Monday, October 24, 2016

First of All

1 Corinthians 15:3
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

Don't you love a to do list? What about a set of instructions?  Many of you immediately said no. I'm sure you have your reasons. Most of the time people hate lists or instructions because of the order they are given. I cannot stand putting something together at the house that has a book with it. I want to get straight to the finished product. I also want to do that last thing on the "to do" lists. It makes us feel like we have accomplished more by doing the last thing. But if we have bypassed all the others on the list then we've done nothing. 

The words, "first..., first of all..., start with..." are very important words. In a book, these words cannot be overlooked. If you skip over these words you'll never understand anything from that moment on. If it is an instruction booklet you cannot skip over "Step 1". If you do, you will have parts left over that you'll have no idea where they go. 

This morning, if you have passed over receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you can't deliver it to anyone else. If you have not made Jesus the Savior of your life then you can't share Him with anyone else. How can we speak of someone we don't know personally?  We can know things about Him, but not enough to share Him. 

Too many today are trying to tell others about a Jesus that they don't personally know themselves. They try to share the truth of His Love without receiving His Love. Speaking of His Grace without experiencing His Grace. This is why there is such a misconstrued view of who Christ really is. It's why we have a distorted understanding of His a Grace, Mercy and Wrath. 

Before you tell others about Jesus, make sure you have received Jesus. Not just believing in Jesus, but believing upon Jesus. Trusting Him as your Savior. Making sure you are in Christ before you share Christ. Some learned a hard lesson in the Bible about this very thing. 

Acts 19:13-16
Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Paul said he preached what he received. Lord help us to do the same. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

What's Wrong With The Water?

Exodus 15:23
And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.

This week I set out to make some mint, lemon and cucumber water to drink. I cut the lemons. I sliced the cucumbers. Lastly, I chopped up some mint and put it in the water. I tasted it and it wasn't that strong, actually it was pretty good (at least I thought it was). 

After bed that night, I woke up to get me a cool glass of my new drink, which I thought was still good. I went throughout the day drinking it from time to time. I left for my afternoon bus route and couldn't wait to get back home for another cold glass of the cucumber water. Well, when I walked in the door of our house I went straight to the fridge. Placing my cup under the spout, the fresh water came out. I took it up and drank it down. I let out a big, "Ahhhhh". Then out of nowhere  Jacob, my son, said, "Dad! That water is nasty! Something is wrong with it!"  I almost spit the water in my mouth out because of him. He said, "It taste funny! Like it's bitter". 

The children of Israel came to a place where there was a well. The place was called Marah, which means bitter. The people couldn't drink the water because of its bitterness. And much like the waters, they began to murmur and complain about it. What is so amazing is that our God has a great way of teaching us lessons. The children of Israel had been bitter in their attitude toward Moses, Aaron and even God. So God brought them to a place that appeared to be water and rest and it was bitter. Do you find that funny?  I can't help it, but I do. It seems like their bitterness came back to them. 

Today, this morning, you have to make choices. You will make a choice to rise from bed and begin to work. You have a choice to stay in bed and rest. You have a choice to be bitter or to be sweet. I know that we don't know what the day will bring, but whatever happens we have choices to make. We choose to be bitter. Bitterness is a root of sin that infects the gardens of our minds. What we need is for the Holy Spirit of a God to remove the roots of bitterness from us. Many times bitterness comes from unforgiveness. 

Imagine if people came to you, drew from your well, and spit out what they tasted. What if they said, "Don't drink that! Something is wrong with that water! It taste funny, like it's bitter!"?  One old preacher once told me, "What's in the well, the bucket brings up". Choose to confess your bitterness. Choose to be the pure, clean, refreshing water of life. 

Do you know what's really cool?  God told them to put this certain kind of tree in the waters and it turned them sweet. After this, they began to enjoy the waters of the well because they were no more bitter. If you would confessyour sins to Jesus. If you would allow the man who hung on the "Old Rugged Cross" into your life, your bitter water would become sweet. Your hate would become love. Choose Jesus!

Thursday, October 20, 2016


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

Not stoping at a stop sign. Running a red traffic light. Driving 55mph in a 25mph zone. Drinking alcohol under the age of 21. Prostitution, murder, gambling, drug dealing, sex trafficking, etc...  These are laws written that should be obeyed. But day after day, hour after hour, people disobey these laws. They disobey because they have no respect for those laws. Until someone breaks the law and it directly effects them or their family. 

Most people would say that there is no harm in running a stop sign or a red light every now and then. Until that one day an innocent running of the stop sign finds you in a ditch because someone has just t-boned your vehicle. Many in society would say it's alright to drink a little and do a little drugs. Even some of our famous singers write lines like... "We grew up in pink houses, made out on living room couches, blowin' that smoke on Saturday night, a little messed up but we're alright". Until those drugs take you to a place of addiction you've never been before and you find yourself stealing air conditioning units to strip it of copper so you can buy one more hit. Then suddenly you find yourself handcuffed in someone's front yard and now headed for jail. 

The Amazing Grace of God is just simply that, Amazing. There is such freedom and relief in His grace. The way to this grace has already been accomplished. It's through Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross. He died so that you could have access to this grace. And now, by faith, we receive this grace. You can receive this grace! 

There is a law written, not only on stone tablets, but in the hearts of men and women. It's the law of sin. It reads, "Sin equals death" in Romans 6:23. But Jesus defeated death and set us free from the law of sin. 

You may be going through life thinking... "I've got plenty of time, there is no need to rush to Jesus", "Do you think He will really care if I do this or that?", "it's just a stop sign, just a red light, just a few hits or sips, it's no big deal". 

Until... Life is finished and you never accepted the Love of God's Grace and your now judged by the law of sin. 

