Tag Archives: Gospel

Seasons of Change

Seasons of Change

The leaves are falling.  Soon the snow will be flying.  Before long, the grass will shove through the earth and the flowers will blossom.  The heat of summer will emerge, and the fall will be here before we know it.  Seasons make the year interesting.  Just as with the seasons and natural progression of hot and cold that God established, the Christian life and God’s church also goes through changes.

Change is something that human nature is resistant to.  We get comfortable.  We become accustomed.  What is “Normal” is what we have known to this specific point in our lives.  We can arrive at “new normal” when we willingly adjust our expectations.

Change in the Bible is good.  If you are a Christian, the specific moment you trusted Jesus for salvation, a big change took place.  You passed from “death unto life!” In John 5:24 Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

Change for the Christian is good. For example: we are to be “transformed” (Changed from the inside out) by the renewing of our minds in Romans 12:1-2.

The Christian is to be continually changing to look more like Jesus.  In 2 Corinthians 3:18, Paul teaches, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Change is good.  Individual Christians are changing to look more like Jesus.  Churches also go through changes.  One preacher aptly stated: “Churches are always in transition.”  Very true.

A local church cannot remain stagnant.  A church must strive to be vibrant, meeting the edification needs for its members and the evangelism needs of its community.

Here are three areas a church can benefit from change:

  1. A renewed spirit of unity. We are to strive together to fulfill the Great Commission. We are unified by Christ around the Gospel.  Philippians 1:27, commands, “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”

Perhaps this humorous story will help: “Intending to raise cattle, a family from New York bought a ranch out West. When their friends visited and inquired about the ranch’s name, the would be rancher replied: “I wanted to name it the Bar-J. My wife favored Suzy-Q, one of our sons wanted the Flying-W, and the other liked the Lazy-Y. So we’re calling it the BAr-J-Suzy-Q-Flying-W-Lazy-Y.”

“But where are all your cattle?” the friends asked.

“None survived the branding.””

There are casualties in a church when the members are not united around the main thing. Don’t be distracted in your service to the Lord!  Preferences, nuances, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” And personality issues should not divert your attention.  Keep serving Jesus.  Stay united to the cause of Christ and do not allow side issues to get your eyes off Jesus.

  1. A restored community of trust. Paul’s ministry even encountered seasons of disunity and discouragement.  When Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, some of the believers were divided.  Read 1 Corinthians 1 for more details.  Some liked Paul’s preaching, others preferred Apollos (A great orator), and others enjoyed the passion of Peter.  The division was causing problems in the church.

Paul makes a hasty trip to Corinth in between these letters to try to resolve their issues.

Later, in 2 Corinthians, we find Paul sending another letter, not to elevate himself, but to elevate Jesus and help the people start to trust God again.

2 Corinthians 3:1-5 says, “Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles (letters) of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? 2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. 4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.”

The church belongs to Jesus.  He purchased her with His own blood.  We can trust the church to God.  Jesus can overcome any doctrinal, personal, or preferential problems a church may face.  Paul knew that he was not sufficient to solve the division, but Jesus was (and is) sufficient.   Paul was not boasting in his ability, but in the fact that these Christians had started to yield their sin, personalities, and problems to the Lord and God healed their church.  Jesus said: “I will build my church.”  We can trust Him!

  1. A revived attitude of respect. 1 Thessalonians 5:12 instructs, “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.”

Pastors are not dictators.  If pastors were dictators, then no church member would ever miss a service, and no one would ever not bring their tithe to church, and members would bring Snickers candy bars to every church function. Lol… if you like.  The role of pastor is that of “Servant – Leader.”  It is an accurate and healthy description.

Pastors are to be gentle shepherds leading and feeding the flock.  Sometimes that includes protecting the sheep from wolves (in sheep’s clothing), false doctrine (bad spiritual food to eat), and dangerous pasture fields (emergent church models).

There should be a mutual respect among the members of a congregation for one another.  Church members should be trusting the deacons.  Church members and deacons should have an attitude of trust with the pastoral staff as well.

One service I was preaching through this passage in 1 Thessalonians 5, and suggested that it helps the pastor of the church when the church members are not fighting or bickering and that when a church was at peace, the true work of the ministry can thrive.  It is a true thought.

A thoughtful man, a genuine student of the Bible, suggested to me that the peace among the members was also connected to their respect or lack of respect for the pastor.  Read that verse again please.

