Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

“…but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14 NIV)

Picture a large meadow of yellow flowers bowing to a gentle breeze. This golden pond of beauty is densely populated on the outer edges by trees that stand stoic throughout the course of time. The summer sun hangs lazily alone in the afternoon sky against a canvass of aqua blue. The air is punctuated periodically by God’s curious creatures that fly about on cue — assuring the casual observer that life is more than worrying about the next event.

But that’s not all.

The sound of a rushing river nearby captures the essence of energy as it follows its familiar path toward the open sea. All marvel at its ability to remain constant. Nothing stops its flow. Its strength is undeniable. Its will, undeterred. The river beckons those who are thirsty to partake of its power to quench. For the filthy, it calls them to bathe in its capacity to cleanse. For everyone who seeks healing, it invites them to take a leap of faith and jump in.

Similarly, Father thank you for being the ever-present river of life in our lives. May the richness of your presence flow from us to others so that they may see your mercy and grace. May those who feel discouraged or depressed find supernatural strength in your heavenly reservoir of love.

Why do we call Good Friday “good,” when it is such a dark and sad event commemorating a day of suffering and death for Jesus?

For Christians, Good Friday is a crucial day of the year because it celebrates what we believe to be the most momentous weekend in the history of the world. Ever since Jesus died and was raised, Christians have proclaimed the cross and resurrection of Jesus to be the decisive turning point for all creation. Paul considered it to be “of first importance” that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and was raised to life on the third day, all in accordance with what God had promised all along in the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3).

On Good Friday we remember the day Jesus willingly suffered and died by crucifixion as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins (1 John 1:10). It is followed by Easter, the glorious celebration of the day Jesus was raised from the dead, heralding his victory over sin and death and pointing ahead to a future resurrection for all who are united to him by faith (Romans 6:5).

Still, why call the day of Jesus’ death “Good Friday” instead of “Bad Friday” or something similar? Some Christian traditions do take this approach: in German, for example, the day is called Karfreitag, or “Sorrowful Friday.” In English, in fact, the origin of the term “Good” is debated: some believe it developed from an older name, “God’s Friday.” Regardless of the origin, the name Good Friday is entirely appropriate because the suffering and death of Jesus, as terrible as it was, marked the dramatic culmination of God’s plan to save his people from their sins.

In order for the good news of the gospel to have meaning for us, we first have to understand the bad news of our condition as sinful people under condemnation. The good news of deliverance only makes sense once we see how we are enslaved. Another way of saying this is that it is important to understand and distinguish between law and gospel in Scripture. We need the law first to show us how hopeless our condition is; then the gospel of Jesus’ grace comes and brings us relief andsalvation.

In the same way, Good Friday is “good” because as terrible as that day was, it had to happen for us to receive the joy of Easter. The wrath of God against sin had to be poured out on Jesus, the perfect sacrificial substitute, in order for forgiveness and salvation to be poured out to the nations. Without that awful day of suffering, sorrow, and shed blood at the cross, God could not be both “just and the justifier” of those who trust in Jesus (Romans 3:26). Paradoxically, the day that seemed to be the greatest triumph of evil was actually the deathblow in God’s gloriously good plan to redeem the world from bondage.

The cross is where we see the convergence of great suffering and God’s forgiveness. Psalms 85:10 sings of a day when “righteousness and peace” will “kiss each other.” The cross of Jesus is where that occurred, where God’s demands, his righteousness, coincided with his mercy. We receive divine forgiveness, mercy, and peace because Jesus willingly took our divine punishment, the result of God’s righteousness against sin. “For the joy set before him” (Hebrews 12:2) Jesus endured the cross on Good Friday, knowing it led to his resurrection, our salvation, and the beginning of God’s reign of righteousness and peace.

Good Friday marks the day when wrath and mercy met at the cross. That’s why Good Friday is so dark and so Good.

Life is full of trials and tribulations, but how we react to them shows how much we TRULY believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior!

If Christians believe in Christ’s teaching without believing in the miracles, their faith is useless. Christ’s teaching is certainly important; but without the miracles Christ is only a great man or a saint, who may not be worthy of our trust.

A great man or saint cannot satisfy our need for eternal life nor can he solve our problem of sin and death. Great men and saints may be exemplary but they cannot deliver mankind from sin or despair. Ultimately, they themselves are swallowed up by death but Christ, in one sentence, raised the dead to life (Jn 11:43-44).

This is the most powerful evidence that Christ is the saviour of mankind. We need Jesus who by performing miracles confirmed the truth He taught (Mk 16:20).
Without miracles, we would have had a human teacher. With miracles, we have a divine saviour. No human teacher can deal with our sin and death. Only the divine saviour can.

If we trust in Christ as a social reformist, we do not have to believe in miracles. If we believe Him to be the redeemer, we would undoubtedly believe in miracles.

doubt

………………………….

Why is the faith of those who do not believe in miracles futile?

Jesus Himself is depicted as the greatest miracle (Lk 11:30).
He came in flesh, born of a virgin by the Holy Spirit, raised from the dead to life and ascended to heaven.
He will come again.

All these facts constitute the foundation of the Christian doctrine. Without miracles, there is no gospel. Christians who do not believe in miracles hold the view that what men cannot do, God cannot do too. They regard God on the same plane as man.

