“The Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ” 12/18/2016 written by bruce r. mills

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org/

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

Written by bruce r. mills @  www.Godsmanforever.com

                       

      “The Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ” 

                              (Revised from 7/11/2013)

Here is the truth about sin, and how God’s grace through saving faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ is given by God, to those who understand and obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…

Romans 5:12… Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (NKJV)

 

Most people believe sin began in the Garden of Eden, but it didn’t.  Sin began when God’s top angel Lucifer, decided to flex his power, and wanted to become equal to God…Isaiah 14:12-14

Sin, by its very nature, is born into every human being, since Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden, to the serpent’s (Satan’s) temptations.  This natural sin nature is part of everyone’s natural make-up, from the time they are young children, until the time that they pass on from this life.

That 3 year old, who is told NO by their parents, goes right ahead and disobeys their parents at the first chance they get.  This rebellion against their parents turns into rebellion against God, as a child grows older.  God hates sin, because it is independent rebellion against God; and will devastate the lives of everyone that remains living in sin…in bondage to Satan and the ways of the world…1 John 2:15-16

The sad truth about sin, is that it blinds the unbeliever…

2 Corinthians 4:4… whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (NKJV)   (More about “the light of the gospel” of our Lord Jesus Christ, later)

Satan is the father of sin (John 8:44), and a master of disguise.  The Apostle Paul warns us about false prophets, and Satan himself, in...

2 Corinthians 11:12-14… For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. (NKJV)

Thank goodness God sent His Son Jesus Christ, born to the Virgin Mary (Matthew 1:18)…who’s shed blood on the cross at Calvary, will cleanse the sins of those who are first drawn in by God…

John 6:44… No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. (NKJV)

Upon understanding and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, the sins of the unbeliever will be replaced with the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:9…&…2 Corinthians 5:21)…as God’s free gift of grace, through saving faith alone in Jesus Christ, fills the heart, mind, and soul of the new redeemed child of God.

Ephesians 2:8-9… For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. (NKJV)

There is nothing an unbeliever can do on their own merit.  No amount of good works done in the name of the Lord, can cleanse away sins.  All of our own righteousness is absolutely worthless…Isaiah 64:6…  Jesus warns those who falsely believe that their good works done in the name of the Lord (like going to church every week), will forgive sins…when Jesus warns those around Him (and us) about this, in.

Matthew 7:21-23… Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (NKJV)

Having one’s lifetime of sins forgiven, is pure grace given to the unredeemed sinner by God.  God’s grace is given by God to those who seek Jesus Christ to become their personal Lord and Savior, through a personal one on One relationship, that is established between the unredeemed sinner and Jesus Christ.

This is accomplished through saving faith alone in Jesus Christ, through obedience to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, when the sinner realizes they can in no way save themselves, and turns to the Lord to receive God’s grace… (More about obeying the Gospel of Christ later)

So why should you desire to become a redeemed child of God ??  Very simply, to be in-dwelt with the Holy Spirit by God, to be supernaturally empowered to defeat Satan’s temptations, and our own carnal fleshly desires constantly urging us to sin… 1 John 2:15-16

The Holy Spirit living with-in the “born again” Christian, has been given to them by God to guide and direct EVERY facet of the redeemed child of God’s life…  It is the Holy Spirit that helps the Christian grow and mature the fruit of the Spirit, which the Apostle Paul pens, in…

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  (ESV)

Look at this list of attributes the Holy Spirit will empower you with !!

Love, Joy, and Peace, are the most important of these 9 fruit of the Spirit…

How would you like to have a supernatural love that surpasses your mortal knowledge (Ephesians 3:19)…  A love empowered by the Holy Spirit that will enable you to love even someone screaming in your face, as Jesus tells us to do, in…Matthew 5:43-44

And how about having a supernatural  joy that enables you to go through life’s most difficult trial, and still be able to find joy…  The Apostle James tells us about this joy, in…James 1:2-4

 And wouldn’t you like to have a supernatural peace that will allow you to look upon your own death…knowing without a shadow of a doubt that you will be face to face with Jesus in heaven, the instant you breath your last breath here on earth !!  (2 Corinthians 5:8)

This supernatural peace surpasses our mortal understanding, as the Apostle Paul pens, in…

Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God,which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (NKJV)

All of these God given blessings will be given to you by God, if you understand and obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…  How is this done ??  You must pray to God, with what some call “the sinners prayer”, that should go something like this…

“Father I am sorry for my lifetime of sins…  I believe with ALL my heart, that Your Son Jesus suffered and died on the cross, shedding His blood to cleanse away all of my sins…  I believe that Jesus was buried, and rose again in 3 days…  I repent and turn from my sins with godly sorrow and a repentant heart…seeking Jesus Christ to come into my heart to direct my life…  Father, hear my plea to receive Your grace…  Grant me eternal life with You…  Fill me with the Holy Spirit…and I thank You and praise You in Jesus’ most precious name…Amen”

