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Don’t Be Found Guilty Of Having A Short Memory

April 24, 2014

We live in a “what have you done for me lately?” world. And because of that, we can easily forget when someone helps us. Let’s say someone gives us money or helps us get a job. We are SOOO happy and relieved. We tell the person we will NEVER forget them and we will always appreciate them but then… time marches on and we forget them.
This can easily happen in the spiritual realm.
Let’s say you lose your job. You pray and pray and pray for a job. You promise God that if you get the job you are going to attend church, give your tithe etc.. Then, you get the job. The crisis is over and… if you aren’t careful, you can forget God.
Israel did this. They cried out to God for help and God helped them. But then, after God helped them, they forget about God. The Bible says “After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.” Israel forgot God!
But we can do the same. First, maybe you promised God something. Maybe it was to start attending church or to begin giving. Have you kept your promise?
Maybe someone helped you. You expressed appreciation but maybe, you have forgotten them.
Sometimes when people forget someone who helped them someone might say “we have short memories don’t we?” That’s another way of saying “a person has forgotten someone who helped them.”
Today, maybe there was a time when you promised God something. Have you kept your promise? Maybe you promised something to a person. Have you kept your promise?
Israel cried out to God and God helped them. Then, they forgot God. Don’t let that happen to you.

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Getting Rid Of The Things That Are A Constant Temptation

April 23, 2014

When we become Christians our sins are forgiven and we are leaving our old way of life. The habits we had, the things we did, the attitude we had in our old way of life… we should turn away from those things and begin living for Christ. The reason is, those things prevent us from living for Christ. They prevent us from living Godly lives.
But, let’s say there is one thing that we really like. Quite frankly, we may have an addiction to it but we just don’t realize it. We SHOULD get rid of it… but we reason that we have given up a lot so keeping this one thing.. this one old habit isn’t that big a deal. So we hang onto it.
“What is it ask?” you ask. Well, it’s different for everyone. But it’s the one thing that we are hanging onto from our old life. When Israel entered the promised land, God told them to destroy every thing. But they didn’t… they let a few people stay and.. they were thorns in the side of the people of Israel. The book of Judges says, “…their gods will be a constant temptation to you.”
So, is there anything in your life that represents a constant temptation? Anything that you need to get rid of? Anything that’s causing you to slip? If there is, with the Lord’s help, you need to get rid of it cause it’s hurting your Christian life.

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Be Careful When Selecting Friends

April 22, 2014

Charlie “Tremendous” Jones once said, “Three years from now you will be the same person you are now except for the friends you have and the books you read.” For the sake of this post, let’s focus on the importance of good friends.
Friends are special to all of us. If you think about it, most of our good memories are times we spent with our friends.
Our friends have an influence on us. A young person can begin “hanging out” with the wrong kind of people and a Parent will become concerned. Or, an adult can begin hanging out with the wrong people and their spouse or family will be concerned.
There is an old saying “You can’t soar with the eagles if you are flying with the turkeys.” That is absolutely true and a reminder to us to hang with the right kind of people.
Proverbs 13:20 says “Walk with the wise and become wise; associated with fools and get in trouble.” You can’t get more straight-forward than that. “…associate with fools and get in trouble…”
So, who are you hanging out with? Is it people who share your values? Is it people who bring out the best in you?
There may be someone in your life that is just a drag. I mean, they are always negative.. they are always critical… they are always pouring cold water on your dreams. There are times when, you need to get away from someone. Maybe that person is dragging you down.
Our friends are special. They can lift us up or drag us down. Choose your friends carefully.

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PROOF That Jesus Lives

April 21, 2014

Yesterday we celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus. The Bible tells us that Jesus rose from the grave on the first day of the week. Then, Jesus spent forty days appearing to His disciples to prove that He had indeed risen from the grave. The Resurrection is the foundation of our faith. If it didn’t happen, we have no faith.
Because of that, throughout history there have been many attempts to deny that the Resurrection actually happened. The Bible says that the religious leaders instructed the soldiers to say that Jesus’ body had been stolen and many have believed that.
Others have believed in the “swoon” theory. It teaches that Jesus didn’t really die on the cross but that He passed out. Both of these theories have been propagated to deny the Resurrection.
None of us were there when Jesus rose from the grave so how do we know that Jesus indeed rose from the grave? First, the Bible says it. I believe the Bible and the Bible says Jesus lives. Second, the early Christians believed. When an early Christian was faced with death because they believed in the resurrection, if there was a smidgen of dis-belief in their mind, they would have denied the resurrection. But they didn’t. Because they KNEW that Jesus lives. Finally, there have been thousands of changed lives. Many many people have believed in Christ an have seen their lives changed. Alcoholics have stopped drinking. Drug addicts have stopped doing drugs. Marriages have been saved all because of the influence of Jesus Christ.
There is an old hymn we’ve sung for years and there is one line in it that affirms proof of the resurrection. It is, “You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart!”
Jesus lives!

