The Pursuit Of………………..

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Everyday is a gift.  I know this is a cliché but it is true.  Even if that day you have been given is a rainy one.  It is a gift.  The air we breathe we take for granted.  The water, the food, the clothing, the shelter are all gifts.  This is what allows life to continue.  What happens in that life may not feel like a gift.  You may feel your life is terrible.  Maybe even unlivable.  Maybe you are jobless, friends less, or homeless.  Maybe the life you were  living suddenly changes because you lost a loved one to death or they left you.  Maybe you get up everyday and go to a job you don’t like going to.  Maybe there is some “dream” you want to be living.

There are a few ways you can look at those situations.  Some say life is what you make it.  If you want to go after your dream just go get it.   You can do this but be careful.  Make sure going after your dream doesn’t negatively affect others you love. Even before that, make sure going after your dream doesn’t negatively affect your relationship with God.  This should be first before you go after that dream.

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?  Mark 8:36

Go to any book store and you will see a huge self-help section.  There will be many books about improving yourself.  There will be many books about how to succeed in business, health, and life overall.  There may even be a few of these books in the religious section teaching you how to live your best life now.  But what good is any of this if you lose your soul?  What good is any of it if you don’t have a relationship with God?  What good is any of it if you don’t know Jesus?

That which has been is that which will be,
And that which has been done is that which will be done.
So there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

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I was one of those people with ambitions to be successful in business.  I was chasing that American dream.  Mean while things in my life weren’t firing on all cylinders.  More than that, I didn’t know Jesus.  I was truly just doing my own thing.  I was just after making me happy and serving myself.  I was my own god.

I see this as a common occurrence in the world.  People are chasing success.  Again, there is nothing wrong with going after your vision, but your why is what is important.  Are you chasing that dream to say you did it?  Are you chasing that dream because the world says you have to leave that type of legacy for your life to mean something?  Are you chasing that dream because it is now your identity?

I chased it for these reasons.  But if I would achieve what the world sees as success what would I really have?  What would I really have if I didn’t know Jesus?  In the end I would still end up dead.  I may end up with a bunch of money to hand down, but I would still be dead.  If I was to live my entire life successfully, as the world sees it, and not know Jesus, I would end up dead and forever separated from God.  I would have lived for nothing.  All would be in vain.

But all of that changes when you know Jesus.  Your heart changes.  Your thirst for the things of this world will be quenched.  He gives you living water that is so much better than the water of the world.

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

When you know Jesus you will have eternal life.  Will that make your life easy?  No!  It may make it harder.  Following Jesus is not the easy road, but it is the road that leads to life.  It leads to an abundant life.  Not with the things of the world that are perishable, but with the things of heaven.

 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:9-11

My prayer is that if you don’t know Jesus, He begins to work in your heart.  I pray you know that He came down to earth

to take our punishment for our

sins.  We deserve death, but He took our death on the cross and gave us life. 

I pray you repent and put your faith in Jesus and live the life He gives. 

I pray that if you know Jesus that you are living for Him and not chasing your own god. 

I pray you aren’t thirsting for the water of this world but that you

share the water of Jesus Christ by sharing His gospel.  From there what you do is not what defines you. 

Jesus Christ defines you. 

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.  Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Get in His Word!  Stay in His Word! 

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read All About It!!!

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The bad news first.  I am a sinner.  I am a liar. I am a thief. I have pretty much broken all Ten Commandments.  I am doomed! I am a sinner!

How did this happen? How am I this bad? Is there hope?  Where is the good news??

You see, along came a serpent that asked a simple question, “Did God really say?” And then he replied to the answer “that is because you will be like Him.” Often this continues to be what plays out when we sin. The question gets asked and then we choose to try to be our own God. Our sin separates us from God because He is so Holy. But He gives us a way to be next to Him.

In the Old Testament God kept coming for His people. He chose a nation for Himself to make holy. Through this nation a redeemer would come to the world. Even though this nation kept disobeying, God kept saving them. He chose Moses to lead the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt. He did not give them a law to obey before he rescued them. He saved them from the rule of Pharaoh then He gave the law. The order of redemption is Salvation, Obedience, and Blessing. This is a theme throughout the Bible.

