It’s A Journey Of Faith

You have the power to say this is not how the story will end

Mark 4:35-40 NKJV On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”

Jesus’ disciples had no idea that a great windstorm was going to arise as they were “crossing over” to the other side of the lake. All they knew was that Jesus said “let us cross over”. They were seasoned fisherman, accustomed to all sorts of weather while out at sea. What was different about this occasion?

Mark’s version of this story says that while they were crossing over to the other side “a great windstorm arose”. Now Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible gives this definition of “windstorm”: “a great storm of wind” – “loelaps” which signifies a particular kind of wind, which is suddenly whirled about upwards and downwards; or rather, a conflict of many winds: it seems to be a whirlwind, or hurricane.” With no warning, all of a sudden, this “great storm of wind”, a “whirlwind or hurricane” was upon them. They hadn’t expected it; they didn’t see it coming and had no indication that a storm of this magnitude would come upon them. And they were very fearful that they would perish in the storm.

As panic set in the disciples knew they had to get Jesus awakened so their first course of action was to run to Him. Prayer should be the first thing that we do when confronted with a storm in life. Jesus was quick to respond to their request and Mark’s version of this story says He arose and rebuked the wind and said “Peace, be still!”to the sea and it ceased and there was a “great calm”. Jesus spoke and the wind and waves obeyed! But notice what He says to His disciples after that.

Mark 4:40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”

Why would He ask them those questions? I think He was trying to get them to locate where they were in their faith walk and to get them to see that they could take action and see their storms cease just as He did. When the storms of life are raging it’s easy to panic and forget that the greater One lives on the inside of us. In their case He was in the boat with them! But today we live in the reality of the victory that Jesus secured for us on the cross. He lives inside every born again believer by the power of His Spirit. We must stop and take stock of where we are and who we belong to. The fear that is on the outside will try to over-ride the faith that we have on the inside. It’s at that point that we have to re-focus and anchor ourselves in God’s word to overcome the fear and stabilize our faith to keep from sinking under the cares and fears of this world. But Jesus Himself said in John 16:33 that we don’t have to succumb to the pressure that’s in the world because He has already overcome it for us. He said that because of the work that He did on our behalf that we could have PEACE even in tribulation.

Where are you in your faith walk today? Are you struggling to overcome the fear and emotions of life’s problems? Are you afraid of what will happen next? Watchman Nee says that the Christian experience from start to finish is a journey of faith. 1 John 5:4 says that it is our faith that overcomes the world! Our faith! Not the faith of the person next to you or me, but your faith and my faith! Our faith works as we place our trust in God and speak to the storms in our lives to be still! It’s not a formula for success, but a heart-felt journey from the time we place our faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord to the everyday lives that we live, walking by faith, to the point of our crossing over into eternity.

Romans 1:16, 17 NKJV For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

Today I have a stronger level of faith than I did yesterday because I am trusting in God and building my faith through His word! The gospel of Christ, the Good News of what He purchased for us on Calvary, is powerful and when I believe it and act on it in faith it works in my life to give me the ability that I need to overcome all the evil that’s in the world and the devil who comes to steal, kill and destroy my life. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:17 that it is the “sword of the Spirit”. That means that when I speak the word of God that the Holy Spirit reveals to me that will work in my situation that it becomes like a sword to defeat the enemy that is hindering me from walking by faith and living according to the plan that God has for me. But I have to be the one to focus my attention on Jesus, His word and resist the fear that comes with tribulation in order to live by faith. No one can do that for me and no one can do it for you either. It is a growing process that I work on daily. How about you? Are you growing in your faith every day?

You can change your life, the course of it, and the outcome by growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and acting according to His word. It’s what we believe in our hearts and living out of that belief that changes our lives. God is always at work within us to mold us and make us into the image of His dear Son. (Rom. 8:29) But we have to cooperate with Him in order to change. Living and walking by faith, speaking positive, faith-filled words and obeying what He asks us to do is our part of this equation. If we do our part, we can be sure He will do His.

Father, I thank You for creating me to walk in faith with You. I thank You for giving me a measure of faith and that I can build and strengthen it through your Word and exercise it through my actions. Father, I pray for those today who are weak and struggling to overcome the obstacles that are in their way in their faith walk. I pray that You will reveal to them the great power that You have placed within them to help them; the power of Your Spirit. I pray that they may be encouraged today in knowing that You are with them and will guide them in how to overcome the trials and tribulations of life. May they experience a new reality of Your power to overcome the storms of life today. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Finally…..It’s Official

Psalm 71:17 NKJV O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works.

It was four years ago this past month, just a few weeks before my 61st birthday, when I felt God tugging at my heart to pursue a deeper relationship with Him through taking some college courses. Little did I know that my journey would culminate today in my receiving my bachelor’s degree in Ministry. It’s been a growing, often challenging, but very rewarding journey. To God be the glory! Great things He has done!

I look forward to the next season that God has planned for me. I know He is faithful to His word and I have the assurance that He goes before me into every day and as He has enabled me to succeed in achieving my degree so He will continue to empower me to be all He has created and called me to be.

When I started this journey it seemed to be an impossible goal. God’s calling usually appears to be something that we are unable to accomplish and that’s because without Him we really CAN’T do the impossible. But His super applied to our natural makes the impossible possible! As I depended on Him I saw Him time and again give me the ability to complete each course with excellence. He truly is faithful to keep His word!

