March 2018


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FOUR      LIFE      QUESTIONS

 It does not take a rocket scientist to look across our landscape and see many emotionally unhealthy people today.  Whether it is the endless parade of angry, bitter people highlighted on the latest afternoon talk show, the increasing rate of aberrant sexual behavior, or the systematic disintegration of the family, it is obvious that we are a nation with many unhealthy, insecure people.  

 Can this be changed?  Absolutely. However, it will not be through government programs, through scholastic education, or even economic revitalization. 

 It will come one individual at a time.  Each person must discover the answer to these four questions. 

 These are simple questions but will influence every relationship a person has.

Four Questions Every Person On Earth Wants Answered

DO I MATTER? –  Derivatives of this question are asked cosmically with questions like, “Am I an accident?”  “Was I Created?”  What does the World have to say about the origin of man? That we came from a pool of cosmic sludge, that we jumped out, jumped back in, jumped back out, grew legs, became a monkey and that we were on our way to becoming a man.  We have been told we were some cosmic accident.  There is no design or purpose for us here.  What does God’s Word Say?  That man is an intentional creation of God.  You individually and specifically important to God.  You Matter!

Psalm 139:13-16 “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvelous — and how well I know it.  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born.  Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.  NLT

AM I LOVED? – One of the greatest desire mankind want to know is a simple question of, “Am I loved?”  This question can be asked in ways such as, “Am I of Value?” or “Am I Appreciated?”

The Bible tells us that God loves and values each of us.  You individually and specifically loved by God.

Romans 5:6-11 “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.  Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s judgment.  For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God — all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God.”  NLT

 WHY AM I HERE? – “What is my Purpose in Life?”  “Can I Make A Difference?” Have you discover why God made you the way He did?  He designed you with a specific purpose in mind.

Have you determined God’s Purpose for your life?    God has individual and specific plans for a great life for you!

 Jeremiah 29:11-14 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen.  If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me.”  NLT

IS THERE HOPE FOR ME? – Once a person has determined that they matter to their Creator, that they are loved by that Creator, and that their Creator has a wonderful plan for their life, they want to know if they can change to fit that Plan.

What was cannot be changed . . . What will be is determined by the choices we make today.  There is hope!  Never forget that there is hope!

The past is not an anchor to bind you!

God has prepared a new life for you individually and specifically.  A life full of Faith, Hope and Love.

 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 “So we have stopped evaluating others by what the world thinks about them. Once I mistakenly thought of Christ that way, as though he were merely a human being. How differently I think about him now!  What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!”  NLT

 Parents, do your children know that they matter, are loved, and have purpose?    Does your spouse?

Teachers, do your students know that there is a plan and a hope for their future?  That they matter?

Employers, do your employees know they matter, are of value, and have purpose to you and your company? 

 When a person cannot answer these questions . . . they will not be able to maintain a balanced, healthy life.

 

***NOTE:   adapted from an anonymous outline I found years ago

March 25th, 2018 The Triumphal Entry / What draws you to Jesus?     John 12:9 – 19

John 12:12-19  “The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A huge crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted, “Praise God! Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hail to the King of Israel!”   Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said: “Don’t be afraid, people of Israel. Look, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt.”   His disciples didn’t realize at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered that these Scriptures had come true before their eyes.  Those in the crowd who had seen Jesus call Lazarus back to life were telling others all about it.  That was the main reason so many went out to meet him — because they had heard about this mighty miracle.  Then the Pharisees said to each other, “We’ve lost. Look, the whole world has gone after him!”   NLT

