This world is full of pain because we say that we can’t or won’t forgive one another for either a wrong or a perceived wrong. Through the Love of GOD, forgiveness has the power to restore and forgiveness opens the door to a new life and LOVE! LOVE and FORGIVENESS walk hand in hand! Ephesians 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” John 15:12 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
PLEASE forgive one another! Time is short! Today could be the last day of your life! Around 150,000 people on this earth die everyday! Don’t let your lack of forgiveness not only be a chasm between you and your fellow man, but it will also become a chasm between you and Heavenly Father! Pay heed to Jesus’s words.. Mark 11:26 “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.” Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. If you carefully read those scriptures…he’s said the exact same thing from two different angles. FORGIVE!!!
How many of us hold a grudge against our parents and blame them for the failures we have in this life? When things go wrong, they become our scapegoat. How many of us give praise to our parents for our successes? When things go right we claim all the credit. How many of us actually think about the fact that without this particular pair of parents…we wouldn’t be here or who we are today? If you’re blaming your parents for everything that goes wrong in your life…then it’s long past time to forgive! It’s also time for you to realize that they weren’t necessarily supposed to be “perfect”! If you’re a Christian, you know and believe that God’s plan is perfect from beginning to end. If anything, we are the ones who throw the wrench in His plans…simply because He’s given us freedom of choice and WE make the wrong choices.
The parents or parent we have are who God chose for us to help make us into the human beings that we are today. If you’re not measuring up…take a good look at yourself! What can you do to change your life for the better? I believe that you can start by giving your Life to Jesus as we are to LIVE for GOD! HE DIED for US! Once you’ve given your life over to Jesus, you will find continual change going on within yourself and because of this change, people around you will change too and they will see you with different eyes. When you LIVE for JESUS, HIS light will shine inside you for the whole world to see.
God calls us to be salt and light, to stand out in the crowd. What better way to do so then to do something so utterly unheard-of and counter-cultural like loving one another regardless of the hurt…Jesus taught us to pray “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us”. Displaying this Christ-like love in today’s hate-filled world will force people to take notice and wonder who or what could compel us to love each other in this way.
This is the 1st line of a humbling song that I’ve recently found on YouTube: “If Jesus come tomorrow to spend some time with you…would you answer all His questions or lie to hide the truth?” We should know that there’s nothing that we can hide from Jesus, but is it possible that we should ever be so unwise as to think that we could? Adam and Eve tried to hide from God in the Garden of Eden when they’d sinned; their sin brought them loss of righteousness and separation from God, ultimately death 1 Corinthians 15:22 (HCSB) For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
The 2nd line of the song: “Would you welcome Him with open arms or even let Him in? If Jesus comes to- morrow, what then?” Are we ready? Have we forgiven our family members, friends or acquaintances of perceived wrongs…have we asked their forgiveness or forgiven ourselves? Will Jesus find us rejoicing in His love and peace or will He find us angry, tired, and in conflict? Will He find us sharing our faith with the weak and the lost? Is there anything in your life that you regret? Is there anything in your life that you have not repented of? Is there anything in your life that could keep you from sitting at the feet of Jesus? Jesus said in John 3:20 (HCSB) “For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed.”
The 3rd’ line of the song: “If Jesus calls your number, could you leave today? Are you ready to lay down your worldly goods and walk away?” No one knows when Jesus will be coming back, but we do know that He is…He has told us to be prepared…He will arrive when we least expect it. Have you allowed your love of the world to get in the way of your walk with God? Are you doing your best with the last moments of your life to serve Him, to share Him, to bring as many people to Him as possible before the end comes? Jesus said in Matthew 24:14 (HCSB) This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come.
The 4th line of the song: “Would it take a month of Sundays, to tell Him of your sin? If Jesus comes tomorrow, what then?” James 1:13 (HCSB) No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone. Do we recognize our own sin? Do we blame our sins on others? Are we so wrapped up in “ME” and the world that we don’t see our sin for what it is? The entire Bible from the beginning to the end addresses sin. From the Garden of Eden and through all the words of Jesus in the New Testament, it’s made clear that God, our Father, abhors sin. This is why He sent His Son Jesus to us, to cloak us in His righteousness because He knew that man could not live without sinning,
1 John 1:9 (HCSB) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Heavenly Father gave us a way out, but because we have a way out do we continue to sin? God Forbid!