I can only tell you from my own personal experience…that I made this prayer seeking salvation several times, before God graced me with salvation.  It’s not the prayer that saves us; it is a changed heart that is regenerated by God Himself…  God knows our heart, and He will only grant saving grace to those who seek Jesus with ALL of their heart, mind soul, and strength…

God finally graced me with salvation when I prayed with true godly sorrow and a repentant heart…and I absolutely knew beyond any doubt, that I was just then a redeemed child of God…(Romans 8-16) It is   God’s decision, and God’s perfect timing, to grace someone with eternal life with Him in heaven.

Failure to obey the Gospel of Christ before you die will result in eternal separation from God, and you will forever forfeit your place in heaven…

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9  in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,  (NKJV)

All Christians who are Walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), should absolutely, positively know for sure, that they are indeed a redeemed child of God.  The Apostle Paul tells us this, in…

Romans 8:15-16…  For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”  16 The Spirit Himself  bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (NKJV)

There should be no doubts for the Spirit filled Christian about where they will be headed upon their death.  No wondering if they are good enough to get into heaven.  Because none of us are good enough…

Romans 3:23…  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (NKJV)    

The power of the Holy Spirit can and will conquer sin, by those who without question, have placed their lives in the hands of the Lord.  The Apostle James says this best, when he penned this, in…

James 4:7-8… Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (NKJV)

My friends, these blessings of spiritual fruit are totally indescribable, and have to be experienced to be believed !!

For those who have been graced with salvation…we must do our best to remain walking in the Spirit…  We see this penned by the Apostle Paul, in…

Galatians 5:16…   I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  (NKJV)

We as Christians can only remain filled with the Holy Spirit (as the Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:18-20), if we live in obedience to God’s will and God’s ways…  Any unconfessed sin will leave us in a state of broken (or at least hindered) fellowship with God…

To become righteous again in God’s eyes (from a practical standpoint, because we are always positionally righteous before God), we must confess our sins before the Lord…repent of them…and turn from them… We see this very clearly, as penned by the Apostle John, in…

1 John1:9… If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness(NKJV)

Living for the Lord, with the Holy Spirit in total charge of your life, is a blessing that I pray everyone will come to experience…

Heavenly Father, Your Word is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword…Hebrews 4:12-13… I pray Lord, that You would draw to Yourself those that don’t yet know You as their personal Lord and Savior…John 6:44…  And that the truth from Your Word through obedience to the Gospel of Your Son Jesus Christ, would set them free from Satan’s chains of bondage to sin and shame…John 8:32…  I pray for this fullness of Christ in all of our lives, in Jesus’ most precious name and for His sake…Amen…

Blessings in Christ, bruce r. mills

(Message me here, with any questions)

From the USA, call my cell@  856-430-1448

P.S.  For those who still believe they can earn their own way into heaven, listen to John Piper’s audio on… “Can My Good Works Outweigh My Bad?

https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/can-my-good-works-outweigh-my-bad

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“Lead Like Jesus: Heart, Head, Hands, and Habits” 2/28/2021 Written by Dawn Ivey for “Drawing closer to Christ”

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org/

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

Romans 8 Scripture Images - Romans Chapter 8 KJV Bible Verse Pictures

Written by  Dawn Ivey for “Drawing closer to Christ”  @  https://drawingclosertochrist.com

Original post @ https://drawingclosertochrist.com/2021/02/08/lead-like-jesus-heart-head-hands-and-habits/

Trusting the Love of Jesus Christ, One Day at a Time – Psalm 13:5 NIV, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.”

Lead Like Jesus: Heart, Head, Hands, and Habits

FEBRUARY 8, 2021 ~ DAWN

Leading like Jesus involves our heart, head, hands, and habits. First, examining our hearts, gives us the opportunity to ask ourselves if we are serving God and others or just ourselves. In all we do, our motives should remain pure.

Second, we examine our head. We take time to consider our beliefs and how those beliefs impact those around us. The experiences we have had, rather good or bad, shape how we think, and how we treat others.

Mark 10:45 (NIV)says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Photo by: fauxels

Third, the actions of our hands show what is in our heart and head. Loving people means we want to see them be the best they can be. We praise them when they do good, and lovingly correct them when needed and help them to get back on track during difficult times.

Lastly, we establish healthy habits. Jesus exhibited healthy habits by spending time alone in prayer, applying scripture to His life, and by working to build meaningful relationships with those around Him. He always took time out for people. He lived His life in a way that inspired others.