My God Is Awesome

Father, I thank You for enabling me to achieve this goal! I know that apart from You, Lord Jesus, I can do nothing, but through Your strength, all things become possible. I pray for those today, Father, who may be up against a wall and see no way to go over it or through it. Father, I pray that You will give them hope and a vision of the future that You have planned for them and the ability to scale that wall and overcome the challenges that lie before them. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for truly being my Teacher and Helper. I know, Lord, that You are no respecter of persons and that what You have done for me You will do for anyone who trust You, depends on You and allows You to live Your live through them. Thank You, for Your faithfulness to us! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Face

God looks down on us

Let not the face of terror be that which you behold;
But instead turn your gaze into the face of the Lord.

The God of Creation is greater by far
Than he who was formed and whose nature was marred,
By the sin and disease of the the one who is known
As the father of lies and the murderer of those
Who stand for what’s right, for freedom and love,
Who stare in the face of the terror of one
Who hates all those who do not agree
And plans to destroy all those who are free.

The God of Creation is mindful of that.
He watches the hearts of those who are fat
With hate and destruction, the motive He sees;
Who when they repent, through love He sets free.

So do not be afraid of the terror by day.
Or the arrow that flies or the knife that is swayed
By the hand of the face of the terror you see
For the God of Creation is mindful of thee.

He provides for His own; He protects and defends
The ones who are helpless and burdened within
With cares and fears of the blackness of him
Who’s face is the terror that plagues all their years.
So turn away from the face of that tyranny and fear
And look into the face of the God who is near.

Avanell Savage 8/30/14

How Great Is Our God

Psalm 91:1-16 NLT

1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare of the LORD:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I am trusting him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from the fatal plague.
4 He will shield you with his wings,
He will shelter you with his feathers.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor fear the dangers of the day,
6 nor dread the plague that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
8 But you will see it with your eyes;
you will see how the wicked are punished.

9 If you make the LORD your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your dwelling.

11 For he orders his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you with their hands
to keep you from striking your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample down lions and poisonous snakes;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

14 The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble,
I will rescue them and honor them.
16 I will satisfy them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”

Guardian angel

Jesus My Healer

Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So

Psalm 107:1, 2 NKJV OH, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.

 

We have a little poodle named Abby and Gerald has her very well trained so that she will not step over the threshold of the door to go outside. Sunday afternoon I was taking her out for a potty break and she waited very patiently at the garage door for me to hook her leash onto her collar and lift her over the threshold and down the steps to go outside. When I picked her up it was at an angle and I felt a painful feeling in my lower back, one that I had felt before back in 2005 when I lifted my keyboard and injured my lower back. I immediately thought back to that experience, never wanting to go there again, as it took months of prayer and medical treatment for my back to fully recover. I remembered the difficulty I had in just maneuvering through my daily activities of home, church and work. All the thoughts of helplessness and trying to function with enough pain medication to get me through the days came flooding into my mind. I dreaded going through that experience again!

 

After taking Abby out I brought her back in the house and immediately told my husband, Gerald, what had happened and he went to prayer for me, laying his hands on my back and declaring the healing power of God to flow through it. We agreed that it was done and I began my stand of faith for healing! It wasn’t long until bedtime so we decided I should take a couple of Tylenol and a sleep aid to assure a good night’s rest so my body could have the best opportunity to relax and cooperate with God’s healing power. I got up yesterday morning still in pain but determined that I was healed by the stripes of Jesus just as His Word declares. I began reading God’s Word for healing and thanking Him for doing as He had promised in His word. I determined that this injury would not defeat me or cause me to experience what I had experienced in 2005, so I began to go about my daily routine as usual. When it came time to go out for my morning walk Gerald thought I should stay in and rest my back, but I knew I had to do as the scripture says and “let the redeemed of the Lord” say so! I determined to walk and proclaim Jesus as My Healer just as His word says!

 

Well, my walk took a little longer but as I walked I praised the Lord for healing me, even though it hurt and even though I didn’t see a manifestation of answered prayer, I knew that I had asked in faith believing and His word is true that says that “whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive”. (Matthew 21:22) I knew that this would be a challenge of my faith! All through the day I had opportunities to either proclaim that I was the healed of the Lord or that I was injured and in pain. I had to choose to believe and then align my mouth with that belief. As I walked I began to see a difference in my stature. I was able to stand up a little taller as I walked; my stride began to increase and I noticed it wasn’t as painful as when I started. I completed my walk and went on to go about my daily activities. Yes, I still had pain and it was uncomfortable to sit, stand or lie down. But God deserved my praise regardless of how I felt and I praised Him for His healing power in spite of the pain. As the day progressed I noticed that I was not in as much pain and it was easier for me to do my normal daily activities. I finished the day still proclaiming God’s faithfulness.

 

This morning as I got up I felt a little bit of pain but nothing like yesterday and as I started my day I noticed the pain was lessening to the point that it is almost completely gone now! Praise the Lord! He has done it again! He has met my need with His provision and I am healed by the power of God!

 

One of the things that kept coming to my mind as I was standing in faith for my healing was the fact that Sunday morning we had partaken of the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, at church and when we take the bread that represents His body that was broken for us we were asked to remember what Jesus suffered as His body was broken and His blood was shed for us. I repeatedly expressed to the Lord Jesus yesterday that I remembered the stripes that He took upon His back that I might have healing in my back. I remember, Lord Jesus, how You suffered under that scourging on Your back that my back might be healed. I also laid my hands on my back numerous times and thanked the Lord for effecting His healing power through my touch as His word says that believers shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. (Mark 16:18)

 

You see, friends, I believe that God has provided through the crucifixion of Jesus all that I need for salvation of my spirit, soul and body. I believe that His body that was broken for me was for my healing and His blood that was shed for me purchased my redemption from every sin that I have committed in the past, the present and will commit in the future. His salvation covers and protects me from every evil plan that the devil has arrayed against me. I believe and I desire to receive the full benefit of what Jesus died to give me. I don’t know why some are not healed when they pray; if I did I would be God and I’m not. But this I know, in this instance, He has healed me and I give Him all the glory!

