Monday, April 28, 2014

Following God's Schedule...Romans 11:33-36

Romans 11:33-36

Most of us enjoy feeling in control of our own schedule and grow frustrated when things don't go according to plan. Yet if we truly desire to walk in the center of God's perfect will, we must become willing to cooperate with His time frame.

Consider how you pray about situations in your life. Without realizing it, you may be demanding that God follow the schedule you've constructed according to your very limited human wisdom. Yet if we believe He is who He says He is, how can surrendering to His way not be to our benefit? Think about His unique, praiseworthy qualities:

His all-encompassing knowledge. Unlike us, the Lord has complete awareness about our world and the details of every individual life--past, present, and future.

His complete wisdom. God understands man's every motive, whereas none of us are able to accurately discern people's intentions. We make choices based on partial information, whereas He has the wisdom to take action based on truth.

His unconditional love. Our Creator is always motivated by love and constantly has our best in mind. Unless we trust His heart, our view of reality will be distorted.

His perfect sufficiency. At just the right time, God will provide us with everything we need to carry out His plan.

Submitting to God's timetable requires faith and courage. Believe in the goodness of His heart and His plans--and determine to wait until He gives the signal to move forward. Then, as you follow His schedule, you'll experience the joy of watching Him make all things beautiful in His timing.

Commenting author unknown

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Action, not Theory...John 13:8-15

John 13:8–15

Jesus said a strong thing to Peter when He spoke these words: "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me" (John 13:8). Our Lord's rebuke introduces a convicting observation: being a servant is not a sign of inner weakness but of incredible strength.

There is no way to remove the jab and the twist from Christ's words to Peter. He said, in effect, "If you do not allow Me to do this, that is it. Get out!" Anybody who lives under the delusion that Christ was rather weak and spineless has overlooked such statements as this one. Being a servant in no way implies there will never be a confrontation or strong words shared with others.

The Lord may choose to use the reproof of a servant who has earned the right to be heard even more often than that of an aggressive leader type. It certainly worked with Peter. We know he got the message when he blurted out, in so many words, "Give me a bath!" No, that wasn't necessary, only his feet.

After Jesus brought back balance to Peter's overreaction, He sat down for a time of reflection and instruction among the men. "Do you know what I have done to you?" (13:12). What a strange question. Obviously, they knew what He had done. He had washed their feet! But He had much more in mind than the obvious—Jesus always does. He wanted them to think deeply, to learn something very insightful and valuable as an obedient servant. Look at what He told them.

"You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet." (13:13–14)

He told them (and us) to wash one another's feet. What an admonition! Now here's the clincher, "For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you" (13:15). Let's read it in a much more popular way: "I gave you an example that you should study about it on Sundays." No.

Or . . . "I gave you an example that you should form discussion groups and meditate on it." No.

Or how about . . . "I gave you an example that you should memorize My words and repeat them often." No.

Jesus said it plainly. "I gave you an example that you should do as I did to you." He was looking for action, not theory.

Commentary author unknown

Obedience...John 13:14-15, 17

John 13:14–15, 17

Reading the words of our Savior, we need to realize the tremendous emphasis He put on obedience. As I think about appropriating Christ's model and commands, three specifics seem important enough to mention.

First, obedience means personal involvement. Jesus told His disciples, "If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet" (John 13:14). We cannot serve one another in absentia or at arm's length. It means if someone is drowning in a troubled sea, we get wet, we get in touch. It means if someone drifts away, we don't ignore that person, we reach out to help and restore. Think about this. Honestly now, are you willing to get involved and help at least one person in need? Willingness must precede involvement.

Second, obedience requires Christlike unselfishness. He said it Himself, "For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you" (13:15). Let your eyes dig into those words. To pull off this concept, we'll need to see others as Christ sees them. We'll need to risk reaching out, giving up the luxury of staying safe . . . giving up our preferences for His. Unselfishness never comes easy.

Finally, obedience results in ultimate happiness. I love Jesus's affirmation, "If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them" (13:17). Notice, in the final analysis, happiness comes from doing these things. Meaning what? Namely this, we have to carry it out before we can enter into the joy of serving. Just studying about it or discussing it produces no lasting happiness. The fun comes when we roll up our sleeves, wrap the towel around our waist, and wash a few feet . . . quietly . . . graciously . . . cheerfully like Christ who was "gentle" and "humble in heart."

