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.

 

 

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Truisms

Everything happens for a reason.  That reason causes change.  Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it is hard.  In the end though, it is all for the best.  Never stop trusting God and believing in His plan.

 

When we feel alone in our relationship with Jesus Christ, when we feel abandon by friends, acquintances, the people we work with – take solace in this:  we are not alone.  Jesus Christ walks with us now, today!  He walks with us onward into eternity.

 

Your past does not determine your future.  It is God’s presence that determines your success.

 

I do not put my faith in the one who sits in the white house – I put my faith in the one who sits on the throne.

Rays of Hope

The Justice League is a great movie of action and use of talent.  There is to much there, to many things going on for the plot to be revealed.   I would like to share with you the last scene of the movie and what took place and I know that I will not be giving away the plot.

There is a contrast in this movie between the dark of night and the light of day.  The movie opens with a scene that takes place at night.  None the less, it is a the cops responding to a crime.  One of the crime stoppers all dressed in black and looking like a  bat shows up to save the night.   There is another scene of a crime taking place in the day.  What these two scenes demonstrate is that evil is all around us and can strike when the sun is up or when the sun is down.  Most of the action scenes between the good guys and the bad guys take place in the dark – that is, in a cave.  The villians are made to look mean and evil as monsters dressed in black and with faces that strike fear into the heart.  There is the contrast between light and dark, good and evil, love and sin.  It reminds you of the force in Star Wars, how it is used for good or evil and then the dark side.  

One of the characters makes a comment about how they had been dead and then being raised from the dead.  There is only one person in history that changed the course of humanity by being raised from the dead and we all know who that was – Jesus Christ.  One has to be careful watching this movie as it takes a poke at Christianity.

At the end of the movie, Lois Lane sits down to write an article for the newspaper and she says this for an opener.  “True darkness is not just the absence of light but it is the conviction that it will never be again.”  Think about that for a moment – the conviction that what once was shall never be again.  This is the darkness that is found in the world today.  It squeezes out every bit of life and suffocates everything around it that is good.  This allows evil to exist making everything under the sun permissible. 

Christians know this to be different.  True darkness was the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and hanging there on that cross.  It was the anguish of God the Father having to sacrifice His one and only Son.  It was His Son for the forgiveness of sin and the redemption of man.  True light is Jesus Christ and that light came into focus with the resurrection of God’s one and only Son.  It is the reflection of God’s glory thru His Son.

I would have loved to see the joy in heaven when Jesus was raised from the dead. As a matter of fact, you could hear the joy when that momentous event took place. Christians have this hope that they will one day see this light.  Satan was defeated once and will be defeated again.

Experience/Wisdom

A teacher met four men the other day at a local deli, a father and his three sons and had a very ‘eye opening’ conversation.  The father introduced himself as Over and his three sons as Hind, In, and Fore.  His sons were married and all had children.  He said that when he was raising his sons there were things he did not plan on or plan for and did not figure them into the whole role of being a father.  Over said that he did not even consider he would be an integral part of the lives of his boys and that now he had become intrinsically interwoven into the very fabric of their lives.  Hind said that as he looked back there were things that he regretted doing and wished he had the opportunity to go back and make things right.  Fore said that he was looking forward to what lay ahead because he made some changes in the outlook of his role as a father.  In said that looking back at where he had been, at where and who he was now and was thinking about the type of legacy he wanted to leave his sons. He said he was prepared to be a father and that he knew there may be things that come up which would catch him off guard.  Then the teacher asked the father, “I did not hear your last name, what is it?”  Then the father said “I am sorry!  Sight.  I am Over Sight, this is Hind Sight, this is Fore Sight and this is In Sight.”

