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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’


I am reading, hearing and seeing more and more topical sermons, studies and programs on why so many are not attending church. They all have lists, numbers, statistical findings on…. excuses.

  • There are long time church members staying home.
  • Families bouncing from church to church.
  • Young people discouraged and looking elsewhere, even the world.
  • Visitors that don’t return. All searching, hungry, looking.

Why? I have not found the answer in any list I have seen. That is because the lists are based on excuses. The writers all focus on excuses, not the reason. The reason hits too close to home. Many of them are the cause. There is only One reason. He is missing.

This is not new. John wrote of churches in His day that were found lacking, where He was missing. Only two were positive, Smyrna and Philadelphia…. 28-1/2% of the churches in his day were found faithful.

Sadly, too many of our churches in America today are becoming more like the other 71-1/2% written about in Revelation. This is the message John needed churches to hear and why God had it recorded. It is how churches are held to accountability. Many churches are a combination of more than one of the ones John wrote to; how tragic.

  1. Rev 2:1-7 Ephesus churches that have forsaken God as their first love
  2. Rev 2:12-17 Pergamum churches that need to repent
  3. Rev 2:18-29 Thyatira churches with false teachers/teachings
  4. Rev 3:1-6 Sardis churches have fallen asleep, simply exist, there is no visible life
  5. Rev 3:14-22 Laodicea churches that are luke warm, fence straddlers, tolerate sin to keep peace

If only the flocks had shepherds (pastors, teachers, leaders) that pointed to The Great Shepherd and led in Worship.

People are looking for worship. Only worship fills that nagging empty void. It was a place in us created by God for communion with Him, and Him alone. And the void that was created by the fall of man can ONLY be filled by restoration of communion with God. Consecrated, sanctified and humbled by the great I AM, we can approach with our hearts now humble and reverent in worship of Him. That is the hunger everyone is yearning to be sated.

There is a time and place for praise and rejoicing for all He has done. But, only after we have worshiped who He IS, the Great I AM, can we know how to praise Him fully. How can you adequately praise someOne you don’t know who He is? You must truly, reverently and in all humbleness, bow your heart before Him. El Shaddai, El Elyon…. Lord God Almighty, The Most High God.

We have a generation that feels they have worshipped God because they have “praised” Him. Through all the good feelings and emotional highs, the theatrics, lightings, gesturing and posturing they leave service fulfilled. It lasts until they get to the restaurant and everyone starts grumbling. Diluted by the world being brought in to God’s house, most have never been in a House of Worship. They will try and recharge themselves throughout the week by putting on praise songs, motivational speakers, and try to shout, clap and dance. Yet they feel empty shortly there after. They do not know how to worship the Great I AM, so their praise is as unfulfilling. They put the proverbial cart before the horse and find no success in moving towards God. Time and place, Ecclesiastes 3.

Families move from church to church searching trying different programs. Youth become delusion and leave. The elderly become more and more hungry for real worship they once knew. There is one reason – no place to Worship, no reverence, no humbling, no teaching of El Shaddai, El Elyon. All the praising of what He has done can never replace who He is, the Great I Am.

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The Great Awakenings, revivals and growth of His Church through the eons has been when churches worshipped the Almighty God. When the word Awesome was reserved only for Him, we worshipped Who He IS, The Author and Finisher of our faith; The Alpha and Omega. 
When churches taught God’s Word and truths without adding to or taking away, His Church grew. When His Church teaches what Jesus said, and not fret over what He did not, His Church grows. Too many churches complicate the simple truth of His Word. Theological study is wonderful until we see it as how Biblically intellectual we are. 
Back to The Bible, back to His truths. No fanfare, entertainment value or performance needed. The Revivals all over the world today are happening where His gospel is delivered in Word and music. No distractions, No repetitive needed. After all, they can get that every day by turning on a TV, walking in a crowd, or using a computer. 

The world is hunget for Truth, His. Why are we distracting them? Why do we allow churches to become stumbling blocks?
We can not entertain them into His Truth. They have a hunger, let us not give them cake. We, nor the churches, are here to replace the work of The Holy Spirit. We are here to deliver His message. Simple Truth, His: Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King. 

What did Jesus say? Matthew 18:1-7 NASB

“1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!”

