Posts tagged ‘Christ’

HIS DESTINY WAS KNOWN

JESUS THE MESSIAH WHOS’ DESTINY WAS FORETOLD:

A LOVING SAVIOUR:

PHOTO BY SHIRLEY RHODES

PHOTO BY SHIRLEY RHODES

WRITTEN BY SHIRLEY RHODES:

As the Easter Holiday approaches many will see it as a time of joy and celebration of a tradition, one that is set aside every year. Really it has far more meaning than celebration of new attire and the Easter egg hunt. It is about honoring a savior who came to redeem mankind through freedom from sin, and the most important thing to remember is that he gave his life for all. Take a moment to reflect on his final days and hours before he said, “It is finished.”

Six days before the feast of Passover Jesus made a trip to Bethany (John 12:1; NKJV); he knew then that his hour had come to depart this world (earthly realm) to return to his Father with his purpose and commitment completed. He already knew that the devil would attempt his final act through one of his close companions for the scripture says, Jesus was troubled in his spirit and said, “I say to you, one of you will betray me (John 13: 21).”

His greatest desire was to spend the final days with those he had chosen through Holy Communion. He had final instructions before departing, instructions vital for carrying the message to the world, to continue to follow his designed pattern. During fellowship with them he said, “I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you (John 13:15).” He went on to emphasize the most important part of fellowship, when he said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another…all will know that you are my disciples (John 13:34). If you love me, keep my commandments, these things I have spoken to you, that in me you will have peace; in the world you will have tribulations, but be of good cheer I have overcome the world (John 16: 33).

Remember, Jesus is about to face turbulent moments in the days ahead, yet, he show concern for mankind even in the darkest hours. When he faced death, his prayer to the Father was a deep cry for intervention, yet he said, your will not my will be done.

Isaiah prophesized about the “The Sin-Bearing-Servant”

He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…he has borne our grief and carried our sorrows…he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities and by his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53: 3-5).

Allow this Easter Holiday to become a time you seriously consider getting to know more about the one who came and died so that you can know how wonderful it is to be free, free indeed.

 

 

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How you can enjoy Eternal Life

HOW YOU CAN ENJOY ETERNAL LIFE

THE HEART OF THE CROSS IS KING JESUS HE DIED UPON THE CROSS THAT WE MAY HAVE ETERNAL LIFE (Photo by Pastor Davis)

THE HEART OF THE CROSS IS KING JESUS HE DIED UPON THE CROSS THAT WE MAY HAVE ETERNAL LIFE (Photo by Pastor Davis)

The word “eternal” means without beginning and without end, denoting a continual existence including past, present, and future. As applied to human existence, the Bible indicates that the spirit or soul is indestructible and eventually returns to God who gave it (Eccl. 12:7). This thought is expressed by Paul who attests to God’s overall plan whereby God is “all in all” (I Cor. 15:24-28). Thus, one might well say that eternal life includes the present, or “Today is the first day of the rest of your eternal life.”

Just as there are rewards for followers of Christ, there are judgments of the works of both believers and nonbelievers. Jesus said that all authority to judge the living and the dead is his (John 5:22;17:2; Acts 10:42;I Peter 4:5). In a sense, failure to receive blessings because of failure to ask, asking wrongly, or continued anxiety and fear by not heeding the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount are all indicative of a present judgment.

As the proverbs say, “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion” (Prov. 28:1) and “the way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble” (Prov. 4:16). As we have seen, Jesus assured his listeners that a follower of his and a doer of his words is assured of having his or her needs met and eternal life, including the glories of the resurrection-life (Mk. 10:28-30).

The New Testament sets out a concept of a gradation of regard for believers based upon their Christian good works (Matt. 16:27), their works being tested as by fire (I Cor. 3:13-15). In this respect, the epistles frequently warn believers against backsliding and the loss of reward.  [Note the six warnings in the book of Hebrews 3:7-13;4:1-11; 5:11-14; 6:1-9; 10:26-39; 12; also II Peter 2:20-22] A righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward (Matt. 10:41), and one who shows compassion in Jesus’name will not lose his or her reward (Matt. 10:42;Mk. 9:41).

Those who reject the Father and the Son will be judged, and punishment will be meted out for the wrongs which they have committed (Col. 3:25). They are as “cast into outer darkness where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 22:13;24:51; 25:30).   Those who seek after the plaudits of men have their reward (Matt. 6:2). One should enter in by the “narrow gate” to life, for “broad is the way which leads to destruction” (Matt. 7:13-14). Therefore, one should not lay up for himself or herself material treasures on earth, but should lay up treasures in heaven, for “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:19-21).

