Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter According to Jesus: “Woman behold your Son”

Context: All of His men had forsaken Him. Now He was on the cross. He felt pain from old wounds & from fresh ones. Jesus can hear mocking and nasty statements. Two common criminals gnash their teeth at Him; after a while one of them has his heart changed and tells his friend to be quiet. He begins his relationship with his Maker at the end of his life…late…BUT not too late! There are women at the cross - followers of our Lord Jesus Christ. Also one of His disciples stopped running and turned around and was now at the cross. It was John, who referred to himself in his gospel as the "disciple whom the Lord loved."

It is in this light that we hear our Lord utter His third statement from the cross.

John 19:26–27  When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.

The Lord's compassion and sense of stewardship is amazing.

Even though He is dying, He remembers His mother. Mary was a widow and Jesus’ brothers did not believe yet.

John 7:3–5 Therefore His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. “For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” For not even His brothers were believing in Him.

Even in His death Jesus fulfilled the Law

Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.

Stewardship = Jesus knew how to draw the line of forsaking and yet honoring. No human could have a special hold on the Son of God. Jesus made this clear throughout His life:
Luke 2:48–49 When they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”

John 2:3–5 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

Matthew 12:46–50 While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

Yet, He also understood the very special call God had placed on Mary to be the mother of the Messiah. So now, here as she endures a double pain, watching her son and her Savior die – He expresses His love for her and shows He knows His responsibility to her, as she was His human mother…He asks John to take care of her.

Our Lord always thought of God and then others first! There are some very important lessons we can learn here.

Parents: You have a stewardship concerning your children. You do not own them, they are on loan from God. He has entrusted you with an awesome responsibility. Raise them to honor Him, and then let them go. Every child grows into an adult that must answer to God alone and for themselves. If you interfere with that God will hold you accountable

Children: No matter where your parents stand concerning the Lord, you must learn to love the Lord, while showing honor to your parents. God will show you how to balance that if you turn to Him. He will give you guidance, especially as you move into adulthood.

Another important lesson is how engrafting of Truth allows the individual to overcome circumstances and respond correctly. Christ had engrafted God’s Truth, so even when being cruely put to death, He refused to allow the circumstances to control His behavior! When we engraft Truth our actions will come from “what we are”, not from what we are “trying to be”! 

This Truth of thinking about the welfare of someone else, no matter the circumstances is the way of life God wants to conform us to.

Whether it be encouraging each other to be involved in community:

Hebrews 10:24–25 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Or, helping a brother deal with sin:

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

Or, how we view those around us:

Philippians 2:3–4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

And, even our liberty issues:

1 Corinthians 8:4–13 Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols? For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died. And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.

This Easter, let’s ask ourselves - What kind of Steward am I? Am I taking care of my biological family? Am I taking care of my Spiritual family? 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter According to Jesus: “Today you will be with me”

I use to love to sit and talk with my kids by the fireplace - Priscilla sat with me next to fire - We talked about fire – she said “Daddy – if I jumped in the fire I would die wouldn’t I” – I said “yes” – She said – “My Hands and My head…But my toes would live!” Life is not that simple! Death is all encompassing! Our Lord accepted it all!

Consider, He was the Creator of the world! Yet, because of human sin, He now finds Himself 33 years old and being put to death as a sacrifice for the humans He created.  

* During His short 33 year life on this planet He was – hunted; praised; insulted; worshipped; called God; called Satan.

* He has amazed the people with His miracles - Angered many with His words - Touched most with His love!

* Now He is alone.

Besides the great physical pain He has from all the beatings and being crucified; He must deal with the mental pain of being rejected, hated and mocked. 

Into this context we find our 2nd statement of Christ on the cross, said to a man who was at the end of a miserable life.

Something had happened in that hour

Mark 15:32 “Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that
we may see and believe!” Those who were crucified with Him were also insulting Him.

Matthew 27:44 The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words.

* Notice both were mocking  - At some point a change took place.

Luke 23:39–43 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”  And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

Two things that are precious to me

{1} I tell you the truth (Assuredly)  - When God states something you can bank on it! We get our word Amen from this.

God stated that sin brings death – does everyone die?

Genesis 2:17  but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."

Ezekiel 18:4  For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son--both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die.

