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“Trust and Obey”

Friday, September 23, 2011

“So Abram went, as the Lord had told him” (Gen. 12:4 RSV).

Scripture Reading: Genesis 12:1-8

The hymn “Trust and Obey” could well be the theme song of the life of the patriarch Abraham, for he is well known for his trust in God and obedience to him. Today we will look at his life to learn how we too can honor God with our trust and obedience.
The flood is over. Humankind has started again with Noah’s family. Sin, however, does not cease its ugly work! Once more the world is in trouble. The Tower of Babel causes the populated world to be scattered in various directions. Idolatry has become the order of the day. What will God do? He has promised that he will not destroy the world by water again. The first worldwide judgment did not change things: man is still a sinner and must be redeemed to live righteously.
God begins a new approach: he will take a man and start a new race. Through this person’s descendants, God will do two things. First, he will reveal his character as holy. This would be in contrast to that of the false gods who have no life and, therefore, no moral qualities to challenge humankind to proper conduct. Second, in the fullness of time, he will send a Redeemer to bring salvation and forgiveness to all people regardless of who or where they are.
Where can God find such a person? All the world is contaminated by sin. Here is a man named Abram in Ur of the Chaldees. Abram’s father, Terah, is a moon god worshiper (Josh. 24:2), but Abram has not adopted this terrible habit. An old Jewish tradition tells us that Terah ran a store where idols were sold. His son Abram did not like the idols and protested often to his father. One day when the boy was left in charge of the store, he took a metal stick and broke the idols into pieces. When his father came home and saw the ruins, he asked his son what had happened. The boy replied, “They all got in a fight and destroyed each other.” The father insisted, “But they can’t fight. They have no life.” The boy replied, “Then why do you worship them?” This is the kind of man God needed to begin his redemptive program, and he called Abram to a new job and gave him a new name-Abraham.

1) Get into a new environment.
Though one’s surroundings do not always determine his Service, there are times when we need to get into a new location to start a new work.

God had reserved the land of Canaan for the place he would put his new people.
He, therefore, relocated this man who would begin the new program. From secular history we know that there was a general migration westward of a number of Semitic people about this time. The Hyksos, a group from the same ethnic background as Abram, went as far as Egypt, where they were successful in taking over the throne and holding it for several centuries. The call to Abram, however, was personal. Although he went with his father and other kinspeople, he knew it was only a matter of time before he must go out on his own.

God reveals himself to all people, but he selects certain ones at certain times for certain tasks.
He had chosen Abram but knew Abram must make a break with the old land. Too many memories remained there, and the temptation to yield to the customs of that environment might be too strong. Abram needed to move to a new area to serve God best. We, too, must leave the old behind.

2) Learn that life is for being a blessing.

To do what Abram did required an awareness that God was with him.
How long he pondered the decision, we do not know, nor can we be certain of how his father Terah and the others fit into the scheme of things. Despite these questions, one thing is certain. Faith and obedience played a major role in the starting event and all that subsequently took place.
The writer of Hebrews chose Abraham’s faith as an illustration of his definition of this glorious trait that he calls “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (11:1). Future things do not have an existence for someone unless he believes in them. Faith makes eternity as real as today. Why? Because it gives a reality to the new and limitless future where we will have time to forget the sorrows and live past the losses of our present world.

As great as faith is, we need, however, to ask an important question about it. Faith in what? The answer is simple: God’s provision. What, though, did God offer Abram? This promise at first reading sounds fabulous, for God offered him so much; but look closer and see that the material things offered were not the most important.
God offered Abram an opportunity to bless the world. The superficial reader emphasizes that God promised to make of Abram a great nation, to bless him, and to make his name great. The perceptive reader, however, sees something more. God said, “Thou shalt be a blessing” (Gen. 12:2). In fact, the literal Hebrew is imperative: “Be thou a blessing.” Read a little further. The immature reader only notices, “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee” (v. 3). The dedicated Christian emphasizes, “In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (v. 3).

Which is more important, to be blessed or to bless?
Unfortunately, too many of us become Christians for the wrong motivation or at least for a lesser one. Initially, we want to escape hell and go on to heaven. Though this is a legitimate motive, it is not the highest one. We should come to Jesus because of who he is and because of the life of Service he offers. Usually, however, we must grow much before we make this the supreme motive of our lives. Abram did receive blessings, but most of all, God chose him as an instrument. Through him the world would be blessed. This is the meaning of life, for it is the one thing Jesus emphasized above everything else.

3) Serve where you are.
Although we emphasized at first the necessity of leaving home to gain a new identity, the time comes when we must settle down where we are and serve God in that place. We cannot be constantly moving every time things get tough.

Abram served God where God put him.
At first, God willed that Abram stay in Haran for a period of time. Perhaps it was to care for his father who may not have shared Abram’s vision to go on to Canaan. For whatever reason, Abram waited patiently for a further word from the Lord. In the book of Acts we learn that after Terah’s death Abram heard a new command from God. He then left Haran and went to Canaan. Notice that Abram “went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came” (Gen. 12:5). Nothing stopped Abram from doing God’s will as he understood it.

One thing that characterized Abram was that wherever he went, he built an altar and called on the name of the Lord (Gen. 12:8).
We need to worship where we are. The other side often looks better, but we must adjust to where God puts us.

Now in Conclusion

Why has Abraham gone down in history as such a great person? He had faith! He trusted God and obeyed him! Abraham’s faith was proved by his faithfulness. God counted this faith as righteousness, and through his seed salvation has come to the world. We, too, can be a blessing if we trust and obey.

God Bless You, Pastor Mike

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

UNSTOPPABLE_ 9/27/2011 1:43PM

    I love this message. Trust & obey sounds easy, doesn't it? I know people that struggle with it, & I'm not excluding myself. Sometimes I don't want to do what God asks of me. I normally give in but that disobedience is still there.

Thank you Pastor Mike for a wonderful blog.

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BOBBIENORTHERN1 9/26/2011 7:05PM

  Hear the word of God and hear the voice of God.

The word and Holy Spirit will tell us exactly what to do and it is up to us to believe and receive what He says by the measure of faith given to each of us.

If we have faith in the cross of Jesus and His shed blood then everything else is also by faith.

Each day is a new day to hear Him, believe what He is saying and receive what He is saying and then to act on what He is saying.

Just do what He says to do with each new day and that will lead us to exactly where He wants us, doing exactly what He wants us doing.

Listen, hear, and obey.

Believe and receive His leading.

Fear not believe only.

Faith works by love.

Fatih is a force that over comes everything in this world, just believe and act on what you hear in your spirit and He that is in us is greater then he that is in this world.

Faith comes by hearing and acting on the word of God.

Faith is an action word. Faith means acting on what we hear from God.

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SHARIO2 9/26/2011 12:54PM

    Trust and Obey, for there's no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey!

Thanks Pastor Mike - wonderful and timely as always!

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PRAYINGSUZIE 9/24/2011 9:28PM

    Thank you so much! This was a wonderful blog!

Suzie

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FLMOMX2 9/24/2011 7:29PM

    Great lesson

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IAM_HIS2 9/24/2011 6:35PM

    Thank you for this. I loved this!!! You touched my heart.

While recovering from my hip surgery, I have been able to spend a lot of time alone with the Lord. I am learning so much in that quiet time. Most importantly, to fear the Lord, and to allow myself to be used by Him.

