!

Prisoner of Guilt

John 8:1-11

             We find in the book of John a story about a woman that was arrested by the Jewish Leaders for committing adultery in an attempt to trap Jesus.  These men had already disregarded the law by taking only the woman and not the man.    However, Jesus was too smart to fall for any trap.   We see here that Jesus was setting His own trap for these Jewish leaders by instructing the ones without sin to throw the first stone.  The response was that one by one from the oldest leader to the youngest leader they left leaving Jesus alone with this woman.

Jesus asks this woman where here accusers are?  Obviously, they had left.  Next we see that Jesus did not condemn this woman but He didn’t condone her actions either.  He told this woman taken in adultery to go and sin no more.

We can learn a lot from this story.  We see that there is a big statement here about judging others.  Instead of condemning people for their wrongdoings we need to show them compassion and forgiveness, just as Jesus’ did for this woman.  Not only should we forgive people but we could take this to the next level of Christ-likeness and wake up every morning forgiving people that do wrong against us before they even do it.

Friends, Jesus is ready to forgive any sin in your life but you have to ask for His forgiveness and have true repentance by turning away from your wrongdoings,  having a total change of heart.  With God’s help you can stop your old patterns of wrongdoing.  Amen.

Praise Him!

Image of Christ

Philippians 2:3-5 New Living Translation (NLT)lippians 2:3

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.  You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

As followers of Jesus Christ we are to live to conform to the image of Christ.  When Jesus was on this earth He lived and taught as an example of how we are to live, He was God’s model for us.  From the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit brings God’s revelation of Christ to us to conform us into His image.

Why is it important that as followers we reflect the moral character and Christ’s image? So that when the world sees us, they see Christ.  We are left here to become Jesus’ hands and feet.  We are left here so that when other’s look upon us we reflect Christ in everything we do and say.  If we are reflecting Jesus’ image then we are going to be submitted to God in our attitudes by developing an attitude of repentance and be in total submission to God’s will.  We will walk in forgiveness, freely giving to anyone who has need.  We will act as we know we are the temple of God.

So if we are living to

display Christ’s character we will live a life of self-sacrifice.

Philippians 2:5-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God  as something to cling to. 7 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, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Come on friends we have to truly get a grasp on this.  We are living in a world today where we focus on instant gratification, and live to fulfill

our own selfish desires.  If we want the latest electronic gadget, we charge it.  We have got to have the name brand clothes and designer jewelry.  We are focused on me, me, me.  Even as Christians we go to church one hour one day a week and sit down in a soft plush comfy pew with our 5 buck coffees from the coffee bar and look at the Pastor and say, “ok, you have one hour now feed me so I can get on with my day”.  Check yourself believer, if this resembles you.  Does this bring joy to God?  Are we displaying Christ-like character 2

4/7/365.  Being a true believer and follower of Jesus Christ is not a part-time fascination, it’s a full-time transformation.

In our Women’s Insight Group tonight we are studying on the topic of Real Christians Linger.  Today we are so distracted and hurry sick that we are unaware that we serve a God and that we are to live to bring Him joy.  Most of the time, He isn’t even thought of until we pillow our heads at night and say a little prayer, let alone live a life to bring Him joy and Christ-likeness brings Him joy.

Check out Nehemiah.  Nehemiah 8:10 New Living Translation (NLT)

10 And Nehemiah continued, “Go and cel
ebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

When we bring God joy we are strengthened.  Our choices, just like Nehemiah brings God joy.  Nehemiah was not part of the religious establishment, he was just like you and I.  Nehemiah’s relationship with God motivated Him to do God’s will in this world.  God used Nehemiah right where he was and he has placed you where you are to use you right where you are.   What was going on here is that Ezra was reading the law and the people started weeping.  Why were they weeping; because they realized how far they were from obeying the law.  Are you where God wants you to be, are you walking in His plan, are you listening to the Holy Spirit to become more like Christ?

As you read further on in Nehemiah you will see that the people acted upon the words that they heard.  We have got to be careful not to become dulled with hearing God’s word.  We must pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal how we need to apply scripture to our lives.    We MUST do something!  Understand, that as long as you have breath it is not too late.  God is committed to work in you until Christ is formed in you.  You MUST deny your flesh and yourself!  Ask God to reveal and confront you with the worldliness of your heart; whatever that may be for you.  Then allow the Holy Spirit to conform you into the image of Jesus Christ.

Praise Him!

 

Authentic

I wanted to re-post this blog because my ladies insight group is doing a study on Being Authentic in an Artificial World.  This seemed fitting.

I just wanted to share with you what God has been speaking to me alot about lately. He’s been speaking to me about being authentic and what exactly it means to be authentic. Dictionary.com defines the word as:
1. not false or copied; genuine; real: an authentic antique.

I think alot of us go through life putting on a “face” that we show to the world. We pretend we have our lives all together, our jobs are great, our kids are great, our marriage is great – – as a matter of fact the Cleavers have nothing on us. When in reality most of us are broken, wounded, misfit people. We are afraid to let people see the real us because, whoa! We are less than perfect. So we put on our best clothes, fix our hair and make-up and stroll into church with the biggest smile we can muster. We stand and sing we praise and amen but deep down inside we are crying out, we are hurting, we are BROKEN! I challenge you today to be authentic – – be just who you are and let God speak to you, let Him put the song in you, let him put the praise on your lips. Be AUTHENTIC! Be yourself! Let go of all the false faces and pretend smiles and let God be glorified by who you are and the amazing work he has done or is doing in your life.

Bring your hurt, your burdens, your brokeness to God. Let it go – give it to God roll it onto His shoulders. LET IT GO!! Colossians 3:5 – 9.  Seek God everyday from the moment you open your eyes in the morning be intentional about focusing on God and His ways. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:1-2

Then choose to let your true, authentic self reflect the attitude and model the behavior set forth in Colossians 3:12-17.

I pray that we can encourage and uplift one another to be authentic followers of Jesus Christ and that we can truly live the life that Jesus shed His precious blood for us to have!  Take some time today to read the verses mentioned above in Colossians – God has a blessing waiting for you!!

Make today a great day in the Lord!
To God Be All The Glory!

Praise Him!