God’s NOT Dead!

God’s Not Dead , is a very good overtly Christian themed movie that would be great for every teenage Christian to go see as many will face the same type of challenges to their faith as they transition into adulthood, most being away from home for the first time at college. How would you respond if faced with the same test to your faith?

Romans 1 (NKJV)

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

helix nebula

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

As in this movie, sometimes challenges to our faith comes from those close to us, from family or friends that perhaps feel they are helping us or know what’s best for us but ultimately God knows best!

In the book of Job, Job’s friends stop by in an effort to “comfort” him. After a while of their comforting, Job becomes indignant and in his defense to them is a bit self-righteous. God then shows up and has about four chapters worth of questions for Job. God’s first question to Job always comes to my mind when I read or hear theories as to how everything came into existence without God receiving credit for it. 

Question – “Where were you when I (God) created everything?” Answer – You were not there. And since you were not there, you don’t know, you are speaking from ignorance.

Job 38 (NKJV)

1 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:

“Who is this who darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
Now prepare yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer Me.

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.

……….

Job 42 (NKJV)

42 Then Job answered the Lord and said:

“I know that You can do everything,
And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.
You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
Listen, please, and let me speak;
You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’

“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.
Therefore I abhor myself,
And repent in dust and ashes.”

Job’s faith was tested more than almost any person recorded in the Bible, his faith and patience are legendary but even he was humbled by God for his prideful speech. When facing challenges to our faith, we have to be careful of self-righteousness.

If your faith is not strong enough to withstand verbal assaults or intellectual scrutiny of scoffers, would it be strong enough to withstand threats of physical violence or possible death? Adrian Rogers  said “A faith that cannot be tested, cannot be trusted.”

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)

 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

At some point it comes down to faith, the Christian believes(has faith) that God exists and that His Word is true; the unbelieving has faith(believes) that God does not exist and that the Bible is a fairytale. Will your faith save you?

~God Bless!

The Price of Faith

The Price Is Right

2 Samuel 24:20-25(GNT)

20 Araunah looked down and saw the king and his officials coming up to him. He threw himself on the ground in front of David 21 and asked, “Your Majesty, why are you here?”

David answered, “To buy your threshing place and build an altar for the Lord, in order to stop the epidemic.”

22 “Take it, Your Majesty,” Araunah said, “and offer to the Lord whatever you wish. Here are these oxen to burn as an offering on the altar; here are their yokes and the threshing boards to use as fuel.” 23 Araunah gave it all to the king and said to him, “May the Lord your God accept your offering.”

24 But the king answered, “No, I will pay you for it. I will not offer to the Lord my God sacrifices that have cost me nothing.” And he bought the threshing place and the oxen for fifty pieces of silver. 25 Then he built an altar to the Lord and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. The Lord answered his prayer, and the epidemic in Israel was stopped.

What has your faith cost you? Have you paid a price? Perhaps you have lost a few friends or possibly strained some family relationships but have you had to sacrifice anything? If we are truly following Jesus, we’ve had to make some sacrifices, if we aren’t saying no to selfish desires and yes to the Lord, we aren’t following, we are going our own way.

Matthew 16:24-28 (KJV)

24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

I Have Decided To Follow Jesus, No Turning Back in many countries around our world has a very different meaning. Remember to pray for one another, especially the saints that are suffering persecution around the world.

Hebrews 13:1-3 (GNT)

1 Keep on loving one another as Christians. Remember to welcome strangers in your homes. There were some who did that and welcomed angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them. Remember those who are suffering, as though you were suffering as they are.

Dear Lord,

Please be with your saints around this sinful world that are suffering persecution and even death for your name’s sake. Pour out your Holy Spirit upon them, bless them mightily that they might endure and bring you honor! Forgive me please for my selfish sinfulness and failure to diligently seek to follow and obey you especially when there are others dying around the world for no other reason than they professed faith in Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Please Lord sent a revival to the Christian Church in this country that we might start living worthy of Your calling and begin making a difference in our own land.

In Jesus name and for His glory,

Amen!

Matthew 5:10-12 (NKJV)

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

May the Lord bless and keep you!

Thanksgiving to God

Psalm 136:

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who alone does great wonders,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who by understanding made the heavens,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;


to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who made the great lights,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
the sun to rule over the day,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
11 and brought Israel out from among them,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
12 with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
13 to him who divided the Red Sea in two,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;


14 and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
15 but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
16 to him who led his people through the wilderness,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
17 to him who struck down great kings,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
18 and killed mighty kings,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
19 Sihon, king of the Amorites,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
20 and Og, king of Bashan,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
21 and gave their land as a heritage,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;


22 a heritage to Israel his servant,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
24 and rescued us from our foes,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
25 he who gives food to all flesh,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.(ESV)

Jesus The Man

When you think of Jesus, what comes to mind? For most Christians, His humanity is probably down the list a ways but He lived an obscure life working probably as a carpenter until He was about 30 years of age. He was born of a woman, though in a miraculous manner, lived in a household with His mother, step-father, brothers and sisters for 30 years…..10,950 days.