  1. I spent a fair amount of time this week pondering the term “attraction”
    1. What draws us to other people or things
      1. Culture or Background or history
      2. Smells, visuals, etc.
      3. Chocolate Milk
      4. Proximity – They’ll do. “its what I got”
      5. Other personal issues – Personal choices/ideals
  1. What draws you to Jesus?
    1. The excitement of the crowd? People or Preachers
    2. The thought that He will take over as your political king?
      1. Many misunderstood Christs purpose
    3. The miracles you heard about?
      1. Valid. Jesus tended to meet physical needs first
        1. Heal the blind, the lame, the broken
      2. Hoping to get something for yourself?
        1. The woman fighting the crowd to touch His Robe
      3. Looking to see if your power\value were going to be hurt?
      4. Because the Holy Spirit of God called you to Him?
        1. How does this work? Through the Gospel
        2. Romans 10:13-15 “For “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”    NLT
          1. Who are you attracting to Christ?
          2. Who are you telling the Gospel?
        3. Why is this important to know what attracts you to Jesus?
          1. Because in our scripture today MANY were drawn for the WRONG REASONS with the WRONG HEART
            1. In few days they will be crying out for His DEATH!
            2. “Fair Weather” followers (when the following gets tough, the weak stop following)
  • What raises up a spirit of rebellion in us?
    1. Cold, Rain, Athletics, Games, late nights
  1. Because what drew you to Jesus is what keeps you with Jesus
    1. Excitement wains and politics change
    2. Miracles become old or EXPECTED
    3. You may not feel you got what YOU wanted
    4. You find you need/want something else
    5. You begin to fear what has power over you
  1. The Holy Spirit dwells within you always and cares for all the other issues of life (John 16)
    1. Calls You AND Reminds you
    2. Comforts you AND Guides you
    3. What about because God WANTS you to be saved?
  2. How about “attraction” – can we LEARN from the magnet?
    1. Magnet to plastic – NO attraction – doesn’t look magnetic
    2. Magnet to aluminum – looks and sounds metal but NO attraction
      1. Looks the part but FAKE
    3. Magnet to steel hammer – STRONG attraction
      1. Put growing number of papers between magnet and hammer
        1. The more that gets between these two the weaker the attraction
      2. The more of the world that we allow to get between us and God the weaker our attraction to Him is
        1. God doesn’t change
        2. We allow the world to change us

Bullies and Believers

Defeating bullying in our midst

Shedding the old Person and becoming a new Creation!

