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Posts tagged ‘Jesu’

WILL YOU BE OBEDIENT AND ANSWER THE CALL OF JESUS?

WILL YOU BE OBEDIENT AND ANSWER THE CALL OF JESUS?

YOU ARE DESTINED TO BE A HARVEST WORKER?

"RIPE FOR HARVEST"

“READY FOR HARVEST” PHOTO BY SHIRLEY RHODES

WRITTEN BY SHIRLEY RHODES

 

Jesus gave the great command to “GO” which is known as the great commission to all believers, and he said, “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” teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the earth.”(Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV). Now we simply ask the question, “ARE YOU DESTINED TO BE A HARVEST WORKER?” We know that the harvest is ready, but we also know that the laborers are few; therefore, we ask the question once again, “ARE YOU DESTINED TO BE A HARVEST WORKER?”

We are created in the image of God, and therefore should be productive in what he has instructed each of us to do. To begin the process we must first understand the true meaning of how Jesus patiently labored among mankind teaching and instructing how to become connected to the source that is to guide you in decision making as well as taking on the challenge to “Go” and guidelines to “FOLLOW”. As you dig deep into his methods of explaining the process that guides and direct you to the right course, you will be able to distinguish the intricate weavings of how it all comes together at the appointed time.

Remember, he told his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into the harvest field” (Luke 10:2-7 NIV). The harvest field is the world, and we are challenged to go forth with the mission of winning souls for Christ so that they can share in the true meaning of freedom that has been bought and paid for.

His message is one of love, how we perceive and describe that message is the assignment.

“ARE YOU DESTINED TO BE A HARVEST WORKER?”

Picture in your mind, how Jesus in love and urgency, released those he had instilled the vision of love and sharing to the dying world when he said; “Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves,” a prime act of love. “Love” hovers over and protects their off-spring while they are young, tender and unlearned. When he released his disciples, he knew that they had taken time to learn of him, yet he cautions them; telling them to travel light and to stay focused on the goal for kingdom building.

Reminding them that trials and temptations are bound to come, so be alert; if you see a friend going wrong, correct him, if he responds forgive him even if it’s personal against you repeated several times a day and seven times he says ‘I’m sorry, I won’t do it again,’ forgive him (Luke 17:1-4 MGS). Jesus set an example, he went from town to village; village to town, keeping on a steady course, teaching, preaching and healing as he went; spreading the good news of Gods Kingdom.

Once again we ask the question, “ARE YOU DESTINED TO BE A HARVEST WORKER?”

Jesus said, “The servant who knows what his master wants and ignore it, are does whatever he pleases, will be thrashed, but if he does a poor job through ignorance, he’ll get off with a slap on the hand” (Luke 12:47-48 MGS). As harvest workers remember, great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities.

You, who are destined to be harvest workers, take on the servant attitude in obedience and humbleness, reminded of your purpose move with fear of God, filled with love and care for all. The goal is bringing souls into knowledge and understanding of whom Jesus is and his desire for all to become a part of the pattern for Gods’ kingdom. Remember the command, “GO.”

We thank you for studying with us today, and pray that this lesson has been a blessing to your soul. May God bless you, your family and the kingdom work you are doing in helping to bring lost souls into presence of Jesus; Amen.

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WE SHOULD CONSIDER OURSELVES BLESSED AND FAVORED

WE SHOULD CONSIDER OURSELVES BLESSED AND FAVORED

WRITTEN BY SHIRLEY RHODES

"Blessed"

Today, as we begin studying this lesson pause your thoughts for a moment and think deeply on how blessed you are to be right where you are this moment in time. Now understand that all of our blessings are a gift from God, learning to recognize the vastness of his love and generosity enables us to find pleasure in praise and thanksgiving as we show gratitude and appreciation; each hurdle triumphed, is reason enough to be thankful, in so doing, WE SHOULD CONSIDER OURSELVES BLESSED AND FAVORED.

 Jesus taught many principles about blessings and by following the pattern we are able to grasp the light that leads us form moments of darkness we sometimes face, to the brightness of his glory.

