That I Might Preach Jesus

For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: and profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.  But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
Galatians 1:13-17

By the Righteousness of The One

Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.  For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 5:18-21

The Redeemed

But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for He shall receive me. Selah. Psalm 49:15

Every man, woman, boy and girl is condemned to an eternal, excruciating death. Unless there would be a Mediator step in and pay the price of our sin. We are all born into this world condemned by sin, spiritually dead, and seemingly without hope.

Many people try to redeem themselves by good works. Many of those same people think they have lived a good life therefore God owes them an eternity with Him. They just work themselves into Hell and eternal damnation, because they do not believe God’s word.

The Psalmist says that it is God who will redeem my soul. When Isaiah the prophet saw the LORD, high and lifted up, he fell on his face  crying “Woe is me. I am undone. I am a man of unclean lip and I dwell in the midst of people of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5). It is God who convicts and convinces us of sin, and it is He who draws us to Himself in humility and faith.

God receives us only through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, His burial and resurrection. In His death He has paid the sin debt of all who will believe Him.

O will you hear Him today? You are not good enough to please God. All our goodness, and righteousnesses are as filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6). Only the righteousness of Jesus Christ can redeem us (2 Corinthians 5:21). He has paid the price. Will you receive Him?

…The Days of the Upright…

The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. Psalm 37:18-19

This is one of the most comforting and encouraging of the one hundred fifty Psalms.

While we know that the LORD is all knowing (Omniscient), it is great to know that He cares for those who are His even in, and especially in times of darkness of evil.

I will share today from Spurgeon’s  TREASURY OF DAVID…

“The Lord knoweth the days of the upright.” His foreknowledge made him laugh at the proud, but in the case of the upright he sees a brighter future, and treats them as heirs of salvation. Ever is this our comfort, that all events are known to our God, and that nothing in our future can take him at unawares. No arrow can pierce us by accident, no dagger smite us by stealth; neither in time nor in eternity can any unforeseen ill occur to us. Futurity shall be but a continual development of the good things which the Lord has laid up in store for us. “And their inheritance shall be for ever.” Their inheritance fades not away. It is entailed, so that none can deprive them of it, and preserved, so that none shall destroy it. Eternity is the peculiar attribute of the believer’s portion: what they have on earth is safe enough, but what they shall have in heaven is theirs without end.

“They shall not be ashamed in the evil time.” Calamities will come, but deliverances will come also. As the righteous never reckoned upon immunity from trouble, they will not be disappointed when they are called to take their share of it, but the rather they will cast themselves anew upon their God, and prove again his faithfulness and love. God is not a friend in the sunshine only, he is a friend indeed and a friend in need. “And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.” Their barrel of meal and cruse of oil shall last out the day of distress, and if ravens do not bring them bread and meat, the supply of their needs shall come in some other way, for their bread shall be given them. Our Lord stayed himself upon this when he hungered in the wilderness, and by faith he repelled the tempter; we too may be enabled not to fret ourselves in any wise to do evil by the same consideration. If God’s providence is our inheritance, we need not worry about the price of wheat. Mildew, and smut, and bent, are all in the Lord’s hands. Unbelief cannot save a single ear from being blasted, but faith, if it do not preserve the crop, can do what is better, namely, preserve our joy in the Lord.

I pray you know the All Knowing, All Present, All Powerful One through His Holy, Righteous Son Jesus who died on the cross for our sins, was buried and He rose again, proving the word of God to be true including every word He has spoken. Jesus is the Son of God, God the Son.

The Eye Of The LORD

Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy;  To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.  Psalm 33:18-19

It is very comforting, encouraging, and motivating to hear the above words of David. One of my favorite verses of the Old Testament is found in 2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.” and I know in its text it is telling king Asa what he is missing out on due to his rebellious heart.

For those who have a perfect heart toward God; those who fear Him and hope in His mercy, He will deliver from horrible eternal death in eternal torment, and give them food to eat when things are hard.

Now, whose heart is perfect toward God? Those who look to God through His Son Jesus, who took our place on Calvary’s cross, dying for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again. When we realize our lost, and hopeless estate, and call on His name believing in His finished work we are delivered from death, and can know that His eye is ever upon us perfecting, protecting, and providing our every need.