“Esteem” means to “deem, consider, or count.”  A faithful church member must be able to count the pastor as respectful and worthy or he will not be able to learn, grow, or develop in that church.  A result of disrespect is that the pastor is not able to lead as effectively as he should.  Why can he not lead effectively?  Because of the lack of peace.  A pastor constantly putting out fires cannot commit the time called for – for the actual work of the ministry.  It could look like this old saying: “Too many chiefs – not enough Indians.”  Let the pastor be the “Servant – Leader” overseeing the overall work of the church.

These are 3 examples where change is good!  If these areas are lacking – Change!  Change to the glory of God.

  • Are you united with your church family in the purpose of the Gospel?
  • Do you have an attitude of trust for the other members, deacons, and pastoral staff?
  • Is there a mutual respect that you have for the church leadership that creates a peaceful environment?

Change is good.  Christians as well as churches go through “Seasons of change.”  Transitions and changes are sometimes difficult and even turbulent because human nature does not like change; but when we see Jesus – it will be worth it all.  When we make the needed adjustments as individuals and as a church, the Lord is glorified.

And. His. Work. Will. Continue.

 

 

 

 

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Summer Time is Busy Time

Summer Time is Busy Time

He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.  Proverbs 10:5

Do you find the summer months to be extra busy?  With school out of session, most people are out of routines.  Some people get more accomplished, while others get less accomplished.   Some get up earlier to work or play and others remain sleeping!

I see an increase in business for sure.  With brighter sunshine mornings to extended daylight evenings, there seems to be more to do and a little more daylight to do it.

For our church, we see more opportunity to witness and take the Gospel to the households in our community.  In the winter it is more difficult to share door to door with people avoiding opening their doors to talk as it lets the cold in.  The winter is more slippery and I have fallen on ice several times out visiting.

That leaves us the warm weather sun kissed days of summer as the best time to plant the seed of the Word of God, water the fields with the Gospel and see the Lord add to the Harvest.

I encourage you to participate in giving out the Gospel this summer.  Go door to door.  Hand out some tracts.  Bring someone to church with you.

While boating, fishing, camping, hiking, 4 wheeling and more are at their peak – it is also the peak time to do the work of the ministry in telling others about Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Call to Ministry is a Big Deal

A Call to Ministry is a Big Deal

“So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee?  And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.”  1 Kings 19:19-21

Have you ever been to an ordination council?  Have you observed the questions that season pastors and preachers asked the candidate for ordination in the “interrogation?”  It is fascinating and I love being on the ordination councils for these men.  It is a good challenge to read the doctrinal statements and attempt to encourage and add insight to the candidate that will help him in future ministry.  What an honor it is to recognize the calling of God on a man for the ministry.

In 1 Kings 19, Elijah runs away to a cave from the hateful Queen Jezebel.  After the Lord meets with Elijah, God encourages him that he is not alone that there are many others who are faithful to serve the Lord.  God then gives Elijah an “assistant prophet” named Elisha.

Elisha comes from a wealthy family with many oxen.  He is a hard worker, plowing in the family fields when Elijah meets him the first time.  From there – Elisha follows and helps Elijah everywhere, “ministering” to him.  I am thankful for the assistants the Lord has given me over the years.  I need help in ministry!

When Elisha is called by God to assist Elijah, he asks if he could go home and explain it to his family.  There are many men in ministry today whose families do not understand.  “How could he leave the business world, his hometown, or the family farm?” are common questions.  Elisha kisses his mother and father goodbye but then he throws a celebration.

Elisha takes 2 oxen, butchers them, then has a gigantic cookout.  I love barbecuing on a grill or over an open flame!  That is what he does.  He cooks the beef and throws a celebration to mark the day he answered the call and entered into ministry.

Whenever a man enters ministry – it is a thing to be commended and celebrated.  I hope that when ordination events are held at your church that you do everything possible to be there and to participate because it is a big deal.

  • It is a big deal to God because a man has willingly answered the call to vocational ministry.
  • It is a big deal to family because a son and a husband is entering into the ministry.
  • It is a big deal for the church because they are ordaining and commissioning a man to the gospel ministry.

It is hard to imagine, but Elisha went on to do even greater things than Elijah. (2 Kings 2:9). It all began when a man answered a call to ministry.  It was recognized by all around him and a feast to mark the special occasion was celebrated by all.

We may have cake and a chicken dinner today.  Whatever is used to mark the occasion – know that it is an occasion worthy of respect, honor, and recognition.

