Worship The Lord Jesus

In Jesus Is True Joy!

Turning The World Upside-Down For Jesus

But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world Surrenderupside down have come here too.  —  Acts 17:6

This was a complaint against Paul and those working with him made by the Jews when Paul came to Thessalonica.  The Jews were not happy because Paul was upsetting the status quo and many Jewish followers were instead following Jesus in every city that Paul visited.  The Jewish complaint was, in fact, a complaint against Paul’s overwhelming success in persuading people to follow Jesus.

Paul’s success as an evangelist is undeniable, and “turning the world upside-down” seems a proper description of what Paul accomplished.

So, as I look at the Church today, I don’t see nearly the intensity that I see recounted in the Bible.  In fact, in the Western World at least, I see the Church as being ineffectual for the most part, and I wonder why.  And in wondering, I think I have some idea why we are so ineffective.

So lets look at the average Western believer for a minute.  He, or she, is likely married, working and with children, supporting a mortgage payment, two or more cars, looking to get ahead in their career, and looking for ways to make life a little easier and more comfortable.  More likely than not, these people came to Jesus by praying a simple prayer and were told that if they were sincere in their prayer, then their eternal destiny is safe in Jesus.

Okay, done.  They will go to Church when they get tje chance, maybe even put a few dollars in the offering plate.  But their eternal destiny is secure, so they don’t need to let any religious exercise get in the way of pursuing their next raise or a better car or even a bigger house.

And that, to a large extent describes the Church and the average believer.

But lets look at Paul and see if we can see why he was able to turn the world upside down for Jesus.  I think if you compare Paul’s life to the life of the average believer today, you would say that the reason that Paul was so effective is that Paul lived an upside-down life.  Living upside-down would be taking all of the commonly accepted behaviors, things that we might consider to be our top priorities, and turning upside-down, making a top priority a bottom priority instead.

We might like to live in security, knowing that we have a roof over our head, a car in the garage, and a steady income so we can always count on our next meal.  Paul, on the other hand, might have considered it a good day if he was not both stoned and shipwrecked in the same day.

We are happy that we are saved and know it because we prayed a little prayer one time.    Paul said:

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  —  Galatians 2:20

We may find ourselves flirting with sin from time to time, but Paul was dead to sin:

Likewise also reckon yourselves to be truly dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ, Jesus, our Lord.  —  Romans 6:11

Sin had no place in Paul’s life, rather, he presented his body to God:

Neither present your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, but present yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  —  Romans 6:13

And finally, Paul took very seriously the words of Jesus:

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  —  Luke 9:23

Jesus was not part of Paul’s life, not even the most important part.  Jesus was Paul’s life!  Paul’s life was upside-down from we we consider normal and acceptable, and as a result, Paul, along with the other Apostles and early believers, was able to turn his world upside-down.

Will you join me in praying for an army of upside-down believers to dramatically change the direction of the Church in North America and Europe?

 

 

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April 8, 2014 Posted by | America In Crisis, Evangelism, Faith, Revival | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Good Shepherd

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.  But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.  To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.  And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.  And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

That is Jesus speaking from The Gospel of John, Chapter 10, and verses 1-5.Jesus-Good-Shepherd-16

As followers of Jesus,we are to be so familiar with His voice that we can instinctively discern His voice and follow it, and at the same time discern the voice of a stranger and reject it.  And some glorious day, in a day when Sin is no more and we are all part of The New Earth, it will be so, but not today.

Today we find ourselves in bodies that were created in /sin and raised  in a corrupt world system.  Sad as it is to admit, following the voice of a stranger is all too easy.  That voice might be the voice of wealth, or power, or lust, or any of a host of voices that are part of this evil world.  If it were not for our God’s grace and mercy and His infinite patience with His children, we would not stand a chance.

Oh, what a blessing that we have a Savior who is able to identify with our temptations, and forgiving enough to forgive us as many times as we require forgiveness.

Thank you Lord Jesus that you have redeemed us from our sinful state and reconciled us to the Father by your incredible sacrificial love.  When I think of what you put up with from me, I can only bow my knee and give thanks!

March 2, 2014 Posted by | Christian, God's Grace, Worship | , , , , , | 2 Comments

There Is Nothing Left To Say But Thank You!

If I were to ask any born again Christian if they believe that Jesus died for all of their sins, I know that nearly all of them would answer with an unequivocal “Yes!”.  And that is great, because Jesus truly did die for all of our sins.  And, if that were all there was to it, I wouldn’t be writing this blog.

Unfortunately, probably a majority of those who answered “yes” to the first question would, if asked, “What do you make of verses like John 1:9 then?”, would answer with something to the effect of we need to keep short accounts with God, otherwise we will be out of fellowship with Him.  It is that issue that I would like to address in this post.

If Jesus truly died for all of our sins, and I believe there is ample evidence to conclude this decisively, then there are no sins left for God to hold against us, correct?  If God is still holding my sins against me, then it must not really be forgiven.  If it is not forgiven, how can it be dealt with?  It seems to me that if any of my sins are yet unforgiven that Jesus would have to die once again to make payment for it.  And we know the Bible is clear, that is not going to happen.  The Bible says that Christ died for sins once!