Leading like Jesus in our hearts, heads, hands, and habits will help us to be quality leaders in our homes, workplaces, and communities. The Holy Spirit who lives in us will empower us daily as we work to bring Jesus glory.

Read Previous Lead Like Jesus post: Standing Before the King

Reference: Lead Like Jesus Revisited: Lessons from the greatest leader of all time by Blanchard, Hodges, and Hendry (2016) pp. 35-38

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P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

You say you are a “born again” believer…  BUT are you “ON FIRE” for the Lord ??  If not, open this link – https://godsmanforever.com/2020/08/01/are-you-a-christian-in-gods-eyes-and-on-fire-for-the-lord-or-not/

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“Do you serve others, or prefer to be served ??” 2/27/2021 Written by Louis Mize, a Facebook friend

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

Written by Louis Mize, a Facebook friend  @  https://www.facebook.com/louis.mize

Bible Verses about Serving Others – Heather C. King – Room to Breathe

Click this link for scripture verses about serving others-  https://heathercking.org/2018/02/05/bible-verses-about-serving-others/

“Do you serve others, or prefer to be served ??”

 

And he sat down, and called the twelve, and said unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all..

Mark 9:35

Jesus took the time during His earthly ministry to teach us many truths concerning the Kingdom of God. One of those truths concerns greatness in His kingdom. Jesus taught that greatness in the Kingdom of God comes, not by grabbing for power, but by the willingness to give power up. You see, that is exactly what the Lord Jesus Christ did, when He came down from Heaven and became human flesh, so that the world may know that HE and HE alone is not merely A WAY to God, but is the ONLY WAY to God.

I have watched many powerful people demonstrate this truth during my life. I have seen men and women who had great power, become willing to give that power up in the service to God and country. That is a wonderful thing to witness. Because right now, it seems the majority of people who hold power aren’t very willing to give that power up for the good of the people. And few are willing to become anyone else’s servant.

This morning I thanked God for people who are willing and able to serve. They always find a place and time to get plugged in and allow God to use them. The common dominator in all those men and women is this: they are Christians with a desire to serve others, and no thought or desire of being the one who is served. They are the ones who never complain about not being ministered to by someone else, because they are too busy ministering to someone else to complain.

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P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

You say you are a “born again” believer…  BUT are you “ON FIRE” for the Lord ??  If not, open this link – https://godsmanforever.com/2020/08/01/are-you-a-christian-in-gods-eyes-and-on-fire-for-the-lord-or-not/

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“Sermon on the Mount – The Beatitudes, part 1” 2/26/2021 Written by Beth Andrews for “Deeper Roots”

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

Written by Beth Andrews for “Deeper Roots”  @  https://dbethandrews.wordpress.com

Original post @ https://dbethandrews.wordpress.com/2021/02/17/sermon-on-the-mount-the-beatitudes-part-1/

Sermon on the Mount – The Beatitudes, part 1

 

POSTED ON FEBRUARY 17, 2021 BY BETH ANDREWS

See the source image

This will be a little different. Once a week over the next couple of months, we’re going to study the Sermon on the Mount. While this devotional is not written specifically as encouragement, studying the Word of God always encourages us. The focus of the Sermon on the Mount – in fact, Matthew’s focus for his Gospel – is the Kingdom of God/Heaven. Matthew wants to prove that Jesus is the long-expected King in the line of David and the promised Messiah. Jesus opens with what we know as “The Beatitudes,” nine times that He describes people who are “blessed” in the Kingdom. The first four, vs 3-6, turn the idea of blessing on its head.

Jesus said blessed are “the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” But these are people who are nobodies in the world. But remember, we’re dealing with Kingdom values, not the world’s values. The poor in spirit are those who realize that they have nothing to offer God for their souls. They have no hope in themselves for eternal life. Their hope is in the promises of God. They will receive the Kingdom. Those who know they have nothing are given everything.

Those who mourn are mourning their sin. Jesus said they will be comforted. How? Paul said that “godly sorrow” for our sins “brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret” (2 Cor. 7:9-10). Those who mourn are comforted when their sorrow turns to repentance then forgiveness and the burden of their guilt is lifted.

The meek are not the weak. Meekness is the fine art of being kind and gentle towards others, especially those who “do not deserve it.” It’s how God treated us. The meek, Jesus said, will “inherit the earth.” Now honestly, who would want this earth? But wait. Rev. 21:1 says that there will be “a new heaven and a new earth.” A new earth would be a truly blessed gift.

Then, “Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled.” How do you know that you’re hungry? You have hunger pains. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness feel genuine pain at the unrighteousness in the world. If you don’t, you may need to check your relationship with God. Unrighteousness breaks the heart of God. It should break our hearts as well. How do we deal with hunger? We eat. This unrighteous world is hungry for God. Let’s feed them the Gospel. We – and they – will be filled, satisfied, beyond measure.