Becoming a BETTER person

The threat and effect of bullying is very real

  1. Bullying is a very real and present danger
    1. It is not harmless
    2. It is not a minor problem
      1. One life lost is too many
      2. One person destroyed is too many
    3. com reported that over 60,000 kids miss school because of bullying
    4. The American Psychological Association reported that 90 percent of 4th – 8th graders report being victims of bullying in some form
    5. Several school violence events have been sparked by bullying
      1. Columbine being the most infamous
    6. Bullying is really individual terrorism
      1. Wrecks lives
      2. Brings a life of fear to people
      3. Breeds rebellion
      4. Leads to fights
      5. Leads to suicides
      6. Leads to low self esteem
      7. Destroys character
    7. Bullying can take the form of:
      1. Spreading rumors
      2. Teasing
      3. Exclusion
      4. Threats
      5. Gossip
      6. Mean words
      7. Name calling
      8. Causing trouble at school, work
      9. Twisting truth
      10. Marginalizing
      11. Pushing people to the edges of social circles/society
      12. Oppression
      13. Slavery
      14. Taking advantage
      15. Hitting
      16. Kicking
      17. Pushing
      18. Other physical violence
      19. Stealing
      20. Damaging property
        1. Graffiti
        2. Destruction
      21. other
    8. Social Media has erupted as a major platform for bullies
      1. Same methods used but removed from the opportunity for reprisals/accountability
      2. Fake profiles used to hide
      3. Provides a “safe” and easy platform to use
        1. Post in the dark of night
        2. Apply settings that do not allow replies or comments
  • Apply the bullies context to photos or statements
    1. Usually that are different from reality
  1. Ability to use the person being bullied own pictures and information to set up a fake profile in their name
    1. Post lies
    2. Post destructive comments and statements
  2. Seemingly no accountability
  1. So many just give into the bully
    1. Surrender their power and life over to them
      1. In his book Fuzzy Memories, Jack Handey writes: There used to be this bully who would demand my lunch money every day. Since I was smaller, I would give it to him. Then I decided to fight back. I started taking karate lessons. But then the karate lesson guy said I had to start paying him five dollars a lesson. So I just went back to paying the bully.
        Too many people feel it is easier just to pay the bully than it is to learn how to defeat him.
    2. There is hope and help for those experiencing bullying and for the bullier
      1. One of my all time favorite TV shows, for having good moral lessons as plot lines, was the “Andy Griffith Show.” There was an episode where young Opie was having his “Milk nickel” bullied away from him and could not afford any milk for lunch. “You wouldn’t want me to get weak bones?” Well, Andy found out about the trouble and looked to find a way to help Opie without making Opie ashamed or dependent of his father’s help all of the time. In itself this is a good lesson to parents, children must learn, and earn, some things on their own in order for them to fully appreciate it later in life, but that is not our point in this illustration. Andy began to tell Opie about the time that Odie Snitch stole Andy’s fishing hole away from him when he was Opie’s age. Young Andy had to eventually face Odie Snitch to rid himself of his awful feeling of being “Lilly livered” and found that a punch in the nose didn’t really hurt when taken for a good cause and that bullies often can’t back up their words with deeds. Opie took the words to heart and faced down his extortionist the next day. Opie came away with a “Bute” of a shiner, but he didn’t even feel the black eye because the sweet feeling of the losing his trouble and regaining what was rightfully his.
        1. The point, you may ask? No trouble is as bad as it once seemed when completed than it did when we first dreaded and feared it.
        2. I would never advocate responding to a bully with violence, but it has proven worthy of our consideration. Not because of the violent act, but because of the empowering act of standing up for yourself, your person and your rights.
  • Taylor Swift said “If you’re horrible to me, I’m going to write a song about it, and you won’t like it. That’s how I operate.”
  • “Some people won’t be happy until they’ve pushed you to the ground. What you have to do is have the courage to stand your ground and not give them the time of day. Hold on to your power and never give it away.”
  1. Seek Help
    1. Counselors and Teachers
    2. Staff
    3. Law enforcement
    4. Pastors, Priests, Rabbi, etc.
    5. Friends
    6. Parents and family
  2. Get involved in team sports or activities
    1. Bands, athletic teams and other group activities promote acceptance, team work and family
    2. Being part of something positive is good for us
  3. Know who you are
    1. You are a masterpiece of God’s Creation
    2. You may not be perfect, but no one else is either
  4. Be patient, honorable and respectful
    1. Do not allow the bully pull you down to a low level
      1. You seek to improve yourself, to raise your character and reputation.
    2. Get to Know Jesus Christ
      1. He loves you
      2. He has a plan for you
      3. He took on the ultimate bully and was entirely victorious
        1. He did this for you!
        2. His stripes can heal your wounds
      4. Treat others the way you would like to be treated
        1. Many bullies are bullied
        2. Many bullies have a horrid home life
        3. Many bullies are poor
        4. Many bullies are jealous
        5. Many bullies have no power or control so they try to gain them over others
        6. Many bullies are raised or taught to be racist or sexist
        7. Many bullies are alone
        8. Many bullies are afraid
        9. Many bullies separate themselves from a mainstream they believe will not accept them and become involved in sub cultures
          1. Gangs

Anatomy of a Bully

  1. Afraid
  2. Socially awkward
  3. Jealous
  4. Weak
  5. Selfish
  6. Arrogant
  7. Angry
  8. Liar
  9. Deceitful
  10. Trouble maker
  11. Hurting
  12. Lustful
    1. Lust for power
    2. Lust for control
    3. Lust for people
      1. A boy usually teases the girl
    4. Killer
      1. Character
      2. Reputation
      3. Person
    5. Eager to do wrong
    6. Sow discord
      1. Cause division
      2. Break couples up
      3. Get someone fired

Scriptures

Proverbs 6:12-21 “What are worthless and wicked people like? They are constant liars, signaling their deceit with a wink of the eye, a nudge of the foot, or the wiggle of fingers. Their perverted hearts plot evil, and they constantly stir up trouble. But they will be destroyed suddenly, broken in an instant beyond all hope of healing. There are six things the Lord  hates— no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family. My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck.”  NLT