God is merciful, and Jesus stands at the door and knocks. If anyone hears his voice and opens the door, he will enter and they shall dine together. But there is a reckoning, and the son of man will separate the “sheep” from the “goats. “Those who have helped the less fortunate and have done it for Jesus shall inherit the kingdom. Those who have not helped others have failed Jesus and will receive punishment (Matt. 25:31-46). The meting out of judgment is portrayed in Revelation depicting God as sitting on a great white throne judging the dead according to their works.

The books are opened including the book of life. Anyone whose name is not found in the book of life is subject to punishment. It is decreed that the enemies of God and mankind be cast into the “lake of fire.” These include Satan, the false prophet, and the beast who has opposed God, death, Hades, and “whoever was not found written in the book of life” (Rev. 20:10-15).

There is also described a new heaven, a new earth, and a new Jerusalem in which there reside only those who are over comers and those who are “athirst of the fountain.” These are given the water of life freely (Rev. 21:1-27). “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Rev. 22:12-13).

Thank you for studying with us today and may you receive all that you desire from the Lord as you walk into your divine destiny…

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SIMON OF CYRENE WAS THE BLACK HANDS THAT HELP TO CARRY THE CROSS

SIMON OF CYRENE WAS THE BLACK HANDS THAT HELP TO CARRY THE CROSS

Simon of Cyrene the black hands that helped carry the cross (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

Simon of Cyrene the black hands that helped carry the cross (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

And when they had [finished] making sport of Him, they took the purple [robe] off Him and put His own clothes on Him. And they led Him out [of the city] to crucify Him.

And they forced a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, who was coming in from the field (country), to carry His cross.

And they led Him to Golgotha [in Latin: Calvary], meaning The Place of a Skull.  (Mark 15:20-22 AMP).

In verse 21, Mark tells us that Simon of Cyrene, was coming into the city from the countryside into the city of Jerusalem, but the Lord was traveling out of the city.  These two men were traveling in opposite directions.  Simon was coming in and the Lord was going out being led by the Roman Soldiers and a large crowd of haters.  Simon suddenly found himself turned around at the instructions of the Centurion and finds his life walking in exactly the opposite direction from where he was first headed.  Meeting Christ at this point and being forced to place his hands on the cross and carry it would be a life changing experience for him.

Now some of you might ask, “why would he ever mention Simon of Cyrene as the Black Hands on the cross, and how would he even know that Simon of Cyrene was a Black Man?  For those of you who are truth seekers, these would be legitimate questions to ask.  For me as a Minister of the Gospel, called and ordained to come boldly before the throne of grace, and speak truth to power, convince, rebuke, exhort and teach, it is my job to empower you with knowledge in order that you may know the truth and the truth will truly set you free.  (John 8:32)

For me to state here with absolute certain that Simon of Cyrene was a Black Man is impossible.  This is a question that has been debated by Scholars worldwide for hundreds of years.  However, I should start by pointing out it is difficult to determine with accuracy black men and women in the Bible because the Bible is color-neutral. There is never any reference to race or racial features. The main distinction throughout the Bible is between those that serve God and those that do not, whether as individuals or as nations. It is not definite that everyone from Ethiopia or Cyrene was black, but certainly you could reasonably assume that it was a good possibility. So this study will have to be considered reasonable speculation.

We know very little about Simon. We see from this Mark’s writing that he had come from the country to Jerusalem on this occasion, perhaps on business. He must have been a strong man. I don’t think the soldiers would have picked a weakling. God had appointed him to be there, not to help Jesus with the cross, but to encounter the one who was to be crucified for his sins. Except for Mark’s obscure reference to Rufus and Alexander we would have no more information about Simon.

What we do know about Simon called Niger is his name.  Simon is a Jewish name and Niger comes from the Latin word for “black”.  It’s safe to say he was Jewish and may have been called “Black” simply because of his looks.