 

Today I thank God for healing my back! I thank Him for giving me His word that I can stand on to fight the good fight of faith. Jeremiah 1:12 says that God watches over His word to perform it. (Amplified Bible)

 

Psalm 107:20 NKJV He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.

 

God sent His Word, Jesus, the living Word, to die on an old rugged cross that I might be healed, both spiritually and physically and He gave me His written Word, the Holy Bible, as food to be used as medicine when I am sick.

 

Proverbs 4:20-22 NKJV My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my saying. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh.

 

That word “health” in the Hebrew is marpe and it means restoration of health, remedy, cure, medicine, tranquility, deliverance, and refreshing. God’s word, when taken like a prescription, provides healing power to work with His healing touch.

 

Isaiah prophesied of the coming Messiah and His crucifixion that would pay for mankind’s redemption in Isaiah 53:4, 5:

 

NKJV Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

 

When you look at some of the key words in the actual Hebrew translation you find that the word for “griefs” is defined as sicknesses and “sorrows” is defined as pains. So in looking at the crucifixion of Jesus we see that the payment for sickness and pain was a part of Jesus’ redemption for mankind. He was wounded or “pierced through” for our transgressions, or sin, and was bruised or “crushed” for our iniquities, our sinful nature. The stripes or “blows that cut in” purchased our healing! These two verses of God’s Word describes the crucifixion as the payment for sin, sickness, our natural bent to live a sinful lifestyle, and the separation from God that we experienced through sin.

 

Some faith challenges are more difficult than others and sickness is probably the greatest one of all because you have the symptoms of illness and pain in your body that keeps you from being able to focus fully on God’s word to receive His healing. Sometimes God instructs people to receive His healing through medical treatment. That’s great! He gave us doctors to help us, but the healing comes from God regardless of how it comes, because He is the Healer. Exodus 15:26 says that He is the LORD who heals you. I have had times of illness where God has instructed me to go to a doctor and receive medical treatment for healing. The time I injured my back in 2005 I was standing in faith believing for healing while receiving medical treatment. There’s nothing wrong with going to a doctor for help. God works through physicians also. I’ve also had times when I’ve prayed for people to be healed and they weren’t. I prayed for my former husband to be healed and he died. I don’t understand the “whys and why nots”, but I trust my God, and when it doesn’t turn out the way I’ve prayed I trust that He, who knows all, has chosen to handle the situation in a different way.

 

Father, I thank You for touching and healing my back. I thank You for reaching down and sparing me from further injury and pain. Thank You for the stripes that You took on your back, Lord Jesus, that secured my healing. I remember and I thank You for willingly going through that crucifixion that I might be saved and healed. Thank You for giving Your life for me! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

Look And Live!

The Fiery Serpent On A Pole

Numbers 21:8, 9 NKJV Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

 

Jesus, through His crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection, has provided all that we need for whatever faces us in this life. Isaiah said in Isaiah 53 that “He has borne our griefs” (sicknesses) and “carried our sorrows”; (pains); “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed”. (Isaiah 53:4, 5) Jesus bore it all, for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of mankind. It is through His vicarious death that we can be saved, healed, delivered and set free from all that came through the Fall of mankind that took place in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve gave up their place of authority that God had given them and through sin transferred that authority to Satan. It is because of that one sin that everything for man changed from the way it was in the Garden before sin entered and the way it was after sin came into their lives. Romans 5:12 says that it was “through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned–”. But as further recorded in Romans we see that the antidote to sin and all it’s nasty by-products is the blood of Jesus. His blood, when shed for mankind reversed all that happened in the Garden of Eden. He purchased our redemption and through His blood we, who receive His gift of righteousness, “will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17) We receive His righteousness through accepting the free gift that He provided for us on the cross of Calvary!

 

But what happens when we don’t know that Jesus purchased all that we needed to live life to the fullest? Just as the Israelites when bitten by snakes in the wilderness were healed when looking at the bronze serpent that was lifted up on that pole so we are saved when we look at Jesus, who was lifted up on that Cross of Calvary. It is in looking away from the situation at hand and looking to the Solution, Jesus, that we are healed, whether it be spiritual, emotional, physical, financial, mental, or relational. It is only as we look unto Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith, that we will find salvation.

 

Acts 4:12 NKJV “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

 

When we look into the Greek for the meaning for the word “salvation” we find that the word for salvation in that verse is “soteria” and it means “deliverance, preservation, soundness, prosperity, happiness, rescue, general well-being”. According to Strong’s concordance the word is used both in a material, temporal sense and in a spiritual, eternal sense. In other words, salvation as described in this New Testament verse is described as being for not just the spirit of man, but for the whole man, in whatever sense it is needed to bring deliverance, preservation, soundness, prosperity, happiness, rescue and well-being. Folks, that is “GOOD NEWS”!

 

So, how do we access this great “salvation” that Jesus has provided for us? I think we must go back to the Old Testament verse that is referenced above and focus on what it says we must “look” at. We must “look at Jesus” who is the Source and Solution to every problem in life that we will ever encounter. We must “turn away” from gazing on our problems and start “gazing” upon the Solution to our problems. God has made available to us His great salvation through the only One who could have provided sinless blood to wash sinful blood from our lives. Sin is the origin of sickness, disease, poverty, lack, dysfunctional relationships, marital problems, mental illness and all other plans to steal, kill and destroy mankind. There were none of these problems in Adam and Eve’s lives until sin entered the Garden. From that time on man has had to deal with results from that one original sin.

 

Jesus said in John 10:9, 10 “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

 

Jesus is the door to salvation. He is the only way we can enter in and find what we need in the abundant life that He died to give us. Satan is the thief, the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy. That’s the plan that he has for our lives, but Jesus said that His plan for us is that we might experience life, and that more abundantly.