 

Jesus says, “You’re blessed when you’ve lost it all, God’s kingdom is there for the finding. You’re blessed when tears flow freely, (Matthew 5:3-12, MGS) joy comes in the morning. Every time someone cuts you down, smears and blackens your name,” count it all joy. Many sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ have been treated with acts of hate due to ignorance or lack of will on the part of others to understand the pattern, its true meaning. To those who are able to grasp the richness of it all, I can truly say, WE SHOULD CONSIDER OURSELVES BLESSED AND FAVORED.

 

Following the pattern is not without sacrifice in this earthly journey, trouble is all around and where-ever we find ourselves,  we must  remember to stay focused, keep our eyes on the prize, because we’re in a race for our very souls. If you are satisfied with yourself, without presence of the Holy Spirit in your life; your “self” will not satisfy you for long. Living for approval of others, doing what indulges them is as if you’re in a contest to win favor, remember our task is to be true, not popular. WE SHOULD CONSIDER OURSELVES BLESSED AND FAVORED, once we’ve made the choice and sacrifice to share in the “promise” which is available to all who are hungry, seeking truth and righteousness.

 

Sometimes we may find ourselves drifting like the wind, avoiding our true selves while the gentle voice of Jesus whispers, ‘come to me, surrender, give up the fight, lift your eyes toward the heavens my child, you are the love of my life,’ then WE SHOULD CONSIDER OURSELVES BLESSED AND FAVORED.

 Stir up the gift of life that is within, and let go of theold order, disobedience, mistrust, spiritual disorder-malice, envy, hurtful talk/attitudes. Take hold of the new order, rebuild, renew, and respond to the offer of “Unconditional Love.”

Blessings are a Gift from God which should encourage each of us to allow the Spirit to be our guide wherein we become alert, alive, listening, agreeable, loveable, and humble, filled with compassion. We SHOULD CONSIDER OURSELVES BLESSED AND FAVORED.

When your faith kicks in and your mind has conceived these thoughts, then you will understand just how blessed and favored you really are at this moment in time. You come into the full knowledge and understanding, that it was nothing but Gods’ grace and mercy that has allowed you to be in this place at this very moment.

 

CELEBRATING THE BEGINNING OF HOLY WEEK

CELEBRATING THE BEGINNING OF HOLY WEEK

THE LAST SUPPER (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

THE LAST SUPPER (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

INTRODUCTION TO THE LORD’S SUPPER

WRITTEN BY HAROLD RUSSWURM

Much has been written concerning the Lord’s Supper and its observation. It is suggested that you carefully examine all that is contained in this writing and then study the Bible to get a complete study of what inspired writers had to say about the Lord’s Supper. This writing will address such matters as the institution of the supper by our Lord, the practice of early Christians, some of the written teachings to local congregations by the writers of the New Testament, and what is expected of those of us participating in the partaking of the Supper. We should remember that the teachings of the Bible must always take place over what man may write or say. God‘s Word is truth and we must follow it to be pleasing to Him. Quotations contained in this booklet are taken from the New American Standard version of the Holy Bible.

INSTITUTION OF THE LORD’S SUPPER

Jesus, nearing his death upon the cross for the sins of all men, saw the necessity to provide a way whereby individual Christians could look back to the cross and remember Him. This was not the first time that some type of remembrance was used to help man recall a past event. After God had destroyed the world by water, He told Noah that He would make a covenant with man to never again destroy the world by water. To keep this firmly in the mind of man, God placed a rainbow in the sky and each time that man looked and saw the rainbow he would be reminded that God had made a promise to man. Today, many of us vividly call to our mind the occasion of the flood when we see a rainbow in the sky. You can read fully about this event in Genesis chapter 9 beginning with verse 8.

Just prior to the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt, God had sent a plague to take the life of every first born unless a lamb had been killed and eaten, then a portion of the blood placed upon the two side posts and the upper post of the door in which the lamb had been eaten (Exodus 12:3-14). The lives of the children of those who fully obeyed the Lord’s command were spared, as were the first born of the animals. Moses had been very careful in his instructions to the children of Israel. As a result, all those that faithfully followed his instructions did not see death come to their households. Many did lose their children and animals since theyrefused to obey God. As the people of that day looked upon the blood that had been placed on the post, they recalled that the Lord had passed over the house since they had obeyed Him. This became a remembrance to them as to how God had been with them.

