Limitless

We all limit God’s ability to work in our lives, by what we allow Him to do. What do I mean? We choose how much we allow God to do through our surrender. When John wrote “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John knew that it took a life of surrender to see God work in His life. But what are we doing?

 

God wants to do the impossibles, the unimaginable. The unthinkable. He uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. Why? he wants to show you and I just how powerful he is when we say yes to Him. Sounds easy? To cultivate a lifestyle of surrender we must be planted firmly in the Truth, by knowing who He is and His promises we have a better understanding and a more clearer way of trusting in Him when the boat starts rocking.

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When Peter was called out onto the water; how much harder would it have been to step out if Peter did not see Jesus’ miracles beforehand?

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Moses & The Burning Bush

Join me in the coming weeks as we start the new series of Moses. God has spoken to me in the past months about the character of Moses and the Grace that was shown towards His children and still is. I have so many notes that needs to be shared. You’ll never see Moses like you’ve never seen him before!

 

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Seek First

 

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

 

How many times have we ‘needed’ something but found out later on that we didn’t ‘need’ what we thought we needed. Or better yet a relationship that you knew wouldn’t work out but you tried anyways for the excitement? Or bought a car that you couldn’t afford. Every time we decide to do something on our own such as big decisions like above; we take our plans out of His hands and try to work out our own miracles. Everything in the natural happens in the supernatural.

In the back of your mind your thinking, “why haven’t I got promoted”, “why am I not married yet”. The “why am I’s” are endless. What we think sometimes as a setback is actually going to turn out to be a setup from God. So don’t be anxious for what tomorrow brings, and in all things pray!

 

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A Prayer of Urgency

uI’ve been praying more than I ever have because I have been asking God more than ever to create in me a burden for the lost. And I’m starting to get His attention. I’m feeling an urgency to pray more, not that I have to but I’m wanting to. For Him to create in me a pure heart and actions that follow.

A couple of days ago God had directed me to Matthew 9:13 “For I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Got it God! I asked Him ” Show me what this really means…in Gary terms.” He spoke ” I AM Mercy.” God is love, and love comes from God. Like the prodigal son who went away for a while, lived his life the way he wanted to and found out that the grass isn’t greener on the other side. God, just like a parent who would want His child back uses His people who are in Him to call out to those who are lost. Simple, but some of us have a hard time with this.

We become busy bees losing track of the time. We have to ” Work while it is day; night is coming, when no one is able to work.”

On a Thursday morning at 6 a.m. out of no where my computer started playing worship music. I staggered into my office still half asleep to turn it off. The presence of God was strong but I was so tired and did not feel like praying. As I began to walk back to my bed God spoke to me and said ” I am coming very soon.” Should I have prayed? Of course but that bed sounded pretty good and the comforts of life got to me that time. What does all this mean? It means that God so desperately loves His children so much that He wants them to be saved. It’s not God’s will that any should perish but have everlasting life.

GFJ

Drawing Lines in the Sand

line-in-the-sand

I’m a very independent person, I don’t like to bother anyone. I never like to ask and feel like I’m a nuisance to somebody if I do. I always find a way or should I say try to resolve my own issues and problems…most of the time. Ever since I got saved in 2009, I still have that “I can do it myself” attitude that God is still helping me break off. We all have that one area I believe that we need help in. Yes He can free you from anything. But in some cases God will allow an area of discomfort in your life so you will be dependent on Him. It’s not that He’s doing it out of spite but to let us know how weak we are, the reality of how much we really need Him.

” What you allow God to do in you will be the only limit to what He will do through you”

When God speaks, whatever He says happens, His Words are Power.

Isaiah 55:11 

“so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

> If we have faith in Him He will do great and mighty things beyond our understanding. If we have absolute faith in Him His absolute power shall accomplish His absolute will.

Sometimes God restrains His power because of our unbelief, In Mark 6 we read, “And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6And he marveled because of their unbelief.

The town people could not receive what Jesus was there for because they put their own limitations on Jesus.

What limitations are you putting on a limit-less God?

Is Christ Resident or President?

 

 

Is Christ Resident or President?

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This is a fair measure of our love for Jesus. It is easy to think of loving Jesus in merely sentimental or emotional terms.
It is wonderful when our love for Jesus has sentiment and passion, but it must always be connected to keeping His commandments or it isnt love at all.
It’s easy to get caught up in the “religious” scene and say that we love Him but yet put no action behind those words to show the World that we are truly one of  His brides.

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The Sin That Nailed Him There.

This is sin, to reject Jesus, to declare he is nothing but a delusional or deceitful man. And this was the condition of our heart, when filled with unbelief, we rejected God, his Son, and his sacrifice. We have screamed, “Crucify him!” with our unfaithfulness and disobedience. We have said with the crowd, “He is not our King!” “He is not our Messiah!” “Let his blood be on us!”
But God, being rich in mercy and being patient with us, his chosen people, “has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of this crucified Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). And being alive by faith in him, we cling to the cross on which our Savior died. It is by his precious blood that we are forgiven and freed from sin and its consequences.
– Marshall Segal (desiringgod.com)

The Modern Day Pharisee

The PHARISEES were the most considerable sect among the Jews, for they had not only the scribes, and all the learned men of the law of their party, but they also drew after them the bulk of the people. They had their appellation of Pharisees, from parish, to separate, and were probably, in their rise, the most holy people among the Jews, having separated themselves from the national corruption, with a design to restore and practice the pure worship of the most High. That they were greatly degenerated in our Lord’s time is sufficiently evident; but still we may learn, from their external purity and exactness, that their principles in the beginning were holy. Our Lord testifies that they had cleansed the outside of the cup and the platter, but within they were full of abomination. They still kept up the outward regulations of the institution, but they had utterly lost its spirit; and hypocrisy was the only substitute now in their power for that spirit of piety which I suppose, and not unreasonably, characterized the origin of this sect.

Pharisee’s

They looked the part, they acted the part, but they had no recognition of Jesus Christ, who which was God in flesh. Ridiculed, despised and rejected. They had the Truth in front of them the whole time but yet they chose to look the other way. Jesus states in the book of Matthew 23…

“Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, 3 so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, 6 and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues 7 and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant”.

Jesus begins to tell the crowds and His disciples to watch out for their religious ways. In later scripture, Jesus calls the Pharisees  “you serpents, you brood of vipers”. In earlier chapter of Matthew 15 He warns His disciples and now in chapter 23, He decides to make this public announcement.

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Paul’s Conversion

In Acts 26, Paul testifies to King Agrippa about being a former Pharisee.

“4 “My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. 5 They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee.

12 “In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you.

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We all can look the part, but are we living it out? This reason alone is why most people will not attend a church they think “If they think their better than me, and doing the same things I’m doing, why should I go”? That is a great question. Everyone will be judged for what they do, God is a just God, meaning He is fair. The main answer is not to use people around you as a measuring rod, whoever you look up to, being a member of the church, a pastor or a good friend that is “holier than thou” is not the right thing to do, we all fall from time to time and your friends, family and others around you will disappoint you in what you think they shouldn’t do. We all must come to the saving knowledge of Christ and that is what this is all about, don’t look at others as being judgmental or using them as a measuring rod. God is the measuring rod, if you want to be holy go after Him, if you want to do more for the kingdom, go after Him!

