Month: January 2021

Standing In The Gap – Jesus and Calls in His Ministry


John 17:14-24 New International Version

14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 

16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by[a] the truth; your word is truth. 

18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Jesus Prays for All Believers

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 

22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

The Son, the Son, who’ll take the Son?

Jan 24, 2021 the_title_attributes by Percy Parakh

This is a great story. Take a moment to read it; I Pray it will make your day!

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.

When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands. He said, ‘Sir, you don’t know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly.

He often talked about you, and your love for art.’ The young man held out this package. ‘I know this isn’t much. I’m not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this. ‘The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting.

The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture.. ‘Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It’s a gift.’

The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.

The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection. On the platform sat the painting of the son.

The auctioneer pounded his gavel. ‘We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?’ There was silence…Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, ‘We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.’

But the auctioneer persisted ‘Will somebody bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?’Another voice angrily. ‘We didn’t come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Gogh’s, the Rembrandts. Get on with the Real bids!’

But still the auctioneer continued. ‘The son! The son! Who’ll take the son?’ Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. ‘I’ll give $10 for the painting…’ Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.

‘We have $10, who will bid $20?”Give it to him for $10. Let’s see the masters.’ The crowd was becoming angry They didn’t want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel.. ‘Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!’

A man sitting on the second row shouted, ‘Now let’s get on with the collection!’ The auctioneer laid down his gavel. ‘I’m sorry, the auction is over.

”What about the paintings?” I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will… I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings.

‘The man who took the son gets everything!’ God gave His son over 2,000 years ago to die on the Cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is: ‘The Son, the Son, who’ll take the Son?’

Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything!

FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, WHO SO EVER BELIEVETH, SHALL HAVE ETERNAL LIFE…THAT’S LOVE

The Painted Turtle and the Psalmist


Every fall, when the painted turtle senses winter coming, she dives to the bottom of her pond, burying herself in the muck and mud. She pulls into her shell and goes still: her heart rate slows, almost stopping.

Her body temperature drops, staying just above freezing. She stops breathing, and she waits. For six months, she stays buried, and her body releases calcium from her bones into her bloodstream, so that she slowly begins even to lose her shape.

But when the pond thaws, she will float up and breathe again. Her bones will reform, and she will feel the warmth of the sun on her shell.

I think of the painted turtle when I read the psalmist’s description of waiting for God. The psalmist is in a “slimy pit” of “mud and mire,” but God hears him (Psalm 40:2). God lifts him out, and gives him a firm place to stand. God is “my help and my deliverer,” he sings (v. 17).

Perhaps it feels like you’ve been waiting forever for something to change—for a new direction in your career, for a relationship to be restored, for the willpower to break a bad habit, or for deliverance from a difficult situation. The painted turtle and the psalmist are here to remind us to trust in God: He hears, and He will deliver.

Healing For The Whole Person – Holistic Healing


Mark 2:1-12 New International Version
Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man

1 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 

Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 

“Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 

Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 

11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Pride – the Bait of Satan

By John Bevere – from The Bait of Satan

Pride keeps you from dealing with truth and it distorts your vision. It causes you to view yourself as a victim.

Your attitude becomes, “I was mistreated and misjudged; therefore, I am justified in my behavior.” Because you believe you are innocent and falsely accused, you hold back forgiveness.

Though your true heart condition is hidden from you, it’s not hidden from God. Keep this in mind: just because you were mistreated, you do not have permission to hold on to an offense. Two wrongs don’t make a right! #TheBaitOfSatan

Pastor Rick Warren’s 10 Favorite Quotes from Martin Luther King


MY TEN FAVORITE MARTIN LUTHER KING QUOTES

One of the greatest privileges of my life was being invited by Dr. King’s children and family to preach from the same pulpit that he preached from at the great Ebenezer Baptist Church , the congregation Dr. King pastored in Atlanta.

The occasion was the 40th Anniversary of Dr. King’s death, and the family told me that I was the first white preacher to preach there.People forget that, first and foremost, Martin Luther King was a PASTOR, He was not a politician. He was a Baptist minister of the Gospel, and a pastor of a local church.

Everything he did to promote freedom, justice, and racial equality flowed out of his understanding of God’s Word. I have read hundreds of his sermons and they are rich biblical content.