Does that mean it will never backfire on us? Am I saying those with servant hearts will not get ripped off or hurt in the process? Does this promise of happiness mean we'll be protected from suffering? No, a thousand times no! To keep everything realistic, we must face the very painful consequences. Even when we have been "gentle" and "humble in heart."

What else can we expect? The perfect Model of obedience finished His earthly ministry as a corpse on a cross.

Father, we are blessed by your kindness and ever loving spirit, your truth truly sets us free in Christ Jesus! Do your will in me and make me closer with you through your son today! In Jesus's name, AMEN!

Commentary Author unknown

Friday, April 25, 2014

The triumphant attitude...John 14:1-14

John 14:1-14

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me." (v.1)

By now it should be fairly obvious to even the newest disciple of Christ that if, like a "corn of wheat afraid to die", we shrink back from being ploughed into the red furrows of suffering, we shall remain alone alone, and unfruitful. Someone has said, "God never uses anyone unless He puts them through the test of suffering and pain." Strong words. Do you find yourself flinching as you read them? I do. Yet it is not wrong to flinch at the approach of a spiritual test. God knows how you feel. The issue, however, is not about flinching; it is about following. Are we willing to open our hearts to the Lord and say: "Do to me as You will"? I suggest the only way we will be able to do that is when we have the thought clearly fixed in our minds that God will never allow us to go through anything without providing all the grace we need to bear it, and will turn the test into a testimony that will eternally glorify Him and make our characters more like His. Jesus, remember, began His ministry here on earth with a wilderness experience, and ended it with "Let not your hearts be troubled", not because they were to be protected from troubles, but because they were to "trust in God". Faith in God will not save you from suffering, but it will save you through it - the suffering can be made into an instrument of redemption. Remember, you cannot bless without bleeding, and you cannot succour until you have suffered.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Not all of you are clean...John 13:3-11

John 13:3–11

The gentle and humble lifestyle of the Savior is nowhere more evident than in the account of John 13, where He washed the feet of His friends, the disciples. In that event, He left us some timeless principles we dare not ignore regarding serving God.

The scene is first-century Jerusalem. Paved roads were few. In fact, within most cities they were unheard of. The roads and alleys in Jerusalem were more like winding dirt trails, all covered with a thick layer of dust. When the rains came, those paths were liquid slush, several inches of thick mud. It was the custom, therefore, for the host to provide a slave at the door of his home to wash the feet of the dinner guests as they arrived. The servant knelt with a pitcher of water, a pan, and a towel and washed the dirt or mud off the feet as each guest prepared to enter the home. Shoes, boots, and sandals were left at the door, a custom still prevalent in the Far East.

If a home could not afford a slave, one of the early arriving guests would graciously take upon himself the role of the house servant and wash the feet of those who came. What is interesting is that none of the disciples had volunteered for that lowly task . . . so the room was filled with proud hearts and dirty feet. Interestingly, those disciples were willing to fight for a throne but not a towel. Things haven't changed a lot since then, by the way.

Read rather carefully the account of what transpired:

Jesus . . . got up from supper . . . and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, "Lord, do You wash my feet?" Jesus answered and said to him, "What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter." Peter said to Him, "Never shall You wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head." Jesus said to him, "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, "Not all of you are clean." (John 13:3–11)

Father, forgive us when we let our pride get in the way of serving you by loving others. Thank you for the example you set through Jesus for us to follow. May your Holy Spirit guide me as you continue to teach me your ways. We sing praises to you Father always! In Jesus's name, AMEN!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ask Your Father...2 Samuel 9

Today's Reading: 2 Samuel 9; Luke 15:11-32

Today's Thoughts: Ask Your Father

"The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!' " “My son,” the father said, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” Luke 15:28-31

I was thinking about the difference between the prodigal son versus his brother. One of the biggest differences between the two was in their ability to ask. The prodigal son asked for his share of the inheritance. His father graciously gave it to him. Not long after that, this younger son left his father’s house and “squandered the wealth in wild living” (as quoted in the NIV). The older

son kept faithfully working and obeying. When the younger son came home with a heart of repentance, the older son was angry because he felt as if he had been mistreated. But really, their father would have been just as fair. One asked and the other didn’t.