"But the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord". The law says you're a sinner and death is your sentence, but Grace says you're loved and offered life. Turn to Jesus right now. Pray for forgiveness and ask Him this morning to be your Lord. He will not turn you away. 

If you know you are a saved child of God then take this post and copy it (without this sentence) and paste it somewhere. Facebook, email, print it off and hand it to someone today. It may be the message of God's Grace they need. There is no guilt if you don't. Just allow The Lord to lead you. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Itty Bitty Living Space

Jeremiah 32:17
Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:

I love the movie "Aladdin". (The cartoon from Disney)  My favorite part is where the genie of the lamp is explaining his conditions as a genie. His line of the movie, that makes me laugh, is... "Phenomenal cosmic power...(where he is now pictured as this huge muscular man juggling the cosmos) ...with itty bitty living space... (where he now is pictured cramped inside of the lamp). 

So often we are guilty of this very thing. We as Christians brag on God and His awesome powers while we are on the mountain or being blessed. Then when tragedy or persecution comes, we look at God as if He is cramped into a small lamp. 

Never forget that God can control anything. The key is if we are willing to allow Him to do it. Remember when the word of God says "nothing is too hard", that it means absolutely nothing. 

I love a song that says...

I can't take a heart that's broken, make it over again
But I know a man who can
I can't take a soul that's sin sick, and make it white as the snow
But I know a man who can
Some call Him savior, the Redeemer of all men
But I call Him Jesus, for He's my dearest friend
If you feel that no one loves you and your life is out of hand
Well I know a man who can!

My God has...

Watch it here:

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

How He Deals With Us

Psalms 119:65-72
Thou hast dealt well with thy servant,
O Lord, according unto thy word. 
Teach me good judgment and knowledge:
for I have believed thy commandments. 
Before I was afflicted I went astray:
but now have I kept thy word. 
Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. 
The proud have forged a lie against me:
but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart. 
Their heart is as fat as grease;
but I delight in thy law. 
It is good for me that I have been afflicted;
that I might learn thy statutes. 
The law of thy mouth is better unto me
than thousands of gold and silver.

In my family, it was just me and my brother. My parents had us five years apart from one another. It is so funny to think about our differences while we were growing up. He was an athlete and I wasn't very good at sports. He was quiet around people and I just loved to have fun. I was always interested in things and how they worked, he was interested in keeping his body in shape. Our differences were many, even down to the television shows that we would argue about watching. 

Our parents had it too. They had to figure out how to treat us equal but also individual. They had to take my brothers strength and expound on them. They had to take my weakness and build me up. Even down to our discipline, it had to be different. They had to deal with us in different ways, but the same. 

Isn't it great that God does each of us the same way?  He treats us all equally and has no respect of persons. He also treats us as an individual. Aren't you glad that God doesn't treat you like the other persons you know?  

Let's look at how God treats us... He deals with us through the Word. The "law" is a representation of the Word of God. God saves us through the preached Word. God keeps us through the living Word. God teaches us through the written Word. God deals with us through His Word. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Fully Persuaded

Romans 8:38-39
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Have you ever read the scriptures about a man named King Agrippa?  You can find it in the book of Acts Chapter 26. Paul is given an opportunity to speak the Gospel before this King. He shares his testimony of what Jesus Christ had done for him. Paul also shares how Jesus now sends him to preach the Gospel to the lost. It's awesome to see how Paul, who is saved, now shifts the attention to King Agrippa. He says, "I wasn't disobedient..."  Paul explains that we must trust and believe in Jesus as our Savior. If we are disobedient in our belief then we will die in our sins. 

As Paul was sharing his heart with the King, one of his successors called Paul a crazy man. Probably because of his excitement for Jesus. You see, Paul was not undecided, no he was fully convinced!  Now he is asking Agrippa if he also is convinced. 

Look at Agrippa's answer... 

Acts 26:27-29
King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.

Agrippa wasn't convinced, even though he believed. He didn't believe to the point where he was fully persuaded. This morning, move from the seat of belief to the throne of being fully persuaded. God has told us that nothing shall separate us from His love. Not death, not angels, not principalities, not powers, not height, not depth, nothing can separate us from the Love of God. 

Because Paul was persuaded many came to faith in Jesus. Because we are persuaded many may come to faith in Jesus. Being persuaded is believing in action. Persuading someone to trust Jesus is putting faith in motion. I'm FULLY persuaded, are you?

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Man

Galatians 1:11-12
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

You've seen it. Men beating on their chests like a silverback gorilla yelling, "I'm the man!"  Men are constantly bragging on themselves. This kind of pride has even spilled over into our pulpits, and it should have no place in the pulpit. Preachers, Pastors, Sunday School teachers, etc... are on this move. 

This movement is not new. It was around in the early church days as well. At one point church members were choosing who they would rather listen to. Paul said that some of you say I'm of Paul, while others say I'm of Peter and Apollos. Imagine the differences in these men. One with great education and speech. One with great wisdom and the mystery of the Gospel.  And the other, a fisherman who held the keys to the church. Wow!  I can see how easy it would be to get caught up in following one or the other. I can easily see it because it happens today. Some choose Billy Graham, while others choose Billy Sunday. Some choose education while others choose entertainers. Some choose the loud screamer and others the quiet one. 

All serve a purpose!  You see, if men point to their wisdom and abilities then we are missing it. If they point to their growth and number system, then we are missing it. If they depend more on their abilities than the almighty, then they are missing it. If we lean upon our plans and programs, then we will miss it!  Or more so, we will miss Him. 

Paul said that the Gospel didn't come from "a" man, but "the" man. Jesus Christ is that man and no one will ever fill His shoes. Paul says he didn't receive it from man, or was taught it from man, but by Jesus Christ "The Man".