Archive for April, 2011

Jesus Christ 9 (the finale)

04/30/2011
Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnets...

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Finally we come to the last segment, the second coming of Jesus Christ to collect his people. First we come to Matthew Chapter 24.

Verse 3: Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?

-In Greek, the section that reads “end of the world”, could also read: “end of the age”. The conclusion of the Earth’s life. The end times. This verse is referring to or prophesying that Jesus will return during the end times. It is during the Great Tribulation (the last half of the 7 years) that Jesus will return in what is called the Glorious Appearing.

Verse 27: For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes. 

-Notice that Jesus uses the title Son of Man for himself, this was to be a reminder that the very same Jesus the disciples knew was going to return. Jesus’ second coming is a two-part event. First will be the “thief in the night” part where he collects his believers in the rapture. The second part is (as written above) at the end of the tribulation. When the final battle of good versus evil takes place, and Jesus and his heavenly army of people raptured defeat Satan and his minions.

Verse 43: Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into.

This is the “thief” verse referred to above, the fact is, if you knew your boss was coming for a surprise visit you would be prepared. If you knew someone was coming to rob your house tonight you would be at the door with a shotgun….Jesus wants us to be ready at ALL times. If not, then we could live evil lives, wrapped in sin right up until the very moment before he came back and then ask forgiveness. It isn’t a game, there are no cheat codes that buy you some free time before it happens. When it happen, if you aren’t ready, then be prepared to find tons of your loved ones empty clothes and jewelery lying around when they are gone. There will be no goodbyes, no conversations, it will happen in the blink of an eye and that is that. Now let’s move on to some of John’s writings, from Revelation, on the second coming of Christ.

10:1 I (John) saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, surrounded by a cloud, with a rainbow over his head. His face shone like the sun, and his feet were like pillars of fire.

-This “angel” is hinting that Jesus is in fact already on his way back for the final battle of Armageddon. But, at this time he is still hidden from the eyes of those left behind after the rapture, until his appointed time. Later study reads that he is coming “on the clouds with fire” the fire indicates a measure of anger and/passion for the battle that is about to take place, but this verse clearly is speaking about before he is on the cloud and visible to mankind’s remnant.

14:14 Then I saw a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was someone like the Son of Man. He had a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.

-Here we see Jesus ON the cloud and preparing for battle, this will be the absolute end of the planet, in the sense that we know it now.

This concludes the series on Jesus Christ, I hope you have enjoyed learning as much as I have enjoyed studying. Below are a few verses that (continuing from the bottom of part 8) remind us that our God is an “all-inclusive” God.

And now in these final days, HE has spoken to US through HIS Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son HE created the universe.  The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and HE sustains everything by the mighty power of HIS command. When HE had cleansed US from OUR sins, HE sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave HIM is greater than THEIR names. For God never said to ANY angel what HE said to Jesus: “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father (The same in Greek as: “Today I reveal you as my Son.” Also see Psalm 2:7 ).” God also said, “I will be HIS Father, and HE will be MY Son.” Hebrews 1:2-5

Stay blessed,

Chris

 

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Jesus Christ 8

04/29/2011
Dove of the Holy Spirit

Image by hops_76 via Flickr

Now that we’ve talked about Jesus’ ascension, I want to talk about Jesus consummating in the spirit, or becoming complete, or perfect.

~When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory. John 7:39~

Once Jesus ascended to Heaven from Earth after his resurrection, he became glorified, he became one with God, in ever sense of the word. After this completion of his ministry on Earth, the Holy Spirit fell on his faithful. But not until he returned for the last time to Heaven.

~And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God.  Rom 8:10~

The spirit is a part of God himself, and once Christ completed his works on Earth, the spirit became our guide. The spirit is how Jesus himself communicates with us. And real believers, the faithful have this spirit inside of them even though our bodies are dead from sin, our spirits are alive in Jesus.

~Christ is a life-giving Spirit. 1 Corinthians 15:45b~       find proof in Genesis 2:7 where God (Jesus) breathes the very life into Adam.