The 5th line of the (chorus) song: If the sky turns black as midnight in the middle of the day Isaiah 34:4 (HCSB) All the heavenly bodies will dissolve. The skies will roll up like a scroll, and their stars will all wither as leaves wither on the vine, and foliage on the fig tree. Revelation 6:14 (HCSB) the sky separated like a scroll being rolled up; and every mountain and island was moved from its place. Both verses tell us that the heavens will be rolled up like a scroll. I remember when Mt. St. Helens blew it’s top…it was an eerie feeling as I watched out the window and the darkness rolled in like a tidal wave…of course, the news had informed us that it was the result of the volcano blowing up and the cloud of ash headed our way…so it wasn’t scary, but it certainly was unexpected.
The 6th line of the (chorus) song: “And somehow you knew that Jesus would soon be on His way” Matthew 24:44 (HCSB) “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
The 7th line of the (chorus) song: “Would you have to beg forgiveness or could you reach out and take His hand” Jesus said in Matthew 7:14 (KJV) “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Let’s start with the most sorrowful “MY” of ALL: My Skepticism (which is just another way of saying Agnostic or Atheist). When a Christian hears those words, the pain we feel is beyond description. Feelings of such intense sorrow and horror that if the person expressing these words doesn’t embrace the Grace of Jesus the Messiah – Yeshua Hamashiach (Hebrew Translation for the “Anointed One”) and repent from their sins, they’ll face damnation – they will be found guilty before God. The Apostle Paul said: 18 For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Phil 3: 18 (HCSB) An enemy of the cross doesn’t have to be a hate ridden bad person…an enemy of the cross is someone who doesn’t recognize what Jesus did to buy them the gift of eternal life and the cost was the blood of Jesus; as the Bible says in Hebrews 10:10 He gave it once for ALL! It’s so simple that it’s difficult for a Christian to believe that anyone would or could turn down such a gift.
The next most sorrowful “My” is: My Beliefs (someone who has their own idea of a belief system totally unrelated to God’s). A phrase that I’ve heard on many occasions is…”don’t talk to me about God, I have my own beliefs!” WOW! That’s really terrifying! I’ve talked to evolutionists (ape to man, etc), humanists (well being, etc), pantheists (humans as nothing special), greenies (environmentalist). I could go on and on…there are so many belief systems that someone could write a book on them…maybe they already have. Contrary to what they like to believe (pun)…they have “blind faith” that they’re on the right track and those of us who believe in Jesus Christ are fools. To some extent this belief system is a sort of religion without a deity….unless it’s themselves…consequently the “MY” sitting on the throne.
Third sorrowful “My” is: My Life! I can do with it what I want! No one or no book (Bible) has the right to tell me how to live my life! This lifestyle usually leads to excess…and “loving” the world. This lifestyle can stand on it’s own or be attached to either or both of the two “My’s” I’ve already mentioned. Regrettably it can also be the mantra of a Christian as they become involved with the idea of the brand new car & the bigger better new house. A financially successful Christian can convince themselves and believe they deserve only the “best” of everything. Their hobbies are the most expensive and their time is spent anyway they desire, regardless of who they hurt or neglect. Then from that extreme, there’s the other side of the coin…the broke person who says I worked for it, if I want to spend it on my friends at the bar until the money runs out, it’s my money and so what if the rent is due. If I want to quit my job and play video games, that’s my business. These are just the tip of the iceberg of a self-centered existence.
15 Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. 16 For everything that belongs to the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever. 1 John 2: 15-17 (HCSB)
As Christians, we are to choose LOVE to be the ruling factor of our lives: the LOVE of GOD and the LOVE of our neighbors. Our lives should be the outward reflection of making choices that involve our desire to follow Christ and take His council through the Holy Spirit. I’m not being a legalist when I remind you that “Loving GOD with all your heart” is the first commandment. HE must sit on the “Throne of your Life”!