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MZLADY77 9/24/2011 11:37AM

    Great lesson! Thank you for sharing! emoticon

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PURPLELVR7 9/24/2011 10:27AM

    We are truly blessed because Abramham did not doubt God, he just did what he was told.
It makes you wonder what kind blessings we might be able to do if we would only just do what God wants us to do.

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JENNY712 9/24/2011 8:22AM

    Thank you! I love your message. This passage bough back good memories. My son and i sang trust and Obey together when he was young and my Husband leading the congregation in Amazing Grace. Your message is good for the heart. It reminds me of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and Mark 12:30-31. We obey out of a heart filled by His love, flowing out to His lost, and to the hurting, and touching his beloved children as well. As we do His will as we trust and obey;. To God be the Glory! Your message is a blessing. God bless you! emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/24/2011 8:30:00 AM

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JUDITH316 9/23/2011 10:55PM

    Thank you Pastor Mike, I came here to read your message, indeed this is timely, I just finished posting a Bible Study on my page, this study was one I brought to a Wednesday night Family Study my Pastor asked me to lead [about 2 years ago now] when he was away, after prayer the study came about, the message is entitled "Abiding" Yes, Abiding, Trusting and Obeying staying connected to the "Vine" go hand in hand, your message tonight has been refreshing. God Bless You. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NELLIEC 9/23/2011 10:39PM

    I am thinking that Abraham's mother must have believed in the One True God and taught her son to believe. Judaism seems very patriarchal, but a Jewish woman told me that to be counted as descending from a Jew goes from the mother -- especially since in times of war, the women were captured and taken as wives by other cultures, but the men were killed. Therefore the mothers taught their children about their belief!

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GOOZLEBEAR 9/23/2011 10:37PM

    Such a wonderful message Pastor Mike. As usual, I get so much from your blogs and appreciate your posting them. I don't get to read them all but the ones I do read are a blessing to me.



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TINKERBELL200 9/23/2011 10:36PM

    Oh boy did you hit home today Pastor Mike! I watched my faith go full cycle just today! I have been believing for 5 years for something to come to pass. At one time I tried to run from it, but now I know why God wouldn't allow me too!I just had to trust and obey and stay put! It's so awesome when you see His provision, and you are right that is exactly what faith is!

Thank you so much, you so blessed my heart tonight! You were right on!
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Lynne

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SVELTEWARRIOR 9/23/2011 10:01PM

    I truly loved this blog. It is a great lesson

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YATMAMA 9/23/2011 9:55PM

    I love this. I need to grasp this message deep within my being, as does the entire bride of Christ. Jesus served. He set such an example for us. We, too, must serve as unabashedly, as unreservedly, as joyfully as He did. The very angels of God are servants. Definitely a recurring theme! lol Oh, Lord of the harvest, send laborers who will serve!!

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If Life Caves In, What Then?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13).

Scripture Reading: Matthew 7:24-27

By using the title “If Life Caves In, What Then?” I am not encouraging you to believe that life is going to cave in on you. Many people live in terror of what may happen, and that is heathenish. They waste a great deal of energy worrying about that which is not going to happen. Someone has said, “Today is the tomorrow that we worried about yesterday.”
Some of us have made such an idol out of happiness that we do not know how to deal with unhappiness. Occasionally it does seem that life is caving in on us.
I have seen life cave in on many people. When a young man’s fiancée was killed in an automobile accident, it seemed to him that life had caved in. A couple’s youngest son greatly disappointed them with his irresponsible attitudes and actions, which led to the accidental death of one of his classmates. For them, life had caved in. A young wife was injured in a diving accident and was almost totally paralyzed. In addition to this tragedy, her husband forsook her and their child. For her, life caved in. A fifty-year-old man lost his job and because of his age was unable to get another job to support his family. For him, life had caved in. A young soldier, while rescuing a wounded buddy, was horribly and irreparably disfigured. In spite of the best efforts of the plastic surgeons, they could not restore a nose and ears and fingers that had been burned away in an explosion. For him, life had caved in.
What will you do when death comes to take away your dear and beloved companion? How would you react if you were to find yourself suffering the heartbreak of knowing that your companion had been unfaithful to the marriage vows? If your children bring heartaches, disappointments, and possibly disgrace, how will you pick up the pieces?
We have often heard it said that it is too late to buy insurance after the house has burned down. As the farmer said to his boy, it is too late to close the gate after the cattle are out and gone. And so we need to make some preparation in case life should cave in upon us.
Each of us should face up to the fact that we can individually be responsible for causing life to cave in on ourselves. Many of the tragedies and troubles that plague us are but the consequences of errors in our judgment or faulty choices that we made without considering the destiny to which the choice would lead. Today we will concentrate on preparing for troubles that may come over which we have no control.

1) Face life with real faith.
Paul, the author of our text, declared, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” He believed and demonstrated that a man can be victorious over the circumstances that befall him provided he faces life with a courageous and steadfast faith. We need to have a faith that will sustain us and strengthen us in the time of crisis. We should not be satisfied with a faith that needs to be defended and propped up. A complete faith is a faith that recognizes that genuine piety does not provide us with an immunity against pain and sorrow. We must recognize that life may cave in on us even if we are some of the very best of God’s children.

We must have faith to believe that God is a good God and that all of his purposes toward us are purposes of love.
“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). The Devil will win his victory over us when life caves in if he can cause us to believe that God is not a good God. He has sought to deceive people in this manner since the beginning of human history (Gen. 3:4-5). We must believe that God is a good God in spite of the fact that at times he appears otherwise. God is not our enemy. He wants to shower upon us the abundance of heavenly love.

We must have faith to believe that God is at work for our good in all things that happen (Rom. 8:28).
Many have misquoted and misunderstood this verse. Some have interpreted it to say, “Everything happens for the best.” That just is not so. Many things happen for the worst, for they shatter and wreck and ruin and bring awful agony into human lives. There are others who interpret this verse to say, “Whatever happens is the will of God,” and this is not so. This would mean that God is responsible for evil, and God is not responsible for evil. We should not blame him for the fact that life caves in on us at times.
This verse expresses the faith of the apostle to the effect that God will be at work in everything that happens to those who love him in order to rescue and to restore and to bring every possible good out of that which appears to be a complete disaster. We can count on God to help us with our burdens, our problems, our questions, and our sufferings. Someone has jokingly said, “If life hands you a lemon, make lemonade.” The apostle is declaring that if life hands you a lemon, then God will be there to help you make the best lemonade that can possibly be made!

We must have faith to believe that God will not permit impossible burdens to come upon us (1 Cor. 10:13).
The Bible provides a continuing testimony that God will be with us to provide us with strength and wisdom and grace that are sufficient to bear the burdens of life. Nowhere in the Bible are we promised complete immunity from trouble if we have faith. Instead, we are promised the strength of God’s presence through which we can be adequate. Paul believed that God would provide for all of our needs through Jesus Christ (Phil. 4:19).

We must have faith to believe that there may be a redemptive purpose in some of our sufferings.
Paul spoke of a thorn in the flesh that was a continuing source of agony to him. With all his heart he prayed at least three times for the removal of this thorn (2 Cor. 12:7-8). As he struggled he discovered that there was a benevolent purpose behind this hardship (2 Cor. 12:9).
It is altogether proper that we seek to learn everything possible through the experiences that come to us. Hosea is a case in point. His contribution to the divine revelation came through the wound that was inflicted upon his heart by the moral and spiritual breakdown of his wife.
Only by means of a genuine faith in the greatness of God can we hope to overcome the world and be triumphant even amid tragedy.

