He Chose You

Luke 23:35-37
35 And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!”

Listen to the mocking.  Listen to the sneering.  In the course of the past few hours Jesus had been arrested, faced six trials, was beaten, spit upon, whipped, mocked, had a crown of thorns forced into His head, and now He just had nails pounded into hands and feet.  Now the rulers, soldiers, and the two thieves are sneering at Him.  They questioned whether He was able to save Himself.  There is no question that He was able to.  The choice He had been whether He would choose to save Himself or save us.

He chose You and He chose me.  Jesus came to earth and willingly laid down His life that we might be saved.  Even on that cross, He could have changed His mind.  He would have been in His rights as God, to fly down off of that cross and call legions of angels to come fight for Him.  Thankfully, He did not choose that way.  For if He did we would have no hope to be saved.  Jesus needed to die and shed His blood, so that He might pay our sin debt once and for all.  God said that there is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood.  Since the beginning the blood of animals were shed for this, but their blood could not pay for all of one man’s sins, let alone the sins of everyone.  This high price needed to paid by a sinless man.  Jesus was that man and because He shed His blood we can be forgiven.

He chose you, do you choose Him?  That is the way to be forgiven, by choosing Him.  Asking Him to save you and rescue you from the penalty our sin deserves.  He is our only hope.  If you have not chosen Him yet, do so today.  He chose you, so please choose Him.

Dear Jesus, I thank you for choosing me.  I thank you for staying on that cross and dying for me.  You are my only hope.  You are the only hope for the whole world.  Please lead those who have not chosen You to choose You today.  Amen.

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You Are Not Alone

Isaiah 41:10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Do you have ever have times where you feel all alone?  Times where everything seems to be falling apart?  Times where nothing seems to be going right?  And during those times it seems like those close to you are not there for you?  I think we all have times like that.  We feel like we are fully in despair and all alone, but the truth is you are not alone.  The One who created the whole universe and sustains it, is with you.  He tells us not to fear, for He is near.  He promises to never leave us nor forsake us.  God is with you, you are not alone.

Not only is He with us, He promises to uphold us with His righteous right hand.  God promises to be there and help us endure anything.  No matter what you might be going through, God is there.  No matter how hard the time is, God is upholding you.  No matter how weak you feel, God is giving you strength.  David tells us that there is no where we can go that God is not.  My daughter asked me a few days ago, how can God follow us as where we are going?  I told her that God does not follow us, He goes with us.  No matter where you are going, God is there right by your side.

This thought is comforting, but should also put some fear into us.  When you are committing your secret sin, God is there.  When you walk into that bar to get drunk, God is with you.  We need to be careful where we go, because He goes with us.  God is with you when you are doing right and wrong.  He is faithful, even when we are not.  He is true to His word, no matter what.

Dear God, I thank you that You are always with me no matter what.  Thank you for the strength You give.  Help me to not be despair.  Help me fear You and remember that You are with me when I sin.  Thank you for being faithful, even when I am not.  Amen.

The Problem is Sin

Romans 8:20-23
20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.  23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

As I was flipping channels last night, I stopped on a show about elephants on PBS.  The show was talking about how people in southern Africa are working to save the elephant population.  They have connected wildlife areas in different countries, using different paths for the elephants to walk on.  The scientists have had a lot of success in doing so.  At the end of the show it talked about how this needs to be done for animals across the world.  One of things said was we need humans and animals to get along and live in harmony or all of these efforts are not going to work.

This made me think about what the Bible has to say about it.  In Romans it says all of creation groans and suffers as it waits for redemption.  Humans and animals used to live in peace with one another and then sin entered the world.  Sin prevents peace.  Just look at Adam and Eve.  Their one sin lead to division, where Adam was blaming Eve for his failure.  Sin divides people against people and people against nature.  One of the evils the show mentioned against elephants are poachers, trying to get the ivory.  They kill the elephant and steal the tusks, leaving the rest of the animal to rot.  What causes poachers to do this?  It is sin of course.

