Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pressing Toward the Goal


Philippians 3:13-14Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

The Apostle Paul tells us the recipe for success. First, “reaching forward to those things ahead”. Many times you see this illustrated as a runner whose hand is stretched out way in front of their body for the finish line. But, it also brings to mind the passionate and purposeful pilgrimage with the eternal perspective of glorification in heaven with the Lord. I read about how important this is! He is explaining to us in a “word picture” that we need that eager aspiration, that enthusiasm that comes with God within us, causing us to reach out after greater things in life. Not just on Sunday, but a 24/7/365 highly motivated and eager heart for the things of God that drives us in our jobs, our relationships, our devotions, in our prayers, in our worship and in our service for Christ.

1 Corinthians 9:24 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

Secondly, the Apostle says: “I press on toward the goal to win the prize.” In addition to that eagerness of spirit, there needs to be great exertion expended to reach the goal, the mark of the high calling of God. The words “press to the mark” in this passage means to Pursue, to go after something with intense gusto of Christian living. We need to clearly define what that goal is and we need to forget about all of our failures. The prodigal son fell into the pigpen, but did not stay in the pig pen, so when we fall, we get back up and press on. We need to apply exertion, pressing toward the goal, constantly looking towards the mark before us. Then each day brings us closer to the prize.

In Christ, Brian 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Back to Basics – Part 2

Michael continues: The first Commandment is to have no other gods between my face and God's face. God is looking for faithfulness and commitment from those who profess to follow Christ. We've been called to sacrifice, surrender, bow down and submit our hearts under the mighty hand of our Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ himself is our commander in Chief.  Men and women of God sometimes need to be "humiliated" in order to learn the meaning of "humility." The antidote to pride is to give up the right to our own selves. We must discipline ourselves to find out whether or not we're committed. Commitment means a promise to do, give, and to be loyal ... resolute, and not turning back. It means to want another's will instead of my own despite danger and hardship.  

In the book of Acts, Paul left Ephesus and headed toward Jerusalem where the Christians were being persecuted. Paul also had his heart set to go to Rome. On his journey, he stopped 40 miles north of Ephesus and wrote to the elders in Ephesus, "I preached the word boldly to you both in your houses and in large public gatherings. I preached that men should repent and to come to faith in Jesus Christ for salvation."  Paul felt compelled to go to Jerusalem even though the elders tried to persuade him not to go. Paul said, "I'm aware that sufferings await me in Jerusalem, however I count my life not dear to me. Rather I count it joy to suffer for the Lord. For me to live is Christ and to die is gain." He said, "my only aim is to complete the task that God has given me...  To testify with my life on behalf of my Lord Jesus Christ." Like Saint Francis said, "preach the gospel ... When necessary, use words."

The life's goal of a child of God is that others may love Jesus Christ more because they spent time in His presence. As John the Baptist said, "I'm not the bridegroom. I'm just here to introduce the bridegroom Jesus Christ to his bride, the church. I must decrease that he may increase." The Apostle Paul's goal was to know Christ and to make Him known. His commitment, duty and assignment was to live to the glory of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As soldiers of the cross, our commitment is to stay at our post until our Commander releases us to a new assignment. Our calling is our commitment to Jesus Christ to lift up the gospel of Jesus Christ. We've been called to our place in the wall to stand in the gap to assure God's protection and blessing.  

According to John, These things I have written unto you so that ye may know that ye have eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. The joy of the Lord is our strength.  What is our commitment? Let us then hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Let us get back to the basics of love, honor, respect and reverence God and keep Hhis commandments, for this is the whole duty of mankind.

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ, Michael

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Back to Basics – Part 1

Michael writes this week that living the Christian life is dependent on the basics. A disciple is a disciplined follower. The discipline is in the details. It is deliberate, intentional and purposeful. In the game of life, the team that makes the fewest mistakes will win. Each team member must master the fundamentals. The winning team depends on each individual to do their own job. According to 1 Corinthians 12:14-18, we are all on the same team as members of the body of Christ. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body, is it therefore not of the body?  If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

The Lord's army is a team. Each individual must be disciplined to become like Christ.  The soldier's commitment is to do exactly what his or her Commander in chief says to do. Jesus said, "by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you love one another." When we identify with Jesus Christ, Our purpose is to align our hearts with His heart  ... to delight ourselves in the Lord to will and to do of his good pleasure.  