2) Avoid faulty ways of facing tragedy.
Sometimes tragedy can be compounded by the fact that we use faulty methods of dealing with the tragedies that befall us. There are certain ways of facing tragedy that need to be avoided.

Feelings of guilt and self-condemnation overwhelm some people when tragedy comes.
In many instances we have to face the fact that we are at least partially responsible for life caving in on us. To accept proper responsibility is a wholesome thing, but we must not permit feelings of guilt and self-condemnation to destroy us.
It is impossible to change or even to alter the events of yesterday. We can only deal with the consequences of yesterday. Instead of cultivating our sense of guilt with continuous self-condemnation, we need to enter into the forgiveness of God. Also, we need to forgive ourselves. It is neither Christian nor logical to continue to condemn oneself for past mistakes.

We must not react to tragedy with bitter resentment and hatred.
It is easy to hate and to hold resentment toward someone who has been responsible for tragedy or disappointment in our lives. We need to recognize that hate is a corrosive force; it is a malignant thing that distresses the heart if we permit it to remain in our lives.

It is normal to experience some self-pity and moods of depression when tragedy strikes.
All of us have felt sorry for ourselves at times. All of us will feel sorry for ourselves at some future time, but we need to recognize that this is not the best way to deal with tragedy. We must gain the victory over self-pity and depression.

Some resort to an artificial escape from tragedy through alcohol or drugs.
We need to be on guard lest our emotions deceive us. Instead of giving way to some faulty way of facing tragedies, we need to look to God. The psalmist said, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth” (Ps. 121:1-2).

3) Grow a faith that can sustain you.

We must become doers of the Word as well as bearers of the Word (Matt. 7:24-27).
Living the life of faith provides one with inward resources that are adequate for the time of testing.

We should face the daily trials of life with joy (James 1:2).
This kind of joy is possible only to one who has faith to believe that God is present in any circumstance to provide an opportunity for growth and Service.

Face your problems on your knees (James 1:5).
Most of us are short on wisdom, so James encourages us to ask God for divine insight and understanding. Wisdom is available to those who trust God and ask for his guidance.

Enjoy God’s blessings day by day in the present.
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Deliberately look for that which can bring joy and thanksgiving into the heart.

Live life one day at a time.
Do not worry about tomorrow. The sparrows could preach us a powerful sermon at this point. They work and do not worry. Life may never cave in on you, so do not worry about what may not happen.

Now in Conclusion

The secret key to the door of happiness is in the capacity, disposition, and determination to be a giver of joy and happiness to others in all circumstances. You can face life courageously and victoriously if you will determine with God’s help to always be a giver. Some of God’s richest blessings to the world have come through those for whom life caved in.

God Bless You, Pastor Mike

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SIMPLE_TAILOR 9/30/2011 2:21PM

    I got a version of point two the other night.

I also got reminded that I was worth dying for, something that tends to get forgotten in the pit of guilt.

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UNSTOPPABLE_ 9/27/2011 1:38PM

    Pastor Mike,
I'm sorry that I am so behind on your blogs...Between babysitting 3 kids under 3yo 11 hours a day, Revival last week & normal day to day living I am way behind on Sparks.I'm still trying to catch up.
I enjoyed this blog very much. My favorite line...Some of God’s richest blessings to the world have come through those for whom life caved in.I've experienced that too.

Love
Teresa


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MZLADY77 9/25/2011 6:03PM

    Thank you for your message! Life can be unpleasant one for many in the body of Christ to talk about much less every fully accept in their walks with the Lord Whether we like it or not, and whether we ever want to fully face up to the reality in through life.

Every single one of us, saved or unsaved will have to face a certain trials and tribulations as we journey through life with absolutely no exception to this cold, hard fact. Many Christians have either lost part or all of their faith in the Lord as a result of getting hit with some severe trials. Need to have full understanding as to why God will sometimes allow bad things
to happen to people. You can have personal faith levels in the Lord shaken to its very core depending on the severity of the Storm that just struck you.

We need to know how to fully surrender with the Lord. Learning how to trust Him with every aspect of our life. How to be led by the Holy Spirit! Also how to engage with enemy by using spiritual warfare operating under God's anointing

Great message! emoticon

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BOBBIENORTHERN1 9/25/2011 4:30PM

  PastorMike, this blog is so beautiful and so true and so filled with grace which is Jesus.

Before I knew Jesus I had to respond to my life falling apart in my flesh and then things just went from bad to desperate.

Then, I met Jesus and you know what? I have learned that no matter what has happened, what is happening and what will happend He never leaves me and He never forsakes me.

He is with me through all of lifes obstacles and hard times and heart aches.

No matter what His grace is more, much more then sufficient.

The devil is the prince of the power of the air so, with that being said and understood we know there will be times of pressure and fighting the good fight of faith because the word of God lets us know to expect us to be put on trial by the stratigies of the devil and his tricks and lies and deceptions.

But, through it all my Lord sees me not only through the bad spots of this life but He brings me over all the trials by making me triumphant with and through and by His grace and truth.

Life on this earth is hard but because of what Jesus did for us on that cross and by His resurrection we are more then conquerers, we are over comers and we win all the time.

The people of the world and in the dark really do not get it, they just do not understand the Christian way of life of faith and being made strong by His grace. His grace covers all with much grace left over.

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DOTTIEJANE1 9/23/2011 5:12PM

    As i look back on my trials that all have been a learning source for me . No i did not enjoy them ,yes they hurt , no they were not present BUT i learned so much frome each and every one. Some took longer then others . Thanks for this message. May GOD BLESS YOU Dottie

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RILDASJOI 9/23/2011 10:15AM

    Wow. I'm going through financial tough times and this has set me aright! I was tempted to beat myself up, beat my husband up (the breadwinner) and fall apart. I prayed and asked the Lord for mental toughness and a supernatural ability to hear Him and stay focused on His word while diligently casting down thoughts and imaginations that are not from Him.

You bless me!

I thank God for your blog today.

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CBEVNOW 9/23/2011 1:27AM

    Thank you i truly needed this at this time in my life.
Caroline

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PURPLELVR7 9/22/2011 8:09PM

    Our lives will be full of wonderfun experiences, as well as trail. We need to trust in Jesus to guide us and help us through the trails. Jesus is always there and leaning on him will only make us stronger

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PRAYINGSUZIE 9/22/2011 7:21PM

    Thank you!

Usually I don't read long blogs because I am so busy but God lead me to yours! You are such a blessing to me!

I really looked at the background of your page. I just realized that God is helping me through my "cave in" even when I don't see Him.

Suzie

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KATVHALE 9/22/2011 6:37PM

  A lot of the cave-ins we experience are brought on because of our own pride! We bring on some bad things because of our own free will as Defiant Vegan stated earlier. God doesn't cause bad things to happen but He is in control and uses those bad things to help us grow closer to Him.

I have heard numerous times that because we are in the world we are not immune to bad things.... It is satan's world right now and God is allowing him to run it; that is why we children of God will go through trying times and cave-ins. The evil one wants us to blame God or to live without hope; we must stand strong and keep our faith in the living God!