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Like Forrest Gump… Many Do Not Realize They Should Be Looking For Jesus

April 19, 2014

Last night, I watched the movie “Forrest Gump.” There is a scene in the movie where “Lt. Dan” (played by Gary Sinese) and Forrest are in Lt. Dan’s apartment around the holidays. Lt. Dan lost his legs in Vietnam and like many people who experience something like that, he’s become cynical.
Lt. Dan says, “Gump, have you found Jesus?”
Forrest is a little slow mentally and replies, “I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for him, sir?”
It’s a funny line.
But Forrest represents lots of people. There are lots of people who going through life and they are getting college degrees.. graduating… getting good jobs.. marrying… raising families etc… who aren’t looking for Jesus. They think they are doing just fine like they are.
But this weekend, some of those people may attend a church service. It’s Easter. And on Easter and Christmas, for some, going to church is kind of the “thing to do.” When they attend a service, we have to pray that God’s Holy Spirit helps them to realize that they need to be looking for Jesus. They need Jesus.
You may know someone who fits in this category. Someone who isn’t looking for Jesus and they feel like they are doing just fine without Him, thank you very much. If so, prayerfully, gently, invite them to Easter worship. Pray that God’s Holy Spirit helps them to realize the need for Jesus.
But let’s look at this from another angle… as Christians, we should be living in away that leads someone else to see that there is a difference in our lives. No, we aren’t perfect. But, we should live for Jesus in such a way that our neighbors, colleagues at work, family members can see that we have something they don’t. That “something” is a relationship with Christ.
This weekend, I pray many people skeptical people.. maybe even some who are atheists would attend a worship service and have an encounter with the risen Lord.
Jesus lives!

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“Six Hours One Friday”

April 18, 2014

“Six Hours One Friday.”
It is the title of a book written by Mac Lucado.
But the title of the book came from the six hours that Jesus Christ spent on the cross of Calvary. The Bible tells us that Jesus was crucified between two thieves. Jesus was on the cross for six hours. During that time, he spoke seven times from the cross. Toward the end of this time Jesus said “It is finished” which means mans sin debt had been paid. But what did that mean?
In the book of Genesis, the Bible says that man brought sin into the world when man took of the fruit in the garden. As a result of that, every person that comes into the world is a sinner. And there is nothing man can do to solve his sin problem. Man can’t do enough good things. Man can’t memorize enough scripture. Man can’t go to church enough. The Bible says “All our righteousness is like filthy rags.”
God knew that man couldn’t solve his sin problem and man had to have a Savior. So, God sent His Son into this world. Jesus Christ was born of a virgin so he was a perfect sacrifice. But then, Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, went to the cross. During Jesus’ six hours on the cross, Jesus became sin to forgive us of our sin. Jesus took all the sin of history.
Jesus took every sin that had ever been committed and every sin that will be committed and they were all placed on His body. During the six hours Jesus was on the cross, every bit of suffering… every bit of pain that Jesus experienced was because of our sin. Jesus suffered for you and me.
Today, remember the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross… “Six Hours One Friday.”

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The Fake Trial of Jesus

April 17, 2014

Have you ever had someone do something to you that was wrong? I mean, just plain WRONG? More than likely you have. And, when it happens, it stinks royally, doesn’t it?
Well, if it helps any, Jesus faced it as well. On Thursday night of Holy Week, Jesus was arrested. He was then given trial that was absolutely fake. If the trial were held today, attorneys would be screaming for a re-trial and the verdict would be over-turned because so many rules were broken.
First, in Jewish law, no trial was to be held during feast time and the Passover was taking place. Second, each member of the court had to vote to convict or acquit but Jesus was convicted by acclimation. Third, if the death penalty was given, a night must pass before the sentence was carried out but Jesus was crucified in hours. Fourth, the Jews had not authority to execute anyone. Fifty, no trial was to be held at night. And there were others. So, clearly the trial of Jesus was a fake trial.
Now think about that; the Savior of the world was given a fake trial. The Savior of the world was unjustly crucified. Yet, Jesus knew this was all a part of God’s plan. On Thursday night, just before Jesus’ arrest, Jesus prayed, “Father, not my will but thine be done.”
So, if you have been mistreated… lied about… unjustly accused… Jesus understands. He had those things happen to him as well.

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