Remember What Jesus Has Done!

Remember

Remember & Not Be Afraid!

Last Sunday’s sermon was titled “Distributing Multiplied Blessings” based on Mark 6:30-44. Today’s sermon picked up where we left off from last week, Mark 6:45-50. What struck me about this week’s sermon is that the disciples did not remember the miracle that Jesus had done earlier that day.

So they were in a boat out on the water late in the evening when a storm came upon them. Jesus was not with them. After they had been out on the water for some time, Jesus came to them walking on the water though He meant to pass by them. When they saw Him they thought He was a ghost and were terrified. Therefore, He called out to them, “Do not be afraid, it is I.”

Pastor Crowe, asked us to write down what makes us afraid. He gave his own example of being afraid of the dark when he was younger and how his brother revealed that there was nothing to afraid of once he turned on the light. Jesus is our light therefore, we have nothing to fear.

If Only I Would Remember

For me, this sermon spoke to me about remembering what Jesus has done for me and not being afraid of my storms. I know that it is not easy to remember the goodness of the Lord when I am in a storm. But if I stop and take time to remember that Jesus is more than able to do all and more than I can ask, I can trust that He will see me through to the other side of my storm. I so much want to live by this motto; come what may I will be okay for the Lord is with me.

However, I know that this is easier said than done. There have been many times in my life that God has seen me through the storms in my life and I know there will be more. Yet, I will probably be afraid when they come just as the disciples were in their storm.

Related link: Storms in Life Have a Purpose

Lord God, help me to remember Your goodness when storms come my way. Amen.

What has the Lord done in your life that you can remember to help you through your storms?

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We Have an Obligation, as Believers in Christ.

An Obligation to Live according the Spirit of Christ.

An Obligation, What Does That Mean?

There are a few definitions for the word obligation taken from Dicitionary.com,

  1. Something by which a person is bound or obliged to do certain things, and which arise out of a sense of duty or results from custom, law, etc.
  2. Something that is done or is to be done for such reasons: to fulfill one’s obligation.
  3.  A binding promise, contract, sense of duty, etc.

So where does this sense of duty or obligation stem from? It comes from Jesus who gave His spirit to live within us. But the obligation is not to our flesh, to live according to our sinful impulses, but to live according to the Spirit within us. (Romans 8:12 AMP)

How Are We to Fulfill This Obligation?

We do so by living by the power of the Holy Spirit and habitually putting to death the sinful deeds of the body. As we ourselves are led by the Spirit, we are called God’s children. Thus we have received the Spirit of adoption and can call or cry out, “Abba, Father.”

Therefore, we can call unto our Heavenly Father to cause us to follow His Spirit and live accordingly. The mind of the Spirit is life and peace. This peace is a spiritual well-being that comes from walking with God – both now and forever. Our following His Spirit will bring Him glory and draw others to know Him through us.

For you see, if we live by the flesh, living a life that caters to sinful impulses, we cannot please God.

To Whom Are You Obligated?

Now, comes the question, are you obligated to the Spirit or to your sinful nature? For me, my obligation is to live according to the Spirit that Christ has given me. I may not always get it right but I know that He will forgive me and set me straight if I confess and seek His face. All glory is His.

Here is a related link: Adoption: Earthly Compared to Heavenly

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Jesus is the Greatest Valentine’s Ever!

Jesus is God's Valentine

This Easter season is unique because Ash Wednesday fell on Valentine’s Day and Easter will be on April fool’s day. So here is some food for thought on this. See why Jesus is the God’s greatest valentine to us!

Valentine’s Day/Ash Wednesday

What an excellent way to the beginning of the Lenten season! On Valentine’s Day, we give our loved ones a gift to show our love. Yet, the greatest expression of love is that God sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to show us how great His love is for us. Our sins came between us and God. Therefore, Jesus paid the ultimate price in order that we would be reconciled to God. As my sister once said, “God would rather die than live without us.” Can you think of a greater act of love?