What does all this mean for you? Unless I miss my guess, you, like me, are not great in the world’s eyes. But God has great things in store for those who trust in Him. Beloved, are you blessed by the world’s standards, or by God’s?

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P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

You say you are a “born again” believer…  BUT are you “ON FIRE” for the Lord ??  If not, open this link – https://godsmanforever.com/2020/08/01/are-you-a-christian-in-gods-eyes-and-on-fire-for-the-lord-or-not/

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“Forty Days” 2/25/2021 Written by Dr. Lawson Murry for “SEIZE The DAY”

Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org/

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

Written by Dr. Lawson Murry for “SEIZE The DAY”  @  https://seizetheday-blog.com

Original post @ https://seizetheday-blog.com/2021/02/24/forty-days-4/

Forty Days

FEBRUARY 24, 2021

forty days

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths . . . Psalm 25:4 (NIV)

The term “quadragesima” comes from the Latin for “fortieth” as there are exactly forty days, including Sundays, from Quadragesima Sunday to Good Friday.

Scientific analysis has determined that children born in Western nations today will probably live to be about one-hundred years, i.e. the average life span will be 36,525 days. Rick Warren, in The Purpose Driven Life, asks, “Don’t you think it would be a wise use of time to set aside forty of those days to figure out what God wants you to do with the rest of them?”

Setting aside the next forty days . . . No matter how old you are you’re never too old to pause, to take time to hear from God, to interact with Him through Scripture reading, contemplation and prayer.

Great things can happen over the course of forty days. Moses was never the same after he spent forty days on Mount Sinai, Elijah was transformed after God gave him forty days of strength from a single meal and Nineveh was completely reformed when the prophet Jonah announced that God had given them forty days before the city would be destroyed.

I’m assuming you want to make the most of the next forty days (if you weren’t you probably wouldn’t be reading this post). Your Lenten journey can be spiritually significant if you take the opportunity to learn from those who have gone before you. Moses, for example, during his forty day encounter with God on Mount Sinai asked: “If you (God) are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you” (Exodus 33:13).

I’ve taught my children that it’s helpful to look at the verbs when one’s studying the Scriptures. In Exodus 33:13 the verbs are “teach,” “know” and “find.” These three words, to my mind, are essential companions for a forty day spiritual journey. In the days ahead why not ask the Lord to teach you His ways, to help you know Him more, and enable you to find favor with Him. Of course, in order to understand God’s ways, know Him more and find favor with Him we need to spend time with Him. So let’s do that . . . let’s take the next forty days as a God appointed opportunity to spend quality and quantity time with Him.

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P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

You say you are a “born again” believer…  BUT are you “ON FIRE” for the Lord ??  If not, open this link – https://godsmanforever.com/2020/08/01/are-you-a-christian-in-gods-eyes-and-on-fire-for-the-lord-or-not/

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“DOES BEING A CHRISTIAN GUARANTEE SMOOTH SAILING?” 2/24/2021 Written by Kathy Boecher for “atimetoshare”

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional   

 

If You Really Believe That God Is Sovereign Then You Must Acknowledge Joe  Biden As President-Elect - Faith is the Evidence

                                 

Written by Kathy Boecher for “atimetoshare” @   http://atimetoshare.me

Original post @ https://atimetoshare.me/2021/02/23/does-being-a-christian-guarantee-smooth-sailing/

DOES BEING A CHRISTIAN GUARANTEE SMOOTH SAILING?

Posted on February 23, 2021 by atimetoshare.me

Why do bad things happen to good people? It’s a hard question to answer in a world that’s full of ugliness, hunger, pain, inhumanity, brutal death or hardship. It’s especially hard to answer for a Christian, because it may be assumed that we go through life without any of that, or that we are oblivious to it.

I wonder why some people have it all and others just scrape by. I hurt inside when I think of all the blood shed in countries living under cruel oppression. My heart aches when I hear of acts of a deranged mind taking the lives of others. Tears fall when a young person dies. When undeserved pressures plague those who trust in God, I wonder where God is in all of this.

God is in control of everything that happens in our universe. He placed the stars in the heavens and created all life that exists here. He planted each seed to grow and nourish His children. He provides for our daily bread – even when it’s just a crumb. On the other side of the coin – from the beginning of time, we’ve been disobedient to God. What we deserve is punishment, but God loves us and doesn’t want us to suffer. He provides a way for us. That WAY is Jesus. The ransom required was paid in full by Him. Our sin no longer holds us in chains. He’s given us the victory.

