“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, or send me an e-mail @ brucermillslast@comcast.net with any questions)

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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“Five Foundations of Discipleship” 5/29/2020 Written by Keith Haney for “THE LIGHT BREAKS THROUGH”

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org/

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

Discipleship: It's A Choice - Andrew Wommack Ministries

Written by  Keith Haney for “THE LIGHT BREAKS THROUGH” @ https://alightbreaksthrough.org

Original post @ https://alightbreaksthrough.org/five-fundamental-elements-of-discipleship/

lightstock_100597_download_medium_byrene_haney_
Whenever we talk about discipleship, it is helpful to start with defining what we are talking about.

Ann Swindoll defines it this way: “What is discipleship? Put simply, discipleship means intentionally partnering with another Christian in order to help that person obey Jesus and grow in relationship with Him—so that he or she can then help others do the same. Jesus taught His disciples to follow Him and obey His commands so that they could lead others to do the same after His death, resurrection, and ascension.

The Apostle Paul continues the pattern with Timothy and encourages him to keep the cycle going:“What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also”   (2 Timothy 2:2)

I love the reminder that one of my primary duties as a pastor is to equip the saints for service to God and his kingdom.  But this service, to be precise, is not some new way for us to earn favor with God because good deeds do not save us.

Discipleship is not some new code word or term for Salvation through adding new requirements on the backs of believers.  Discipleship is a response to God’s love shown to us through the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Foundational facts about discipleship

  • Christian discipleship addresses every dimension of life. It is concerned not only with doing the right thing in every circumstance but also doing the right thing for the right reason.

“Most important, live together in a manner worthy of Christ’s gospel. Do this, whether I come and see you or I’m absent and hear about you. Do this so that you stand firm, united in one spirit and mind as you struggle together, to remain faithful to the gospel.” Phil. 1:27

Grace Colorful Watercolor and Ink Word Art

  • Christian discipleship is a work of grace. It is the Holy Spirit who transforms life, not someone who tries to be good. The term, disciplined grace describes this process. While God transforms, a believer’s spiritual practice creates the transforming environment in which the Holy Spirit works

“But stay away from the godless myths that are passed down from the older women. Train yourself for a holy life! 8 While physical training has some value, training in holy living is useful for everything. It has the promise for this life now and the life to come.” 1 Tim. 4: 7-8.

  • Christian discipleship requires more than preaching alone can achieve. I love the analogy that preaching to make disciples is like going into a nursery and spraying the milk on the newborn babies.  Preaching is powerful, it has behind it the full power and might of the Holy Spirit.  But notice Jesus did not just preach at the disciples, he lived a mission with them.  You need to be on a journey with the people you are called to equip for service.

  • Christian discipleship should involve a ton of celebrations. This may sound odd to you, but here is why celebrations are essential. What you celebrate from the pulpit and in your general assemblies expresses to your members what you value.  If you value equipping people for ministry, are those the announcements you get excited about and lift up before your people? Season vigorously in your sermons what God is doing in discipleship in the lives of your people.

  • Christians want to grow in discipleship, but they usually just need direction. You may have heard it said, “Do as I say, don’t do as I do.”  Unfortunately, that does not work as a plan to develop disciples.  We must emulate the behavior we are expecting from our people.  Jesus didn’t just write a book of rules and regulations.  He wrote a book, the Bible, that describes in great detail how dearly loved we are by God and his Son Jesus Christ.  Then Jesus goes the extra mile and models the life he would have us lead.  He said to follow this example.

This is the foundation that I have written more on discipleship and more is to come.  I welcome your thoughts and discussion on this.  May God bless you and our country as we see every day the need for us to be prepared to witness in a hurting and broken world.  Our responsibility as pastors is to prepare a people ready to face these days ahead grounded in the Word of God and strengthened for the journey ahead.

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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…

Picture credit:  https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ALeKk03g0L1CYcMW_r7314bhCHI9pPBYiA:1590706277357&source=univ&tbm=isch&q=image+discipleship&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiv_-nU0tfpAhVATBUIHabDB_UQsAR6BAgKEAE&biw=995&bih=577#imgrc=LkGMHOIOavEroM

 

 

 

 

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“Discerning God’s Will” 5/28/2020 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/2020/05/28/discerning-gods-will/

Discerning God’s Will

“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” Romans 8:6

People often ask me, “Pastor, how can I know God’s will … ?” My response, “It’s not as hard as it seems. Here are five principles to help you discern God’s will.”