 

Abundantly – Greek word perissos – according to Strong’s Concordance, means “superabundance, escessive, overflowing, surplus, over and above, more than enough, profuse, extraordinary, above the ordinary, more than sufficient”.

 

Wow! That’s living life to the fullest! Jesus died that we might have abundant life; spirit, soul and body. It is in “looking” at Jesus, not just with our natural eyes, nor with our mental abilities, but with our spiritual eyes, our hearts, in giving to Him everything that we are to all that we know of Him, that we can experience salvation.

 

I remember a time years ago when I was a part of a Lay Renewal Weekend Team that went to minister to a church group in a city several hours from my home. In the Saturday night session we broke up into small groups and asked each member of the group to make a “time line” of where they began their walk with Christ and where they were in that “time line” at the present time. I had a young lady tell me that she didn’t have a “time line” because she was not worthy to have Jesus in her life. She was very forlorn, wouldn’t look me in the eye, had her hair drawn back in a tight pony tail and looked very sad, as if she had no hope. Saturday night I prayed with her and she gave her heart, her life, to the Lord Jesus to begin her “time line” of her walk with Him. When she came to church on Sunday morning she was a totally different person. Her whole countenance had changed; her hair was a beautiful, flowing golden color that looked like the sun had just christened it with a glow beyond understanding. She had a spring in her step and you could tell that “new life” had entered her being. She radiated life and proclaimed what the Lord had done for her just the previous night! She was a living example of what it means to surrender your life to Jesus! She was living the abundant life as she knew it, in her limited understanding, as she was beginning her life with the Lord. She couldn’t live it completely because she did not understand it completely, but what she knew of life with Jesus was being lived out in abundance in her.

 

You see, we don’t begin knowing everything about the Lord or what He has provided for us. We grow in our knowledge and understanding of Him. We grow in developing a relationship with Him and as we grow the Holy Spirit who lives within us, the Spirit of Christ Jesus, gives us revelation knowledge, or a better understanding of all that Jesus died to give us. Peter said in 2 Peter 1:2-4 that God has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” through the knowledge of Him. We grow in that knowledge by spending time in His word and in praying and listening as He shares His heart with us. That’s what prayer is; us speaking to Him and Him speaking to us. We grow through interaction with Jesus as His Spirit leads us in prayer and Bible study. We grow as other believers share their experiences and men and women of God proclaim God’s Word to us. Even life’s experiences teach us things about the Lord and the good that He has planned for us. Jeremiah records in Jeremiah 29:11 that God has a good plan for our lives that includes hope for a good future. God has good things in store for His children. But if we continue to look at the problems instead of Jesus, our Solution, we will continue to experience the downward spiral that comes with overwhelming obstacles.

 

Do you seem to have the same problems over and over again? Does life seem overwhelming to you? Look unto Jesus! Proclaim His promises in the face of life’s problems. Each of us has times when we feel overwhelmed at what life throws at us. Jesus said we would have difficult times, but then He told us to not be discouraged about them because He had already overcome them for us. (John 16:33) When we constantly live “under our circumstances” it’s usually because we have bought into the lie of the devil that we are victims instead of victors. But Jesus said we are “more than conquerors through Him who loved us”. (Romans 8:37) We are “more than conquerors”! That phrase as defined in Strong’s Concordance means “one who is super victorious, who wins more than an ordinary victory, but who is overpowering in achieving abundant victory”. We may not always feel like we are more than conquerors, and it may not look like we are victorious, but God sees us as that way as we live through His love. Does that mean that everything will be perfect in our lives or that we won’t have problems? No, but it means that the problems of life do not get the best of us. We live above them through making a decision that we will live life from an eternal perspective instead of an earthly perspective. And as we look at Jesus we can live the abundant life that He paid the price to give us. It is living according to the Spirit more than having to an earthly, fleshly world view.

 

Where are you in your “time line” of your walk with Jesus today? Have you begun yet? Or do you feel it’s time to move forward, leave the past behind and walk towards all that Jesus died to give you? That might mean you have to get into God’s Word to clarify your belief system or it could mean that you have to press in to receive more of God’s Spirit moving in your life. It might mean leaving behind some baggage that has been holding you back from living the abundant life that Jesus made available to you. What decision do you need to make for Him today?

 

Father, I thank You for the abundant life that You have given me through the death of Your Son, Jesus Christ. I thank You, Lord Jesus, for choosing to lay down your life for me and for giving me all things that pertain to life and godliness through my relationship with You. And I thank You, Holy Spirit, for revealing to me the goodness of God’s plan for my life. Thank You, God, for all that You have given me.

 

I pray today for those who may have not started a relationship with You. I ask You to pull down the blinders that the devil has hung over their minds that has blinded them to the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ that would bring them to salvation. I pray that today they will pray and invite Jesus into their hearts, their lives, to live with them and give them eternal life through Him.

 

I pray for those who are struggling through life’s circumstances that they will look at Jesus, meaning that they will see Him as the Source or Solution to their problems and begin to proclaim Him as Savior and Lord over each situation that they are experiencing. I declare Him Lord over sin; sickness, poverty, lack, emotional issues, mental illness, and relationship obstacles. I declare Him LORD over every problem that they would encounter! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

Hard Cases

Ant carrying stick

As I was out walking this morning I came upon a little ant carrying a twig much larger than the ant. I stopped in amazement as I watched the little ant carry a load that seemed to be an impossibility.

 

Sometimes in life we come upon obstacles in our path that need moving, but seem to be impossibilities! We become discouraged at what we see before us as we view it through our limited human perspective. We fail to see that the God that we serve is the God of impossibilities and that what he expects us to do is to bring it to Him so that through His strength and power we, too, can do the impossible.