This world isn’t our permanent home. What’s waiting for us on the other side of eternity is where life begins. We’ve been given this time to grow our relationship with God. It’s a time for us to share our love for Him with others – to serve Him, by serving others – to face difficulties with Him as our counselor – to look forward to freedom from all the troubles of this world.

God is faithful and His love endures forever – even in times of trouble. That’s truth we can count on!

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P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

You say you are a “born again” believer…  BUT are you “ON FIRE” for the Lord ??  If not, open this link – https://godsmanforever.com/2020/08/01/are-you-a-christian-in-gods-eyes-and-on-fire-for-the-lord-or-not/

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“Unimaginable Promises” 2/23/2021 Written by Monica La Rose

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional   

 

It All Ends Alright - God's Promises ~ FaithGateway

Written by  Monica La Rose

February 21

Unimaginable Promises

 

He has given us his very great and precious promises. 2 Peter 1:4

2 Peter 1:2–8; Numbers 1–3; Mark 3

In our moments of greatest failure, it can be easy to believe it’s too late for us, that we’ve lost our chance at a life of purpose and worth. That’s how Elias, a former inmate at a maximum-security prison in New York, described feeling as a prisoner. “I had broken . . . promises, the promise of my own future, the promise of what I could be.”

It was Bard College’s “Prison Initiative” college degree program that began to transform Elias’ life. While in the program, he participated on a debate team, which in 2015 debated a team from Harvard—and won. For Elias, being “part of the team . . . [was] a way of proving that these promises weren’t completely lost.”

A similar transformation happens in our hearts when we begin to understand that the good news of God’s love in Jesus is good news for us too. It’s not too late, we begin to realize with wonder. God still has a future for me.

And it’s a future that can neither be earned nor forfeited, dependent only on God’s extravagant grace and power (2 Peter 1:2–3). A future where we’re set free from the despair in the world and in our hearts into one filled with His “glory and goodness” (v. 3). A future secure in Christ’s unimaginable promises (v. 4); and a future transformed into the “freedom and glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:21).

Why can it be difficult for us to accept “unearned” grace and love? How does it touch your heart to consider that in God’s eyes you have a future filled with unimaginable beauty?

******************************************************************

P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

You say you are a “born again” believer…  BUT are you “ON FIRE” for the Lord ??  If not, open this link – https://godsmanforever.com/2020/08/01/are-you-a-christian-in-gods-eyes-and-on-fire-for-the-lord-or-not/

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“Strengthened by Grace” 2/22/2021 Written by Con Campbell for “Our Daily Bread”

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional  

 

Image result for image 2 tim 2:1

Written by  Con Campbell  for “Our Daily Bread” @  http://odb.org

[Click on the “Listen Online” link and listen to the audio version, including the prayer at the end in the original link below]

Original post @ https://odb.org/US/2021/02/20/strengthened-by-grace

February 20

Strengthened by Grace

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 2:1

 

 

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

 

2 Timothy 2:1–4

During the American Civil War, the penalty for desertion was execution. But the Union armies rarely executed deserters because their commander-in-chief, Abraham Lincoln, pardoned nearly all of them. This infuriated Edwin Stanton, the Secretary of War, who believed that Lincoln’s leniency only enticed would-be deserters. But Lincoln empathized with soldiers who had lost their nerve and who had given in to their fear in the heat of battle. And his empathy endeared him to his soldiers. They loved their “Father Abraham,” and their affection led the soldiers to want to serve Lincoln all the more.

When Paul calls Timothy to join him in “suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:3), he calls him to a tough job description. A soldier is to be completely dedicated, hard-working, and selfless. He’s to serve his commanding officer, Jesus, wholeheartedly. But in reality, we sometimes fail to be His good soldiers. We don’t always serve Him faithfully. And so Paul’s opening phrase is important: “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (v. 1). Our Savior is full of grace. He empathizes with our weaknesses and forgives our failures (Hebrews 4:15). And just as the Union soldiers were encouraged by Lincoln’s compassion, so believers are strengthened by the grace of Jesus. We want to serve Him all the more because we know He loves us.

By:  Con Campbell

Reflect & Pray

How can the grace of Christ become a source of strength for you to serve Him? What does it mean for you to suffer for Jesus?

Dear God, please strengthen me in the grace of Christ that I may serve Him faithfully.