  1. Turn to God’s Word. God speaks to us in and through His Word. As you go about your daily Bible reading ask God to illuminate His Word so that it speaks directly into your situation. Time and again God has given me direction with a verse or verses of Scripture. It’s as if they jump off the page and in their own way say, “This is My will. Now walk in it.”

  2. Gather counsel and advice from mature believers. In Proverbs 10:13 we’re told that “wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning” and in Proverbs 10:31 it reinforces the fact that “the mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom.” So seek out Christians who will lovingly and honestly be committed to your spiritual well-being. As it says in Proverbs 11:14, “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisors make victory sure.”

  3. Ask God to open or close the door. When we trust God with our lives He will be the doorkeeper. Revelation 3:7 says, “What he opens, no one can shut; and what he shuts, no one can open.” Thus we discern God’s will through His control of our circumstances. Time and again I’ve simply prayed, “Lord if this is what you want me to do then open the door so that I can do it. But if it isn’t, then shut the door so that I can move onto what you want me to do.”

  4. Seek the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. When God reveals His will He always gives us peace of mind. The Spirit within us confirms the decision. Romans 8:6 says, “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.”

  5. Act in faith. Don’t vacillate. With the above four principles in place, make sure that once you’ve discerned God’s will you act on what you know. Failure to do so is sin. As we’re reminded in James 1:5-8, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”

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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…

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“Wear the Badge of Perseverance” 5/27/2020 Posted by Alister Begg for www.truthforlife.org

Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

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Romans 5:3-4 – Pastorbluejeans Unplugged

Posted by Alister Begg   for   www.truthforlife.org

Original post  @   https://info.truthforlife.org/devo-may26-2020?ecid=ACsprvu2SRszungKa18o8-UmOVMlcDTRSFbhsrY3u3UaE-RpCmMk-6NKUDevNykcJROV01GcjQLT&utm_campaign=Daily%20Devotion%20Emails&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=88154984&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9-d5fQhz4NhuukD-JQwnGwlLVDsSQWX5xyursOH6lov3Y3vny8AC4q3fviQOOvlVZBMkriDdiZv7vEW1Ql-2sScoZH1J-ZOQs7_5_P4m8EBrQSCKg&utm_content=88154984&utm_source=hs_email

 

Wear the Badge of Perseverance

Continue in the faith.

Acts 14:22

Perseverance is the badge of true saints. The Christian life is not only a beginning in the ways of God, but also means continuing in those ways as long as life lasts. It is with a Christian as it was with the great Napoleon: He said, “Conquest has made me what I am, and conquest must maintain me.” So under God, dear believer in the Lord, conquest has made you what you are, and conquest must sustain you. Your motto must be, “Aim higher.” The only true conqueror who shall be crowned in the end is he who continues until war’s trumpet is blown no more.

Perseverance is, therefore, the target of all our spiritual enemies.

  • The world does not object to your being a Christian for a time, if she can tempt you to quit your pilgrimage and settle down to trade with her in Vanity Fair.

  • The flesh will seek to ensnare you and to prevent your pressing on to glory. “Being a pilgrim is weary work and makes me wonder: Am I always to be mortified? Am I never to be indulged? Can I not have at least a holiday from this constant warfare?”

  • Satan will make many a fierce attack on your perseverance; it will be the target for all his arrows. He will strive to hinder you in service: He will insinuate that you are doing no good and that you need to rest. He will endeavor to make you weary of suffering; he will whisper, “Curse God, and die.” Or he will attack your steadfastness: “What is the good of being so zealous? Be quiet like the rest; sleep as others do, and let your lamp go out like the foolish virgins.” Or he will assail your doctrinal sentiments: “Why do you hold to these doctrinal creeds? Sensible men are getting more liberal; they are removing the old landmarks: Fall in with the times.”

So, Christian, wear your shield close to your armor and cry earnestly to God, that by His Spirit you may endure to the end.

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. Copyright © 2003, Good News Publishers and used by Truth For Life with written permission.