The work God starts in us, He will finish (Philippians 1:6).

The Righteous LORD

For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; His countenance doth behold the upright.  Psalm 11:7

It is plain for all to hear and see and understand from the above verse that the LORD (Jehovah/YaHWeH) is righteous. All of Scripture shows us that is true. I will let John Gill speak of this verse today.

For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness,…. The Lord is righteous in himself, and in all his ways and works; and therefore righteousness, as it lies both in punishing the wicked, and in maintaining the righteous cause of his people, must be loved by him, it being agreeable to his nature: he loves to exercise righteousness in the earth, to administer it to and among men; this he delights in. He is well pleased with the righteousness of his Son, it being satisfactory to his justice, and that by which his law is magnified and made honourable; and he is well pleased with his people, as they are clothed with it: and he approves of their righteous actions, as they are done in obedience to his righteous law, in faith, from a principle of love, and with a view to his glory; these are acceptable to him in Christ;
his countenance doth behold the upright; whom wicked men privily shoot at, Psa_11:2; God looks with pleasure upon them, and takes delight in them, and takes care of them, protects and defends them, and at last saves them; and which, with all that goes before, was an encouragement to David to trust in the Lord; see Psa_7:10; and moreover, the Lord lifts up the light of his countenance on such, and indulges them with his gracious presence, than which nothing is more comfortable and desirable. Some choose to render the word, “their countenance” (y), meaning the trinity of Persons, Father, Son, and Spirit, who all have a gracious regard to such: others render the clause thus, “the upright shall see his face”, the face of God; so the Chaldee paraphrase and the Arabic version; see Psa_17:15.

From John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible.

I pray that if you do not know Jesus Christ that you will in faith call on His name today.

 

Letter from a Prophet

And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, “Thus saith the LORD God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah, but hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father’s house, which were better than thyself:  Behold, with a great plague will the LORD smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods: and thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day.      2 Chronicles 21:12-15

Asa was a king of Judah who did right in the eyes of the LORD, but his life ended as being a selfish tyrant. His son Jehoshaphat also had done right in the eyes of the LORD though he aligned himself with Ahab, the evil king of the northern kingdom of Israel. Then along comes Jehoram, and he does wickedness in the eyes of the LORD.

The letter is from Elijah who is the prophet who warned Ahab of his wicked ways, challenged the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, and ended their lives with their heads being removed.

Why would Elijah send a letter to the king of Judah? Probably because he had a word from the LORD for Jehoram to know his plight and the tragedy coming on his family and himself.  Jehoram was going to die a horrible death because of his sin and the evil of his heart.

Death is the result of sin. Sin came into the world by the first man, Adam. Because Adam sinned, every one who has been born into this world is a sinner there is no escaping sin. There is, however, One who was born of woman who never sinned. His name is Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.

Jesus, being sinless, without any guilt, shame or remorse died on the cross becoming sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), being buried, and rising again from the grave alive forever more. Sin, death, Hell and the grave are defeated, and hold no power over those who come to God through Jesus Christ. In Jesus we have everlasting, that is eternal life.

Help Us, O LORD Our God

And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, “LORD, it is nothing with Thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on Thee, and in Thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, Thou art our God; let not man prevail against Thee.”
So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.     2 Chronicles 14:11-12

Asa was one of the godly kings of Judah. Judah, the southern kingdom was being attacked by Ethiopians whose army counted over one million. They were greatly out numbered, yet Asa led his troops to the battle.

Many would have sought opportunity for surrender, but not king Asa. Instead, he surrendered to the King of kings, and prayed to Him for help, and the enemy was defeated – “So the LORD smote the Ethiopians…”

What can the child of God face when we are walking with the LORD God through His Son Jesus Christ? Who can defeat us when we are serving Him faithfully? The answer to the first question is Anything the enemy puts in our path. The answer to the second is No one can defeat us because we are children of the King of kings.

Fear comes with failure to obey and do the commands of the LORD. Fear is the result of a lack of trusting faith. Faith will face fear head on.

Is the enemy in your heart and your mind? Is he causing you to be afraid, even crippling you to the point of unbelief, causing you to fall and fail? The enemy is strong. The King of all kings is mightier; as a matter of fact He is the Almighty.

