Wednesday, May 26, 2010
(Deu 8:18) "And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth…
Memorial Day is a United States holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, it was expanded after World War I. Many observe this holiday by flying the flag and visiting cemeteries and memorials. Volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at National Cemeteries. In addition to remembrance, Memorial Day is also used as a time for picnics, barbecues, and gatherings with family and friends. Memorial Day is also viewed as the unofficial beginning of summer (with Labor Day as the unofficial end of the season.)
Freedom comes at a price. How important it is to remember the sacrifices of others who have made it possible for us to enjoy the freedoms we have today. I like to see the flag’s colors as…Red: The blood of the slain. White: The purity of the sacrifice made for others. Blue: The heaven we enjoy because of that soldier’s sacrifice. We have a lot of problems in our country but we do have immense advantages and most of all we are free! And it’s because of the soldiers sacrifice of history as well as those securing our freedoms today by the giving of their lives. You can be pro or con for the current wars we wage but let’s not forget that soldier’s sacrifice!
And as believers in Christ let’s remember all the Lord has done for us and our nation. God has been good to us and we have been so undeserving. It has been He who has given us the power to gain the wealth and prosperity we have. God warned Israel to not forget His blessings but what did they do? They forgot the Lord and took His blessings for granted. They soon degraded into a pagan nation and then suffered the consequences under the correcting hand of God. Isn’t that a pattern for any nation or individual who steps outside the will of God and becomes ungrateful?
- (Psa 100:4) Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
- (Rom 1:21) because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
- (Col 3:15) And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
Everyday should be a memorial day. Rising up in the morning and counting our blessings. What a great way to start the day! And then thinking that all we have is because someone made it possible. It comes from the hand of God and those who gave up something for somebody else. What an inspiration for us to live our lives sacrificially: (Heb 13:16) But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
And don’t forget the greatest sacrifice of all. Jesus died on the cross to make us free from sin and destruction! His blood is red for cleansing which makes us white as snow, so we can live in the blue of heaven forever! Let’s take some time today to thank God for the sacrifices that have made us free!!
Sunday, May 23, 2010
INTRODUCTION – Everyone wants to be free. There is a cry of freedom that is ringing throughout the land and that extends all around the world. People are oppressed. They feel burdened. They feel browbeaten, broken, demoralized, exploited, and defeated. From the inner city to the outer hinterlands. From the high-rise to the hut, from the highlands to the lowlands, from the black man to the white man, from the upper-class to the other side of the tracks. From the rich to the poor, from the haves to the have-nots, from the educated to the subjugated. This search for freedom has left our world in bondage because of cheap substitutes and false messiahs who have reneged on their promise of liberty and left their followers destitute and in despair. In the midst of this anguish a voice comes cracking through the air, cutting through the subterfuge and deception and offering hurtful but healing truth. It's the true liberator from heaven. He is Jesus the Son of God sent from the Father who will take mankind's sins to the cross and who will rise again to proclaim liberty throughout the land. He will set men free and they will be FREE INDEED!
• Jesus began to talk about being truly free. The Pharisees put off Jesus' comments by saying they were never in bondage to anyone. Didn't they realize that their history was full of instances of their being dominated? They had been slaves to the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and now the Romans!
• "The power of self-deception in the unconverted man is infinite." (Ryle) But what they didn't know was that their truest bondage was the sin that lay in their hearts. (34)
• Paul used the same illustration of slavery to sin (Rom. 6:6-23).
• There is a need for freedom today like never before. Mankind is bound in sin that manifests itself in hopeless afflictions and addictions. As people search for the cure they find themselves even deeper in bondage than before.
o (2 Pet 2:19) While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.
• Here is a LIST OF ADDICTIONS that fall into categories:
o Feeling Addictions: Anger, Rage, Hate, Guilt.
o Thought Addictions: Obsessive-Compulsive thinking, Perfectionism, Rigid thinking, Worrying, Repetition, Fantasy.
o Activities Addictions: Buying/expending, Gambling, Crime, Hobbies, Exercise
o Substance Addictions: Alcohol, Drugs, Nicotine, Caffeine, Food.
o People Addictions: Relationships, Love/sex, Sex, Codependency, Groups, Power,
• Jesus said some interesting things about freedom. First He said that you will know the truth and the truth shall make you free (32). The Word of God will truly set you free!
o (Psa 119:45) And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts.