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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…

Picture credit:  https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ALeKk01xTqdBjAhBZEnX6KGMowa6oIqu3w:1590537734004&source=univ&tbm=isch&q=image+Romans+5:3-4&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiogozl3tLpAhW4gnIEHdzzAPYQsAR6BAgKEAE&biw=1026&bih=577#imgrc=5tRKL7TP8ijrHM

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“Merry Christmas in MAY” 5/26/2020 Written by Louis Mize, a Facebook friend

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

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

Nothing But the Blood of Jesus - Christian Instrumental Worship ...

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

“Merry Christmas in MAY”

 

And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. v:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2: 10-11

This morning I did something that may seem unusual to some. I read the account of the Christmas miracle in the gospel of Luke. And I read it in the month of May!

Yesterday, our Pastor, Tony Moye preached another powerful sermon out of 1st Peter, encouraging us in our Christian life. One of the things that impacted me was a statement he made regarding our purpose here on earth. Our purpose is to POINT people to Christ! And this is the very purpose and point of our life here on earth.

I’m in awe each time I read the account in Luke’s gospel of the birth of Christ. He reveals how God chose ordinary people, in ordinary times, places, and circumstances, to accomplish extra ordinary things. And I believe that it honors God when you and I can celebrate both Christmas and Easter, every single day of our life here on earth. For what better way to point people to Christ than to share the historical events surrounding His virgin birth, His sinless life, His substitutionary death on the cross for our sins, and His glorious resurrection from the dead?

I don’t know how many shopping days there are until Christmas. But I know this, shopping days should not be our focus this coming Christmas or any other Christmas. Our focus should be on the good tidings of GREAT JOY, that came into the world when Jesus was born. Merry Christmas in MAY, my friends.

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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…

Picture credit:  https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ALeKk018JWriFYTiq3ycCNMCnzvLqS_1Yw:1590456712466&source=univ&tbm=isch&q=image+what+can+wash+away+my+sins+Nothing+but+the+blood+of+Jesus&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiU3oH7sNDpAhWBYTUKHYLvCRcQsAR6BAgDEAE&biw=1047&bih=577#imgrc=Dqx7MNQNoEAA0M

 

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“IT’S BROKE! FIX IT!” 5/25/2020 Written by Pastor Randy Burbank for “Kingdom Pastor”

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THERE IS HOPE FOR THOSE WHO TRUST IN JESUS – Philippians 4:19 ...

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

Original post @ https://kingdompastor.wordpress.com/2020/04/02/its-broke-fix-it/

IT’S BROKE! FIX IT!

Community is broken. May that community never be seen again.

Since everyone else is either saying something or writing something I thought I might as well put my two-cents worth into the fray. Due to the inability of the vast majority of Americans to stay home when they have symptoms of even the flu or even the common sense to wash their hands, the government has been forced to step in with this thing called quarantine and social distancing. Some states and municipalities have gone further than the Federal Guidelines and moved into total lock down.

Florida has even closed it’s borders to outsiders unless they have a Federal Certificate of being a necessary person. Of course native Floridians say it’s too little, too late because of the damn Yankees. In case you are wondering what that term means, I will explain. A Yankee is someone who goes down South but then goes back north. A damn Yankee is someone who goes down South and stays. A good friend of mine once said that we should round up all the damn Yankees, put them in cattle-cars and ship them back north. But in all fairness, there are a few damn Yankees who are good; few but nonetheless good. They have adapted to our Southern Culture. They have repented of and renounced their Yankee ways. If there was only a way for them to get rid of their accent you wouldn’t even know they were once a Yankee. I am digressing so I will get to the point.

Due to social distancing and quarantine, community has been broken, well except at Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club Costco and the local grocer. But the fact remains that what once was known as community is now broken. Not only in the sense of towns, cities and counties, but it has become illegal to assemble as the Community of Believers. And the very nature of The Kingdom of God requires being and living in Community. And many Churchians and Tenured Pew Sitters are bemoaning this current reality. And now the first penny of my two-cents worth.

The Community known as church, at least in the U.S., was already broken. Long before it was known as “church” the word used to describe this gathering was “kononia”. Kononia means a shared life, fellowship, and a sense of each contributing to the welfare of others. The U.S. church has been turned inward–and though it considered itself a “community”, it wasn’t the kononia community. It had already quarantined itself from a fresh movement of the Holy Spirit and had socially distanced itself from the very ones we are designed, called and commissioned to reach. This social isolation and quarantine only revealed what already existed–Real Kononia Community was broken. My first penny. Now, for the second penny of my two-cents worth.