Matthew 10: 7 And as ye go, preach, saying: The kingdom of heaven is at hand.(KJV)
The principle of “Evangelism” is to bring our fellow man to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as his or her Savior. We must not be complacent…the day will come when his mercy will end, so we must not take his mercy for granted, we must share the Gospel while there’s still time!
The Bible teaches that as the church, we are the “body of Christ”. “We are to love the people of the world. We are here for this very purpose – to go into the nations and proclaim the Gospel to all who will hear.” ***(The Gospel Project, Vol 2, p.96)
As the “body of Christ” we are blessed…we know Jesus died for us and that when we repent (turn away) from our sins and put our trust in Jesus, that by His intercession, He will save us from God’s wrath. Here’s the hitch…there are many living on this earth, in this country and even in your town that don’t know Jesus, they don’t realize that they’re dead in their sins, because they don’t recognize what sin is. They may have heard of Jesus, but they have no idea of the consequences of their thoughts and actions, because they’ve never heard the “Good News”.
Heavenly Father reveals this “Good News” to us through Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection. Matthew 11:45 (HCSB) “Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.’”
ALL I can say is WOW! Doesn’t reading this scripture make you want to go out and share the Gospel – The GOOD NEWS- with the entire world. Don’t be afraid to share…as Christians we have the Holy Spirit to guide us and encourage us. Are you on fire for Jesus? The more you study your Bible and allow the Holy Spirit to work in you, the more on fire you’ll become! Soon, you will want to share with everyone you meet. In the letter of Paul to the Ephesians he writes that if you allow Him, the Spirit will mold you and form you in order to bear His message without fear. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (HCSB)
The Old Testament Books and the New Testament Books of the Bible proclaim the Good News! From the very first praise, the entire Bible is about Christ and what He has planned for our Salvation! “In the Beginning”…according to the pictographs… God reveals that the SON of GOD will be DESTROYED with His HANDS on a CROSS.
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the herald, who proclaims peace, who brings news of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52: 7 (HCSB)
Zion, herald of good news, go up on a high mountain. Jerusalem, herald of good news, raise your voice loudly. Raise it, do not be afraid! Say to the cities of Judah,” Here is your God!” Isaiah 40:9 (HCSB)
He (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. As usual, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him, and unrolling the scroll, He found the place where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Luke 4: 16-19 (HCSB)
The Apostle Paul taught: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16 (HCSB)
“The Mission” Evangelism is our mission!
As we study the Bible we see that God’s plan for the church (the body of Christ) is much greater than man’s plans. In the book of Revelations 2, there are 7 angels sent to convey Christ’s letters to 7 churches…when you read these letters to the churches, you realize that they all fall short in one way or another. As I study the 7 letters, I find myself praying that as the body of Christ, we will heed the messages in these letters and do our best to follow His plans for us and the world.
***I used excerpts from The Gospel Project (our adult Sunday school guide).
*Most of my Scriptures are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible…for the sake of the person who has trouble understanding the King James Version of the Bible. I have used the KJV all of my life until I was called to Evangelize and then I realized that people who don’t know God have difficulty understanding the KJV vocabulary as easily as the HCSB.
What comes to your mind when you think about Christian Education? A room full of fresh faced energetic children at Sunday school singing songs about Jesus and learning Bible stories? Vacation Bible School? Sometimes parents are so thankful for VBS…as the enthusiasm for summer is dwindling and there’s something for the kids to do besides be under foot. Sometimes we think of Christian education as sending our children to a private Christian school instead of public school. We tend to focus on the children’s education, sometimes at the danger of forsaking our own.
It’s not just children who need Christian education…we’re never too old to learn what God has planned for us…by studying His Word daily, by sharing the Love of God with your family and everyone you meet, by associating with your church family more than just on Sunday, by giving generously of your time, by cultivating the fruits of the spirit:
Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV)22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. When we open our heart and mind to the possibilities of what God has planned for us…it’s too magnificent to comprehend…combined with our Faith and His Grace, He has made the impossible…possible…it’s just a matter of what we do with and how we manage the time that God has granted as a gift to each of us. We never know when time is up…so treat it as the treasure that God means it to be.