April Fool’s Day/Easter

Furthermore, I can’t think of a better day for Easter to fall on. For Jesus fooled the devil into thinking that he had won when Jesus was crucified. Yet again, God pulled the wool over the devil’s eyes on the third day when Jesus rose from the dead. Yes, you can’t keep a good man down. Because He lives, we can face tomorrow.

Easter Triumph

Do you want more food for thought? Then I suggest that you mark your calendar for March 24th 3 pm or 6 pm and go see The Easter Triumph. This is the 60th year of this live-action Passion Play. They also have a Facebook page The Easter Triumph Passion Play. I have been blessed to have been a part of this a couple of years ago and I have family members who are actively involved in it this year.

Don’t take my word for it. Go see it for yourself and experience the greatest Valentine ever given! My Redeemer lives!

Related link: Excruciating Means out of the cross

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Always Thankful 3 Reasons To Be

Always thankful

There are 3 very good reasons to be thankful always and in all circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Reason #1 to be Always Thankful

The first reason is our Creator God who made the heavens and the earth and His purpose for the law. When was the last time you went out at night and looked up into the sky without any light pollution to see the vastness of the stars? It has been a long time for me but I am still amazed at the vast number of stars. God knows each of their by name and holds them in their places. Isaiah 40 speaks of God’s greatness. I particularly like verse 28,

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth.”

Not only did He create the heavens and earth, He also placed the earth in the right place for us to exist and to be able to look up into the heavens and see who created them. He went on to give us the law for a purpose which is to make us aware of sin. All have sinned and the wages of the sin is death. No one can say they are without sin for they are deceiving themselves.

Reason #2 is the Cross

The second reason for continued thankfulness is the cross. Yet, while we were sinners and because of God’s great love for us, He sent His one and only Son to pay the price that we ourselves could not.

For you see, Jesus came to be a ransom for many and a sacrifice once and for all. He without sin became the propitiation for our sins. He despised the shame of the cross so that by believing in Him we might have eternal life and be called the children of God.

Therefore, our debts have been paid in full. I don’t know about you but I like the sound of that. So in order to be always thankful, we ought to be “cross-eyed”- always keeping the cross before us.

Reason #3 is that Our Trials Serve a Purpose

The third reason for being thankful in all our circumstances is even though our trials are not easy they do serve a purpose and we are not alone in them. God works in all things for the good of those called according to His purpose. We can consider it joy because the testing of our faith is working out perseverance and steadfastness. Pardon the phrase, but it is building character. God will see us through it all to the other side where we come out stronger.

An attitude of gratitude will go along way and sustain you better than grumbling and complaining would. People will want to be around you because of it for who likes to be in the company of a disgruntled person.

Therefore, I challenge you to be a “cross-eyed” always thankful child of God. Go and tell of God’s wondrous deeds.

For an example of thankfulness read: David; A Man of Thanksgiving

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Beloved; What Does This Mean?

Beloved

Beloved as defined by dictionary .com as 1. Adj.- greatly loved; dear to the heart and 2. Noun – a person who is greatly loved. Paul, Peter, John, and Jude all referred to believers as beloved. In 2 Thessalonians 2:13, Paul told the Thessalonians that they were greatly loved by the Lord. We are, too, greatly loved by God for He sent His one and only Son to die for us. Therefore,

You are Beloved.

As beloved children of God, we are commanded to teach the ways of Christ to others. We are to flee from idolatry. Be steadfast, immovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord knowing that our labor in the Lord is not in vain. We are called to be imitators of God. (1 Corinthians 4:17; 10:14; 15:58 ESV)

Paul’s Wisdom

I particularly like the instructions that Paul gave to the Colossians 3:12-13,

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (ESV)

Peter’s Instructions

Peter also used this reference to those he loved. In 1 Peter, he encouraged those he greatly loved to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which waged war on the soul. Furthermore, he told them not be become discouraged when fiery trials came upon them to test them. (1 Peter 2:11; 4:12 ESV)

John’s Insight

In the first and third book of John, John told those he loved to love one another as God loved them. Thus, he went on to say that they should not be imitators of evil but imitate good. This goes for us as well. (1 John4:7; 4:11; 3 John 1:11 ESV)

Jude’s Directions

Let us not forget Jude. He told those he loved to contend for the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints. Have you ever had to contend for your faith? (Jude 1:3 ESV)

Later, he told them what would cause division and then said,

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” Jude 20-21 ESV

Therefore, dearly loved by God, go and contend for your faith, love one another as Christ loved you, and do not give into the passions of the flesh. Teach others the ways of Christ. Do the work of the Lord knowing that your labor is not in vain.