Living under law instead of Grace

Paul had to repent – make a
transformation of mind leading to transformed action – instantly. Paul lived a
moral life, so he didn’t have to repent of immorality – but of misguided
religious zeal and wrong ideas about God.

Modern Day Pharisee

Jesus came to give life for those who would call on His name, break the religious spirits that so many people still hold onto today. He is here but yet they choose to look the other way. We can’t make Heaven our home by being a “good person” as we read above that Paul still needed to repent and he was a “good person”. If you are finding yourself in Paul’s place by holding onto a law or a rule that has made you so heavy burden, cast it at His feet, if your tired and weak, searching to find rest, He is here, Call on His name!

What Faith is: A Response to Revelation

what faith is

Noah’s faith: Part 1 of 7

 The Lord was grieved with mankind. ” The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.  So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.”  But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”

The human race from the very beginning after the instance of what Adam and Eve had partaken of in the garden, sin entered the human race, non erasable, non removable, never to be the perfect example of what God had intended to be. This shows the catastrophic results of how sin effects God, that He would “blot out man whom I have created.”

“God’s sorrow at man, and the grief in His heart, are striking. This does not
mean that creation was out of control, nor does it mean that God hoped for
something better but was unable to achieve it. God knew all along that this was
how things would turn out, but our text tells us loud and clear that as God sees
His plan for the ages unfold, it affects Him. God is not unfeeling in the face
of human sin and rebellion.” – enduringwordmedia.com

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“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord”

“While God commanded all the earth to be cleansed of this pollution, He found one
man with whom to begin again: Noah, who found grace in
the eyes of the Lord
.

Noah didn’t earn grace; he found it. No one earns grace, but we
can all find it.” – enduringwordmedia.com

Faith: A Response to Revelation

We know that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom.10:17), but there are few more striking examples of what that means than Noah, Out of the blue he was told about a cataclysmic flood and he believed God. He was informed that the end of all flesh was at hand, and he believed that, too. Told to build an ark the length of one and a half football fields and to fill it with animals because all the animals would be destroyed, he believed it! And when he was invited by the Lord to “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation” (Gen 7:1) he took what must have been a very difficult step out of all that was a familiar and understandable into a situation which was incomprehensible except to the eye of faith.

def. Revelation – a surprising and previously unknown fact; the making known of a secret or the unknown.

God in all of His glorious wonder has the unknown that we look ahead in our lives and try to figure out already figured out, He has the blueprints, all we have to do is follow and obey what seems to be difficult tasks that He has set out before us, but His word will never return void neither will He leave you forsake you, He will surely see you through.

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You Sought me

you_meYou Sought me

” Behold I stand at the door and knock.”

~

I have been reading a book from 1859, by an author named Henry Ward Beecher, the book “Views and Experiences of Religious Subjects.” Henry who was a minister had written these small articles that were put in the New York Independent newspaper, he thought they would be more tempted to read an article rather than a lengthy book. How different would this World be if what you had just read was an article contained in every newspaper in America?

The Author of the book explains the metaphor of the urgency of Christ to every sinner.

“Christ comes to the soul-house, and stands there and knocks. On getting no answer, he goes away only to come and knock again. He waits at the door, and listens for a voice within, and goes away. He comes again, and waits, and goes away! He knocks, not at one door, but goes around to every door, and waits for an answer. As one who returns to his dwelling in the night, after a journey, and finding it locked, knocks at the accustomed door of entrance in the front, and getting no answer goes to the door in the rear, then to the side door – if there be one – and then to every other door, in order, if possible, to get into his house; so Christ, who longs to enter into the soul, goes to every door in succession, and knocks, and listens for an invitation to come in, and leaves not one chamber in the soul-house unsought, or one door untried! He knocks at the door of Reason; at the door of Imagination and Taste , of Benevolence and Love, of Conscience, of Memory and Gratitude! He does not neglect a single one!” – Henry Ward Beecher

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Just like He sought us, years ago before we opened that door of Salvation, when we finally stepped out of our dwelling, our houses of shame, burdened with grief and past failures that followed us into every room not letting the memory leave us. Where would we be if we had not opened that door for Him to come in and rearrange our dwelling, our life?

My years of having Him wait outside as I scurried in the inside trying to fix the broken parts that kept breaking before me; I gave up and let Him in. We all need that professional to take care of things that we are not able to do. Why should we attempt to fix what we are not capable of?

Pride

Every one has had pride or some still do I am sure of, pride is what leads to destruction. And for some, it’s so hard for them to give their problems to someone else, it’s the ego, the human nature saying “I can do this” no we can’t! it’s the words of Christ that assures us “I can do all things through Christ” by putting our faith in the finished work of the Cross.

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“If he be admitted, joy unspeakable is in the house, and shall be henceforth. The dreary dwelling is filled with light from the brightness of his countenance, and every chamber is perfumed from the fragrance of his garments. Peace and hope, love and joy abide together in the house – for Christ himself takes up his adobe therein. But if, after his long knocking at the door and patient waiting for entrance. his solicitation be refused or neglected, by and by there shall come a time when you who have denied him, shall be denied of him. For when you shall knock at the gate of Heaven for admittance into the mansions which he has prepared from the foundation of the world, he will say unto you, as you said unto him, Depart! But that dreadful day has not yet come, and he still stands at the door – his locks wet with the dews of the morning and waits to be invited into the chamber of your soul. Hear his voice once more.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me!” – Revelation 3:20

It was 1859 when this book was published. Who are we to think His coming is going to be 10, 20 or more years away, when Henry was anticipating His coming in 1859? This World has gotten so much worse since 1859.

I urge anyone who has not yet opened that door to Him, to not walk to that door but run. Some think the Christian life is boring, ha. Who is to think that when all you need is Jesus, you will find out that outside your dwelling after Christ has come in and re decorated your soul with his presence that none other can compare. He seeks the lost and finds the door of the soul, he knocks profusely until you answer.

Back slider – You had once opened that door to Him, He once was the center of your life, now due to complacency; little by little He has been pushed out of your life and onto the streets as He is fervently knocking at your door again.

Will you answer or ignore the Master?

Men who neglect Christ, and try to win heaven through moralities, are like sailors at sea in a storm, who pull, some at the bowsprit and some at the mainmast, but never touch the helm. – Henry Ward Beecher

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You Anoint me

 

You Anoint me

When you had that oil on you, you began to glow. It was those nice aromatic oils, those nice spicy oils that made a nice warm glow on your skin. If you rubbed it on your skin you began to feel warm, you began to glow. Why? Because God was using in the Old Testament, a type, a picture. The whole Old Covenant is a picture of what was to be fulfilled in the New. God was using a symbol, a picture in oil, of what He was to do with His Holy Spirit; that when His Holy Spirit would come upon people it would have that effect – a glow, a warm glow, a nice effect.

