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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Part 4: Who Is He?


Consider the story of the wedding in Cana during Biblical times.  Why was Jesus even at the wedding?  Jesus was there because they were neighbors - and neighbors honored and supported one another.

“On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.””

““Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.””
‭‭John‬ ‭2:1-10‬

The greatest miracle here is NOT water turning into wine.  The biggest miracle is that Jesus cares about us - just like he cared about this young couple - his neighbors - and felt sorry for them when tragedy struck their wedding party.  And He cares about what happens to us in our lives, even though some might see the events as insignificant.  He care about every little detail of our lives.

Jesus, the Sovereign Lord of the Universe, loves you!

For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Part 3: Who Is He?


When we come to faith in Jesus and are baptized, three things happen:
1. We are forgiven & gained access to God & we gained eternal life with Him
2. The Spirit of God began to live in us & we began a process of God-empowered transformation
3. We have value and are loved by God.  God loves me and is pleased with me.
Every temptation that faces us is an attack on one of these 3 main points.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭

The old person is dead - he is gone - I am a new person.

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:13-14‬ ‭

The thing that gets me out of bed everyday is that neither I, nor God, will allow my past mistakes to define my future.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭2:20‬ ‭

“And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭3:17‬

We are adopted into the family of God.  We can rest in the security of knowing that we are loved by God!  God is on your side.

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live”
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭30:19‬ ‭

What do you choose - life or death?  If you don't choose life (freedom from sin), then you choose death by default (enslavement and separation).  Do you choose to listen to the voice of truth or the voice of lies...

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He's holding out His hand
But the waves are calling out my name
And they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. "Boy, you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"
But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!"
The voice of truth says, "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth
Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
With just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand
But the giant's calling out my name
And he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again. "Boy you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"
But the stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don't seem so high
From on top of them lookin' down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭4:1-2‬ ‭

If God allowed Jesus, His own son, to be tempted - He will also allow you to be tempted.  Why does God let this happen?

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
‭‭James‬ ‭1:2-4‬ ‭

Is this fair?  What if we can't handle it?

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:13‬ ‭

What voice will you listen to?  The voice of truth or the voice of lies?

For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com

Monday, March 13, 2017

Part 2: Who Is He?


It is "politically incorrect these days to be exclusive.  People think that being exclusive is bad because it is not inclusive.  But consider this:  If there were only one medicine that would heal you from a deadly disease - it would be an exclusive medicine, but we would highly value it!  We would want that medicine right away.  So why do we have a problem with Jesus being the ONLY spiritual medicine that can save us from eternal death?

““Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.””
‭‭John‬ ‭14:1-7‬ ‭

Jesus died for you and I when we were completely powerless - we were at our worst - we were completely ungodly!  When you were ungodly, you needed God.  When you were powerless, you needed the power of the Sovereign God of the universe.

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:6-8‬ ‭

A loving father would give up his life for his child, because he has a relationship with him and loves him.  But God loved us even though He had no relationship with us.  God is holy and He can have no relationship with sin.

What does He ask of us in return?  Surrender.  Let go and let God.  Allow Him to rule your life, instead of yourself.  It is the easiest thing to do and the hardest thing to do - because He has given us the free will to choose.

The work that Jesus came to do was simple:
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭19:10‬ ‭

You cannot avoid choosing - life or death - freedom or slavery to sin.  What choice have you made?

For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com

Monday, March 6, 2017

Part 1: Who Is He?


Sometimes words completely fail us.  There are things in life that are so big and powerful that words fail us.  Like when a parent or spouse or your child dies.  We can only groan.

Words fail us when we try to describe Jesus, especially in relationship to the Trinity.  This is an important message because most of us don't know Jesus very well.  Three important questions:

1. Who is Jesus?

2. Where was Jesus before Bethlehem?

3. What was He doing?

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
‭‭John‬ ‭1:1‬ ‭

When was the beginning?  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1:1‬ ‭

Jesus is the Word and He was with God in the beginning.

He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”
‭‭John‬ ‭1:2-3‬ ‭

He was in charge of creating everything.

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
‭‭John‬ ‭1:14‬ ‭

He put on skin and bones and flesh and blood.

John (the author) says he was there and saw Jesus and no one was like Him, nor will anyone ever be again!

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”
‭‭John‬ ‭1:14, 18‬ ‭

1. Jesus is the Word and He is God.
2. He was with God for all eternity (from before the beginning).
3. He created ALL things.

How can this be.  He was with God and He IS  God?
When He prays, does He pray to Himself?

“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:12‬ ‭

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭1:13-20‬ ‭
“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:9‬ ‭

Satan has blinded us from seeing who God is...

