Tag Archive: Jesus Christ


Moving ever closer….

I truly believe we are living in the End Times. This became even more apparent to me when I heard a sermon by Pastor John Hagee, senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. Here is the youtube version of his sermon Four Blood Moons:

Here is also an enlightening, though disturbing video by Rev. Michelle Hopkins from her youtube channel:

Revmichelle makes it her mission to keep an eye on what’s going on here on earth and has many videos posted on her channel.

Christ‘s return for the Church is closer than ever. If you find this hard to believe, you are being deceived and not even aware of it.

If you haven’t accepted Christ, I urge you to do so! The signs are all around us…open your heart and receive him Today!

This is just a simple prayer you can pray for yourself, or you can use your own words, but it must come from the heart. God is always reaching out to the lost and wants you to come home to Him! Christ paid the insurmountable debt for our sins, past, present AND future! Accept His gift of salvation through His death and resurrection now.

the sinners prayer

 

Start reading the Bible, the Gospel of John is a good place to start,or, if you wish to start from the beginning, that is ok. But reading the Gospel books can help understand better the new covenant Christ brought to the world through His death and resurrection.  And pray everyday, God wants to hear from you! And ask Him to help you find the right church for you.  If you prayed this prayer (or one similar), welcome to the Family of God! He loves you and I do too!

Image credit: Simplicityinthegosepl.com

 

 

Baptism Christ immersion

Baptism Christ immersion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After returning home from church today, I  was watching a sermon by the late Adrian Rogers. Right in the middle of the sermon, he told the congregation he was taking a detour from the main message to explain something about baptism: That some believe you don’t receive salvation until you are baptized. He explained the wording in the passage of Acts 2:38

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized  every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive  the gift of the Holy Ghost.

He explained that in the phrase ‘for the remission of sins’, the word ‘for’ in both the Greek and in English has more than one meaning. One meaning is ‘to get, or obtain’ (the meaning inferred by those who say salvation only comes after baptism); and the other meaning is ‘because of’ or ‘as a result of’ . Eis is the Greek word translated in English as ‘for’ and carries the same meanings as the English. Dr. Rogers showed that they were to be baptized ‘as the result of’ the remission of their sins through God’s grace and Christ’s blood.

Why add another step to salvation? Christ suffered mightily that ALL would be saved through His death and resurrection. Why make it even more complicated for an unbeliever to come to Christ? The Greek translated as repent means ‘a change of mind’. It is a turning aside from one’s sinful life to one that serves the Lord. Why would someone tell the new believer, once they have taken that step, that they have to wait until a baptism is arranged ‘somewhere’ at ‘some’ church, to receive their forgiveness? In all likelihood, the new believer hasn’t been to church in a long time, if ever! Why put restrictions on it?

Before some get uptight about this, I must state that baptism IS important! Once one repents (and is saved), the regeneration is begun and one will have the desire to make it public. Therefore, they will want to find a church, pastor and congregation to attend and get baptized. Baptism is the ‘ultimate’ public confession and demonstration of one’s newfound belief in the saving grace of Christ’s death. If salvation wasn’t given until after one was baptized, the new believer might have quite a while until a baptism is arranged. Admittedly, in NT times, it likely was easier to speedily baptize soon after accepting Christ, as in the case of the Ethiopian eunuch encountered by Philip. In that passage, after presenting Christ to the eunuch, they traveled along until they happened upon some water. Philip hadn’t stressed that the Ethiopian wasn’t saved yet; it was the eunuch himself who proposed that he could be baptized there and Philip agreed. Indeed, John the Baptist practised his ministry near the Jordan. Nowadays, one must find a clergyman who can do it. I think even some churches want you to become a member first. (I could be wrong about that, but I wouldn’t be surprised.)

I’m afraid this may have become somewhat of an obsession with me, this ‘teaching’ that one isn’t saved until after baptism. As I stated in the other post, it smacks too much of legalism and ritual. One should be baptized and having received Christ shouldn’t have any objections to it. But there are many places in the New Testament that don’t give that order of salvation and having listed some in the earlier post, I won’t add to this one.

