The righteous sinner

God declares a sinner righteous because of the perfect life, death and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ.  The life of His son, Jesus Christ was preparation for the cross.  It was the life of Jesus that prepared Him to go to His death on the cross and take with Him the sins of all mankind( past, present, and future)subsequently purchasing the redemption of man with His blood.  Jesus’ glorification came through the cross.  Jesus said “Love one another as I have loved you.”  He then backs that statement up with an absolute-“There is no greater love then this, for a man to give up his life for the sake of another”.
The love of God is determined by His character.  God is love and He cannot be anything else because He came from love.  When Jesus came to live on earth in the form of a man His life was the crux-and it still is-of what unconditional love looked like.  So Jesus treated Judas no differently than the rest of the disciples.
Based on this and the fact that our identity comes from Christ, love is the greatest outward indicator of our faith.  This causes us to search inward and ask the question “How am I loving like Jesus.”  The love of God is who God is and not who we are.  So what does God think of us?  This is an absolute.  The only way for us to Jesus is thru the Father.  The only way for Jesus to the Father  was the cross.  Therefore, Jesus is the ONLY way to eternal happiness with God.  So, the only way through the muck, mire and pain of this life to the eternal presence of God is through the gate, which is accepting the gift of grace and going thru the narrow gate.  A Christian’s greatest works show that Jesus is God and they spread His kingdom.  When we pray in Jesus’ name we are not asking that a mystical power be released to accomplish what we ask.  We are praying in Jesus’ name so that what we ask comes in line with His will for us.   Nothing tears at a father’s heart like the death of his son.
I have stayed away from defining justification and sanctification – as they have been touched upon here – because they are two very distinct but separate concepts, ones that are worth exploring.  They ‘piggyback’ each other as one is an act and the other is a process.  The act is important in starting the process and the results of the act are instantaneous while the results of the process are life long and may never be seen by the individual.  One is temporal and the other is eternal.

 

 

Advertisements

Yesterday

By Dr. Frank Crane

I am Yesterday.  I am gone from you forever.

I am the last of a long procession of days, streaming behind you, away from you, pouring into mist and obscurity, and at last into the ocean of oblivion.

Each of us has our burden, of triumph, of defeat, of laughter, of bitterness;  we bear our load from you into forgetfulness;  yet as we go we each leave something in your subconsciousness.

We fill your soul’s cellar.

I depart from you, yet I am ever with you.

Once I was called Tomorrow and was virgin pure; then I became your spouse and was named Today; now I am Yesterday and carry upon me the eternal stain of your embrace.

I am one of the leaves of a growing book.  There are many pages before me.  Some day you shall turn us all over and read us and know what you are.

I am pale, for I have no hope.  Only memories.  I am rich for I have wisdom.

I bore you a child and left him with you.  His name is Experience…..

YESTERDAY By Dr. Frank Crane

 

 

Shadows of Reality

When He burst on the scene, Jesus came proclaiming truth.  He comes to us today doing the very same thing and meeting us where we are at – PROCLAIMING TRUTH.  What does that mean?  What truth is He proclaiming?

Well, it means that He has something urgent tell us and that we should not put it off until we have time.  Time to hear what He has to say.  The funny thing about time for Jesus is that He has all eternity to tell us His news that is so urgent and cannot wait.  So what does He do?  He comes to us.  He loves us so much that He comes to us to let us know that He has something to tell us.

So what is this truth that Jesus is proclaiming?  Well, to tell you the truth, it is simple.  This truth that He is making known is that He is truth.  Consider this; at Jesus’ hearing, Pilate finds no guilt in Jesus.  He is standing there before Pilate.  Pilate, who fears being rejected by the Jews and being put at odds with authorities, gives in to the masses.  Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent but he had Jesus crucified anyway.  Why?  He had a weak self-image.  He took the truth that he knows and buried it deep within himself.  He has Truth standing right in front of him and He is about to sentence the Truth to death.  

The reasons for the crucifixion, of which there were four, were (1)to fulfill prophecy (2)it was Jewish tradition to stone a person to death but they thought the nature of the crimes serious enough to warrant a more disgraceful death (3)it was Roman rule to crucify those accused of treason or insurrection.  Then fourth, it was a truth to be made:  at this precise moment, the moment of His death for Jesus to proclaim His deity to the world.  The question ‘what is truth?’ is not just a question for Pontus Pilate.  It is a question for each and everyone of us.   We as Christians are to know, live and proclaim God’s truth.  Pilate explained tradition and gave the people a choice of who to release, Jesus or Barabbas,  they chose Barabbas.   He is a representation of us.  If they had chosen Jesus it would be a type of redemption for them.  Jesus represents eternal life.

