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Monthly Archives : January 2018

Jesus In Habakkuk …. Our Salvation From Evil …… January 28, 2018

     Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herds in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17-18 ESV

     Habakkuk asked the question that many people ask even today: If God is so good, why does He allow so much evil to exist, and how long will evil win? Truth is, over the centuries and even today, many ask this question. While we may not know the answer with human knowledge, as Christians, we can rest assured that God is in total control. Christians are to have faith, believing and trusting God even when things might not make sense. “The righteous shall live by faith.” Habakkuk 2:4b ESV  When experiencing directly the consequences of evil, remember what appeared to be the greatest evil that has ever happened in this world. Jesus, God’s only Son, the perfect Lamb of God, was crucified for the sins of the world. Have you ever asked, “God, if you’re so good, how could you allow your only Son to experience such evil?” If God had not allowed the crucifixion, we would all die with no hope. We would die in the consequence of our sin. Evil never wins, even though at the time it may be appearing to do so. God had a plan at Calvary and still does in the world today. Evil is not and will not win even if it appears to be doing so from our perspective.

     Every person in the world places their faith in someone or something. Where have you placed your faith this day? Faith is to the Christian what air is to the lungs. Faith is believing God was, is, and always will be. Faith believes that He has overcome the world in you. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. Who is it that who overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-5 ESV

Do You Believe The Voice of Evil, or God?
     During the liberation of prisoners from the German concentration camps, these words were found etched in the wall.
          I believe in the sun, even though it does not shine
          I believe in love, even when it isn’t shown.
          I believe in God, even when he doesn’t speak.

     What we dedicate our minds to is going to affect our faith. The battle is fought, then won or lost, in the mind. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Romans 8:5 ESV

     The voice of God says: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

How To Have Victory over Evil.
     You believe that God is always with you no matter what you experience or feel. Jesus, who is God in the flesh, spoke these words to us. “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 20b ESV  “In the world you will have tribulations. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 ESV

     Corrie ten Boom, who spent time in the concentration camps, said, “There is no pit so deep that God isn’t deeper still.”

     Victory comes when you take God at His word no matter what your circumstance is. The battle at times might be so strong that you may need to cry the prayer, “I believe; help my unbelief.” Mark 9:24 ESV

Resolve Yourself To Have Faith In God’s Salvation!!!
     Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herds in the stalls, yet I WILL REJOICE IN THE LORD; I WIIL TAKE JOY IN THE GOD OF MY SALVATION. Habakkuk 3:17-18 ESV

     The same sun that hardens the clay melts the wax. (a quote by George Buttrick)

     It is our choice whether we will let suffering and misfortune of life harden or soften us. We can choose to be hopeful or hopeless. We can decide whether we will be an optimist or a pessimist. It all depends on how we look at it, and we determine in which direction we look. (Rick Ezell, Pastor FBC Greer, South Carolina.)

 

     Jesus is our hope and salvation in the mist of evil. By His name we are saved, and in Him we live and have life. When your world seems to overtake you, ask Jesus to take over your world. By His grace and mercy, and by invitation, Jesus will live in you through the Holy Spirit. When this happens, you can have the assurance that, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4b ESV

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Jesus In Nahum …. Our Deliver from Wrath …… January 21, 2018

     The wrath of God. Not something a person would want to face alone. Thankfully, if you are a Christian, you need not to worry; you are not alone. Jesus suffered the consequences of your sins on Calvary. Nineveh was about to experience God’s wrath when Jonah was sent to tell them of God’s coming destruction because of their sins. Nineveh, when hearing Jonah’s message, repented, and God forgave them. Over the period of around one hundred years or so, Nineveh reverted back to their former sin and Nahum told them once again that God was going to destroy the land. We read of no repentance at this point but only God’s wrath upon their sins. Think of the story of Nineveh in this way. A person is born and by the mercy of God lives a hundred years. The decisions made during that hundred years determines whether or not they experience God’s wrath or mercy. Sin is the nature of every human due to the fall in the garden of Eden. A curse passed on from generation to generation. Nineveh was never perfect, even after they experienced God’s forgiveness and mercy, but they chose to revert back to their sin, forgetting and taking for granted the mercies of God.
     I’ve heard people make the statement concerning an individual, “It would have been better if they had never been born,” but the true statement is, “It would have been better if they had been born again.” To be born again is to never suffer the deserved punishment for sin, but to experience the forgiveness, mercy, and grace of God by believing in Jesus, His only Son, as Savior. Sin carries a great consequence, but God, not willing that any should perish, willingly gave His only Son to die that we might live. In order to understand this truth, what must a person do to believe?