Living above Bullying  /  Believers Beating Bullying

Leviticus 19:17-19 “Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives Confront people directly so you will not be held guilty for their sin.  “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord . “You must obey all my decrees.”   NLT

  1. Don’t carry hate
  2. Talk to people you disagree with – DIRECTLY
    1. Not behind their backs
    2. Not gossip
  3. LET IT GO! Don’t seek revenge
    1. There is no prize for the amount of wrong you hold on to
  4. LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF
  5. Obey God

Christians should be working hard to teach and encourage:

  • Better friendships
  • More confidence
  • Individual courage
  • Servanthood – helping others
  • Being ok with who you are – being the person God made you to be
  • Better grades
  • Better health
  • Doing the right thing
  • Character
  • Citizenship
  • Morality
  • Unity

Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”  NLT

  1. Love your neighbor
  2. Love your enemies
  3. Pray for those who attack you
  4. Do not take the easy road (love those easy to love)
  5. Rise above the culture and their influence
  6. Dare to be different

Ephesians 4:29 “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”  NLT

  1. Watch your mouth
    1. If you cannot say something good about someone then don’t say anything at all
  2. Do not use foul language. Profanity
  3. Do not use abusive language. Gossip, hate, lies, crude
  4. Use your words to encourage, not discourage or destroy

Micah 6:8 “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”  NLT

  1. Do what is Right – by God’s standards – not mans
  2. Love mercy – love treating people right, whether they deserve it or not.
    1. You do not know their life
    2. You do not know their stress
    3. You do not know just how close to exploding they are
  3. Walk humbly with God
    1. Realize that you are far from perfect yourself
    2. You are flawed, faulty and failing
    3. Matthew 7:1-5 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. “

Romans 12:9-18 “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.  Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” NLT

  1. Really love others
    1. Don’t be fake
    2. Really care
    3. Be really committed to others
    4. Love is COMMITMENT – SACRIFICE – PASSION
  2. Hate what is wrong
    1. Hate bullying, not the bully
    2. Ephesian 6:10-12 “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
      1. Our bigger problem is not the people who are our problem
        1. They are but tool/weapons
          1. You do not blame the gun: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people
          2. You don’t blame the pencil: pencils don’t misspell words, people misspell words
          3. Behind every drug smuggler caught is a drug gang and leadership that enticed him, tempted him, threatened him and used him.
          4. Behind every murderer, liar, misspeller, and drug trafficker there is:
            1. A demand for drugs
            2. A darkness willing to provide them
  • A greed willing to exploit people and destroy lives to get rich.
  1. Our bigger problems are
    1. Satan and his minions
      1. Satan is the ultimate bully
        1. The “Anti Jesus”
        2. He is hate and destruction
        3. He is NOT on your side
        4. He wants to destroy you
      2. The “behind the scenes” dark rulers
        1. The ones who are pulling the strings
        2. The influences and addictions that spread darkness
      3.  Sin/flesh
        1. “The heart wants what the heart wants”
        2. Temptation to satisfy our flesh
          1. Food
          2. Sex
          3. Power
          4. Control
          5. Drugs/alcohol
          6. Arrogance
          7. Self
          8. Pride
    2. Honor each other
      1. Recognize other accomplishments publically
        1. Applaud others
        2. Build them up
        3. Look for the good
        4. Deal with their problems privately (Lev 19)
          1. Management says to reward publicly but discipline privately
  1. Be patient in Trouble
    1. Don’t “Fly off the handle”
    2. Don’t “lose your temper”
    3. You DO HAVE CONTROL
      1. You just may not want it
        1. So you let it roar.
      2. Keep praying
      3. Really help those who are in need
        1. Help the Bullied
        2. Help the bully
      4. Be hospitable
        1. Friendly and welcoming to strangers or guests
      5. Bless those who persecute you
        1. Be nice and helpful to the one bullying you
      6. Do not curse people
      7. Empathize with people
        1. Luke 10:30-37 “Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.  The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
          1. Bullying will happen
            1. Violence and meanness are reality
          2. If you see someone being bullied or hurting from a bully’s attack – HELP THEM
            1. Don’t go out of your way to ignore them
            2. Don’t look and ignore
              1. “Looky Loos”
            3. Get involved
            4. Help them
            5. Love your Neighbor
              1. The one you have come beside of
  • Stand up to bullies – on line and in person
    1. Be nice
    2. Be proper
    3. Challenge the lies
    4. Challenge the purpose
    5. Challenge the heart
    6. Accountability
      1. Own your words and posts
      2. Challenge them to own their
      3. Ask them the hard questions
      4. Ask why theirs is the only correct interpretation
      5. Ask why
    7. Live in harmony with people
      1. To be in agreement
      2. All the parts working together
      3. Romans 12:17-18 “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible.” NLT