Very specific instructions were given to the priests under the law of Moses in the offering of sacrifices as to how each sacrifice was to be offered and the purpose for which it was being offered. God was not pleased unless the priest fully obeyed His instructions. Read about Nadab and Abihu and what happened to them for offering strange fire upon the alter (Lev 10:1,2).

A reading of the entire book of Leviticus gives a good background on the expectations of the priest under the law of Moses. As the lamb without spot or blemish was the sacrifice under the Old Law, Jesus Christ become sour sacrifice under the New Covenant which is the law under which we live today. Jesus was totally aware of all that had happened in times past since He was “from the beginning” (John 1: 1) and had known that He would eventually give His life for the sins of man. With His understanding, He instituted the Lord’s Supper as something that would be helpful to man in remembrance of His cross, suffering and death, as well as His resurrection. See Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14- 23 and I Corinthians 11:23-29.

In the three gospel accounts, we find that Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to the disciples and told them to “take and eat; this is My body.” Jesus blessed or prayed over the bread before it was broken. This was symbolic of His body as being whole and unblemished as it was offered as a sacrifice upon the cross. It was a perfect sacrifice and would provide many benefits for His disciples of that day and future generations as well as beneficial to all of those that had been followers in times past.

Today we are to express to our Father, through His Son, our thanks for the giving of His Son upon the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, prior to breaking the bread. This should help us to remember the perfect sacrifice of Christ’s body as it was offered upon the cross. As He underwent great suffering even so we today must be willing to suffer as His disciples. The breaking of the bread will strengthen us to be willing and prepared to undergo the suffering that may come into our lives as we live for Him. Jesus also took the cup and after having given thanks, gave it to His disciples and told them to drink of it, stating that it was to be done in remembrance of Him.

Some today misunderstand the matter of “the cup.” In eating the bread, we do not eat the dish on which it is served and in drinking the cup we do not drink the container. We drink the contents of the cup. It is the contents that Christ is setting forth as the memorial of His blood and not the container. Jesus tells the disciples on this occasion that His blood is given for the forgiveness of sins. He tells them that He will not participate with them in this Supper until He “drinks it new with you in My Father’s Kingdom.”

This signifies that today as we partake of the bread and drink of the fruit of the vine, we are communing with the Lord. In order for us to receive the benefits, we must be in His Kingdom.

EARLY CHRISTIANS PARTAKE OF THE LORD’S SUPPER

“And on the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to depart the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight” (Acts 20:7). From this reading, we find that Paul, along with other followers of Jesus, met together upon the first day (Sunday) of the week. Some would try and confuse us as to the day we are to meet, but Paul had no doubt about the meeting day and since he was inspired of God and full of the Spirit let’s look to him as to when we are to come together.

It would appear that since the text does not deal with Paul having to teach them about the Lord’s Supper, that they were already aware of when to observe it from previous teaching since they had come together for this purpose. Each week has a first day, and this being the case, we are to partake of this memorial upon the first day of every week. There are no other teachings in the Scriptures that set out any other day or regularity other than upon the first day.

PAUL’S TEACHING TO THE CORINTHIANS

In I Corinthians 11, we find that even during the first century the Christians were misusing the Lord’s Supper; confusing it with a common meal. Paul rather severely admonishes them in this regard. In fact, in verse 20, he tells them that “when you meet together, it is not to eat of the Lord’s Supper.” Some were eating and leaving others hungry and others were becoming drunk. This was clearly a misuse of the Lord’s Supper according to the inspired Apostle Paul. Therefore, he issues a strong statement condemning this practice, “What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God, and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you” (I Corinthians 11:22).