John 3:19 explains it in a different manner.  “This is the verdict:  Light has come into the world but man loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”  In this case Jesus is Light.  Just as truth uncovers a lie the presence of light snuffs out darkness.

The question arises, ‘do I truly understand WHO I AM in CHRIST’?  If we are all children of God and Jesus is Truth then it stands to reason that our core value is truth and out of that truth comes love.  Now we ask ourselves ‘do I drift or strive’ as a child of God.  In ‘drift’ I mean floating over and in ‘strive’ I mean to be like.  Do I drift toward the world and its offerings or do I strive to be like Jesus?  In either case both actions have one common denominator – fear.  As a Christian, I have to BATTLE my FEARS to LIVE in TRUTH.  A cold simple truth is that fear paralyzes.  I am sure you are familiar with the quip ‘the paralysis of analysis’.  Getting over our fears we see that every blessing God has promised will be fulfilled.

C S Lewis said “We live in the shadows of reality.”  We, as Pilate did, might one day say ‘If only I believed Jesus.’

Infinity

What comes to mind when you think about the word ‘life’?

The resurrected life of Jesus is the gateway to a new life. Faith
in the fact and believing that Jesus rose from the dead is the core
of the Christian faith. When we are born we learn to live an ordinary
life. Then when we accept Jesus invitation “Come” we become students,
His students, and start to learn all about the Good News of Jesus, what
the Bible says about the Christian life and much, much more. Then when we find others who believe in Jesus Christ also, we become brothers.  So the continuum is ORDINARY – STUDENTS – BROTHERS.  This is what Jesus says about life:  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life”(John 3:16).

So life hear on earth is linked with eternal life and the only way to get it is to work for it.  But what is that work for it?  To believe in Jesus Christ and that is all we have to do.  Everything else will naturally flow out of that work.  To believe in Jesus Christ!  At the tomb of Jesus, when the disciples ran to the tomb only to see it empty – John saw and believed.  God provides evidence for all steps of believing.

One of those steps is being washed by the blood of Jesus.  We need Jesus’ blood for our salvation.  Faith in the resurrection leads to a new life for all who choose to believe.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the key to Christianity and it is upon this event that the whole of Christianity rests.

Christ always came first to the poor in spirit.  There are many that think they have to clean up their act and sin so that Jesus can have a place to reside.  Take a look at the life of Jesus.  He did not have a pillow to lay His head on at night.  For that matter, He was born in a manger – dirty and odiferous with farm animals inside.  So if you think that your to dirty for Jesus to see or live in, well He has seen and lived in worse.  Do not wait to take care of your sin before coming to JESUS.  See, you cannot take care of your sin.  ONLY God can do that and He already did.  He will meet you where you are at and take it from there.

Belief in Jesus’ bodily resurrection leads to a new relationship that nothing can stop or hinder.  Now because of that belief in the risen body Jesus Christ, He brings us peace.  Peace is what He gives us.  So this begs the question ‘what am I holding from the Lord’?  What do I think is so bad that I do not want Him to see?  That is a form of unbelief in the awesome power of Jesus.  He deals with our unbelief.  He gave the apostles a mission – the forgiveness of sin.  It is not an absolution but a task of obedience.  Doubt is not bad but it can hinder growth.  Stop doubting and BELIEVE.

Prayer for a jobseeker

Oh God,

who has called us,

Your servants,

to ventures of which

we cannot see the ending,

by paths as yet untrodden,

give us faith to go out

with good courage,

not knowing where

we go but only that

your hand is leading us

and your love is supporting us.

 

We are conquerers

Jesus overcame the world!

What does that mean?  This means that since Jesus overcame the world, we can to.  We can overcome the world but with a little help from Jesus and a lot of help from the Holy Spirit.  “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 16:33).  In a moment of despair and confusion amongst the disciples, trying to make sense of what has happened the past few days, Jesus comes to them while they are in the upper room.  “And with that, He breathed on them the Holy Spirit and said ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven, if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’,” John20:22-23

The Holy Spirit resides in Christians with joy and peace.  This begs the question ‘why do God’s children still sin?’ Because we have been born into sin.  As with a whole brain emulation, sometimes called mind uploading or  mind transfer or mind copying onto a medium such as a video disc, what if when a person accepts Jesus Christ into their heart and the Holy Spirit was uploaded into the brain(mind) then there would a total change in personality and thinking.  The Holy Spirit would do its thing while Jesus Christ is setting up shop in the heart.  One of the functions of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world of its sin.  If the Holy Spirit were here on earth, in person, then He would not be dwelling within us and we would not have access to Him 24 7.