The forgiveness of one’s sins is a FREE GIFT! Through God’s unlimited Grace and the redemptive work of Christ’s crucifixion, the world’s sins have been forgiven! Christ is not going to stop you at the pearly gates and refuse your admittance because you weren’t baptized!

On Faith

FAITH

FAITH (Photo credit: cacigar)

Galatians 3:22-26

22 But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

23 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed.

24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.

25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,

Acts 9

1And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,

2And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

3And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

4And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

5And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

6And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

7And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

8And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.

9And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.

10And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.

11And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

12And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.

13Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:

14And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.

15But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

16For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

17And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

18And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

19And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.

20And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

21But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?

22But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

23And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him:

24But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.

25Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.

26And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.

27But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.

28And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.

29And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.

30Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus. (Acts 9:1-31, King James Version)

This chapter of Acts recounts the dramatic conversion of Saul of Tarsus by Jesus Christ Himself.

I chose the King James Version of this event, because newer translations, like the NIV and NLT, leave out Christ’s comment about it being hard for Saul to ‘kick against the pricks’, and more importantly, Saul’s first question after learning Who this ‘vision’ was:  “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”

Saul, possibly the most dogged and tenacious persecutor of the the early Christians, a Pharisee, obedient to the Law of Moses his entire life, has been hand-picked by our Lord and Saviour to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles.

Saul, the man who was present at the stoning of Stephen, Christianity’s first martyr, who had documentation in hand to bring anyone, man or woman who professed to follow The Way back to Jerusalem, trembled in fear and astonishment. Here was the very Man who had been crucified, ALIVE, shining with a glorious blinding light and speaking to him. The Man whose followers he had vowed to eradicate.

And his very first communication to Him was a question:

“Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”

His conversion was instantanious. He didn’t ask “Why me, of all people?”  Or “Are you serious??”

His first act, with those words, was to hand his life over to Christ.

As we see later in the chapter, he received the Holy Ghost when Ananias healed his blindness. Today, believers receive the Holy Spirit when they truly believe and confess their sins and ask God for forgiveness. Here, in this passage, Saul, the most ardent of persecutors of the early Christians believed the instant Christ identified himself. And, without hesitation, gave himself over to Christ’s guidance.

Many people believe that Saul, renamed by Christ to Paul, is possibly the greatest of the apostles. I certainly do, though I do want to clarify that I don’t put him before Christ. No, it is my opinion that Paul epitomizes what a Christian should be. Devoted completely to Christ, living his life in God’s will, and gladly evangelizing the Gospel every chance he got.

Of course, we, as mere humans, flawed as we are, can find living one’s life entirely for Christ quite daunting. And too many do not even try to do even simple evangelizing. Certainly, we can’t all travel to the end’s of the earth, preaching the Good News. But we don’t even try to talk to people we know about Christ. Fear of embarrassment, or rejection, or some other reason gets in the way of the Great Commission.

My prayer is that we all, including myself, ask God for guidance and courage to speak to others about Christ and spread the News as He commanded. The Apostle Paul set the standard for us. We should do no less than to follow his example

Unquestioning Faith

   
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”
38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26-38, New King James Version)

The Annunciation.
That magnificent interlude where Archangel Gabriel announced to a poor Jewish teenager that she would bear the Son of the Living God. I’ve chosen this for closer study as I felt the Lord led me to it. I opened my Bible to the first page of Luke and while reading the first chapter, the last verse stood out for me.

My Prayer:
Heavenly Father,
I pray for the leading of the Holy Spirit as I delve into Your Word, to give me greater understanding and insight into Your will for my life and revelation of the mysteries of Your Word I’ve yet to discover. In Christ’s Holy Name, Amen.

As you read this account from the New King James Version, you may wonder why I titled this “Unquestioning Faith”. Indeed, Mary does ask a question. Does this mean her faith was not enough? In my opinion, no.

Mary was obviously a devout Jew, hence her selection by God to bear his Son, Jesus. We see that she knows that Gabriel was a messenger from heaven, and though his appearance was totally unexpected, she didn’t reject it in any way. However, she was perplexed that such an exalted being would manifest itself to her: 

29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.