After Paul has pointed out their unacceptable practice of using the Lord’s Supper, he then proceeded in the next verses of this chapter to teach them the proper way to observe this memorial supper. First of all, he tells them that he received of the Lord what he has delivered to them. This is so they might not have any question as to where this practice had its origin. This was from the Lord. Here again, Paul relates the institution of the Supper by the Lord. He tells them that after having given thanks, He broke the bread and told them to partake of the bread and eat it in remembrance of Him. Likewise, He took the cup in the same manner, and then told them that as often as they drank of it they were to do this in remembrance of Him. Then in verse 26, He tells them that “as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” To proclaim is to make known publicly. Therefore, we show forth the Lord’s death as we partake of the Lord’s Supper upon the first day of the week. This is not for physical fulfillment but is for spiritual nourishment. How long are we to proclaim the Lord’s death? Paul tells us that it is “until He comes.” Since He has already come one time, this refers to His second coming.

Paul goes on to tell them that it is possible to partake in an unworthy manner and therefore, be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. How would one be found guilty of the body and blood of the Lord? By eating and drinking in an unworthy manner. Examination is to be made by each of us each time we partake of this memorial. We are to guard our thoughts so as to partake of these representative emblems remembering Jesus and His death upon the cross for our sin. Paul in his writing states that many are weak and sickly in this matter, therefore, we today need to give heed so that we will not become such when we partake of the Lord’s Supper.

CHRIST vs. SATAN

After having spent some time in looking at the suffering of Christ and all that He has done for us, we should now ask ourselves what has Satan done for us? First of all, he lied to the first humans, Adam and Eve, in the garden and caused them to be driven from a perfect place to live. He has caused misery, suffering, pain, anguish, heartbreak, and all such bad things to happen to men throughout history. He continues today to try and place stumbling blocks in our pathway to cause us to leave the Way of the Lord. His appeal is based upon lies about happiness, joy, peace and all good things that man is seeking. God, Christ and the Holy Spirit base their appeal to us upon a great love that has been and continues to be manifested toward us daily. In view of the contrast should we not choose to remember Jesus and follow Him?

SOME PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS

We should guard our minds and the thoughts that enter them in such a way as to allow us to remember Jesus as we partake of the Lord’s Supper. We may have difficulty in controlling what thoughts enter our minds but we can readily control what remains in our meditations.

Either memorize the scriptures pertaining to the observation of the Lord’s Supper and use this as a time to reflect upon them or open your Bible and read from these sections of scripture. Many people have find this to be very beneficial in helping to remember Jesus.

Many very good songs have been written that can be used to help us properly reflect as we observe this feast by thinking about the words and their meanings.

In I Corinthians 10:16, we find that the cup is a sharing in the blood of Christ. From this we find that we do share with Christ as we partake of His Supper. This gives us sufficient motive to be willing to suffer physically or mentally and we signify this each time that we engage in the observation of this supper. How more readily could you and I draw nearer to Jesus than to be given a memorial in which we can remember His suffering and death upon the cross for us. It was out of love for each of us that Jesus was willing to be used as the perfect sacrifice upon the cross, therefore, we today need to remember Him and in so doing we will be drawn to Him. Love is the strongest motive that is possessed by man and to be Christ-like, we are to love. No motive will move us to obedience, service, or worship of God like love. Love is a lasting motivation and will bind us together with those of like faith.

CONCLUSION:

It is our hope and prayer that this short booklet will be of help to some in their weekly observance of partaking of the Lord’s Supper. If this is accomplished then this has been time well spent. Since this study is not presented in great detail, it will be necessary for you to go to the Word of God and meditate upon it to become fully aware of His teachings.

God’s Word will stand the test of time as it will be used to judge man in the last day. The Bible is true and following it will prepare us to meet our Savior.

Paul felt strongly enough to correct those at Corinth when they had begun to observe the Lord’s Supper in an improper manner. We must be careful today that we properly participate in this communion service. The partaking is for each individual Christian. Spiritual strength will be gained by proper observation of the Lord’s Supper. This strength can be used to help us live daily for Jesus. Therefore, we should look forward to communing with the Lord in His Supper on each first day of the week.

Summary

WHEN: Upon the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).

WHERE: Where gathered together (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:20).