Jesus took the Bullying so we would not have to!

Jesus was bullied by the government, the temple elite, the community business people, everyone

  • Matthew 26:47-56 “And even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests and elders of the people. 48 The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss.” 49 So Judas came straight to Jesus. “Greetings, Rabbi!” he exclaimed and gave him the kiss. 50 Jesus said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.”  Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. 51 But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear. 52 “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. 53 Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? 54 But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?”  55 Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. 56 But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled.”
    • One of His own inner circle turned on Him
    • The temple enforcers came to be instruments of bullying
    • Another of Jesus’ inner circle lashed out in anger against those attempting to take Jesus
      • Jesus told him to stop
    • Jesus challenged the bullies who were after Him
      • Why here?
      • Why now?
      • Why out of town and out of the public view?
        • They were afraid to go after Him in public
      • In the face of this attack on Jesus, His closest friends FLED
        • Good friends don’t run
        • Good friends got your back
      • The “Sin Business” people were attacking Him (Paul and Silas…whatever you do to the least of these you do to Me) because they lost money
        • Acts 16:16-24 “One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a demon-possessed slave girl. She was a fortune-teller who earned a lot of money for her masters. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.”  This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her. Her masters’ hopes of wealth were now shattered, so they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities at the marketplace. “The whole city is in an uproar because of these Jews!” they shouted to the city officials. “They are teaching customs that are illegal for us Romans to practice.”  A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.” 
      • Temple Elite were attacking Him because they lost power and influence
      • The government leaders were attacking Him because they felt they were losing power and control
      • The kings were attacking Him because they did not want their people worshipping anyone except them
      • The people were attacking Him because He was upsetting the “Status Quo”

Their bullying did not work out so well for them then, and it doesn’t work out so well today.

Romans 3:23-26 “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.”  

John 3:16-17 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”   NLT

Jesus is the Anti-Bully

Philippians 2:5-11 “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.  Instead,  he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.  When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself  in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.  Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

  1. Have the mind/attitude/love of Christ
  2. Follow Christ’s example
    1. He was EQUAL with God
    2. Yet, He CHOSE to lower Himself to our level
      1. He gave up the perfection of Heaven
      2. He came humbly to us, to the hog pen we had turned His earth into
  • Became human
    1. Think about that
  1. Humble
  2. Obedient
  3. Faithful
  1. Allowed the very ones He had created destroy His Human flesh
  1. You may think you are better than someone else but you are not

The Good News of Heaven

  1. There are no bullies in Heaven
    1. Every one there will bow before Jesus Christ
    2. He will be primary
    3. You will say He is the Ultimate and you are His humble sheep.

