Sunday, March 27, 2016

Is Salt on your Easter Grocery List?

Is Salt on your Easter Grocery List?
The Easter bunnies, chicks and eggs have begun to multiply on the store shelves creating a pastel rainbow in the aisles and giving us hope that Spring is around the corner. And as you prepare your grocery list for Easter dinner, don’t forget the salt!

While I try to eat healthy and not have too much salt in my diet, I know my spiritual life should be filled with salt. And there’s no better time to remind myself to be filled with “salt” than at Easter time when we celebrate the triumphant victory that Jesus had over death when He raised to life after three days in the tomb just as He promised. Salt is an important mineral with lasting effects and is essential to good health in proper quantities. So as “salt”, Jesus wants me to make a difference in the world. Just like salt gives food flavor, I need to be the “salt of the earth” and let my good works and witness always direct people to Him.

So as you set the salt on your table for Easter dinner, may it remind you of your Christian life and your call to be “salt of the earth.” While I try not to add too much salt to my food, my prayer is that my spirit remains properly filled with “salt” so that my spiritual life is seasoned and pleasing to the Lord. As we celebrate this Easter season, let’s also celebrate the new life the Lord Jesus gave us when He became our Savior, and renew our dedicated efforts to make a difference and share the good news of Easter all year-around to those lives we touch. Nancy Quinn

Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”
Mark 9:50 “Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."
Luke 14:34 “Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned.”
Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”

Blessed Easter 2016

Have a Blessed Easter 2016!

Christ is Risen

and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.

1 Corinthians 15:17 (NAS)


Friday, March 25, 2016

At the Cross

First published @ At the Cross
In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him. (Matthew 27:44 NIV)

Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him. (Mark 15:32b NIV)

But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." (Luke 23:40-42 NIV)

At the Cross

As I ponder over the Bible verses quoted above, I often wonder how the thief hanging on the cross next to Jesus dramatically change from being cynical to a convert. What did Jesus do at the cross that so amazingly change the criminal within such a short span of time?

I believe the catalyst is in this verse:

Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34a NIV)

The repented criminal must have observed Jesus long enough to realize He is no ordinary man. No one on earth who is about to die will ever ask God to forgive the very people who want Him dead, unless He is more than a man – the Son of God.

The Bible says:

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— (Romans 5:12 NIV)

For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19 NIV)

So that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:21 NIV)

The sole purpose of Jesus’ death on the cross is to save mankind, and to set them free from sin and slavery that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

If you have yet to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, invite Him by prayer to come into your heart now, and He will give you eternal life.


Blessed Good Friday 2016

Remembering Good Friday ...

Good Friday 2016

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” 
and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

John 19:30 (ESV)


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Blessed Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, 
were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David; 
BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; 
Hosanna in the highest!" 

Matthew 21:9 (NAS)

Holy Week 2016

Have a Blessed Holy Week!

Blessed Holy Week

A time of remembering and a time for praising Christ Jesus our risen Lord.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Judas vs Peter

First published @ Broken Faith
And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, "Before a cock crows today, you will deny Me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:61-62 NAS)

Judas and PeterEvery time I read the Bible passage where Simon Peter denied the Lord three times (Luke 22:55-62), my heart would be deeply stirred. I have often wondered how Jesus and Peter must have felt during those moments. It must have been really heart wrenching and devastating. Peter must have been very disappointed with himself because he knew deep within him, he still loved the Lord, yet he has denied Jesus. Peter must have also felt himself like a betrayer as he looks at the eyes of Jesus, which must have pierced through his heart, knowing how the Lord must have felt then as well, betrayed by one whom He cared.

Despite the sense of guilt, Peter did not fall away or despair, probably because of two reasons. The first is, Jesus prayed for him (Luke 22:32), and the second, because Peter genuinely received the Lord from the start with a repented heart (Matthew 4:18-19; John 1:42-43). Judas, on the other hand, although has followed the Lord as one of the twelve, never really did repent or receive Jesus wholeheartedly (John 12:6; Luke 22:3).

On the night just before He was betrayed, Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail, and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32). But Peter replied, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” Jesus then answered, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me” (Luke 22:33-34).

The events thereafter became history with Peter heartbroken for denying knowing the Lord three times, his return to former trade as fisherman (John 21:1), his restoration after a conversation with the risen Christ (John 21:15-17), and his taking the lead to strengthen his brothers (Acts 1:15-17).

Unlike Peter, Judas felt remorse after seeing Jesus had been condemned, which eventually drove him to hang himself (Matthew 27:3-5). The reason for his despair is not because the Lord did not pray for him, but because right from the beginning, Judas did not genuinely receive the Lord. His remorse was not an indication of repentance but of overwhelming guilt. The fact that Satan was able to enter into Judas suggests the condition of his heart (Luke 22:3). Likewise, his evil intent revealed his true character when he objected to the pouring of costly perfume by Mary on Jesus' feet.

