Have you ever read this verse and thought, how can we stop sinning, is it even possible to stop? If it is not possible, John says we are not in Him and therefore lost. That is not very encouraging.
Have you ever read this verse and thought, how can we stop sinning, is it even possible to stop? If it is not possible, John says we are not in Him and therefore lost. That is not very encouraging.
I ended last week’s message with the rhetorical question, are the natural and manmade disasters the worst that can happen, even war? As bad as they are as listed in Matthew 24, it is interesting that Jesus first says: Matthew 24:4a “Watch out that no one deceives you. Perhaps deception is
Isaiah was right when he said: Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Isaiah 5:20.
I’m taking a break from my miniseries on the snake in the grass to report some very good news if you haven’t heard, revival. Something many Christians have been praying for, for decades. How far will it reach, how long will it last, how will it change America and beyond no one knows , only time will tell. What can we do? Pray that God would pour out his Spirit of revival on North Iowa colleges, universities, and churches. I know there will be skeptics and nay sayers, do not be one, pray for revival. Read the few clips I copied and be encouraged. When God begins something no one can stop it.
Last week we discovered the antivenom for snake bites delivering the “sting of death.” It was the brass serpent lifted up on a pole. Like the ancient Hebrews we too have been stung with the ‘sting of death’ and it leads to eternal death if ignored or with improper treatment. The antivenom for sin is nothing but the blood of Jesus as he was lifted up on a cross and paid the price for our sin – death. Galatians 3:22 Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
Last week we looked at an epidemic of snake bites leaving many to die a slow and painful death. The Hebrews cried out to Moses for God to stop them, but He did not, instead He instructed Moses to do something. He was instructed to set up a pole, fashion a brass serpent and place it on the pole. The only thing required was for those who had gotten the sting of death were to look at it for the venom’s antidote. That’s it, look at the bronze snake on a pole and live! God was gracious by providing a simple physical healing and salvation from certain death. The only requirement was obedience to God’s word. Simple, right? I wonder how many obeyed. Perhaps some thought it was a joke or too simple. How would looking at a brass snake do anything?
When outside there is something we do not need to fear this time of the year. During the spring when the sun is warm, the snow has receded, the ground has thawed and life bursts forth after a long cold winter it is not uncommon when walking through the grass, flower bed or garden to see a legless reptile slithering away. For many the sight of a snake strikes fear and panic in their minds. Even though garter snakes are harmless, how might you respond to a dangerous snake such as a cobra, rattlesnake, copperhead, water moccasin or coral snake. Any of those would catch our attention.
Reputation: a favorable and publicly recognized name or standing for merit, achievement, or reliability. (Dictionary.com) A reputation is something that is established over time with consistency, but can be tarnished in no time flat.
What will it take for some people to believe that Jesus is God, the savior of the world; to believe he is the way, the truth, and the life? Will it take a sign, an answered prayer, a vision, or a miracle? Would an unbeliever recognize a sign or a miracle; after all it could be a coincidence or luck. Perhaps the best sign and miracle of all would be someone rising from the dead.
We all know what it is to be hungry and thirsty. Our stomachs and mouths tell us when to eat and drink. We also know what happens when we do not eat or drink. People in third world countries experiencing starvation or malnutrition show signs of sickness, child development is hindered and many more problems often resulting in death.
Psalm 139:1-3 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways
Christmas is over for another year, the gifts are still new, some toys broken and thoughts drifting toward a new year. How easy it is to move from two months of preparing for Christmas to leaving it behind and moving on. Was His birth a flash in the pan and now it is business as usual?
Matthew 2:10-11 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The wise men are truly an enigma. Who were they, why did they come in search of a king, and why didn’t they know where to look? Were they truly wise and were there only three?
People die from the lack of oxygen. A severe drought can create a famine and people will die from the lack of food. We can live only so long without water and we will die from dehydration. These are obvious to us all. What may not be so obvious is that people die from the lack of hope. Hope is essential for life; without it all seems lost.
We are told as children that Santa knows if we are naughty or nice and that determines if we would receive Christmas presents. I guess, probably like you, that you were good each year because you received gifts. Well, I know better, I was not good most of the time especially as a teenager.
With the table spread with food, drinks, and dessert it should make us pause for thanks that we have so much with great variety. We can still go to the store and buy whatever is needed on short notice. With loaming food shortages and high fuel costs driving up food production and transportation costs we should have greater appreciation and not assume everything we want will always be at our finger tips. We have become increasingly aware of the long chain of events that take place from planting to our family table. It does not take much to disrupt the chain and cause shortages.
“The day of judgment is coming”: it may seem like a long wait for justice and we may be tempted to give up, but at the right time all who are not righteous, i.e., one who does not follow Jesus Christ will come into fiery judgment, burned up like straw, but not consumed. The final judgment does not eliminate the wicked so as not to exist. The fiery judgment will last for eternity, inflicting pain and suffering with no relief. Vs. 2 mentions roots and branches referring to the final end, no life, no rebirth, no second chance; like Roundup that kills the root, the unrighteous have no hope.
Sunday morning church is not simply worship, it is also spiritual preparation. Through worship, prayer, teaching, and assimilating God’s word we are drawn close to Him, and our confidence, and faith are strengthened. The more we learn the better equipped we are to understand local, national, and global events.
However, does the bible have anything to say about politics and government? Yes! Genesis 9:6 “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed for in the image of God has God made mankind.
I mentioned two weeks ago Jude 4 For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. Nothing has changed in 2000 years; Satan continues to war against the truth and sends wolves in sheep’s clothing into churches to deceive and divide. The only variable is what part of the truth will come under attack.
If you’ve ever used a pressure cooker you know nothing happens inside as soon as the heat is turned on. However, it isn’t long before the heat builds giving way to a build up of pressure, enough to move the weight on top and relieve the pressure so it wouldn’t blow up; life’s circumstances can be that way. The ‘heat’ is what irritates or causes hardship. These can cause stress to build up within us and if we aren’t careful we can blow, or we can find ways to releave the pressure.
What is it that God wants from you? A perfect life? Devotion to your church? Giving half your money away? Becoming a missionary to Africa or Los Angeles? No!
What is the greatest commandment that fulfills all others? “Love the LORD you God with all your heart. . .” Genuine love is what fuels endurance, and perseverance; it’s what enables one to take risks, face difficulties and carry burdens. A true lover is willing to suffer for the one he loves, but an admirer may not be so willing. There are a lot of people in and out of church that are admirers of Jesus, but few who truly love Him with everything they have.
Tests were not my favorite thing in school or college. At times they were very difficult and required a lot of studying and hard work which in the end usually paid off. I was ‘happy as a lark’ when I finally received my degree and tests were a thing of the past, or so I thought.
Any number of life events can cause grief, discouragement, disappointment and unrealized or unrealistic expectations. When this happens, we may not sense Gods strength, joy or even his presence. This can chip away at our faith and we ask; how can a loving God allow such a thing to happen? The more we pray the worse it gets!
I want to continue with overcoming actions based on fear. I said earlier to develop a reverent fear of God and develop a proper perspective that this world is temporary and there will come an eternity.
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