Knowing that the law couldn’t be kept God allowed animal sacrifice to atone for sins. The penalty of sin is death. Blood is the source of life. It must be spilled to atone for sin. A sacrificial system was laid out by God, but it pointed to something greater.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

As time went on Israel kept falling. The whole time this was going on God kept pointing to one moment in history. The Holy Spirit led some to prophecy about it hundreds of years before it happened.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law. Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: “I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.” Isaiah 42:1-9

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God. Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help. Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. Psalm 22:1-18

These are just a few examples of the many. God has always been pointing to His plan to redeem. This wasn’t just for Israel. His plan is for all the nations. He gave us His only begotten Son. He came and did what the law could not do. He came and did what sacrificing lambs and goats could not do. He is the perfect Lamb. He is the scapegoat.

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

God, knowing that we couldn’t keep the law, came down to us and became a man. He kept the law His entire life, being tempted as we are tempted, feeling the same suffering we do, yet He did not fall.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

He lived a perfect life without blemish. He did so knowing the pain of the cross was His main mission. He did so amongst many who hated Him. Many spit on him. Many thought He was just crazy. Yet He lived a life of perfection rooted in the Word and abiding in the Holy Father.

Then comes the humiliation. The scourging. The Cross. His death was the worst in history. The beating and the scourging took Him inches away from death. Then He had to carry His cross with a crown of thorns placed on His head.  Then they nailed Him to the cross.  Nails through His wrists and feet and the He was raised up to hang there suffocating.

On the cross came His Words:

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.  Luke 23:34

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30

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His blood is the blood of the perfect Lamb. It was spilled to cover sins. Every sin committed and yet to be committed.  His sacrifice is what the old system pointed to yet could not fulfill.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthian 5:21

This took place for whosoever believes in Him. He suffered the worst death one could suffer so our sins can be forgiven. He suffered the worst death one could suffer so whosoever believes can have eternal life.

This is Good News!

It doesn’t end here. After this happened Jesus was in the tomb for three days and three nights.

For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Matthew 12:40

Then He rose. Not just spirit, but bodily. This is Good News! This is the resurrection. This is what Sunday is all about. He has risen! Risen indeed! Now we have an advocate with God.  Now we share in His resurrection.  Now we are free from the slavery of sin.  Now death has been defeated.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,   1 Peter 1:3

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7

I pray you believe.

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17

Holy Father, You are almighty God. You set heaven and earth in place. You make all possible. I pray that the readers of this believe in Your Son. I pray they are “whoever”. Lord, work in their hearts. There is nothing we can do. You have done it all. Others say “do, do, do,” you have said “it is finished.” Holy Spirit, work in hearts to take out hearts of stone and make them flesh. Let us put our faith in Christ Who died the worst death, taking on the sins of the world, so whoever believes and repents can be forgiven. Thank You so much for Your Son, giving us forgiveness, a way to turn from sin with a hearts of repentance, and eternal life with You. Thank You for giving us the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us. Thank You for Your Word to show us the reflection of who we are and the way to know Who You are. May we always find You there.  I pray all of this according to Your will being done on earth as it is in Heaven. I pray all of this in the Name above all names. In the only Name that saves. I pray in the Name of my Lord, Savior, Healer, Sanctifier, coming King, Yessuah AhMessiach, Jesus Christ. Amen

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.  Ephesians 1:3-10

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THIS IS GOOD NEWS!!

How We Get Stronger

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I am a personal fitness trainer and strength coach.  Clients come to my gym to lose weight and get stronger.  Some may think it will happen just by coming in.  Some may think they will get results by doing just enough.  Some may think there is some magic trick that only the trainers know.  These people often don’t last long.  They don’t understand that in order to get stronger you have to lift things that you haven’t lifted before.  In order to get results you have to be challenged.  Many trainers have used this great saying “if it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you.”  So in order to get stronger you need to lift heavier weights. I look at faith in a similar way.  If there are not challenges in your life how can your faith grow? How can your faith increase?  If things continue on in a nice status quo manner is anything making you stronger spiritually?

So we pray for our faith to be increased.  This is one of the best things to pray for.  Just be ready and understand what that may mean.  Understand that in order to increase your faith, it may be challenged.  This should not discourage you from praying that prayer. In fact, let it encourage you knowing that Jesus will be with you every step of the way.

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

I wrote a post a few months ago about faith being a gift from God.  For Him to increase our faith is a huge gift. It comes with many blessings.  But like I stated, it may come with trials.  Persevering through those trials is what we need to do .