Anointing in the Old covenant

Judges 6:3 (paraphrased)

Gideon, this mighty man – the angel came to him to tell him that God had called him, and he was hiding away from the Philistines. The angel came and said, “God is with you, Gideon, you mighty man of valor.” And I think Gideon looked around and said, “Who are you talking to? Who me?”

“Yes you.”

“Me, a mighty man of valor?”

“No, you’re a little wimp, but I am going to make you into a mighty man of valor. Now the first thing you do is go down and cut down that idol that your father and his family are worshiping.”

So you know what this mighty man of valor did? He sneaked in at night when nobody was looking, and cut it down. But you see, he took a step in the right direction. And the Scripture says, “And the Spirit of God came down on Gideon.” Then he stood up and blew the trumpet! Well, you cannot hide when you blow a trumpet. Something happened to this little wimp when the anointing of the Spirit of God came on him. He had a new power, he had a new boldness. And he went and defeated the whole Philistine camp with 300 men. Talk about change! The anointing of God will do that to a person. It will bring change. It will bring power. It will bring strength, and it will bring wisdom and boldness.

Anointing in The New covenant

Jesus was speaking about a new kind of anointing. He was speaking about an inner anointing. He was speaking about an anointing that was for you, not for others but for you. It is for you to tap into yourself. It is for you to sink down your bucket and to draw from yourself. It is to tap into for your own needs; for your own thirst; for your own hunger, whatever your needs are. Jesus was offering a source, a power within that you can tap into yourself. He was speaking about a new kind of anointing. He was speaking about an inner anointing. How does that inner anointing come about? By the Holy Spirit coming to dwell within, not upon but within.

Differences between Old and New

Old Testament: Given to Select People Only

So we see there is a difference between the Old Testament and the New. In the Old Testament we see that they had an external anointing only. In the New Testament we see that believers still have the external anointing. But we have now a new power that has been placed within us that can gush forth from within.

In the Old Testament God gave His anointing only to selected individuals. In the New Testament, “Whosoever will may come.” Peter said, “This promise is to you and to all that are far off, and to your children, even to as many as the Lord our God shall call.” This promise is to everyone who accepts Jesus. This promise is to everyone who believes. This promise is to every single person who is born again of the Spirit of God.

New Testament: Given to all!

Acts 2:1-4 ESV

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

You don’t have to wait for God to say, “Well, you’re my favorite. I am choosing to give you this anointing.” You have a right to this anointing! Jesus paid the price. He shed His blood to give you this anointing. It is your right, it is your inheritance, and He has given you His robe of righteousness. And He has given you the right to reach out and to take what He has bought for you at Calvary. It is yours, believer. Every single one who knows Jesus as their Savior has the right to that anointing.

–          In the Old Testament the Spirit came upon. In the New Testament the Spirit is within.

Ezekiel 47

Ezekiel had a vision where he saw the temple and he saw from the threshold, the door of the temple and there was water pouring out, water trickling out in a stream. Everybody knows this passage so well, it has been preached so well. Everybody is talking about the river of God. “Get in the river.”

And the angel came and measured up, and each time he measured up the water became deeper. It started up to the ankles, then up to the knees, then up to the thighs. Then it became a raging river that you had to swim in. It is the river of God; it is the anointing of God. It is the power of God. It is the external anointing, the outpouring of God’s Spirit. You had to get in it.

A River in You

Well, the Old Testament saints had the river. They could get in the river. But I want to tell you something, if you are a New Testament saint you have a river in you! You can give out the river. You don’t have to go and get in the river; you can give out the river. “Out of his innermost being,” Jesus said, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow
rivers of living water.” John 7:38.

why live on yesterday’s anointing?

God wants to give His anointing to everyone. But have you stepped into your
fullness and potential? Don’t let your past ruin what God has for you today.
Don’t be too busy to hear His voice. Learn how to wait patiently for God’s
perfect timing and the promotion that will be here tomorrow. The fresh anointing
is available to you…right now.

The Christmas Story

The Christmas Carol

By Dr. John R. Rice

“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David.) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. “Luke 2:4-7.

How many beautiful Christmas carols or hymns there are! Charles Wesley wrote, “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” and we sing it to the music by Felix Mendelssohn. Martin Luther wrote, “Away in a Manger,” words and music. Isaac Watts wrote, “Joy to the World,” with music by George F. Handel. The famous Episcopal preacher, Phillips Brooks, wrote the words for “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” There are a number of others that rejoice the heart and make melody at Christmastime by Christians. We suppose the newest Christian Christmas song is my own little song, “Jesus, Baby Jesus.

“Silent Night” was written by a Catholic priest, Joseph Mohr, pastor in the Austrian Alps in a little town of Oberndorf. It was Christmas Eve, 1815, when he meditated on the wonderful story of the birth of Christ and wrote the sweet, simple verses of this song. The next day he took them to the village schoolmaster, an organist, Franz Gruber, who prayerfully put them to music that fits them so quietly and so well. And that night they had the choir sing it for the first time with only guitar accompaniment, since the organ had broken down . Through the years this sweet song drifted out to the world and now millions of people rejoice as they sing

Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright

Round yon virgin mother and Child. Holy Infant so tender and mild,

Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.

The name “Bethlehem” means house of bread. It is some six miles south and a little west of Jerusalem on the way toward Hebron. It was the home of David and of Boat and Ruth before him. Micah 5:2 prophesied that the Saviour would be born there: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephrata, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

So when Caesar at Rome decreed that all must go to their families’ ancestral homes to report for taxation, Joseph and Mary, his virgin wife, heavy with child, came from Nazareth, nearly a hundred miles north in the province of Galilee. They came to Bethlehem because they were of the house and lineage of David. The little town was crowded. There was no room in the inn, and they were given a place in the stable and there Mary brought forth her firstborn son, the Lord Jesus. Now they show a cave as the birthplace of the Saviour and over it is built the Church of the Nativity and another church beside it. However, no one knows for sure exactly where Jesus was born. Queen Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, selected this cave as the birthplace of Christ but it was way over three centuries after His birth. The area had been ravished by war a number of times and there may have been not a single house remaining that anybody could know Jesus was ever there. So she selected a cave. Over it was built the Church of the Nativity.

I think the dear Lord does not want us worshiping a place so He did not let it be settled surely, either the place of the birth of Jesus or the house in which He lived in Nazareth or the place of crucifixion or the tomb in which He was buried. All that is left a little unsure lest men should worship as an idol a mere place when the Lord wants us to worship the Saviour Himself. I have been many times in that cave and there we sing, “Silent Night,” and speak of the birth of Christ. At least it represents the place where Jesus was born, whether it is the exact place or not.

1. Christ Born in a Stable

Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright

Round yon virgin mother and Child, Holy Infant so tender and mild,

Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.

