Monday, August 31, 2009

Jesus Christ Our Lord


1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. 5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;

7 To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 1:1-7, New King James Version

Jesus Christ Our Lord

With the advent of email, hand-written letters are becoming more and more rare. Upon reading the beginning of this letter by Paul to the church at Rome, I wondered what it would be like if we all began our letters this way. Paul was neither ashamed of Christ nor a bit bashful about proclaiming himself a bond servant of Christ.

This was not to be a distinction for him alone, but for all Christians. Two times in the the verses shown above, he calls Jesus Christ, our Lord.

concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord (verse 3)

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (verse 7)

Think of what he was implying.

Jesus - the God man.
Christ - the Anointed One.
Lord - our Master.

What was the relationship between a bond servant and his/her lord? Did they have a 9 to 5 job? No, every waking moment was spent in the service of their master. Their master's needs were always taken care of before attending to their own needs. There was never any doubt as to whom they belonged; the thought of serving another master while trying to serve their own master never entered their minds.

As Christians, we need to think about this. Do we take care of our Lord's needs even before our own? How do we begin each day? Can we not even set aside 15 minutes to read the Bible and pray, asking God for guidance throughout the day? I speak this to my own shame, as many days I am halfway through the day before sitting down and spending some time with the Lord. Even worse, there are days I never spend a moment with the Lord.

How about our temptation to serve two masters? What or who rules our lives? What drives us to achievement and success? I know that God has given each of us our vocations, but He never intended us to serve in that capacity apart from Him! Our vocations are not separate from our service to our Lord, but rather they are to be a part of our service to the Lord.

I am sure there are many more aspects to being a servant, but hopefully these questions will help us to think more responsibly about our relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray, today, that God would guide you in everything you do and say, that your life would be a visible example our your love for Christ.

What a privilege to be servants of Our Lord Jesus Christ!

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lord of All


34
Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. 36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all— 37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. 40 Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. 43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”
Acts 10:34-43, New King James Version

Lord of All

Peter, the disciple who once denied Christ, speaks with new-found boldness in Acts 10. God opened his eyes of understanding just as God does for Christians today. What may seem common knowledge to us was an amazing revelation to the disciples. Salvation was not just for the Jews! This brought much contention in the early church, until Christians came to realize that this was of God. Gentiles were being grafted into God's church.

“In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him."

Jesus Christ is Lord of All!

What must the new believers understand about Christ?

"God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. . . . Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”

Let us reflect on Peter's message this day; as Christians, this is our foundation. This man, Jesus Christ, was the Messiah who had been spoken of by the prophets in ages past. What an amazing God we have--this Jesus Christ is Lord of All to all who believe, no matter what their race or station in life.

Here is the question I challenge you to meditate upon. Do you live as though Christ is Lord of All?

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Jesus Is the Christ

1 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

19 So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.

20 Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.
21 Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?”
22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.
Acts 9:1-2 & 19-22, New King James Version

Jesus Is the Christ

What happens when a person becomes a Christian? Everything changes! Their entire world has a new perspective. We see a perfect example of this in Saul. (The entire account of Saul's miraculous conversion is found in verses 3-18 of Acts 9.)

Saul was one of the most feared of the Jewish leaders because of his zeal in persecuting believers in Christ. As such, he would have been voted as one of the least likely to ever be converted to Christianity. God, however, had other plans. On his way to Damascus to find Christians and bring them bound to Jerusalem, Christ converted him in a miraculous event.

The believers were uneasy about accepting Saul into their midst. “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?”

It soon became evident, however, that his zeal for Christ was even greater than his zeal against new believers had been. But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.

Has our life changed since we became a Christian? Have we lost the zeal we once had as new believers in Christ? The Christian life should grow in much the same way as our physical lives grow. New believers have a great zeal for the Lord. As they mature in the Lord, rather than having spurts of zeal, their entire life becomes immersed in the Lord, i.e. in their love for Him and service to Him.

Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ? Does your life show it?

Ponder that as you go about the duties of this day.

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jesus as the Christ


34
Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. . . . 38 And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; 39 but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.”
40 And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
Acts 5:34-35 & 38-42, New King James Version

Jesus as the Christ

I have always been impressed by this speech by Gamaliel, a member of the Jewish council. He urged the council to leave the apostles alone, with this logical argument, "And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.”

Unfortunately, the speech appears to have been forgotten after this incident with Peter and and the apostles. What was the real problem that the council had with the new believers? Why did they not heed Gamaliel's advice and let the matter drop? They were not concerned that the people were followers of Jesus, but they were enraged that the new church preached Jesus as the Christ, the Anointed One, making Him equal to God.

How do people of our day think of Jesus Christ? Who do people truly worship? What do true Christians believe?

These are all very important questions; ones that we cannot neglect! Our very relationship with Christ as believers hinges upon our understanding and belief that Jesus was not just a good man, but He was and is the Christ, the Son of God, and the only Savior of the world.

How should that belief affect our lives? Who or what should be the most important focus of our lives?

True Christians understand that the only focus of their lives, no matter what their circumstances or professions, is the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything else, (family, friends, careers, etc.), pale in comparison to our love for the Lord and our service for Him.