When we're living by faith, the God-rejecting world system will say that we're impractical and illogical. The world's way is diametrically opposed to the Word's way. According to Psalm 1, Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
A winning team needs a plan. However the best plan is His plan and not our own plan.  To conform to the will of the Lord, we must surrender our pride in order to follow our Commander in chief.  Psalm 31:15-16 says, “My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me. Make Your face shine upon Your servant; Save me for Your mercies’ sake.” We do not know the end from the beginning but He does. Our job is not to question the destination but rather to walk with Him one step at a time. But what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

Let’s stop and pick up Michael’s message on getting ”back to basics” on the next post. In Christ, Brian

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Glory of the Restoration

Isaiah 35:5–6 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy”.

Many passages in the Bible have a story and a bigger message within it for us today. God in His grace never leaves His people without hope, even when He promises affliction and discipline for their sin. We see this clearly in Isaiah the prophet’s visions alternated between declaring judgment and destruction on the faithless, but life and peace for the faithful who, by the Spirit’s power, come to trust in the Lord’s promises. This, says Isaiah, is true for the remnant of all mankind, no matter their national origin.

This passage features a glorious promise of restoration given to God’s old covenant people. The prophet reiterates the promises of great blessing on the other side of the exile of Israel and Judah. The prophet says that life after exile will be so wonderfully abundant that even the dead desert regions will “blossom abundantly” (Isa. 35:12a). This exile story also represents the “exile from God” condition today of all “Fallen Humanity” in sin. “Where is God in all the trouble, in the exile?” they asked and we ask today. We may paraphrase God’s answer this way: “I have not left you. I will come to redeem you.”

John 3:3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

We think of springtime as “renewal”. In the day of salvation, says Isaiah, the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will walk, and the mute will sing. In the first instance, this refers to spiritual renewal, the circumcision of the heart for which the prophets hoped. By the tongue and ears and feet he means all the faculties of our soul, which in themselves are so corrupt that nothing that is good can be obtained from them till they are restored by the kindness of Christ. And yet we cannot divorce this spiritual renewal from the physical, as Isaiah’s promise prompts us to think of Jesus’ healing ministry. His miracles prove that He is the divine Messiah, who, having inaugurated the renewal of all creation, will consummate it at His return.

Christ Jesus our Lord is God’s agent of renewal, the one through whom the Spirit is poured out and whose work on the cross redeems creation. But we cannot benefit from this work, nor can we see Jesus as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s and our promises, without trusting the Savior. The eyes cannot see what is right, and the ears cannot hear, and the feet cannot guide us in the right way, till we are united to Christ. Let us pray that our union with Christ would be strengthened daily. Redemption, reconciliation and restoration are found nowhere else.

Rejoice in Christ, Brian

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Suffering Servant

Isaiah 53:2b-6  “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
I read this thought-provoking and humbling Easter article on the atoning work of Jesus Christ ... God’s unique Plan of Salvation through the Suffering Servant. Sin led to the exile from the Garden of Eden, so something would have to be done to restore their relationship to God. God would have to establish His kingdom—His blessed presence would have to break into history, removing the transgressions that kept His people from seeing His face and guaranteeing their heavenly citizenship forever.

Only by a sovereign work could this kingdom be established. In other words, God would have to do this work through the Messiah, a holy King who could atone for the sins of His people and establish them in righteousness. Isaiah told the exiles this would happen through the work of the Suffering Servant. This man could only be the Messiah. Indeed, the Suffering Servant is Israel, the ideal and perfect Israel—Jesus Christ.

This Servant “shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted”, an image of majesty and awe. Yet this exaltation does not occur in a manner that human beings would expect. The Servant is not lifted high because of some kind of outer beauty or evident regal stature, for He is “marred, beyond human semblance” and has “no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him”. No, humiliation is the path for the Suffering Servant’s exaltation. Achieving exaltation through suffering is a strange thing indeed. It is foolishness in our way of doing things, but it is wisdom in God’s economy. We should never diminish the scandal or the godly power of the cross.

Rejoice in Christ, Brian

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The True Vine – Part 2

Pastor Kyle continues: (3) Expect to taste the fruit of obedience. In being connected to Christ, apart from Him, we have nothing. With Him, we have everything. C.S. Lewis said: “It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a  holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” The promises of this secular humanistic world are just “sugar-coated” dirt. Our flesh with it’s sinful desires is no help at all.