Believe, Jesus Delivered Us From Wrath:
     A statement that I’ve heard over the years more than once and have even made it myself is: “I’m not that bad.” If we judge ourselves based upon the goodness of man, we will always be better than someone else relatively speaking. God, however; does not compare us to each other but rather with His standard of Holiness based upon Himself. But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16 ESV  This is the standard by which we are to live, and by this standard we will be judged. But there is one who made it possible for us to live up to this standard. Jesus. He cleansed us from every sin on the cross by His sacrifice and suffered the punishment for our sins. We are made holy in Christ because he was the perfect Lamb of God. Jesus who delivered us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1:10b ESV

Believe, You Must be Born Again:
     Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom God.” John 3:3 ESV  This was an answer given to a man named Nicodemus when he came to Jesus asking questions. Do you have questions? How can a person be born again?
     Please understand, to be born again is a Spiritual birth. It begins with asking questions, and while you may not understand everything, by faith you believe in the one who makes Spiritual birth possible. People are not Christians because they are physically born but because they are Spiritually conceived by the Holy Spirit. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:6 ESV

Believe In Salvation By Jesus:
     God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:9 ESV  This is true for every Christian. As Christians we are being saved in Christ; and as one who is lost, you can be saved by the same blood that redeemed every Christian. The Bible, God’s living word, makes it very clear, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 ESV

     Thank you God that in your mercy and grace you sent your Son Jesus to redeem us from the coming judgement and wrath that you will pour out upon all sin. May we live to prove that Spirit of the living God lives in us. We know that if there is anything worthy of praise in our lives, it is you. To God be the glory now and forever. Amen

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Jesus In Micah …. The Forgiving King …… January 14, 2018

     Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:18-19 ESV

     The answer to “Who is a God like you?” is obvious: there is none like God. God is a God full of forgiveness, love, and mercy, and, ultimately, walking on our sins which means, He puts them underfoot and does not hold them over our heads. He casts them into the depths of the seas which means, He buries them in the sea of forgetfulness, remembering them no more. The deepest point in the ocean is reported to be over 36,000 feet, or approximately 6.8 miles deep. That is deeper than the peak of the mountain Pikes Peak which stands just over 29,000 feet high. This gives you a glimpse of the magnitude of God’s forgiveness and willingness to forgive sin. It was in His plan all along. Seven hundred years before God sent his Son, it was foretold by Micah the prophet. But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. Micah 5:2 ESV  This prophesy was fulfilled in Matthew 2:1-2 (ESV) Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem saying, “Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
     Forgiveness from God sets us free from the power of sin, and its consequences, which is death. Let
me touch on three truths of forgiveness that scripture teaches.

Without Forgiveness, Judgment:
     The whole purpose for Jesus coming and dying was so that we might be forgiven of our sins and not experience His wrath. We are justified (just-as-if-I’d never sinned) before God at the coming judgment for all sin. The Bible teaches the seriousness of sin when it teaches what it takes to receive forgiveness. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. Hebrews 9:22b ESV  The only way anyone will ever stand before God without condemnation is to be covered and forgiven by the blood of the Lamb of God. John the Baptist introduced Jesus in this way, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29 ESV  Throughout the Bible we never see a place where God winks at sin, but we do see His righteous anger and judgment because of sin. Forgiveness by God is essential to escape God’s final judgement for all sins. Never assume before God that you weren’t that bad, for God will not judge on the curve of comparing yourself to others, but by HIS righteousness only.
This is the simple truth of the matter, For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD. Romans 6:23 ESV

Forgiveness In Christ Alone:
     Contrary to many teachings of our day, there is only one way to Heaven, as taught by Jesus himself. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV  Simply put, if there was any other way, then Jesus’s death was unnecessary. Peter, when preaching in the book of Acts, said, “Repent and be be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38 ESV …… And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12 ESV  Forgiveness and Salvation are in CHRIST JESUS ALONE!