Related link: Best Advice a Friend Ever Gave Me

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Love Others as You Love Yourself

Love Yourself

How Do You Love Yourself?

For me, I started with reading about what God thinks of me. This leads me to love myself because I am created in His image (Genesis 1:27). I am His workmanship and created for good works (Ephesians 2:10). This means I am His work of art, unique and one of a kind. There is no one else like me.

Not only does He love me but He also gave His one only Son to die for my sins (John 3:16). Jesus did this while I was still a sinner. I did not deserve it.

Another thing, God rejoices over me with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). This is a comfort to know that God loves me so much that He rejoices over me with singing.

So, with this in mind, how does one go about loving oneself? First, you need to change the way you think about yourself. Know that you are loved by God. If God loves you enough to send His Son to die for you, then you have no reason for not loving yourself. Any other thinking is from the devil who wants to rob you of that great love. So submit yourselves to God and resist the devil and he will flee.

Second, way to love yourself is to care for your body. For as a Christian, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Now, I have to admit that this is a struggle for me. Though, I do want to live a long life I am not good at eating the right foods and getting enough exercise.

Last but not least is remembering to whom you now belong. As a believer, you are a child of God. As a child of God, you are loved and cherished by your heavenly Father. Out of this great love you can now cherish others as you cherish yourself.

In what ways can you love yourself?

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Now Comes the Challenge!

Challenge to Reconcile

Being ministers of reconciliation in today’s social environment is not going to be easy. I agree. It will be a challenge but nevertheless, we are called to it. How is the question?

There are several good books that offer help. But first, I think that we can do so especially in these tough times by extending a helping hand or just being with someone in their time of need. God is giving us an opportunity to share His love and grace to a hurting world. We can plant seeds of faith or water where seeds have been sown.

Now, remember that you are not alone in this endeavor. In John 14:26, Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit will teach them all things and bring to remembrance all that He said to them This is true for us as well. Pray and ask God for the wisdom and the words to say to those around you.

Books to Help You with the Challenge.

I am currently studying C.S. Lewis’ book, Mere Christianity. In his day, he was speaking to the people of Britain during World War 2. He approached the topic from a very basic level which is what we will need to do in this time. Because people are resistant to hearing the Bible, preached at them. It might be helpful to hear this book on audio.

In addition to this book is one I highly recommend, Joining Jesus on His Mission, by Greg Finke. He gives great ideas and guidance as to how to be an everyday missionary. In this book, you will learn how to see what Jesus is doing in the lives of others and ways to reach others in a nonthreatening manner. This makes for a great study for any group. Go and make disciples!

Related Link: Minister of Reconciliation

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Minister of Reconciliation: Job Description

Reconciliation

I have been pondering 2 Corinthians 5:17-19. There is a lot in these three verses. Apart from being a new creation, there is a new job description. Through Christ God has entrusted me to be a minister of reconciliation. Let’s break these down into three parts.

Part One: New Creation

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” ESV

Here, we have a therefore so I looked at verses 11-16 to understand what proceeds the, therefore. I conclude that it is for the love of Christ that controls me that I am a new creation and I am no longer the old me. He has made me new. Not anything that I have done.

Part Two: God Made This Happen

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;” ESV

Alleluia! God made this happen and I had nothing to do with it. God reconciled me to Himself through Christ. But, it comes with a new job assignment. He has given me the ministry of reconciliation. That’s right! I am to tell others about how God has reconciled me to Himself and that He can do the same for them.

Part Three: Message of Reconciliation

“that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” ESV

The message is that God has reconciled the world through Christ to Himself. Christ paid the price for the sins of the world, therefore, God no longer counts their sins against them. As recipients of His grace, we have been entrusted with this message.