Jesus not only allows life to exist, he gives us life to begin with, the Holy Spirit gives us eternal life by living inside us and guiding our lives.

~For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17~

This final verse on the matter proves beyond all doubt that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are ONE in the same way Jesus and God the Father are ONE. And true life and freedom come with that spirit that Jesus gave us after he left Earth.

Think of Jesus as an “all-inclusive resort”. Salvation is all-inclusive, everything you can imagine comes in this package and it is for everyone who accepts him and walks with him. I am going to speak more on this in a later post, but for now take these verses for example, they are all directed at you and me.

~God will do this, for HE is faithful to do what HE says, and HE has invited YOU into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ OUR Lord.  1 Corinthians 1:9~

~He has enabled YOU to share in the inheritance that belongs to HIS PEOPLE, who live in the light. Colossians 1:12b~

~just as YOU accepted Christ Jesus as YOUR Lord, YOU must continue to follow HIM. Colossians 2:6~

~don’t let ANYONE condemn YOU for what YOU eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain “holy days”, “ceremonies” or “Sabbaths”. For rules like these are ONLY shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ HIMSELF IS THAT REALITY. Colossians 2:16-17~

 

Stay blessed,

Chris

 

 

Jesus Christ 7

04/28/2011
Fra Bartolomeo, Annunciation, 1509

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Mark 16:19 When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. —Jesus ascension was a sign of God’s acceptance of all He had done for God’s plan. An example for us, showing us our futures, if we follow Jesus’ lead.

Luke 24:51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. —This one simple verse pretty much finalizes the five messages of Luke’s gospel: Birth, Ministry, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension. Even in Jesus final moments before returning again to Heaven was to bless his faithful followers.

John 6:62 Then what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again? —Jesus’ ascension was the icing on the cake of his entire life on Earth. It was PROOF that his work of redemption had been completed.

John 20:17 “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” — On the day of His resurrection the Lord ascended to the Father. This was a secret ascension, the ultimate fulfillment of the going already predicted. It occurred forty days prior to His public ascension, which took place before the eyes of the disciples in Acts 1:9-11. On the day of resurrection, early in the morning He ascended to satisfy the Father, and late in the evening He returned to the disciples.

Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. —Jesus humbled himself as much as humanly possible, but God elevated him to the highest peaks. God made Jesus as a man, but Lord in his ascension, granted divinity that everyone know the prophecies had been fulfilled and the messiah had come, and provided salvation for all.

Ephesians 4:8 That is why the Scriptures say, “When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people.” —The gift, was salvation from Hell. The captives, were us. We were captive in our sin and bound for torment before giving our lives to Christ.

Hebrews 7:26 He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been has been exalted higher than the heavens.—He remained perfect in the eyes of God his entire life, therefore he, as God, resides now even higher than the heavens. This indicates leadership over Heaven, which is above Earth therefore includes that as well.

There are tons of verses that I could include in this study of Jesus’ ascension from man, back to deity above all creation. In Acts 1:11 we find the disciples staring into the sky after the ascension wondering where he has gone, even though Jesus told him where he was going. This reminds us how frail exactly, human minds can really be. They had just spoken with him but were still not entirely certain where he had gone!

Make no mistake about it, Jesus is still residing on the throne, and after reading this many posts about Him, if you are still unaware of exactly how real Christ is, and his love for you I would like to instruct you to click HERE for a clean-cut path to meet him.

Stay blessed,

Chris

 

 

 

 

Jesus Christ 6

04/27/2011
Mary Magdalene

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We have discussed Jesus Christ from birth to death, but wait, there’s more! Now we finally get into the resurrection and as I am writing this, it is Good Friday, the anniversary of the crucifixion itself.

Romans 4:25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.

 -For our sins, he had to die. For the wrongs of all generations, he was slaughtered. No greater love has ever been shown.

Matthew 28 Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.

-This verse is kind of like the appetizer before the main course, after getting to the tomb, the story really begins to get interesting!

