Its by Grace Alone!

JESUS?? Really??

We have a son named Daniel and a daughter named Rachael. We have five amazing Grandblessings. Sue Ann my adored has one brother and two sisters. I Have two brothers and one sister and another sister who was a twin unfortunately died when she was just 12 months old.

It’s amazing what you don’t know about people even when you have known them for quite a while isn’t it!  Some people feel they know our family well yet I can tell you what we are really like because I know them all so well.

Most people have at least heard about Jesus – they may have even formed a mental picture in their minds as to what he looked like, what he wore, where he went, where he was born even how he died and for the majority of people out there that’s about it.

To get to know Jesus better check out the gospels – here we have the facts from the people who knew HIM better because they actually lived their human life here on this amazing spinning ball we called earth with Him during the three short years of His ministry.

Most people that I have talked to assume they know Jesus, yet I wonder at their complete lack of knowledge regarding Him. They readily tell me that he was a great teacher or that he came completely from left field, or even that he didn’t exist. Some tell me he was the founder of Christianity some even tell me he was the son of God.

Knowing about Jesus intimately nearly always brings surprises – he is the SURPRISING JESUS.

I think the most surprising thing about Jesus is His complete trust in the Father – He knew he was born to die and die horribly for us – for example if Jesus had died peacefully in his sleep one night then I doubt the impact of the life changing and incredible sacrifice for our sins wouldn’t have had the impact it had on that terrible but beautiful day on Calvary all those years ago.

Do you know the real meaning of the cross? many people wear crosses with no idea what they are adorning the necks with and how the REAL cross saves people even today.

The REAL Jesus can change your life!

John R W Stott asks in his book THE CROSS OF CHRIST why the cross emerged as the symbol of Christ? Why did the early Christians not choose a crib where he was born, or a boat where he preached, or towels with which he washed dirty feet, or the stone rolled away from the tomb where he rose?

Stott goes on to say that while Jesus’ birth and life and preaching are all so vital – It’s his crucifixion and resurrection that are absolutely central to really knowing him.

I truly believe at his death on Calvary and that last cry IT IS FINISHED was a shout of victory not a cry of resignation – Jesus had finished the work he was destined to fulfil.

The Father’s will was completed – Jesus had paid the price for you and me to know Him fully. It is really really sad that many people don’t grab hold of the incredible truth and apply it to their own lives – if they did they would notice a HUGE change

The resurrection of Jesus of course is the very climax of the life of Jesus and being raised he is again with the Father, It is really THE most important event in the history of world,

One amazing day the heavens will open wide like a huge scroll and then everyone who has gotten to know Him not just on paper but intimately known Jesus and invited Him into their hearts to rule their lives will be caught up to meet Him – an amazing event indeed.

Jesus came to earth to save sinners like you and me. If you are one of those people who couldn’t care less about what happened 2019 years ago then I urge you to take a bigger and better look at who Jesus really is then sit down and really think about what you have learnt – it could have wonderful unimaginable or disastrous consequences of your life.

Once we are dead it is far too late to come back – there really are no second chances after that but let me tell you this one important fact about Jesus – he died for your sins. The sins you committed before you knew him, the sins you have committed since knowing him and even the sins you will commit in the future,

All you have to do is come before the Lord, confess your sins – ask Him to rule your life and to truly repent asking him to forgive you.

Once we have given our lives to Him – then His very spirit will come in and take up residence in your life, then when you do mess up His spirit will prompt you to come back ask forgiveness again – it really is that simple.

It is really simple but is THE biggest decision I made such a long time ago. Did I ever mess up since making that decision? Of course I did and still do BUT the most amazing part is that God in his mercy and because of what Jesus did on that cross is so willing to forgive me.

Of course it doesn’t mean that I can live my life doing exactly what I want and when I want to do it – my whole demeanor changed that day and I really want to live for Jesus. He always ALWAYS prompts me and helps me to confess and restart when I mess up.

Come to Him today.

Do you know JESUS???   REALLY??

I Promise

I Promise

The Lord is trustworthy in all He promises and faithful in all He does” (Psalm 145:13). The mothers of the nation of Israel, Sarah and Rebekah, both have stories marked by the power of God. They both saw God move in wonderful and amazing ways, in impossible situations. Wouldn’t you think they, of all people, would trust God completely?

Yet both women’s stories show them taking God’s promises into their own hands. Sarah heard God’s promise to give Abraham a son through whom He would build a great nation. When the promise was delayed Sarah devised a plan for Hagar to serve as a surrogate so that “through her I can build a family” (Genesis 16:2). The world is still suffering the consequences. The Lord told Rebekah that her younger son would rule over his older twin brother, yet when the time came for Isaac to give the blessing, Rebekah schemed to make sure her favorite younger son was in place under his father’s hand. Because of her actions Jacob was forced to flee from the wrath of his brother and she never saw him again.