Research shows that Simon of Cyrene was from a country in ancient northern Africa (bordering Egypt) called Libya. According to Spirit of English Magazine Vol. 10, pg. 286; in ancient times Libya contained two countries Cyrenaica and Marmarica.  Wikipedia [the on line encyclopedia], shares that Libya was until recent times, the home of one the oldest Jewish communities in the world, dating back to at least 300 BC. In the 1st century, the Jewish historian for the Roman Empire, Josephus Flavius, noted 500,000 Jews lived in Libya. By today’s standards, people from North Africa may or may not be classified as Black. The New Testament, let’s us in on the fact that Joseph, Mary and Jesus spent time in Egypt, This raises an equally intriguing question as to whether or not Simon’s friend, Joseph of Marmarica (a.k.a. Joseph of Marmore, Joseph of Arimathea, brother of Jesus’ grandmother) from the neighboring district of Marmonica/Marmarica, should also be classified as African or Black. –Satchell Intell.

We find here in (Matthew 27:32 NKJV).  Simon of Cyrene was from Ethiopia, and this text and the identity of this man clearly reminds us all of us today that all cultures were represented at Calvary and in the church.  This further reminds us that wise men of all ages would be honored to be allowed to perform the task that was conferred upon Simon of Cyrene, the Ethiopia from northwestern Africa.  Whether it was voluntary or by force, in any case, black hands were extended to help the Savior bear His cross.  The Ethiopian eunuch from Africa (Acts 8:26) was the first Gentile convert mentioned by name in the Book of Acts.  History reports that he returned to Ethiopia to found the Abyssinian Christian Church, which exists until this day.

May God’s saving grace, be with each one of you whose hands, regardless of their color, feel obligated to pick-up your cross and carry it this day be blessed with love, peace and power.  Only because Jesus loved all of us and died for our sins so we may  have the opportunity to celebrate his life, death and resurrection on this EASTER.

Thank you for studying with us today and may you receive all that you desire from the Lord as you walk into your divine destiny…

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The Journey of Love and Commitment

THE JOURNEY OF LOVE AND COMMITMENT

RIVER OF LIFE (Photo by Pastor Davis)

THE JOURNEY OF LOVE AND COMMITMENT FOR THE CAUSE OF JESUS CHRIST

By Shirley Rhodes

In Search of Peace:

Today, we set out on The Journey of Love and Commitment for the Cause of Jesus Christ, and if you are seen as “weird,” “strange,” or “indifferent,” it’s okay. If you are following the pattern Jesus has given, you’re on a journey that will take you beyond your wildest dreams, just remember, this journey is about love and commitment for the cause of Jesus Christ.

Now let us see how Jesus wants us to prepare for this journey, and we begin with:

When we follow the patterns of scripture, it says,  “teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom Psalm 90:12.”

Now let us understand how the pattern of following Jesus on this JOURNEY works.  The things that are holy belong to God and are sacred (special, precious); we hold such gifts close to our hearts because they are blessed.

When we are chosen, we’re set apart from the things of this world; we come out of darkness and follow “the light” that is spirit. Unless we are willing to accept this gift of light we have no inner peace,

The Mystery of the forces of darkness (Photo by Shirley Rhodes)

nothing really satisfies the thirst for righteousness. When we wonder about in life, do we ponder the meaning of the many gifts before us and offer praise and thanksgiving or do we literally take life for-granted.  Sanctification sets us apart and instills our hearts and spirit with the desire to follow the pattern Jesus gave.

When we stop and read (learn) of his message and how it applies to our daily life, we process our thoughts and focus on what lies in front of us as the JOURNEY begins. God gave his Son so that we are able to share in his glory.

There are those who are always finding fault, pre-judging, accusing, doubting and giving their opinion of who we are and we allow those acts to influence how we live, but that do not have to be. Jesus made attempts, performed many miracles, gave us instruction for life, He was loving, patient and kind, yet there were (and are) so many who still prefer to wander in darkness than make the sacrifice to follow his pattern of teaching for life.  This is the generation that seek him Psalm 24:6

Jesus summed it all up this way when He said, “Whoever believes in me, believe not just in me, but the One who sent me. Whoever looks at me is in fact, looking at the One who sent me. I am Light that has come into the world so that all who believe in me won’t have to stay any longer in the dark. If anyone hears what I’m saying and doesn’t take it seriously, I don’t reject him. I didn’t come to reject the world; I came to save the world. Whoever puts me off, refusing to take in what I’m saying is willfully choosing rejection. The Father sent me, gave me orders, told me what to say and how to say it. I know exactly what his command produces, eternal life. What the Father told me, I tell you” (John 12:44-50, Mgs)

Then Jesus moves on and provides us with His greatest lesson of all times by teaching us to love thy neighbor as thy self:

The Joy of Loving one another

He didn’t just stop there, He went on to say, “Children, I’m with you for only a short time longer; let me give you a new command:  Love one another in the same way I loved you. When everyone sees the love you have for each other they will know that you are my disciples (34-35).