It is true that there was no room for them in the inn. Does that seem sad? No, surely that foretold that the Lord Jesus would be a Man of sorrows and He would be acquainted with grief. He came to be abused and rejected as well as to save all who would receive Him. So Jesus is fitly born in a stable. Since He is to be “anointed. . .to preach the gospel to the poor. . .to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives,” it is suitable that His coming be announced to ignorant shepherds and not in the palaces of the mighty but to the poor. But remember, this is a glad time. Jesus is born to die on the cross, but, oh, praise the Lord He is born! The shepherds heard the angels say, “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” So it is a joyful, happy time. So the song very properly says,

“All is calm, all is bright Round yon virgin mother and Child.”

Mary is in sweet peace and joy over her God-given Son. The Baby sleeps peacefully for He is in God’s care and has entered His earthy mission. Psalm 22:9,10 says, “But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly.” And that indicates that even the Baby Jesus was someway conscious that He was from God and that His hope was in God His Father. I think I see a bit of a smile upon the face of the sleeping One there in the manger cradle. “Round yon virgin mother and Child,” the song says. Oh, yes, Mary is still a virgin. And the angel had said to Joseph, “Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 1:20). Ah, yes, this Baby Jesus is the “Seed of the woman” which was promised Eve. This birth of Christ fulfills the promise of Isaiah 7:14, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son.” Oh, here is Immanuel, God with us in human form. I was shocked the other day looking in a hymnbook and saw that this first verse of “Silent Night,” had been wickedly changed, and the liberal, unbelieving hand that changed that first verse took out “Round yon virgin mother and Child,” and put other words. Oh, but Mary is a virgin and Christ is God in human form.

Jesus, Baby Jesus, of a virgin mother born, Laid in manger cradle, wrapped in swaddling clothes and warm.

Birth cry in a darkened stable, in the inn no room. Jesus, Baby Jesus, Son of God, to share earth’s gloom.

2. Angels Announce Christ’s Birth to the Shepherds

Silent night, holy night, Darkness flies, all is light;

Shepherds hear the angels sing, “Alleluia hail the King!

Christ the Saviour is born, Christ the Saviour is born.”

Yes, suddenly the darkness turns bright as day and the Heaven is filled with glory!

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. ” It was the Angel Gabriel who had announced to Mary up in Galilee nine months before that she was to be the mother of the Saviour. We suppose this is the same Angel Gabriel bringing glad news. The “Field of the Shepherds” is not far from Jerusalem, and we suppose it is the same field where the shepherds watched their flocks by night. It may be also the same field of Boat where Ruth, the Moabitish young woman who came back to Israel with her mother-in-law Naomi to live under the shelter of God’s wings–and there in the field, perhaps, where Ruth gleaned and got acquainted with Boaz. The announcement is wonderful:

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in, swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”-Luke 2:10-12.

Ah, the Saviour is born! And the angel says they may find Him in the city wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Then suddenly all the heavenly host filled the skies, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

The shepherds were told they would find the Baby Jesus “wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger,” and they went quickly to find Him. Oh, they believed the story; they were glad to hear it. King Herod heard it and was troubled. The scribes and Pharisees knew where the Saviour should be born and they told Herod it would be in Bethlehem, but they did not heed the glad news brought them by the Wise Men from the east. But these shepherds were so glad to hear it! Oh, whoever reads it, be sure you run to see Jesus and know Him for yourself and go away to tell it gladly as they did.
3. Wise Men From Afar Are Alerted by a Star to Seek Jesus

Silent night, holy night, Guiding Star, lend thy light;

See the eastern wise men bring Gifts and homage to our King!

Christ the Saviour is born, Christ the Saviour is born.
The Scripture says, “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” They are “wise men.” The term reminds us of the wise men, the magi, in the book of Daniel. And these are from the east, so if we go back some 500 miles or so to the site of ancient Babylon we find, no doubt, the area from which these wise men came.

They said, “We have seen his star in the east.” Note carefully, they did not follow the star, traveling all this way. They had seen the star in the east as a warning, a reminder. But it seems evident they knew from the book of Daniel that the Messiah would come, and that He would be King of the Jews .

In Daniel 9:25 Daniel had been inspired to write it down, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” And it is interesting that although nearly all the Old Testament is written in Hebrew, certain parts of Daniel, including this part, are written in Chaldaic and so God must have intended that the Scriptures there should be kept in the Chaldean language so they would know about the coming of the Saviour. He is to be a Prince or King and He is to come to Jerusalem. And we are plainly told that it is to be sixty-nine weeks of years from the time Jews were to go back from captivity until the coming of the Saviour. So they took what they knew from the Scriptures and then had a sign from God to verify it and they came.

Later they came to Jerusalem thinking the Saviour, a King, would be born there. There scribes and elders told them, as Herod insisted, that the Messiah must be born in Bethlehem six miles away in the city of David and now they came to find it. But how will they find the house? Ah, there is the star. They see it again and it stops over the house where the Child lay and they came in to see the Baby Jesus.

We are told that they opened their treasures and brought forth gold, frankincense and myrrh–gold, no doubt, as a proper tribute for a king and myrrh for the suffering of a Saviour as picturing the spices of His burial, and like the bitter herbs with which the Passover lamb was eaten, and frankincense for worship to God, for Christ is God.

Oh, Wise Men, let us kneel beside you by the manger cradle and to Jesus let us open our treasures and bring all we have to the Lord Jesus.

Wise men came to see Him, having seen His star afar, brought their gifts of precious gold and frankincense and myrrh. Herod heard, was troubled, could not kill the Holy Child. Jesus, Baby Jesus, King and Priest, and Saviour mild.
4. Greater Than the Star Was the Leading From the Scripture

Silent night, holy night, Wondrous Star, lend thy light;

With the angels let us sing Alleluia to our King.

Christ the Saviour is born, Christ the Saviour is born.
There were wonders and marvels to astound the mind and lift up the heart, give a lilt to voices of praise the night Jesus was born. His birth was itself a miracle. It was good news to all people. He is Christ the Saviour.

The angels were miraculously present and it was so important that it seems every angel in Heaven wanted to join in the glad refrain, the chant, of peace on earth.

The star was wonderful, too. Some think it might have been the conjunction of two of the planets in the heavens that made an extra brightness. No, no. This was a special star. Was it like a comet across the sky? Was it like a meteor falling into space? No. In those days before there were any telescopes, they did not have a great many names for heavenly bodies, they did not differentiate between ancient planets and suns and meteors and comets. This star was especially created for this time to announce the Saviour. The Wise Men saw it in the east, and again when they came to Jerusalem they saw the star resting over the house where the Baby Jesus lay. We suppose then that star disappeared having run its course, having made its holy announcement.

But do not miss even a greater marvel than the angels and the star and the divine leading of these Wise Men. They came according to the Scriptures.

Oh, the birth of Jesus was wonderful, but it was foretold and this is the Gospel “how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” All the other miracles and manifestations are subject to a divine pattern, a divine schedule written down in the Bible. It was in “the fullness of the time” that Christ came, as we are told in Galatians 4:4. That is, He could not come before and He could not come after–He must fulfill the Scripture, and He did.