Only when Jesus returns and sets up His Kingdom, will we have peace with one another, because sin will be no more.  The passage in Romans goes on to talk about hope,  Our only hope is Jesus.  Verse 24 says we are saved by this hope, by faith that Jesus will redeem us.  All of nature is waiting for this and it knows the only hope for the world is Jesus.  He has over come sin.  He has removed the sting of death.  He offers us hope.  But that hope is worthless if you do not act and accept it.  Call out to Jesus right now and ask Him to give you this hope.  Ask Him to redeem you and save you from the well deserved eternal punishment of your sin.  Jesus is our only hope.  Only He is the answer to sin problem.

Dear Jesus, You are the only hope this world has.  We along with nature, groan and suffer waiting for Your full redemption of us.  We know You are faithful and true.  There is nobody like You.  Only You have over come sin and the grave.  Only You can redeem us.  Help us to trust fully in You.  We look forward to the day You restore peace in the world and remove sin from it.  Come soon Lord Jesus! Amen.

God Does Not Get Tired

Isaiah 40:27-31
28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. 29 He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. 30 Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, 31 Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

I do not know about you, but at the end of every day I am exhausted.  After working all day, I come home to three young kids.  By the time they go to bed, I am ready to follow them.  The good news is that God is not like me (in many many ways!).  He does not get tired or weary.  He does not get worn out nor is He ever too exhausted to help.  He is always there to hear our prayers.  He is not napping when we need Him most.  God is always there for us!

Even better yet, He gives us strength and endurance, that we might serve Him.  The key is to wait on Him.  For His timing is the best.  Even though He never tires, He knows we do.  He knows when we need rest and times when we need to be serving Him.  When it is time to serve Him, He gives us the strength that we need to do it the right way.

God never tires on doing what is right.  Day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, God continues to always to do what is right.  He is never bored with it.  God is consistently doing good and that is what He wants us to do.  Trust in Him for the strength to do it.

Dear God, I thank you that You never grow weary of doing what is right.  I thank you that You are always there for us.  Thank you for Your goodness.  Thank you for Your strength to server You better.  Help me to wait on You and trust in Your timing.  Amen.

Beware

Luke 20:46-47
46 “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, 47 who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”

Most every church has these people.  They believe they are the most holiest in the church.  The church I grew up in was filled with these people.  One was a deacon, who every week would march into the pastor’s office to tell him what he said wrong in the sermon.  Another deacon was a teacher, who was great at looking down his nose at people.  Sadly, they were few more who fit this role.  What exactly is this role you ask?  These people were the holier than thous, who cared more about themselves and rituals than they did God.  They were arrogant and not humble.  They loved others looking at them as leaders, when they really did not lead the people.

These people fill many different roles in the church.  They are deacons, Sunday School Teachers, leaders, and even pastors.  The are wolves in sheep clothing.  They care about themselves and their religion, rather than leading people to have an intimate relationship with God.  They are a hindrance rather than a help.  They lead people their ways and not God’s.  Jesus tells us to beware of these people.  They have the look, but they do not have the walk.

How can we know the difference?  We must watch how they act.  Do they devour widows or do they help them?  Do they give glory to themselves or God?  These people will face great punishment at the judgement.  They do not have a relationship with God, because they have never accepted Jesus as their Savior.  Their great punishment is due to the fact that they should know better and that they lead others astray.  Luke 17:2 tells it would be better for these to tie millstones around their neck and be thrown into the sea if they lead a little one away.  And do not be fooled, religious hypocrites do exactly that.  Beware of them and beware that you are not one of them!

Dear Lord, protect the sheep from the wolves.  Help us in the church steer clear of the wolves.  Help us to be authenticate people.  People who love you and help others love you.  Help us to take care of widows and not devour them.  Help us to humble and not arrogant.  Expose the wolves and help them to be seen for who they are.  Amen.

Invest Wisely

Luke 19:11-27
27 “But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.”