I understand that tension. God has made promises to me and circumstances made those promises seem impossible. The truth is, I am as guilty as my ancient sisters of trying to manipulate God’s promise into fruition. And just as it did for them, my actions always led to frustration, heartache, and emptiness.  Sarah and Rebekah doubted God would keep His promise. So have I. They determined it was up to them to see God’s plan fulfilled. So have I.  Ultimately God did fulfill His promises to them and to me. He was and is faithful after all.

The Bible assures us that “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Unlike you and I, God does not make promises He cannot or will not keep.  Charles Spurgeon says, “God keeps His promises before He makes them.”  Think about that.  When God makes a promise, it is as good as done no matter how the situation looks. God can be trusted to fulfill what He has promised.

Now think about what God has promised to you.  Can you see the thing coming into reality right now?  Probably not.  Does that mean that God will fail to keep His promise?  Absolutely not.  It means you need to keep your eyes on Him and not on the circumstances.  It means God is going to do something amazing before your eyes.  In fact, the more impossible the situation looks, the bigger the miracle to bring it to fulfillment.  And you don’t want to miss that do you?

Beloved, you and I do not have to doubt that God will keep His promises.  We also don’t have to scheme and plot and manipulate to bring God’s promises to fruition.  It is completely His job and He doesn’t need any help from us.  Anything you and I may accomplish by our feeble actions will be empty and vain.  Everything God does to accomplish His promises will be extraordinary and beyond our wildest expectation.  I know this from His Word and from my own experience.  When I stand aside in faith and let God be God, He blows my mind!

Our only response to God’s promises should be “May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38) as we wait – not in frustration and doubt – but in eager anticipation.  God is faithful.  He will not fail you.  He always keeps His Word.

Always.

Holy Father, You are the great Promise Maker and the faithful Promise Keeper.  Sometimes You make such amazing promises we wonder if they can really be fulfilled.  Give us faith to watch and wait, knowing that when You do what only You can do, it will be more than worth the wait.  Amen

We Need To Change How We Talk About The Bible

 Roy McMahon/Getty Images

I like to win arguments.

I like being right. I like showing people that I’m smart. I like using my knowledge and proving a point. It’s fun. I enjoy the rush it gives.

And it may be one of the most destructive things I can do as a Christian.

“The defeat of the intellect is not the object in fighting with the sword of the Spirit, but the acceptance of the heart. In this case, therefore, I drew back.”

– George MacDonald

The mentor of the famous C. S. Lewis shares just what is wrong with Christians fighting, bickering, debating back and forth until there is one winner.

That isn’t the point.

The Bible isn’t somethign we use to defeat or destroy, belittle or beat  a brother or sister in Christ. It isn’t a weapon for us to weld to prove how excellent we are at exegesis. It isn’t a stool or an escalator we get on to elevate ourselves above the rest of the Body of Jesus.

If it is, we need to check ourself. Before we wreck a lot more than ourself.

The sword of the Spirit, the Word of God is not for destruction or defeat. While it does pierce through to the heart, dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow (Hebrews 4:12), the end goal of the Bible is not the demise of anyone.

The disciple Peter spoke well to this matter, when asked if he wanted to depart from Jesus,

“Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.“”

– John 6:68

While this first applies to the words of Jesus, it does extend to all the words of Scripture. They are words of life. They are words that do not destroy or defeat or diminish. They are words that encourage, strengthen, and build up.

After all,

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

– 1 Timothy 3:16-17

If we are discussing, digging, debating, theorizing, or theologizing with the intent to win, we have failed. And we need to step back.

MacDonald says, “I drew back.”

Like a retreat, a purpose full pause, a chance to reflect and re-evaluate what he was doing.

I think I need to do that more often. I’m sure a lot of Christians do, but I’m thinking about myself for a second.

I am smart, but I know there have been times I have used my knowledge, my wisdom to trounce other Christians, belittle them to elevate myself. I have argued people into corners, made them second guess what they believed just to prove I knew better than they did.

That’s not the point. That’s not what the Bible is supposed to be used for. And there is nothing about that kind of action or attitude that is Christ like.

I need to draw back a lot more often than I do.

This isn’t an anti-debate or anti-intellectual statement or quote either. The mentor of C.S. Lewis? How could a man that taught one of the greatest Christian thinkers be anti-intellectual?

No. MacDonald saw in himself, and I’m sure in others, that while debate and figuring things out is of great value, rightness isn’t the end goal.

A renewed mind and an upright spirit are. The repentant heart.

are your conversations, your debates, your theologizing changing hearts or earning you victory points?

One is in line with the heart of Scripture, the word of God.

The other may be the most destructive thing you can do as a Christian.


This article first appeared on Christian Thought Sandbox.

Dont Miss Out On Gods Plans & Promises!

The story of the twelve spies in Numbers 13-14 is one of the more popular stories from the Old Testament we may usually hear in church.  In Numbers 13:30-32 (NASB), we read: Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it. 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us. So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land.