HOW: Worthy manner (I Corinthians 11:27).

WHY: To remember Jesus (I Corinthians 11:23ff).

Written by Harold Russwurm

 

 

OBEDIENCE PUTS YOUR BLESSINGS WITHIN REACH

OBEDIENCE PUTS YOUR BLESSINGS WITHIN REACH

BY SHIRLEY RHODES

THE GARDEN OF EDEN (PHOTO BY SHIRLEY RHODES)

Worldly people often look at material loss, and think OBEDIENCE requires a high price, not realizing that by being obedient their blessing may be within reach.

Therefore, the bible teaches us in Psalm 27, that we must learn to wait on the Lord: Wait (trust) on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

The Bible speaks truth to power, it is up to each one of us to seek out its truth and be empowered by the knowledge it provides us.  Remember, “OBEDIENCE PUTS YOUR BLESSINGS WITHIN REACH!” When we are filled with sin and wondering why we are lacking in our BLESSINGS, we can always find comfort and strength in the word because it will always speak to our hearts.

Now listen to what it says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” (Hebrews 12:1 NIV).

When we are filled with sin, we struggle to move forward towards the prize that God has waiting for us.  The prize has our individual names written on it.  But because we are weighted down by sin, we are called to strip off every weight that might slow us down.  We as Christians must be “SPIRTUALLY TRIM,” and able to run the race unencumbered.  We must run with endurance the race that God has set before us, because we do not select the course, God marks it out.

There are many believers who are willing to humble themselves for the cause of Christ, and conclude that mere material possessions do not come before their desire to be OBEDIENT to the Lord.

Paul sums it up this way:  The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing in the trash—along with every-thing else I used to take credit for, And why? Because of Christ; yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, first hand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant, I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him.  I gave up all inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it. Let’s keep focused on that goal, those who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that you’re on the right track, let’s stay on it (Philippians 3:7-11, 15-16 Mgs.)

OBEDIENCE (PHOTO BY SHIRLEY RHODES)

God wants to bless you, and He wants to do it right now.  He is your heavenly Father, and just like your earthly Father, when you do well, he rewards you, and when you are disobedient, he punishes you.  When you are OBEDIENT to your heavenly Father, He will open up the windows of Heaven an pour you out a BLESSING that your bank account will not be able to contain.  Now chew on that thought for a moment and listen to how God blesses the person that is willing to be OBEDIENT and follow His instructions, this is what He says:

How well God must like you— you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon, you don’t slink along Dead-End Road, you don’t go to Smart-Mouth College. Instead you thrill to God’s Word; you chew on Scripture day and night. You’re a tree replanted in Eden, bearing fresh fruit every month, never dropping a leaf, always in blossom. You’re not at all like the wicked, which are mere windblown dust–Without defense in court, unfit company for innocent people.

God charts the road you take.  The road they take is Skid Row. Therefore, I say to you, who are continuing to live in sin, let your minds be bathing in the power of God’s word and know that, “OBEDIENCE PUTS YOUR BLESSINGS WITHIN REACH!” “For we may not know what tomorrow holds for us, but we should be glad to know the One who holds our tomorrow.”

HOW SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND VIOLENCE DESTROY FAMILIES PART TWO

HOW SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND VIOLENCE DESTROY FAMILIES PART TWO

God‘s Marvelous Light (photo by Pastor Davis)

By Shirley Rhodes

LIVING IN THE GROWTH PROCESS OF GOD’S MARVELOUS LIGHT

Substance abuse is destroying our families, communities and country in general, and in lesson one as many of the lesson we share with you here, we do so in order that all of us may come into God’s marvelous light and help break this evil spirit that is penetrating the hearts and minds of too many of our family members.  In the first lesson of this format we presented you with three points to consider:

1.     The beginning: Growth process of children

2.     Breaking down of the physical body

3.     Social influence (social status)

Now let us consider the facts below; from the very beginning God already had a plan for our lives, and our parents were no accident, they were a chosen vessel. Many may question,” Why did I end up with parents that never knew me because they themselves were caught up in the cycle of abuse,” “how did I end up in such an environment?” I’m not sure how to answer such questions, yet the thought is like a plague. It seems as if those born under such circumstances never really had a chance for a better or different life, many are victims of their environment.