Call on the name of the One who died on the cross for your sins, and He was buried, and He rose again. He forever lives, and makes intercession for us daily, even moment by moment (Romans 8:26-27, 34; Hebrews 4:16; 7:25). He is coming again. Are you ready?

What Is Missing?

And she said, “The Philistines be upon thee, Samson.” And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, “I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself.” And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.        Judges 16:20

What is missing Samson? He did not realize that he no longer had the LORD with him.

There are a lot of things Samson did that was a sin against God. Eating things that his Nazarite vow forbade him to eat, such as the honey from the dead carcass of the lion he had killed with his bare hands. He loved a Philistine woman which was not even the right thing to do for any Israelite, and he took up with all sorts of womanizing. Yet, God was with him… at least until his hair was cut by a deceitful, lying, schemer named Delilah.

Now, I am not approving of Samson’s actions, but of the presence and power of God on him, until God was not there, as he sadly assumed.

Samson is like many of us. He is a popular Biblical character, even today. Maybe that is because we can identify with him too much.

There are many cases in the Bible where people assumed that God was with them, and they found out in a very frightful way, that He was not. For example Numbers 14:40-45 where after rebelling against the LORD to enter the land of Canaan, they rebel again by trying to enter after they have been forbidden to do so.

We never do things like that do we? Ha Ha! When the LORD leaves us it is not so much that the LORD leaves, it is that we have left Him.

As Samson’s hair began to grow and he was growing nearer to the LORD in his blindness, the LORD gives him victory over the enemy of Israel (Judges 16:23-31) when he called on the name of the LORD (Judges 16:28), and the LORD heard him.

No matter what we may do in life that causes us to separate from God He is working to bring us back to Himself.

If you do not know God through His Son Jesus Christ you have no idea what I am writing about. You can by calling on the name of Jesus  who died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and He rose again. He will then be with you everyday from now through eternity.

We Have Sinned

And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, “We have sinned: do Thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto Thee; deliver us only, we pray Thee, this day.”  And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel. Judges 10:15-16

When was the last time you heard the preacher say, “We have sinned”? The mention of sin conjures up all kinds of thoughts in the hearts and minds of all of Adam’s race. We have sinned. Not one of us can say that we have not sinned. If there is a soul that says such a thing calls God a liar, and the truth is not in him (1 John 1:10).

The children of Israel, during the days of the Judges would live for God while a good Judge was alive, yet, as soon as that Judge died they, as a nation turned from God to idols, and lived accordingly. These things are written for our example; ways that we should not live (1 Corinthians 10:6-11), and learn to practice the good things as they  yielded their lives to the LORD.

I am so thankful for the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who lived without sin, and went willingly to the cross taking my place and yours in paying the sin debt that we owed to God. He took the wrath of His Father, that was due us, and died, was buried, and He then rose again declaring the victory over sin, death, and the grave for our justification.

We have sinned. There is a Savior for all who will call on the name of Jesus Christ Son of the Living God.

The Positive and Negative Promises of GOD

And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.  And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and He delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and He sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.  Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed.                 Judges 2:13-15

We love the promises of God. There are many who have plaques hanging on the walls of their homes and their offices; maybe even the dashboards of their cars.

Let me ask a question here. It is a question I have asked myself as I read the Scriptures. Aren’t the promises of God everything He has said? Doesn’t the promises of God include the curses God will bring on His people because of our disobedience? I guess that is two questions, but are they not very much linked together.

Yet it seems to me that we neglect these negative aspects, thoughts, and power of His promises. No one that I have ever seen hang the negative promises on their fridge, or the dashboards of their can; and you never see a bumper sticker with one of those.

What we need to do is hear all the promises of God, because just as we see GOD judging, punishing, disciplining the children of Israel – according to His promises – so will He keep His promises, negative and positive for His children today.

You can read some of the blessings and curses of God’s promises in Leviticus 26, and Deuteronomy 29.

The writer of the book of Hebrews said, “If you are without chastisement… then you are illigetimate, and not sons” Hebrews 12:8. That itself is a promise that I love. It assures me of God’s unending , enduring love.