Without concentrating on the poor choices that the younger son made, I have been meditating on the relationship of two boys, living under the same roof, and their dad. What gave one the ability to ask? We see the same thing occur in Christianity today. Some of us have learned to ask our Father for more blessings and fruits, willing to take more risks. While others are obedient but angry that nothing extra or miraculous is done for them.

Which are you?  Many of us do not pray this way: “Lord, I know that I don’t deserve one thing for I am a sinner and Jesus has done everything for me already. But I ask for your blessings and for more of the Holy Spirit to do bigger and greater things. Not because of any works of righteousness do I ask, but because of Your mercy. Use me, empower me and fill me to be poured out as a blessing on others as You bless me. I want more Lord and You told me to ask.”

But when you learn to pray this way, miracles happen.

Author unknown

Sunday, April 20, 2014

HE IS RISEN! .., Mark 16:6-7

Mark 16:6-7 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. Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.” 

Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome were on their way to the tomb Sunday morning to annoit the body of Jesus for the last time. They were unsure how they would be able to reach the body of Jesus due to the large stone in front of the tomb as well as the roman guard. What they found shocked them. The stone had been rolled aside. When they entered, they saw an angel in a white robe. What he told them validates what Jesus had been saying. Mark 9:31 ..He said to “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. He will be killed, but three days later he will rise from the dead.” 

Not only by dying on the cross for our sins but rising from the dead did Jesus defeat death permanently so that we could enjoy everlasting life in heaven with the Father. One caveat, as long as we choose Jesus as our savior. 

Praise be to God the Father that He raised His son from the dead for our transgressions. Thank you for freeing us from death and delivering us from our sin. We love you Father, Blessed be your name!, In Jesus name, AMEN!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

NO FAITH!...Exodus 32:30

Exodus 32:30 The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a terrible sin, but I will go back up to the Lord on the mountain. Perhaps I will be able to obtain forgiveness for your sin.” 

Aaron, had built a golden calf for the people because the people lost hope in Moses as he had gone up the mountain. The people made a grave mistake, after all that God had done for them, all the miracles he had given them to free them from bondage in Egypt. The 10 plagues...They gave up on God! Does this sound familiar? How many times do you hear someone say, Why would God allow...suffering, pain, crime, murder, child abuse...I can go on & on but the complaint is always the same...NO FAITH! They give up and surrender. 

But Moses went back to God and asked Him to forgive them...Exodus 32:31-32 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Oh, what a terrible sin these people have committed. They have made gods of gold for themselves. But now, if you will only forgive their sin—but if not, erase my name from the record you have written!” 

God had a different plan. He said no, I will deal with them justly but you need to fulfill your mission and keep moving forward! Exodus 32:31-34 But the Lord replied to Moses, “No, I will erase the name of everyone who has sinned against me. Now go, lead the people to the place I told you about. Look! My angel will lead the way before you. And when I come to call the people to account, I will certainly hold them responsible for their sins.” 

My point is this...Don't lose faith in God. Just because life doesnt go your way, you dont get what you want, because you have to endure pain in this life, dont lose Faith in your Lord! Take heed to what happened to the people Moses lead out of Egypt who gave up on God. Exodus 32:35 Then the Lord sent a great plague upon the people because they had worshiped the calf Aaron had made

Sometimes bad things happen because we invite trouble by turning our back to God. These people gave up on God, turned their back on their Lord and what did they expect. I would think twice before I judge God on the events in my life or face His judgement. And we wonder why bad things happen to people without faith...

Father forgive us of our attitude and disbelief, give us discerment and a second chance to repent of our sins! Thank you for your sending your son, Jesus to die in our place so that we could have that second chance. Its now up to us to choose Jesus! Praise your name Father always! In Jesus's name we pray, AMEN!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Rescue Me!...Psalm 34:18

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. 