Fantastic blog, Brother Mike!

Kat

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YATMAMA 9/22/2011 5:55PM

    We are forewarned that in this life we WILL have tribulation. We are told that weapons WILL be formed against us (even though they won't prosper). Living in this fallen world is a surefire guarantee that troubles will come our way. We are foolish not to expect them. Thank you for this balanced message of hope. Surrendering to the Lord in no way makes us exempt from problems. It just means that those beloved, everlasting arms will carry us through those difficult seasons. Bless you, Brother Mike.

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NELLIEC 9/22/2011 4:31PM

    I know that 20 years ago when life was very, very difficult, it was only God that brought me through!

One comment about the use of alcohol and drugs. The people seeking to escape what life seems to be are only jumping from the frying pan into the fire, so to speak, since their problems become much, much worse!

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KAYDE53 9/22/2011 3:00PM

    Many people have been brought to the Lord, or to a closer walk with the Lord, through life's "cave-ins". I have a a few in my life, didn't enjoy them, but came out stronger on the other side, with God's help!!! And you are certainly right about living one day at a time, not looking for what may happen. Also, your part about living your life with joy; sometimes, I struggle with this in these difficult times, but I know we should live with the joy of the Lord in our hearts!! Thanks for this timely message!!

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DEFIANTVEGAN 9/22/2011 11:55AM

    Pastor I really love this blog of yours.

I can look back and see the trials and the hardships I have had I can't say that I have said why me in many of those situations, but I have heard it from people time and time again.

I definitely urks me when people say God made me this way (a friend that has Lupus) or God allowed this to happen, and etc.
I totally agree with you that God is not to blame at all, it is definitely sin nature and God gave us free will so the world just continues to do what is is suppose to do good or bad doesn't matter we do not live in a perfect world I think many don't realize that.

I know I am going through someting right now at work and you just pointed it out that it is my fault and anyone involved because we make choices I don't like what's happening but I do try to see it with faith and hope as you said.


Thanks for a great message.



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ERIN1957 9/22/2011 11:37AM

    Lions and tigers and bears oh my :-)

Oh Pastor what a wonderful blog you have wrote today.
I wish I would have had the insight years back to have known the Lord, enough to have had Him with me during so many of these moments. I wasted so many days,weeks, months and yes even years living in and staying down in my "life caved in" times.
If it weren't for Him pulling me out of the pit, I would have truly died in all ways.
To stop ones self before we react and run to Him and apply our faith in knowing Him well enough, to trust Him with our self...is truly the best key for all of life here on earth.
What I have learned is; not only when I am in need of His hand and help, but also for the good times when life is graced.
So many forget the thank YOU-s when life is good and maybe not so good as well. The simplest praise at ever corner helps open my heart to allow Him to take me through and out of any pitfall, closer and more dependant on Him for my journey of learning, loving and obtaining rest in Him for my peace.
Oh Thank you so very much for bringing me here at this moment with Him.
God is Good,
~Erin

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JANEYINMADTOWN 9/22/2011 10:47AM

    "The secret key to the door of happiness is in the capacity, disposition, and determination to be a giver of joy and happiness to others in all circumstances." AMEN!

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MREE777 9/22/2011 9:48AM

    I know I need to read this blog. I don't have time right now because my life HAS caved in. Have to get a job this week! One thing I know and that is Christ crucified for me. He'll be with me in the cave.

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HOT4FITNESS 9/22/2011 9:09AM

    Yes indeed God is Good! And my favorite verse is Romans 8:28, God is good in all things As one who has been at the end of their rope, I have seen God work good through me. Thanks for sharing.

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What Grade Will You Make?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matt. 11:29).

Scripture Reading: Matthew 11:27-30

Exam week is often a painful experience for both parents and pupils. I would suppose that the grading of papers is at least sometimes painful for teachers. A time of testing reveals something not only about the learning achievement of the pupil, but also about the effectiveness of the teaching methods used by the teacher. Let me challenge the students of Spark People to face up to the question of grades. What kind of grades are you making in school? Your grades will be determined by how you respond to the teacher and by how you apply yourselves to your learning opportunities.
Today I challenge each of you to think of Jesus Christ as the great Teacher for your life. We think of him as the divine Son of God, the Redeemer who came to die on the cross for the sins of the world, the conqueror of death and the grave, the coming one who will raise the dead and judge the wicked and reward the righteous. But today let us consider Jesus as heaven’s infallible, inherent Teacher, who came to teach the truth about God, life, and eternity. As we think of a teacher, we must also think of students. We must recognize learning opportunities and responsibility. Let us disturb ourselves with the question, “What grade will I make in the school of Christ?”
As we study the life of Christ, we may be surprised to discover that Jesus was generally recognized as a teacher. His disciples and his contemporaries considered him to be a teacher. He was called Teacher, Master, or Rabbi. All of these titles contain the idea expressed by Nicodemus when he said, “Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God” (John 3:2). Jesus is never addressed as a preacher, but at least 45 times in the four Gospels he is called “Teacher.” The title “Master” occurs 66 times in the King James Version, and in 54 of these instances the Greek word means teacher or schoolmaster.
Jesus said, “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am” (John 13:13 NIV). Jesus’ choice of the term “disciple” to designate his followers indicates that he considered himself a teacher. They were not called “subjects,” “servants,” “retainers,” or “comrades.” “Disciple,” meaning “pupil” or “learner,” is used 243 times.
How have you responded to the Teacher? Have you been listening attentively? Have you given attention to reading the text from which he would instruct you? What grade are you making?

1) The invitation to enroll.
In the gracious words of the text, Jesus would invite the entire world, one by one, to experience conversion. While he may have been referring to the yoke worn by oxen, it is more likely that he was thinking in terms of himself as a teacher with a group of students. To accept the yoke or to bear the yoke was to describe the teacher-pupil relationship. The gracious words of the invitation and the text must not be limited to a simple call to conversion, for these words of invitation include the opportunity to learn and to grow and to experience the fullness of God’s great salvation. This will be the experience of each person who interprets the Christian life as an opportunity for continuous growing and serving.

Learning must not be limited to listening.
While it is important that we listen attentively, it is a proven fact that one can hear and grasp all that a speaker says by using only 20 percent of his mental capacity. If the rest of the intellect and the emotions are not concentrated on the subject that is being considered, the potential learning experience is almost completely nullified.

Learning must not be limited to looking.
Priceless, indeed, is the capacity to see. One good picture is said to be worth more than a thousand words, but one can look and observe without reaching the highest level of learning. We need to observe the Christ in every phase of his life, but if we do nothing more than look, we will not be fully responding to his gracious invitation to enroll in the school of Christian discipleship.

Learning must not be limited to a pleasant emotional experience.
Many of us go to church or to a Bible class and thoroughly enjoy the songs or the sermon or the lesson. We experience a spiritual uplift. This type of experience is of great value, yet we may not learn anything of real significance from it.

2) The invitation to continue in learning.
Luke, the writer of Acts, comments that the enemies of the early church “took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). Jesus’ personality and teaching had placed a distinguishing mark upon them. Later on in the book of Acts, the enemies of Christ again observed conspicuous results in those who enrolled and then continued in the school of Christ, for the record says, “The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:25).