 

Matthew 19:26 NKJV But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

 

So, what is it that makes the impossible possible with us? What can we do to cooperate with God in seeing these humanly impossible situations change?

 

In Mark 9:23 Jesus told His disciples that “….all things are possible to him who believes”.

 

Our part is to believe and God’s part is to act on our request. At other times He tells us to “hear and do”; to “ask and it will be given”; “seek and you will find”; to “speak and you will have what you say”. (James 1:22; 2:22; Matthew 6:7; Mark 11:23,24) In all these instances we have a part to play in asking, seeking, saying and believing and God has His part in hearing, answering, and doing what we’ve requested of Him.

 

2 Corinthians 6:1 NKJV We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.

 

We are workers together with Christ Jesus. He has provided all that we need for success in His grace, but it is our faith that accesses the grace of God. In praying we make our requests known to Him with thanksgiving, believing that He hears and answers our prayers and then He is is the One who answers. (Philippians 4:6) In ministry we work together with Him in presenting the gospel to the lost and hurting and He works with us confirming His word with the accompanying signs. (Mark 16:20)

 

Hebrews 11:6 NKJV But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

 

Are you facing an impossible situation today? Take it to God and ask Him what He would have you do to cooperate with His work in you and through you to change this situation. Then listen for His instructions and do what He says. He rewards those who diligently seek Him in faith!

 

Father, I thank You for the impossible things that I see you doing in my life. I thank You for empowering me to succeed and for working with me as I share God’s word with the lost and hurting. Thank You for allowing me to work with You in changing impossible situations into victories! To You be the glory, honor and praise! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Ephesians 3 20, 21

 

 

A Helping Hand

Help through mentors

 

Life is a journey that often leads to forks in the road and we have to make choices about which way to go and what route would be the best for each one of us. Many times we find that we need to seek others to advise us about what has worked for them, how they have reached their destinations with the greatest success. It is at those times that we need a mentor, a discipler; a person who has already walked the road and has learned from their mistakes and how to help others avoid the pitfalls that they may have experienced in their life’s journey.

Mentor – defintion from dictionary.com is “a wise and trusted counselor or teacher”. Dr. Mark Virkler, founder and CEO of Christian Leadership University, gives this working definition of being in a discipling or mentoring relationship: “This is the core of a discipling relationship: receiving the spirit and anointing of another.” He goes on to say: “For example, the disciples saw in Jesus a Spirit and an anointing which they desired. After spending a year and a half with Him, watching Him in action and experimenting alongside Him, they received the same anointing and the same Spirit. They were then able to go out on their own and minister in the same way that Jesus did. He had passed on to them the Spirit and the anointing which He had. That is what I hope to receive from others when I am discipled by them.” (quotes used by permission)

Do you sense a need for someone to come alongside you to impart into you a greater anointing for success? Or are you successful in a certain area of life and feel that you would be beneficial in helping others reach their destination in that life goal?

Mentoring

 

I recently attended a mentoring conference through Judy Jacobs’ International Institute of Mentoring http://iiom.info/ and where I received an impartation and commissioning from her for a mentoring relationship for ministry. I expect to receive from her and that group the mentoring that I need to move forward in the ministry that I feel God has given me. There are others that I look to as mentors: my college instructor, who has been very helpful in mentoring me through the courses that I have been taking to obtain my bachelor’s degree; a former pastor that was very instrumental in God’s hand in molding me into the person that I am today, and others too numerous to count. I have found that I need mentors in my life in many areas, not just spiritual or ministry, but also in health and fitness and finances. Dave Ramsey has been very instrumental in my financial health and there are those that I am seeking out right now for more help in the health and fitness area of my life.

There are several things that a person needs to consider in choosing a prospective mentor: he/she appears to be ahead of me in the area in which I am seeking mentoring; I am comfortable with him/her; it appears that he/she would be willing to invest time in me; he/she appears to be humble and transparent; it appears that he/she can be trusted to be confidential; and I can sense that this is a person that I need to enter into a mentoring relationship with. In spiritual mentoring you would add to that list that he/she is a person who is under the spiritual covering of others; he/she appears to be able to sense the direction of God’s Spirit; he/she appears to have a good Biblical understanding and has allowed the Lord to heal his/her insecurities; he/she appears to have reflected on his/her life’s experiences and has seen God’s purposes in it and is a person that you can sense God saying this is the right mentor for me.

It’s important when choosing a mentor that you can see success in that person’s life. A good financial mentor would not be a person who’s finances are in disarray, but one who has shown success in managing their finances. A good health or fitness mentor would be one who shows good heath and fitness in their life. One who has succeeded in whatever area of mentoring that you need would be the one that you would want to lead you to success because it is through that relationship that you will receive of their spirit and anointing. Elisha asked Elijah to give him a double portion of the anointing that was on his life for ministry:

II Kings 2:9 And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.”

Joshua served Moses and received an impartation of his spirit and anointing:

Numbers 27:18-23 And the LORD said to Moses: “Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; “set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight. “And you shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. “He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the LORD for him by the judgment of the Urim. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him—all the congregation.” So Moses did as the LORD commanded him. He took Joshua and set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation. And he laid his hands on him and inaugurated him, just as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.

We see in the New Testament that Paul mentored Timothy. He called him “a beloved son” and “a true son in the faith”.

II Timothy 1:2 To Timothy, a beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I Timothy 1:2 To Timothy, a true son in the faith:….”

He told Timothy in II Timothy 1:13, 14: Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

Paul later told Timothy in II Timothy 2:1 to pass on those things that he had heard from Paul to men who were faithful and would be able to teach others.