Luke 3:
23 Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli,(ESV)

Do you think His siblings ever blamed Him for something He didn’t do? Do you think He was ever bullied by neighborhood kids? Do you think as a teenager the girl next door flirted with Him? Do you think when He got a splinter in His hands that for a split second He would think about a Roman cross?

Jesus Was Born

Luke 2:
And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
……..
21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.(ESV)

Jesus Grew

Luke 2:
41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43 And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him.46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” 49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.(ESV)

Jesus Was Tempted

Matthew 4:
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.(ESV)

Hebrews 4:
15 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.(ESV)

Jesus Got Hungry

Matthew 4:
And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.(ESV)

Luke 11:
37 While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table38 The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner.(ESV)

Jesus Wept

John 11:
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?”They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept.(ESV)

Luke 19:
41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”(ESV)

Jesus Bleed

John 19:
34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.(NIV)

Jesus Died

John 19:
Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.”(ESV)

Mark 15:
43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. 45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph.(ESV)

Jesus was completely, totally and fully man. He didn’t all of a sudden appear from Heaven. He was born, He lived, and He died – just as any man. He chose to set aside His deity and put on the fleshly robes of humanity.

Hebrews 2:
But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.
……..
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.(NIV)

Jesus knows your struggles, He knows what it is like to experience sadness, loss, pain, anguish, hunger, thirst, temptation, sickness, humiliation, torture and death. He is not ashamed to call you brothers and sisters, you’re family! Call out to The Son of Man, when you have problems and need help, He can relate, He understands and He wants to help you.

~God Bless

What Does Faith Look Like?

If I asked you to draw me a picture of faith, what would it look like? Show me faith, I want to see it.

What would the picture your drew me look like? Would it be a noun or a verb? Would it be a thing or an action? 

Now let me ask you, please show me your faith, I’d like like to see it.

FAITH AND WORKS

James 2:
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?(ESV)

FAITH ON DISPLAY

Hebrews 11:
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

For by it the elders obtained a good report.

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:

19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.

21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.

24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;

25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.

31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.

34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:

37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.(KJV)

 

You are the only Jesus some people will ever see. There’s a song by Casting Crowns, If We Are The Body,  with the lyrics:

But if we are the body
Why aren’t His arms reaching?
Why aren’t His hands healing?
Why aren’t His words teaching?

And if we are the body
Why aren’t His feet going
Why is His love not showing them
There is a way?

But Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the body of Christ

Go out and show someone Jesus.

~God Bless

5 Star Recruit (The Essential Christian)

What makes a  player a 5 star recruit in college football? One that is being recruited by all the top schools. Typically, he would be considered one of the best at his position in the nation. He has the size, speed, power, talent, along with all the intangibles.

If we wanted to apply that to the Christian faith, what comprises a 5 star Christian? What are the essential Christian values?

Essential: absolutely necessary; indispensable; of the utmost importance.

If you are to consider yourself to be a complete Christian, you must be, posses or demonstrate ___________?

First thing that comes to my mind is believe in Jesus the Christ. Afterall, Hebrews 11:6  says “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”(ESV)  So number one on the list has to be FAITH. Faith is not just believing facts about Jesus, it is complete trust in the person of Jesus Christ. If you trust Him, truly believe He is God incarnate, it should be evident in the way you are living your life.

FAITH 

James 2:
18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I will show you faith from my works19 You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe—and they shudder.20 Foolish man! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless?(HCSB)

Ephesians 2:
For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.(HCSB)

Acts 26:
19 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.(NKJV)

Ephesians 4:
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.(NIV)

Hebrews 11:
 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”(ESV)

Christians are saved through faith unto good works of service that God prepared ahead of time for us to do. Number two on the list would have to be SERVICE. Serving others out of love for your Savior, not out of a sense of duty or compulsion. Serving others though giving of your time and resources. Serving others through acts of kindness and generosity. Serving others by doing for them what they cannot do for themselves.

SERVICE

Joshua 24:
14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lordchoose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” 16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods,(ESV)

Matthew 20:
25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”(NIV)

John 13:
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
…….
12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things,blessed are you if you do them.(ESV)

Jesus’ entire life was a life of service, serving the Father by serving mankind. What motivated Jesus to serve others, to give His life as a ransom? Love. Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so! So LOVE has to be on the list. Love is not just a warm fuzzy feeling but a desire for what’s best for a person, after all we are commanded to love our neighbor and also love our enemy.