Whatever you request along the lines of which I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. Whatever you request in this way I will do it. Because a loveless world, is a sightless world, if anyone loves me he will carefully keep my word and the Father will love him. The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you.

Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned bereft (23-28). If you find the godless world hating you, remember it got its’ start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of their own, but since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you (15:18-19). Fix this firmly in your minds: You’re going to be in deep mourning while the godless world throws a party. You’ll be very sad, but your sadness will develop into gladness (16:20). Your joy will be a river overflowing it’s banks”(24).

In closing, we encourage you to stay focus on the prize and keep in the forefront of your mind that, “THE JOURNEY OF LOVE AND COMMITMENT FOR THE CAUSE OF JESUS CHRIST is one that you have been chosen to participate in and enjoy all the fruits that God has provided for you along the way.  Love one another, He says, as I have loved you! Now enjoy the moment!  And He closes with, “I will be with you, even to the end of time.”  AMEN!

The greatest of these is love https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/daily-postings/

Saturday Morning Devotional Prayer and Praise Service (Praying for Spiritual Empowerment)

PRAYING FOR SPIRITUAL EMPOWERMENT

FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF WILMINGTON, N.C. ESTABLISHED 1808 (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF WILMINGTON, N.C. ESTABLISHED 1808 (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

Today my brothers and sisters, I want to encourage you to pray for one another, you pray for me and I pray for you. We have a greater responsibility in the work we do then we can begin to imagine. When the Lord, Our God called us into this ministry work, he carefully chose each one of his servants, he prepared them for the many challenges that they would face along the way. He equipped each one of his servants with the necessary tools to make the journey a smooth one. He blessed each servant with a praying spirit, and he told us that we must pray daily for SPIRITUAL EMPOWERMENT.

 

 

Now my Dear Brothers and Sisters as we enter into our prayers for one another, let us all understand this one fact; during the course of our lives, we all have had someone to pray for us. Prayer is the key that unlocks the door to our blessings, and when we learn that our purpose in life is to serve others, and we can truly be effective as a servant by praying in the Spirit for our fellowman, we are then moved to pray without ceasing.

Paul’s prayer for SPIRITUAL EMPOWERMENT for the Ephesians was that they be united by the Spirit, indwelt by Christ, and filled with all the fullness of God’s love. We know that God made the Holy Spirit available to all who believed in Jesus Christ as Savior. The Spirit provides power for our new lives.

The Prayer that Paul prayed for SPIRITUAL EMPOWERMENT was a beautiful and powerful prayer. Now listen to Paul words as he spoke them in Ephesians 3:14-21:

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height.

To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God, Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

We find that in this text’s prayer, Paul asked that the Holy Spirit deepen His work in their lives in three ways:
1. That Christ would dwell–more literally, “be at home” in their hearts by faith, that is, that He would move from being an acquaintance to being the center of their church family;
2. That they would grasp God’s love at a spiritual level, beyond intellectual or theological knowledge.
3. That they would be filled with God’s fullness, that is, that the Holy Spirit would reveal the things of Christ (John 16) more fully, achieving God’s fuller work in each life unhindered, unquenched, ungrieved.

My Brothers and Sisters, let not your hearts be troubled, but pray always for everyone and for everything. God is a prayer answering God and He is waiting on you to call him up on His Hot Line, and the only way you can do that is through your prayers. Therefore, if you truly want to be EMPOWERED to do the Lord’s will, learn to PRAY FOR SPIRITUAL EMPOWERMENT!

OUR SONG OF PRAISE:

 

We thank you for joining us this day as we begin our new year of prayer and praise services lifting up the Lord and thanking Him daily for our blessings.  He is truly an awesome God.

 

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Letting go of the Past

My dear brothers and sisters, I submit to you that the future holds for each of you great possibilities, but in order for you to see the future you first must let go of the past.  Jesus challenges us to go forward with this profound statement, he says, “If any man puts his hand to the plow and looks back, he is not fit for the Kingdom…”

Now click on this short video and get the rest of the story…

 

For part two of this lesson, click on this link…

 

 

There was no room at the Inn for the Savior of the World

It was the night before Christmas, and the Savior of the World was about to be born, but there was no room to be found for this important birth to take place, so his family share a place in the stable with the animals.  Now listen to the rest of the story…

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