John 20:1 Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.

-Mary knew something was up, when the massive stone was simply rolled off to the side.

Mark 16:6 but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body.

-Once arriving the ladies are met by an angel, who informed them of Christ’s resurrection, and even pointed out the emptiness of the tomb.

Acts 2:24 But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.

-Jesus essentially released himself from the grip of death, to fulfill his own prophecies of granting the world salvation!

 Acts 13:33 …and God has now fulfilled it for us, their descendants, by raising Jesus. This is what the second psalm says about Jesus: ‘You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.

-Again referring to the prophecies of the eventual resurrection of the Son of God.

John 12:23  Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory.

-Jesus informed his followers that he must ascend to Heaven, before being seen by the masses and his public ascension took place, he had to return to his GLORY first.

1 Peter 1:3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation,

-This confirms the hope of eternal life we now have, our sins were washed clean in Jesus’ blood, and the promise of eternal life is now available for all who will accept him. If you have not done that and would like to, or to know how click HERE.

The apostle Paul had many great insights into the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. You can read them in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, by clicking HERE.

Also, to find out “Where Jesus is, in your life”, click HERE.

Stay blessed,

Chris

Jesus Christ 5

04/26/2011
c. 1632

Image via Wikipedia

Finally in the series we come to the most painful to read, but inspiring show of love in all of Jesus’ human life. His death.

John 19:34 One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out.

This was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy that he would be pierced for our sins. Notice that in his death, two fluids poured from Jesus’ body. I think the author mentioned them separately on purpose. The water clearly would symbolize the living water Jesus always talked about. Once the water poured out, Jesus body had died. The blood was shed and poured to pay for, or cover our sins that we could be seen righteous in the eyes of God, instead of stained with the acts of the flesh.

Hebrews 2:14 Because God’s children are human beings, made of flesh and blood, the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had[a] the power of death.

In order to divinely cover our sins, and save us from damnation at the hands of Satan, the evil one. God had to come to Earth in the form of a man, Jesus, and give his perfect blood as a once and for all sacrifice for all sin.

1 Peter 3:18 Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.

This verse reiterates my earlier comment about covering our sins once and for all. Jesus was blameless and perfect in his humanity as in his divinity. Those of us who like to think that Jesus did not feel pain, because he was God, need go anywhere else looking for proof of being wrong, this very clearly states that Jesus felt every lash, every hammer hit, every ounce of the pain that anyone would. And, he did it for you, for us.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to *be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

*this phrase in the original Greek can also be translated to say “to become sin”.

When you think about it with the second translation, think about a sponge big enough to was every single car on the planet at the exact same time, inside and out, even under the hood in the engine and all moving and non moving parts. Ever car in the world! That is precisely what Jesus did for our sins, and not just the sins of his time, imagine all of the cars every created in the history of the world! Jesus did that for ever single sin!

Mark 14:36 Abba, Father,” Jesus cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

I always say that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did not go around talking to himself! He’s God. This is from his prayer just before his death, and even then, up to the last-minute, he had three disciples with him and was trying to get in a few last-minute lessons on communicating with him once he was back in Heaven, and was angered and upset that they could not even stay awake long enough to learn in his final moments. Also, in Aramaic, Abba simply means Father. While Jesus phrase was redundant, it was also done on purpose. To use Greek and Aramaic he was doing his best to show that he was for all people, not only those who could read one language or the other. I believe that when God divinely inspired Mark to write this gospel, he did that on purpose to add further importance to us acknowledging ALL believer instead of only those who speak (or behave or live) the way we see as culturally acceptable.

John 19:30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.

Jesus, even in his death, released his own spirit unto the Heavens and out of his body. Removing everything divine from his body. Jesus, the human was dead, but Jesus, the God of Ages, the Wonderful Counsellor, the Prince of Peace was, is, and always shall be seated on the throne of Heaven, alive and well, ruling over the faithful believers in him. Guiding us in the right directions, and showing us that there is a better way for those who accept him!