• Then Jesus said the Son will make you free (36). He came to save sinners by His death on the cross. The truth is Jesus (John 14:6) and only He can make a person free!
o (John 3:14-17) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
o (1 John 3:8) He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
• Notice how Jesus said if the Son makes you free you will be free indeed. The word "indeed" (ontos) means; truly, in reality, in point of fact, as opposed to what is pretended, fictitious, false, and conjectural.
• We do not have to be the servant of sin. Many Christians accept defeat and failure as a normal Christian life.
• Are you free indeed? Or have you allowed yourself to slip back into some bondage? God told Israel to kick the Canaanites out of the Promised land but they failed at this task. This compromise came back to bite them.
o (Deut 7:1-5) “When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, 2 and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. 3 Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. 4 For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the LORD will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly. 5 But thus you shall deal with them: you shall destroy their altars, and break down their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images, and burn their carved images with fire.
o (Josh 17:12) Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities, but the Canaanites were determined to dwell in that land.
• God never intended us to live like slaves. He intends us to live for Him by the power of the Holy Spirit. (35)
o (Zech. 4:6) ...‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’...
• The truth will set you free and the Son will make you free!
o (Gal 2:20) 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.
• Then you will be FREE INDEED!
o (Rom 8:37) Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
CONCLUSION – Do you sense your need for freedom? Jesus can set you free!! And when He sets you free you will be FREE INDEED!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
(Acts 2:1) When the Day of Pentecost had fully come...
Wow! What a day!! Have you ever had an exciting day when so many great things happened in one day? That was the day of Pentecost. It's the day the Spirit fell upon the believers as they were gathered in the upper room. Jesus had promised to send the Holy Spirit. He told them to wait for this power to fall so they could fulfill their call to win the world to Jesus (Luke 24:46-49). It had been ten days since the Ascension and they were praying and waiting on the Lord. Then it happened! Wow!! What a day!!!
The Feast of Pentecost (Lev. 23:15-21) was the end of the barley harvest and the beginning of the wheat harvest. It was a joyful time of thanksgiving over the bountiful harvest. Greek for Pentecost was pentekoste, “50th”, from where we get the word Pentecost. This is the New Testament term for the Feast of Weeks. It was celebrated seven weeks plus one day (50 days) after the wave offering of the barley sheaf during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It was also called the Feast of Harvest. The purpose of this feast was to commemorate the completion of the grain harvest. Its distinguishing feature was the offering of “two leavened loaves” made from the new corn of the completed harvest, which, with two lambs, were waved before the Lord as a thank offering. It was one of the three major feasts along with Passover and Tabernacles where the Jewish males were to appear before the Lord.
Isn't it interesting that the Lord chose this day for the promise of the Father to be fulfilled? What is the significance? It has to do with the harvest. This was the day the Spirit was poured out on the Church and the day there was a large harvest, or ingathering, of souls. And it foreshadowed the harvest of souls during the whole New Testament era of which we are presently in. Joel predicted it centuries earlier (Joel 2:28-29) and now came to pass. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit fell on the believers, Peter preached with power, and three-thousand souls were saved. Wow! What a day!!
Now everyday can't be like the day of Pentecost for the believer. But it does go to show you that we need the power of the Spirit to live that Christian life victoriously and to share Christ effectively. The fire of the Spirit was on the heads of all who were in that upper room. There were demonstrations of the Spirit and eventually the "on-fire" believers poured out onto the streets of Jerusalem. People took notice and asked what was going on. Peter took advantage of the opportunity saying it was a fulfillment of scripture. He then exhorted all to receive Jesus Christ and many responded and were baptized. Harvest!!