***********************************************************************

P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

You say you are a “born again” believer…  BUT are you “ON FIRE” for the Lord ??  If not, open this link – https://godsmanforever.com/2020/08/01/are-you-a-christian-in-gods-eyes-and-on-fire-for-the-lord-or-not/

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“Be Strong in Grace” 2/21/2021 Written by Jim Weikal for “Living Truth for Today”

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

                       Image result for image 2 timothy 2:1

Written by Jim Weikal for  “Living Truth for Today” @  https://billrudgeministries.wordpress.com

Original post @ https://billrudgeministries.wordpress.com/2021/02/19/be-strong-in-grace/

FEBRUARY 19, 2021 BY BRM7

Be Strong in Grace

By Jim Weikal

The apostle Paul suffers in a Roman prison due to the persecution set in motion by the infamous emperor Nero. He knows his death is imminent. So what does a dying man say to a “child in the faith” such as Timothy?

Paul points Timothy to the source where he will find the strength to face the challenges of ministry and Roman persecution: “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1). This verse is a straightforward charge to “be strong.” It is a command and not a suggestion. To “be strong” is a continuous action not a one-time reaction.

Likewise, the Christian today who faces difficulties, challenges, persecutions, oppressions and the like, Paul’s command resonates with us centuries later – “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Remember our Master’s words, “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Jim Weikal is a Biblical instructor at Bill Rudge Ministries.

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P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

You say you are a “born again” believer…  BUT are you “ON FIRE” for the Lord ??  If not, open this link – https://godsmanforever.com/2020/08/01/are-you-a-christian-in-gods-eyes-and-on-fire-for-the-lord-or-not/

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“True Power” 2/20/2021 Written by Mel Wild for “In My Father’s House”

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org/

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

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Written by Mel Wild for “In My Father’s House” @ https://melwild.wordpress.com

Original post @ https://melwild.wordpress.com/2021/02/18/power/

True Power

 

Posted on February 18, 2021 by Mel Wild

Everything today is about power. But we seem to want the powerless kind—through control, clever manipulation, deceit, bullying, political factions, etc. For example, as the Time Magazine article admitted (that I talked about here), “Every attempt to interfere with the proper outcome of the election was defeated.” Democracy was saved…for one-party rule. But all of this is the opposite of God’s kind of power.

Everyone wants and uses power. The desire for power is given to us by God. But it’s corrupted when driven by one of two negative human emotions—fear or greed.

You may disagree and say you don’t want power, and that you certainly never seek it in this negative sense. You may think that because you only associate power with aggression, but you could be seeking it passively, by playing the victim, by identifying as the “oppressed.” Or, you may be passive-aggressively leading your own quiet rebellion. We also use power negatively when we put other’s down in order to elevate ourselves above them.

So it’s good to start with an honest assessment of ourselves.

The State of Things

What always strikes me when I read Paul’s second letter to Timothy is how he absolutely nails the condition of our current culture. I will highlight the salient points in 2 Timothy 3:1-7. See if you can find any similarities to where we are today.

But you need to be aware that in the final days the culture of society will become extremely fierce and difficult for the people of God. People will be self-centered lovers of themselves and obsessed with money. They will boast of great things as they strut around in their arrogant pride and mock all that is right. They will ignore their own families. They will be ungrateful and ungodly.

They will become addicted to hateful and malicious slander. Slaves to their desires, they will be ferocious, belligerent haters of what is good and rightWith brutal treachery, they will act without restraint, bigoted and wrapped in clouds of their conceit. They will find their delight in the pleasures of this world more than the pleasures of the loving God.

They may pretend to have a respect for God, but in reality they want nothing to do with God’s power. Stay away from people like these! For they are the ones who worm their way into the hearts of vulnerable women, spending the night with those who are captured by their lusts and steeped in sin. They are always learning but never discover the revelation-knowledge of truth.      (2 Tim.3:1-7 TPT*)

 

It doesn’t take any spiritual discernment to see that Paul is describing our world to a tee. But there are two points most relevant to our current state as followers of Jesus:

  1. They may pretend to have a respect for God, but in reality they want nothing to do with God’s power (5).

  2. They are always learning but never discover the revelation-knowledge of truth (7).

These two points highlight the difference between empty religion and following Jesus, between true power that comes from God and that which is merely human. What’s interesting about this is that these two areas are resisted by many Christians as much as by skeptics. We even create theology to deny God’s divine power, relegating it to the first century.

But when we deny God’s power, turning it into an empty philosophy of words, we’re left with powerless religion, which usually leads us back to resorting to some form of manipulation, control, or deceit to achieve power.

In our flattened world of materialism, we resist anything beyond the echo of our own thoughts. We deny what we can’t measure or control, which is anything supernatural. We revere education and look down on revelation. Not that natural things are bad or that we shouldn’t be educated, but these things will never lead us into walking in true power.

Here’s the kind of power God intended for us to walk in.