John 15:18-25 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’

(4) Expect to love difficult people. Ephesians 2:4-5 tells us: “God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)We are all difficult people. Jesus modeled this loving in His dying for sinners. Loving one another is to hear, care and love their heart. People do not always know how to deal with their feelings, so would rather numb their selves than deal with them. The easy people are easy. We need to learn to lay down our desires and love the difficult. (5) Expect to occasionally feel hated for being a Christian. The Lord tells us to expect it because they hated Him first. The real problem is that we have bought into the belief that Christians have no problems in this fallen world and things just get better and better here. In reality, the gospel message of the Cross that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Him (John 3:6) is offensive to a lost and dying world, even though it is true and in spite of its daily and eternal consequences of not being connected to the True Vine.

John 15:26-27 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

(6) Expect to be asked to share Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.” But most of us sit back in our easy chair and do nothing, but have been called to share the “good news” of salvation through Jesus Christ and invite. Both Heaven and Hell are real. Peace in Christ and world unrest are both real. We are not to withhold the truth from those that need it most. Statistics show that 90% of people asked to go to church with you for the Easter service at your local church will accept. Know the truth and tell the truth. Abide in the True Vine.

Happy Resurrection Sunday! Happy Easter!

In Christ, Brian

Friday, March 25, 2016

The True Vine – Part 1

John 15:1-4 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”

Pastor Kyle continued in His Sunday sermon series titled “The Upper Room” by stating that “the vine and the branches” is teaching us what to expect as a Follower of Jesus Christ and to connect and stay in the Father, we must connect and abide in Jesus. We must be totally dependent upon the Vine and Vinedresser. Plants must be pruned and cut back periodically in order to produce. This pertains to our fruitfulness as Christians also. The 1828 Webster’s dictionary defines the word “abide” as to be, or exist, to continue; to dwell, rest, continue, stand firm, or be stationary for anytime indefinitely. It may be easier to visualize when we think about the phrase: “We abide in our house”, which means “the place that we live in and make our home.” We are intimately connected to our home. So, to abide in Christ is to live and make our home in Jesus.

John 15:5-6 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

Kyle gave us six things that every Christian should expect as a branch abiding in the vine. (1) Expect pruning – God decides what gets pruned out of our lives and redirected by the Lord. Whatever we are going through is orchestrated and used to bear more good fruit. God’s not worried about losing some branches because He looks at the bigger picture. (2) Expect to be used by God – Ephesians 2:10 says: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Being used but God for Good works that produce fruit towards God’s purposes is a foundational expectation of the Lord. Verse 6 speaks to fruitless disciple’s that bury their talents.

John 15:7-11 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

Let's continue this message by Pastor Kyle abiding in the true Vine on the next post.
In Christ, Brian

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Happy Good Friday 2016

Luke 23:44-46 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last.

Happy Good Friday! Why is this day holy and good? Redemption. One article that I read explains that a redeemer is one who buys back something which has fallen into the hands of the enemy. Originally, the creation was in the proper hands, but Adam sinned, and to a great extent the rebellious world and all its inhabitants fell into bondage at the hands of Satan. “ Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned - Romans 5:12. We became the slaves or “servants of sin”.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20a “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.”
Per Webster’s Dictionary, to redeem is to purchase back; to ransom; to liberate or rescue from captivity or bondage, or from any obligation or liability to suffer or to be forfeited, by paying an equivalent; as, to redeem prisoners or captured goods; to redeem a pledge. To repurchase what has been sold; to regain possession of a thing alienated, by repaying the value of it to the possessor. In Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, to redeem means to rescue and deliver from the bondage of sin and the penalties of God's violated law, by obedience and suffering in the place of the sinner, or by doing and suffering that which is accepted in lieu of the sinner's obedience.
In order to be freed, a slave must be redeemed. Could we as slaves have bought ourselves back? No, we had nothing of worth. Silver and gold would not do it. In fact, nothing short of the blood of a completely innocent sacrifice would suffice to pay the “wages of sin”. Only God the Son, by laying aside aspects of His deity and taking on human flesh, could be that perfect sacrifice. “And he saw that there was no man [capable of redeeming mankind], and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation” – Isaiah 59:16. In his love and in his mercy He redeemed them by His own blood, buying us out of bondage to sin and Satan.