Another explanation I have heard is that today, we get our sins forgiven by confessing them  to God and then repenting of them.  Really?  If sins can be forgiven by confession and repentance, then why did Christ have to die?  If we believe that sins can be forgiven so easily today, then we are doing two things, first, we are drastically under estimating the seriousness of sin, and second, we are drastically under valuing the preciousness of Christ’s blood.  We are saying that our (works) confession and repentance are of equal value to Christ’s blood.  I would call that pretty close to blasphemy, wouldn’t you?

No, the title of this piece says it all.  When we sin, there is nothing that we can do but fall on our face in worship and thanksgiving that our God has already forgiven our sin when Jesus spilled His precious blood on our behalf and accept His free gift of Love for His children.

The person who lives a life of confession and repentance lives in constant fear that he might have missed  a sin, or that maybe his confession or repentance is not sincere enough.

The person who lives a life knowing that His sins are already forgiven lives in continual thanksgiving, worship, and praise of His Lord for the gracious gift He has provided.

August 2, 2012 Posted by | Discipleship, Forgiveness, God's Grace, Knowing Jesus, Revival, Salvation, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

All We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray

I have little doubt that most already recognize Isaiah 53:6, which, in the King James reads:

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

At once, this verse is both a commentary on the desperation of Man’s condition before God and a prophesy about the sacrifice that was to be made by the Messiah in becoming the propitiation for our sins.

During worship and prayer this morning during church I was meditating on the love that the Lord has for His children.  I don’t know about you, but I have wandered away from the Lord several times in  my life.  Whether by alcohol and drugs, of by engaging in immoral sexual practices, or by putting other things first in my life which are, if we are being honest, forms of idolatry, I have strayed far from the Lord’s chosen path for me on a number of occasions.  On any of those occasions the Lord would have been more than justified to just throw up His hands and say, “Fine! If you like being apart from Me so well the just GO!  I am finished with you!”

But He never did, and He never would.  But today in particular, I was feeling enveloped by a love so strong that even my worst sin would never even dent His steadfast love for me.

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.  —  Luke 15:4-7

Today, I saw this parable in a different light.  I believe that it not only refers to the person who strays in a bit way by falling into drug use or infidelity to one’s spouse or anything that may draw us away from our Savior’s love and guidance for months or even years.  It also refers to the one, I believe, who falls into temptation and sin even for an hour, even for a minute.  At the moment when we realize that we are engaging in sin, and that we are breaking our Savior’s heart, when we turn again to follow Him who bought us with His own blood, there is rejoicing in heaven that a wayward son or daughter, a wandering sheep, has turned away from the darkness of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and has chosen rather to gaze into the eternally loving face of their Savior.

Lord, reveal Your steadfast love that I may choose the world less and less, and You more and more.  Amen!

July 29, 2012 Posted by | Faith, God's Grace, Godliness, Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

God Loves You! It’s As Simple As That

Have you ever broken any of the Ten Commandments?  Come on now, be honest.  Have you ever lied?  Have you ever seen something that belonged to another and wanted it for your own?  Have you ever stolen anything?  Even a small thing?  Have you ever committed adultery?  Remember, Jesus said that if you have ever looked on a woman to lust after her, that you have committed adultery with her in your heart.  How about murder?  Jesus said that if you are angry with your brother that you are subject to the judgment.

So, the average person, in God’s eyes is a Lying, covetous, thieving, adulterer who may very well be a murderer as well.  If you or I were to stand before God with a record like that, what do you think the outcome would be?

If God is just, and He is, the only possible verdict that He could reach is the verdict of guilty, with the punishment being death, permanent spiritual separation from God.  In fact, that is the judgment that each of us has in our future.  The Bible says that the wages of sin is death.  (Romans 6:23)

The wages of sin is death, and we are all guilty of it.  We are all guilty because we all have sinned.  That’s pretty bad news for all of us, devastating!  But it doesn’t have to be.

You see, I left off the second half of Romans 6:23.  Here is the whole verse:

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  —  Romans 6:23

From the first verse that talks about sin and death, we might get the impression that God hates us.  But really, just the opposite is true.  The reason we are sinners is our own personal choice.  We sinned, and death, or separation from God is the natural consequence of sin.  Just as gravity is a law of the physical universe, the law of sin and death is a law of the spiritual realm.  If we step off a cliff, we fall.  If we sin, we die.

If God did not care about His creation, He could have left things that way.  We made a choice, and it is only right that we should pay the price.

But God loves us!

He was not willing to leave us in our condition of spiritual death, so, He offered His Son, Jesus, The Christ, to die in our place and pay the full price for every sin we ever committed and for every sin that we ever will commit.  Jesus, truly God in human flesh, and truly human as well.  He was tempted in every way, even as we are, and yet, without sin.  (see Hebrews 4:15)  Having lived a sinless life, He was in a position to take on the punishment of others, of you and me.

When Jesus died on the cross, it was not a tragic accident, it was the fulfillment of why He came to earth in the first place.