Overcoming Power and Revelation-Knowledge

Earlier, Paul told Timothy this…

So never be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor be embarrassed over my imprisonment, but overcome every evil by the revelation of the power of God! (2 Tim.1:8 TPT*)

 

What Paul is saying here is that it isn’t our clever programs that will free us from lies and bondage, it’s the revelation of God’s power within us. I talk about this in more detail here.  Then, later, Paul says the following:

Timothy, my dear son, live your life empowered by God’s free-flowing grace, which is your true strength, found in the anointing of Jesus and your union with him! (2 Tim.2:1 TPT*)

 

Notice that our true strength does not come from us, but from God’s power within us. It flows to us and through us by His grace.

When we only respect God but deny His power, always learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth, we remain unchanged, un-transfigured, never increasing in glory (2 Cor.3:18). We become full of ourselves, thinking we know something when we know nothing. We will mock what we don’t understand, and we will use this counterfeit-power over others.

This is because it’s only the truth experienced through divine revelation-knowledge that makes us free from these human chains (John 8:32).

Beloved, the truth is, we overcome every evil by the revelation of God’s power within us, and our lives are empowered by God’s free-flowing grace. Both of which requires walking in our union with Christ and trusting in His power, not our own. This means that you and I will walk in true power when we let go of all other forms of trying attain it.

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Eph.6:10 NKJV*)

                                  * All emphasis added.

***************************************************************

P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

You say you are a “born again” believer…  BUT are you “ON FIRE” for the Lord ??  If not, open this link – https://godsmanforever.com/2020/08/01/are-you-a-christian-in-gods-eyes-and-on-fire-for-the-lord-or-not/

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“Time To Turn The Collars Around, Or So It Seems” 2/19/2021 Written by Pastor Randy Burbank for “Kingdom Pastor”

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

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Written by Pastor Randy Burbank  for “Kingdom Pastor”  @  https://kingdompastor.wordpress.com

Original post @ https://kingdompastor.wordpress.com/2021/02/06/time-to-turn-the-collars-around-or-so-it-seems/

Time To Turn The Collars Around, Or So It Seems

 

I am convinced that Professionally Trained Pastors are the Achilles Heel of the U.S. Church.

FEBRUARY 6, 2021PASTOR RANDY

This post may be offensive to pastors, but please read the entire post before making up your mind about me

A text message this morning got me to thinking. My thinking went way back in time–October 1974 to be exact. This was when I was appointed to serve 2 small congregations while I pursued licensing as a pastor at the ripe old age of 18 years old. I mention this because we all know that beginning at 18, we tend to be full of vim and vigor; or was the vim and vinegar? Come to think of it, the latter is more true for me than I want to admit. My thinking moved forward through all the years I served as a pastor all the way to right now.

And now? I have less vim, but at times, a whole lot more vinegar. If you have followed me here on this blog, you know it’s true. And you may wonder who is about the become the object of my vinegary thoughts. It is my profession–“the” pastor. I was trained in the classical model of “The Professional Pastor”. I had someone whom I thought was a colleague, tell me once after I made the decision to remain in serving small and medium churches as what we call a “Local Pastor”, “You really need to become one of us.” His poke was that until one was an ordained elder in the UMC, they weren’t really pastors. By the way, I was eventually ordained, but not to be “one of them”.

The text message from this morning, well, it brought me under conviction of the Holy Spirit. Stay with me a moment, especially if you are a pastor. And really hang in with me if you are studying to become a pastor. In reflecting over these past 46 plus years, one picture stands clear to me. The church in the U.S. has been in a steady decline; almost to the stage of an avalanche. There have been all kinds of explanations, even justifications (even though we can never justify decline) for this event. But the biggest thing is the placing of blame on this state of disgrace.

I realize that some of this decline is caused by Churchians and Tenured Pew Sitters who vainly think the local church exists for them–and who fight tooth and nail to keep their control. But from my perspective–we pastors share the major share of the blame. We were trained to be professionals rather than authentic people who are to be servant leaders. I remember an incident at my previous appointment. After a funeral in my first year, the family was gathered for a meal in the church fellowship hall. I noticed the tea glasses, water glasses, and coffee cups were nearly empty. Well, I proceeded to go to each table refilling their beverage of choice. One of the church members mentioned, “This is our new pastor.” and the response was obviously one of shock when she said, “Oh, really?” To my fellow pastors–if you expect church folks to do things you are unwilling to do or think it is beneath your training, then you’re in the wrong place.

I am convinced that Professionally Trained Pastors are the Achilles Heel of the U.S. Church. It did not happen overnight–it took centuries for this to develop and in 2021, we are reaping the harvest of this with declining congregations. When I began this journey, I thought my job was to herd them up and get them moving in the right direction under MY leadership. What I discovered was that this model was more like herding cats. So I started looking for a different model to emulate. Here’s what I noticed over the past 4 decades plus of noticing.