Notice also that this redemption is not just something we hope for; it is a fact! He has done it, it is finished, and it will never be undone! “You shall know that I the LORD am your Savior and your Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob”Isaiah 60:16. Jesus, our blessed Redeemer.

1 John 3:16By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.” 

In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Stay Salt

 Revelation 3:1-6 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.  You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’

Tonight, our small group Bible study came to the Ray Vander Laan lesson on the ancient city of Sardis, in the middle of the Hermus valley, at the foot of Mount Tmolus in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). John’s message in the opening passage was for the Christians of Sardis to wake up and watch; to be alive and alert. Michael led the discussion and asked this question related to both Sardis and our culture today. Do we influence our world, or does the world influence us? There are a lot of bumper stickers on cars these days with the acronym NOTW, which means “Not of this World”, meaning that the faithful Believer of the Gospel, the disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, the child of God and citizen of the kingdom of Heaven is in the world, but not of the world.

Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.


The lesson taught that salt doesn’t do its job or fulfill its purpose until it is mixed in with what it is supposed to season and favor. But salt that becomes diluted by what it is supposed to flavor cannot do its job either. If Christians are to be the salt of the earth, how involved with the secular world and secular people must we be in order to be “salt” and communicate the message of Jesus Christ? How would you describe the difference between involvement that enables us to be salt and compromise that causes us to lose our saltiness? Creator Father God sent Jesus to seek and save the lost, and Jesus’ ministry is our ministry. Salt flavors, but salt also preserves and can help in healing. These physical attributes have spiritual attributes to those who are called metaphorically to be the salt of the earth. We are called to be where people need ministry most in a lost and dying anti-God world; to bring the message of Christ and morality to a sin-sick society. Everything is either devoted to God or to self. Society states that we are the center of the universe and yet sovereign God created the universe. We are to reclaim and replace the ungodly with the holy truth. In the Bible, salt symbolizes truth and integrity. The Greek root meaning for the word ”fool” is “unsalty”. Have you ever heard the term: “That guy is not worth his salt.”? The Christian must remain “salt”. Do not compromise is the process of ministry. Do not become part of the culture that the Lord has sent us to affect and change.

John 17:17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.


The Bible tells us to speak the truth because truth is based upon the Word of God. Salt is our nature, which the Lord God gave us all. As Believers, we are not to be isolated from unbelievers. God tells us to go out into the evil God-rejecting world system and mix our salt with sinful people. Yet, as we faithfully live out the “good news” in our world, we must keep our distinctive Christian identity. We must guard against absorbing the values of the secular humanist pagan world and losing the qualities that make us “Salt.”


Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.


In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Together with Christ

Ephesians 2:5-6 “Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus."

I read that in these two marvelous verses the word "together" appears three times, referring in each case to our spiritual union with Jesus Christ. Three different words are used, each being compounded with the Greek sun, meaning "together with." The first combination means "made alive with"; the second, "resurrected with"; the third, "seated with."

All of these verbs are given in the past tense, stressing that, as far as God's own word is concerned, we have been already seated eternally in the heavens with Christ, having been born again with His own life spiritually and raised from the dead physically. All of these blessings were given to us "even when we were dead in sins," not because of our good works or by our good intentions, but only "by grace you are saved."

The remarkable truth is that this doctrine of our eternal union with Christ, given and maintained only by His grace, does not lead to carelessness or sinfulness as some allege, but to a desire for a holy, God-honoring life. "God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? … like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" – Romans 6:2,4.

The regenerate nature implanted by the Holy Spirit, a heart of gratitude for Christ's sacrificial love for us, and the wonderful promises in God's word, all combine to transform our lives making us new creatures in Christ, knowing that henceforth we shall ever be with the Lord. Easter ...

In Christ, Brian

Monday, March 21, 2016

Risen with Christ

Colossians 3:1If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.”

As we enter “Holy Week”, the thoughts of “dying to sin” and being “risen with Christ” focus on the meaning and purpose of this “new life” in Christ. On Devotional that I read explained the twice-born, born-from-above have been raised with Christ and the “new man” is effectively positioned with Christ in glory. We have been made alive “together with Christ” and in the eternal reality of our Creator, who “made us sit together in heavenly places”. Thus, the command to seek the “above” realities is not merely a theological idea but rather a profound order to embrace the reality of our new empowerment to walk with Christ in a new life. Indeed, we have been newly created by Creator Father God in “righteousness and true holiness”. Therefore, since we are God’s workmanship, it is not possible that God could create His children for any other purpose than “good works”.