Community, as it HAS BEEN defined SHOULD NOT BE fixed. If the COMMUNITY that HAD BEEN was the right kind of COMMUNITY, we would not be seeing the fear, panic, hoarding and complete disregard for their fellow human beings. There! I said it! Community BEFORE COVID-19 was defective, mean, ugly and it sucked at being Community. And not just outside the church. Many congregations who cherished their buildings and traditions in those buildings more than people in their community now have neither! And the social distancing now in place has been in practice by many congregations BEFORE COVID-19–and I pray it does not continue after the all-clear is given.

Truth Time! Can you handle it? We do not need community as it has been. My deepest prayer is that out of this calamity, there will be a Resurrection of Koinonia Community–This is Community as God designed it to be in the beginning. A Community unmarred by selfish desires and behavior. A Community that longs to be defined by the Creator rather than the created. A Community that reaches out to make sure no soul is left behind. A Community that celebrates together and that mourns together. A Community that isn’t defined by buildings and habits–but IS DEFINED by the heart that is completely surrendered to God.

Community is broken. May that community never be seen again. And may the Community of the Kingdom of God rise in its place. And it will happen if each of us heeds the words of this song:

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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…

Picture credit:   https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1SQJL_enUS832US832&sxsrf=ALeKk02xQKohSs95dcUTyZRA9Gq40OKtFQ:1589368101929&source=univ&tbm=isch&q=image+hope+in+Christ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjd34fJ2bDpAhWHgXIEHYt2BeIQsAR6BAgKEAE&biw=1232&bih=897#imgrc=S-ADuzM12zmhVM

 

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“God Has Friends In Low Places” 5/24/2020 Written by my friend Bill Sweeney, stricken with ALS 23 years ago.

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

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

Unshakable Hope! - Jodi Rosser

Written by my friend Bill Sweeney, stricken with ALS 23 years ago.  He now writes by use of an eye-tracking computer, with only his eye movements.  Bill’s “Unshakable Hope” should give us all a reason to count our blessings !!  (bruce)

Read all about Bill @  https://unshakablehope.wordpress.com/about/

Original post @  https://unshakablehope.com/2020/05/23/god-has-friends-in-low-places-2/

 

God Has Friends In Low Places

 

I was sitting in the backyard listening to an audiobook and getting a much-needed dose of vitamin D. Two mockingbirds were darting back and forth just a few feet in front of me. They began making so much noise that it was becoming difficult to hear my audiobook. I knew that they had a nearby nest and were only trying to protect their young from a potential threat. Apparently, mockingbirds don’t understand that a paralyzed guy in a wheelchair doesn’t pose a threat. I wouldn’t have harmed them even if I had the ability because Atticus Finch said that it was a sin to kill a mockingbird.

Then I saw two beautiful bluebirds sitting side by side on the lowest limb of the large live oak tree. These two little birds were just minding their own business. Like me, they seemed to be doing their best to ignore the noise and the antics of the paranoid mockingbirds. Every five minutes or so, one of the bluebirds would fly over to an old birdhouse. Mary’s been meaning to replace that birdhouse because the wood is rotting. After observing this for over an hour, Mary came out and told me that the bluebirds have a nest in that dilapidated old birdhouse.

I thought there must be a severe birdhouse shortage in our area for these bluebirds to have chosen this run-down dwelling to build a nest. It was then that I had somewhat of a revelation about the beautiful and Holy taking up residence in dwellings that are far beneath them. Jesus was born in a smelly stable. There might have been a pair of bluebirds nesting in that stable. The Holy Spirit resides in the followers of Christ:

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)

I’ve met some rough-looking followers of Christ over the years. Many of Christ’s most fervent followers were once prostitutes, alcoholics, drug addicts, gang members, murderers, on and on the list goes. And then there’s me… Regardless of how we might look on the outside, we’re all broken down “birdhouses” on the inside. As the Bible says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).

Yet, this sinless Jesus will put His Spirit in all that ask Him to. Wow!

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Jesus was born in a place that most homeless people would have avoided. But, Even if Jesus would have been born in the most magnificent palace on earth, it would have been far beneath Him. It’s as if God chose the lowest of places to emphasize this. Yes, that’s it exactly.