We learn through identification.
Parents have a profound effect on every facet of a child’s life because of their identification with each other. The family is the first school that the child knows anything about. Here there is an identification between the teacher-parent and the child-pupil.
In high school a boy learns how to play football, not by reading a textbook, but by identifying with a coach in a learning-working relationship.
The crowd with which we identify, whether we are young or old, creates a learning experience.
If we would respond to Jesus Christ, heaven’s Teacher of the heavenly way of life, we must be solidly identified with him. This requires more than a confession of faith and church membership. A regular exposure of our mind and heart to him in worship is essential as is careful, attentive listening to his words of truth and wisdom.
We need to observe and contemplate both the character and conduct of Jesus Christ in his relationship with others if we would truly consider ourselves his disciples, his followers, students in his school. What grade are you making?

We learn through participation.
Not only in the public school system but in the church school as well, hands-on, activity-based teaching is recognized as an effective method for communicating truths to the minds of children.
When Jesus said, “Come unto me,” he was inviting us to participate in a learning experience. He instructed the man out of whom he had cast a legion of devils to “go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee” (Mark 5:19). This was an invitation to a laboratory experience in which the man would relate what God had done. In so doing he would discover also what God could do with him in the lives of others.
If we are to learn, we need both to identify and participate. What grade are you making?

3) The invitation is still open.

College catalogs contain a paragraph that gives the time limit for enrolling in courses of study. They specifically state that beyond a certain date the opportunity to enroll is closed. Today we can thank God that the opportunity to enroll in the school of Christ continues to be open to those who are among the living. You do not have to wait until next semester; you can come to Christ today and begin to learn.

Now in Conclusion

A tragic mistake made by many is that of assuming that conversion automatically produces spiritual maturity, but Jesus tells us that we need to learn. You must not delay coming to Jesus Christ because of immaturity or fear of failure. You must come as one admitting your spiritual poverty and ignorance and your desire to learn and become rich in spirit.
Neglecting to enroll in the school of Christ is costly. Enroll today. Let him be not only your Savior and Redeemer but your Coach and Teacher too. To do so is to make a wise decision that you will never regret.

God Bless You, Pastor Mike

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLMOMX2 9/25/2011 9:03PM

    The Bible tells us to take up our cross daily. This means we learn daily from Christ.

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BOBBIENORTHERN1 9/25/2011 4:10PM

  I could not live without Him on the inside of me leading, teaching and directing all my dsecisions in every area of my life.

This blog is very different.

He is my teacher, my daily, everyday teacher and mentor.

His word allows me to line my life up with His will and my thinking with His word and will.

I have to have His word everyday other wise this pupil tends to get distracted by the outside distractions of this world.

Like I said this blog really got me to thinking about what grade I am in or wouild get.

I really do not have any idea of what grade.

I just know that I want all of what He has for me and will do what ever I have to do to get all He has for me.

His is my word, my life, my next breath, my teacher, my Master, my savior, my Lord, my King and most of all the lover of my soul.

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MZLADY77 9/24/2011 12:01PM

    Thank you Pastor Mike!

Truly it was a blessing to read your message!
What a message, that is something to think about. What grade am I in?
I do not know, but I can tell I am learning everyday about the goodness of Jesus. I have learned to trust Him through my trial and tribulations, through patience, through my attitudes, through forgiveness, and keep me humble...By reading bible daily, fasting often, praying to him, and give Him the praise will keep me on narrow path that will has a lamp on my feet to walk in it. Also I am going to Ministry school just start this year.
God will make a way for me financially. We serve a living God..He is not dead God that cannot do anything! Amen! As for a man things are impossible but trusting God, He will bring the impossible to possible.
We serve a Miracle God! God know what grade or level we are on. Amen. God want us to go higher level and continually bless us. God want to heal us - Jehovah Rapha! and also our Land. If we turn from our wicked ways. God is true to His Word and will perform it....Amen
Thank you for the message again! emoticon emoticon

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UNSTOPPABLE_ 9/21/2011 6:53PM

    Pastor Mike,
When I saw the title to this blog, I dreaded reading it. What grade will I make? I ask myself that question a lot. I still don't know the answer. I continually learn from your teachings, my own church Pastor & from my own private study of God's Word. I guess because my life constantly changes, I see God's Word differently as I am studying. Sometimes it's something completely new in a verse that I had never noticed before, sometimes just praying before I study shows a new meaning. I'm very grateful that God is so loving that He still works on me.


I liked this blog, it just made me take a hard look at myself. That's good Pastor so thank you!!!

Hugs,
Teresa

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ABETTERSOUL 9/21/2011 5:12PM

    The more I learn about and of my Master....the more I know, I need to learn. To sit at His feet and listen to His teachings, as Mary did, is the better way. To be like Him, is my heart's desire.

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KAYDE53 9/21/2011 4:34PM

    I don't think we're ever through learning especially about Jesus. No matter how many times we read Scripture, there is always some new insight, depending our daily experiences, that makes it fresh and new. I always want to be a good pupil and doing my best to learn more about the Lord, and am grateful we live where we are free to do so!!

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YATMAMA 9/21/2011 3:06PM

    We would be pitiful spouses if we ceased learning about our mate after the vows were exchanged. The union is only the beginning of the glorious process of intimacy in body, soul, and spirit. So it is with our Beloved, our Betrothed. Oh, to know more and more and more of Him, becoming one with Him, to bear the very fragrance of Him to our world, as we are promised. Thank you again for such profound teaching.

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ERIN1957 9/21/2011 10:22AM

    Thank you Pastor Mike.
You have opened my mind up to areas of self awareness and also reminded me of, whom I should truly learn from on my life's journey and my eternal life's journey.
I have to admit getting beyond ones self and ones past of man's religious teachings, has been a difficult task for me. But to continue to learn from Jesus is truly the only place of growth,salvation, love and peace.
I am so very grateful He is such a loving patient Savior as I have not always been a good student. I seem to have been late for class more than once. How wonderful that He welcomes me in and never shames me and sends me away. Always there and never turning His back on me and never giving up on me. So many at the head of the class, but He sees my effort and knows my heart even if I do not stand out amongst the best. I do not fear that I may be the black sheep in the herd of so many pure beauties of the Word. He still sees who He is creating in me and loves me all the same.
Thank You Pastor for bringing me here, to work on me, with Him.
~Erin


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SLS-NY2IN 9/21/2011 5:53AM

    Excellent in all ways. I wish I knew how to copy your blogs off to share with my friends and family. You really need to write that book!! emoticon It is thrilling the amount of people you can touch by being on the internet. How mysterious are God's ways to make it such a valuable tool for Truth to be spread. Keep on Pastor Mike!!! Be of good cheer!

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KAMAPERRY 9/20/2011 10:59PM

    Please pray that God matures me in handling my new work situation in the way I should.

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THEWINNER33 9/20/2011 10:57PM

    I had many excellent teacheras in my life, but none as all knowing as the Master, Very thought provoking. Thank you Pastor Mike. Marcia

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PURPLELVR7 9/20/2011 8:39PM

    thank you for your blog, always make me think

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KATVHALE 9/20/2011 6:59PM

  Just like anything you learn, when it is new, it requires reading and studying and listening to someone who is more knowledgeable in the subject than you!

How else can you become a better God-follower? You must read God's Word and listen to His Spirit within you and you must ask your teacher for help by praying to Him!