So, why do they believe in God then? Christians who do know the nature of Christ, do not believe that by the power of God, He chose a virgin to be with child through the Holy Spirit and that He resurrected Christ three days after death.
Therefore, they have no relationship with Christ. Jesus is our saviour not because of His teachings but because of the redemption He provides. He was “declared with power to be the son of God by His resurrection from the dead,” (Rom 1:4) so that our faith might not rest on men’s wisdom but God’s power (1 Cor 2:5). Therefore, all true Christians believe in miracles.

Do you know that miracles and wonders accompany preaching?

In the church, miracles confirm what is preached. God’s message is not preached with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power (1 Cor 2:4-5).
People preach with words – God confirms with miracles. This combination confirms the correctness of what is preached.

Elijah revived the child to prove that what God said through Him was true (1 Kgs 18:23-24). So it is with the church.

“The Lord confirm the message of His grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders.” (Acts 14:3)

We will face a lot of trials in our lives, but if we allow each and every tragedy to scar us to the point that we lose faith in the miracles of God, then we might as well admit that God doesn’t exist.

Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice. Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land. (Isaiah 32:1-2)

fear

This King was promised by the mouth of God through the hands of men. Acting as a herald of the Lord, Isaiah prophesied there would come a king who would “reign in righteousness”. For one in danger, he would act as “a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm”. For the thirsty soul, he would be as “streams of water in a dry place”. And for the laden and wounded “like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.” Jesus then is the Savior of body and soul, the temporal life and eternal. Our fears of the present may be eased by the surety of this promise. That when we look to Jesus amidst the grief of life, he will be as cool water in a burning desert. When the tempest rages, with thunder clashing and whirl winds blowing, he will stand unyielding as a strong tower (Psalm 61:3). In his righteous and just reign, he will be the answer in both fears that plague men: fear of today, and the greater fear of tomorrow. As Jonathan Edwards powerfully stated,

The fears of a terrified conscience, the fearful expectation of the dire fruits of sin, and the resentment of an angry God, these are infinitely the most dreadful.

The fear of eternal condemnation is suffocating when realized. If this promised King who is now ruling does in fact reign in justice, then he must deal justly with sin and evil. We ought rightly to fear at this epiphany. But as Edwards continued on,

Christ, by his own free act, has made himself the surety of such, he has voluntarily put himself in their stead; and if justice has anything against them, he has undertaken to answer for them. By his own act, he has engaged to be responsible for them.

Our fears, though at first rightly founded, become as a dead seed planted in our hearts which blossoms to full joy once we are found alive in Christ.

Rejoice today, as Jesus is a strong tower for today, and our surety of salvation for tomorrow.

 

Please visit this website to help Pastor Mike and His Wife    http://www.gofundme.com/mto8to

 

In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There
has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”

faith

“Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will
have other senses that we can’t understand now.”

The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and
everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.”

The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord
anymore.”

The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover if there is life, then why has no one has ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in
the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”

“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.”

The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?”

The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and
could not exist.”

Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”

To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can
hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.”

You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (Galatians 5:7-9)

change

Leaven is a substance, typically yeast, that is added to dough to make it rise. It only takes a small amount and the entire lump of dough has been permeated by the yeast and will begin rising. Throughout the Bible leaven is used as an analogy for evil that creeps into the lives of people. Jesus tells the disciples to watch out for it (Matthew 16:6) and Paul mentions it again in (1 Corinthians 5:6-7). Paul is specifically referencing a legalism that has creeped into the Gospel at the church in Galatia, and has actually twisted it, distorting the Gospel’s truth. Paul’s word were relevant then, and they are applicable to our lives today.

Leaven doesn’t always equal legalism, however. Leaven can refer to any distorted doctrine that is attached to the Gospel. We must be careful as we follow and listen to religious leaders who are great communicators or creative in their presentations. They might be fun to listen to, and they may speak bits of truth once in a while, but if there is a leaven of bad doctrine in their message, it can hinder us from obeying the truth of the Gospel as it creeps into every corner of thought and life. We are no better than the disciples who Jesus warned of this or the churches in Galatia and Corinth who were warned by Paul. So, we must always be on guard as we listen to and follow religious leaders and communicators.

Is there “leaven” spreading in your life?

So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
(John 4:5-9 ESV)

Comfort zone

Jesus was on his way to Galilee and did something a Jewish guy would never, ever do- go through Samaria to get there. Although Samaria was the quickest route from Jerusalem to Galilee, Jews wanted to avoid Samaritans at all costs. Jews absolutely despised Samaritans because they were literally considered “half breeds”- a mixed race between ancient Jews and their past Assyrian invaders. Jews were not supposed to worship with Samaritans, much less speak to them or even touch them.

Jesus still seemed determined to go to Samaria, even though it wasn’t culturally acceptable, to be at a well at “the sixth hour.”

That’s another peculiar point in this story. No one normally went to a well at the sixth hour or 12 noon, because it’s the hottest part of the day. That is, unless they’re trying to avoid other people. To put it another way, the only person you’d see at the well during the hottest part of the day would be a social outcast.

Most religious people hearing this story two thousand years ago would instantly think Jesus was going to the wrong place, at the wrong time, and interacting with the wrong type of person. They would be surprised to find out that Jesus was purposely on a mission to meet with this Samaritan woman.

If we join Jesus in His mission to this world, He will also lead us to cross racial, cultural, social, and spiritual barriers to share the gospel with others. He will lead us to go out of our way to connect with people who have been pushed to the fringe of our communities and culture. Are you willing to do this?

In your community, what racial, cultural, or social barriers does God want you to cross to share Jesus with others? Where is one place God is leading you to go or one person God is leading you to build a relationship with?