The disciples were grief-stricken after Jesus explained to them that He would have to die. He comforted them with these words: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)

The night before the crucifixion of Jesus, Peter cowered before a small group of slaves, denying three times that he even knew Jesus. Weeks later, after being filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter stood before a crowd of thousands of powerful Jewish leaders, likely some of the people who condemned Jesus. Peter boldly declared that Jesus is Lord. Then he told them to “Be saved from this perverse generation!” (Acts 2:40). I think saying things like that was politically incorrect even in that day. I wonder what he’d say today. Regardless of what he said, his message was effective, and “about three thousand souls” committed to following Christ that day.

Years later, after being arrested by the Romans, Peter was told that he would be crucified if he didn’t renounce Jesus. Contemporary sources write that he refused to renounce Jesus. He told them that he didn’t feel worthy to die in the same manner as his Lord and Savior. Instead, he asked to be crucified upside down. They granted his request.

It’s been two thousand years since Peter’s crucifixion. Many have been executed for refusing to deny Jesus. In the face of death, many others renounced Jesus and lived.

What choice would you make if put in this position?

By definition, a true follower of Christ is someone who has the Spirit of God living inside of them. I still think it will be a difficult choice, but if the Holy Spirit is in you, you will say no to this life and yes to eternal life.

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)

Having God’s Spirit living inside of us gives us Unshakable Hope.

Rewritten from a post five years ago.

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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…

Picture credit:  https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1SQJL_enUS832US832&sxsrf=ALeKk03oDHnesX5uWOWc7QltKMO_2ue4Mw:1586011032404&q=image+unshakable+Hope+in+God&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjB0sjB_87oAhUwj3IEHewRBDwQsAR6BAgJEAE&biw=1245&bih=693#imgrc=1k_WJBCpm_WKNM

 

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“My Heart Leaps for Joy” 5/23/2020 Posted by David Kitz for “I Love the Psalms”

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

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

Buy The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him ...

Posted by David Kitz for “I Love the Psalms” @  https://davidkitz.wordpress.com/

Original post found @  https://davidkitz.blog/2020/05/21/my-heart-leaps-for-joy-2/

My Heart Leaps for Joy

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Reading: Psalm 28
(Verses 6-9)

Praise be to the LORD,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The L
ORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.
The LORD
 is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever 
(NIV).*

img_20200512_1129520

Red trillium — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
David ends Psalm 28 with a doxology of praise. Yes, it is good and fitting to praise the LORD. He hears our cry for mercy. To those who seek to know Him, He is not a God of harsh judgment or we would all perish. He is my shield and strength despite my frequent failings. David declares, “My heart trusts in him, and he helps me.” I can join in David’s declaration and personally testify to the truth of these words, “My heart trusts in him, and he helps me.”

Our God does not stand afar off. He is near to those who call on Him.

David was not one to be shy or reserved in his expression of praise. He exults, “My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” When David brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, he gave full expression to his joy.  Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets (2 Samuel 6:14-15).

Recently, I watched as Canada’s women’s Olympic hockey team scored a late-rally, come-from-behind, overtime victory over a shocked American team. There was no shortage of leaping, dancing and rejoicing in the Canadian ranks. The outburst of praise and jubilation was completely fitting for them.

But as born-again children of God, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, we have a far greater reason—an eternal reason—for bursting forth in praise. Our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ has scored a late-rally, come-from-behind, overtime victory over death, hell and the grave. And he scored that victory for you and me. Together we are on an international team—Team Believer—believers in Jesus. What a victory he has won! What a celebration!

We join with David in declaring, “The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.”

Response: LORD God, help me to grasp the full extent of the victory I have in you. Now I ask you to hear my prayer, Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.” Amen.

Your TurnWhy do we put limits on our expressions of praise to God, when our praise is exuberant and boundless at sporting events?

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

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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…

Picture credit: https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1SQJL_enUS832US832&sxsrf=ALeKk01QfTh8ijNLc8Pro5dHIINk468axg:1590232444386&source=univ&tbm=isch&q=image+My+heart+leaps+for+joy&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiBvNS_7cnpAhXSJt8KHSciCYEQsAR6BAgIEAE&biw=1266&bih=897#imgrc=VJkFaqbRJBnSOM

Posted in Daily Devotion, Psalm 28, Psalms | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment
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