The best thing a new Christian can do is find a Mentor! I was so blessed to have had a couple who took me under their wing when I first accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. They took me out and bought me a bible and then taught me how to use it! I thank God every day for that couple.

Thanks Pastor Mike for this "teaching" blog!

Kat


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BABY_GIRL69 9/20/2011 6:54PM

    Thank you for this truly powerful message! Its what we need everyday to convict us to do as Jesus taught us & go ye into all the world...You are definitely heeding the call Pastor Mike.

God bless & keep you!

Dee

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HOT4FITNESS 9/20/2011 6:15PM

    What a wonderful blog today. And to think the tuition has already been paid. So why not enroll? Why not start learning today? Not enrolling could be even more costly. What are we waiting for? There is no application, everyone is welcome. Thanks Pastor Mike I am ready to start my learning in the School of Christ today!!! And Wow! what a graduation ceremony its gonna be!

Comment edited on: 9/20/2011 6:16:25 PM

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NELLIEC 9/20/2011 4:28PM

    I am thinking that Jesus is the kind of teacher that my mother was. When she was teaching at the last school, it was a Methodist supported school for Mexicans and Mexican Americans. Some of the students were residential if they came from the interior of Mexico. Some students were there since it was their last hope to get an education since they had flunked out of so many schools. I know that my mother spent long hours giving the latter extra teaching time one on one to help them to finally succeed.

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What Does It Mean to Be a Christian?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

“The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26).

The title Christian is a fallen term. It has been cheapened by common usage. It is now an expression that covers a multitude of religious ideas, error as well as truth, paganism as well as the revelation of God’s divine truth. This term Christian has been stretched to the extent that it covers rationalistic modernism on one hand and a frothy sentimentalism on the other. It is ascribed to that which in some instances is gross worldliness and in other instances to that which is anything short of pharisaic self-righteousness. The term Christian is used to describe that which is coldly ritualistic and also that which is nothing more than heated emotionalism. Is it possible that Christianity is failing to make a distinctive impact due to our failure to understand what it means to be a Christian?
Some apply the term Christian to all who have high moral standards and believe in the existence of God. Others claim this title simply because they are members of a church. Still others claim the privilege of wearing this title because they have had a conversion experience. Ideally, they have a right to do so. However, the great test comes in what others think of our witness. When they see our lives, are they able to call us Christian? Do they see the evidences of the presence of Christ in our lives? If so, only then should we apply or claim this title for ourselves.
The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch. This was probably a term of derision because they were followers of the crucified Galilean. Evidently they thought and talked and acted in a manner that reminded their contemporaries of the Christ. What would your neighbors say about you? Is it possible for them to see features and characteristics in your life that resemble Jesus Christ? A government official in India once said to some Christian leaders, “If Christians would act like Jesus Christ, India would be at his feet.” It is time for us to cease being satisfied with a low level of Christian living. We must demonstrate that genuine Christianity is something more than cushioned pews, enjoyable music, a comforting sermon on Sunday, and business as usual during the week.

1) To become a Christian, one must be saved.

It is absolutely impossible for one to be a Christian who does not have a personal redemptive relationship with Jesus Christ.
Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). A person must repent-change his or her mind about the nature of God, sin, self, and others. Inseparable from genuine repentance, sincere faith must be placed in Jesus Christ as the Lord of life (Acts 20:20-21). As a person responds to the gospel with repentance and faith, the Spirit of God brings about the miracle of the new birth within the soul. The believer becomes a child of God (Gal. 3:26). He or she is now a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17).
The new birth alone does not produce Christlikeness. The new birth makes possible a growth and development into Christlikeness. It is impossible for one to be genuinely Christian who has not had an experience of commitment and conversion.

2) To be genuinely Christian, one must be surrendered.

Jesus was surrendered completely to the will of God. “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34). His surrender led to Gethsemane and Calvary. He prayed, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).
Jesus said to the Galilean fishermen, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him” (Matt. 4:19-20). As they forsook their nets, they began the journey that would lead them to the place where others would be able to bestow upon them the title of Christian.
To be considered Christian, a convert must be identified with Christ through baptism. This is a visible symbol of an institutional relationship to Christ in which the individual accepts the demands and discipline of his lordship. To be genuinely Christian, the convert must be sincerely committed to the task of living the teachings of Jesus Christ. There will be a deep concern about keeping God’s holy law. The Sermon on the Mount will be something more than just a beautiful passage of Scripture.
Commitment to the will of God will express itself in the home, throughout the community, within the business, and in every other area of life.

3) If a person is genuinely Christian, he or she will serve.

Jesus said, “My father worketh hitherto, and I work” (John 5:17). “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (9:4). Someone has said that the best biography of Jesus is that which describes him as one “who went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). There are many inactive church members, but an inactive Christian is a contradiction of terms, for when we cease to serve, we cease to be truly Christian.
Genuine Christians deliberately give themselves to doing good and do so with humility and gratitude and without display. “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10).

Now in Conclusion

Who is sufficient for this ideal? It is impossible for the convert to be fully surrendered and graciously serving without the leadership and the assistance of the Holy Spirit of God. A part of the wonder and the miracle of the new birth is the coming of the Holy Spirit to dwell within the heart of the believer (Gal. 4:4-6). The Holy Spirit dwells in the heart to produce the fruit of a Christlike spirit and a Christlike life (5:22-24). An old spiritual expresses the sincere desire of every believer:

Lord, I want to be a Christian
in my heart, in my heart,
Lord, I want to be a Christian
in my heart.

We must become Christlike within our hearts and minds before we can be called Christians.

Now, one last and final thing!

A Christian is born of God, engrafted into Christ, and an inhabitation for the Holy Spirit. His nature is renewed, his mind illumined, his spirit changed.
He is not what he was, for grace hath made a difference; he is not what he desires to be, for grace is not yet perfected; he is not what he shall be, for grace shall be consummated in glory.
The knowledge of Christ is his treasure; the mind of Christ his evidence; the love of Christ his song; conformity to Christ his life; to be with Christ his preeminent desire.
By faith he rests on Christ, receives Christ, and looks to Christ. He heareth Christ’s words, treadeth in Christ’s steps, and seeketh Christ’s approbation.
He speaks the language of the Savior’s kingdom, reveres the Savior’s statutes and laws, obeys his ordinances, wears his costume, and lives to his glory.
The life of Christ within him is the principle of his being, and because Christ ever lives, he shall live also. In the Christian, Christ lives and speaks and acts.
He is Christ’s representative on earth, his witness before men, and his follower before God. The Christian hearkens to Christ’s teachings, rests on Christ’s sacrifice, avails himself of Christ’s meditation, and cheerfully obeys Christ’s royal laws. He inquires what would Christ have me know, what do, and what enjoy.
To know Christ, is Christianity intellectual; to obey Christ, Christianity practical; to enjoy Christ, Christianity perfected. As bread to the hungry, as water to the thirsty, as the rock in the sultry day, is Christ to the Christian.
The Christian is in the world but not of it, among the world yet separate from it, passing through the world but without attachment to it.
The Christian is a man and may err, an imperfect man and may sin, but a renewed man and shall have his fruits unto holiness and in the end everlasting life.
The Christian is a warrior and must fight; but he is a conqueror and must prevail.
The Christian sojourns on earth but dwells in heaven; a pilgrim in the desert but an enrolled denizen of the skies.
The Christian is the impress of Christ, the reflection of the Father, and the temple of the Holy Ghost.
Contrast him with the infidel in his faith, with the profligate in his life, with the merely moral in his heart, and with the Pharisee in his spirit. His pedigree, from Jehovah; his nature, from heaven; and his name, from Antioch. O Christian, great is thy dignity, refulgent thy glory, interminable thy blessed hope. All things art thine; thou art Christ’s and Christ is God’s.