Obviously, our Lord knows that we are still in “earthen vessels”. That is precisely why He promised to provide all of our earthly needs if we would but “seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33), including our necessary patient continuance in well doing. Remember, “God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” – Philippians 4:19. The environment of the world constantly opposes the reality of “above.” Even the wisdom of above seems counter-intuitive; it is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” – James 3:17. Yet we are still expected to seek to live like we are above because “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” –Galatians 2:20. Washed in the blood of Jesus Christ, we are raised to live a life filled with purpose and meaning. That is living the "risen life".

In Christ, Brian

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Confident – Part 2

John 14:18-25 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.


Pastor Kyle continues: Be confident about how God wants us to live in obedience. In 1 Samuel 15:22 Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. Obedience is the primary function of a Believer. God’s prophet wrote what he heard from God to communicate to us in Jeremiah 7:23, saying, But this is what I commanded them, saying, “Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.” This is what is meant when the Lord said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”  and “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” There is a reason why polls show that the fourteenth chapter of John is the favorite chapter of most Christians in the world, because Jesus promises us here that God is good, God is for us, God provides for your today and tomorrows/this life and the next, God is where we will find our purpose, peace and confidence, and God is with us. In Matthew 28:20 Jesus told us: I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Our all-seeing, all powerful and always present Lord God, Emmanuel, is with us. Our Savior and Lord Jesus made it happen. We can believe and stand upon the promises of God!

John 14:25-28 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.


The one thing that no one can take from us is our peace through believing faith. The ungodly world cannot take your peace. The peace of Christ is not as the world gives. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” The gift of God’s peace dispels fears and doubts and produces blessed assurance and contentment. We can take a negative situation and look at it in a spiritually positive light.  We feel God’s presence and confidently build a closer relationship with Him daily. The most powerful type of confidence is the “quiet” kind – on the inside. We do not need to be the center of attention or express yourself. Talk with your actions and inaction at the proper times for the Lord. You and I have access to the promised peace of Christ. We may try to find peace and security in the God-rejecting secular world system that we live in, but we will not find it there. It is found in Christ alone. Our confidence is in Jesus Christ.

1 John 2:22-25 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.


In Christ, Brian 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Confident - Part 1

John 14:1-6 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.


Pastor Kyle continued in our church’s Sunday Sermon series titled: “The Upper Room”. He asked, “How many remember the January 1.6 billion dollar "Power Ball" lottery, won and split between three winning tickets for $528 million dollars each?” Of the three winning tickets, the Chino Hills, California winner has not come forward to claim their prize yet. They know that they have it and that they are a multi-millionaire, but walking around like they were before winning. In the same way, accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is hitting the jackpot of everlasting life in God’s kingdom; a child of God and citizen in heaven starting are the moment that they first believed.  But, how many believing Christians walk through life as if they haven’t claimed it; living like they did before in this unholy world? We have got to have confidence in God’s eternal purposes; know where we are going and how to get there. We need to see and hear Jesus in our prayers, in our church, in His Holy Word, following the Lord – the only way to the Heavenly Father.

Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.


Heaven is the true hope of all Christians and Heaven is the true home of all Christians. Know that Heaven and Hell are real places and that Jesus Christ is the “Narrow Gate” that determines everyone’s eternal destiny. Be confident in where you are going after this life comes to an end and how you are going to get there? Be 100% sure that that in Jesus, our sins are forgiven and we are forever in His loving hands. John 10:27-28 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.


Be confident about God’s desire to answer your prayers. God will give you the desires of your heart when your heart is aligned with His holy Word, Will and Way. Pray in accordance with the Lord purposes and in His name, then our purposes and desires align with His and we can be confident in God’s answering. John 14:12-13 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.


John 14:15-17 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 


Be confident about who is always with you. If we are in Christ, then the promised Holy Spirit is in us, living our life in Him. He is the down-payment to everyone who believes. He is the One that enables us to live the life that Jesus taught. He is the One who reminds us of our calling. He is the One who comforts us in our affections. He is the One actively performing miracles in our lives today. He is the One who speaks to us in that “still small voice” and gives us strength that we didn’t think was possible. He is the One who reminds us the words of Jesus. Know that the indwelling Holy Spirit is with us. 

Let's stop right here today and continue Pastor Kyle's message on being confident in the Lord on the next post. 
In Christ, Brian