Sunday, April 29, 2012

ALL HIS CREATIVE ENERGY


A. Brother

        “We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.  To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me.”
                                                                             --Col. 1:28,29
          Creative energy is a keyword in our society.  The world trumpets creativity and energy as one of the ways of dealing with life, and tries to lure people into believing they can do anything if they just try.
          This lie of Satan results in despair.  We are not created to be creatively energetic without our direct link to God’s creativity and energy.
          It was Christ’s creative energy that empowered Paul to labor as He did for the Church.  It was Christ’s creative energy and ingenuity that poured into him to expand the reach of the Good News.
          What does this energy give us?
          More and more love, more grace, more hope, more peace, more joy, and more tough perseverance through trials, hardships and difficulties.  We must, as Peter says, “possess these qualities in increasing measure” because “they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 
                                                                            --2 Peter 1:8
        As these godly qualities increase in us, so Christ’s power and energy and creativity flow into us and He does His work, and His will is accomplished, through us toward others.
          Brethren, Jesus Christ in us is the source of our power.  His creative energy is the ocean from which flow all the blessings in store for us, and not the tiny cup of creative energy we possess.
          Remember this Truth.

          “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.”  --2 Peter 1:3

        Everything we need—all the creative energy, power, strength, and ability to meet the tasks God gives us—is available in Jesus.  Without Him we can do nothing.  --John 15:5   
         

Sunday, April 22, 2012

COMPROMISE WILL BRING DISASTER


“I will cut off from this place…those who bow down and swear by the Lord and who also swear by Molech.”  --Zeph. 1:4,5

          Many of us who claim Christ also “swear by Molech” just to hedge our bets.
          We think we have one foot in the Kingdom of God and one foot in the world, fooling ourselves, believing we’re smart to straddle the line.
          We are deceived.
          There is no compromise possible with Molech.  This ancient idol, who in this instance represents the world, demands total sacrifice, including our lives and our children’s lives.
          Jesus Christ, Lord of all and God of false gods and real men, demands total sacrifice, including our very lives on a daily basis.  The line we “straddle” is actually a chasm that yawns under us, and our compromise will bring sudden and complete disaster.  God will “cut off” all who practice this sort of compromise.
          Bow down, all who straddle these opposing worlds.  Down on your knees, on your face, “before the fierce anger of the Lord comes upon you, before the day of the Lord’s wrath comes upon you.”  --Zeph. 2:2

A. Brother


Monday, April 2, 2012

THE SIGN OF JONAH: DEATH & RESURRECTION

THE SIN OF LOOKING FOR SIGNS
AND WONDERS
A. Brother


          “A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it but the sign of Jonah.  For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”  --Matt. 15:4

            “But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.”  --Jonah 1:17

            “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ, in God…But now you…have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”  --Col. 3:3,8-10

          Many today look for miraculous signs to convince them that Jesus is the Way.  They, like the Jews in Jesus’ day, demand that they be shown bigger and bigger things in order for God to “prove Himself” to them.
          Many people who claim to be Jesus’ followers want to provide those signs and wonders.  There are whole movements that emphasize spiritual manifestations, the outward show, the circus, the balloons and candy, the excitement and the ceremony.
In order for them to be convinced that something is real, they have to feel, and touch and taste it.  They must, like Thomas, see with their own eyes some miraculous proof that Jesus is Lord, and touch with their own hands these proofs, in order to have faith.
          Jesus Christ rebukes the “wicked and adulterous generation” who looks for signs, and instead, gives us the only sign we’re ever going to get from Him.
          That sign, the sign of Jonah, is Death and Resurrection.
          That is the miracle we see only by faith in the Son of God.
          The world demands signs, but those who will know Christ, and follow Him truly, will be willing to die, and be resurrected, with their Lord.  As Paul says, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  --Phil. 1:21
            It is a wicked and adulterous desire that causes us to demand signs of God.   
          Faith listens, hears and obeys.  Faith does not brazenly demand of the God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, that He comply with our childish, foolish wishes to be entertained and “wowed” by circus tent miracles.

          Jesus says:

          “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and in Your Name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.  Away from Me, you evildoers!’ “  --Matt. 7:22,23

            We who follow Jesus through the Narrow Gate, and on the Narrow Way He takes, will do this daily dying to self, and be resurrected to new life, become New Creations, in Christ. 
          This is the sign, our miracle resurrection in Him, that Jesus shows the world! 
          What greater miracle could there be than seeing the blind see, the lame walk, the weak made strong?  What greater miracle could their be than seeing the old nature, with its ugly, worldly ways die, and a New Man be born in Christ, up from the grave, shining in purity and love and all the Ways of God?
          This is the “sign of Jonah” Jesus is giving us!
          This resurrection miracle is the proof that satisfies “those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.”  --Matt. 5:6

            Beware, brothers, of seeking any other sign.  Danger lurks in every corner for those who disobey this Word of God.  Satan can duplicate for his own purposes physical signs and wonders, and so-called “spiritual manifestations.” 
          But he cannot duplicate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in us.

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