God Bless You, Pastor Mike

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THEWINNER33 9/20/2011 10:50PM

    Another wonderful blog. How fortunate I was to be born into a Christian family. They saced my baby steps toward Christ and He has taken me unto Himself and made me wholy His. Yhank you. Marcia

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KATVHALE 9/20/2011 5:59PM

  When anyone asks me if I am a Christian, I say, "I'm a born-again child of God who attends a Baptist Church. I attend Church because God told me to assemble with fellow believers in His Word. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

You could not have explained Christianity more plainly, Pastor Mike and if we can't see our own lives in your description, then we need to do a self-examination of our hearts and souls.

I am so Blessed that He chose me to choose Him!

Kat

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BOBBIENORTHERN1 9/20/2011 1:48PM

  You took my breath away with this blog.

I feel like I could soar all the way to the highest heaven right now from reading your words that are dripping with His love and grace.

This blog has made my day and years. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

PastorMike my spirit and my soul are laughing and smiling with this love blog this love ode to our cross of Jesus

Thank you for loving Jesus

I just so enjoy being with people who love our Lord

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UNSTOPPABLE_ 9/20/2011 9:18AM

    Amen Pastor Mike. I liked how plain you made this for me. A few months ago someone told me...Going to church DOES NOT make you a Christian just like standing in a garage DOES NOT make you a car. That really stuck with me & I started parying & reviewing my walk with the Lord. I want people to know who & what I am by my actions, not just my words.


Thank you Pastor. This was a wonderful blog.

emoticonTeresa

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MARTHA503 9/20/2011 12:42AM

    Thank you Pastor Mike. When My children were young they had a difficult time grasping what "serving God" meant. I told them that it meant that we were born to serve in His name and that this meant we did for others without expecting anything in return. To this day they asked themselves "Am I serving me or God?" So, thank you for saying this so well.

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KAMAPERRY 9/19/2011 11:48PM

    There is a song which basicly says that "some may consider me a Jesus Freak" Well I say so be it and I am proud to belong to Jesus!

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THEADMIRAL 9/19/2011 9:27PM

    Awesome is our God! Thank you, Pastor Mike!

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WENDYSPARKS 9/19/2011 5:56PM

    emoticon

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YATMAMA 9/19/2011 5:05PM

    This is AWESOME. For me, being a Christian is being a bride, ever gaining intimacy with my Beloved; being joined with Him in body, soul, and spirit; becoming one with Him as He is one with the Father. Thank you, Pastor Mike!

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PURPLELVR7 9/19/2011 8:12AM

    Well said, I agree a Christain is Christ Like.
We need to be saved, give our life to Christ and follow Jesus so we can be Christ Like

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SHAPNUP 9/19/2011 6:58AM

    Thank you!

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HUNNNYBEE 9/19/2011 5:55AM

    Beautifully said, Pastor Mike!
emoticon

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FLEMIDG 9/19/2011 12:47AM

    What an awesome blog. I have missed reading them. I am glad I added you as a friend again. I look foward to reading some of the blogs I have msised. Thank you Pastor Mike. God bless you.

Darlene


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NELLIEC 9/19/2011 12:21AM

    Wasn't it Paul who said, "It is not I who live, but Christ lives in me" -- that is what I see in "real" Christians!

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SAC-6582 9/18/2011 11:11PM

    Great blog!

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“It Is the Lord”

Friday, September 16, 2011

“Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord” (John 21:7).

Scripture Reading: John 21:1-14

In every age the scientific minds of humans have searched for logical explanations for the mysteries of life. This was true two thousand years ago when Christ our Lord conquered death and the tomb. Luke, the writer of the book of Acts, reveals that the Lord responded to the desire of his disciples for proof. “To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).
Today we can be grateful that Jesus Christ completely convinced his disciples of his victory over death and the grave. We can be assured that it took absolute concrete evidence to convince them that Christ was risen, for he was confined to the tomb by at least five different powers. The cold hand of death gripped him firmly. Linen grave clothes were wound tightly about his body. There was a great stone rolled before the entrance to the tomb to prevent entrance or exit, and the official seal of the Roman government had been affixed to the tomb. Roman guards were posted near the tomb to make certain that no one came to retrieve Christ’s body.
The first piece of evidence that was presented as proof that Christ had conquered death and the grave was the empty tomb. Many testified that the tomb was empty. The women found it empty. The disciples found it empty. The angel declared that it was empty. The Jewish Sanhedrin admitted that it was empty.
The evidence of the empty tomb is not all that proves Christ had conquered death and the grave. The New Testament mentions at least ten different appearances of our Lord to his disciples. In these appearances he gave to them absolute assurance of his living presence. He gave them an apprehension of the purpose for his death on the cross, and he gave them a divine authority to go to the ends of the earth proclaiming the significance of his death and resurrection.
Today we examine one of the appearances of the risen Savior to see what it has to say to our lives.

1) The risen Lord manifested himself deliberately (John 21:1).

Jesus showed himself “again.”
This was not his first appearance, and neither was it to be the last. He deliberately chose this occasion to convey a message to his followers.

“On this wise showed he himself.”
John, the writer of this gospel, was impressed by the special manner in which Jesus showed himself. He receives the impression that something is to be remembered from the manner in which the Christ revealed himself.

2) The risen Christ came to the disciples on the level of their experience. This is very significant, and we should take note of it.

There was nothing unique or significant about the place where Jesus appeared. There were thousands of places similar to this. It was not necessary for the disciples to travel to some shrine or some historical place to have an audience with the Christ.

Christ appeared while the disciples were doing what they had previously done to earn a living.
Are we to assume from this that the risen Christ may approach us while we are busy with the common tasks of life? Does this mean that Jesus might visit your home or place of business? I believe it does.

The risen Christ does reveal himself at unique times and places.
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20). We can expect the Lord to be present in the classroom. We can expect the living Lord to be present in the place of prayer and worship when God’s people come together to praise him, adore him, and worship him. As we become more experienced and mature in the Christian life, there are certain places where we have had experience with God. To return to one of these places is to encourage the faith and response that makes it possible to have a fresh experience with the living Christ.

Christ comes to all of us on the level of our own experience.
It would be discouraging to think that the risen Christ could come to us only on the level of the highest possible spiritual experience. The truth is that it is his coming to us on the common road of life that lifts us to these high experiences of spiritual awareness.

3) The risen Christ was concerned about the disciples’ well-being.
From this we can assume that he continues to be interested in the welfare of his disciples.

Have you caught any fish?
Jesus stood on the shore at a distance from where the disciples were casting their nets after a night of futile effort. They were exhausted and depressed because they had caught nothing. Through the fog they observed someone standing on the shore who shouted, “Have you caught any fish?” Their negative reply probably expressed the weariness of their bodies.