Stay blessed,

Chris

Jesus Christ (4)

04/25/2011
the Gospel of Matthew

The basis of this portion of the Jesus Christ series will be about his human life and living.

Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

-To accept the Lord’s yoke is to accept his guidance and will for you. By Jesus taking the Father’s yoke upon himself, and living in the faith and will of God (himself), he was giving us the example for our own lives.

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

-As I mentioned in my last post Jesus chose to take on the roll of the servant, the lowest roll in those times, as seen by the upper class. Jesus lived to serve. He was born to serve, and eventually died in order to serve even in death. He loves us that much. His entire life was one of servitude and example setting.

1 Peter 2:21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ died for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.

-An often mentioned part of Jesus life was his suffering. He suffered for the cause of God. Just as in our service we may lose friends, and in some cases, be physically or mentally harmed in Jesus name. He showed us in his death as well as the rest of his life how to live, we are not expected to live perfect lives, because as the scriptures indicate, we are sinful by our very nature. But Peter is telling us here, that we are to walk in the way of Jesus at all costs, even if it were to mean the ultimate price being paid as Jesus did.

Ephesians 4:21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him….

-Paul tells the church of Ephesus, and all readers, that Jesus life was a life of truth. To say he lived in Truth, is indicative of the way he behaved. To walk in the way of the world is to live in pride and vanity. To walk in the way of the Lord however, is to live a life, and leave behind a legacy, of selfless service, of love, of mercy, and of gratitude for the life you have been allowed to have, under the banner of the Lord’s service.

John 7:1 After this, Jesus traveled around Galilee. He wanted to stay out of Judea, where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death.

-Although Jesus is one and the same as God the Father, The Creator; he still took persecution, willingly from and for his very own creations.

John 7:41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others said, “But he can’t be! Will the Messiah come from Galilee?

-*The Lord was born in Bethlehem (Luke 2) but was raised in Nazareth of Galilee, a city that was despised by people at that time. He was the seed of David, but He came as a Nazarene (Matt 2:23). He grew up “as a root out of a dry ground,” having “no form”, “no beauty that we should desire Him,” and was “despised and rejected of men” (Isa 53). Hence, we should know Him not according to the flesh (2 Cor 5:16) but according to the Spirit.

In this glimpse into the human living of Jesus Christ, I hope you are able to find and receive the quality of life he has laid our for you. A life or service, sacrifice, love, grace, peace, and mercy.

Stay Blessed,

Chris

*© 97-11 Living Stream Ministry

The refiner’s fire

04/21/2011

Lion of Judah, the Refining Fire

It seems like everywhere I look someone is struggling to get through, everything seems to go wrong. We all ask that big question, “Why me Lord. When will it end, am I doing something wrong?” Are u that person? We all go through something. Whether it’s financial issues, spiritual, health issues, etc. What’s God up to, I feel far away, almost disconnected. Am I unworthy of God’s love? What do I need to do to get through, to feel his presence?
 

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Deuteronomy 1:30 The Lord your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt.

Interestingly, this is right before God was going to take the Israelites to the promised land. God said pay attention to Me, focus on Me, just as I freed you from the Egyptians, I will lead you to the promised land. However you must trust ME & do it MY way, live MY way, don’t stray to other gods or things of this world. God also gave them a promise, GOD said I will pave the way (go before you) & fight for YOU (also means protection & provision). How does this pertain to the refiners fire, lets explore this some more. Refinement means a subtle difference in meaning, opinion or attitude; the result of improving something, the process of removing impurities (as from oil or metals or sugar etc.). Lets look at the definition of fire. Fire is a state, process, or instance of combustion in which fuel or other material is ignited and combined with oxygen, giving off light, heat, and flame.
 
