Lets Examine Ourselves

We read in the Bible about what Jesus and His disciples lived. They believed or should I say knew they had eternal life. This is why we are living in this world. As Christians the only reason to be alive is to share the Gospel with others and to grow in our connection with God, Jesus and His Holy Spirit. Please understand if you are not sharing Jesus with others daily, if you are not sharing the Good News that Jesus came to earth with the intention of giving forgiveness to all who allow Him, if we live in the world and only place our minds and hearts on Jesus on Sunday. Then I truly believe we are fooling ourselves in thinking we are Christians. We are fooling ourselves in thinking we are believers. If someone is a believer in Jesus and what He said, they know they have eternal life and that they will be in Heaven for eternity, therefore it would be impossible not to tell everyone we can about His Free Gift of eternal life.

The main reason people do not share the Gospel is they have never been shown how, they have never been equipped. Pastors need to equip their congregations. This has to be done by the example of the Pastor or Evangelism Leader. This means going out with them and showing them how to Share the Gospel. This is what Jesus did and what the disciples did.

Please go to www.eeworks.org to see what I mean.

I would love to talk to you more about this. My Phone number is 410-259-0363. And email is vvarriale@eeworks.org.

 

Up from the grave 

Without the resurrection of Jesus the Christian faith is for nothing. If Jesus did not rise 3 days after being crucified and buried then the Christian faith is for nothing. I guess you can say beong Christian leads us to be good people, but anyone can strive to be good. You don’t have to be a Christian to be good. A Christian is someone who knows that there is life after death and that there will be a judgement. We will have to account for what we have lived, and there’s not one person who has not done something bad, in fact there’s not one person who has not done many things bad in the course of life. We have been born into a  Sinful world. 

When we as humans understand that God knowing humans had fallen from grace, fallen from true Spiritual life with Him, He came to earth in the form of a baby so we could see and hear Him, then He lived a perfect life and died on the cross. When we realize who Jesus is and how He sent His Spirit into all the world desiring that we receive Him. When we ask Him to come and be with us and in us He does, as He said in Revelations 3 verse 20. This is when we become Christians, born not only in this flesh but also the second birth of the Spirit. As said in JOHN 3. 

UP FROM THE GRAVE https://app.backtothebible.org/en/messages/1220?orgid=399 via @Beyond Sundays

Barracuda

Several years ago a major university conducted a study on barracudas and minnows. The students wanted to see what would happen when a barracuda and minnows were put into the same fish tank. The results were pretty much determined before the experiment even began lunch for the barracuda!
Then the students wanted to see how the barracuda and minnows (more minnows) would react when put back in the fish tank but this time a pane of glass was placed in the middle of the fish tank preventing the barracuda from feasting on the new batch of minnows. Wouldn’t  you know it, that barracuda kept slamming into the glass time and time again trying to get to the minnows. Eventually the barracuda realized he couldn’t get to the minnows and stopped trying.
At this point the students wanted to see what would happen if they took out the
pane of glass separating the barracuda from the minnows. So they did.
Do you know what happened? Nothing! The barracuda had become conditioned not to approach the glass, he learned it hurt. And for the remainder of the experiment the barracuda never crossed the imaginary line of the glass.
How many of us as Christians have become discouraged, hurt, or dejected after our repeated attempts to witness to a friend or family member. So much so that now we don’t even approach the glass (referring to the barracuda)? Like the barracuda we have become conditioned through Satan’s lies.

God’s Holy Spirit 

God’s Holy Spirit is the key to winning the world for God in this generation, even in every the generation after Jesus’s death in the cross. He told the disciples that God would send a comforter, One that would guide us and Lead us to do God’s will. Jesus said that God’s Holy Spirit was poured out onto the world, and that it was and is crucial that we receive Him. Jesus said without Him we can do nothing. The same is true of God’s Holy Spirit as it is with Jesus. We just have to sincerely ask for Jesus to come in our life and He will. We must believe that Jesus is patiently waiting for us to submit to Him. The same with the Holy Spirit, we just have to ask Him into our lives and then know He is with us.  Then we are to be sensitive to Him as He guides us and leads us to do God’s will.

Luke 11:11-13  say; Luke 11:11-13 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” 

In John 7:37-39 we read; 37 On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink! 38 The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” 39 He said this about the Spirit. Those who believed in Jesus were going to receive the Spirit, for the Spirit had not yet been received because Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Also in John 14:25-26 25 “I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit — the Father will send Him in My name — will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.

John 16:12-14
12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Acts 1:8
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Acts 2:16-21
16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Acts 4:31
31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Acts 5:32
32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

 

 

 

The Almighty God

We will all, every human who have ever existed, we will all fall on our faces when we see the Lord Jesus. Remember Paul when he was on the way to persecute Christians. He fell on his knees and his eyes were blinded and burnt when he saw Jesus. At the same time Jesus said great peace I give to you. When we truly know God we have a balance of praise, comfort and fear. We are full of joy and desire to do His will. We realize that only what’s done for Jesus will last.

Psalms 93

 1  The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.

 2  Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.note

 3  The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves.

 4  The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.

 5  Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever. note

JOHN 6:29 tells us what God’s work is.. 

29  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

​Has God brought you to a place in your life where you are compelled to preach the Gospel. When someone is convinced of anything, they will by nature tell others. Believing in more then a word it’s an action.

Marriage is like a marathon

One man — a husband and father — writes in to ask, “Pastor John, I am a Christian. My wife is not. When we met and married in medical school nine years ago, I held firmly to atheism and relativism. She was Buddhist. Five years ago, God opened the eyes of my heart to see, experience, and know the truth of Jesus Christ. Like Nebuchadnezzar, God brought me low, and, from those depths, I arose in awe and praise.