Jesus prepared a hot breakfast for his disciples.
“As soon as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread” (John 21:9). While they were dragging in the fish they had caught as a result of following Jesus’ suggestion, he rekindled the fire and began to prepare breakfast with some of the fish that had been caught previously and were in the process of being cured for sale. He also suggested that they bring some of the fish they had caught (John 21:10).

From the thoughtfulness of the risen Savior, we can assume that he comes to us with purposes of love.
He is always concerned about that which is best for us. Life would be much more beautiful and satisfying if we would recognize and respond graciously to his every suggestion instead of foolishly resenting his presence on the basis of a false assumption that he is an intruder.

4) The risen Christ made a suggestion to his disciples.

They had labored through the night and were weary and exhausted.
In spite of their efforts, their nets were still empty.
Life can be an empty net. Have you failed to achieve your potential? Have you neglected or refused to do God’s will?

A command was given.
“Cast the net on the right side of the ship and ye shall find” (John 21:6). On a previous occasion Jesus had advised his disciples to “launch out into the deep, and let down your nets” (Luke 5:4).

Have you been casting your net on the wrong side of the ship of life?
Is it possible that this explains why you have an empty net?
Do you need to cast your net on the other side of the ship of life as far as your home is concerned?
Do you need to cast your net on the other side of the ship as far as your business is concerned?
Do you need to cast your net on the other side as far as your church is concerned?

5) Obedience to the risen Christ transformed failure into success.

There is no substitute for obedience, whether that obedience be to God or to the laws of the state.
Obedience needs to be taught and learned in the home.

Obedience to the living Lord produces harmony in life.
To be disobedient is to create tensions that can know no peace.

Obedience to the living Lord brings fruitfulness and good success.
The disciples discovered that their net was full when they responded immediately to the command of the Savior.

Now in Conclusion

The living Lord appeared to these disciples and met their immediate need both for fish and their need of food for their stomachs. He had a hot breakfast waiting for them when they arrived on the shore. The richest gift that he gave to them was his own companionship and the continued commission to communicate the gospel of God’s love for a lost world.
What is your need? Is it salvation from the penalty of sin or salvation from the power of sin? Do you need guidance and wisdom or self-confidence? The risen Christ comes to you repeatedly on the level of your own experience. May God grant to you the eyes to see him and the faith to respond to his gracious invitation and loving commandments.

God bless you all, Pastor Mike

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PURPLELVR7 9/21/2011 9:49PM

    emoticon emoticon

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KAYDE53 9/21/2011 4:41PM

    It makes you wonder if when we try things over and over again only to have the same lackluster results, if we only need to "cast our nets on the other side", and why are we so afraid to do so? Lord, give me the faith to try casting my net on the other side!!! Amen!

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BOBBIENORTHERN1 9/20/2011 1:33PM

  PastorMike, Jesus has a servants heart and He wants to service us with His grace and love and He lives on the inside of us and we can have fellowship with Him when ever we want.

I met Him and got to know Him from the beginning of the Bible to the ending of the Bible.

Then, when He came to live on the inside of me more revelation and love and grace was poured out to me.

I talk to Him off and on all day long as I am doing all my daily chores and lots of times I ask Him to show me better ways of doing things to make my life easier and more enjoyable and He never fails me.

He always gives me astounding ideas of how to make my life easier and more fun and enjoyable.

He wants us to enjoy life and laugh and sing and dance just like little children because He is our focus and not all the things of this ever changing life all around us.

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Everything else can change but not our risen Lord or the word of God

This blog is so enriching to me PastorMike

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THEWINNER33 9/18/2011 12:41AM

    Another wonderful blog Pastor. Somehow your blogs always reach me at the moment I need them Most. Thank you. Marcia

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KAMAPERRY 9/18/2011 12:31AM

    Amazing love. He not cares for us spiritually, but for our physical needs too. Your blogs are such a comfort to me, I love them!

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GOOZLEBEAR 9/17/2011 10:27PM

    I so enjoyed reading this blog, you always know just how to say the things the Lord wants me to hear through you.

Have a wonderful Sunday and thank you so much for sharing.

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SLS-NY2IN 9/17/2011 9:51PM

    You explained this so well, Pastor Mike. Christ's love on the level we are at. This is inspiring to me on two levels, for myself how much I am loved by Christ and how those I love and pray for are being met right where they are. Sometimes things are explained so they seem complicated and this is so straight-forward. emoticon

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DEFIANTVEGAN 9/17/2011 8:50PM

    Great post Pastor very well thought out love how you explain things very expository.

Having faith in Christ definitely shows you how things can be answered looking up to him.

The fishermans listened to Christ because they had the faith and believed in him in return Jesus answering there prayers because they were hungry and he took care of that.

Yes through love!

emoticon

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JENNY712 9/17/2011 7:54PM

    emoticon Message of truth. emoticon emoticon

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UNSTOPPABLE_ 9/17/2011 5:47PM

    Pastor Mike,
Just knowing that Jesus is always with me gives me hope. When bad times come, His presence gives me strength & peace. When it's good time, His presence makes the joy even sweeter.

Thank you for a wonderful blog. Your teaching also makes my days better.



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JUDITH316 9/17/2011 4:49PM

    Praise God, we serve a Mighty God who loves us with an everlasting love. Thank you Pastor Mike for sharing, keep on Preaching and Sharing God's Precious Word and Keep On Sparking, you are a blessing in which we all thank God. Thanks for adding me as your spark friend, I look forward to my visits here and reading your Bible blog posts... emoticon emoticon

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KATVHALE 9/17/2011 4:46PM

  It is a good reminder to all of us that Jesus goes with us and sees and knows everything we are saying and doing. That in itself should help us be better citizens. We should always think about that before we leave our homes and go out into the world. We really don't want to take Jesus to an "x" rated movie or gambling house or a bar do we? We surely don't want Jesus to hear any profanity or gossip do we?

Thank God He is our potter and we are the clay, right? He can just knead us and mold us again until we get it right!

One day at a time; that is my motto!

Thanks again, Pastor Mike!

Kat

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VISUALLYRICS 9/17/2011 4:29PM

    Yes, His companionship is the emoticon! Priceless!

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YATMAMA 9/17/2011 1:05PM

    Do you ever try to put yourself in that place, on that first Easter morning? Just trying it on for size blows my mortal mind. I cannot imagine the hope, the doubt, the joy, the fear, the confusion, the relief those closest to Jesus must have felt. He provided for them every proof, every comfort, even preparing a meal for them. And He didn't just toss Eggos into a toaster, either. He PREPARED for them and SERVED them. It's almost too much to contain!!

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CBEVNOW 9/17/2011 2:13AM

    Thank you some thing always pops out for me when i read your blogs.
Caroline

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NELLIEC 9/17/2011 12:29AM

    I think the fact that Jesus meets us at our level of experience is part of His love. This is something we have to do as parents when our "children" turn into adults. We have to let them be adults to the best of THEIR ability and not be continually interfering. I know as a parent that it is hard to see the "growing pains" of my adult children, yet I can't fix it for them.

It is the same with others. We may suggest, but not get disturbed if our advice is not taken since it is their lives and what works for us may not work for them.

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EJOY-EVELYN 9/16/2011 11:53PM

    How bless we are to have a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior . . . Our Lord is very much alive and well, although I think our actions probably break God's heart regularly.

1 Peter 1:8-9 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.


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LASTGOAROUND 9/16/2011 11:09PM

    Praise God..........you are a blessing!

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