Have you gone fifty days or more in that dry spell of the Christian life? Then you need a Pentecost! Go up into that upper room of your heart and pray and ask for what Jesus promised to every believer: (Luke 11:13)...how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Maybe you and your Christian friends are as dry as Ezekiel's bones (Eze 37; 47). Go up together and be united in prayer for a fresh outpouring of the Spirit on your lives. Stop bringing each other down as carnal believers. Start building each other up in the Lord as Spirit receivers! Then there will be that overflow to others and you will see a harvest! (Psa 23:5)...You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. (See also John 7:37-39; Eph 5:18-19)
Good Friday...Resurrection...Ascension...but don't forget Pentecost. If the early church couldn't launch without it then how successful will we be as we seek to win our world for Christ? See you in the upper room!!
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
SINS OF COMMISSION AND OMISSION
(James 4:17) Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
Throughout the history of the Church sin has been viewed as something you do. We have thought in terms of committing sins such as lying, stealing, profanity, and the like. But do we have it in our minds that sin is also something we don't do? That we might be omitting from our lives something we should be doing but have neglected?
Sins of commission are external and are usually easily identified. That person is drunk. He is smoking marijuana. She is shoplifting. But sins of omission are internal. Nobody can usually tell you are committing this kind of sin. God told you do to do something and you're not doing it. You can look self-righteous but God knows the sin of the heart.
Here are three classic cases from Scripture that showcase sins of omission:
- Saul was supposed to utterly destroy the Amalekites. (1 Sam 15:3) Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’” But when it came down to it he didn't do what the Lord told him to do. (1 Sam 15:9) But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them... Saul made an excuse that the people spared some of the animals to sacrifice to the Lord of which Samuel responded with the classic statement: (1 Sam 15:22) ...“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.
- Jonah was told to go to Nineveh and preach impending judgment from the Lord. But what did he do? He went the opposite way and took a ship to Tarshish and eventually ended up in the belly of a big fish. The Lord deals heavily with the sin of omission just as He does with the sin of commission! All sin is sin!
- The good Samaritan reached out to the man who was mugged on the road to Jericho. But before that there was a priest and a Levite who saw the man's condition and walked away. (Luke 10:30-37)
What might be the thing God has called you to do that you are neglecting? Is there a friend in trouble that needs your help and you are not responding? Is there someone you need to ask forgiveness from but you are avoiding the person and because you have your pride? Is your child becoming spoiled because you are afraid to correct him or her according to Scripture? Has God been calling you to serve in some ministry but you are dragging your feet because you are afraid to commit? Have you been wanting to tithe regularly but you are holding out because you are afraid of your security? Has the Lord been telling you to spend more time with your family but work always comes first? Have you made a promise to someone but haven't come through?
We usually confess sins of commission but let's ask the Lord to search our hearts for sins of omission. Perhaps the key to it all is submission. Giving up that hassling hesitation and submitting to the plan of the Lord!
(Psa 139:23-24) Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
Out in the Mojave Desert yesterday someone stole the cross! It's the old WWI memorial that has been in dispute as to its legality but then the case won in a recent Supreme Court decision. Now it's gone! Satan just hates the cross! He wants to take it away whether through the courts or literally steal it away. But you can't steal the cross! It's a reality that exists even when the emblem doesn't.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
...we are perplexed, but not in despair.
( 2 Cor4:8)
And like Jehosophat we can pray:
...For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”
(2 Chr 20:12)
Are you perplexed? Give it over to the Lord and let Him bring the revolution of the solution you need!
Saturday, May 8, 2010
We had a lot of changed lives represented! Jesus can change you too!
KAT'S FRIEND JOYCE
JASON BAPTIZING ALESSA CONTRERAS FROM THE YOUTH GROUP
... that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
(1 John 1:3)
Atheist fails in bid to remove God' from presidential oath
By MICHAEL DOYLE
WASHINGTON -- A federal appeals court on Friday rejected an effort to strip the word "God" from presidential oaths.
Citing largely technical reasons, a three-member appellate panel ruled that California attorney Michael Newdow and his allies weren't in a position to legally challenge the oaths. Newdow, an atheist, had hoped to avoid formal invocation of the deity's name in the 2013 and 2017 inaugurations.
"The only apparent avenue of redress for plaintiffs' claimed injuries would be injunctive or declaratory relief against all possible president-elects and the president himself," noted Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. "But such relief is unavailable."