  • The Underachiever Model. This is the pastor who really doesn’t care about the flock, just the paycheck, and the next church.

  • The Don’t Rock The Boat Model. This pastor is focused on survival–their own and that of their family. These fear confrontation–and as such, cannot guide the church to where it needs to be.

  • Then on the opposite end is The Dynamite Model. I do not mean as in dynamic–but dynamite, C-4 explosives, and the like. They are convinced that their job is to correct the problems that they see as the real problems. Their definition of “real” problems are typically about 7 bubbles off plumb. They do catastrophic damage to a congregation and leaves the damage behind for the next pastor to deal with. And you can always count on The Dynamite Model to leave a few unexploded devices behind which will explode at the worst possible moment.

  • The One Issue Model. This pastor has defined the one issue that a church needs to address even before they arrive. They are convinced that their own wisdom knows which issue the church MUST

  • The Goodyear Blimp Model. I’m not talking about their physical size. It’s the size of their ego. It is large and very inflated. They want the church to know that they have the latest Rock Star Pastor. I once listened to a mega-church’s podcast of a worship service. Truthfully, I only listened for about 3 minutes. The person who was going to bring God’s word opened up that “their” pastor and wife would be back next week. And she said, “Let’s give a hand to Pastor ________ and his wife _______ and let them know how much we missed them. I changed to another podcast–it was about herding cats.

  • And last but by no means least, The Control Freak Model. Churches are not churches without them. Instead of checking the pulse of the congregation, they are putting the thumb down on folks. Nothing can be done without their permission. If something is done without their permission? Forget that adage that says it is easier to ask for forgiveness after the fact rather than seek permission first. Obviously, whoever came up with that adage never had to deal with The Control Freak Pastor. They make Kim Jong-un look like the second coming of George Washington.

Why do I say that The Professional Pastor the primary cause of church decline? I look at the first Models of the church. There was leadership, trained leadership–but that leadership did not get in the way of the church reaching thousands and thousands of people. Oh, for sure, when a local church lost its sense of its true mission, someone was there to set the record straight. And then turned them loose to be The Body Of Christ. No one had to ask permission to lift up the name of Jesus. No one had to ask approval to feed the hungry, take care of the widows and orphans, and bear witness to Jesus and the power of the Cross to save. No one waited for some Professional Pastor to do the work.

There is another Model, a Model that the U.S. church in particular needs today. I would call us The Pastor Model. This pastor guides the congregation into a deeper relationship with Jesus, first and foremost. Then The Pastor Model challenges and equips the Congregation to BE the Body of Christ. And when the Congregation wants to be that Body–he or she gives them PERMISSION to be the Body Of Christ. The congregation doesn’t have to ask The Pastor Model for permission to do anything that lifts up the name of Jesus–and lifts up the least, the last, and the lost. In recent years, when someone comes to me and asks, “Is it OK with you if I do this, that, or the other?”, my response now is: “If it exalts Jesus, if the honors God and the Holy Spirit, if it touches the least, the last, or the lost, then know you have God’s permission and that’s good enough. Now, can I help you or do I just need to stay out of the way?”

In my tribe, only Ordained Pastors can administer the sacraments–as if we are somehow more holy than anyone else. Local pastors can administer the sacraments ONLY in the church they serve. The irony of my tribe is that it also professes the power and importance of the priesthood of all believers. I guess all doesn’t mean all. Before this pandemic hit, there was a significant rise in the number of House Churches. These are homes where people are hungry for a deeper relationship with Jesus, a connection with other Followers, and believe that the Kingdom Of God is needed in their neighborhoods, towns, cities, communities, states, and nation.

To my fellow Pastors, encourage your congregations. Inspire your people given to your care (not your dictatorship)! Don’t be afraid to give them permission to be who God calls them to be, The Body Of Christ. Support them in what they do. Help them but only when asked. Praise them when they look like Jesus. And if they get off-mission–gently take them aside and remind them who WE BOTH serve. You can’t build someone up (remember Ephesians 4:11-12) if you constantly tear them down, or worse, never give them the opportunity to do the real work of Jesus Christ.

If some pastor (or Churchian or Tenured Pewsitter) is upset with me, understand I will soon be 65, closer to the moment I stand before my Judge. The last thing I want to be held accountable for is my failure to speak the truth in love. So if you are offended–it is what it is. I still love you and my prayer for you is that your heart, mind, and eyes will be opened to the Mission God has called us to do.

Love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him.

*******************************************************************

P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

You say you are a “born again” believer…  BUT are you “ON FIRE” for the Lord ??  If not, open this link – https://godsmanforever.com/2020/08/01/are-you-a-christian-in-gods-eyes-and-on-fire-for-the-lord-or-not/

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