In the secular world view there is no mandate or suggestion that one should follow a moral code.  The view is all about “I” and improving the self. It is all about  stepping on everybody else while your trying to be the best that you can be.  It seems to me that within that philosophy there seems to be no room for God or a moral code but there is plenty of room for I.  The prevailing thought seems to be that it is not a sin for those who do not believe in Jesus Christ.  Do not pray for committing the sin of not believing in God but for the life of those who commit the sin.  The world says that righteousness is not needed but that we can get to heaven on our own.  Here is an absolute – we are not all children of God but we are all born in to sin.

The only sin that God does not forgive is the sin of rejecting Jesus Christ.  Jesus’ death brought sorrow but Jesus’ rising brought rejoicing.  For it is in these two events that a Christian is able to take a stand and proudly proclaim the name of Jesus Christ.  He overcame the world.  He conquered Satan and defeated death.  He freed us from the shackles of sin.

The Holy Spirit gives joy beyond our physical and emotional state.  He brings meaning to our situations even if we do not see or understand it.  A Christian always has the hope and joy of seeing Jesus again.  True sorrow never makes it to the pages of history.  Believers do not live a life of inspiration but a life of hope and joy and of certainty.  God promises us that we will have  problems but that we only need to call on Him, on his name.

Sin and this world are on a time table for nothing is random.  Yet the Holy Spirit fills us with a  peace that overcomes the world.  So, the only way that we keep from being beat down by the world is to keep our eyes on Jesus.  Calling on Jesus is more than a default button but a way of life.

 

 

 

 

What is key

Context is key

Q:  How does the Holy Spirit help God’s children

A:  He convicts them of their sin and helps them overcome.  Also, it is always good for us to memorize verses but we need to know and understand the context from which they come.  Context is everything.  The meaning of the verse is precise and true.  True confession must profess Christ.  In so being, we open ourselves up and make ourselves vulnerable to God and the movement of the Holy Spirit.  To trust in Jesus is to abide in Him.   This abiding in Him reflects Christ’s character.  No one just drifts to Christ’s likeness.   In fact, bearing fruit begins with progressively becoming like Jesus.

So how do I become more Christ like?  Start with making a prayer request.  Then focus on God and His word and what He is saying to you through it.  This world hates us because we love Jesus.  He prepares us for what to expect from the world and Satan who is the prince of this world.  We are his pawns and he uses us to do his work.   Abiding in God prepares us to bear witness for God.  Abiding in Christ ready’s us for Satan’s attacks and it does this with the Gospel and His Word.

There is Hope

Emotions make good companions and great bed fellows but they make terrible leaders.  A by-product of terrible leaders is shame.

Shame.  There is good and bad.  We have some hope though because Jesus took sin and shame to the cross!  Jesus death on the cross puts to shame the actions of those who plotted to murder Him.  Jesus was in control.  He was publically humiliated hanging on the cross.

Jesus became lowly so I could become royalty in the face of God.  Jesus did this so that we would be holy and inherit the kingdom of Heaven; so that we could be judged righteous by God.  So shame is the door that keeps us from encouraging and forgiving others.

Now, the question becomes – why do we hold on to shame or memory? Pride!  Jesus bore my sin and shame on the cross so that I could be stainless and free from the bondage of sin and shame.  The promises of God are based upon his word and not our feelings.  I hold the key that unlocks the door to my shame and that key is a decision.  A decision that refers to His triumph over sin and death.  In other words, Jesus died so that I may live.  He was a Vicarious(living thru others) Substitutionary(takes the place of) Atonement (the renewal or cleansing of).

Here is something to come to a decision on:  Am I going to live in the shame of my past or the reality of my position in Christ so that I can proclaim His kingdom?

 

No Matter the Situation

Jesus is in control.  He is in control no matter the situation!  When people are involved in a situation emotions are always present.  Happy, sad, anger, laughter, etc…  Jesus knows everything, even the North Star of all the stars in the sky.  This stirs a question.  Who is your North Star?  Who is in control?  If it is not Jesus then the decisions made are not inspired by Him.  Choices lead to outcomes and all choices have some type of effect.   Effects that have lasting outcomes.  There are two decisions whose eternal consequences are crucial and determine where one will live when they die.  The one is to deny Jesus Christ and His existence and this leads to eternal damnation.  God’s cup of wrath will be poured out on those who refuse to accept.  It is punishment that will be poured out on those who have turned on God and Jesus.