So the question is “How are we at getting the message of reconciliation out to the world?”

I leave you with a link to a favorite song. New Lease on Life.

Related link: Heavenly Adoption VS. Earthly Adoption

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A Psalm of Praise unto the Lord, My God!

A Psalm of Praise

Last Sunday, Pastor Crowe encouraged us to read Psalm 18 and then write one of our own. Here is mine that I have composed to tell of His goodness to me. This is my way of giving praise to my Lord and my God who sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins.

My Psalm of Praise!

A Psalm about the Greatness of the Lord unto Me!

Lord, Your ways are above all others and You desire a heart that is devoted to You.

I praise Your Holy Name for You are slow to anger and filled with compassion to those who love You and are called by Your Name.

Lord, You have sustained me in my darkest hour and restored to me more than what was taken from me.

Your Word restores, guides, and brings hope to the weary and forsaken.

You alone have the power to reconcile broken relationships when all hope was lost.

You equipped me to serve in ways that I would never have imagined before.

Your faithfulness and mercy are beyond description.

Your steadfast love is my mighty fortress and tower of refuge to run to in time of need.

Great is Your compassion and faultless is Your love.

Your patience knows no limit, yet, You will not tolerate sin nor the proud forever.

You will exalt the humble and bring down the haughty for You are sovereign.

You are righteous and just against sin, yet You will not reject a broken and contrite heart.

There is nothing that can be hidden from You.

My finite mind cannot begin to comprehend Your infinite grace and mercy. I need only believe and trust in You. Amen!

 

Therefore, I want to challenge you to write your own psalm of praise. It is a wonderful way to chronicle all the great things He has done in your life.

For a Related Link: Tell of the Goodness of the Lord.

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Are You Ready to Contend for the Faith?

Contend for your faith

Have you ever had to contend for your faith in Christ Jesus? In Jude 3-4, the author appealed to believers to contend for the faith against certain people who are ungodly and perverted the grace of our God and denied the Lord Jesus.

So what does it mean to contend? When used with a subject it means to assert or maintain earnestly. Therefore, one is to be ready to assert and maintain the reason for the hope that is in them.

Why? You Ask.

Because times are upon us that our faith will be challenged. There are several places in the Bible that we are urged to stand firm in our faith. I particularly like where the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians to be “watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love, 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 ESV.”

The Apostle Paul was very good at exhorting believers to stand firm in the faith. One fine example of this is in Philippians 3:17-4:1. He told those in Philippi to imitate him and keep their eyes on those who walked according to the example that he had set. Times were tough because there were enemies of the cross, however, Paul reminded the believers of their citizenship in heaven. Therefore, they were encouraged to stand firm in the Lord.

Likewise, there are enemies of the cross still today and we, too, are to stand firm.

Count It as Joy to Contend for the Faith.

In James 1:2-4, we are to count it joy when we meet various trails. Contending for our faith is definitely a trail. This is a testing of our faith which produces steadfastness. In turn, if we let the steadfastness have its full effect in us we will be complete and lack nothing.

Another thing to consider is that we are not left helpless. According to Luke 12:11-13, we don’t need to be anxious in defending ourselves or worry about what to say for the Holy Spirit will teach us what we ought to say.

Nor are we to turn away for Jesus said that if we deny Him He will deny us before the Father. Turning away can be seen as denying Him because one is not standing firm in the faith and acknowledging Jesus before others.

How We Ought to Answer.

Just tell your story! No one can refute it because it is your testimony. In gentleness, love, and truth, give the reason for the hope that is in you. For greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. You have an opportunity to plant a seed in someone else’s heart that only the Holy Spirit can cause to grow and hopefully take root.

Therefore, do not be afraid to speak, for God is with you wherever you go!

How have you had to contend for your faith? Please leave me a comment.

Related link: Be Ready to Give a Reason

If you want to read more on the subject, check out Kate’s link, 15 tips to help win arguments re Christian Faith on social media.

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