As Christians, how do we address such questions? A child is supposed to be nurtured and loved, provided the essentials of life to survive, yet we turn our heads as if it’s not me or my child so it’s not my problem. Children are left to the streets and many find their own way carving friendships that say you are a part of us. The environment may be one that’s gang related, drug infested and no particular rules of society are acknowledged. These same children only know the ways of the street and have little respect for those who attempt to show them that there is another way. Some are so hardened by the time they reach preteen years they either end up in jail or dead.

Many use drugs simply because for them that is their life. How do we turn the tide of our young people? How do we reach adults ravaged by the effects of daily drug use? It may not be your problem but at some point these children become adults, will they follow the same cycle before them or is there a way to reach them before it’s too late to intervene. Parents, Christians, Neighbors, Friends, society as a whole must consider the plight of a child from the very beginning, God has a plan for their life, and it does not have to be wasted. Then again we may ask ourselves, “where do we begin and what direction do we take to reverse the curse?

Social status for some people is what they crave and work to obtain, and how its’ obtained, as well as how they get there matters. While seeking worldly status, along with our many treasures, how often do we stop or slow down long enough to lift a sister or brother pressed down by the hardness of life. Many will say they had a choice and the life they live is what they have chosen, is that really truth? Social status sometimes places us in an environment where we eventually conform to what surrounds us. Our social circle may be one where alcohol and drugs are a part of who we become in order to fit in. Many often find themselves caught up in a web so tight they’re not able to find their way out. When continuing on this course they see no more than just the moment and that moment can end up being very dark.

Consider the teachings of Jesus, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust corrupt, where thieves break through and steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye and if your eye is clear, the whole body shall be full of light. If your eye is foggy, your whole body shall be full of darkness, how terrible is that darkness.” (Matthew 6: 19, 21-23 KJV). So as Christians, family and friends, let’s be conscious of the needs of our children, our families, and society as a whole while we adapt and follow the pattern Jesus has given for living productive lives, as we LEARN TO LIVE IN THE GROWTH PROCESS OF GOD’S MARVELOUS LIGHT.

 

WHY DID NICODEMUS WAIT UNTIL THE COVER OF DARK TO VISIT JESUS?

Jesus, on the left, instructing Nicodemus, on ...

Jesus, on the left, instructing Nicodemus, on the right (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WHY DID NICODEMUS WAIT UNTIL THE COVER OF DARK TO VISIT JESUS?

This is a question that has been debated by scholars for centuries, and unfortunately the scriptures do not give us a clear and compelling answer.  However, what we do know is this, “Nicodemus is a Pharisee at the top of his field. Not only is he a member of the Sanhedrin, he is the most renowned Bible teacher of his day.  We also know that the Jewish religious leaders were divided into several groups.  Two of the most prominent groups were the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  The Pharisees separated themselves from anything non-Jewish and carefully followed both the Old Testament laws and the oral traditions handed down through the centuries.  As a “leader,” he was a member of the Jewish ruling council.  Although the Romans controlled Israel politically, the Jews were given some authority over religious and minor civil disputes.  The Jewish ruling body was the council made up of seventy-one of Israel’s religious leaders.

The question before us is still, “why did Nicodemus wait until the cover of dark to visit Jesus and what motivated him to come in the first place?”  Under the cover of darkness, this well respected and influential religious man, this prominent national leader of noble decent and inherited wealth, this intellectual man who wielded great religious authority, this designated secret spokesman who represented some of his colleagues from the Jewish ruling council, waits until the cover of darkness to sneak in for a visit with Jesus.  This remains me of the way some of us prefer to do things [under the cover of darkness].

However, this question still rattles our brain, but from what we understand from scripture, we can try and fill in some of the blanks.  First, we know that Nicodemus was both impressed and curious about Jesus and chose to form his opinions about him from firsthand conversation.  Second, it is possible that he did not want to be seen with Jesus in broad daylight because he feared reproach from his fellow Pharisees (who did not believe in Jesus as the Messiah).  Finally, it might not have been fear that brought Nicodemus in the cover of dark; but it is possible that he chose a time when he could talk alone and at length with the popular teacher who was often surrounded by people.