March 18th, 2018

Luke 22:35-38 “Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you out to preach the Good News and you did not have money, a traveler’s bag, or extra clothing, did you lack anything?”  “No,” they replied.  “But now,”[something is different] he said, “take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your clothes and buy one!  For the time has come for this prophecy about me to be fulfilled: ‘He was counted among those who were rebels.‘ Yes, everything written about me by the prophets will come true.”  “Lord,” they replied, “we have two swords among us.”  “That’s enough,” he said.”    NLT

  1. Today, as we worship and serve Jesus everything is good
    1. Our needs are met
    2. We are having a good day
    3. We serve in the richest country on the planet
      1. But that may change – QUICKLY
    4. The freedoms we now enjoy are already being eroded
      1. Like a sand barrier island during a hurricane
      2. The exaltation of Jesus Christ came to a sudden end
      3. We MUST be prepared
    5. When you need to be prepared, Jesus tells you
      1. Money
      2. Traveling necessities – DO YOU OVERPACK jic?
      3. Personal protection
        1. Sell your coat and buy a weapon
      4. Jesus knew what was waiting for them in Jerusalem
        1. He was betrayed AND He would be arrested, abused, tried, found innocent, hung on a cross and killed
        2. He wanted his inner circle to be prepared
          1. They would be scattered for a time
          2. They would need ‘emergency rations”
          3. He wants us to be prepared for what is to come
  1. We know Peter used his sword incorrectly
    1. Shows a need for training and temperament
    2. Offensively against a soldier doing his job
      1. Jesus had to be arrested.
    3. They were not at war –
      1. The swords were for defense – protection
    4. The Galileans, Essenes and most others often went armed
      1. They lived in dangerous places
        1. Robbers, wild beasts, evil
          1. Necessary to carry a weapon
          2. For protection
        2. Do not be surprised that these men of the inner circle of Christ were already armed.
          1. They needed to be, it is the custom of the time and evidently Jesus was OK with them being armed.
        3. Jesus was not preparing for a physical battle or he would have told them all to be armed and armored AND HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ARMED AS WELL
      2. There is some debate about whether Jesus meant the 2 swords were enough OR He had given His instructions and they were to go do what He had instructed.
        1. Right after this discussion Jesus went to pray on the Mount of Olives and He may have wanted them all to be armed
        2. OR He may have known that 2 defensive weapons was enough.
        3. This is one of those questions men debate but God knows. Perhaps we will know the truth of this later
      3. Our job now is to be ready
        1. Ready to go when commanded
        2. Ready to trust God always
        3. Ready to serve as we are assigned
        4. Ready to defend ourselves if needed
        5. Ready for what may come
          1. Natural disaster
          2. Man made disaster
            1. Trucker or rail strike
            2. Government upheaval
            3. Evil’s attack
            4. Zombies
          3. The battle looms ahead
            1. ARE YOU READY?
            2. It could b the battle of your life
            3. It could be the battle of your ETERNAL LIFE
            4. Luke 12…Be READY for the Lord’s Coming
          4. Our responsibility is to KNOW the Word and God’s TRUTH
            1. KNOWING IS HALF THE BATTLE
            2. The other half of the battle is DOING

March 11th, 2018

Luke 22:31-34 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to have all of you, to sift you like wheat. [satan wants to “sift” all believers]  But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, [Jesus is on your side – HE is interceding on your behalf] that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, [You will fail sometimes.  Sometimes small, sometimes big  REPENT]  strengthen and build up your brothers.” [Once you experience the restoration only God can bring TELL OTHERS!  Strengthen yourself…your faith…encourage others.  Build into their lives]  Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.” [Reality:  Peter had much to learn.  Peter was prideful.  His words said one thing, his actions would speak something different]  But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. [that is never good.  “Let me tell you something”] The rooster will not crow tomorrow morning until you have denied three times that you even know me.”  NLT [Peter, you are going to blow it so bad, you can’t even fathom the explosion of FAIL]

Faith is no crutch

Living your life for God is tough at times

  • The world is against you
  • Satan is against you
  • Sometimes it is your family and friends that are against you
  • You are against you

Simon Peter was full of pride and gravitas when things were going well for them and Jesus.  He could not see any possibility of failure.  Everyone was praising his “Boss” Jesus, they were widely accepted and everything seemed to be turning up roses.

Jesus let him know that he was about to learn the lesson of Proverbs 11:2 “Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” NLT

 

The reality is that when we think we have it all figured out and we can do anything, for God or for ourselves, we will soon find out just HOW MUCH WE HAVE TO LEARN.