I once heard, if God could break his only son for us, what makes me think that he wouldn't break me for His purposes. Weren't we created for God's purposes? Weren't we created to glorify his name always? 1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Why is it that Our sinful nature always gets in the way of our adoration for God through Christ! We must always remember that God loves us more than we can understand. He wants us to cry out to him and he will rescue us but that requires faith! That's why we call it a trial. It feels like God is testing us to see if we truly love him. Well you can say that we tested him when we put Christ to death. But Jesus came through and died for our benefit anyway. He didn't waver and he did not give in to the trial. He loved us that much to endure the pain that he suffered. I cannot attest or comprehend what Jesus went through but what I know is that I have placed my faith in Jesus for my salvation! Jesus is my savior and I am eternally grateful for the love that God has for me. I know this because God's Word says so and I know this because in prayer God has answered my prayer through his Holy Word and through others as they counseled me. Next time you go through a difficult trial or suffer a broken heart for what ever reason, trust in God, reach out to him, ask him to hear your prayer and have faith that he will! Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. 

Father I thank you for hearing my prayers, for constantly looking out after me, for giving me the Holy Spirit within me to guide me and to lead me to your will. Thank you Father for your love and truth and I trust you. In Jesus name I pray, AMEN!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Secret of Living...Phillipians 4:13

Philippians 4:13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. 

Paul is addressing the people in Philippi of Greece and is giving them thanks for their help and generosity. He tells them in Philippians 4:12 "I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little." That secret is Jesus Christ! Not some special diet or meditation or support group, it's JESUS! Dependence on Jesus! This comes to much surprise to modern day society because we've become desensitized to today's culture and a huge dependance on modern day idols like self help, success, money, vanity or looks and not to mention independence! Most people today who are non-believers or weak Christians dont understand what Paul means here. In fact, this verse has become overly used and has lost its meaning and/or translation throughout the years. Make no mistake, God's Word never gets old, never becomes obsolete or irrelevant. Our sinful nature is always at work to glorify its own selfish desires. Thats why most people will not accept Christ, they dont want to let go of what they think they have or believe to have created. This a temporary false sense of security. Read what God says about His Holy Word...(Remember that this was written by the Holy Spirit through man...2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Proverbs 30:5-6 Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection. Do not add to his words, or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar. 

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. 

Deuteronomy 28:58-59 “If you refuse to obey all the words of instruction that are written in this book, and if you do not fear the glorious and awesome name of the Lord your God, then the Lord will overwhelm you and your children with indescribable plagues. These plagues will be intense and without relief, making you miserable and unbearably sick. 

James 1:22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 

Father, we bring Praise & Honor to your name! We thank you for your Holy Word and promise of salvation through your son Jesus Christ in whom we place our Faith & Trust! Help us when we doubt with your wisdom, shield us when we are afflicted with temptations with faith in Christ, help us to discern the lies with your written truth! Blessed be your name forever! In Jesus' name we pray, AMEN!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Wisdom & Understanding...Proverbs 2:10-11

Proverbs 2:10-11 When wisdom enters your heart, And knowledge is pleasant to your soul, Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you

You've heard the saying, "Knowledge is Power", that definitely applies to the Word of God. Not knowing what God has to say about our lives is like having a fine steak placed in front of us and we not knowing what to do with it. We hear people constantly searching for our purpose, where did we come from, why do bad things happen to good people, I could go on & on but the Good News is that we have answers, directly from the Holy Spirit within the Bible. A library of books that constitutes a Love story unrivaled in history. How anyone could refuse God's gift of His son as the perfect sacrifice for the atonement of our sins is something I can't understand. All I know is that every day, I'm given a new opportunity to get closer to God through His son, Jesus and fellowship with His Holy Spirit who lives within me, guiding me, helping me discern Truth from lies, right from wrong, etc. this type of understanding only comes from His grace through faith! Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Philippians 4:7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 

Who would I be without faith?

Father, thank you so much for your gift of wisdom which gives understanding! I am so grateful for your love for me, a sinner! Teach me your will Father and draw me closer to your son Jesus Christ, my savior! In Jesus name I pray, AMEN!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Nuff Said!...John 21:25

John 21:25 Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written. 

The Holy Spirit wrote the Bible through man. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. The fact that God gave us the Bible is an evidence and illustration of His love for us. The term "revelation" simply means that God communicated to mankind what He is like and how we can have a right relationship with Him. These are things that we could not have known had God not divinely revealed them to us in the Bible. Although God's revelation of Himself in the Bible was given progressively over approximately 1500 years, it has always contained everything man needs to know about God in order to have a right relationship with Him. If the Bible is truly the Word of God, then it is the final authority for all matters of faith, religious practice, and morals. Mark 13:31 Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. 