God has given us each a special talent and ability and we need to invest it for His Kingdom.  Jesus told a parable about  a noble man who left His servants to go become the King.  The noble man is Jesus Himself.  Before He left, the man gave His servants some money, 10 minas, to use while He was gone.  After He leaves other people went after Him, not wanting Him to reign.

When He returns, He calls His servants for a report on their investments.  The first doubled the money, making 10 more.  The second had increase of 5 minas.  Both of these men were praised for investing wisely.  They put what they had to use and came out ahead.  The third man had done nothing with his gift.  In fact he buried in the ground.  He comes before his master and gives Him the same amount back.  His excuse was that his master was a hard man and he did not want to risk losing it.  The master calls the servant worthless and the money is given to the first man.  The master tells him that he will be judged by the same manner the servant had judged the master.

I have heard and read this parable many times, but today was the first time that I noticed something.  (This is why it is important to keep reading through the Bible.  God will reveal new truths to you as you read it.)  I always just assumed that the servant faced judgement and was not saved.  However, when the enemies of Jesus are slayed in verse 27, the third servant is not among them.  He is saved and in the Kingdom, just with very little.  God has given each of us some special gifts.  Our use of those gifts, do not lead to salvation, but we will be judged on how we invest and use them.  We will stand before Jesus one day, we being those who are saved, and give an account of what we did for Him.  Those who do well will get greater rewards.  Those who did not do well, will get few rewards, but they still will be saved.

How about you?  How are you using your special gift for Jesus?  I think we need to examine ourselves today and see where we can be better investors.  The bigger question though, are you a servant of Jesus or His enemy?  Both will face judgement.  If you are enemy, one who never accepted His free gift of salvation, your judgement will lead to eternal punishment in Hell, away from God.  You need to make peace with the coming King!  Call out to Him, confess that you are a sinner, who needs to be forgiven.  Ask Jesus to save you, so that you might be His servant and not His enemy.  Do so soon, for the King is coming!

Dear Jesus, I thank you for Your Word.  I thank you for the truths which are revealed in it.  Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for saving me.  Help me to invest the talents You gave me wisely.  Help me to use them for Your Kingdom.  Be with those who are now Your enemy who read this.  Lead them to salvation, so that they might be Yours.  Come soon my King!  Amen. 

Foolish Arrogance

Luke 18:9-14
9 And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 ‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ 14 “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

When people are asked why God should allow them into Heaven, the most common answer people give is about how good they are.  They say that they are better than others.  This answer is full of foolish arrogance.  Any good that we do does not even show up when compared to the goodness of God.  He is so good!  If you think you  will be able to stand before God, who knows all, and tell them of your righteousness you are a fool.

When Isaiah appeared in God’s throne room and sees the Holiness of God, all he can is woe is me.  When he sees the goodness of God, he only sees his own evil.  The same would be true of you and me.  We are sinful, evil people.  Our deeds are but filthy rags.  We have no hope in our deeds.  If you believe you can justify yourself by your deeds you deserve Hell.  We all deserve eternal punishment in Hell.  That is what our sins qualify us for.  If you are relying on your goodness, you will get what your foolish arrogance deserves.  Hell.

However, if you come before God like the tax collector, with a humble attitude and confess you are a sinner God will forgive you and save you.  The tax collector came with humility.  He realized his only hope was God.  He knew he was a sinful person in need of forgiveness.  This is how God wants us to come before Him, knowing we are not good enough and He is.

What is your hope for Heaven?  Is it yourself or Jesus?  Jesus is our only hope.  He died for your sin and mine, that we might be forgiven.  He offers forgiveness and salvation.  The wise person  is humble and accepts this free gift.  The foolish arrogant person rejects the gift and misses out on it.  Do not be foolishly arrogant, be wise and humble.

Dear God, forgive me for being foolish at times.  Forgive me for being arrogant at times.  Help me to be wise and humble before You.  I thank you for saving me and forgiving me.  Those were done by You and not by something I did.  Help those who read this, who have not accepted your free gift of salvation, change their mind and accept it.  Amen.

The Maker

Isaiah 29:16 You turn things around! Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, That what is made would say to its maker, “He did not make me”; Or what is formed say to him who formed it, “He has no understanding “?