As we come together each week to worship, let us come humbly, as a child, ready to listen and be taught by The Holy Spirit. Be still and know. ~ RBG

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thPeace is sought everywhere.  No matter the continent or country, people are looking for peace.  Of course, there are those that destroy peace, but most want to find some sort of common ground and get along.  According to the Merriam Webster dictionary:

peace  noun \ˈpēs\ (1) a state in which there is no war or fighting  (2) an agreement to end a war (3) a period of time when there is no war or fighting
The Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology  says:

The Meaning of Peace. In English, the word “peace” conjures up a passive picture, one showing an absence of civil disturbance or hostilities, or a personality free from internal and external strife.

Some want peace in their personal lives, between family members like siblings, etc.  Others want peace at their school, or job.  Maybe peace is needed in a church or neighborhood.  No matter what kind of peace, it all starts with you.

First, and most importantly, you must have the Prince of Peace in your life, or all your efforts will be futile.

Secondly, you have to daily seek peace.  Sometimes it may even be a moment by moment, standing on His promises to get you through the situation.

Finally, you need to understand there’s a reason we say “Peace like a River”.  Not a lake, or the ocean … a river. That thought struck me this past week.  I did a little research on what the Bible says.

Isaiah 66:12a NASB “For thus says the LORD, “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river, And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;”…

Isaiah 48:14 NASB “If only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”

A lake is a body of water, mostly still.  The ocean goes in and out against the shore.  But, a river, a river takes a journey.  Life is a journey, peace is a journey.  Daily going forward, putting the day before behind you.  God always says it just right doesn’t He?

He will be with you on your journey, and His peace is there for you.  There are many verses in the Bible about peace.

John 14:1 NASB  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.

John 14:27  NASB  “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

THIS ONE SHOULD GET YOU UP SHOUTING PTL AND PTA: (That’s Southernese for “Praise the Lord” and “Pass the Ammunition”.  ‘Cause we know when you win one battle, another is just around the corner and you need to reload the ammunition.  But, we also know, HE HAS ALREADY WON THE WAR at Calvary!)

John 16:33 NASB  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 20:19  NASB “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the  doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

John 20:21 NASB “Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

John 20:26  NASB “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

Philippians 4:7  NASB “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:15  NASB “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

May your life this year be peace like a river; a journey moving you forward.

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Over the summer when I went to pick up my hubby at the airport, I arranged to meet him in baggage claim.   I love to watch people and baggage claim can be quite entertaining.  Baggage claim … oh the stories I could tell.  This trip got me thinking and taking notes for a future blog.

There are SO many bags: baggage claim

  All shapes

  All sizes

  All weights

Some are:

    Worn

    Ugly

    Damaged

    Lost

So I took my notes and tucked them away.  Then, recently,  when our son-in-law returned overseas, one of the bags he was carrying was lost.   According to the airlines, it  never left the airport here.  Weeks have gone by and still they have not found the bag.  The theory is, the tag got torn off on the belt going down from the ticketing area to the sorting area for planes.   Wouldn’t it have been thoughtful for the airport employee to have marked that bag with date, time and belt?  Might have helped … maybe not.  It is still missing weeks later.

So, when our daughter and granddaughters followed weeks later with their baggage, I decided to treat them like I do packages here in the states.  I typed up a LARGE piece of paper stating:  “LUGGAGE DESTINATION” and we laid it on top before closing each bag.  We don’t know if that worked because none got lost.   But, it would be nice to think it would.

Unlike our traveling baggage, we often want to carry our ‘life’s baggage” around daily.    Piling it on day after day until somehow we cannot function at all.    All the regrets, the what ifs, and only ifs … they load us down.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the “baggage tag” were just torn off and lost?   That just doesn’t happen in real life.  It seems to be indelibly marked with our name.  Sometimes we set the “baggage down” but, hold on to the tickets and go back and pick them up later.   We never learn.  The only tag on our baggage, inside and out, should read:  “Return to Jesus”.

Give HIM your tickets and let HIM carry your baggage.

Psalm 55:22 ( NASB) Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

Matthew 11:28 (NLT) “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

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HOPE – According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

intransitive verb
1: to cherish a desire with anticipation <hopes for a promotion>
2: archaic : trust
transitive verb
1: to desire with expectation of obtainment
2: to expect with confidence : trust

EasterNot to worry, I am not giving you an English lesson today.  But, note where the WORLD places what Christian’s think of the word HOPE … in 2nd.  It is NOT archaic for our HOPE to be TRUST nor is it secondary TO TRUST IN OUR HOPE WITH EXPECTANCY AND CONFIDENCE.