Imagine how big the Bible would be if the Holy Spirit kept on writing! He didn't have to go any further than what he did. God said all he needed to say. Next time you are left wondering why about something in your life, reference the Bible and see what God has to say about it. Make it a point to seek God's perspective. The WWJD "What Would Jesus Do" movement originated in 1896 in a novel by Charles Sheldon titled In His Steps but became popular in the 1990's. Imagine a new movement, WDGSAT "What Does God Say about That?" Why dont we seek God's understanding when it comes to the issues we face in this world? One answer! Our sinful nature!

Thank you Father for your Word, your truth and how fortunate we are to have it so accessible to us in our time. Through technology, we can be conneced to your truth at any time and place more than ever before in history! We have no excuse to be ignorant! Help me Father to turn to you and your truth with every trial I face and may you give me understanding as well as discernment so I can apply your truth to my life and help me guard against satan's attacks. I love you Father, Blessed be your name always. In the name of Jesus I pray, AMEN!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

To live is Christ...Philippians 1:21

Philippians 1:21 says, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” 

Most people focus on the second part of the verse, “to die is gain,” and contemplate the joys of heaven. But we should not overlook what comes before. The importance of the phrase “to live is Christ” cannot be overstated. In all honesty, this phrase should be central to every Christian’s life.

In this statement, the apostle Paul is saying that everything he has tried to be, everything he is, and everything he looked forward to being pointed to Christ. From the time of Paul’s conversion until his martyrdom, every move he made was aimed at advancing the knowledge, gospel, and church of Christ. Paul’s singular aim was to bring glory to Jesus.

“To live is Christ” means that we proclaim the gospel of Christ. Paul preached in synagogues; he preached at riversides; he preached as a prisoner; he preached as an apostle; he preached as a tentmaker. His message was constant: “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). He brought the message of Christ’s sacrifice to kings, soldiers, statesmen, priests, and philosophers, Jews and Gentiles, men and women. He would preach to literally anyone who would listen.

“To live is Christ” means that we imitate the example of Christ. Everything that Jesus did and said, that’s what Paul wanted to do and say. The church benefitted from his godly example: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). What would Jesus do? That’s what we want to do.

“To live is Christ” means that we pursue the knowledge of Christ. We want to know Christ better and better each day. Not just a set of facts about Christ, but Christ Himself. “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11).

“To live is Christ” means that we are willing to give up anything that prevents us from having Christ. Paul’s testimony in this regard: “Whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him” (Philippians 3:7-9). We cling to the promise of our Lord in Mark 10:29-30 that our sacrifices for Jesus’ sake will be repaid a hundredfold.

“To live is Christ” means that Christ is our focus, our goal, and our chief desire. Christ is the center point of our mind, heart, body and soul. Everything that we do, we do for Christ’s glory. As we run the “race marked out for us,” we lay aside the entangling sin and worldly distractions, “fixing our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2). He is our life.

Commentary by

Heavenly Father, help me make you first in my life through Jesus, my savior! Blessed be your name always! In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Does God need us?...Exodus 3:14

Exodus 3:14 

And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” 

God is holy, eternal, almighty, and totally self-sufficient. He does not need
 any created being, but we do need Him. All of creation is dependent on the life that God alone sustains. “He makes grass grow for the cattle,” and “all creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time. . . . When you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust (Psalm 104:14, 27, 29).

God, on the other hand, is not dependent on anything or anyone. He suffers no lack, knows no limitation, and experiences no deficiency. He is “I AM THAT I AM,” with no qualification or exception (Exodus 3:14). If He needed anything to stay alive or to feel complete, then He would not be God.

So, God does not need us. But, amazingly, He loves us passionately, and in His goodness He wants us to live with Him forever. So 2,000 years ago, God Himself put on skin, came to Earth, and gave His very life to atone for our sin and prove His deep love for us. He paid the ultimate price to reconcile us to Himself, and nobody pays that high a price for something they don’t want or value.