So wise men studied the Scriptures yonder in the area of ancient Babylon. Old, old manuscripts and books they studied until they came across what Daniel had prophesied. When they came to Jerusalem, they needed more light. They came as far as they knew how. They came into Jerusalem, but they found now the Scripture said the Saviour would be born in Bethlehem, so they came to Bethlehem. In the east they were to follow the Scriptures but they had a star then to verify their decision and comfort their hearts. Now they follow the Scriptures out to Bethlehem and again God gave the star to give additional light.

Do you not see again, as we sing about the Christmas story, that the virgin birth of Christ is far better than any fairy tales of Santa Claus and reindeer and sleighs? Do you not see that the story of the announcement to the shepherds and the Wise Men coming from the east is far more joy and blessing than the worldly festivities and drunkenness and feasting and revelry? Let us rejoice then in the blessed Word of God this Christmas season.

Jesus, Baby Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, Tempted, poor and suffering no one knows us as He can!

Holy, righteous, blameless, fitting sacrifice complete. By His blood atonement, God and sinners in Him meet.

Now, let us sing again this sweet Christmas song, “Silent Night, Holy Night,” for

“Christ the Saviour is born, Christ the Saviour is born.”

The gift that really keeps on giving is Jesus!

Lose the Booze

alcohol

By Dr. John R. Rice

By way of introduction, let me say this: in Bible times they did not have distilled whisky as we have it now. However, they did have several kinds of wine. But wine in the New Testament very often means simply grape juice. In fact, there was not in Bible times a different word for wine and for grape juice as we have. When the juice was first squeezed out of the grapes, it was called wine, as you see from Proverbs 3:10: “So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” So grape juice is wine, in the Bible sense. Later when the grape juice ferments, it is still wine in the Bible sense.

There is no reason to suppose that the wine which Jesus made at the wedding in John, chapter 2, was intoxicating wine. There is no reason to supposed that the which was used a t the last supper and which New Testament churches used for the Lord’s Supper was intoxicating wine. In fact, the Scripture takes particular pains not to call it wine, but instead calls it “the cup,” and “the fruit of the vine.” So the Lord seems to have specially guarded against being misunderstood on this point. However, if He had used the word wine it might have meant unfermented wine, that is, simply grape juice.

I call your attention to the double curse of God on booze

First, there is a curse on the drunkard. Who is a drunkard? When is a man a drunk? Many a man, after he has been arrested for killing somebody with his car, or after a fatal accident, says to the judge, “Why, Judge, I only had two or three beers. I wasn’t drunk.” He couldn’t drive well, couldn’t see well. He couldn’t get his foot on the brake as quickly as he ought to; he was not as reliable a driver under the influence of liquor. But he said he wasn’t drunk. Because he wasn’t unconscious or wasn’t in a stupor, he thinks he wasn’t drunk.

When is a man drunk? When a man has drunk, he is drunk. Anybody who drinks beverage alcohol in any degree is somewhat affected by it, and so he is drunk to that degree. A man can get more drunk than he already is. He can drink until he is unconscious and can’t drink any more. A man can drink until a certain percentage of alcohol gets into the blood and stops the motor responses so that he quits breathing and dies. Now, that is a little more drunk than he was while he was breathing. Yet he is still drunk.

You know that the word drunk is part of the word drink, drank, drunk; or, drink, drank, drunken. A drunkard is a man who drinks. Anybody who drinks any alcoholic liquor is under the influence of it, is affected by it, and to that degree is drunk.

If it takes eight glasses of beer to make a man drunk (it takes less than that for some people) then the man who has one glass is one-eighth drunk. The man who has two glasses is one-fourth drunk. And no man on-fourth drunk is safe as an engineer of a passenger train, safe to drive an automobile down the road, or safe to handle a steam shovel or a drill press, or a welding torch. No girl who is one-fourth drunk is safe in the presence of sex temptation. The man who would not gamble without drinking, will gamble when he is one-fourth drunk. And the man who never intended to take more than two glasses of beer can be tempted to take more when he is already one-fourth drunk!

Now what are some of the curses of God on the drunkard? Listen to Proverbs 23:21: “For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.”

What is the curse on the drunkard? Poverty. I need not prove that. How many of you ever knew somebody who was poor because of liquor?

In the second grade at school I had my first love affair! I fell in love with Miss Mabel Blossom, my second grade teacher! One day Miss Mabel said to the class, “All you children but Sammy will have to stay in today. Sammy, you have been a good boy. You may go home on time. Get your lunch bucket, your cap and coat, and go on home. Good-by, Sammy. I am going to keep the rest of the class in.”

Sammy left. When the door was closed, Miss Mabel got off her rostrum, walked down near us, stood there with tears in her eyes as she said, “Children, some of you haven’t been very nice to Sammy. You don’t like to play with him. You have nice lunch baskets, while he brings his lunch–if he has anything at all–in a lard pail. Your Mother fixes your hair nice. You little girls have nice starched dresses; you little boys have white blouses and clean pants, but little Sammy only wears dirty old patched overalls.” She said, “Children, I want to tell you something. Sammy is not to blame. His father is a drunkard, and Sammy’s mother does the best she can. They don’t have money a lot of the time. Sammy can’t bring any lunch some days. So don’t you be mean to Sammy. He can’t help it if his father drinks.”

I have never gotten away from that. Here is a little boy who didn’t have lunches like the rest of us. Our family was very poor, but we always had clothes. And they were always clean. We came with our hair combed and looked nice. We were well cared for. But Sammy, with a drinking father, couldn’t have nice clothes; he didn’t have enough to eat, and he went barefoot in the winter-tine. I was impressed then with the thing I have wept over I guess a thousand times since-the poverty of wives and little children who suffer because of a husband or daddy who is a drunkard.

Some of you are against the liquor business, yet you will eat where it is served or trade where it is sold, even if there is a good restaurant close by that does not serve it, and a grocery store not far away that does not sell it. You say you don’t drink it–no; but you patronize the one who does, because you can save a few cents on a can of coffee or a pound of sugar or a gallon of milk. Shame on you! God is displeased when you have a choice and choose to trade with the liquor crowd.

Now there are some occasions in this day and age when we have no choice. I fly on airlines that serve the stuff. If there were airlines that didn’t, I would make my choice to fly with those lines. Would you? Or does it not matter to you? God help us!

Don’t you see that when you go into places where beer or liquor is served, you are backing up those who are in the dirty business of damning souls. Your presence there says to your children, “It doesn’t matter. Such places are all right for decent people.” But that is not true, and you know it. To do so puts your money and influence back of those who are breaking down morals, who are turning our girls into drunkards and prostitutes, and making our boys into profligates and drunkards.

When you patronize these places, you are putting your money into the kind of thing, and your friendship and your good name behind the kind of thing, that has God’s curse on it. Don’t do it! give your testimony by where you trade and where you eat.

I remind you again that the curse of God is on anyone who gives his neighbor drink, or helps others give their neighbor drink, or puts his influence behind people who give their neighbor drink.

“Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!” Isaiah 28:1

“The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet.” Isaiah 28:3

“But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out-of-the-way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out-of-the-way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.” Isaiah 28:7,8

“Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness! Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the LORD’S right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory.” Hab. 2:15,16

Notice the woe to the crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim. Woe to the drunkard! A curse is on the drunkard, says the Word of God. There is a curse on the man who drinks, on the woman who drinks.