Sounds unpleasant, now lets look at the refinement of Gold. The gold is heated till it melts, then as it melts the impurities (things not of God) float to the top, then the refiner (God) uses a ladle to scoop out the impurities (things not of God), and discards them. This process happens repeatedly. The refiner (GOD) knows HE is finished by the reflection of HIS face, like looking into a mirror. God is making us into his likeness, moment to moment, taking away what does not belong, purifying us of all that takes away from HIS creation, HIS purpose. Beauty for ashes, Children of the GOD most High. I think its pretty incredible that GOD LOVES us that much or takes the time. HE could just smite us, that’s how You know God Loves you. A word of advice, live Gods way, the longer you wait & the more you try to do it your way, the more fire you will go through. The Israelites spent 40 years in the desert, because they didn’t listen to the ONE who freed them, under extraordinary conditions. All the stuff that happens to us, is so God can take us to HIS promised land and to bring the kingdom of God to those who don’t know Him. Are you being refined? Take heart, seek HIM in everything. He will pave the way, with provision & protection. Through this process you will learn that God is setting you free from all the anxieties & the traps of devil, in this world.
 
Lord, thank you for loving me enough to refine me into YOUR likeness, help me to seek YOU in all I do. Help me to learn and grow from every flame aimed at me. Show me how to recognize what is of YOU & what is not of you. Teach me to live YOUR way, with no worldly option. Break my heart for what breaks yours. In Jesus name I pray.
 
God bless you all.

Hope
 

SALVATION

04/19/2011

What does it mean to be saved?

I come that you may have life and that more abundantly. John 10:10

Q:What is humanity’s relation to God?

A:Paul writes in his letters to the Romans that “All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23)  This doesn’t say that God has rejected everyone, or that God doesn’t like them. It does say that we, as human beings have fallen short of the glory of God. Genesis 1:26 says that we are created to be like God. Then in verse 28 we learn that we were given control over the Earth by God. In Psalm 8:5 we learn that we were made a little lower than God, an image of him. Fact is, we all have fallen short of this wonderful goal of emulating God’s character and of using our full capabilities.

God hasn’t separated himself from us, we have separated ourselves from God. (See Luke 15:11)

Q:Who is Jesus?

A:Let’s first ask what Jesus did? Jesus brought to us understanding of God’s character in Hebrews 1:3. He carried the burden of our sins and opened a door for us to be saved in 1 Peter 2:24. Jesus opened the way, directly to God in Hebrews 4:14-16. Jesus has shown us the glorious purpose God has for us and how we can attain it.

God’s Son has all the brightness of God’s own glory and is like him in every way. Hebrews 1:3

Now a brief outline of how you accept Jesus:

a) Pray and accept the message that God has sent you through Jesus.

b) Determine to turn from the things that keep you away from God’s full purpose for your life.

c) Fine a group of Christians who believe in living the Word of God on a daily basis and join with them in worshipping him.

d) Look for ways to make your world line up with God’s plan.

and;

e) Read your Bible daily as you grow to learn God’s voice.

Now, Moving forward.

Q: What does it mean to surrender my life to Christ Jesus?

A: The idea of surrendering control of one’s life to someone else is very frightening to some. But what is it that God is actually asking of us? Think of someone standing by a high cliff. There is a choice to be free of the laws of nature and jump, or to accept them and take proper care. To choose life by surrender is not to give up anything good. One simply accepts the physical laws that exist and by which the universe runs. Accept them and live; reject them and die. It is the same thing with Christ‘s moral laws: accept and live or reject and die.

Today I am giving you a choice. You can choose life and success or death and disaster. Deut 30:15

Q: What does it mean to live a Christ-like life?

A: Jesus said that the most important commandment of the law was “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind” the second most important commandment is “Love others as much as you love yourself”. The Bible also teaches that we must put this into action, not just words (1 John 4:20-21).

Children, you show love for others by truly helping them, not merely by talking about it. 1 John 3:18

Q: What about Heaven and Hell?

A: For many people the point of Christianity or any religion is to assure one’s place in another world. But there is much more to following Jesus than that. Jesus showed us a good way of life HERE and NOW! The Bible tells us about an eternal reward and eternal punishment, but what it tells us most about is following Jesus in this world, while preparing for the next.

