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Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

Read God's Word slowly, frequently and prayerfully.

God’s Word is filled with promises and hope that inspire people even during difficult times. One pastor told this true story of an attorney in his church,

“After meditating on several Scriptures, this attorney decided to cancel the past-due debts of 17 of his clients. He drafted a letter and sent it via certified mail. One by one, the letters began to return, unsigned and unopened. Sixteen of the seventeen letters came back to him because the clients refused to sign for and open the envelopes, probably fearing that this attorney was suing them for their delinquent debts. How profound! We owe a debt for our sin and God is willing to cancel it but too many people will not even open His letter that contains this great news.”

  • Let me encourage you to open your Bible! This book is God’s love letter to you.
  • It reveals the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners and the happiness of believers.
  • Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true and its decisions are immutable.
  • Read it to be wise, believe it to be saved, practice it to be holy.
  • It contains light to guide you, food to nourish you and encouragement to cheer you.
  • It is the traveler’s map, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword and the Christian’s character.
  • Here paradise is restored, heaven is opened and the gates of hell disclosed.
  • Christ is its grand subject, our good its design and the glory of God its end.
  • It should fill the memory, rule the heart and guide the feet.
  • Read it slowly, frequently and prayerfully.
  • It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory and a river of pleasure.
  • Follow its precepts and it will lead you to Calvary, to the empty tomb, to a resurrected life in Christ; yes, to glory itself, for all eternity.

“For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe” ~I Thessalonians 2:13

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Don't give up!

Persevering is a burden of my heart! I see too many people quit, give up and stop living for Christ! I want to encourage you that we can persevere! Anyone can burn brightly for a short time, but that is a poor stewardship of one’s life. Godly stewardship of our lives is to live every day for His glory throughout all of life. We need to pace our lives so that we can maintain faithfulness to the end.

The letter to the church in Smyrna acknowledged the tribulation that they were experiencing, but challenged them (and us) to, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10b). What a rich reward—not based on merit, but a gift received by faith.

To be faithful until death does not mean we will all be martyred for our faith. It is exhorting us to live fully devoted lives to Jesus Christ until our final breath on this earth. That is my passion friend! I want to fight the good fight! I want to finish well! I want to keep the faith! I want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful slave!” We can do this only through the Holy Spirit’s power that mightily works within us.

As Paul spoke of the glorious resurrection that awaits Christians in I Corinthians 15, he concluded the chapter with these words: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:58). In these days of uncertainty and economic upheavals, remember that our toil is not in vain in the Lord!

Don’t throw in the towel! Don’t abandon your post! Don’t resign to a meaningless existence! God has a great plan for each of us as we trust Him to persevere through us! Take time now to ask God to refresh you and invigorate your passion for Him, your love for people and your zest for life!

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Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

When the rich young ruler approached Jesus with the question, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” Jesus got to the heart of the issue. He told the man to go and sell his possessions and give to the poor so he would have treasure in heaven and to follow Jesus. Is Jesus stating that the selling of his goods was merit for heaven? No! He exposed the man’s idol. The only way to heaven is through trusting Jesus. The rich young ruler trusted his riches. That is why Jesus said to him, “Follow Me.”

The man went away grieving! Did you notice that? He was grieving. He was not happy and fulfilled. He walked away from the only One who could grant him true fulfillment. It was at this point that Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24) His disciples were astonished at this and asked, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus responded, “With people this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

Be encouraged, Friend! There are some things that are impossible for people—like earning salvation, but Jesus came to offer eternal salvation as a free gift. We only need to humbly trust in Him as Savior and Lord. He is the one who gives true satisfaction, genuine love and everlasting forgiveness.

No matter what circumstances you face, as you focus your attention on God, He will make a way. The key is to keep our faith fixed on God! Trust in Him. Pray to Him. Seek His face. As the old chorus states, When we turn our eyes upon Jesus, the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

Have a blessed day!

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Greetings from Egypt

Our tour family is bonding well as we experienced our first day of touring, even with some jet-lag! Ancient history filled our eyes and ears as our Egyptologist guided us through the fascinating Egyptian Museum spanning over 5,000 years. We learned that headdresses and eye liner were originally used as protection from the sun and sand of Egypt—only later did they become fashion/religious coverings and cosmetics.

The forty day mummification process was explained and then “dead” results viewed in the Royal Mummies Hall—this same embalming process was used on the Patriarchs, Jacob and Joseph, signifying their high standing in Egypt at their deaths (Genesis 49:33-50:3, 26).

The word “Egypt” occurs over 600 times in Scripture with about 150 times signifying to get “out of Egypt.” However there is one time that God commands to “flee to Egypt.” Matthew 2:13-15 tells the story. After the museum, we ate lunch on the Nile. Next we made a quick trip into the Coptic Christian section of Cairo. The Church of St. Sergius is believed to be one of the places where Joseph, Mary and Jesus stayed during their flight from Herod.

The Giza plateau was our next destination to view the impressive Pyramids and Sphinx, as well as “Cheops Boat Museum,” housing one of the large boats buried next to the pyramids to be used in the afterlife. There was drama unfolding as our group arrived after the gate was locked to enter the Sphinx viewing/photo area, but our tour security guard convinced them to open up the gates for us.