Forgiveness for Whoever:
     For GOD so LOVED the world, that he GAVE HIS ONLY SON that WHOEVER BELIEVES in him should not perish but have ETERNAL LIFE. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be SAVED THROUGH HIM. John 3: 16-17 ESV
     So the question may arise, “How do we experience this forgiveness?” There is not a set formula, nor should we look at it as just the words we speak, but what follows may help you in your search for the truth of forgiveness.

The first thing that happens, when desiring to know Jesus personally, is REPENTANCE. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret. 2 Corinthians 7:10a ESV  It is coming to the realization of your dirtiness before God, as did David in Psalm 51 concerning his sin.
     Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. AGAINST YOU, YOU ONLY HAVE I SINNED AND DONE WHAT IS EVIL IN YOUR SIGHT. Psalms 51:1-4a ESV

     Secondly, we call upon His name. It is one thing to know the truth of your sin; it is another to call upon the name of Jesus for salvation. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13 ESV

     Thirdly, we live in the forgiveness we have received. Jesus said this of the woman who washed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven- for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little loves little. Luke 7:47 ESV  I believe it is a spiritual impossibility to be redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb of God and there be no change in a person’s life. The moment we are saved the sanctification process begins in our lives…. we are not what we once were, but we have not totally become what we will be. God does not save a person from their sins to leave them as they were…He changes them day by day into the image of His Son Jesus. People will know we are different by the EVIDENCE of God in our lives. We will NOT be perfect, but we will be forgiven, and hopefully, we will love much as this woman who washed Jesus feet.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Jesus In Jonah ….. The Willing Savior …… January 7, 2018

     Jonah and Jesus; the only thing they have in common is that their names begin with the same letter. Jonah ran away when God told him to go to Nineveh. Jesus came into the world willingly in obedience to God, his Father. Jonah complained when God forgave; Jesus willingly gave of Himself so that we could be forgiven, and he even ask for forgiveness for those who were crucifying him. Jonah was buried in the depths because of his disobedience; Jesus was buried in the grave because of obedience. Jonah came forth from the depths proclaiming the coming judgement of sin. Jesus came forth proclaiming victory by satisfying God’s judgment for sin. One thing is consistent in the two stories – God’s forgiveness. When the people of Nineveh repented, God forgave. When we repent of sin today, God forgives. As it says in Hebrews 13:8 (ESV) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  I am so thankful for a Savior who was willing to come and die, as it were yesterday, for my sin, so that I might be saved today from my sin and be forever forgiven of my sin. A willing Savior who….

Willingly Came Into The World:
      This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Timothy 1:15 ESV
      From the time in the garden when Adam and Eve sinned, God made a plan to redeem them and us from sin. He would send His only Son into the world to through Satan’s deception. What Satan had destroyed, God chose to restore. Jesus came for this purpose: to save sinners.

Willing Die In My Place:
     But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ Died for us. Romans 5:8 ESV
     There is no great theological debate for this truth. You either believe it, or you don’t. It might be hard to understand why God would choose to send His Son to die for us, but He did. It can only be explained by love. A love that surpasses all our understanding and logic. It just doesn’t make sense, but I am glad it doesn’t count on my understanding, but rather on faith. Faith is believing that God does not lie; and that when John 3:16 was spoken to us by Jesus, we can believe it.

Willingly Forgave Me Of Sin:
     If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 ESV
     Have you ever had someone do you wrong? Sure you have, and you can choose to either forgive them, or not. It is a choice made with purpose. It  doesn’t mean that you haven’t been wronged; it simply means you choose not to hold that wrong against the other person. That was God’s choice with us. He didn’t have to do it, for He was God. He could have done whatever He wanted, but He chose forgiveness, and I am so glad He did. God has always shown us by example how He wants us to live, and the ultimate example was His only Son on the cross. God washed away our sins with the blood of His only Son.