It seems to me that the process of becoming educated as a Christian is not only learning what the Bible says, but living what the Bible says. So true…it’s the Word of God, but His words are not just for us to memorize or quote…it’s His instruction for how He wants us to LOVE and follow the path of life that He has put before us. When we don’t take the time to educate ourselves about what His plan is for mankind, we have a tendency to stroll or should I say RUN down the wrong paths.
The following is one of the biggest excuses of “all” who forsake the study of God’s word…
Life is just too busy…as it is,there isn’t enough hours in the day! We are all witnesses to that statement! You might be asking…when am I supposed to fit in time to study the Bible? I know…It’s not easy to slow down and smell the roses…read your Bible, enjoy the company of spouse and children. When we do get a little time to spare, we thoughtlessly use it for our own gratification…maybe it’s just a tv program…after all, you’re there (in body), maybe it’s just that book you wanted to finish reading…Hey! But you’re there physically…if they really need me, it’s not like I’m sitting in a bar, or enjoying a basketball game sitting with a bunch of strangers in the grandstands or out climbing Mt. Everest or someplace where they just can’t reach me I’m here…all they gotta do is get my attention!
Okay…so none of the above is a problem for you? Maybe it’s your hobby, maybe it’s the ME syndrome…the question is…are you there spiritually, emotionally and are you honestly accessible? Okay…let’s put it today’s terms…are you USER-FRIENDLY? Did you really leave work and come home or are you still at work mentally are you thinking about anything and everything except God, Family and Purpose? If you see yourself in any of this description…maybe today is the day to make up your mind to make a change and go where Heavenly Father leads you and do what He wants you to do. Begin to live your life for HIS Glory…not yours.
One of my favorite sayings: when you have to sit on your suitcase, it’s time to take something out. Don’t wait…tomorrow may never come…now’s the time to re-educate yourself on what’s important to God as well as the ones you love. When you’ve made your assessment and put things in perspective, you’ll most likely find that you have more quality time and are more contented with your life in this world than ever before. Don’t wait until you’re standing at the doorway to Heaven and wishing you’d had more time…educate yourself today with study and prayer asking what God needs you to focus on with your heart and mind.
I’ve discovered that by being in the Word and prayer with God, the more I want to be with God and the result is I am with God. The more I follow HIM the more I’m out of “THIS WORLD” and this is where we all need to be! 1 John 2: 1515 Do not love the world or the things that belong to[a] the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.
I hunger and thirst to learn more of Him…
John 6:35 (HCSB) “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again.”
Here’s a quote from Charles Spurgeon:
***Charles Haddon Spurgeon was an English Particular Baptist preacher. Spurgeon remains highly influential among Christians of various denominations, among whom he is known as the “Prince of Preachers”. Wikipedia
2 Cor 6:16 (HCSB) And what agreement does God’s sanctuary have with idols? For we are the sanctuary of the living God, as God said: I will dwell among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.
Mark 16:15 (HCSB) Then He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” John 14:6 (HCSB) Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” The church is the collective body of Christ. As a people who’ve proclaimed Christ as their Savior, our bodies are now the temple of the Holy Spirit. As followers of Christ, we are the Disciples of Christ, we’ve been given a tremendous task: we are to glorify God by living Godly lives and being steadfast in our commitment to Christ. We’ve been granted and called to the commission of leading others to reconciliation with Heavenly Father through belief in Jesus Christ.
I will be speaking a lot about “Responsibility in Salvation” as well as our commission to “Evangelize”. In the fast paced, busy world that we live in today, it’s difficult to manage the reality of this assignment to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. We don’t need to go into the WHOLE world, we only need to start by having a relationship with our neighbors, whether it be next door or in line at the grocery. Yes! I know it’s already challenging to meet the demands of our jobs and to find balance between family commitments and our commission to share the Gospel. When we stop at the grocery, we’re thinking about what we’re doing next and if there’s enough time to get from point A to point B before it needs to be done.
I’d like to say that I have an answer to the dilemma, but to be honest, I just know there’s a quandary and it’s up to each individual or family unit to find the way. For some it seems very complicated…but it may be as simple as sitting down (first alone and then with our families) and making a list of what’s really important and what’s not.