Throughout this day, I kept thinking about how much time, energy and effort these ancient people took to prepare for the afterlife. WOW! Scriptures emphasize the fact that we will all give an account of our lives before God one day. My question after today is, “Are we preparing for our eternal home with the same kind of passion?” Obviously, we don’t need to build a pyramid, nor be mummified to secure eternal life. But we do need to repent of our sins, and receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord to obtain salvation. Then we make our lives count for eternity by our ministry for His glory.

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We have much to be thankful for.

No matter how some people try to re-write our history, the United States began with clear acknowledgment of God and expressions of dependence on Him. It is time to restore a heart of praise and thanksgiving to God.

In 1789, George Washington made a public proclamation for Thanksgiving. Here are some of his words: “By the President of the United States of America, A proclamation: Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor . . .”

“And whereas, both Houses of Congress have by their joint committee requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God . . . “

“Now, therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will.” So read the very first Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation!

Of course most people know the story of the pilgrims and how they and the Native Indians of the area had a Thanksgiving feast in 1621—long before Washington’s proclamation. Even earlier than 1621—we find people offering up thanks to God. In the Old Testament the people of Israel sing a Psalm of Thanksgiving:

Psalm 100 has a very unique title. Where most Psalms tell who wrote it, this one simply states:

A Psalm for Thanksgiving. (Reflect on each word and put this Psalm into practice)

This Psalm has Five commands:

  1. Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
  2. Serve the Lord with gladness;
  3. Come before Him with joyful singing.
  4. Know
  • that the Lord Himself is God;
  • It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
  • We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

5. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.

It gives Three Reasons for Thanksgiving:

  1. For the Lord is good;
  2. His lovingkindness is everlasting
  3. And His faithfulness to all generations.

Our thanksgiving and praise is not based on our circumstances, but on our Lord! We can have joy as we come into His presence as Psalm 16:11 states: “In Your presence is fullness of joy.” No matter what you’re going through, “in everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:18). We are also warned that the wicked “even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks” (Romans 1:21).

I want to encourage you to focus your mind on the Lord and tell Him, “Thank You!” Counting your blessings is a great way to gain a proper perspective. We celebrate Thanksgiving once a year, but we should all try to make it a daily practice. I thank God for you, whoever is reading this now and I pray that you will know God personally and experience His love and forgiveness.

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Disabled Woman

God is the Divine Healer

The topic of healing has generated many misrepresentations of God’s truth. There are some who have abused and sensationalized healing as if it were a circus act. Others have abandoned healing altogether as if God stopped this ministry. Still others have tried to equate certain ailments with specific sins. Friends, our responsibility is to be faithful to the teaching of Scripture and seek God as the Divine Healer.

First, we need to understand the difference between sickness coming from original sin and sickness arising from personal sin. All sickness and death is a result of sin. But not all sickness is a result of personal sin. Romans 5:12 confirms the biblical truth of original sin. We live in a fallen, sinful and broken world. People get sick, contract cancer, become paralyzed, and die because of the consequence of this original sin.

There are also examples of sickness and the discipline of death as a result of personal sin. Paul declares this in I Corinthians 11:29, 30. But we must be very careful not to equate all sickness with personal sin.

Jesus declared in John 9 that neither the blind man nor his parents sinned, but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. Paul had his thorn in the flesh that God did not heal (2 Corinthians 12). Job is another example of one who suffered without having committed personal sin. It is unfortunate that some zealous believers have imposed guilt trips on suffering individuals because a poor theology of healing.

Please understand: God still heals. Sometimes He does it through medical procedures and sometimes He miraculously heals a person. My mom is a living example of a miraculous healing by His gracious response to many prayers. Even the doctors declared that she was a genuine miracle of healing.

The key is to pray and seek God for healing, but leave the results to Him. I just gave a sermon on James 5:13-18 on October 18th, 2009 which deals with this topic in more detail than this short blog. I believe that many people suffer needlessly because they have not asked God for healing or confessed their sins to experience forgiveness.

David prayed and fasted for seven days and nights for his child. The child died and David arose, washed, anointed himself, and came into the house of the Lord and worshiped (2 Samuel 12:15-23). David’s faith was in a God who heals, not in a healing. Please make sure your faith is in the sovereign God who has the power to heal. It is up to Him if, how and who He will heal. God loves it when we come to Him in humble prayer seeking His will for our lives.

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Rescue

Do You Have Assurance of Salvation?

God wants His children to have that calm assurance and anchored hope of eternal life. God’s love for people is truly marvelous. He wants us to experience life and have it abundantly. Our adversary, the devil, wants to create doubt, shame and guilt in our lives. Allow the truths of Scripture, not varying emotions, to shape your theology.

I John 5:11-13 states, “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

Have you personally received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? If you have, then you also have eternal life. You can know that you are His beloved child for “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12, 13).

There are many passages of Scripture which give assurance to believers. There are also warnings given to show that not all people who “profess” to be a Christian really “possess” Christ in their hearts. The key? Where is your faith? Who do you trust in to save you? If you are trusting in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead for your salvation, then you also have eternal life.

Paul declares, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38, 39).

Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one” (John 10:27-30). You’re in good hands with our Lord.

Hebrews 13:5 states, “He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.’” Remember, if God is for us, who is against us? You can rest in God’s gracious promise to keep you in His loving care.

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