“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) There is hope, even in these turbulent times. The spirit of the world is divisive, angry, hateful and racist. Those forces can deeply...
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Greater love has no one than this:to lay down one's life for one's friends. (John 15:13) The greatest love is to lay down your life for your friends. Certainly we aren't called to die for our friends...are we? Well, yes. We are.If we mean to show the love of Jesus to the...
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.(1 Peter 3:15 ESV) Most of us claiming the resurrection of Christ act like we...
This Week's Life Lifter: For God loved the world so muchthat he gave his one and only Son,so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.(John 3:16) Think back to a time you fought for something. Was it important to you? We fight for things we...
Too often we confuse magic with prayer. Magic is instant. Magic is showy, we just kind of wave a wand and it happens -but that's not supernatural!Prayer is for THROUGH and not around!Prayer is the window through, but we want around! So many of us, on our journey, have been stopped by Satan...
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your...
2017 is like a field of new fallen snow! Imagine yourself standing on the edge of a mountain, down below you is a valley and in this valley is just a beautiful field of snow with no footprints. Nothing has been marred, it’s just a field of pure snow and you get to make your path through...
Be like the Son of Man. He did not come to be served.Instead, he came to serve others. He came to give his life as the price for setting many people free.(Matthew 20:28 NIRV) What does it mean that Jesus came to Earth? That he laid down his heavenly Glory, and...
The scripture tells us that God created each and everyone of us to know and love. But the scripture also tells us the truth. That you and I made a choice to live as though love had never come. We looked at the life that God offered and we said, "No, we want to be in control, we want to call the...
The church of the living God is called to be a powerful community of eternally inspired people who break the dark by becoming the ever-increasing light of Christ on Earth! In Matthew 5:14, Jesus said, "You are the light of the world…" He didn't say pastors are the light of the world...
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
There is hope, even in these turbulent times. The spirit of the world is divisive, angry, hateful and racist. Those forces can deeply affect how we view ourselves and those around us. But looking to Jesus brings us clarity, charity and peace.
Increasing racial tensions can quickly resurrect old wounds and cause them to burn with a vengeance. We can find bitterness an easy path to take, but it is one which wounds us even more deeply.
In our broken world, we are all wounded, often deeply, by the differences that divide us. Racism – and other divisive beliefs and attitudes – permeate this world, wounding and dividing us. But we can be at peace – and be peacemakers – in the midst of this turmoil.
Jesus rejected racism and identity politics. In him, we “are all one” – transcending all racial, class and gender distinctions. Jesus prayed to our Father: “ I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity” (John 17:22-23).
How is that possible? Because we have Christ incarnate in us. The glory Jesus gave us is himself.
We are a new creation in Jesus Christ, who reconciled us to God and “gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).
Now, we can have healing in our hearts and in our relationships through Jesus Christ. Jesus can – and will – heal our deepest wounds and soften the hardness of our own hearts.
At the cross, we see other people by the value of Christ’s blood. We see people of infinite worth in God’s eyes. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
We all need transformed hearts that are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
It is especially at troubled times like these that we must listen to and talk with one another. In so doing – in extending the grace, love and forgiveness of God to others – we minister to them and bring reconciliation.
Let us not get caught up in the superficial, the outward appearance, but rather look to one another as equals – brothers and sisters of Christ who are all equal at the foot of the cross.
Let us love one another, as God loves us.
Greater love has no one than this:
to lay down one's life for one's friends.
The greatest love is to lay down your life for your friends.
Certainly we aren't called to die for our friends...are we?
Well, yes. We are.
If we mean to show the love of Jesus to the world then we must die!
We must die to self.
We must lay down our own lives -- set aside our prejudices, our rights, and our own desires -- for a better way.
A way of love.
There is no other option in Scripture.
If we want to live we must die to the desire to put ourselves first.
We must lay down our busy lives for our friends...
- We can lay down our To Do List and help a friend in need.
- We can turn off Netflix and be with our neighbors to start relationships.
- We can set aside our prejudices and instead show empathy and share God's love.
Laying down your life and helping someone else pick up theirs is the beginning of a relationship that shows the love of Jesus.
Laying down your life and helping someone else pick up theirs is the beginning of a relationship that shows the love of Jesus.
And in case you were wondering, God has equipped you to lay down your life. He has equipped you to share his love. He has even put someone in your life who needs to know about Jesus.
What are you going to do?