Start this with a prayer asking Heavenly Father to show you His Will. You can then assign each commitment a number of 1-5 with 5 being VERY important. Perhaps when you compare notes with one another, they will give you some idea of what can be eliminated or rearranged to make room for more time to devote to Heavenly Father and the Gospel. Through this process, you may discover that there’s certain commitments that the family is participating in under duress, you may find some commitments that you all “LOVE” and these are definitely keepers. Now comes the point in time where you need to look at the lists fairly and arrive at agreements that the whole family can live with. If one person has an item on their list that is very low and it’s higher up on the other lists…you need to have an open-minded conversation about why this specific commitment is or isn’t on equal footing with the whole family. Keep in mind that this is not an overnight process and that it may take you weeks or months to sort it all out, but it will be worth it in the end.
Once you’ve sorted out your busy lives and in some cases removed some worldly activities, now you can make time to commit to Evangelism. Remember, we must do only things that honor His name and bring Him glory! When we follow his commandments Mark 12:30-31(HCSB) Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. “The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.” We need to offer ourselves as living sacrifices – acceptable to Heavenly Father in thoughts, words and actions. We must provide the Holy Spirit with a Temple that cherishes our Heavenly father and has the desire to share all the wonderful things that God has done in our lives. When we’re feeling a little selfish with our time, we need to ask his forgiveness and remember: “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. When you talk to someone about what Jesus did on the cross for mankind, share with them that you too are a sinner and don’t deserve his forgiveness…speak to them with loving kindness and an honest desire for them to be saved. It may be as simple as asking someone what church they go to…if they don’t have one, it will give you an opportunity to invite them to your church. When you bring someone to your church stand up at announcement time and introduce them as your neighbor or new friends.
***HCSB is the Holman Christian Standard Bible. Very easy to read and understand…especially great for a new follower of God.
I’m going to share with you “the most powerful tool” in your arsenal: PRAYER.
I’m talking about earnest, subservient supplication in the name of Jesus (Yeshua – Hebrew translation). By no means, am I dishonoring the blessing prayer before a meal or the safety prayer when we get in our car and all the other moments that we seek Heavenly Father’s love and protection. However, what I am talking about is the “down” on your knees (I know… not everyone can get down on their knees) displaying honest humbleness before the Lord as we rejoice in His presence and take the time to listen for His answer to our prayer. We should spend time in prayer every day; it takes putting aside the world to feel at one with or be in touch with and get to know our Father in Heaven!
Find someplace to pray where you won’t be interrupted so you can truly focus on your time spent with God! If you’ve seen the movie “War Room”, you will have an idea of what I’m referring to… Matt 6:6 (HCSB) Jesus said, “But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Prepare yourself for prayer, like David said in Psalm 66:18, God will NOT listen if we’re cherishing our sins. When we read our Bible daily, we learn what God abhors: lying, thieving, adultery etc. Once we have Christ’s blood covering us as a result of our enduring faith, we are saved, but that doesn’t mean that God likes our sin any more than he did before we found faith in Jesus. Romans 8:1-8 (HCSB) Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, 2because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, 4 in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Don’t forget that Satan will do everything in his arsenal to keep us from praying: the phone will ring, the kids will need something, unexpected company, worries about our jobs, not enough time, random thoughts that flutter around in our minds to distract us from our attempt to spend time with God! Satan knows how powerful we are when we’re in prayer and that God listens to our every prayer. Personal thought…I’m quite certain that every prayer we’ve ever spoken has been heard and remembered by God.
Always pray “that HIS will be done” and then submit to it! When we can’t put into words what we need to say, the spirit will speak for us. Luke 12:12 (HCSB) For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what must be said.
Realize that God can and will say NO! Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me–nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22:42 (HCSB) God said NO to Jesus so He willingly went to the cross and suffered for our sins. God said NO to David when he lay prostrate in prayer for the life of his child with Bathsheba. God said NO to Elijah when he asked God to strike him dead. God said NO to the people who built the Golden Calf and didn’t allow them to go to the Promise Land. God said NO to Moses for striking the rock twice instead of speaking to it, so Moses was allowed to see the Promised Land, but he didn’t enter in. God said NO to Paul when he asked Him to remove the thorn in his flesh. Our Father’s will not ours will be done; He has a plan and He knows what’s best for each and every one of us!