By following Jesus in this life we are preparing to be in His presence for eternity. (See John 14:1-3)

Finally, if after reading, and you haven’t already. Below is a very simple prayer that will give you the peace you have been desperately seeking. It isn’t a guarantee of earthly happiness or even earthly health, but God has told us that is the most important transaction you could ever make. You are accepting a free ticket to salvation and eternal life. If you have made this decision today, I welcome you as a brother or sister and cannot wait to see God’s work through your life and testimony, and at some point your own personal ministry even!

Prayer for salvation:

“Father, in Jesus name, I thank you now for another opportunity that you have allowed me to come before your presence. I ask you now to forgive me of all of my sins. Forgive me for anything I’ve done or anything I have said that has brought shame to your Holy Name. I confess with my mouth and I believe in my heart that God has raised Jesus from the dead and He now lives in me. I know I am a sinner and do not deserve your grace and love. And I proudly accept this gracious gift of eternal life in your son Christ Jesus. Thank you Lord that I am now saved by grace, and I will serve you for the rest of my life. In Jesus matchless and precious name, Amen.”

Feels good doesn’t it? Welcome to the family. If you just prayed that then my heart has never been happier. Right now the angels in Heaven are throwing a party in your honor, the Bible says so.

Now, go and blessed. It will not always be simple, but in the end, there is no greater cause to serve, and no greater love than God has for us.

Chris

*some information provided by TOPCI and may be copyrighted material

Notes on salvation and witnessing

04/19/2011
Gustave Doré, Depiction of Satan, the antagoni...

Image via Wikipedia

Jesus and Satan were having an ongoing argument about who was better on the computer. They had been going at it for days, and frankly God was tired of hearing all the bickering. Finally fed up, God said, ‘THAT’S IT! I have had enough. I am going to set up a test that will run for two hours, and from those results, I will judge who does the better job.’  So Satan and Jesus sat down at the keyboards and typed away. They: moused, faxed, e-mailed, e-mailed with attachments, downloaded, did spreadsheets, wrote reports, created labels and cards, 
created charts and graphs, some genealogy reports, they did every job known to man. Jesus worked with heavenly efficiency and Satan was faster than hell. Then, ten minutes before their time was up, lightning suddenly flashed across the sky, thunder rolled, rain poured, and, of course, the power went off. Satan stared at his blank screen and screamed every curse word known in the underworld. Jesus just sighed.  Finally the electricity came back on, and each of them restarted their computers. Satan started searching frantically, screaming: ‘It’s gone! It’s all GONE! ‘I lost everything when the power went out!’  Meanwhile, Jesus quietly started printing out all of his files from the past two hours of work.  Satan observed this and became irate. ‘Wait!’ he screamed. ‘That’s not fair! He cheated! How come he has all His work and I don’t have any?’……….God just shrugged and said, “JESUS SAVES” !!!

Now that you have read that, and hopefully at least got a chuckle. I want to address a very serious situation. Every single day thousands die without knowing Jesus. Clicking HERE takes you (or anyone you know and think need it) to a wonderful outline for salvation. I have been wanting to get this information out there for a week or so and have not been sure how to do it, then magically, my friend Amy (who readers are familar with) sent me the above joke. I love ice-breakers and couldn’t think of a better way to get your attention, because tons of us meet people all the time we want to help and other than our own words, don’t really know how to do it, or help someone do it. So forward this, or that link to a friend in need.

Before closing I want to give a quick lesson on witnessing, from my ministry mentors at SCC.

~The key to maintaining a lifestyle of sharing the Good News is to be aware when the Holy Spirit is leading you. As Paull tells us in Galatians 5:25 “Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the spirit’s leading in every part of our lives”. Well, that presents the question: How do I build a lifestyle of sharing the Good News? Below are the three ways to doing just that.