Love has called your name and gifted you. Love is sending you and offering you the greatest joy of eternity--leading the lost home. Love asks you to lay down your life.
For whom will you lay it down? Who will you lead home?
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.
(1 Peter 3:15 ESV)
Most of us claiming the resurrection of Christ act like we don’t have a story to tell. We might think we can’t be a witness for Jesus because our story isn’t “good enough.”
That is simply not true.
A witness is an "attestation of fact, event, etc., from personal knowledge;” (source) Witnessing has nothing to do with our goodness, or our imperfections. Each of us can speak with authority based on our personal knowledge of the situation.
Personal knowledge is an important element of a Christian witness. And personal knowledge is something God promises us as we pursue a relationship with him.
And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:20)
What is your personal knowledge of Jesus? What is your personal knowledge of the hope that Jesus’ resurrection gives to you? This is your story. This is what you can share.
As a Jesus follower you have personal knowledge of what Jesus has done in your life. You have personal knowledge of how Jesus changes your heart. You have personal knowledge about why you trust him. You have a story about giving up your life and following after him.
Your story doesn’t have to be dramatic. It certainly won’t be like anyone else’s story because you’re unique. But you do have a story...a story about the day you invited Jesus into your heart...a story about how he reveals himself to you. This is what we must share.
Have you prayed prayers and seen answers? This is your witness.
Have you seen miracles - even small ones? This is your testimony.
Have you seen Jesus revealed in and around you? This is your story.
Your witness, your testimony of fact from personal knowledge and relationship with Jesus, is your story about how Jesus is real to you.
No one can refute it.
As a disciple you must share it.
And God will use it to bring glory to himself.
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For God loved the world so much
that he gave his one and only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
Think back to a time you fought for something. Was it important to you? We fight for things we care about or feel entitled to.
What about your life? It seems like an easy question, yet Mark 8:35 says “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News (gospel message), you will save it.”
There are few things that are more miserable than hanging onto your own life when you need to let go, but listen to the words of Jesus. He says that if you do what comes natural by hanging on to your life then the most unnatural thing will happen, you will face death.
We will fight to hold on to our view of the world, to get what we want, and we get mad when life does not work out exactly how we thought it should. We will fight with all we’ve got before we die. In the spiritual realm, when we are willing to fight to the death, we are fighting against life.
The way the world views religion, Jesus is here to serve us. This view thinks that God should give us what we want in exchange for us serving him. The world says that you can be religious, but yet still harbor hateful thoughts and feelings towards others. The world says that God can have a small part of your life, and you can keep the rest.
But this is not how it works.
In the beginning or the end, your life is either kept for yourself or given completely to Jesus. You cannot be partially crucified. The given life is an “all in” kind of life. Or it isn't given at all.
This is the example that God set for us.
It says in John 3:16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
His life was THE given life.
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Too often we confuse magic with prayer. Magic is instant. Magic is showy, we just kind of wave a wand and it happens -but that's not supernatural!
Prayer is for THROUGH and not around!
Prayer is the window through, but we want around! So many of us, on our journey, have been stopped by Satan because we prayed about something and God didn't lead us around. I gotta tell you, God rarely does around!
God does through, and this is what we see in all of the life of Jesus!
Have we missed the heart of how God works? God is not an around God, He's a through God! Go back and read Luke 22:39-46, and look how Jesus had to go through every moment of the crucifixion.
You can't get to the resurrection without going through the cross!
You can't get to heaven without going through the hardship of a broken world!
And the truth is, we need to come back to through and understand that Daniel had to go through being dropped into rocks in a stinking cave in Daniel verse 6:16. And I know that because in the end, it tells us they had to lift him up out of the cave!
Daniel prays: and God's salvation and deliverance is not to have the king change his mind or to have Daniel avoid being dropped in a hole! Daniel's prayer didn't resolve impossible before he faced it, but as the clock ticked, moment by moment, through, through, through -Daniel prayed!
Then after all of this comes the question of the ages: “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel 6:20
Guys, at some point and 100 times over, you're going to have to decide in your life -Is God able? Is my God able? Will I trust him and will I pray "through?"
Will I believe that the impossible isn't?
No matter how things look to my eyes?
No matter how things sound to my ears?
No matter how things feel to my senses?
No matter how huge the storm is on my emotions, I will open the window of prayer and see through it all and see my Savior, Jesus Christ, who showed that the way through impossible is to a resurrection! -Dr. Drew Shofner