Hanging on the wall of my study is hand typed and signed note from Dr. King. It hangs next to a handwritten note from Mother Teresa and a letter of encouragement from Billy Graham. Each of these 3 Christian leaders left their mark on me as I was a young man.

In honor of Pastor Martin Luther King on this MLK holiday, I give you my 10 FAVORITE QUOTES from a man who was model to many other pastors:

1. “The purpose of life is not to be happy, nor to achieve pleasure nor avoid pain, but to do the will of God, come what may.”
2. “I just want to do God’s will.”
3. “When I took up the cross I recognized it’s meaning. The cross is something that you bear, and ultimately, that you die on.”
4. “The early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the Church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.”
5. “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
6. “The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”
7. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
8. “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”
9. “The gospel at its best deals with the whole man, not only his soul but his body, not only his spiritual well-being, but his material well being as well.”
10. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

The Ultimate Fish Story – Jesus and Calls in His Ministry


Luke 5:1-11 New International Version
Jesus Calls His First Disciples

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,[a] the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 

He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

We need to be Changed By Grace


CHEAP GRACE

Dietrich Bonhoeffer defined “cheap grace” as the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance.“

But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?”‭‭(Luke‬ ‭6:46‬ ‭NKJV‬‬) We are saved by a living and active faith (James 2:14-26), a faith that manifests itself in repentance, obedience and love of God and our neighbor.

Salvation is not a transaction; it’s a transformation. Paul says it best when he says we are “new creations” in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). There is nothing “cheap” about grace!

If grace as you know it makes you comfortable in your sin, that’s not biblical grace. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”‭‭(Romans‬ ‭6:1-2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

Jesus Christ is most certainly our Savior, but this cannot be separated from the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord, and as Lord, He commands and we obey.

Lord we need The Fire of the Holy Ghost


Fire is one of the symbols of the Holy Spirit in the Bible. What is it about the Holy Spirit that makes it like fire? Fire penetrates and changes whatever it touches. It gets down to the bottom of everything.

When you are baptized and immersed and controlled by the Holy Spirit, he gets down to the real deal inside us. All excuses and lies we tell ourselves; all pretense, all phoniness; all those instances when Christians say, “Hi,” to someone while secretly harboring animosity— all of it is burned away.

The Holy Spirit penetrates; humbles; burns up pride and everything that’s junk and carnal. The Holy Spirit goes right to it like a bullet, and it changes things; it gets us to realize the shortness of life; and it gets our eyes on Jesus. It totally transforms a life.

When the Holy Spirit came on Paul, it changed Paul from a persecutor of the church to a mighty apostle. Peter was a denier, and he was scared; but when Holy Spirit came on him, he was full of boldness.

A lot of us want to serve God, we want to be more like Jesus; but we think somehow that by introspection and getting counseling from someone or trying harder or reading a new spiritual book or getting a new Bible translation, it’s going to change us.

But the Holy Spirit is the one whom Jesus has sent to change us. If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. Why? Because the Spirit is in them! I’ve tried to change myself and rectify my faults; and all of us see things that are in us in the flesh; and we try to get rid of this and that.

We see, perhaps, lack of compassion, and other weaknesses. And we’re looking, and we’re picking up this, and we’ve got to remove that; and we sometimes, think, “Praise God, I’ve gotten better here”; but then we realize, “Oh no, here’s another thing I have to remove!”

Even graces we have are many times mixed with pride… Do you know the best thing you can do? Just light a match and light a fire and let the fire burn everything out! This is the most needed thing for me, and for you and for every church, in 2021

By Pastor Jim Cymbala

An Amazing Ministry – Jesus and Calls in His Ministry


Luke 4:14-30 King James Version

14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.

15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?

23 And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.

24 And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.

25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;

26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.

27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.

28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,

29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.

30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way,

You are a Small Part of an Eternal Plan


You are a Small Part of an Eternal Plan

Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that you are part of an eternal plan? Seriously think about this. Your existence didn’t begin at conception. You began in the mind of God before the foundation of this earth.

Meditate on this. Few things will make you feel smaller … or bigger. Far from being an accident, you and I are part of a brilliant plan that started before planet Earth and continues beyond it. This is why self-deprecation is as wicked as slandering God’s Church.