There is another curse: “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!” There is a curse on the person who serves, who sells, who gives liquor.

JESUS IS READY TO FORGIVE AND SAVE YOU NOW

Now listen to me. Drink leads to ruin, to Hell. But, thank God, there is mercy, if you will turn to Jesus Christ. No matter how far you have gone, God loves you still. There is not anywhere God will not follow you. There is not anywhere He cannot help you. There is not anywhere He cannot clean you up. But Jesus will have to do it. Break with the old crowd. Break with the ways of sin. Get out of the hogpen! prodigal, come on back to the Father’s house! God has mercy and forgiveness for you.

I will tell you what all of us need. What you need if you are a drunkard and what you need if you are not a drunkard is Jesus Christ. You need a new heart, need to be born again.

You say, “I will turn over a new leaf.” But the new leaf will soon be as dirty as the old leaf. “But,” you say, “I’ll make up my mind with all my willpower . . .” Listen, sin takes more than willpower; it takes the grace of God.

You say, “But Brother Rice, I’ll change my habits.” Even though you may change your habits, you cannot change your heart. Even if you quit your drinking now–if you do, and I hope you will–but if you quit your drinking now, unless you turn to Jesus and repent of your sins and trust Him, you are still a poor, lost soul going to Hell. Don’t you see that the only chance for a sinner is to put his trust in Jesus, depend on Him? Let Jesus come into your heart and save your soul.

We have been talking about liquor; now I am turning to a far more important subject than that. What you need is your poor, black heart made white. As clean as you may be you have a black heart and if you do not get born again, you will go to Hell.

In Romans 3:22, 23 the Scripture says: “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” There is not any difference, God says. All are sinners alike. The drunkard is a sinner; the man who does not drink is a sinner, too! Harlots are sinners; modest, virtuous women are sinners, too–lost sinners, condemned sinners, Hell bound sinners if they are unconverted, if they be not born again, saved by personal trust in Christ.

You can’t lick sin without Jesus. You cannot trust your own righteousness. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can save. What you need is a new heart, a new nature. You need to let Jesus come into your heart, forgive your sins, and save your soul today.

And He is ready to do it, too. He said, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). So I beg you to trust Jesus right now to save you. Turn your heart to Him! Repent of your sin. Depend on Him just now to save your soul, by His great mercy! He will do it!

If you are ready to accept Christ as your Saviour then pray this prayer. Realizing that I am a poor lost sinner, I today turn from my sin to trust Christ and take Him as my Saviour forever. I believe He is willing to save me, willing to take me, however sinful I have been. I believe He is able to help me do right, able to keep my soul. Here and new I claim Jesus Christ a my Saviour and give Him my heart. I will honestly try to serve Him the rest of my life.

be ready 2

Opportunities Presented by God

“I believe we are each given an opportunity each day to speak, show and shine the Word of God.
And even more opportunities to pray, pursue and perform the work of God. If only we are willing.”

Going to the dealership for some is a headache, getting ran down by a salesman in the lot as if you were a fugitive that had just escaped prison is a lot for a person who just wants to look around for a car. For me, it’s a different story, I love going. As a car enthusiast  and most of the times stumping the salesman about the cars that they have is so fun! Here is my story of an opportunity that I could have encountered if I was willing.

Opportunity Presented

Meet, Mike, who has been in the car business for a little over 5 years. This guy always has a smile on his face, full of joy and for sure a light of the Gospel for that dealership. He wasn’t my salesman, but we bonded the first time we spoke all the times I would get my vehicle serviced. He had told me about his daughter and had asked me to keep her in prayer the first time we had talked. He had told me she had been battling cancer for six months. After I had told him that I was in the ministry, he was enthused. Exited to hear that. He then asked me if I would be willing to come over to his house and pray for his daughter. As if I had stepped into her room, a vision began to take hold of me after he asked me the question. I responded. “Mike, that sounds great, I would love too.” I seen myself, sitting in a chair by a window with her on the bed next to me. Her face, as she was erupting with hope couldn’t wait to listen. As I began to tell her a story about the woman who had a sickness that no man, no medicine could cure but only one name, Jesus. I was taken back to reality when he asked me again, “Would you mind coming over?” I replied again, ” yes!”

“We have very little time” I thought to myself as I left, after I accepted the opportunity, but when? When will I go and pray with his daughter?

So you say your going to pray for that person, are you really?

Every time I would be there for an oil change or when I was close to the dealership I would stop in and tak to the guys. I would always find Mike and ask him how his daughter was. A cold morning in November I walked into the showroom before any salesman were there. Looking around I thought of Mike and his daughter. Was I too late? It’s been a while since he had asked me to go to his house to pray with his daughter. Did I really mean by what I said? Or was it something that he wanted to hear me say? Is she healed? Surely, someone else prayed and she got healed. Its like the memory of her had vanished.

I had seen this man months before with a smile on his face, greeting everyone as if he had known them for years. I was hoping the situation had not gotten worse. I stopped by Mike’s office. For months his life had been ship wrecked, a test of faith, of the situation that he and his wife were facing. A giant of a disease that had no face, no cure. Had she been healed?

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There are so many opportunities, a chance to step into a “realm” of Gods power, of Him using you for a specific purpose so many times throughout your life, that most of the times we are not aware. Why? We doubt God. Making excuses like, “I’m not capable of that” or the famous line, “I can’t do that” we’ll of course you can’t, it’s not YOU, it’s all HIM! So lets put on Christ and put off the doubt. And for most the time.

Time is a huge factor, so precious to use every minute wisely, I’ve found that out very quickly when I got called into the ministry. When the opportunity is available, take it and don’t let go. Prioritizing is key, not just in the ministry but for everyone else. I guess you could say I took the opportunity but I would find out that it was taken from me. A single man, most would assume I can find time. working close to 45 hours at my job, plus my small business Nitty Gritty Auto Detailing was too much for me to handle. And I had forgotten more important duties. I was letting the opportunity slip out of my hands without even realizing it.

As I was talking to another salesman asking how their quarter for sales were, Mike steps in, with of course, a smile on his face, said “hey, how you doing?” I said  “I’m fine, and you?” “Doing good!”

As I looked at Mike I could tell his life had taken a different turn. You knew he would have to answer to my question about his daughter, the intense look that he had I knew it wouldn’t be good news. As I had got done paying for the oil change I was motioned to go talk to Mike. I walked over to his desk, took a hold of his hand to shake, I asked him “Mike, your daughter, how is she?” She passed a little over a month ago,” with my hands grasping his, I didn’t let go, his eyes began to form tears. As I looked into his eyes all I could think to say was  ” I’m so sorry, she was ready to go” embracing him and instilling the faith that one day he would see her again. That’s all I could think of to say, I turned around and began to walk away. I paused for a moment.

I knew that my opportunity had been taken away, I didn’t cherish it, because I didn’t cherish the time that I had in order to take action. I let it go, and now it was gone, no second chance.