 

 

 

The Announcement That Changed the World

The Announcement That Changed the World

There have been many famous announcements in history.  For example, on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed a paper with 95 statements about the Catholic Church.  The “95 Theses” was an announcement that changed the world.  People began protesting the Catholic Church because it did not follow the Bible.  Historically, Baptists were never part of the Catholic Church, but this announcement of Luther started a turning back to the Bible for many people.  On July 4th, 1776 the most important human statement of political principles in the history of the world was announced.  The Declaration of Independence was signed on that day, changing the world.  In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell patented his first telephone.  This technology announcement changed the world.  English scientist Lord Kelvin called it “the most wonderful thing in America.”  In 1879 Thomas Edison announced the invention of the light bulb that forever changed the face of this planet.  What a blessing the light bulb has been to millions of people the world over.  On April 6, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson declared “the world must be safe for democracy” and declared war on Germany.  The US troops made it in time to rescue Paris from falling to the Germans.  In September 1938 President Roosevelt cabled Hitler and told him to turn from his course of war.  Again in April 1939 President Roosevelt informed Hitler and Mussolini of the American people’s desire to avoid war and promote peace.  The only message these tyrants could hear was war.  After the attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, the next day, December 8, 1941 America declared war on Japan, three days later on Germany, and Italy.  These are some announcements that changed the world…

Only a few announcements in history changed the entire world.

  • The Angel of the Lord told Abraham in Genesis 22:18: And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
  • Moses took God’s message to Pharaoh in Egypt: “Let My People Go.”
  • The Angel of the Lord gave the birth announcement of Jesus Christ to the shepherds; what a world/eternity changer! I DO NOT KNOW how to compare the birth of Christ to the Death and resurrection of Christ.  BOTH are important.  Both announcements are needed.  Jesus was born to die.  IF He did not rise again, He would have been an ordinary person who lived and died.  That is why His resurrection is called the Announcement that Changed the World!

Here is the greatest announcement as told in the book of Matthew…

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.  3  His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:  4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.  6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.  8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.  9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.  10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.   –  Matthew 28:1-10

His friends and family members were witnesses to His death.  What a tragic, saddening day, when the innocent Lamb of God was led away to be crucified.  “Crucify Him, Crucify Him” the people jeered.

Sin is a separator.  Sin separates us from God.  Death is the penalty for sin.  Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, gave Himself as a perfect sacrifice.  Man is not good.  We are sinners.  Titus 3:5-7 says… “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”  Jesus died in our place at the hands of hateful people and of a Holy God.  Jesus became sin for us – that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.  Man hated Him.  The Father turned His back to Him.  Jesus suffered our death and our Hell so we could be saved.

One commentator said this: “The friends of Jesus saw him and heard him only a few times after that Easter morning, but their lives were completely changed. What seemed to be the end proved to be the beginning; what seemed to be a cause for fear proved to be a cause for courage; what seemed to be defeat proved to be victory; and what seemed to be the basis for despair proved to be the basis for hope.”

The sacrifice had been given.  Christ had died and was buried, placed in the tomb.  His body was wrapped in linen and laid on a stone bed with a stone covering the tomb entrance.  The stone was sealed probably with a cord and wax attaching both the stone and the exterior cave wall.  Similar to the sealing of letters, the wax would give away if there was any tampering.  Sabbath Day had passed, by the time the ladies who came to properly and permanently bury His body with spices.  They were confronted by the Angel of the Lord at the tomb on Sunday, the first day of the week…

The Angel of the Lord had rolled back the stone and sat on it.  Then the Angel appeared, the earth shook, and the soldiers fell down and fainted in amazement.  By the time the ladies arrive it is early in the morning, sunrise.  They get to the scene and find the Roman soldiers lying on the ground, the tomb door rolled away, and an angel sitting on the stone!

This booklet is written to let the reader know:  Jesus rose from the dead!  The greatest announcement in the history of the world is that: “Jesus is alive!”  The power in the Gospel is that Jesus rose from the dead!

There are 5 points in the announcement the angel gives pertaining to Christ in this passage. 

Notice verse 6 and 7 in particular:  “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”

“He is Not Here.”

If you were able to take a roll call of famous religious leaders of the past, if they were able to respond, what they would say.  “Buddha?”  “Here.” ”Muhammad?” “Here.”  “Joseph Smith?” “Present.”  Gandhi? “I’m Here.”  None of these men have risen from the dead.  Their bones are still in the tombs in which their body was laid at the time of their death…

Jesus was and is not in the tomb.