Judas Iscariot said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” This, he said not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it (John 12:3-6).

Judas’ unrepentant heart left him in desperation, which was why the word of God said, “Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born” (Matthew 27:5).

The turning point for Peter came about when he met and conversed with the risen Lord at the shore by the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1, 15-17). With a broken spirit and contrite heart, Peter confessed his love for the Lord three times when Jesus asked him “Do you love me?” That was what made the difference between the two ending of a broken faith, one of despair and eventual death, and the other of greater strength through acknowledgment, repentance, and eventual acceptance by the Lord.

Dear Lord, help us to respond like Peter when we at times fail You. Do not let us be in despair Lord, but bring us back on track as we confess and repent of our sins. Remind us Lord to always check our hearts to know our intents for doing the things we do. Restore and renew us Lord as we look ahead to draw closer to You.

Friday, March 11, 2016

God's Favor

First published @ Does God Show Favoritism?

God's Favor
Many people would have us believe that even God shows favoritism, so as to justify their own preference for a person over another. They will use biblical stories like Cain and Abel, Esau and Jacob to demonstrate how God prefers one to the other:
So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. And Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. (Genesis 4:3-5 NAS)

And Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived. But the children struggled together within her, and she said, "If it is so, why then am I this way?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said to her, "Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples shall be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger." (Genesis 25:21-23 NAS)

As parents, we sometimes favor one child over another. As workplace supervisors, we may favor certain subordinates while neglecting others, and as teachers, we may prefer some students to others. Whether it is favoritism towards siblings or to workplace subordinates or students, there will always be unfair treatment because of favoritism.

We reward those who obey and disregard or chastise those who rebel. If we do it because of pure preference, even when we know the other deserves it more, then we are doing wrong. Isaac was wrong when he planned to bless Esau instead of Jacob, even though he knew beforehand whom God had chosen. That was clearly favoritism (Genesis
27; 25:21-23; 25:28).

The story of Cain and Abel may seem to show God's preference for Abel to Cain, but it is not a demonstration of favoritism because God's ways and man's ways are never the same. For God can read the heart of man and He knows Cain's attitudes and intent. The Bible states:

Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? "For if you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you; but you must master it." (Genesis 4:6-7 NAS)

Cain did not do well, so his offering God has no regard. It is all a matter of the heart. For God is not a man that He should show favoritism, nor a Person Who is unjust or unfair to show preference. For it is clear what Genesis 4:3-5 says, that while Cain offers up the fruit of the ground, it was only Abel who offers the firstlings and the best portion. Abel gives of his best to God, but Cain did not (Hebrews 11:4). It is for this reason that Cain's offering was not regarded by God.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Christian Under Construction

First published @ Pending Perfection

Christian Under Construction
Living our lives as a testimony for Christ is never easy. Whether we are in or out of the workplace, we are constantly expected to behave in the ways of a good Christian so that Man may glorify God because of us.

Many Christians however do not live the Spirit-filled life and even good Christians falter sometimes. As imperfect servants of God we may feel guilty of our failures. We worry about what others may think of us and of Christ. We ask ourselves, 'Will our lives disgrace our faith or bear testimony of Christ?'

BEING HOLY
The Bible teaches us to live holy lives just as God is holy.

"As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, 'YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.'" (1 Peter 14-16 NAS)

These verses state the expectation of God for Christians, and many have turned away from God for this reason. They think the holiness expected of the Christian is a constraint imposed to control their lifestyle. As Christians, we know this is not true because the Christian lifestyle is a better lifestyle. It sets us free from the control of Satan, from doing evil, and from sin.

FREEDOM OF CHOICE
To live a victorious and successful life, we must be free to choose what is right and mankind's in-born desire is to be free from what we hate which is doing what is wrong.

"For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me." (Romans 7:18-20 NAS)

THE PERFECT LIFE
Being a Christian means we are to desire the perfect life, the abundant life that does not fall short of what God wants for us. In the gospel, Jesus expressed His desire for us to live the perfect life.

"Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48 NAS)

We know however as long as we are still on earth, we cannot reach perfection (Philippians 3:12-14), but we can desire it and let the Holy Spirit in us help us achieve it. Paul in his epistle to the Philippians said:

"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6 NAS)

This verse makes it clear we can begin to cultivate perfection while living on earth, but we cannot be absolutely perfect until the day of Christ Jesus when He returns in power and glory.

Our role therefore at this time is not to buffet ourselves to demonstrate perfect examples of Christian life (Philippians 3:15-16), but to let the Holy Spirit mold us from within and put to death our deeds of the flesh that Christ may be manifested through us.

"So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh - for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live." (Romans 8:12-13 NAS)

LIVE LIFE ANEW

"Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life … knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin." (Romans 6:4-7 NAS)

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