Paul also mentored Titus and called him a “true son in our common faith”. (Titus 1:4) He instructed Titus, as well, to teach others by appointing elders in every city and setting in order the things that were lacking in those places. It is evident that God intended for us to mentor those coming up behind us.

We see in Paul’s letter to Titus that the older women were to teach the younger women. (Titus 2:3-5) And the older men were to set an example for the younger men to follow: one of being sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, and in patience.

Ladder to success

So what does mentoring entail? It is a duplicating or replicating process of depositing into another person that which you have learned along the way through spiritual understanding, life’s experiences and knowledge that you might have acquired through personal study and revelation. To duplicate yourself is to leave a life legacy to those behind you, as it is transferred to another person and they, in turn, transfer it to someone else. For a Christian I believe it is a legacy of faith that is the greatest inheritance we can pass on to the younger generations!

One of the definitions of “replicate” is “to fold over or bend back”. That’s a really interesting definition, but just think about it for a minute. If you fold a paper over itself you have the exact same paper but now it has become two instead of one. It is the same paper, but simply multiplied exactly as it is. When you are mentored by a person for any length of time you become like that person. It reminds me of the old commercial that used to be on television of the dogs that resemble their owners.

Dogs that look like their masters

And it is for that reason that you would want to choose a mentor that you know is highly respected in their field and is a person of integrity, honesty and upright character!

The ultimate mentor we see in the Bible, of course, is Jesus to His disciples. They lived with Him for less than three years and through His examples and teaching the world has been impacted and continues to spread the good news of the Gospel that Jesus died to give us. Generations later we are still receiving of the Spirit and anointing of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. He told His disciples in Matthew 10:8 “Freely you have received, freely give.” And again when He sent the seventy out he instructed them to “heal the sick” and “say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’. Then when He ascended into heaven He left a mandate for all of us who would follow after Him that we should “go therefore and make disciples of all the nations….” (Matthew 28:19) It is evident that Jesus intended for us to be in mentoring relationships!

So, how do you know if you would make a good “mentee”? There are some “right attitudes” that need to be evident in your life to enable you to receive all that you would want from a mentoring relationship. Some questions you might ask yourself would be: do I have a humble and teachable attitude?; do I have a passionate desire to learn?; am I willing to be open and transparent?; and am I willing to follow an agreed-upon course of action?. Based on your answers to these questions you might see yourself as a willing or unwilling candidate for mentorship. Of course, the best answers would be “yes” which would indicate that you are, indeed, ready to receive the spirit and anointing of a mentor in the area of your need.

Sometimes in life we simply do not know which road to take. But the Bible tells us in Proverbs 28:18 that if we don’t have revelation or vision that we will cast off restraint, simply going with the flow of life with no particular direction or goals to guide us to success. To fail to plan is to plan to fail. When we “cast off restraint” we simply do whatever feels good at the moment which very seldom includes a plan of action that will bring the desired results that we wish to see. Another Proverb says that we are to be “diligent to know the state” of our flocks, and “attend to your herds”. (Proverbs 27:23) When we do that the Word says that we’ll have enough to provide for our families and the needs that we have. I have found throughout my life that if I seek God for His plan for success and I do my part in working towards it that He will bless my efforts and bring the desired achievements for success. I have a part to play in the life that He has given me and a responsibility to follow His directions. He often gives that to me through mentors.

Our ultimate Teacher and Helper is the Holy Spirit who comes alongside us to give us the directions and empowerment that we need for success. And God does work through His people. He says in His word in Ephesians 4:11-16 that He has placed certain people in our lives to instruct us and help us to attain the maturity of Christ Jesus. He describes each individual in the Body of Christ as being “a joint” that has a “supply” to give to help others in this journey to maturity. God uses His people to encourage, support, correct and instruct in the way to “growing up” in Him. Mentorship is one avenue to growth that we all should be taking advantage of!

A hand up

Who do you respect and admire for their success in an area of your life that needs a new perspective? Will you seek out that person and see if he/she would be willing to mentor you? We all need a helping hand. What can or will you do to fulfill the mandate of Jesus to “make disciples”?

Father, I thank You for those that You have placed in my life as mentors. I thank You for working through them to help me be the person that You have designed and created me to be. Father, I pray that I will be able to pass on to others that which You have deposited in me, to leave a living legacy and inheritance of faith to the upcoming generations. May You be glorified in every mentoring relationship that I have and may I be one to whom You would entrust the care of those that would come to me for that “helping hand”. I ask You to bless those who have been so instrumental in my life and who have taken the time to deposit of themselves into me! May You receive the glory and honor for those mentoring relationships. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Free!

Free

Free…..there’s not a person that I know that doesn’t like to receive something for free. I looked up the definition of the word “free” on dictionary.com and found 49 definitions for this one little four letter word! I think the one that we identify with the most is “without cost, payment, or charge”. But is it really free? To the recipient yes, but to the giver there is a cost.

The Scriptures record salvation as God’s gift to man. It is free for the taking; the receiver of that gift is given eternal life with no strings, no cost, no payment or charge. But what about God, the Giver? It cost Him all of Heaven as He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the cost of that free gift.

Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but make Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

The “free” gift that you and I have been offered for eternal life cost Jesus His life…..He gave that we might receive!

Free….another definition “enjoying personal rights or liberty, as a person who is not in slavery”. This gift of salvation that Jesus gave His life for has released us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of God. (Colossians 1:13) The price He paid for our free gift gave us “personal rights or liberty, as a person who is not in slavery”. Wow! Satan no longer has a hold on us! He has no legal right to exercise his authority or power over us! What a price Jesus paid for us to walk in freedom! Again, free to the recipient!