Faith is not lived by the successes or failures we see in the world

Faith is lived ABOVE the mess of this life

Faith is lived for God, not ourselves or others

Faith takes work – it isn’t easy
Faith is easy to say, easy to fake BUT hard to live

It is easier to “LIVE IN” a faith than to truly “LIVE BY” Faith in God.

We should come to Jesus with “the faith of a child”   Matt 19:14

Simple, pure and complete

But we are to grow up and build a mature faith that is able to stand strong, even in adversity.  Hebrews 6:13 – 14 (Milk to Meat)

Simon Peter was still working on this.

But he was really still a FAITH CHILD

                        And his immaturity was about to show

             So are many others who are still spiritual babes, living around faith but not walking in true faith.

Simon Peter had some work to do
He had the words down
He was in the right place
He was doing the work
BUT….So was Judas
He lacked the discipleship of love3
Love God AND Love others

Faith please God!       I want to make God smile!!    Do You?

Hebrews 11:6 “So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”  NLT

We often think we are exempt from struggle, or pain or trouble.

BUT WE ARE NOT!

Matthew 5:44-46 “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!  In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too.”   NLT

As opposition grew, Simon Peter’s faith dwindled.

There will be times when your actions or words deny Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Simon Peter is acting perfectly HUMAN!

            FAILED FLESH FAILING FAMOUSLY

Christians are human beings, true.

Christians struggle with the humanity inside of them by birth, true.

Christians are called to WALK BY FAITH and not by sight.

CHRISTIANS ARE CALLED TO REPENTANCE!

And when we REPENT we are to GET BUSY for God!

So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen and build up your brothers.” 

1 John 1:8-10 “If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth.  But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.”   NLT

Jesus showed us the path to faith

Know the Word
Pray…. continually

Stay CLOSE to the Father
Serve
Care
Submit
Sacrifice

All in love

But, we will blow it….just like Simon Peter, Paul and every other believer that ever walked the face of the earth!

  1. Get Faith
  2. Grow Faith
  3. Live by Faith
  4. Give faith to God

March 4           Farmers and Ranchers

Farmers, Ranchers, dairies, feed lots, meat processors, granaries, textile workers, cotton mills, and pretty much everyone else owe their livelihoods to the GRACE of GOD.

We owe the reality of the difficulty of toiling the soil to mankind’s sins.

  1. God Made Everything
    1. Genesis 2:1 – 4
  2. God made man
    1. Genesis 2:4 – 7
  3. God GAVE man the garden for food
    1. Genesis 2:8 – 9
      1. to tend and watch over – Genesis 2:15 – 17
    2. Easy work then
  4. Man messed up God’s Plan
    1. Genesis 3:6 – 7
  5. Farming and ranching became HARD WORK because of mankind’s sin
    1. Genesis 3:1 – 7
    2. The ground became cursed
    3. Became a struggle to “SCRATCH” out a living
      1. Genesis 3:17 – 19
    4. Weeds, thorns and thistles (Cactus) became reality
      1. Real problems that plague farmers and ranchers to this day
    5. The reality of this text is a lesson we can all learn today:
      1. SIN MAKES LIFE HARDER
        1. Whether it is trying to keep up with the lies
        2. Dealing with the health issues of substance abuse
        3. The poverty of Greed and pride
        4. The Broken relationships of pride, adultery or simply NOT LOVING YOUR NEIGHBOR
        5. The issues of law and conscience over criminal activity
        6. The broken relationship with God by loving the WORLD more than WE LOVE HIM
      2. Life gets hard when sin enters in the picture
  1. This is where farmers and ranchers learned TWO lessons
    1. Lesson 1: WATCH WHAT YOU EAT
      1. If you know it would be bad for you to eat or drink something then DON’T
      2. It doesn’t matter who gives it to you
        1. If it is going to be bad for you then LEAVE IT ALONE
      3. Lesson 2: It is always best to honor and obey God

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