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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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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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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David; A Man of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving holiday comes but once a year, yet, we should make the giving of thanks to our God a daily occurrence. David is a perfect example for us to follow. Not only did he write many times in the Psalms but also sang a song of thanks to God in 1 Chronicle 16:8-36.

Why the Thanksgiving?

There are numerous reasons for the thanksgiving to our God. He created the heavens and the earth is the first reason. We are here because of His making it happen. We live and move and have our being because of Him.

In our thanks, we make known His wondrous deeds. It is in remembering that we are encouraged to keep on going and moving forward in life. When we forget, we fall into despair and let the current events way us down.

David had a lot to remind Israel of to be thankful to God. In his song, he reminds them of the great miracles that God had done. They were told to remember God’s covenant. The Lord is great and greatly to be praised is what David spoke to them. Read this song and see how David encouraged the people to tell, ascribe, and declare the great deeds God had done.

Most of all as believers, we are to give thanks to our God for sending us His son. Salvation in Jesus Christ is indeed worthy of thanksgiving. Without Him, we were facing eternal death and an eternity in hell.

What can you give thanks to God for on a daily basis?

How to Give Thanks.

In Psalm 26:7, David proclaimed his thanksgiving aloud and told of God’s wondrous deeds. So we, too, should proclaim God’s great deeds. In eight different Psalms, you can find David giving thanks.

Another way of giving thanks to God is one of sacrifice. It glorifies God when we give Him thanks, this way. So what does it mean to make a sacrifice of thanksgiving? I believe that it is giving Him thanks when we are facing trials and tribulations or even when we don’t feel so thankful. We are to give thanks in all situations.

In addition to this, we are to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. This would mean coming to church with thanks and praise on our lips and in our hearts. We can add music to our giving of thanks unto the Lord as David did.

How might you find a new way to give thanks to God? Relate link: Tell of the Goodness of the Lord.

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Sweet as Honey is God’s Word!

Sweet as honey.

Sweet as Honey & Other Word Pictures of God’s Word

I am sure that you are familiar with the phrase sweet as honey but have you heard it in reference to God’s Word? What other word pictures do we find in the Bible when it comes to God’s Word?

Sweet as Honey!

There are two places in God’s Word that describe His Words as sweet as honey. First is in Ezekiel 3:3 when the prophet was instructed to eat a scroll. He was told that it would fill his stomach. Ezekiel ate the scroll and he said that it was sweet as honey. He then was told to go to the house of Israel and speak the Words that God had given him.Sweet as Honey

Second place is in Revelation 10:9-10. The apostle John was told to eat a scroll much like Ezekiel. The Angel told him that it would be bitter on his stomach but in his mouth, it would be sweet as honey. John ate and it was as he had been told. He was told to prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.

Sharper than any Two-edged Sword!

God’s Word is described as living and active in Hebrews 4:12. It is not static nor is it asleep. His Word has the power to change lives. It is also sharper than any two-edged sword. The verse goes on to say that His Word will pierce and divide the soul and spirit as well as discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart. This is some serious surgery of the heart, soul, spirit, and mind. It will get down to the matter of the heart.

Lamp/Light

One of the descriptors that are often used for God’s Word is a light or lamp. We find this in Psalm 119 verses 105 and 13Sweet as Honey0. His Word is a lamp unto my feet and a lamp unto my path. Thus His Word will give us light for direction and a lamp to light our path for guidance. When we are troubled or confused all we need to do is look to His Word for guidance.

In addition to these Proverbs 6:23 the commandment is a lamp and a teaching light. 2 Peter 1:19-20 the prophetic word is as a lamp shining in a dark place and no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.

Furthermore, Jesus is said to be the light of the world and the living Word of God.

Breathed Out by God/ Nor Shall It Return Empty!

Last but not least are references to the scriptures being breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. This is an example of how His Word is living and active. In Isaiah 55:11, God says that the Words from His mouth will not return empty but will accomplish that which He purposed it to do.

In conclusion, God’s Word is sweet as honey, has a purpose and will affect those who hear and receive it. It will provide light to those in the dark and provide a lamp to lead them out. Thus, it would be wise to meditate on His Word day and night.

Here is one of my favorite songs, Thy Word is Lamp Unto My Feet.

A Related Link: God’s Word Can Be a Feast!

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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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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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Adoption: Earthly Compared to Heavenly

Adoption

Earthly Adoption

Adoption is a beautiful and wonderful experience for both the adoptive parents and child or children. For the child, it is heartwarming to be chosen. For the parents who are looking, I can only begin to imagine what the feelings might be when they have found the child or children they desire.

My two brothers and I were adopted by our step-dad when I was 12. My youngest brother was most especially excited about it. Not too long ago my adopted-dad, to whom I now call Dad, reminded me that he chose me for his daughter. It felt good to know that at the time.

Chosen is a very good feeling. Remember, how you felt when you were chosen to be on someone’s team in school? I remember standing and waiting to be chosen but was often the last one chosen.

Adoption gives a child that special feeling, too.

Adoption by Our Heavenly Father Through Faith

Romans 8:15-17 talks about a spirit of adoption as sons by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Abba means daddy. Have you ever called out to God, “Daddy?”

In the sermon on Sunday, Pastor Pohland spoke on Fatherly Adoption. It is from the heart of the one adopting, thus God chose me and other Christians. Our inheritance in the kingdom of God will not decrease as the number of those adopted in increases because heaven nor eternal life can be subdivided. This is unlike earthly inheritance which decreases with the number of descendants.

In sending His son to die for our sins, He gave us the right to become children of God to all who receive and believe in Jesus name (John 1:12-13).

You can find this theme in more places than one. In 2 Corinthians 6:18, God says that He will be a father to you and you shall be sons and daughters to Him. In Galatians 3:26, in Christ Jesus we are all sons of God, through faith. Galatians 4:5-6 repeats the same idea as in Romans 8:15-17.

Isn’t it good to know that you are wanted by your heavenly Father?

If you liked this you might also like: Redeemed, Defined and Explained.

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Three Key Points About the Name of Jesus!

Three Key Points

At the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) National Convention in Albuquerque, NM, our scripture verses was Philippians 2:9 This verse begins with a, therefore, thus, what comes before it is important. Hence, we will key on the following verses.

 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b] but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8 ESV

The Three Key Points Are!

One, Jesus didn’t hold His equality with God over people. Thus, He didn’t use it to his advantage. Think about this for a moment. Here, He was with great power at his disposal, yet, He set that aside to do the will of His Father.

Second, He humbly took on the likeness of man. Therefore, He knows what it is like to be human and suffered many things while on earth. He was tempted yet without sin. He fulfilled the law whereas we could not.

The third and most important is that He was obedient to the point of death. This was no ordinary death like a heart attack or from old age. It was an excruciating and shameful death on a cross, though Jesus scorned the shame that came with it. There was a purpose in His death.

This is why God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name above all names and that every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!(Philippians 2:9) Indeed, Jesus is the name above all names! He is the key to eternal life.


Related link: Excruciating Means Out of the Cross or Crucifixion3 Key Points

 

 

 

 

 

 

Footnotes:

  1. Philippians 2:5 Or which was also in Christ Jesus
  2. Philippians 2:6 Or a thing to be held on to for advantage
  3. Philippians 2:7 Or slave (for the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface)

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