LOVE

John 3:
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.(ESV)

John 13:
33 My children, I will be with you for a little while longer. Then you will look for me, but you won’t find me. I tell you just as I told the people, “You cannot go where I am going.” 34 But I am giving you a new command. You must love each other, just as I have loved you35 If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples.(CEV)

John 14:
15 If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”(ESV)

1 Corinthians 13:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.(NKJV)

If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples.” and “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” So the world will know you are Jesus’ disciple by loving each other and obeying His commands.  Jesus’ last command to His disciples was The Great Commission, in which they were instructed to make more disciples, therefore, DISCIPLESHIP has to be on the list as well. Making disciples, other followers of Jesus, by teaching them all that has been revealed to you.

DISCIPLESHIP

Matthew 28:
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(ESV)

Luke 9:
23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?(NIV)

2 Timothy 3:
14 But as for you,continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.(ESV)

Hmm… reviewing the scripture for SERVICE, LOVE, and DISCIPLESHIP I see a lot of references to keeping my commandments, denying self, follow me – sorry but OBEDIENCE has to be on the list. Love and Obey for there is now other way to be happy in Jesus but to Love and Obey. Simply doing what you know the Lord wants you do to, simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy.

OBEDIENCE

Deuteronomy 11:
26 “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today,28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.(ESV)

Matthew 7:
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’(ESV)

John 14:
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
…….
21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.(ESV)

As with any relationship, communication is critical. If you are wanting to deepen your love for Jesus and walk in faithful obedience and discipleship, you are going to need to communicate with your Lord. So that means you are going to need to PRAY. Pray without ceasing, praying in the Spirit, praying through faith, praying on the behalf of others, praying for the Lord’s will do be done.

PRAYER

2 Chronicles 7:
14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.(ESV)

Mark 11:
15 And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 16 And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”(ESV)

Matthew 21:
21 And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”(ESV)

1 Thessalonians 5:
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.(ESV)

Ephesians 6:
18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,(ESV)

Philippians 4:
Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God,which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.(ESV)

Luke 11:
And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
And he said unto them, When ye pray, say,
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.(KJV)

Mark 9:
18 And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.”
……..
26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”(ESV)

James 5:
15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.(NKJV)

Hebrews 5:
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,(ESV)

When was the last time you were so fervent in prayer that you shed tears? Prayer transports you into the presence of The Living God, your Father. who wants to give His children all things beneficial, if they will only ask Him. We have not because we ask not or we ask with the wrong motives. Are you strengthening your relationship with God through prayer? Those with whom you have the closest relationship are those with whom you speak regularly. You cannot, you dare not neglect such an important principle of being a Christian.

So here’s my list:

FAITH

SERVICE

LOVE

DISCIPLESHIP

OBEDIENCE

PRAYER

Is my list the same as your list? Did I leave out one that should have been included?

I would include teaching and Bible study under Discipleship, studying to show thyself approved or teaching the Word to others that they might be a better follower of Christ. Love is also far reaching – loving God, loving others, showing grace, kindness, and compassion. Loving other believers leading to stronger friendships and a deeper sense of community. Obedience also encompasses discipline and self-control.

~God Bless

Faith Like A Dandelion

When you read the term dandelion, what is the first thought that comes to mind? More than likely it was something less than favorable. Most children tend to love them and most lawn care enthusiasts despise them. I asked someone walking by what they thought about dandelions and the response, “I hate those things!” but why?

Most consider the dandelion to be nothing more than a useless weed that destroys their lawns but did you know the dandelion is actually an herb? It has been used for centuries in Europe, Asia, and North America to treat a wide variety of ailments, including  loss of appetite, upset stomach, intestinal gas, gallstones, joint pain, muscle aches, eczema, and bruises. Dandelion is also used to increase urine production and as a laxative to increase bowel movements. It is also used as skin toner, blood tonic, and digestive tonic. Some people use dandelion to treat infection, especially viral infections, and cancer. In foods, dandelion is used as salad greens, and in soups, wine, beer, and teas. The roasted root is used as a coffee substitute. (source: WebMD)

It’s interesting to me that something with the potential to be so helpful, useful and beneficial, possibly even life changing – is hated, despised, ignored, and maligned. It’s considered to be good for nothing more than being trodden under foot by the majority of the population. Sorta reminds me of the Word of God.

Parable of the Dandelion

I can almost imagine Jesus saying he who has ears to hear, let him hear. Consider the dandelion, it’s flower is yellowish and small, and when it’s fully matured it produces hundreds of seeds. Then when it is picked and it’s seeds blown, they are dispersed by the wind far and wide. Some seeds fell along the path, some fell on rocky ground, other seeds fell among thorns, and still other seeds fell on good soil and produced other dandelions, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  He who has ears, let him hear.

Lord please explain to us this parable of the dandelion…..Hear then the parable of the dandelion. The dandelion is one of God’s elect, chosen before the foundation of the world to carry His Word to everywhere the Holy Spirit directs, making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of  the Holy Spirit.

Called

1 Peter 1:

13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for

“All flesh is like grass
    and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
    and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

And this word is the good news that was preached to you.(ESV)

Are you a dandelion?