No matter how we look at this question, how we think about it as it might relate to us, it still remains that Nicodemus chose the cover of dark to visit with Jesus.  However, what Nicodemus did not know are understand was that his own night was blacker than he knew.  He was living in complete darkness and he did not know that truth, was about to be revealed to him.

Now as he sit before the Master Teacher, this is what Jesus tells him, “So don’t be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be ‘born from above’—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next. That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.”

Nicodemus asked, “What do you mean by this? How does this happen?”

Jesus said, “You’re a respected teacher of Israel and you don’t know these basics? Listen carefully. I’m speaking sober truth to you. I speak only of what I know by experience; I give witness only to what I have seen with my own eyes. There is nothing secondhand here, no hearsay. Yet instead of facing the evidence and accepting it, you procrastinate with questions. If I tell you things that are plain as the hand before your face and you don’t believe me, what use is there in telling you of things you can’t see, the things of God?

“This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”

What a tragedy that people have turned away from God’s offer, embracing instead the darkness in hopes of covering up evil actions.  There is probably no more painful moment than when we honestly confront our tendency to love darkness, to twist or withhold the truth.  The Son did not come to judge, but in the light of his character the sharp shadows of our sinfulness stand out.  The people who hate the light are those who want to sin in the darkness.  Evil deeds are revealed by the light, so people who want to do evil must do it in the dark so they cannot be exposed and caught in the act.

According to the context, to do what is right is to come to Christ, the light; the result of coming to the light and living in the light will be clearly seen in believer’s lives.  Christ’s life in us will make our lives able to stand exposure to bright light, for our deeds will be honest, pure, and truthful.  Now we can truly see that Nicodemus was able to see the light that night and experience God love from the Master Teacher because Nicodemus character was changed that very night under the cover of darkness with a meeting with the Master Teacher.

In closing, I leave you with this question, “Are you a modern day Nicodemus, living in the darkness, and seeking answers?”  Know that it is time to open yourself up and be exposed to God’s shining light.  Know the truth and the truth will set you FREE.  I minister to you this day from a position of peace, power, purpose and prosperity.  I remain your brother in Jesus, PASTOR DAVIS/MASTER TEACHER!

 

THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND AND JESUS PREACHED IT

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber to be an example of a charismatic religious leader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND AND JESUS PREACHED IT

Now let us understand this one truth, and that there is, “ONLY ONE GOSPEL;” Jesus preached it, transmitted it to His disciples, and has committed it to His church.  Paul warned us against ever receiving any other gospel. “Any other” may be either a message of outright error or an argument for a diluted message, devoid of power though nominally Christian.  Jude 3 urges us always to contend for the original, “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”  Hold to the full “gospel of the kingdom,” and expect the Lord to confirm that “word” with the signs He promised.

Therefore, after John was put in prison Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

It is clear to all of us that the early church proclaimed the same message Jesus preached, that is, “the gospel of the kingdom of God.”  Also they experienced the same confirming evidences that were present in His ministry.

You truly must know without a doubt that Jesus‘ministry did not begin until He received His “anointing” as the Messiah, the empowering that came through the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Him.  Though conceived and born by the Spirit’s power, He insisted that John baptize Him, not for repentance, but because He knew the Holy Spirit would come upon Him at that time.  From that moment forward, He is led by the Spirit and moves into the ministry declaring the presence of God’s kingdom and manifesting its miracles, signs, and wonders.

This pathway points each believer to the need for power, if kingdom ministry is to be advanced through us, His church. Like Him, we, too, are “born of the Spirit.” Though obviously, our spiritual birth is not as His biological virgin birth, the point remains.