What a big difference in contrast to Jesus.  On the Cross Jesus cried out as John 19:30 says, “It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.  Jesus was dead, the Roman soldier verified this when he thrust the spear through the side of Christ.  Water and blood gushed out – Jesus was dead.  Jesus was buried in the tomb.  When the ladies arrived at the tomb, it was three days earlier Joseph of Arimathea had wrapped up the body of Christ and laid it in the tomb.

Jesus was not in the grave clothes. John 20:5-7, tells us what John saw: And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

We do not expect dead people to move!

The women initially thought “someone stole His body.”  The Bible records in John 20:2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. The body of Jesus was missing.  The body of Christ was not where it was laid to rest.  “He is not here” is a powerful start to this announcement.

“He is Risen.”

Jesus defeated the grave.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:55, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” The tomb, the grave did not have power over Christ.  Jesus rose from the grave.

Jesus Defeated Death.  Death had no power over Christ.  Jesus willingly gave His life in dying on the cross for our sins.  He took our death.  Death is the penalty for sin.  The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death.”  Jesus had no sin of His own.  He took our sin upon Himself and paid the price for our sin with His life.  Jesus rose again, victorious over death.  Believer, we need not fear death.  Sometimes Christians sorrow at the moment of the death of a loved one.  If we are believers and if the loved ones were saved, we will meet again one day.  For the believer, death is compared to sleep.  Read I Thessalonians 4:13-18 for more details of this truth.

Jesus defeated Satan. For a moment, Satan may have believed he had won.  The Son of God was dead.  Satan witnessed his destructive plan unfold and then thought that he had defeated God.  Darkness fell upon the earth, Satan celebrated.  What a blow to that old serpent when “up from the grave Christ arose!”   Hebrews 2:14-15 says, Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

The penalty of sin, including the power of the grave, of death, and the power of Satan were defeated when Christ rose from the dead!  Believer, Because Jesus is alive, we are no longer in bondage to sin.  We are no longer dominated by Satan.  We are no longer doomed to death!  Jesus is alive – He gives a new life to believers!

“Come and See the Place.”

What a beautiful sight.   This author has yet to visit the tomb, but think with me about the magnitude of the moment when the stone rolled away and Jesus walked out of the tomb.  What a big event occurred in that small place outside the city of Jerusalem.  Notice with me as we look at this place through the eyes of the witnesses who were there…

The Tomb is Empty.  Jesus was not in the tomb.  When we go to the cemetery or find a tomb, we expect to find corpses, dead people, and bones in the tombs.  As we peer along with these ladies in to the tomb, there is nothing dead in there!  This tomb is a new tomb, freshly built and given to Christ by Joseph of Arimathea. No one else had ever been buried in there.  Now after the resurrection, the only evidence that it had been used was the fact that the grave clothes were still there, but there was no-body there!

As we peer into this place we realize that Salvation’s Plan is Complete.  When Mary Magdalene goes into the tomb – She sees two angels, one on each end of the place where the body of Christ was laid.   In the OT the Lord gave a covenant to the Jewish people.  They had the Law and the Tabernacle, and the Holy of Holies, and in that place the Lord gave the “Ark of the Covenant” with the Mercy seat on top of the ark.   The High Priest would go into this place once a year on behalf of the people. Exodus 30:10 describes this by stating, “And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD.”

What picture the Ark of the Covenant and the Cherubim on either side looking to the mercy seat displays.  A new covenant was convened on that day.  A new testament in action based on the blood of a perfect sacrifice, the sacrifice of God the Son, Jesus Christ.  God’s plan for salvation was complete.  For the first time in History, there was no more need for perpetual, daily sacrifices.  Christ made the sacrifice – once for all!

“Go and Tell.”

Every Resurrection Season, we see “Easter Lilies” as decorations.  The Easter Lilly is called that because it is blooming and opening up in the shape of a trumpet, as if it is announcing the resurrection of Christ.  It’s a new day on the earth! What a reminder of the need to go and tell of the resurrection of the Savior. 

Go tell other people are the instructions.  The angel tells the ladies to go and tell His disciples.  They needed to know what had happened.  Then with the fact of the resurrection in their mind, they were to go and tell others.   Jesus went to the people.  What an example Jesus is for us.