“However, these last several years have been challenging for my marriage. Despite sharing two young sons together, my wife and I are spiritually at odds. Despite my attempts to explain, she does not understand my faith in Jesus, nor my time spent in Bible reading and prayer. My time at church on Sundays is often viewed as a distraction from our family life. I love my wife immensely. I love our experience of each other in caring for our two sons. I believe those joys are pointers to an experience of God’s joy. She does not. I feel like there is a spiritual divorce, of sorts, that has already happened. I have no intention of a legal divorce — I want to keep alive the hope that we will one day share a Christ-exalting marriage and lead our sons in a walk of faith. But how do I persevere in love, empathy, and in a Christ-centered way amidst this great spiritual divide with my wife?”

Oh my. I want our friend, who doesn’t give us his name, to know that I have prayed not just for him in his request, but for her.

“More than anything else, we need our almighty God’s heart-directing work.”

This is a beautiful testimony. God brought me low, and, from those depths, I arose in awe and praise. That is a beautiful testimony of a beautiful, active, sovereign grace and a powerful one, and I thank God for it. It’s also beautiful because he says, I love my wife immensely. I love our experience of caring for our two sons. I believe those joys are pointers to an experience of God’s joy. That’s beautiful, and it’s beautiful because he wants help in persevering in love. All that is pure, amazing, supernatural, miraculous, divine work, and I praise God for it. I stand in awe of God’s power in this man’s life. What a great testimony.

And it’s a painful testimony. Yes, it is. She does not understand my faith in Jesus, nor my time spent in Bible reading and prayer. Sometimes she views my church involvement as a distraction from family life. I feel like there’s a spiritual divorce of sorts, but oh, how I thank God that our friend has not done what so many do; namely, equate that internal breakdown with a justification for divorce. He says, I have no intention of legal divorce. I want to keep alive the hope that we will one day share a Christ-exalting marriage and lead our sons to walk in faith. Amen, amen. God is so pleased with that resolve and Lord make it happen.

So, in answer to the question, How can I persevere? How can I endure in love and empathy in a Christ-centered way amidst this kind of spiritual divorce of heart, if not marriage? I’m going to try to answer with some passages of Scripture because the key to persevering will be hope and faith that God can overcome this divide, and this faith and hope are all built on the word of God. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17), and we need God to speak to us every day. That’s what this man needs. Every day he needs God to speak to him — not just once in a while — in order to give him grace and perseverance.

The word becomes effective through divine work in our hearts in response to prayer, so I’m going to start there in 2 Thessalonians 3:5, “May the Lord direct your hearts” — I’m saying this to him, now — “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and the steadfastness” — the endurance — “of Christ.” This is Paul’s prayer that the Lord would direct our hearts. This is what our friend will need more than anything; namely, God, the almighty God, must do heart work on him, heart directing. I pray this often for myself. “The love of God and the steadfastness of Christ” are essential for being steadfast in marriage, but the Lord must direct our hearts to the love of God and direct our hearts to the steadfastness of Christ. This is the great foundational need: a sovereign, heart-directing work of God. So, we join Paul in praying for that day in and day out.

“Let your unbelieving spouse and children see that Jesus satisfies — even during life’s sorrows.”

O God, direct my heart to what I need in your word. Direct my heart through your word to the reality that I need for strength. And it is a wonderful encouragement that virtually all of the Bible is designed to encourage endurance and hope. Listen to Romans 15:4–6, “Whatever was written” — whatever, all of it — “in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures” — I think that means the endurance and the encouragement the Scriptures give — “we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another” — a sweet marriage verse, with no distortion of meaning — “in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Now, that is a beautiful passage that without any twisting can be applied to marriage. That together you may with one voice glorify God. That’s his heart’s desire for his marriage and that’s what this text is about — and it’s all about hope from Scriptures, hope based on endurance and encouragement that come from the Scriptures. And the way it does this is by acquainting us with the God of endurance and the God of encouragement — through the Scriptures. One of the hardest challenges for him will be not just to endure and persevere, but to do so with joy. We want our children and our unbelieving spouses to see that Jesus satisfies — that we don’t just gut out the life he’s given us to live, but that in it, with all of its sorrows, there is profound joy.

Here’s the way Paul prays in Colossians 1:9 and 11: “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you” — now I’m jumping to verse 11 — “[be] strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.” This is God’s great miracle work in answer to prayer. May God strengthen you according to his glorious might for all endurance and patience with joy. Nobody but God can do that in a difficult marriage. Let me just quickly give two other passages that come at it from two different ways.

Marriage is like a marathon — not a sprint — it’s a marathon. And some marathons have more hills, more heat, more obstacles than other marathons. Here’s how Jesus ran his marathon and calls on us to run the marathon of our marriage and every other marathon that we face. This is Hebrews 12:1–2: “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance” — that’s what he’s asking for: perseverance — “the race that is set before us” — and here comes how — “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.” So, don’t be ashamed of looking forward to the future joy to experience portions of it in the present to sustain you in your marathon of marriage.

“God designs even your difficulties and sufferings to help you persevere in your marriage with joy.”

The last text — this is one of the most crucial because it relates the suffering of such a marriage to hope and endurance — Romans 5:3–5. Even the suffering and the difficulties are meant to help us persevere. It says, “We rejoice in our sufferings” — and just add marriage, our sufferings in marriage — “knowing that suffering produces endurance” — or perseverance — “and endurance produces character” — or, a sense of approvedness — “and character produces hope. And hope won’t let you be ashamed “because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”

So, I end where I began with that amazing statement of the source of our daily need for renewed hope; namely, Romans 15:4, “Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance” — through perseverance — “and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”


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