Spiritual rebirth saves, but spiritual inducement is needed for ministering in kingdom power.  Similarly, our justification in Christ-being declared sinless (2 Cor. 5:21)-does not qualify for kingdom power in ministry.  In His incarnation Jesus’ Person and perfection exceeded ours in every way, yet Jesus still acknowledged the need for His own receiving of the power of the Holy Spirit to pursue His ministry.  What more needs to be said?  Let each of us personally hear His command: “Receive the Holy Spirit!” (John 20:22).

Now let us conclude with this thought, by encouraging you to think deeply on the Kingdom of God and its meaning in your life. Today I minister to you from a position of peace, power, purpose and prosperity. Always encouraging you to think globally and work locally.  I remain your brother in ChristPastor Davis/Master Teacher.

 

 

IS THERE LIFE FOR MANKIND AFTER DEATH THE NEXT LESSON

jesus-christ-ressurected

IS THERE LIFE FOR MANKIND AFTER DEATH THE NEXT LESSON

In our last lesson we concluded with this last paragraph, “Our hope of deliverance from sin in this world (see Romans 6:4, 11, 12) and the reality of life in the next (1 Corinthians 15:17-23) are dependent upon the resurrection of Jesus. The incarnation of God’s Son, His sinless life and vicarious death, would have availed nothing if He had been kept a prisoner of death. The saints of all ages would remain in their graves, sealed forever, if Christ had not broken the power of death and come forth to immortal life. And Christians would have been “false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised” (1 Corinthians 15:15)!”

Do we understand what this mean for our new life?  Now I encourage you to pause your reading right here.  Go back and read this paragraph again, meditate on it, then pick up your Bible, read, study and meditate on these three scriptures before plowing deeper into this lesson.  We want you to fully understand and comprehend the depth and scope of these words and the fact that our new life depends totally on the resurrection of Jesus.

Now that you have read, studied and meditated on these scriptures, let’s move on and see how we are going to fit into OUR NEW SPIRITUAL BODY.  This should excite you greatly; it sends chills up my spine just to think how God has seen everything in the future and made plans for our eternal life cycle.

The Bible provides us with much hope for a future life, and Paul shares that hope with us, that there is truly LIFE AFTER DEATH in (2 Corinthians 5:1-2).  In these two beautiful verses we find these very important words: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.”

In the fifteenth chapter of I Corinthians, Paul again preaches to those who have no faith in the LIFE AFTER DEATH. This wonderful chapter is used by the majority of MINISTERS to bring comfort and faith to those who have been bereaved by the loss of their loved ones. “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”  This should get you excited and make you want to shout and thank God for all he has done to plan for your continuation of LIFE AFTER DEATH.  If you truly believe in the word of God, there should be no doubt whatsoever in your mind about what God can and will do.

However, we discover in the days of old, man had no such hope for a LIFE AFTER DEATH.    During the old dispensation and all through the Old Testament, to him the grave ended all. We find such discouragement when we read the ninth chapter of Ecclesiastes, the fifth verse, where the statement is made, “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.”  As we have moved forward into the teachings of Jesus and understanding his DEATH and RESURRECTION, we now know and can rejoice in a future hope of LIFE AFTER DEATH.

Let us pause this lesson right here and pick it up on the other side of midnight.  You must return again and again to truly understand just how greatly the DEATH and RESSURECTION of JESUS CHRIST affects us all in a very profound way.

I encourage you to think deeply on the Scriptures because there you will find the truth of God’s word and what he wants you to know and understand about his son’s LIFE, DEATH and RESSURECTION.  I have ministered to you on this day from a position of PEACE, POWER, PURPOSE and PROSPERITY.  I remain your brother in JESUS CHRIST, PASTOR DAVIS/MASTER TEACHER. 

ARE YOU FOCUSING ON YOURSELF OR ON GOD, WHAT IS YOUR THOUGHT LIFE ABOUT?

THE SOLUTION IS LIFE ON GOD’S TERMS (ROMANS 8:1-14 MSG)   

English: Bible in candlelight.

Image via Wikipedia The Holy Bible in Candle Light

 

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ‘s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.

The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.

Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.

But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!

So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent? There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!  “THE SOLUTION WILL ALWAYS BE, LIFE ON GOD’S TERMS”!

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