They Fell On Their Faces

And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.   And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.       Leviticus 9:23-24

Leviticus is probably not my favorite book of the Bible, and not of the five books of the Law. It does clearly show us the need of a blood sacrifice for the redemption of us all. It is also clear that the blood, of lambs, goats, rams, and bullocks are not adequate for the taking away of sin. These sacrifices are a foreshadowing of the coming of Jesus Christ to once and for all, and all time, put away our sin.

What Leviticus declares to us is the sinfulness of Adamkind, and our need for a Redeemer. We do know today, that the only redemption for sin is the blood of Jesus Christ poured out at Calvary’s cross where the wrath of the Almighty was put on His Son, and He was judged on our behalf; so that all who come to Him through faith would receive eternal life.

As the people in the days of Moses, and Aaron and his sons fell on their faces when they saw the glory of GOD; we have an even greater reason and privilege to fall on our faces before the Living Son of God, Jesus Christ who died for our sins, was buried, and rose again. Fall down before Him in repentance and faith; call on His name.

As the LORD Commanded

According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel made all the work.   And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them.                    Exodus 39:42-43

Reading these chapters of Exodus dealing with the commandments of the LORD of the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness, and all its furniture, from the ark of the covenant to the brazen altar; and then all the skins that make up all the coverings is almost mind boggling. Then, to read that the men who did the weaving following the heavenly pattern, and Moses checking it and it was all done correctly; just as the LORD commanded. WOW!

The men who were the artist of these works received the commendation of Moses too.

We all enjoy words of appreciation. A question I think of and direct to myself first is this: How often do I speak words of appreciation, and/or show appreciation for those who are ever faithful in doing the Lord’s work? I know we need to express appreciation in all aspects of our lives; let us do that. Let us also show and express our appreciation to those who are faithful in serving the Lord, no matter who it may be. The elderly who can no longer attend church, but were faithful in the work of the church before, and are now continually praying for the church, the pastor and deacons, the secretary, the maintenance, sound people, children’s teachers, and on and on.

To all of you who are faithful to serve the Lord and are doing what the Lord commands in the Church you serve. Thank you and keep up the good and godly work you are doing. God is blessing you.

I also thank all of you who come here to read this blog. You are a blessing and encouragement to me. Thank you.

A Coffin and a Promise

And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father’s house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years.   And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph’s knees.   And Joseph said unto his brethren, “I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”   And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, “God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.”
So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.         Genesis 50:22-26

After the creation of Adam and Eve, and their placement in the Garden of Eden we find out about sin and death coming through them due to their disobedience to God who made them. We hear of a global flood, where all air breathing animals, except for those God brought to the ark, drowned in the flood, along with every man, woman, and child, except for Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives.

God is gracious and full of mercy. Because of our disobedience sin, trouble, sickness and sorrow plagues this world. He has given us a way of deliverance.

This book, “Genesis” the book of beginnings, begins in a garden, and ends at a grave. The grave is that of Joseph. He had served as an Egyptian ruler for about 80 years.

Joseph was hated and sold by his brothers at about the age of seventeen, sold to Potiphar in Egypt and served him for about 13 years including the time he spent imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. At the age of thirty he was brought out of the prison to interpret the dream of Pharaoh, which he did and doing so was appointed as a ruler, just under Pharaoh himself, and delivered his people who had sold him, and Egypt and the world. At the age of one hundred ten years Joseph died.

God does not leave us at the grave alone though. There is a promise given by Joseph from God. “God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.” It was a promise that originally given to Abraham, “And He said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”  Genesis 15:13-14.

God’s promises written in His word, not some that are contrived by human imagination, are always fulfilled. When we read Exodus which takes place about four hundred years later that is what we see; God keeping His promise to His people.

God’s great promise to people today is believe My Son, and you believe me. His Son, Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again. If you do not know Him, call on His name today and be delivered from the condemnation of sin.

On The Third Day

Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.  Genesis 22:4

Abraham, the father, had been directed by God to sacrifice his only son.  Father and son were going to a certain place, to carry out the command of the Most High God.  Remember Abraham had been promised that through “Isaac his seed would be called”, and that God would make of him a great nation.