I think sometimes, God could have used me to heal this girl, of course her church, the pastor prayed with her  for the healing. But what if I had prayed? I’m no one special I know that, but what if God used this situation to use me and to open my eyes to the raw power of His Glory that is unlocked by stepping into faith?

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 “And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” And he went with him.
And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.”

(Mark 5:21-43 ESV)

The crowds, the distractions, the religious rulers watching every move of Jesus would be enough for anyone to hide and give up for the day. But he pursued and carried on. Jairus came along, fell at His feet, pleading that He might come and and lay hands so that she may live again. As Jesus was on the way to Jairus’ house, a woman who had endured for 12 years of a blood disorder had a chance to be healed by this man whom they call Jesus. The crowds by now were pressing in even more closer to Jesus as they were anticipating of what was to happen at Jairus’ house.

Reality: We began to push things to the side whenever we have too much going on at once, at least I know I do. The pressure, the stress of today’s society is easy for anyone to say, “I don’t have the time.” We put the work of God on the back-burner and do the more “important” things first.

Q: Are we completing the opportunities that we receive?

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The Willingness

def. – Acting or ready to act gladly; eagerly compliant

We speak before we really think about the situation that we are about to embark on. Whether it is a prayer request, a promise to another, or a situation that I had. Intentions are different from willingness. The willingness to do something is stepping into faith. Intentions are thoughts, no motivation.

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Are you willing to open the door?

 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” – Revelation 3:20

Never, does anyone have a second chance to change a circumstance in their life, even an opportunity that I could have acted on; she is gone. But that does not mean that God will not use me in another opportunity that He may bring my way, we must learn from our mistakes and keep our eyes open to those opportunities. The second our last breath is breathed here on Earth, we stand before a Holy God who is just. There will be no second chance to make things right, we must make that decision here on Earth. Are you willing to open that door of Salvation for Him to be Lord over your life?

From Disgrace to Amazing Grace

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The hymn “Amazing Grace” is one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world. Written by John Newton as a personal poem of conversion, it is sung annually at an estimated 10 million times. It reminds each and every one, that each and every day that God has given us Grace through His Son Jesus that we might turn from our disgrace and embrace the grace which lies in Christ. Enjoy the rest of the reading of the autobiography of John Newton.

According to the Dictionary of American Hymnology, “Amazing Grace” is John Newton’s spiritual autobiography in verse. In 1725, Newton was born in Wapping, a district in London near the Thames. His father was a shipping merchant who was brought up as a Catholic but had Protestant sympathies, and his mother was a devout Independent unaffiliated with the Anglican Church. She had intended Newton to become a clergyman, but she died of tuberculosis when he was six years old. For the next few years, Newton was raised by his emotionally distant stepmother while his father was at sea, and spent some time at a boarding school where he was mistreated. At the age of eleven, he joined his father on a ship as an apprentice; his seagoing career would be marked by headstrong disobedience.

As a youth, Newton began a pattern of coming very close to death, examining his relationship with God, then relapsing into bad habits. As a sailor, he denounced his faith after being influenced by a shipmate who discussed Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, a book by the Third Earl of Shaftesbury, with him. In a series of letters he later wrote, “Like an unwary sailor who quits his port just before a rising storm, I renounced the hopes and comforts of the Gospel at the very time when every other comfort was about to fail me.” His disobedience caused him to be pressed into the Royal Navy, and he took advantage of opportunities to overstay his leave and finally deserted to visit Mary “Polly” Catlett, a family friend with whom he had fallen in love. After enduring humiliation for deserting, he managed to get himself traded to a slave ship where he began a career in slave trading.

Newton often openly mocked the captain by creating obscene poems and songs about him that became so popular the crew began to join in. He entered into disagreements with several colleagues that resulted in his being starved almost to death, imprisoned while at sea and chained like the slaves they carried, then outright enslaved and forced to work on a plantation in Sierra Leone near the Sherbro River. After several months he came to think of Sierra Leone as his home, but his father intervened after Newton sent him a letter describing his circumstances, and a ship found him by coincidence. Newton claimed the only reason he left was because of Polly.

While aboard the ship Greyhound, Newton gained notoriety for being one of the most profane men the captain had ever met. In a culture where sailors commonly used oaths and swore, Newton was admonished several times for not only using the worst words the captain had ever heard, but creating new ones to exceed the limits of verbal debauchery. In March 1748, while the Greyhound was in the North Atlantic, a violent storm came upon the ship that was so rough it swept overboard a crew member who was standing where Newton had been moments before. After hours of the crew emptying water from the ship and expecting to be capsized, Newton and another mate tied themselves to the ship’s pump to keep from being washed overboard, working for several hours. After proposing the measure to the captain, Newton had turned and said, “If this will not do, then Lord have mercy upon us!” Newton rested briefly before returning to the deck to steer for the next eleven hours. During his time at the wheel he pondered his divine challenge.

About two weeks later, the battered ship and starving crew landed in Lough Swilly, Ireland. For several weeks before the storm, Newton had been reading The Christian’s Pattern, a summary of the 15th-century The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. The memory of the uttered phrase in a moment of desperation did not leave him; he began to ask if he was worthy of God’s mercy or in any way redeemable as he had not only neglected his faith but directly opposed it, mocking others who showed theirs, deriding and denouncing God as a myth. He came to believe that God had sent him a profound message and had begun to work through him.

Newton’s conversion was not immediate, but he contacted Polly’s family and announced his intentions to marry her. Her parents were hesitant as he was known to be unreliable and impetuous. They knew he was profane, but they allowed him to write to Polly, and he set to begin to submit to authority for her sake. He sought a place on a slave ship bound for Africa, and Newton and his crewmates participated in most of the same activities he had written about before; the only action he was able to free himself from was profanity. After a severe illness his resolve was renewed yet he retained the same attitude about slavery as his contemporaries. Newton continued in the slave trade through several voyages where he sailed up rivers in Africa — now as a captain — procured slaves being offered for sale in larger ports, and subsequently transported slaves to North America. In between voyages, he married Polly in 1750 and he found it more difficult to leave her at the beginning of each trip. After three shipping experiences in the slave trade, Newton was promised a position as a captain on a ship with cargo unrelated to slavery, when at thirty years old, he collapsed and never sailed again. – exerted from autobiographies of John Newton @ wikipedia.com

Turn it All Around

At this moment, dear reader, whatever thy sinfulness, Christ has power to pardon, power to pardon thee, and millions such as thou art. A word will speak it. He has nothing more to do to win thy pardon; all the atoning work is done. He can, in answer to thy tears, forgive thy sins today, and make thee know it. He can breathe into thy soul at this very moment a peace with God. which passeth all understanding, which shall spring from perfect remission of thy manifold iniquities. Dost thou believe that? I trust thou believest it. Mayst thou experience now the power of Jesus to forgive sin! – Charles Spurgeon

Colossians 1:13-14

13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

“He will make everything beautiful just in time, don’t give up, He will see you through.”

