Archive | April 2017

Matthew 3:6 ” Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.”

Baptism…just as during the time of John the Baptist, is a public action,  for an internal, personal decision for Christ.  It symbolizes the spiritual cleansing through the forgiveness of sins to those who repent and believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Baptism is part of the Great Commission that Jesus gave us in Matthew 28:18, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”   As a new Christian, you don’t have to be perfect before you can be baptized…you don’t have to have it “all together” and cleaned up prior either.  Baptism is a public “Just as I am”  coming to Jesus moment.

Luke 4:3 ” The devil said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.’ “

Satan was questioning Jesus’ authority.  Satan knew who Jesus was – but used intimidating language , wanting Jesus to falter.  Never allow Satan to force you to question if you’re saved or not…if God really loves you or not… or if He can heal you or not.  For if Satan can get you to waver in your belief and trust even a little, fear and doubt will rush in and take over.  And when they do, God’s plan and purpose in your life will be stymied.

I Thessalonians 3:5 ” For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless. “

Temptation in and of itself isn’t sin…but if acted upon, gives way to sin.  And temptation acted upon,  gives leave to a gateway or portal of evil into our very being.   Evil now has a foothold…a threshold into our lives that we can’t even imagine.  We’re all tempted on a daily basis, by endless means, all focused to cause us to fall into sin.  But we don’t have to give in…and we don’t have to permit that entryway to be established in our lives.  God is greater than any temptation that will befall you today.  Look to Him for guidance.

James 2:1 ” My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism.”

Last night our small group Bible study had quite a lively discussion on discrimination within the Church.  We tend to be most comfortable at Church when everyone looks and acts like us.   Our prejudice surfaces when someone outside that “mold” ventures into the Sanctuary seeking the Lord.  Yes, they may not look like you…they may not have the same values or mores…but they are still a Child of God searching for the truth.  We need to extend to them the same love that Jesus did…not judging,  but supporting and encouraging as the Holy Spirit moves in their life.

Psalm 107: 8-9 ” Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men, for He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. “

We all need spiritual sustenance, because we all have a God-shaped hole inside that needs to be filled.  This inner hunger and thirst for God propels us forward in His Way and supports us in times of trials.  Life is sustained by food…but our spiritual life is nourished and maintained by the word of God.

John 8:42 ” Jesus said to them, ‘ If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on My own; but He sent Me.’ “

God sent His only Son to earth in order to save us from  our sins.  Jesus Christ came from God to take our place on that cross.  So if you know God…you love Jesus…and if you love Jesus and accept Him as your Savior, your sins are forgiven…and when your sins are forgiven, you receive eternal life.

Jeremiah 31:13 ” I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.”

Most of us have a hard time expressing our condolences to a friend that’s just lost a loved one.  We stumble around, trying hard to say something that will bring comfort.  But it’s only the Lord that can truly bring solace and peace during a time of anguish and mental pain.  Probably one of the most uncaring things to say is, “I know how you feel.”   No you don’t, and you never will.  Grief and grieving is unique to everyone, and all of us will go through it differently.  But with the Lord’s help, grief will be soothed…  fears will be quieted… peace will still frantic thoughts…and over time,  joy will return.

Matthew 3:2 ” Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near.”

Repentance is the beginning of your journey with God.  True repentance means taking responsibility for what you’ve done… for owning your sins.  Repentance could also be called an action word…it starts with a heart change, but commands a directional change too – a turning from darkness to light, evil to good,  wicked to righteous.  Repentance is the starting point of that new life you’re looking for.

I Kings 8:23 ” O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like You in heaven above or on earth below – You Who keep Your covenant of love with Your servants who continue wholeheartedly in Your way.”

He’s a promise keeping God.  If He’s said it…He’ll do it.  He’s also a faithful and trustworthy God…He will never go back on His promises.  Have you trusted Him for something lately?  Not just saying it,  but really standing on His Word and believing?  That kind of faith building strengthens our walk and allows us to rely on Him more.  And as we come to rely on Him more, our love for Him grows, and so does our trust.

Luke 11: 11-13 ” Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? “

We think we know what we want…but in our short-sightedness are we really asking for a stone from the Lord…when He wants to give us a loaf of bread?  We naively think we know what’s best for us…when we really don’t have a clue.  We have a good, good Father that wants to give us only the very best…so ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in your petitions before the Lord…and pray God’s Will into your life, not yours.