How about this definition of free: exempt from external authority, interference, restriction, etc., as a person or one’s will, thought, choice, action, etc.; independent; unrestricted. The recipient of God’s free gift of salvation is free from external authority, interference or restriction. Jesus said it this way: “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36) There is no external authority that can take the place of the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus! There are those around the world that would like to impose their will’s over ours, but He has made us free from the force of another’s will! That’s freedom in it’s fullest; to be free to follow Him and not another person, ideology or culture. We are free to be God’s children, to hear His voice and to walk in His ways, rather than to be servants of those who would try to control us and force us to serve them or a dead god that they have idolized!

Free….given readily or in profusion; unstinted. God’s provision, His gift of salvation was given readily or in profusion! It is like an all-expense paid trip! Nothing was left out. God gave His best that you and I might receive the fullness of all that He is and has! It’s not just a ticket to heaven, it’s an all expense paid trip through life including eternity. Life goes on and on and on! The benefit package that we have in Christ Jesus is referred to as His “covenant” of promises. Hebrews 8:6 describes Jesus as the “Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises”. Colossians 1:20 says that “the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” These promises include freedom from demonic oppression, sickness, financial dis-ease! Jesus said that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but that He came to give us life and that more abundantly! (John 10:10) You can look at the life of Jesus and see the provision that God has made available to His children. Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus is the “express image of His person”, or of God. When we see Him going about healing and delivering people we see the will of God in action. When He preaches that the kingdom of God is at hand and that we need to repent or “turn around” it is God speaking through Him for us to turn our lives over to Him, to be saved. This world is just a chapter of life and God has provided for all our needs here on earth, but there is a life after the death that we experience here on earth that goes on throughout eternity. Provision has been made for all of life, in the here and now and in the hereafter!

1 John 5:11, 12 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son does not have life.

Eternal life as defined by dictionary.com is “life without beginning or end”. It is also described as “everlasting life”. Eternal life will be experienced by both those who know Jesus as Savior and Lord and those who don’t. The difference is in the quality of the life that they will experience. When the Bible says that those who have the Son have life it is referring to having that great salvation that Jesus died to give us because it is rooted and continued in the relationship that we have with Him. Having the Son is described in Scripture as being “in Him” or “in Christ Jesus”. The first chapter of Ephesians gives us a lot of “in Him” examples: “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…” (vs. 4); “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins…” (vs. 7); “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance…” (vs. 11). Verse 13, 14 of that chapter give us the key to being “In Him”: In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

God chose you to be His before the foundation of the world. His intention was that you might have the freedom that He sent Jesus to die to purchase for you. He desires that you might live forever in His presence, to enjoy the fullness of all that He died to give you. It is a free gift to you, but it cost Him all of Heaven! Will you receive it or will you live your life eternally separated from Him? You are free to make the choice and your choice determines how you will live in your earthly life and throughout eternity.

John 1:12, 13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Romans 10:12, 13 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

God has given each one of us an opportunity to be “free”. It is in calling on the name of the Lord, in receiving Jesus as the supreme sacrifice that paid the price for our salvation. Will you choose to be free today?

Father, I pray for those who have not made that choice to be free, that have not prayed to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord. I pray that today they will make that decision to pray and ask Jesus into their hearts to be their own personal Savior and Lord. Father, open their eyes to see the goodness that You have made available to them through the crucifixion of Jesus. Pull down the blinders that Satan has hung over their minds that has blinded them to the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and bring them to salvation. May today be their day of salvation!

And for those who are not walking in the fullness of the freedom that You have provided I pray that they will search out Your word and see the promises that You have given to them for an abundant life in this earthly realm as well as in eternity. May they know the truth so that the truth can set them free! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Then Came The Morning!

He is alive!

Christianity is unique to all religions in the world in that the Savior, Jesus Chris, who was crucified, buried for three days as He conquered death, hell and the grave, and is risen to new life. Our Savior is the only God that lives today, who walks and talks with those that have been born again and promises eternal life to those who will place their trust in Him.

Luke 24:1-8 NKJV Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why, do you seek the living among the dead? “He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, “saying, “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again,’” And they remembered His words.

The angels said to the women who went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”.

That is the question that I want to ask you, my friend…..you who worship a dead god. Why are you seeking the living among the dead? Can your god talk with you? Can he walk beside you through all of life’s problems? Jesus is the one true God, who lives in the hearts of His believers, who strengthens and empowers them to live with peace and joy in their hearts even in the midst of heartache and difficulties!

Today we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ! Oh Hallelujah, Jesus is risen!

My Friend, if you have not placed your trust in Him as your own personal Savior and Lord, please pray and invite Jesus into your heart to save you from your sin and give you ever lasting life! He is alive and He longs to give you new life!

Luke 24:36-39 NKJV Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

Jesus is alive today…..will you receive His free gift of salvation? What will you do with Jesus?

Then came the morning, darkness was turned to day! The stone was rolled away and Jesus had risen from the dead! He is alive!

Thank You, Lord Jesus for dying for me. Thank You for raising from the dead to give me new life. Thank You for living within my heart and for giving me the victory over sin. Thank You for being my own personal Lord and Savior.

Father, I pray now that those who do not know Jesus as Savior and Lord will be saved today. Knock on their heart’s door and reveal Yourself to them, Lord Jesus, so they may be born again. Holy Spirit, convict them of their need to receive Jesus today. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcwGrzA8Cj4

Darkness or Light?

Mark 15 33

Mark 15:33, 34 NKJV Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

 

This week in my own personal devotional time I have been reflecting on the question, “What if Jesus had not died for us?”. I believe I can see through these two short verses of scripture how life would be without knowing Jesus as my own personal Savior and Lord.