For those first few moments, no doubt she wondered at his greeting and why he would be visiting her. But Gabriel gets right to the point, allaying her fears and telling her the reason for coming to her. She would concieve and give birth to the Messiah! The Son of the Lord God Almighty, Who Was and Is and Will Always Be!

Can one imagine this? Mary, undoubtedly had to be astounded by this news. A poor Jewess, betrothed to a poor carpenter, Joseph ben Heli….and now she has a question:

34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

People, no matter how devout, still live in this world, a world ruled by satan. Sometimes, even those with great faith, can have questions. Mary, knowing how children are conceived, obviously was thinking along ‘fleshly’ lines. She had never lain with any man, and likely, thinking in somewhat logical terms, probably had the idea that this would be how it would happen; but she was betrothed, not yet married, and sexual relations of any kind only came after the marriage. Obviously, she didn’t entertain any idea of bedding anyone before the ceremony!

In that light, let’s examine a little more closely:

She knew how children were concieved and came into the world.  She obviously understood that this conception would happen very soon, hence her question concerning her virginity. Until THIS conception occurred, no child had ever been born of a virgin. As she stood there before Gabriel, listening to how it would happen, understanding sank in.

She remembered that this was her Lord God, Yahweh, who would father this Child.

And she remembered that with the Lord, her God, nothing was impossible.

And it made perfect sense to her:

38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”

I can see her, bowing her head in acceptance of God’s Will for her life. And what a will! She was the vessel, prepared and chosen by God to bring forth the Saviour of the world. In these two sentences, Mary acknowledges that she was on earth by God’s grace, and His service. God not only let her know in no uncertain terms what His will for her life would be, but also sent one of His highest ranking angels to give her this astounding message.

And in accepting God’s Will, her life was changed forever.

The Magnificat:
46 And Mary said:

      “ My soul magnifies the Lord,
       47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
       48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
      For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
       49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
      And holy is His name.
       50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him
      From generation to generation.
       51 He has shown strength with His arm;
      He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
       52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
      And exalted the lowly.
       53 He has filled the hungry with good things,
      And the rich He has sent away empty.
       54 He has helped His servant Israel,
      In remembrance of His mercy,
       55 As He spoke to our fathers,
      To Abraham and to his seed forever.”

(Luke 1:46-55, New King James Version)

Most everyone is familiar with the popular renderings of Jesus as a brownish, blonde, somewhat Caucasian looking…and quite handsome…fellow.  With blue eyes.

A rather odd depiction, don’t you think, of someone who was born Hebrew?

Not wishing to stereotype, but aren’t many Jews dark-skinned, with dark, even black hair and dark brown eyes?’ No, I’m serious here. While many of the world’s nationalities, and races today have intermingled and produced varied looks, I’m betting that at the time of Christ, bloodlines, especially amongst the Jews weren’t so…varied. After all, God had commanded the Israelites not to marry outside their race; of course, as we know, the Israelites weren’t all that obedient.

Be that as it may, and, of course, knowing that Christ’s imminent arrival on earth through the Virgin was designed, orchestrated and ordained by God, Our Creator, I believe it is safe to assume that the bloodline was pure; after all, it could be traced all the way back to Abraham….better yet, Adam!

There are no descriptions of Jesus in the New Testament. The closet we can get is in Isaiah 53:2b :

2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

“..nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”  Christ apparently was an average-looking Israelite. But many DID desire him! Many followed him and not just his disciples. Droves of people came to him day after day, seeking his wisdom and healing.  This isn’t to say he was ugly or unattractive…just an every-day man of his time in his appearance. And to top that off, he was poor. Though he had a family, he traveled about sleeping wherever he could, sometimes, probably in homes of friends, but most times outdoors. He carried no money or valuables with him, and instructed his disciples to do the same.

So…what was it about him that attracted people to him?

The answer is simple: God

Jesus was God the Father in the flesh. God’s love, compassion and mercy was plainly evident in his demeanor and teaching.  He denied no one of his healing, teaching and wisdom. He knew what He was here for and accomplished that at Calvary. He came to earth to do God’s Will to redeem mankind from sin.

I don’t think it really matters what Christ looked like when He lived. When He returns, everyone on this earth will know Who He Is!

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