And, to everyone who will acknowledge that they are a sinner and in need of God’s mercy, and will trust in The Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, God extends the gift of new and eternal life.  The Bible says it this way:

that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;  —  Romans 10:9

God loves each of us enough that He was willing to take our just punishment so that we might live with Him forever.  And if you accept His Son, Jesus, as your own Savior, that is just what will happen.  The Bible says:

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  —  Romans 8:1-2

Won’t you accept God’s gift of eternal life now?  It is as simple as admitting to God that you are a sinner and need the salvation that He has provided in His Son.  Do it now, ask God to forgive your sin and you will receive His gift of eternal life.

If you have accepted God’s gift of life, I hope that you will take a few minutes and leave a comment here and tell others what you have done.  Or, if that makes you feel uncomfortable, you are always welcome to send me an email.

God bless you!

June 28, 2012 Posted by | Christian, Discipleship, Evangalism, Forgiveness, God's Grace, Salvation | , , , , , | 25 Comments

God’s New Math: Addition Through Subtraction

This morning our Pastor’s sermon was on sanctification and his title was the same as this post.  He preached from two texts, which I quote:

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness andworldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13  waiting for our blessedhope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14  who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.  —  Titus 2:11-14

23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.  —  1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

The best part of the sermon though was the illustration, which was about the purifying of silver.

Silver is mined from the ground in the form of silver ore.  The ore is pulverized into powder and then put into a pot or cauldron where it is heated to over 900 degrees Celsius.  As the silver melts, it sinks to the bottom, being heavier than the surrounding ore.  Once all of the silver is melted, the slag, or dross, is left on the top where it is scooped off and disposed of.  When the process is almost complete, the refiner will stir the molten silver to make sure that there are no pockets of slag remaining under the surface.  As these pockets are loosened, they too float to the top, where they can be disposed of.

The refiner knows the process of purification (or in human terms, sanctification) is complete when he looks into the surface of the silver and sees his own image reflected without blemish.

The analogy of God purifying His saints is perfect.  As God subtracts the sin from our lives, He replaces it with His holiness.  His work in us is complete when He looks into our being, and the reflection He sees is His own, perfect in holiness.

 

My daily prayer:  Lord, I ask that You remove from my life anything that displeases You, until all that You see when You look at me is You.

April 29, 2012 Posted by | Godliness, Revival, Sanctification, Uncategorized, Worship | , , , , | 9 Comments

Are We Fans Or Followers Of Christ

I am reading the book, “Not A Fan: Becoming A Completely Committed Follower Of Jesus”, by Kyle Idleman.

 

The first section of the book is devoted to distinguishing between the fans and followers of Christ.

 

Fans tend to want Jesus as part of their lives, but only to the extent that they are not too inconvenienced by His presence.  For example, fans want what Jesus offers, as long as they don’t have to give more financially than they are comfortable with.  Fans want Jesus, but are not willing to give up that favorite sin, whether that sin be drinking or drugs, sexual immorality, lying, coveting, etc.  Fans want Jesus, Continue reading

March 31, 2012 Posted by | Discipleship, Godliness, Knowing Jesus | , , , , | 14 Comments

God’s Forgiveness Is Complete In Jesus

A few months ago, after much prayer, I began what I refer to as a mountaintop experience with the Lord.  I was always singing and praising God and temptation was the easiest thing to avoid.

I believe as a result of further prayer, this time for the Lord to reveal in me something He wants me to change, that mountaintop experience came to an end.

I felt this was the Lord’s doing, though I did not understand why though I knew He had my good at heart.  One result of losing that mountaintop experience was that I found myself giving in to temptation.  It was nothing blatant, not at first, but only delaying briefly before pushing the temptation away and seeking the Lord’s righteousness to replace the temptation. Continue reading

January 28, 2012 Posted by | Forgiveness, God's Grace, Prayer | , , , , | 5 Comments

A Biblical Perspective On Sin

I have been a Christian since 1980, or, for nearly thirty-two years.  I have spent much  of my Christian walk thinking that the main goal of the Christian life is to stop sinning so that I may be pleasing to my God.  I have spent so much energy seeking ways to stop sinning that it is sick!  Perhaps you have done the same.  If so, I will ask you the question that I was asked today.  Has it worked?  Have you been successful in removing the sin from you life?  If you are like me, and if you are being honest with yourself, you will likely have to admit, as I did, that no, it has not worked.

So, I ask myself, why do I want to stop sinning?  Is it because I fear that God will punish me if I continue to sin?  God’s word says,

Continue reading

January 14, 2012 Posted by | Forgiveness, God's Grace, Godliness | , , , , , | 24 Comments

Jesus Take the Wheel

First of all, I would like to thank Bernadette for her wonderful post, Jesus Take the Wheel, and for introducing me to the song of the same name by Carrie Underwood.

I read her post this morning and commented on it, but in thinking about it afterwards, I realized that I have more to say, and I wanted to share it here.

Continue reading

January 11, 2012 Posted by | God's Grace, Knowing Jesus, Prayer, Uncategorized | , , , | 8 Comments