 

The scripture says that when it came close to the time for Jesus to die from the crucifixion He was experiencing that there was darkness over the whole land. The word “darkness” in the Greek is skotos and is defined in it’s simplest definition as in a physical sense “darkness of night” and spiritually “the absence of moral or spiritual values” and is best defined as being under “the powers of darkness”.

 

Jesus is described as the “light of men” in John 1:4. The scripture records that “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men”.

 

John 1:5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

 

So, we see from scriptural records that Jesus is the “light” and when He was crucified the “light” was removed from the world and “darkness” covered the whole earth. Darkness came upon the whole world because God turned His back on the “light”, His very own Son, because of the sin that He had placed on Him to pay the price for man’s redemption. Darkness, or sin, and Light, or righteousness, cannot co-exist. In the darkness that came over Jesus and the world around Him we see a picture of what life is like without Jesus. The darkness in the last days before Jesus’ return is said in Isaiah to be “deep darkness” that will cover the earth and the people. (Isaiah 60:2)

 

A life separated from God mean darkness, or the absence of light, ignorance of and the absence of spiritual values; immorality, ungodliness; people who are under the powers of darkness and the end result, misery in hell. Yes, Jesus descended into hell, the home of the “powers of darkness, as well as experiencing the darkness of being separated from His heavenly Father. It is said in Ephesians 4:8, 9 that He descended into the lower parts of the earth and when He ascended, or was risen from the dead, that He led captivity captive. He conquered death, hell and the grave for you and me! If Jesus had not died for us we would be doomed to a life eternally separated from God, living under the “powers of darkness”.

 

Looking further into this definition of those who live life without Jesus, let’s look at what Ephesians has to say about it.

 

Ephesians 2:12 AMP [Remember] that you were at that time separated (living apart) from Christ [excluded from all part in Him], utterly estranged and outlawed from the rights of Israel as a nation, and strangers with no share in the sacred compacts of the [Messianic] promise [with no knowledge of or right in God's agreements, His covenants]. And you had no hope (no promise); you were in the world without God.

 

When Jesus said, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?”, it was because He was experiencing what a person without God in his life experiences. That separation from God is like a heavy darkness upon a person’s life. There is no hope because God is the God of all hope and when God is not in your life, you live as best you can with what you have to work with, no hope, no promise of life being any better, no rights to all that Jesus died to give you, just in the world without God, floundering around grasping at whatever the world has to offer. A picture of darkness, morally and spiritually.

 

God’s word says that God has put eternity in the hearts of the sons of men (Ecc. 3:11) and we know from what Jesus said in John 3:3-8 that there is a physical birth for man, which is referred to as being born of water, but also that there needs to be a spiritual birth in order to enter into the kingdom of God. He described it to Nicodemus as being “born of the Spirit”. When one is “born of the Spirit” the darkness that had covered their lives is removed and the “light” comes to live within their heart. This is what God said about those who are “born again” being delivered from the “power of darkness” in Colossians 1:13-14:

 

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

 

Jesus’ death on that cross purchased our “redemption”, or bought us back from the “power of darkness” and set us in the “light” of His Son! He traded places with us on that cross and became sin, represented by the “darkness” that came over Him, in order for us to be able to be transferred from darkness to light through the experience of being re-born, or spiritually awakened. II Corinthians 5:21 says that God made “Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

 

If Jesus had not died for us on that cross, we would have been forever doomed to life under the “power of darkness”. There would have been no hope for us to ever live a life in God’s presence, in the Light, but forever doomed to being separated from Him, living in spiritual and moral depravity. Life without God, forever and ever and ever, never ending!

 

In John’s description of Jesus he says that He is the “true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world”. John goes on to say this about man’s relationship to Jesus:

 

John 1:11-13 NKJV He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

 

Some have still not received Jesus today. Sadly, for them the Word says they will spend eternity in “outer darkness”, in a furnace of fire, where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 8:12; Matthew 13:40-42).

 

Dearly Beloved, this is not a picture of what I would like to experience or what I want to see happen to anyone else. This experience of being “re-born” requires a choice to be made on this side of eternity. Romans 10:13 says that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved”. Have you called on the name of the Lord to save you?

 

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

 

Eternal life in Christ Jesus is what God wants for you and for me; that we might experience life in His presence for eternity, rather than life in outer darkness, separated from Him for eternity. Two places to choose from; one in darkness, one in the light of Christ Jesus. Which will you choose?

 

Romans 10:8-10 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your hear” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

 

Do you believe in your heart that Jesus is the Son of God, who died for your sins, was buried and rose again, triumphant over death, hell and the grave to give you eternal life? Have you confessed Him as your own “personal” Lord and Savior? These are the two questions that God requires to be settled in your life before crossing over through death into eternity. You can’t ride into eternity on someone else’s salvation experience; it must be your own. Church attendance won’t purchase it; good works can not buy it; only acceptance of Jesus will secure your place in His presence for eternity. Religious works are public, but a relationship with Jesus is personal.

 

If you have not made this decision to receive Jesus before you die, your ultimate resting place for all eternity will be in “outer darkness”, separated from God forever and ever. Will you make the decision today that will give you eternal life in the presence of God for all eternity? If so, please pray this prayer with me to secure your place in Christ Jesus.

 

Father, I come before You recognizing that I am a sinner, separated from You because of my sin. I realize that I need to accept Jesus as the sacrifice, or payment for my sin. So, right now I believe that He is the Son of God and that He was crucified for my redemption; He was buried and conquered hell in my place and was risen to new life that I might experience all that He died to give me. I ask You, Lord Jesus, to forgive me for my sin, to come into my heart, into my life and fill me with Your new life today. I confess Jesus Christ as my own personal Lord and Savior and I thank You for saving me. From this day forward I will live my life walking the in light of Jesus Christ to be forever in His presence throughout eternity. Thank You for loving me and for dying for me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.