Keep the word of faith spoken by Abraham in mind which he spoke in verse 5, and Hebrews 11:17-19. Abraham was certain of God’s delivering power.

Remember now the third day following the sacrifice of God’s only Son Jesus, if you will; now consider this.  When Abraham and Isaac went on together; in the mind of Abraham Isaac was already sacrificed, that is what he was doing, where he was going.  On this third day Isaac was delivered by a ram caught by his horns in the bush; now consider this Isaac’s resurrection .

Jesus and the Father were at the cross, the sacrifice for our sins.  What Jesus did He did alone for you and me.  He bled, He died, He was buried, and three days later He came out of that grave bodily; and He forever lives.

Believe Him and be saved.

They said That He was Making Himself God

Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them,
“Many good works have I shewed you from My Father; for which of those works do ye stone Me?”
The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God.”       John 10:31-33

There are religious cults who say that Jesus Christ was not God. One even goes so far as to change what they call their version of the scriptures to read that He was “a god,” they would be saying that He was making a false claim about Himself.

One way to properly interpret what the Bible says, and what Jesus says is to study the culture of the time we are studying and the teaching, in this case of the religious leaders.

The Jewish leaders of Jesus’s day knew what Jesus was saying when He said, “I and My Father are One” (John 10:30); and there are many other references in John 8 through 10; as well as other verses in other chapters of the gospels; where Jesus clearly calls Himself Deity.

Jesus tells us in John 8:24 “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.”  The words Jesus spoke in this verse are clearly of deity. For Him to say that they would die in their sins if the did not believe that He is who He says He is will be their death in their sins; their damnation eternally.

Dear friends, will You receive Jesus Christ for who He says He is? He is the Christ – the Messiah – the Son of God, and the Incarnation of God, God the Son who came to die on the cross for our sins, He was buried, and He came out of the grave with a flesh and bone body (Luke 24:39), and is eternal.

Dead On The Cross

All Thy works shall praise Thee, O LORD; and Thy saints shall bless Thee. They shall speak of the glory of Thy kingdom, and talk of Thy power; to make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of His kingdom.
Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.  Psalm 145:10-13

But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.  And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.  For these things were done, that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “A bone of Him shall not be broken.”  And again another Scripture saith, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”        John 19:34-37

The Psalm tells us that the works of God shall praise Him. As far as Adam’s race is concerned the great gift of God, the great work of God is the sending of His Son Jesus to be the  propitiation for the sins of Adam kind. Jesus said it, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent”  (John 6:29). This is the great work or God that ought, I say, that ought to get our attention; and partly because of the above verses of John 19:34-37.

The verses of John prove that Jesus was dead. He was not faking His death; not swooning as some call it. He died. He was dead on the cross. He showed that His death was under the power of His Father, that no man could take His life from Him; He gave it Himself. Why do I say that? His legs did not get broken a fulfillment of Psalm 34:20. The two who were crucified with Him had their legs broken to cause their near immediate death; but the death of Jesus was in the Father’s power.

They did not break His legs because He was already dead. Romans knew dead when they seen it. The one soldier took his spear and pierced the side of Jesus and out flowed blood and water fulfilling another Scripture prophecy in Zechariah 12:10; also see The Revelation 1:7.

John wrote this as he was witness to the death of Jesus. His testimony was true when he wrote it, and it is true today and for all eternity. He tells us why he wrote it as well. He wrote this testimony that we might believe.

The death of Jesus on the cross was the payment for our sins, Jesus becoming sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21); His burial was another evidence that He was dead and that He took our sins far away; and His resurrection was for our justification and evidence that all the words that Jesus had spoken were indeed truth and power of who He is.

Believe Him today.

Persistent Praying

And He said unto them,
“Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?’ And he from within shall answer and say, ‘Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.’ I say unto you, ‘Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.'”                                            Luke 11:5-8

In this short illustrative story Jesus is teaching us about persistent prayer. Persistence is related to having a burden, a need so great that you will not give up on seeing that it comes to pass.