1. I have to leave my circle of comfort when the Spirit says to move. (Click HERE for Acts 1:8)

2. I have to accept that Jesus’ mission is also My mission. (Click HERE for Acts 20:24 & HERE for John 17:18)

3. Remember that I can’t ordain the role I get to play. (Click HERE for 1 Corinthians 3:6)

In closing, a fact that you should be aware of is this: Some people are close to making a commitment to Christ while other’s still have a very LONG way to go. Prayer, and just being a friend to those in need can help build that bridge to Christ.

Stay blessed,

Chris

Jesus Christ (3)

04/14/2011
Jesus at the house of the Pharisean, by Jacopo...

Image via Wikipedia

The topic here is Jesus’ actual human incarnation.

Matthew 1:18 Now the origin of Jesus Christ was in this way: His mother, Mary, after she had been engaged to Joseph, before they came together, was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit.

-Through Mary, Jesus received his flesh. However, as we know, Jesus was God before he was “Jesus”. He was impregnated in Mary’s womb via the Holy Spirit. God’s spirit, so therefore Jesus’ very own spirit. If you are one of the many who still tries to think of Jesus, God, and the Spirit as different people, please try to avoid that. Think of a corporation with different divisions yet the same name.

Luke 1:35 The angel said to Mary, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore also the holy thing which is born will be called the Son of God.

-Oh how happy the Demons of Earth would have been to hear this angel’s words first-hand. Calling Jesus the Son of God, embraced his divinity as you can clearly read, it was only when he was called The Son Of Man, did the prophecies (and their demise) begin to come into play. The spirit, if you can envision this with me, totally enveloped Mary in a very supernatural way and when it left, she was pregnant with our Savior.

John 1:14 14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us (and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only Begotten from the Father), full of grace and reality.

-One of the most famous verses in all of Christianity. Pronouncing that the very Word, or breath, of God himself spoke Jesus as a human incarnation of himself, into existence. Much in the same way God spoke the world into existence in the beginning. I get goosebumps reading and writing about the supernatural ways that God has touched mankind! God, in a sense, spoke himself (in the form of a man) into existence! And why? For YOU. For ME, and all of humanity to be able to receive salvation that we could never deserve or even begin to! What a mighty and loving God indeed.

Romans 1:3 3 Concerning His Son, who came out of the seed of David according to the flesh…

-Here we read the words of the apostle Paul, clearly explaining Jesus dual nature to the Romans. And explaining the beginning part of how God became a man for their salvation.

Romans 8:3 For that which the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh…

-While Jesus had the likeness of the “flesh”, he did not have the sinful nature that we do. In case you are wondering how Jesus could be of the flesh, without carrying the sin of the flesh, let me remind you of Numbers chapter 21 when Moses had the bronze serpent, but that serpent did not have the venom of a real snake, only the appearance. Similar to Jesus, that serpent was a supernatural event. We need to also be reminded that the Jews had turned away from God and become all about the law in those days. That same law is what kept power in the hands of the Pharisees and Sadducees, which is a massive, if not the only, reason they refused to admit that Jesus was the Messiah. Their greed and gluttony for power and control over the people is what condemned those of them who did not receive him in the manner that Nicodemus did.

Philippians 2:7 But emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, becoming in the likeness of men; 

-In Jesus’ human incarnation he didn’t change his divine nature. Just his outward appearance and expression. From the highest life form, God the father of all creation to that of a servant. The lowest form of humanity. And not just any servant, but a servant to a divine cause. When he addressed his father in Heaven, it was for the benefit of those around him seeing how they are supposed to interact with HIM. Otherwise he would have just been talking to himself all the time, right? In the servant role, Jesus was showing us how we are supposed to be.

We are supposed to be servants, so those of you who believe that your sole responsibility is to go to church every time the doors are open but do NOTHING more……I pray over you desperately. To sit in a pew every week, and hear uplifting music and words of encouragement is never a bad thing, but to leave it at that, is a far cry from the plan Jesus has put in place. We are in church to serve, not be served. If you are a believer, you have already received more than you could ever deserve in salvation from eternal torment alone! It is your/our duty to serve, and not simply serve God, but to serve God by serving his flock, especially the lost sheep.

Grace and peace,

Chris