“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:4-6‬ ‭

God the Father is like a floodlight, the source of all light and truth and power.  We can't see Him.  We see the light when it shines on something - that is Jesus - He is the light.  We can't see the connection between the floodlight and the light, but we can feel it - that is the Holy Spirit.  We feel His warmth and comfort and working in us.

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭1:3‬ ‭

If you want to know God and His will for your life, stare at (study) Jesus.

For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Part 2 of 3: Set Free - No Longer a Prisoner

You can be a Christian and be set free and no longer be in bondage, but still you choose to continue to live in bondage.

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.””
‭‭John‬ ‭8:31-32‬ ‭

In WW2, it took almost a week for the news of Hitler's death to reach nearly the entire world.  Until that news arrived, many soldiers kept fighting and being enslaved to the war and the possibility of defeat!

Everyone has the opportunity to know the truth and to be set free.  But many people have lived in bondage to sim for so long, that they don't know how to live any other way.

“Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭

You can overcome it, because God gives you the strength.  How do you live in victory.  Three things:

1. Turn to Jesus and rely on Him.  “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭6:12-14‬ ‭

If you turn away from sin, you must turn toward God.  You can't just turn away, you have to turn towards something.

2. You have to share your struggles with other people.  This is hard.  People don't like to admit they are vulnerable / weak / failing / incompetent.  This shouldn't be so hard because most of us have common struggles.  There are plenty of people out there who have the exact same struggles.  “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
‭‭James‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭

We need an accountability and an encouragement partner.  Finish this sentence: "In 2017, I will share my struggles with ______________."

3. Fight for freedom.  “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:3-4‬

Change happens when the pain of the same exceeds the pain of change.

In summary: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:8-9‬ ‭

For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Week 1: Set Free - Being redeemed from being a slave to sin

Redeemed is being freed.
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel) & Esau, Joseph & 11 brothers.  400 years of slavery.
“So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭1:11-14‬ ‭

Slavery is being used ruthlessly.  The Israelites endured this for over 400 years!  Then Moses comes along and see a burning bush.

““Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.””
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭3:5-10‬ ‭

God promised He will redeem the Israelites.  Why didn't they listen?

“Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭

They didn't listen because they were distracted by their worldly concerns and they had no hope.

Pharaoh initially would not let them go, when pushed beyond his limits, he lets them go, then has a change of heart...

“When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!” So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. The Egyptians—all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops—pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:5-9‬

The greatest army in the world is descending on a group of slaves - and they were scared to death!

“As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.””
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:10-14‬ ‭

Sometimes slavery, as bad as it is, is familiar, and so we stay in it.

Only Moses has faith.  LIFE LESSON: The Lord will fight for you, if you will only be still.

Imagine you were an Israelite back then - put yourself in their place...

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.” Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. During the last watch of the night the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. He jammed the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the Lord swept them into the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived. But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:15-31‬

How did they respond:
Egyptians had hard hearts and plunged forward into their sin and destruction. They recognized God too late.

The Israelites followed God when there was no other choice.  Then, when they recognized His hand if protection, they were amazed.  Being freed, they were joyful!

Many who think they are free, are actually slaves.  Slavery is being controlled by another person or thing.  Excessive devotion to, or dependence on, something (alcohol, drugs, porn, work, money, materialism, power, food, exercise, video games).

Think about the Katie Perry hit single:  "Last Friday Night"
the song says there is no hope for change....This Friday night will be no different.  No hope - no change.  Slavery!
She needs to sing a song about "Last Saturday morning!"
  
How do you get set free?  Two words:  BY GRACE.  It's a free gift.  We think it can't be that easy.  It's free - a free gift.  Apart from the saving grace of God and His transformational way, there is no freedom - only different forms of slavery.

But don't think that is easy.  Surrendering to God is not easy.  Letting Him fight the fight is not easy.  Letting go and letting God is not easy.  We want to do our part.  We want to earn it.  We want to keep control.  We may fear what would happen if we gave complete, full control to God to do whatever He wants!  But He loves us and knows what is best for us.  Can you accept that?  Can you surrender your life so that God can truly free you?

For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Step 3 for a Successful Life in 2017: Eat the Frog!

“Eat a live frog first thing every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain
If you’re like most people, there is a task every day you procrastinate because it scares or overwhelms you. This task is your frog, and according to Mark Twain, you should eat it right away in the morning.The problem with procrastinating eating your frog is that it’s hard to concentrate on getting other things done; you’re too busy thinking about the frog you need to eat later. Also, putting it off makes it seem even more overwhelming because you have time to imagine every possible thing that could go wrong with the task.

Eating the frog early in the day gives you a sense of accomplishment, and it’s great to start the day feeling successful. Finishing your dreaded task immediately can give you the momentum you need to get other tasks done throughout your day. Plus, they’ll all seem easy compared to the frog you started with.
For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com