Would you take a pal to Easter worship if Jonas Brothers sang?”  is the title of a  USA Today, April 3, 2010 column which said the following  “There’s an unsettling theme in recent religion news. It’s not that U.S. Christians no longer celebrate Easter but that the evangelical spirit — defined as a drive to share this “good news” — seems to be waning. Christians, it would appear, are slacking on the job and their friends’ and families” souls are on the line, church leaders say.

A Christian Research firm, The Barna Group, has identified two key problems: First, many Christians are hazy on Jesus’ resurrection. Second, even those who know this is the core message of Easter, largely don’t share this faith with others.  David Kinnaman, president of Barna, told Baptist Press:  … those who celebrate Easter because of the resurrection of Christ are not particularly likely to invite non-churched friends to worship, suggesting that their personal beliefs about Jesus have not yet translated into a sense of urgency for having spiritual conversations with their acquaintances. Barna’s survey of 1,000 adults in February found just 42% tied the meaning of Easter to Jesus’ resurrection and only 2% called this day “the most important holiday of their faith.” Of those who identified themselves as active churchgoers, less than a third (31%) said they would invite guests to Easter worship services this year.

Maybe it would help if the Jonas Brothers were headlining the worship singing. That’s the idea Rev. Rick Warren had for his California megachurch Saddleback and now its Easter celebrations Saturday night and Sunday morning at Angels Stadium are “sold out.”’

What a tragedy is found in that reportLove and Truth go together in the Bible.  We love people – but not to the neglect of truth.  We need not compromise Biblical standards to tell people about Jesus Christ.   Just as the Apostles took the message of Christ to others, we are commanded to do the same.  Every Christian ought to be a missionary where he lives.

They told them the Gospel.  Dr. James Ray went to England to share the gospel and plant churches.  He told me about how he took an ad out in the newspaper personal section. The area of the newspaper that may read like this “Man seeks woman, etc.” His ad read: “Dear John, please call me at……..”  An answering machine at the other end said:  “John I just wanted you to know that your sin separates you from God.  John you need Jesus to be forgiven of you sin…..”   Dr. Ray received over 500 calls!  Some of those men named “John” were saved!

Years ago a man commented to DL Moody that “I do not like your way of evangelizing.” To which Mr. Moody responded: “I like my way of more than your way of not evangelizing.”

Christian friend, if Christians do not testify to the fact that Jesus is alive – who will?  If believers do not go into the world and tell the lost of Christ – who will?   What is the greatest need of the following people?  The unwed mother, the hateful teen, the jealous co-worker, the teacher of evolution, the neighbors who are constantly fighting each other, the arrogant driver, and the drunk college student?  Their greatest need is Jesus Christ!

The Gospel is the message of Salvation.  God’s love and grace caused Him to demonstrate His love by sending His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die and rise again for us!   The Resurrection is the central theme of Christianity.  The Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ! Thank the Lord that the Gospel is available to all, but applied only to those who believe.

“I, the Angel of the Lord, Have Told You.”

The Resurrection is a Miracle of God.  No resurrection has ever happened without the power of God.  Anyone who was ever really dead and came back to life did so by the power of God.  The “touch and go” that some people claim to experience is not resurrection.  Jesus was dead, in the tomb for three days.  In a future day, Satan’s Antichrist will look like he is wounded to death in an attempt to claim resurrection power.  He will try to appear as powerful as Christ to the world who witness him.  Resurrection power however, is only of God.

The Resurrection is a Message from God.  Jesus spoke to Martha, the sister of Lazarus after Lazarus had died of sudden illness.  John 11:25-26 records, Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Based on the authority of the Word of God – God is extending salvation to you today.  He wants you to be saved today.  What would keep you from accepting the gift of eternal life.  Jesus paid the price for your sin, when He bled and died on the Cross.  Today you can trust Christ and receive salvation.  2 Corinthians 6:2  says, (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

Today is the day, you can believe in the resurrection.  You can receive Christ by faith, and have His eternal salvation.  The greatest announcement in the world is that Jesus Christ is alive!

I enjoy the old Gospel hymn, “He Lives!”  Around 1933, Alfred Ackley, wrote these words and put them to music…

“I serve a risen Savior
He’s in the world today.
I know that He is living,
Whatever men may say.
I see His hand of mercy;
I hear His voice of cheer;
And just the time I need Him
He’s always near.”

“In all the world around me
I see His loving care,
And though my heart grows weary,
I never will despair;
I know that He is leading,
Through all the stormy blast;
The day of His appearing
Will come at last.”

“Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs
To Jesus Christ the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him,
The Help of all who find,
None other is so loving,
So good and kind.”