Jesus certainly knew what was going to befall Him at the end of His earthly ministry (Mark 8:31; John 18:4). In His anguish in Gethsemane, as He prayed about the trials that would soon befall Him, blood-tinged sweat dripped from His brow (Luke 22:44). And Jesus surely knew very well the prophecy of Isaiah 52:14, “His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness.” The Son of Man was flayed to the bone to the extent that He no longer resembled a human being. And that torture was followed by something even worse, the crucifixion itself, the most painful and vile method of execution ever devised.

As Jesus hung on the cross, His Father in heaven “turned away” from Him. Habakkuk 1:13 confirms that God’s eyes “are too pure to look on evil.” And at that moment, Christ cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

This is the price God paid for us, and this is how we know that He loves us. Because of this incredible and unwarranted love for us disobedient sinners, we are offered eternal life. Salvation is a gift, given freely for the asking, because of the breathtaking, voluntary sacrifice by the one true God. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Once joined to Christ, nothing can separate us from Him. Romans 8:38–39: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Believers in Christ are made new. We understand the depth of His love for us: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

You, too, can immerse yourself in God’s eternal love for you and know the certainty of eternal life. Continue reading here to learn what it means to accept Christ as your personal Savior.

Father, thank you for who you are, I am nothing without you. I am grateful for the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ of which I am not worthy. Blessed be your name most high! In Jesus name we pray, Amen!

Commentary by

Friday, April 4, 2014

Faith...believe it or not...2 Corinthians 5:7

2 Corinthians 5:7 Our life is lived by faith. We do not live by what we see in front of us. 

Everything we do is done with faith however we've become somewhat blind to it. When you turn the keys to start your car, you're not hoping that it won't start...on the contrary, your hoping that it will start. In fact you could say that you have faith that it will. Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure we will get what we hope for. It is being sure of what we cannot see. Let's live like God intended us to, in the glory of God's love for us. Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 

Next time you feel in doubt about whether or not God loves you or is there for you, look to His Word and hear His promise for you: Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 

Thank you Father for not forsaking me nor leaving me when I need you most. Thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for me so that I can be redeemed in God's grace. Thank you for loving me more than I could possibly understand!
Praise be your name always! In Jesus name, Amen!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Free Will...Proverbs 16:9

Proverbs 16:9 

The mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord shows him what to do. 

If "free will" means that God gives humans the opportunity to make choices that genuinely affect their destiny, then yes, human beings do have a free will. The world's current sinful state is directly linked to choices made by Adam and Eve. God created mankind in His own image, and that included the ability to choose.

However, free will does not mean that mankind can do anything he pleases. Our choices are limited to what is in keeping with our nature. For example, a man may choose to walk across a bridge or not to walk across it; what he may not choose is to fly over the bridge"his nature prevents him from flying. In a similar way, a man cannot choose to make himself righteous"his (sin) nature prevents him from canceling his guilt (Romans 3:23). So, free will is limited by nature.

This limitation does not mitigate our accountability. The Bible is clear that we not only have the ability to choose, we also have the responsibility to choose wisely. In the Old Testament, God chose a nation (Israel), but individuals within that nation still bore an obligation to choose obedience to God. And individuals outside of Israel were able to choose to believe and follow God as well (e.g., Ruth and Rahab). 

In the New Testament, sinners are commanded over and over to "repent" and "believe" (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; Acts 3:19; 1 John 3:23). Every call to repent is a call to choose. The command to believe assumes that the hearer can choose to obey the command.

Jesus identified the problem of some unbelievers when He told them, "You refuse to come to me to have life" (John 5:40). Clearly, they could have come if they wanted to; their problem was they chose not to. "A man reaps what he sows" (Galatians 6:7), and those who are outside of salvation are "without excuse" (Romans 1:20-21).

But how can man, limited by a sin nature, ever choose what is good? It is only through the grace and power of God that free will truly becomes "free" in the sense of being able to choose salvation (John 15:16). It is the Holy Spirit who works in and through a person's will to regenerate that person (John 1:12-13) and give him/her a new nature "created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:24). Salvation is God's work. At the same time, our motives, desires, and actions are voluntary, and we are rightly held responsible for them.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your love for us. For the ability to choose and know what Love really means. We are grateful for your tender mercies and long suffering patience. May your will be done through us. In Jesus name, Amen!

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