     Clean before God you can now stand because of His choice to love us enough to become flesh and live with us in this world, die for us in this world, and forgive us in this world. In doing so a person can have a home in heaven which God has prepared for all who believe, confess, and receive. Praise God for His great mercy and grace, that He would run to us instead of away from us. That He would choose through His Son to be a willing Savior.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

A New Year … Discipline … Determination … Grace …. December 31, 2017

     A new day … a new beginning … a new year … to be lived to the fullest one moment at a time with discipline, determination, and grace. Each moment in time you live only once, and then it becomes history. We should learn from the history of the good and bad moments, for they all have purpose in our future decisions. Hopefully we learn from our mistakes and build upon our successes. We cannot always choose what life deals us, but we can always choose how we deal with each moment. Life is not always fair. I once had a person describe an event which happened to me in my life as, “unfair,” to which I responded, “Welcome to life.” The old adage, “life happens” may be true, but take responsibility for what comes after that moment. Be one who conquers, not a victim to the circumstances of life. There can be many challenges in life when moving forward, and you may not conqueror the world, but God more than likely hasn’t called you to conquer the world, just yourself in Christ Jesus… Romans 8:37

     Have you failed in the past? Your past only defines you if that is where you choose to live.

     Remember, new day… new beginning …. new year…. so live!!

Begin With DISCIPLINE:
     There are physical and spiritual disciplines that every person needs to acknowledge in life. There is a statement that I heard years ago from a computer programer which I’ve never forgotten, “garbage in, garbage out.” In life, this would apply to one’s body and mind. In essence, we program ourselves for failure or success. There are scriptural principles which apply here to the body and mind. I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12 1-2 ESV  Choosing to live as Jesus instructed us doesn’t come natural for us because of our sinful nature. Christian disciplines can be very difficult and attempting to accomplish them without the working of the Holy Spirit in your life is impossible. Commit to discipline yourself to live for the Lord afresh this coming year. Pray intentionally not casually. Be an example to others in Godly living, and choose to do what is right in the sight of God based upon His word, the Bible.

Continue With DETERMINATION:
     Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own, But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 (ESV)
     Paul wrote two very important statements above: “forgetting what lies behind” and “press on toward the goal”. We need always to live with the end goal in mind. There are goals which are not accomplished in a day, week, month, or even a year, but without a goal you will tend to just wander through life. A goal will give you a focus, and that focus as a Christian needs to be, “for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Years ago, Bob Dylan wrote a song with these lyrics, “You’re gonna have to serve somebody / Well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” You will not serve God by accident; it will be on purpose and for a purpose. If you lose determination in serving God, you will lose direction and purpose in life service to Him. Be as determined as Joshua when he said, “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve ……… as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 (ESV)

Never Forget GRACE:
     There are times when disciplines fail and determinations wane, but never forget grace. Grace is not an excuse for failure or waning determination, but it is the mercy by which we understand that God saved us and still loves us. God does not wink at sin nor does he condone sin; for when His Son asked if it were possible for the cup of punishment for sin to be accomplished any other way, God was silent. Grace is knowing the consequence of our sin was punished on the cross of Calvary. In short, our discipline or determination will not be enough to meet the requirement for salvation. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)  We strive to live with discipline and determination because of the teaching of Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)… For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, Which God prepared before hand, that we should walk in them. God did not save you to leave you the way you were, but to change you by the work of His Son on Cross and His resurrection.

     May I encourage you this year to develop new disciplines in your Christian walk and be determined to press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. When you think you are failing or waining, remember grace. Hopefully this will cause you to love Him even more, and motivate you to look forward and press on and never give up. In the times you feel you’ve lost sight of your goal, Satan will remind you of your past and failures.
     Carman, a Christian singer, said this, “When Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.” The Christians future, because of Jesus, is heavenly.
     Have a blessed 2018 in Christ Jesus!!!!!

 
Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

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