As we look over some details on this story of doubt and faith, we can draw lessons to apply in life.

Valid Concerns

From verses 1-17 of chapter 13, we see God commanding Moses to send out twelve spies (one chosen from each tribe) to spy out the promised land. As Moses sent them, he instructs them in verses 18-20 to:

  • check out what kind of people there were and how many they were (v.18),
  • check out what visible prospects there were in the land (v.19-20),
  • check out what provisions were readily available (v.20), and
  • check out what possible problems they might face when they tried to conquer (v.19).

All of these concerns were valid. To know what kind of oppositions to face and address and what opportunities are foreseeable and available are legitimate concerns for anyone making a plan of action for whatever endeavor.

Different Perspectives

As the mission of the twelve spies ended and they have gone back to report, the Israelites then faced two conflicting conclusions. All twelve spies agreed that the land was rich and full of opportunities but ten spies believed it was impossible for them to conquer, overwhelmed by the size, strength, and number of the opposition along with the difficulty of the fortifications they will need to deal with (13:28-29, 31-33).  Only two of the spies (Caleb and Joshua) were confident that God will deliver on His promise to them (13:30; 14:6-9).

Ten spies strongly doubted their chances because they focused on their own natural abilities. Joshua and Caleb knew they could’ve conquered right then because they believed in Gods supernatural assistance.

Consequences of Doubt

When you doubt you miss out! But in this story, we might as well say, when you chicken out you miss out!’

The Israelites rejection of God (another way to understand the word œspurn in 14:11) resulted in everyone from that generation (except Caleb and Joshua) not being able to claim for themselves what God had promised them as a nation (14:22-23, 29-30). Entering the promised land was a privilege they could’ve experienced right then if they had only believed God.

Consequences Worsen

After the ten spies were judged (14:36-37), the Israelites then decide to supposedly follow Gods first command by disregarding the judgment God had placed upon them.  Their sudden effort to conquer the land against Gods will resulted in their utter defeat (14:39-45).

This part of the story is a reminder for Christians who try to follow God by their own terms. No amount of sacrifice that does not follow Gods designed path or process can ever make up for continued disobedience.  God desires simple, plain obedience to what He commands us to do (1 Samuel 15:22).

Faith Rewarded

The ten believe they couldn’t because they didn’t have the ability. Joshua and Caleb knew also they couldn’t that’s why they believed in God who had all the ability (14:8-9). Joshua and Caleb believed in God and trusted His promise and they were rewarded graciously (14:24, 30, 38).

Our fears of taking steps of faith (like the ten spies) is a reflection of how much we do not know God and how we’ve neglected the kind of relationship He desires of us.

Let’s Ponder

Remember, God’s guidance and His call for obedience will always lead us to where His grace abounds.  Obedience is a step of faith that looks to God for confidence and banks on Who He is. Don’t miss out on what God has planned for you and what

Wikipedia

Is Wikipedia Biased Against Christian Content?

From its home page, Wikipedia describes its site as “the free encyclopedia [that] anyone can edit’. On a self-described page of what it is and what it is not, Wikipedia claims that it is not censored. For content guidelines, there are only 3:

  1. Content must be neutral in form. It must not take sides, rather, it should explain sides fairly and without editorial bias.
  2. Content must not be original research. It should be attributable to an existing source or reference material.
  3. Content must be verifiable. It must be verifiable from a reliable, published source. The information presented must not be made up.

 

Reading all these causes us to believe that Wikipedia is an unbiased platform. Indeed, you may come across Wiki pages that need updating and correcting. But as a whole, the site seems to be an open resource site that makes room for all kinds of useful and relevant information, especially such that are Christian in nature or theme.

 

Then we come across news of a Christian page being taken down and we start to wonder how often Wikipedia removes Christian pages. More importantly, why? Is there unfairness in the upholding of standards or policies?

Let’s cite one Wikipedia page about Gunter Bechly. The original page written in German is up and online still. However, the English translation looks to have been erased. Gunter Bechly is a reputable paleontologist and entomologist. He was once an atheist and a supporter of Richard Dawkins. But, comtinued studies will open his eyes towards a strong belief in intelligent design. A complete reading on the German Wikipedia page will show you that the entry is purely biographical. There is no bias towards a certain viewpoint. The facts are verifiable and there is no original research presented. So, why isn’t an actual English page available for access?

Let’s cite three more Wikipedia pages. We can find a Wikipedia page that talks about “Lists of Atheists’. We can also find a Wikipedia page that talks about “List of Atheists in Politics and in Law’ But, check out a Wikipedia page that talks about “Christian Wikipedians’ and you’ll only read this disclosure there: “This page is being considered for deletion’.

 

It is true that as anyone can just edit Wikipedia, anyone can just report a page for violation. But when it comes to deciding to finally delete a page, who makes the decision? And, are the same standards applied on both Christian and non-Christian content? We won’t know for sure. We can only maintain our hopes and prayers for equal opportunity and fairness for Christianity, online.