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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Do You Need A Revision?

A friend and fellow blogger wrote a post about writing yesterday, and titled it "The End or The Finish." In her post, Glenda Mathes said, in essence, that when a writer has finished writing a story, novel or whatever, she still has to go back and revise it to make it the best it can be. I couldn't agree with her more, but as I reflected on the post, it occurred to me that her concept could very well apply to the Christian walk as well.

How many of us have found ourselves at the end of  the rope, so to speak, before we decided that something must be done. How many of us have ignored the signals sent to us by the Holy Spirit to turn around and revise our ways and now we are hanging by a thread, wondering when would it end? In the Old Testament God sent prophets to the people to tell them when they were doing wrong. But in most cases, they ignored the prophets and suffered greatly for it. Read about Eli the priest and his sons (1 Samuel 2 : 33 - 35); Nathan and David (2 Samuel 12 : 1 - 19); the prophets and King Jehoiakim (2 Kings 24 : 1 - 2) ; the prophet Daniel and King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4 : 25; 28 - 33) and many others.

After Daniel had interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar's dream to him, he ended with these words:  "Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue" (v 27). This story has a happy ending. After the prophecy was fulfilled, and the king lost all he had, including his sanity, he looked up to heaven and acknowledged God (v 34 - 37). 

Maybe you are in need of some revision before you reach your end. Maybe you feel the nudging of the Holy Spirit, but don't know where or how to begin. You cannot do it on your own. Ask Jesus Christ to come into your life and make you a new creature. The minute you do that, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you and begins the revision process. He'll remove everything that is keeping you from being a worthwhile servant of God. Don't put it off. The end may be near. Are you ready?

Sunday, April 08, 2012

The Testimony of Easter

Easter Sunday, or Resurrection Sunday, is the pivotal event of the Christian faith. It commemorates the day when Jesus slapped death in the face, snatched the keys of death, hell and the grave from Satan and rose triumphantly from the tomb. Jesus did exactly what He said He would:  "And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock , and to scourge , and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again " (Matthew 20: 19). Read also Luke 24: 7, 46; John 3: 16; 10 : 17. 

Jesus made many references to his impending death, burial and resurrection before they occurred, yet His disciples paid little heed to His word. Just as many of us still pay little heed to the hundreds of preachers, teachers and literature that proclaim His death and the fact that He is coming again. No wonder there are so many atheists and lukewarm Christians among us. This Easter Sunday and in the days to come, let us examine the testimony of Easter and see the truth that lies therein. Let us read the account of the empty tomb in Jerusalem, the discovery made by Mary Magdalene and the report of hundreds of eyewitnesses and we'll see that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. And as He died, we too must die - to self, to our stubborn will, to our selfish desires, and rise to a new life with Jesus Christ. Can we do it? The video below by Dr. S. M. Lockridge says it much better than I ever can. Watch and enjoy!

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Sunday, April 01, 2012

Everybody Ought To Know

Behold the Lamb of GodBehold the Lamb of God (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today Christians all over the world are  celebrating Palm Sunday, the commemoration of Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem, just a few days before He was crucified. Every year my church puts on an Easter Cantata to portray this historic event. This year the theme  was "Everybody ought to know" based on the chorus by that name. And as I watched the old, familiar events played out before me, I thought what a wonderful way to present the Savior to those who know, as well as, those who don't know Him.

So, let me ask you, do you know who Jesus is? In case you don't know, Jesus is:

1. The Savior of the world. 

He came to this earth as a little babe, born to a virgin named Mary, who was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph. However, Jesus was not conceived through the union of Mary and Joseph. The Bible says, "Behold , a virgin shall be with child , and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is , God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:  And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS." ( Matthew 1 : 23 - 25).  Isaiah 33: 22 says,  "For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is he who will save us."

2. The spotless lamb of God.

"The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith , Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1 : 29).  In the Old Testament, God commanded the children of Israel to sacrifice a lamb as an atonement for their sins. But the lamb always had to be without spot or blemish.  "Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats" ( Exodus 12 : 5). After the children of Israel were delivered out of Egypt, God instructed them to keep a passover feast in celebration of this event. This was held on the fourteenth day of the first month. Fast forward to the New Testament and we see Jesus prophesying to His disciples that He would be betrayed around the time of the passover. And while the disciples prepared for the passover, the scribes and pharisees were plotting to kill Jesus. Only Jesus, because He was born without sin and lived a sinless life, was worthy to became the passover lamb.

He is seated at the right hand of God the Father 

"The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool (Matthew 22:44). After Jesus died and was buried, He rose on the third day and later ascended into heaven. "And it came to pass , while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven" ( Luke 24 : 51). And how do we know He is seated on God's right hand. First, David prophesied it in the quote from Matthew and Jesus stated it boldly when He was being tried by the high priest. "Jesus said , I am : and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven" (Mark 14: 62). " So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right handof God" (Mark 16: 19).

He is coming again

Jesus told His disciples, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am , there ye may be also" (John 14 : 3). "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn , and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Matthew 24 : 30). "Behold , he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen" (Revelations 1 : 7). When Jesus came the first time He came as a helpless little baby lying in a manger. When He comes the next time, He is coming as ruler and judge.

Yes, everybody ought to know what Jesus means to us as believers. We do not boast idly about Him or our relationship with Him. Everything we know of Jesus is authenticated in Scripture, and this is why the pageant we put on at our church each year, the Scriptures we read, the hymns we sing never grow stale to me, because they solidify my knowledge of my Savior and the hope I have in Him. 
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