The chorus continues, “He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.”

The power in the Gospel is that Jesus rose from the dead!  Christianity is based on the fact that Jesus rose from the dead – had He not, all the preaching of the past 2000 years would have been in vain.  All the people who died for this Gospel would have died for a lost cause.  All the lives that have been touched would have been misled.  I am glad to tell you based on the authority of the Word of God, that Jesus came up out of that tomb!  Jesus is alive!

Would you be saved today?  Admit to the Lord that you are a sinner.  Believer that Jesus died on the Cross, shedding His blood for your sins.  Receive Christ as your personal savior. 

Believer, thank the Lord for the Sacrifice Christ made for you.  Thank the Lord for the salvation He has afforded you.  Ask the Lord to help the message of the resurrection to be a constant reminder of His grace, mercy, and love for you.  Be faithful to the Lord.  Find ways to share His message with others.

May the Lord bless each reader with the wonderful announcement made on that day:  He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”  The Resurrection of Christ is the greatest announcement ever given, and it changed the world!

You Can Make a Difference!

You Can Make a Difference!

“Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.”  Psalm 2:11

Believe it or not, the Lord can use you in His work here on earth. You can be an important part in someone’s coming to Christ in salvation or a believer’s encouragement for Christian Service. Each of us can determine to “serve the Lord” as the verse tells us. As we serve, we can know that rejoicing is soon to follow.

The following story I read years ago illustrates how the Lord can use you this week for the furtherance of the Gospel and to make a difference in another person’s life!

“D. L. Moody was known as “Crazy Moody” because of his zealous approach to evangelism. He resolved to speak with at least one person each day regarding his or her relationship to Jesus Christ.  Most Christians recall at least something about this evangelist who dominated the last four decades of the nineteenth century.  When a fellow minister told him, “The world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him,” Moody resolved, “By the grace of God, I will be that man.”  He and Ira Sankey shook two continents for God, but what if Edward Kimball hadn’t been obedient to God on April 21, 1855?”

“On that day, Mr. Kimball led Moody to Christ. This very timid man was Moody’s Sunday School teacher at the church where Moody’s uncle forced him to attend. Mr. Kimball determined in his heart that he would go speak to his student at the shoe store in which he worked. With tears in his eyes, Kimball approached the seventeen‑year‑old shoe clerk. “I asked him to come to Christ, who loved him and who wanted his love and should have it,” said Kimball. The surprised Moody opened his heart to Christ, and thousands of lives were transformed by his forty years of ministry. Only God knows what he has planned as a result of our obedience in sharing the gospel.”  (Source Unknown)

You could be that Sunday School teacher. You could minister to another future preacher of the Gospel. Today you may be the co-worker, class-mate, leader, and witness that the Lord uses to bring another person to Christ! Just think what the Lord would do, if we wholly consecrated ourselves to serving the Lord!

The Night Will Come

The Night Will Come

I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.  John 9:4

The perfect example of Jesus Christ can be applied to our lives.  Here He is teaching His followers that He is doing the work of God, the very moments in which they were witnessing and living together.  In His earthly ministry, the Lord used His time to fulfill the Father’s will!

We are encouraged to do the same as Christ.  He admonishes the disciples that a time will come when they will no longer be able to do God’s work.  A time will come when no work will be able to be accomplished.   The night will come.

In 2008, I came across this disturbing article with bad news that could eventually affect us.

“Several dozen Muslim nations are signed onto a Defamation of Religions resolution at the United Nations.  The resolution proposes to establish an international law that makes it a criminal act ‘to defame another religion.’”

This is aimed directly at Christians.  Anyone who is spreading the Gospel of Christ would, under this provision, be guilty of a crime against Islam.  The American Center for Law and Justice reports that the only religion named as ‘another religion’ is Islam.  Let there be no doubt what is happening.  There is a full court press on all fronts to create the tyranny in America that already exists in these Muslim nations.  “Christians, indeed all people who love freedom, should be standing up to oppose the forward movement of Islam.”

What Can I Do???  Serve Jesus today.  Give the Gospel today.  Talk to others about Jesus and His gift of salvation.  Go to church each service.  Encourage other Christians.  Help send missionaries around the world.  Serve in your local church this week.  Pray.  Give.  Go.  For Christ and with His Gospel.

The night on earth will come some day.  Now is the time that we serve the Lord, for the time will come, when Christians are gone and can no longer share the Good News of salvation!