We are belittling the creation of something God has planned and crafted. He chose us before the foundation of the world, knew us before He made us (Jer. 1:5), and drew up works for us before we were even created (Eph. 2:10). He had plans for His sacred Church and included us in those plans.

This thought should bring tremendous peace to our often-stressed souls. The more I think about it, the more honored I feel to be chosen as part of God’s eternal plan for the Church.

If you’re not fascinated by your inclusion in His Church yet, it may help you to know that there are beings in heaven that stare at the Church in wonder. (Eph 3:8-10)

Think about what this is saying. God wanted to show the heavenly beings His incomparable wisdom … so He created the Church! I believe we have a sacred responsibility to function as His Church in such a way that the rulers in heavenly places can marvel at God’s wisdom.

They ought to see a oneness in us that displays God’s brilliant plan. Two verses earlier, Paul explained that the great mystery God is now revealing is Gentiles becoming members of the same body as the Jews because of what Jesus did on the cross.

This is the divine mystery that was hidden in God for ages! The grand reveal that heavenly authorities were anticipating has arrived. The curtain is drawn back, and they gasp as they see … the Church. No way! This is unreal!

Through the cross, people of every nation and tongue become members of one body? Amazing! God Himself is joining His creation and allowing them to be a part of His body? Unbelievable! This was His plan all along. There was going to come a day when almighty God would dwell with people of all races.

They would be brought to complete unity, forming one temple, which would be a dwelling place for God! Do you see why all this matters so much? Many today treat the Church as optional, as some outdated way to connect to God that has long outlived its usefulness. They’d rather connect with God on their own, in their own way, without all the weird people making things more difficult. We can empathize with many of their feelings about the Church.

But when we see the Church from God’s perspective, when we appreciate it according to God’s design, we’re left in wonder. Who but God could come up with such a beautiful and ingenious plan?

I can’t help but see our own lameness in failing to see the beauty in God’s design for the Church. Heavenly beings are shocked by God’s Church, while many on earth yawn. The early church didn’t need the energetic music, great videos, attractive leaders, or elaborate lighting to be excited about being a part of God’s body.

The pure gospel was enough to put them in a place of awe. Aren’t you at least a little embarrassed that you have needed the extra stuff?

It’s not all your fault. For decades church leaders like myself have lost sight of the powerful mystery inherent in the Church and have instead run to other methods to keep people interested.

In all honesty, we have trained you to become addicted to lesser things. We have cheapened something sacred, and we must repent.
Pastor Francis Chan


He Loves You, He Cares For You


HE CARES FOR YOU – By Pastor Vinu John

“Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands; thy walls are continually before Me” – (Isa 49:14-16).

How often, in our distresses and difficulties, we think the Lord has forsaken us or forgotten us! In the above text, the Lord wants us to show us how much He cares for us and watches over us.

“Can a woman forget her sucking child?” Some mothers forget their grown-up children at times, but a mother can hardly forget her sucking child, as the child is helpless without her.

But the interesting truth the Lord reveals here is that even if the mother forgets her sucking child, and does not have compassion on it, He will never forget us.

In another place He promises, “The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from thee” (Isa 54:10). How mindful the Lord is of those who cling to Him, of those who trust Him like a baby does!

“I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands.” We can always see, what is written on our palms unlike something written anywhere else. The Lord wants to assure us that just as a name that is engraved on the hand of a person is always before his eyes and therefore cannot be forgotten, He cannot forget us.

Our names are not simply ‘written’, but ‘graven’ upon the palms of His hand. It is very painful to engrave something on our hands and whatever is engraved cannot be easily erased either.

So one loves very dearly, the person whose name is engraved on one’s hand. How much the Lord must love us then! “Thy walls are continually before Me.” The Lord has promised that He will be a wall of fire around us. The Lord not only sets a wall of fire around us, but He is also watching over the wall so that no enemy may penetrate the wall.

If there is a wall of fire around you, the enemy cannot penetrate it; he will be consumed in the fire if he tries to! O dear child of God, you are well protected and well cared for by the Lord.

So cast all your care upon Him. “If the Lord careth for thee, be thyself at rest,” said Archbishop Leighton.

“He careth, He beareth, I’m graven in the palms of His hands; He watcheth and guideth, He makes the bitter sweet to me.”