Joseph DeBoo

IT’S THAT DAY AGAIN

The first Thursday in May.  NATIONAL PRAYER DAY!  It is good to see diverse groups of people get together and focus on the needs of this world – of which there are many – with everything that is going on and writing a new chapter in the book called “Life in The World Today”.  For me personally I think the two greatest moments that happened are – North Korea and South Korea meet and shake hands as they come together for the first time in I am not sure when but for many people it has been long since coming.  The leaders got together and shook hands as their ideologies are different but they came to agreement on many things.  That unified front has been in the making for many, many years and it finally happened.
At the other end of the spectrum, you have the pope.  He pretends to be the head of the Roman Catholic Church but does a horrible job at keeping Catholicism unified.  Since the beginning of the Church which is after the Ascension of Christ, Christians have long believed in the existence of Heaven and Hell.  In March of 2018, Pope Francis said that hell does not exist.  He said “people who do not repent of their sins and do not ask for forgiveness or believe that God does not exist do not go to Hell but rather just disappear.”  This statement falls directly in line with the Jehovah witnesses who say that there is no hell.  If there is no hell then there are no consequences for any immoral act done.  It would mean that sin does not exist and that there is no Satan.  It is a place that Jesus Christ talked about more then any on in the Bible.   Jesus also refers to hell as ‘Hades’.  That means it is imperative that we understand the importance of why hell exists.  In otherwords, hell is a reality.
The name”National Day of Prayer” is a misnomer because it might lead one to believe that prayer is not essential when it comes to belief in a relationship, specifically with God when in reality prayer is a two way conversation with God.  Prayer is to the Church as a bat is to a ball.  Prayer is a lifestyle, not just a one time act.  Prayer is the strongest weapon there is when engaged in spiritual warfare.  It is stronger than any manmade weapon.  It is a tool that should be said everyday and is most effective in conversation with God.  The point is that the National of Prayer does not mean one can store up all their prayers and say them on this day.  Rather it is a day that stresses the importance of a relationship with God.

 

 

 

The Author

Communication. Don’t leave home without it!
There are two types of communication – verbal and nonverbal. Let us put that another
way. Spoken and unspoken. They both, in their own right, are very powerful and can
leave a lasting impression. Put a string of words together and add behavior, attitude,
tone of voice, intonation ect… and you have something that has impact. The most im-
portant thing though is the context in which this takes place. What do you have in the
end? Expression. How a person expresses themselves leaves a lasting picture in the mind
on the other person. We are expressive people and as humans were created to be expres-
sive in our interactions with others. Heck, if you do not have relationships and someone
sees you walking down the street making all these gyrations, talking to they don’t
know who, then they would think that you do not have all your marbles up there.

The question then becomes what does this say about God, our creator, in whose image we
were made. God is very expressive and if one wants proof then all one has to do is look a-
round them. He is the Master of expression and what it means. The Grand Canyon, the planets,
etc… The O T, starting with the Book of Genesis. Creation, spoken into existence. The
spoken word. I picture Him speaking with power and authority as He ushers in – like the M Cee
who introduces his guests to the stage or how a matre’d takes his patrons to their reserved seats
at his restaurant – each aspect of creation. His expression is on display for all to see. Cre-
ation is an expression of God’s love for us and how honored we should be to have been created
like Him. Then you have the Great Flood of Noah’s time, the fall of the walls of Jericho,  Sodom
and Gomorrah. Then you have the Garden of Eden and Paradise, with all their colors. The reds,
yellows, blues, oranges, greens, purples etc… I can’t wait to see what it looks like with all
its beauty.

I was talking with someone the other day about a book and its author(which was consequently made
into a major motion picture)about how their expression of ideas gave insight into his beliefs and
values. The three characters that represented the Holy Trinity with God being a black woman who
also cooked the meals, to which there was a southern flare. Jesus was portrayed as a cowboy, the
Holy Spirit was portrayed by an oriental woman in which one of her roles was tending the flower
garden with its vast array of colors and shades. My imagination was engaged as I read the book
but it was laid out for you in the movie.  The book’s author did a great job expressing the vision of what
heaven was like to them through the scenery, the intricate detail and the content of the interaction
and conversation between the three of them. The author came from a family of missionaries and
he also had experience as a missionary. The person I was talking to made the comment “He must not
be a Christian.”