With arrogance people turn to their Maker and say that He did not make them.  Would it not be silly if a piece clay did that to the potter?  Would it not be silly if a statue turned to the artist and said that it evolved and was not made?  Or a piece of furniture tell the craftsman that he did nothing to make it?  Of course those are silly, but it is also silly for us to tell God that He had no part of us.  His fingerprints are all over us.  He left His imprint on us.

David says in Psalm 139, that God formed his inward parts in his mother’s womb.  God personally formed us in our mother’s womb.  He took the time to shape us and mold us.  Each of us are a piece of art, personally made by God.  He is our maker.  Think about that.  The One True God, the ruler over all of the universe, made you.  You are special in His eyes.  You are completely different, nobody else is like you.  God made you that way.  He loves you and desires you to love Him.  Do you?  If you and I truly do, we will obey Him.  He is our maker, so He gets to set the rules.  Ought of our love for our Maker, we should obey Him.

Dear God, I thank you that You love me.  I thank you that You made me.  I thank you that You desire to have a relationship with me.  Help me to obey You.  Help me to love You.  Amen.

Right Hearts

Luke 16:15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.

You can fool some of the people all of the time or is it you can fool all of the people some of the time.  Whatever way it goes, it is still true that we can fool other people.  We can put on a fake smile and make them think we are wonderful people.  But we have a heart problem.  The Pharisees were good at this.  They fully knew and were experts at keeping the law externally.  But they had a heart issue.  We all have a heart issue.

God knows our hearts.  He knows our motives on why we do things.  He knows the real us and we cannot fool Him with our plastic smiles.  If our motives are to justify ourselves in front of people, we have no hope.  God does not judge our outward actions, He judges our hearts.  We need to have a right heart before Him.  A right heart is one that cares and loves God and others.  It is one, who like David, seeks to model their heart after God.  It is one who cries with one who mourns and rejoices with one who is celebrates.  It is one who is real and authentic.  We need to focus on a developing a right heart, not with checking boxes with rituals.

God cares about our hearts.  He wants them to be right.  Seek God and ask Him to help develop your heart.

Dear Lord, help me to have a right heart before You.  Help me to focus on that and not on impressing people.  Help me to be real and authentic.  Help me to seek Your approval and not the worlds.  Amen.

A Savior

Isaiah 25:8-9
8 He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken. 9 And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”

One day, hopefully soon, death will be swallowed up.  Peoples tears will dry up and their sins will be removed.  And the Savior we long for will have come and will be reigning.  We will be with Him forever and ever!  Oh Jesus come soon, I cannot wait!  Rejoice in Him, you who are His people!  What a glorious and awesome day that will be!

Of course, we need to choose Jesus now.  If we do not, He is not our Savior.  When He comes, He will judge you.  The day will not be glorious or awesome for you.  Tears will not dry up.  Your reproach will not be taken away.  You will wish to die, but death will not come.  You will face eternal torment in the Lake of Fire.  It will be a sad, sad day for you.  You will be apart from the Savior.  For eternity you will regret not accepting Jesus as your Savior.

If you are reading this and you have not accepted Him, I urge to do so now.  Everyday is a day closer to the end.  Jesus, the Savior, is coming back.  He will separate His children from those who are not His.  Do not put this decision off.  Our sins have qualified us for Hell.  That is what we all deserve.  But Jesus came to earth and lived a perfect life.  He alone lived a life that did not qualify Him for Hell.  He died, willingly for our sins, that we might be forgiven.  He offers that forgiveness to us, but we must choose to accept it.  He is our only hope.  I urge to cry out to Him today.  Ask Him to forgive you.  Ask Him to save you and believe in Him as the only way to be saved.  He will save You and You will live with Him for eternity!

Dear Jesus, I so look forward to Your return.  I look forward to being with You forever and ever.  What a great day it will be when death will be defeated and the tears will be wiped away.   You are so amazing and so wonderful.  There is no one like You.  Amen.