Psalm 95:6 “Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. Isn’t it wonderful that our Bible has an entire Book dedicated to songs of praise and prayer to Heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit? Book after book, chapter after chapter, the Bible tells us to praise God and pray…there are so many verses about prayer that I couldn’t begin to count them. Jesus prayed to His Father in Heaven. I’ve chose some of my favorite verses to share with you and I know that you have specific verses that speak louder than others to your prayer life.
WOW! “Prayer Life”! What an awesome certainty we have in Heavenly Father that he listens. The Bible tells us over and over again to have a conversation with God and that He’s listening! The more often you pray, the closer you become with the Father, and with time, you’ll find yourself in a state of prayer from morning to evening and sometimes even in your dreams. Prayer will become so integral to your existence that you think of going to God immediately with every hurt and with every joy of thanksgiving; it becomes non-stop conversation. How fantastic is it to know that someone is actually listening to you and that you don’t have to repeat yourself over and over again because HE got it the first time?
Your “Prayer Life” can have so many different connotations: we can pray for others whom we know are experiencing a time of joy or struggling because of sickness, etc. We can pray for ourselves expressing heartfelt desires and repenting of our sin. We can commune with God and say/sing prayers of praise and thanksgiving to Him. I truly believe that it doesn’t matter what we pray for, he’s listening. 1 John 14:5 And this is the confidence that we have in him: if we ask for anything according to his will, he listens to us.
Jesus went off alone to pray to His Father frequently and in Matthew 6: 7-9, He answers his disciples when they ask him how to pray: And when you pray, do not babble on like pagans, for they think that by their many words they will be heard. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. So then, this is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name,…
Then there’s the “Power of Prayer”! Have you ever thought about the fact that when you’re on your knees praying, you’re actually sharing in God’s power? John 14:13,14 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son…Matthew 21:22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Mark 9:29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Now that we know that He listens to us, because the WORD tells us from beginning to end that this is the case, we need to learn to listen to HIM! You may think that your prayers were unanswered because the result wasn’t what you wanted or expected. Keep in mind, we need to learn to discern whether or not, we’ve actually followed what he wants us to do. The message that I’m trying to share with you is this…don’t rely on yourself and don’t rely on others to have the answers. Go straight to God in every aspect of your life! He’s always there and He’s always listening. Understand that when you think that you didn’t receive exactly the response you wanted…HE knows what’s best for you in your life. Be still and listen! Reflect upon this and ask yourself the question are you giving everything to God in prayer and are you listening? Philippians 4:6-7do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Evangelism is the communication of the gospel message that includes a warning, an explanation, and a call to Salvation at the Cross by the blood of Jesus. Evangelism warns people about sin and it’s consequences.
John 16:8 When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment:
Acts 24:25 Now as he spoke about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix became afraid and replied, “Leave for now, but when I find time I’ll call for you.”
Revelation 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and One seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from His presence, and no place was found for them. 12 I also saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged according to their works by what was written in the books.13 Then the sea gave up its dead, and Death and Hades gave up their dead; all were judged according to their works. 14 Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And anyone not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
It includes an explanation of God’s remedy for sin—the gospel
Acts 8:29-35 The Spirit told Philip, “Go and join that chariot.”30 When Philip ran up to it, he heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you’re reading?”31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone guides me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the Scripture passage he was reading was this: He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb is silent before its shearer, so He does not open His mouth. 33 In His humiliation justice was denied Him. Who will describe His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.
God’s Righteousness through Faith
Romans 3:21-26 But now, apart from the law, God’s righteousness has been revealed—attested by the Law and the Prophets 22 —that is, God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe, since there is no distinction. 23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Him as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. 26 God presented Him to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:21 He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
And it includes the clear call to REPENT (to turn from sin and to turn toward God) and believe the gospel, by faith.
Repent or Perish
Luke 13:1-5 At that time, some people came and reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 And He responded to them, “Do you think that these Galileans were more sinful than all Galileans because they suffered these things? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as well! 4 Or those 18 that the tower in Siloam fell on and killed—do you think they were more sinful than all the people who live in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as well!”