If your HOPE this Easter season is faltering and wavering. If you are giving in to circumstances of life, than you need to look towards The Cross and seek His Face, allowing the Holy Spirit to renew your HOPE!

Sing unto The Lord:

“My HOPE is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly trust in Jesus’ name! (Don’t you love that song!)

Easter, you have your proof.  Now stand on His promises, our HOPE – Jesus.

1 Peter 1:3-5 (NASB)3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in Heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

Despite your circumstances, your LIFE, live in the Proof, Standing on the HOPE!

Colossians 3:23 (HCSB)23Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically,as something done for the Lord and not for men,24 knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.

 

RENEW YOUR HOPE: Read His Word

Hebrews 6:11  “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your HOPE sure.”

Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the HOPE we profess, for He who promised is faithful.”

Hebrews 11:1  “Now faith is being sure of what we HOPE for and certain of what we do not see.”

1 Peter 1:13  “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your HOPE fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

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MiseryYou start the day and you wish you did not have to get out of bed. You know it is going to be more of the same.

The kids and your spouse have gotten on your last nerve. You have to go to school with, work with or see someone that is just going to ruin your day all over again. You have lost a love one. You do not have enough money to pay the bills. You have papers to write. You have a love one with terminal or chronic illness, or maybe you are the one that is sick. You are losing your home or have already lost it. You hate your job or you have lost it.

Remember the song you heard as a child, “everybody hates me, nobody loves me, guess I’ll go eat worms …”.  Misery LOVES company, well usually anyway. Sometimes you just want to be left alone. No one has been down the road you are going down. Woe is you. (Remember the old HeeHaw song about right now? “Gloom despair, and agony on me whoooaa.”)

Are you laughing at yourself yet? Laughter is good. Sometimes we laugh just because we do not want to cry. Do you know that He felt all those feelings before you did? The Bible tells us that NOTHING touches us but that it first went through His hands. Everything that hurts you, that touches you, He feels it first. Everything that happens to you is HAPPENING to Christ. Did you catch that? HAPPENING, right then and there. We think of His suffering on the cross, dying for our sins. But, when we are hurting we forget He is hurting right along with us. Jesus wept when Lazarus died. He felt with Martha and Mary. He feels with you. It all passes through His hands long before it touches you.

 Jeremiah 29:11 ESV “For I know the plans I have for you, declares  the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

You are not alone. He knows, He cares. Tell Him how you feel, and feel how He feels with you. You have a Savior that will always be there to carry your load. Concern is okay, worry is not.

REMEMBER:

1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV  “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful,

and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also

provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

 

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Made you think about it though.  Of course He does.  As Christians we know this, but do we act like we KNOW this?   Sometimes I believe we are in a “hide and seek” mode with the Lord.  We “hide” in our everyday life and “seek” Him only in our “wants”.  Our actions basically say He’s not there, or we lost Him, or we don’t know where He is in relationship to our everyday circumstances.  Then along comes something serious … too big for us to handle alone … and we start seeking.  “God where are you?  I need you NOW!”

Kind of a sad state of affairs isn’t it?  But, it is what we live and so, consequentially, it is a subliminal lesson we teach our children.   Think about the children you have in your home or have raised.  You are all in the house, you know you are all in the house and the comfort for the kids is knowing you are there IF they need you.  The kids don’t come to ask your advise on getting dressed, or help with homework, or which friends to pick, etc.   You probably would like for them to, you want that kind of relationship.  But, when they need money?  When they need a ride?  Here they come.  Sometimes it is when “he hit me” and they need judgement on another?   Stop and think about the big picture within this little picture.  He is in “our house”, He lives in us … yet, we do not seek guidance and wisdom until we ‘need money’, ‘need the car’, ‘dealings with someone’…. ahhh, the light bulb just turn on?

God knows where you are and what your needs are at any second of the day.  He’s always there for you to lean on … are you leaning on Him, or do you just run to Him in “need”.  Is it really a “need” or is it a “want”?   We are not promised our ‘wants’.

Psalm 23:1 KJV saysThe Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”  I prefer the HSCB translation which reads, “The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.”    I also like the NLT version, “The Lord is my shepherd;  I have all that I need.”

Maybe today you just need to stop and listen and lean.  God knows where you are, He’s waiting on you to realize where He is.

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