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1:2-3

The enemy will try to attack. He will come at you and tell you to give up.  He will come and tell you to run away from your faith and not to trust anyone.  He will show you the dangers that having faith will bring.  But much like lifting a heavy weight and being under the barbell when you are on the bench, you know when you lift that weight you will become stronger. You know that you have a spotter, a coach, a Lord and Savior named Jesus Christ, who will be with you as you press that bar of trial off of your chest and high to the sky.  Then you pray for more faith and put some more weight on that bar.

Remember this too, Jesus won’t give you what you can already handle.  No! He is looking to get you stronger. Prepare for more than you think you will get.  Why? Because He is there with you.

Let’s take a look at Peter. Here is a man who was out fishing.  Jesus said to him “follow me” and He did.  Throughout each Gospel story Peter is asking many questions.  Even after just following Him without asking why at that moment.  Even after walking on water.  When Jesus asked the Apostles who they thought He was, Peter gave an answer.

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.  Matthew 16:15-18 peter

This answer that Peter gave was of faith.  Jesus even told Him this faith was given to him by God and not man.  He then called him a rock and said on this confession of Him as the Christ the church will be built.

Something I find interesting about Peter was even after these miraculous things, his faith was tested even more.  Tested to the point of him denying to know Jesus even after he told Jesus he would not.  Even after this Jesus still loved him.   He was not done with him.

But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you. Mark 16:7

Peter went on to do many great things in the face of persecution.  He preached, healed, raised to life, all by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Everyday his faith must have been challenged and everyday his faith must have grown.  In fact he wrote:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,  who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.  1 Peter  1:3-9

I can pick several people in scripture who faced trials and tribulation, all the while their faith increased.  God could have just left them alone.  He could have turned His face from them.  He can turn His face from us.  But He loved them and loves us.  He blessed them and he blesses us.  He sent His Son to die on the cross just so we can be with Him.  We are sinners who deserve death but we get life, freedom, grace, mercy, love, and faith.

There are many promises in the bible.  One way I know it is true is because we are promised tribulation.  We see that everyday.  But we also see hope.  We believe in hope because after three days in the grave our Savior rose from the dead. He is alive and in every believer.  He can raise our broken spirits back from the dead.  He can raise our broken relationships back from the dead.  He will leave the 99 sheep to get the one. He will welcome you home meeting you on the road as He sees you in the distance.

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Your faith may be under the bar right now.  The weight may be more than you can handle.  Stop trying to lift that bar alone.  Those hand that are helping you lift it have wrists that have been pierced so you can know you are not alone under that bar.  I might have a day where I miss the spot and the bar crushes you.  Man will fail.  God will not.  Sometimes He will just spot you with 2 fingers instead of pulling the bar off quick.

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I pray that if you are reading this and don’t know the Savior I speak of, that you desire to know Him.  I pray He is at work in your heart right now.  I pray that you get on your knees and talk to God.  Ask Him to show Himself to you.  Tell Him what you are feeling.  Tell Him what you want.  Ask Him to give you faith, and if you have it, ask Him to increase it.  If you are under the heavy barbell press hard.  Jesus is with you. A funny thing about faith, it really doesn’t take much for miracles to happen.

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.  Luke 17:5-6

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Worrier or Warrior

Through our lives we all experience worry. We get stressed about what could be coming tomorrow.  We worry about what we don’t know.  Will we be able to eat?  Will we be able to pay our bills?  Will we be able to take care of our family?

These are things we all deal with.  Sometimes it can get to the point of defeat.  Sometimes it can get to the point of breaking you down.  Sometimes you just don’t want to fight anymore.  You would rather run away and avoid the worry.  You would rather cower away then to face the day.

This is easy to do when you are alone.  Even if you have people in your life, you may feel you are alone in your battle. You may feel like no one else is going through the things you are.  You may feel you don’t want to bother anyone with your day.  You may feel you are not worth help.

Many people in Scripture had worries.  They worried about many of the things we do.  Some had even more worries because God was directly asking them to do things they didn’t think they were capable of.  There are things we are asked to do today that we think we are not capable of. But the same promise God gave to those in the past, He also gives to us.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

This is what God told Joshua before he took his people to march around Jericho.  In fact, he told him three times to “be strong and courageous.”

The Lord looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” He said to Him, “O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” But the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.”  Judges 6:14-16

Even the least likely of warriors were comforted by the promises of God.  In the book of Judges we see Gideon, He was the youngest of his lowly farming family.  He was never trained to fight.  Yet the Lord was with him as he took on Median with only 300 men.

Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10

Here is a promise God makes to Israel in the book of Isaiah.  He promised to be with them and protect them.  He was bringing them back from exile in Babylon that they had been in for their disobedience.  Now He was providing them with redemption.  He was encouraging them and telling them , as always, He is with them.

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34

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Jesus gives us His Word that we will be provided for. We do not need to worry.  We should still be concerned, but worry is something we do not need to do.   The same promise he gave to those fighting for Israel He gives to us. He is with us.  He has sent the Holy Spirit to be with us.  No need to worry.  If you have been saved by Jesus and believe on Him you believe in a God who commanded Joshua to march around  the walls of a city 7 times and the walls fell down.  He commanded a young son of a farmer to go up against a mighty army with only 300 fighters and defeat them.  There are many other warriors who God promised He would be with and He was.  They triumph for the glory of God.

Today He is telling the believers, those who have been saved and follow the Lord Jesus, He is with them.  He is with us as we struggle to pay bills. He is with us as we struggle in our relationships. He is with us as we struggle with life.  He takes our worries.  This doesn’t mean He doesn’t want us to be concerned. He just knows that if we are in Christ then worry is not something we need. Worry is a product of sin.  In Christ we are made righteous and worry is not in us.

Just stay in His Word and meditate on his promises.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

Are you a worrier or a Warrior in Christ?

True Miracle

This past week a friend of mine lost his sister to cancer.  I did not know her but he told me she fought hard.  She never gave up.

My friend is a fellow believer in Christ Jesus.  He gives his life to Christ.  As a believer he prayed without ceasing for his sister to win her battle.  He talked to his sister about the healing power of Jesus and what faith in Him can do.  He even found a church where the pastor had a personal physical healing by Jesus and took her there.  He said she began to gain greater strength to fight for her life.  In the end though her life on this earth has gone.

After losing a loved one after praying and believing in miracles many would lose faith.  Many would turn from God.  But my friend is an inspiration.  He knows the truth.  He demonstrates true faith in Christ Jesus.  Instead of turning from God he boldly turns to Him.

At the viewing he said a few words about his sister.  He spoke of how he and many other family and friends had been praying for a miracle.  He said that many prayed for her life.  Then he spoke more truth of how in her battle with cancer he saw her grow closer and closer to the Lord.  He saw her faith grow.  You see, he knows the truth.  He knows the true miracle.  He knows the true promise of Christ Jesus. He knows that when we believe in Him we never die but we have eternal life.  Life without pain.  Life without suffering.  Life without cancer.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”  John 11:25-26

While we all prayed for a miracle of her life continuing on earth, another one happened.  She came to truly believe in Jesus.  We prayed for her to live and now she lives forever.  If we believe, we will live forever as well.  My friend believes.  He will see his sister again.

Some may not see it as a miracle.  Some only see miracles as the blind seeing, the lame walking, the dead rising back on earth.  Once they see they will believe.  But believing is seeing.  Jesus didn’t work miracles in his life to draw attention to himself.  He worked them for the people who already believed.  All throughout scripture there are examples.

They came to the house of the synagogue official; and He saw a commotion, and people loudly weeping and wailing. And entering in, He said to them, “Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep.”  They began laughing at Him. But putting them all out, He took along the child’s father and mother and His own companions, and entered the room where the child was. Taking the child by the hand, He said to her, “Talitha kum!” (which translated means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl got up and began to walk, for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were completely astounded. And He gave them strict orders that no one should know about this, and He said that something should be given her to eat. Mark 5:38-43

I recently listened to a sermon by Alistair Begg about this passage.  He had a lot of eye-opening points.  The one that spoke to my heart about this loss is that after Jesus heals the little girl He tells those in the room not to tell anyone.  This is after He puts out all those who were laughing.  Alistair Begg points out that those who were laughing at Jesus, unbelievers, did not get to see the miracle.  He said something like, “those who laugh at the words of Jesus don’t get to experience the works of Jesus.”

Again I see that a true miracle did take place in my friend’s sister’s life.  She believed and now in her death she finally gets to live.

I pray that his family gets time to grieve.  I pray that when they are done grieving, whenever that may be, that joy comes in the morning.  I pray that they all see the miracle and they all find their way to give themselves to the Lord Christ Jesus.

To my friend, you are a godly man.  Your love and boldness for Jesus is inspiring.  Thank you for setting a great example for so many.

I saw how many people your sister touched with her life.  I am sure there are many more.  She is home now.

Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. John 5:25

Mistakenly Defined

We all make mistakes.  No one is perfect.  We may strive to perfection and on the way we may find excellence.  In the end perfection in this world may never be reached.  It is pretty evident that we will mess up somewhere in our lives. It may be at work. It may be in our personal relationships.  It may be in our finances.

Wherever you mess up be careful to not let it define who you are.  We are not defined by our worst moment.  We can, however, be defined in our worst moment. But we do not define ourselves.  It has already been done.

In our mistakes, in our sins, in our lost moments, our Creator is our way out. He defines who we are.  He already created us in His image.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26
(Side note: Notice use of “Our” referring to the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.)

We are created in the image of God.  The problem is we fell. We had the choice to stay perfect but made the choice to sin.  Now we have a sin nature that keeps us from seeing we can be better.  It can keep us from seeing we are created to be better.  When we mess up the enemy wants the mess up to define who we are.  The enemy will use it to his advantage to keep us away from God.

Yes, even our little mistakes may beat us down and keep us from God.  When we chase perfection in our lives sometimes we have a tendency to rely only on ourselves to get it right.  We start to worship the work to get to perfection.  We devote our time to making things better.  We devote time to self-improvement.

This is what the enemy wants.  He wants us to put our time into improving ourselves for ourselves.  He wants us to stay worried about our mistakes and our sins.  He wants us to feel we can never be good enough.

But God says otherwise.  He gave us His only Son and when we believe in Him we are more than conquerors.  We do not have to be slaves to our mistakes and our sins.  We do not have to keep beating ourselves up because we do not feel perfect.

His love makes us perfect.  His work on the cross took our sins.  We can now call on His power and turn from our sins.  His Holy Spirit is with us.  Allow it to work on and through you.

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14

God made us wonderfully.  Our souls know it and when we sin our souls know it is not right.  Jesus saves us from that.  Our souls long for Him and when you let Him in your life you will have the power to turn from sin.  It will not be easy, but on your own it will be impossible.

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:20-23

You can be victorious over your mistakes.  You can be victorious over your sins.  This has been made possible because Christ Jesus is the greatest victor of all.

Will you let Him in?

Will you let Him be your savior?

Will you put your trust and your faith in Him?

“Jesus fulfilled His part.  Now it is time to do ours.” – Josh Conn

How To Fill The Pit.

There was a hole. I tried to fill it with self-help techniques. I read some of “The Secret.” I read Tony Robbins. I asked the “universe” for help. Some of it seemed to work. There was still a hole.

I see many do this. The self-help section at the book store is filled with books. Oprah has her own network designed to help people fill the void in their lives. Many are searching for the method that fits them. I know I searched for a system that would allow me to be the same person and not change what needed to change. I searched for a system that told me I was in control and in charge of the outcomes.

I found many methods and systems that did this. They teach that it is within your own power to get the things you want. Usually the “things” are what is important in these systems. Want a car? Visualize you have the car. Want a house? Visit the house. Want a million dollars? Print out fake money and put it on a vision board.

(What does this prove?)

Did it make me a better man? Did it make me a better husband? Did it make me a better father?

I was on that journey but now my eyes have been opened. It is hard to look sometimes when they are open. Many people have the same void. They are looking to fill it by making the same bad choices I did. I see them going after things in a way that “works for them.” The problem isn’t going after your dreams. The problem is how you go after them and for what purpose.

Self-help books might help but they will not give you the answer. Yoga might get you to breathe but it will not give you the answer. The universe is an amazing creation but it does not have the answer.  Motivational speakers with different ways to think may have some useful information but they don’t have the answer.

These things may provide temporary help. They may give you the illusion of helping you get the car, house, or other worldly possessions, but those things don’t last. They can’t fill the void. They may even make the void deeper and darker.

The truth I was seeking was not found in a “what”. The way I was seeking was not found in a “how”. The life I was seeking was not found in a method. All of these were found in a Person. A Person who is the Creator. He was there in the beginning, is here now, and will be there in the end. No material things can replace Him. No other ways promise what He promises.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:1-5

You can amass a world of things but you can’t take them in the end. “For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either”. 1 Timothy 6:7

I am not saying don’t make money or buy things, I am just saying know your purpose. Know the real reasons you want things. Know the real void you are trying to fill. Know that no matter what method you follow you are living for eternity. It is up to you if your eternity will be with God through His Son Christ Jesus or an eternity separated from God.