Acts 17:29-3129 Being God’s offspring then, we shouldn’t think that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image fashioned by human art and imagination.30 “Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because He has set a day when He is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.”
Romans 1:17 For in it God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.
Romans 10:9-13 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. 11 Now the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame, 12 for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
WE PLANT THE SEEDS! GOD MAKES IT GROW!
The principle of Evangelism is to bring our fellow man to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as his or her Savior. We must not be complacent…sometimes I think that Americans are the most complacent people on earth. We need to wake up as the day will come when His mercy will end, so we must not take His mercy for granted, share the Gospel while there’s still time!
The entire chapter of Matthew 10 tells the disciples of their commission to go out and preach, He warns them of the pitfalls…
Matthew 10:16 Jesus said…”Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves… so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”
Matthew 4: 17 And as ye go, preach, saying: The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
As the a member of the body of Christ I’m blessed…I know Jesus died for me and that when I repented (turn away) from my sins and put my trust in Jesus, that by His intercession, He will save me from God’s wrath.
Here’s the Hitch!
There are many living on this earth, in this country and even in our town that don’t know Jesus. They don’t realize that they’re dead in their sins, because they don’t recognize what sin is. They may have heard of someone named Jesus, but they have no idea of what He did for mankind or the consequences of their thoughts and actions, because they’ve never heard the Good News.
The Ten Commandments EXODUS 20: 1-17 (NIV)
And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
“Now once a man has thus been humbled by the Law (10 Commandments) and brought to the knowledge of himself, then he becomes truly repentant for the true repentance begins with the fear and with the judgment of God. He sees that he is such a great sinner that he cannot find any means to be delivered from his sin by his own strength and effort of works.” (Martin Luther)
Martin Luther, O.S.A. 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German professor of theology, composer, priest, monk, and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation. Luther was ordained to the priesthood in 1507. Wikipedia
The Bible teaches that as the church, we are the body of Christ. “We are to love the people of the world. We are here for this very purpose – to go into the nations and proclaim the Gospel to all who will hear.” (The Gospel Project, Vol 2, p.96)
***The Gospel Project is an adult Sunday school study program with teacher’s guides and student workbooks.
As we enter the time of the Passover and when we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we know that He, a Jewish, sinless man, the Son of God; fully human in every way, feeling pain and sorrow as we do…died on the cross for us. It’s beyond anything we can imagine…for us to feel the magnitude of His pain and sorrow as it was caused by an entire world of sin then and now. Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.
When we become believers we have so much to be thankful for…Jesus was put on the cross by His own hand and died, and now intercedes for us with the Father after He bore the wrath that should have been ours and would have been if it hadn’t been for His “LOVE” for us. Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
After 3 days in the grave, Yeshua Hamashiach means “Jesus the Messiah” rose from the dead and gave the whole world his grace and peace. This is a gift that too many of us take lightly…it’s not only for us who are Christians…it’s for ALL…to be shared generously!
Believing is the beginning…what happens after that is up to you…believing that on the cross Jesus endured the wrath of God to save us from our sins should be our wake-up call and the beginning of our taking steps towards sharing the gift of our Salvation. There are many steps, but here are 3 to start your journey:
1. Truly repent and give your life over to our Redeemer Jesus Christ…then share your belief in Salvation with everyone you meet. Display your faithfulness in words, actions and deeds. 2. Get to know your Heavenly Father through His “WORD”, spend time with Him every day asking that His will be done in your life so that you can serve Him. Ephesians 1:17 I keep asking that the God of our LORD Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. 3. Be still and listen desiring the Holy Spirit to make changes in your heart so that you can walk nearer to God in every aspect of your life and obey Him. Isaiah 11:2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD
Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Time is short…we don’t know when Jesus will return, but we do know that He asked us to share the Gospel with everyone we come in contact with as well as reaching out to those we don’t know. When we choose Jesus as our Savior it’s up to us to intercede on His behalf with those who are “lost” and don’t realize that the wonderful gift of Salvation can be theirs. Matthew 29:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” This message was inspired by studying our Sunday school workbook – Gospel Project