Please note that I said “Need” not “want”. For the child of God the greatest need we see in our families, and  for our neighbors, and for strangers is that they need to recognize their lostness, their great need to turn from their sin, and to trust Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

In Jesus’s story it is of a friend who goes to a neighbor at midnight. The man has had a guest show up and he does not have the means of feeding and being a proper host to that friend. In his “troubling” his neighbor he awakens him from sleep to ask for help. It was a shame to a family in that day for a hosting family not to care for their guest by feeding them, even washing their feet. The man persist with his neighbor and finally wins out, because of his need and his persistence.

Now God our Father in Jesus Christ never sleeps, and He is never disturbed by our prayers. He is more disturbed by our lack of prayer, and especially our lack of persisting in prayer. If we have a great need, we ought to desire it so much; in His name; that we keep asking until God answers. We must remember it will be according to His will and in His time.

Do you have a lost friend, family member, neighbor? Are you continuing in prayer for them? Do not give up and quit. Keep on praying. Do you have a health need, or know someone who has a great health need? Keep praying, and be persistent in praying.

Read verses 9 through 13 as well.

Two Foundations

And why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to Me, and heareth My sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: he is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.                                                         Luke 6:46-49

Jesus is speaking of two different hearts.  Everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” will not enter His kingdom (Matthew 7:21). Just because one professes “Jesus is Lord” does not make it so.

Doing what He says is the fruit of our confession of Jesus. Believing Him and doing is the work of God which brings forth fruit of salvation, and Jesus is Lord of one’s life.

The one who lays the foundation of faith in Him, plus nothing, minus nothing, will have the faith that stands the test and trials of every storm, wind and rain, and flood.

If we say “Jesus is Lord” then let us build on that foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11). He is the exclusive way, the only way to God the Father, eternal life, peace and joy (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

Gain the World and Lose Your Soul

And when He had called the people, with His disciples also, He said unto them,
“Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
Mark 8:34-38

When the culture and the world around us is promoting self, “Love yourself”, and as I mentioned yesterday, “Me too”, the Bible, Jesus still says, “Deny yourself”.

That is what the Christian life really is. It is a life of being a blessing to others by living as  God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit guides us in His word. This adulterous and sinful generation does not need us to be like them. The world and the self loving culture needs to see us losing our lives for the name of Jesus Christ.

If you are thinking, “But no one will like me,” or “No one will promote me,” or “I won’t have any friends;” then, you deny the Lord Jesus and lose your own soul, and the Father and the Son will also be ashamed of you.

The answer is “Take up your cross” that is lay your life down for Him, and follow Him, and you will be blessed by Him.

More Than Washing Feet

So after He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and was set down again, He said unto them,
“Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.”                                   John 13:12-15

This was the final full day of Jesus’s life. He was quite aware of His destiny, and the end result He knew to be victorious, and He and His Father would be glorified.

Jesus gets down on His knees, takes a bowl and a towel, and has washed the disciples feet. He is teaching them, and all who read of this event a great lesson. It is much more than washing feet; it is living a life for others; even loving them unto death of one’s self.

How willing am I to give my life to save the life of another person? Maybe for my wife, my children, grandchildren; but for a neighbor. Willing to serve a neighbor in need? Yes! Dying to save the life of a neighbor, especially one I do not know? One who possibly even dislikes me? I would be willing to help them change a flat tire on their car, maybe, if I saw their house about to catch fire get it put out before it starts burning. But to give my life? How about you?

Lord Jesus, You gave Your life for me, and even now I know You have washed my feet, and I see that clearly by Your death on the cross for my sins, Your burial, and finishing the work by rising from the dead. Help me to be willing, and when and if it is needed that I give my life for one in need.

The Great Shepherd and His Sheep

Jesus answered them,
“I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep, as I said unto you.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.
                                                                   John 10:25-30

They have shown not only doubt, but also great contempt for Jesus and His teachings; not believing His words or His works. The religious rulers who worshiped their religion rather than the One who deserved the worship.

They had just asked, more like demanded, that Jesus show them He was the Messiah. They wanted Him to do some glorious thing. They were blind to the truth of who is was and is. He had already did mighty works which they tried to contribute to the power of the devil. They were in truth rejecting the teachings of Moses, and they claimed to be his disciples.

These verses of our text today are from the “Good Shepherd” text where Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd” (v. 14), and all who hear His voice are His sheep and they follow Him.

From the text above let us glean a few things from it.