The appellate court further determined that Newdow's related challenge to the oath taken by President-elect Barack Obama on Jan. 20, 2009, was moot, since there was nothing that could be done after the fact. (The president took the oath twice, once on the Capitol steps and again at the White House, because Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Obama flubbed their lines the first time.)
"Whether the 2009 ceremony's incorporation of the religious oath and prayers was constitutional may be an important question to plaintiffs, but it is not a live controversy that can avail itself of the judicial powers of the federal courts," Brown stated.
Newdow, who is also an emergency-room physician in Sacramento, Calif., has been challenging religion in the public realm for many years but with little lasting success. Most famously, in 2004, the Supreme Court rejected his claim against the suburban Sacramento Elk Grove Unified School District's use of the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The court's 2004 decision, much like the new appellate panel decision, centered on technical rather than substantive constitutional grounds. By a 5-3 margin, the high court determined that Newdow lacked the standing to sue because he didn't have sole legal custody over his daughter, on whose behalf the suit was brought.
Newdow subsequently sought to remove "In God We Trust" from U.S. currency. A federal judge rejected the effort, reasoning that the phrase simply amounted to a national slogan.
In March, in yet another case brought by Newdow, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Sacramento-area Rio Linda Union School District's use of "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.
"The pledge is one of allegiance to our republic, not of allegiance to the God or to any religion," Judge Carlos T. Bea wrote in the March 11 decision. "Furthermore, Congress' ostensible and predominant purpose when it enacted and amended the pledge over time was patriotic, not religious."
As have judges in other cases, Bea also questioned Newdow's standing to bring the lawsuit.
Newdow consistently argues that he is personally harmed by the religious references. His presidential oath lawsuit specifically targeted use of the phrase "so help me God" by the chief justice of the Supreme Court, who delivers the oath to the president-elect.
"For those ... watching the inaugural ceremony with their children, this action - by the nation's highest judicial official - is especially intrusive and harmful," Newdow argued in his original complaint.
Newdow further noted that the phrase "so help me God" is not included in the version of the presidential oath spelled out in the Constitution. He asserts that the phrase has only been used regularly since the 1930s.
Groups such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation and Atheists United joined Newdow in his Washington lawsuit.
One member of the appellate panel Friday, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, said he would have gone all the way and ruled that the God reference in the inauguration doesn't violate the First Amendment.
Now look, God Himself is with us as our head, and His priests with sounding trumpets to sound the alarm against you. O children of Israel, do not fight against the Lord God of your fathers, for you shall not prosper!”
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
COMPREHENSION OF THE ASCENSION
(Mark 16:19) So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.
Jesus ascended to the Father forty days after His resurrection and His ten post-resurrection appearances. It concluded the earthly ministry of Jesus and allowed eyewitnesses to see both the risen Christ on earth and the victorious, eternal Savior returning to heaven to minister at the right hand of the Father. But what happened after that and does it have any meaning for us today? Is there any worth in the comprehension of the ascension?
There was a prediction of the ascension way back in Psalm 68:18: You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive... Enoch and Elijah experienced an ascension and these would foreshadow Christ's (Gen 5:24; 2 Kings 2:11). Jesus predicted His ascension: (John 20:17) Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father... The event of the ascension is recorded in three places in the New Testament (Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9-11). It is also recorded in the Nicene Creed and Apostle's Creed of the early church.
Ponder the significance of the ascension for believers today:
- It shows the work of Christ is finished. When your work is done you usually sit down!
- Christ now becomes our heavenly advocate: (1 John 2: 1) My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
- Jesus had to ascend to send the Holy Spirit: (John 16:7-8) Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.
- Jesus now prepares a heavenly place for His own: (John 14:2-3) In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
- We are now drawn to place our affection on heavenly things instead of earthly things: (Col 3:1-2) If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
- It gives us hope that we will join Him in glory: (Col 3:4) When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
- The ascension guarantees His "descension" (what goes up...must come down!): (Acts 1:11) ...“Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
It's nice to mention the ascension. I hope it will give you the lift you need!