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

Matthew 16:26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

God is so committed to His Word, that while the soul that sin’s – dies, God also is committed to love. So much so, that He alone paid the price for all of sin, to allow us the offer of forgiveness and eternity with Him.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

God is not "ify" when He states something. He is committed to complete righteousness and holiness, while at the same time being committed to loves and forgiveness. How does He balance these? GRACE! His mercy and forgiveness to us, His righteous judgment on Himself.

These two are telling characteristics of the Christian. They will know we are Christians by our love – is not just a song. It is our creed! By His love through us the world sees God. That is why our word matters so much. Talk is cheap…the politicians of this world play with words all the time, that way they cannot be held accountable. This should not be so among those that claim the term “Christian.” Jesus said, "Let your Yes be Yes and No be No. Be a person of your word.

{2} "TODAY" = right now! Jesus’ offer was immediate, as the thief was!
God's unconditional acceptance; if you will come to Him, He will take you as you are. No - Go clean up first; Do good; or  wait and see. God takes all where they are. If notthe thief would have been out of luck.

God is so willing to Tolerate and accept in love.

The scriptures are full of accounts where God did not judge but showed mercy. God is always ready and willing. We are the ones that drag our feet. Sadly, like the other thief we are never promised one more step on this side of eternity. Many hesitate until it is too late. 

Make sure you are right with the Lord…TODAY…right now. Whether it be for salvation or restoration of fellowship, God is hoping you will join Him.

It requires nothing more than an acknowledgment that you are a sinner and cannot save yourself. Believe that Christ came and offered His life to pay for your sin, died, was buried and came back to life on the third day. If you can do that, all you need to do is admit your sins are wrong, turn away from them and put your complete trust in what Jesus did to save you. Ask Him to be your Savior and Lord. God will take you just the way you are, and as you follow Christ you will see yourself change in a way you never thought possible.   

One of Hitler’s bodyguards was a man named Kurt Wagner. He adored Hitler and reverenced him as a god. At the end of the war, with Hitler a suicide in a Berlin Bunker, Kurt’s faith was shattered in his Feuhrer, and he planned a suicide. Going for a final cup of coffee, he picked up a discarded Gospel tract and read it—first carelessly and then with interest. As a result of reading this Gospel tract, he sought out a godly pastor who led him to Christ. Kurt was transformed from a hardened man into a peace-loving man, and he became a new creation in Christ, because he received Him as his Lord and Saviour. [1]

Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart,  O God, you will not despise.

[1] Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Easter According to Jesus: Forgive

He was Scourged – This is not just a whipping = Scourging tears the flesh from the body - A Crown of Thorns – Like nails into the scalp - Most of his beard pulled out - Clothes put on and ripped off - Large wooden cross put on His shoulder - Iron spikes driven through hands and feet - Arms tied - Cross dropped in hole muscles and tendons stretch and rip - Left to die.

What follows are 7 amazing statements that truly show the character of our Lord; the depth of His love; His suffering, concern, dedication and sacrifice.

His first words were for us!

Luke 23:34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.

(1)  "Father”

Intimacy never broken - Notice the consistency of His relationship and feelings toward God

This is a sign of Real maturity! Many forget what they know and react emotionally. We should not be like Job's wife; she let her emotions control her! She forgot Who God is and gave in to her emotions. Just when her husband needed her she blurted out “Curse God and Die!” This is reactionary. Can you imagine if Jesus had done this, The very creatures He created were now nailing Him to cross! 

Remember what you know and act on it(may still involve emotion but not controlled by it

(2) "Forgive them"

His Compassion is never failing -  This is the worst and painful time in His life, yet He still is more concerned about others – Consider: If His Father had Struck out as He saw His Son in Danger!

Philippians 2:3–8 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Jesus knew what the Father could do if He struck out from Heaven.

(3) "For they do not know what they do"

Jesus understood Man:

Acts 3:17 “And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also.

Once ignorance is gone – the Warning becomes less heard: NATHAN...NAthan - nathan – The volume of God’s voice lessens as we resist!

We should learn from history:

 Acts 28:28 Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.”

Sadly Israel did not listen. In 70 A.D. Roman General Titus leveled Jerusalem!

We should listen to the Forgiveness Of Christ!   

Have you accepted His forgiveness? What’s stopping you? Why not admit you’re a sinner, agree you cannot live perfect, ask Christ to forgive you of your sins and make you a child of God?