First, Jesus works in His Father’s name, and the works He does is His witness as to who He is.  Second, these accusers do not believe Him and are not His sheep.  Third, Jesus’s sheep hear His voice, Jesus knows them, and they follow Him. Fourth, He gives those who are His sheep and follow Him eternal life. Fifth, all those who are His sheep will never perish, neither will they ever be plucked out of His hand. Sixth, it is His Father who gives Him these sheep. Seventh, none is able to pluck them out of the Father’s hand. Jesus then tells us that He and the Father are One.

When you receive eternal life is at that moment you have in repentant faith called on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, receiving His gift of grace given us by the death of Jesus on the cross, His burial, and He rising from the grave, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father (Hebrews 1:1-3). Do you hear His voice? Call out to Him.

Lord Of The Elements

And when even was now come, His disciples went down unto the sea, and entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. But He saith unto them,
“It is I; be not afraid.”
Then they willingly received Him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.                                              John 6:16-21

Walking on water. Only one Man ever accomplished doing that with success. There is the gospel account where Jesus bids Peter to come to Him, Peter gets out of the boat and does for a moment, but when he sees the waves, the rough sea around him, he sinks calling for the Lord to help him (Matthew 14:26-31).

So who has the authority to take control over the elements, and to command others to even do so, but God? No one.

We must recognize who Jesus Christ is. He is in fact the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ, the Sent One by God. He is in fact the Son of God, the Son of Man, the God-Man who is fully God and fully Man. He is Man, yet without sin. He can walk on water. He can calm the storms.

He can also heal the sick, cause the cripple to walk and leap about, open the eyes of those born blind, open the ears of the deaf, and the mouth of the mute. He still went to the cross bearing the sins of the world, dying; and He was buried taking away all our sin, shame, guilt and condemnation; and He arose and came out of that grave, and forever lives seated by the Father’s right hand.

Repent of your sins, believe Him and be saved.

An Already Condemned World, Loved By God

For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but He that believeth not is condemned already, because He hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.                   John 3:17-21

There are many who believe that God in the Old Testament, and God in the New Testament are two separate persons. That, however, comes from an ignorance of the Old Testament.

God in the Old Testament is a God of love too. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, it was God’s love that provided covering for their sin and nakedness. It was His love that saved Noah and his family to redeem Adam’s race.

Because of Adam’s sin in the garden we were all born into sin. Born with a sin nature, separated from God, condemned for eternity. This message is prevalent through out Scripture. It is also clearly seen that God loves the race of Adam – that is people from every tribe, tongue and nation.

In His love God sent His only begotten Son to be our Redeemer, so that through Him we might have everlasting life.

There are many who love their sin and darkness more that they do the light, glory and forgiveness of God. They love darkness rather than light. They love their own way rather than God’s way; therefore, they continue in their condemnation.

The answer for Adam’s race is hear the words of Jesus Christ, call on His name, repenting of your sin, believing Him and He will hear you and give you life eternal.

See Romans 8:1.

The Promise from a Dying Man to a Dying Man

And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on Him, saying, “If Thou be Christ, save Thyself and us.” But the other answering rebuked him, saying, “Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this Man hath done nothing amiss.” And he said unto Jesus, “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.” And Jesus said unto him,
“Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with Me in paradise.”           Luke 23:39-43

We think that dying men cannot keep promises made while they are dying. However, there is a man who did make a promise to another dying man as they were both dying.

Of course, if you are one of those people who do not believe in life after death, then this will not be real in your realm of thought. It is however true whether you believe it or not.

Jesus Christ, as He was bleeding and dying next to the man on His right and the one on His left is the One who made the promise; and it is certain that He fulfilled that promise to the other dying man who made the request “Remember me.”

The two guilty men had been mocking Jesus along with the unbelieving crowd. Something happened in the heart and mind of the one, and he believes Jesus is the only real answer for what lies ahead. He calls out to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

On the cross Jesus gave him the promise of being with Him in “Paradise” that very day. Why did He give him his request? He believed the Lord was who He said He is.

There is a blessed eternal life of joy, peace and rest with Jesus through faith in His death on the cross, the burial, and bodily resurrection.

Believe Him and call on His name today, and you will have the assurance that He will keep His promise.