I think it is really sad when Christians will not let other Christians use their God-given skills and
talents that they have been given to build and encourage the Body of Christ. In fact, it is a sin to not
let them do so. Paul himself says in Romans 5 “If anyone has the gift of teaching, let him teach.
If anyone has the gift of giving then let him give generously…” and doing so not only enhances the ef-
fectiveness of the Body of Christ but it empowers the individual to want to be a part of that community and
accept Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior.

One of God’s least talked about attributes is His expressiveness. To be as such, one has to be vibrant.
The vibrancy of God includes His emotions. He was angry about the use of the temple being used as a
place of extortion, He cried at the tomb of Lazarus, He showed compassion to the prostitute, He rebuked
the disciples about the children seeing Him and the list goes on. To be vibrant adds color and emotion
to our expressive nature as humans and that is what God wants for us. Why, because He is expressive and
and not unidimensional or stoic. He is a God who wants us to see how compassionate and loving He can be.
He wants us to open our eyes and attune our ears to what He has to say and to build His kingdom. We as
Christians, get to one day see that expressiveness in heaven for eternity or a time which is endless and
not be bored. When we learn how to express our God-given human nature we will reflect more accurately to
the world His nature which is around us. Then, as Christ-followers, we will be anything but dispassionate.
As Christian, we are responsible to carry the flag of God’s vibrancy and expressiveness to the world.

Christian Response

What does the Bible have to teach us about how we should respond to violence, threats, and terrorism in our world today? It exists – it definitely exists. The effects of the OTHER christian religions in the Middle East and its surrounding countries is absolutely felt in other countries – especially the US because we as a leader in the global world and in many facets our culture. That though is precisely why we are hated and despised so much. It is our culture and belief system. The Great Commission of Mt 28:20 says that He will be with us to the very end. Again, the Beattitudes (Mt 5:11) list the behaviors we should have and display to others as Christians. We must understand the Christian World View and be united in Christ as one body and show that unity as we operate from a Christ centered attitude. This is spiritual warfare and He has given us armor to wear for that purpose.

Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites for they whitewashed the tombstone and cleaned the outside of the vessel but left the inside unclean. Mt 15:3-20 talks about what comes out of the mouth. Not only must we tend to matters of the heart but we must get to the heart of the matter. That is – aggressions come from the heart.

Examples of encouragement in the Bible are many. There is a plethora of this found in the OT, in particular in Exodus, Joshua(1:5, 9 – No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you…..for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go). What is going on in Israel, God is allowing to happen to His chosen people but no one is able to eradicate them from the face of the earth. The Book of Job is a book of suffering. God and Satan strike up a deal about targeting Job but God limits how far Satan can go. The Book of Exodus is about God causing and allowing violence(the Plagues) to take place so that His people can reach the promised land. The Book of Genesis with Sodom and Gomorrah and its destruction. Peter calls the Hebrews “a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a chosen people set apart…”

The church in was taken up (protected) by God when the city of Jerusalem fell.The Book of Revelation is about a warning to the churches, the coming destruction and “The New Jerusalem”, a city coming down from heaven taking its place on earth. It is a book written by a sufferer – John in exile on Patamos – to those suffering. He tells about a situation “what is” and explains his revelation “what shall be”. When the focus is on the “what is” and not the “what shall be” then one does not see God’s handywork. Now, when the focus is on the revelation and not the situation, there is a different perspective. The “what shall be” cancels out the “what is”.

confronting sin

Some people – like the Pharisees – see themselves as free when they are actually shackled to sin and evil.  Their sin needs to be confronted to save them rather then be condemned.  This begs the question ‘How do I confront the sin of others in my life?’  Once upon receiving the grace of God we are freed from the shackles of sin, so that the effects of that grace and love should just bubble over and want to come out.  Those who reject Jesus in this life have no hope after death.

The life that came to this world in the person  of Jesus is the inauguration of God’s plan of redemption.  Our sins are not written in the sand but rather in the Book of LIFE.

Great Opportunity

We were wonderfully and intrinsically made for times such as these. In spite of all the challenges, obstacles, and hurdles to jump in the world today what a great opportunity we have to worship the one true living God.