Nothing stops Jesus from doing His Fathers will or from loving His people.  Jesus was in control of the circumstances surrounding His crucifixion to accomplish His mission.  Satan was present at that historic event as well.  The devil is at work regardless of Jesus’ presence.   Look at Peter for he denied Christ 3 times.  The Lord redeemed Peter like He can redeem each one of us

The other is to acknowledge Him as the one and only Son of God and to allow Jesus to take control of your life.  This leads to eternal happiness with Jesus Christ in Heaven.  “For I gave them the words that you gave me and they accepted them.  They knew with certainty I came from you, and they believed you sent me”. (John 17:8)

“I Am” are words of power and might.  They depict majesty and identity.  The words “Every knee will bow before the Lion and the Lamb”.  These are also word of power because they describe what everyone will do when they go through heaven’s gates.  Yet there are those when faced with a dilemma the thought process is obey what I think is right to obey.  That process should be ‘I will obey who I know is right and do what I know is right.’  1Peter 3:14-15 tells us that we are called to take a stand and be prepared.  Be prepared to take a stand for Jesus.  “Credit belongs to the man who stands in the arena with the sweat of his brow present on his forehead and shirt.”

For it is in the end each person chooses to believe who Jesus is!  “We all have a plan before we get punched in the face.”(Mike Tyson)

A Conversation

     Throughout the four Gospels, we see that Jesus talked to the Father - His Father
How does one talk to the Father?  Two ways, by our prayers and by the Holy Spirit
When we pray to Jesus our prayers are heard by the Holy Spirit. He acts as the go
between for us and Jesus.  What He does is refines our prayer meaning anything
we cannot put into words He does that for us.  He does not change the meaning of our
prayer or put words in our mouth.  He puts words to our 'groaning'so that our prayers
say what we want them to say and not what He wants them to say.  So I ask the ques-
tion, who is your advocate?  What did Jesus pray for?  He prayed for His glorification
and the disciples.  Before He went back to Heaven, Jesus conquered this world through 
the greatest act of sacrificial love that is known to mankind and will never be done
by anyone else.  He did this by death on the cross and shedding His blood on that cross
for our sins and by rising from the dead.  He was the sacrificial lamb and scapegoat
as in the Old Testament.  Jesus' mission was to be Savior of the world.
     So in the life of a believing Christian, glorifying God is our highest calling.
Being called a leader does not make you a leader.  The calling is that our glory, would
glorify God.  The glory and the majesty of God is far greater then any personal success
or tragedy.  His glory was reflected by the disciples."Holy Father, protect 
them that they may be kept safe"(John 15:11).  

The joy that Christians feel is a joy that comes from Jesus and His joy is
lasting and eternal.  "Knowledge of Christ requires an answer and an action.  
God will be with us in our challenges and struggles."(John Knox)  Obedience 
results in Jesus' love for His own and it brings confidence and joyful living.
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves
with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience".(3:12) 
Jesus died to give me this life, so what is keeping me from living it and
keeping me from heaven.

Jesus was the revelation of God's glory and He always answers prayer.  GOD IS
ON THE MOVE. God desires that we experience the fullness of His love and presence.  
Prayer is not optional for a Christian - it is what defines the life style of a
Christian - we engage Him in prayer and a dynamic forms.  We interact God and
God interacts with us.  There is only One who will never leave us or forsake us.
Sarah Young said the same thing but put it this way:  "In closeness to Me, you
are safe.  In the intimacy of My Presence, you are energized.  Not matter where
you are in the world, you know you belong when you sense My nearness.  Ever since
the Fall, man has experienced a gaping emptiness that only My Presence can fill.  I
designed you for close communication with your Creator.  How I enjoyed walking
in the garden with Adam and Eve before Satan deceived them!

When you commune with Me in the garden of your heart, both you and I are blessed.
This is My way of living in the world-through you!  Together we will push back
the darkness, for I am the Light of the world."(Ps32:7  Gen3:8-9  John8:12)

Moses said it best in Deut4:7  "What other nation is so great as to have their god
so near to them the way the Lord our God is near to us whenever we pray to Him."  





 

Security

Security. Have you ever really thought about it? Do you feel safe or secure in a world that does not know exactly what it wants? In society today, people will go for the most advanced home security system to protect family and loved ones. They think that to feel safe they need to make more money and with each dollar they make what they have is not enough. Then they say “I need just one more dollar” and it becomes an endless circle. Keeping up with the Jones’, materialism! Yet after all that work that people make a part of their schedule, that sense of security is still elusive. I would like to offer this thought – people do not know what they need so they settle for less (this is temporary)then Jesus’ best(eternal life).

Here is an absolute that is the eternal truth and is immutable – God provides for us and sustains us at all times in our lives. This is unchangeable and undeniable. God is our eternal security and our rock. Our opportunity to flourish depends directly on how much we feed on Jesus. This begs the question what is standing in the way, between God and me to keep me from flourishing?