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Unfailing Favor

” Seeing that we have such a God to trust to, let us rest upon Him with all our weight; let us resolutely drive out all unbelief, and endeavor to get rid of doubts and fears, which so much mar our comfort; since there is no excuse for fear where God is the foundation of our trust. A loving parent would be sorely grieved if his child could not trust him; and how ungenerous, how unkind is our conduct when we put so little confidence in our heavenly father, who has never failed us, and who never will! We have been in many trials, but we have never yet been cast where we could not find in our God all that we needed.” – Charles Spurgeon

” Lean not on your own understanding…” – Proverbs 3:5,6

~ We will never figure God out to the tee, He is a mystery, an all wonderous being, “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame (confound) the wise; God chose what is
weak in the world to shame the strong.” – 1 Cor. 1:27 (ESV)

As I continue In my ministry, I have ton’s of questions like, “Why did you take me out of Aquinas”, “Why is my ministry on the web?”, & How on earth could I afford to have bought a house, and have gotten my dream car (Chrysler 300C) after buying a brand new car last year and not being upside down? Because of His unfailing favor, that is what you call that. Let’s face it, we all have questions, but He will reassure you that He will never leave you. Just REST IN HIM. Favor follows obedience, obedience follows blessings, that will bless your socks off!

Favor follows us, so undeserving we are, God chooses to bless those that are His. He chose us, so why do we decide not to choose Him as our foundation of trust when our lives become ship wrecked? The only One who can fix us?

Live for Today, Not Yesterday’s

God would not stop speaking this to me, and it goes for all my listeners as well. So I had to post this ASAP

“STOP remembering of what you killed yesterday, live for today”

 You’ve killed it! You laid it on the sacrifice, so don’t go back to it, like a dog returning to its own vomit. Meaning this. You’ve sinned! Ok, ask for forgiveness, and don’t do it again, but what if i do? I can’t get free from this thing, it’s become part of my life; are the thoughts that the enemy throws in our face. For 1. He should be under your foot, not in your face, speaking lies, rebuke that in Jesus name. 2. We look so much on our past that it defines our future (if we don’t let God handle it) ” Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it on my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.” – Philippians 3:13

Which brings me to my next conclusion. We can’t beat this battle ourself, Mike Matheny the manager of the St.Louis Cardinals made a great quote a few days ago after the St. Louis Cardinals won the game, don’t ask who they were playing, I’m not a sports kinda guy. But Mike said this ” You can’t beat someone who won’t quit”. Did you get that? Spiritually speaking: Stop relying on self and trust in Him! “If you, O’Lord, should mark iniquities, O’Lord, wo could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.” – Psalm 130:3,4

condemning your sin, feeling bad for yourself will not help out the situation. We must forgive others and also our self which is the hardest person to forgive. ” Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” – Proverbs 3:5

We have been stealing bases, trying everything in this spiritual warfare to outwit the enemy, friend, stop it. Remember IT IS FINISHED, repent, don’t quit, you are on the winning side.

Hiding Place

COME OUT FROM WHERE YOU ARE HIDING

If i were to ask you where your hiding place would be, what would you say? When I was a child, my secret hiding place when I was hiding from my mom, or my sister would be behind the couch, I was so skinny I just slid right behind it, I would probably still fit if i tried that today! Hide and go seek was a favorite game of mine, it was easy, you just hid and hope that they would not find you. For me i would always win, being smashed up against the wall, besides my heavy breathing of near suffocation, I would come out a winner! With getting older and having the wisdom of God in my life, I’ve out grown that phase of my life, but at times I find my self, spiritually speaking, hiding from Him. Without noticing it my fleshly man gets in the way and starts to head behind the couch. Admitting your faults is the first step at an AA clinic will teach you, with a year and a half ministering to the clients of Aquanis, I have come to the reality that the 12 steps are man-made. We get the idea of “I got this” ” I can do this”, when really we should have the mentality of “I can’t do this” “I need help”. We carry a burden most times that don’t need to be carried, the whole time He is speaking to us, lay it down, but we get overwhelmed of how BIG it is. Your outlook will be outcome, we can’t hide from it, give it to Jesus. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and i will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

YOU CAN’T BE A WINNER FROM HIDING

Certainty of Israel’s desolation

Amos 9:1-10

 I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and he said:
“Strike the capitals until the thresholds shake,
and shatter them on the heads of all the people;
and those who are left of them I will kill with the sword;
not one of them shall flee away;
not one of them shall escape.
“If they dig into Sheol,
from there shall my hand take them;
if they climb up to heaven,
from there I will bring them down.
If they hide themselves on the top of Carmel,
from there I will search them out and take them;
and if they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea,
there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them.
And if they go into captivity before their enemies,
there I will command the sword, and it shall kill them;
and I will fix my eyes upon them
for evil and not for good.”
The Lord GOD of hosts,
he who touches the earth and it melts,
and all who dwell in it mourn,
and all of it rises like the Nile,
and sinks again, like the Nile of Egypt;
who builds his upper chambers in the heavens
and founds his vault upon the earth;
who calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out upon the surface of the earth—
the LORD is his name.
“Are you not like the Cushites to me,
O people of Israel?” declares the LORD.
“Did I not bring up Israel from the land of Egypt,
and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Syrians from Kir?
Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom,
and I will destroy it from the surface of the ground,
except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob,”
declares the LORD.
“For behold, I will command,
and shake the house of Israel among all the nations
as one shakes with a sieve,
but no pebble shall fall to the earth.
All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword,
who say, ‘Disaster shall not overtake or meet us.’

COME OUT

– It is impossible to hide from God, the flood that had drowned the Earth, people were climbing to the highest peak on mountains, but still were not high enough to escape the judgment of God. Noah, who preached everyday to the surrounding people telling of the coming judgment, turned an ear and kept on with their content life of pride and selfishness that said there will never be judgment, for i am good. Those who run from God, a fugitive in His eyes of the grace in which Christ offers; will not give in for the cost of their life being served to the King and for the Kingdom. Would rather wait to chance their life with momentary pleasures on the World. When we have spent our life fulfilling the temptations of the flesh, where does that take us? No where, a lost and dying soul that needs to be re-kindled by the purifying fire of God’s spirit. Have we lost sight of the prize? Of what Truth is? We put Him in a box while we search for momentary pleasures only to find nothing. Instead of breaking our alabaster box, we pour ourselves into worthless activities, and complacency which fades out the heart beat of God. Restless, that is what we become when we choose to not wait upon the Lord, for His strength to carry you away into the place where He wants you. In His time He will appoint you to where you need to be in Him. Your spread out, ready to fly, but you choose to go ahead and make the move, your spent from all the energy that it took for you to do it on your own. Wait for His gust, He will come.

– Wherever sinners flee from God’s justice, it will overtake them. Those whom God brings to Heaven by His grace, shall never be cast down; but those who seek to climb thither by vain confidence in themselves, will be cast down and filled with shame. That which makes escape impossible and ruin sure, is that God will set His eyes upon them for evil, not for good. Wretched must those be on whom the Lord looks for evil, and not for good. – Matthew Henry’s commentary