Does that mean we can neglect our families, friends, and careers to serve Christ. No! Our circumstances of life have been brought about by God, and we are to serve Him right where we are. If we are parents, we are to be the best parents we can be. If we are doctors, lawyers, or executives, then we need to be the best doctors, lawyers, and executives that we can be. If we are employed in factories, fast-food restaurants, or even are slaves, we must be the best employee or slave that we can be!

That is the amazing thing about Jesus. When we serve Jesus as the Christ, we understand that we are servants of God Almighty, and whatever our situation here on earth, we are adopted children of God. This lowly life has an end, when we will be ushered into the Kingdom of God to live eternally as children of the King.

Oh, what a Savior!

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chief Cornerstone


5
And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, 6 as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: 9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, 10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4:5-12, New King James Version

Chief Cornerstone

Peter and John had been arrested, and were called before the High Priest, as well as other rulers of the Jews to give an account of their deeds. Peter boldly proclaimed, If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.

He was not afraid to look them right in the eye and proclaim, . . .that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified . . . by Him this man stands here before you whole. This "stone" which was rejected by the Jews, became the "Chief Cornerstone."

As Christians today, we are like this man. We need to be healed, and only by the blood of Christ can that be accomplished.

The Jews intended to end this new sect, and yet by the plans of God Himself, they were the means God used to bring salvation to his people. Christ was the stone who became the chief cornerstone. Indeed, for all Christians today, Christ is our Cornerstone.

Due to their unbelief, the Jewish leaders did not comprehend Peter's proclamation, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

That should not surprise us, because in our day, it still is comprehended by so few. The majority, whose hearts are darkened by sin, refuse to believe Peter's words. What do you believe?

I pray that, by the grace of God, you know and believe, that there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Jesus Christ, the chief cornerstone, is the only one who can bring salvation to our desperate souls, and grant us life with Him forever!

Oh, what a wonderful Savior we have.

God Bless You,
Linda Croft

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Prayer of Christ


1
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
John 17:1-5, New King James Version

Prayer of Christ

A few times in the New Testament we are given glimpses of the relationship between God the Father and God the Son. Such is the case in this prayer of Christ from John 17. The hour has come when Christ will give up His life to save a people for himself. In Christ's prayers, glory is always given to the Father. Even when He asks God to glorify the Son, it is so that He, the Son, may glorify the Father.In so doing He also acknowledges that it is God who has given Him authority over all men.

In verse 3 above, Christ makes a rather interesting statement.
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. There is so much more to being a Christian that just being a Christian! As Christians, we are to know God and to know the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not enough for us to just know that God is real, but we have the privilege of developing a personal relationship with both the Father and the Son, a personal relationship that will never end!

Then, Christ states, I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. Christ finished the work that had to be done to purchase salvation for His people. How can we ever praise and glorify Him enough? How can we ever comprehend this great love of God for His people?

And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. Stop and read that sentence over again. The Lord Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our salvation was also the Creator of our world. Look at the glory and majesty He left to come to this earth as a lowly man who would be despised and rejected.

Think of this prayer of Christ as you go about the duties of this day.

*Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood
Sealed my pardon with His blood:
Hallelujah, what a Savior.

God Bless You,
Linda

* Words to the song were written by Augustus M. Toplady, 1740-1778.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Unbelief of Unbelief!


22
Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?”
33 The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”
John 10:22-33, New King James Version

The Unbelief of Unbelief!

Oh, the unbelief of unbelief! Have you ever met people so adamant that there is no God, that nothing you do or say can sway them from their position?

Jesus was walking in Jerusalem when a group of Jews surrounded him and said in desperation, "Look, if you really are the Christ, just come right out and say it!" Jesus looked at them sadly, and said, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me."

He continued, "Do you know why you do not believe? You do not believe, because you are not of My sheep. . . My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."

What of these who are Christ's sheep? What did he tell the Jews?

"And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”

More beautiful words have never been spoken!

Does that mean that those who do not respond to you will never become a Christian? I do not know the answer to that, but I do know that we are never to cease from praying for them. However, if they never come to Christ, the fault is not yours. They are not rejecting you; they are rejecting Christ.

Oh the unbelief of Unbelief! May that not represent you this day!

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, August 24, 2009

When Christ Comes


25
Now some of them from Jerusalem said, “Is this not He whom they seek to kill? 26 But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ? 27 However, we know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from.”
28 Then Jesus cried out, as He taught in the temple, saying, “You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. 29 But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.”
30 Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. 31 And many of the people believed in Him, and said, “When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?”
John 7:25-31, New King James Version

When Christ Comes

The debate was on! Was this man really the Christ? The people of Jerusalem were pondering this question. Here was the man whom the Jewish leaders were trying to kill. But, how could this man be the Christ? "We know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from.”

Jesus understood their thoughts. Look at His response.

“You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know."

That really was the issue, was it not? It was God they did not know, for if they knew God, they would have known Christ! Not everyone rejected Christ that day.

And many of the people believed in Him, and said, “When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?”

In our day, the debate still continues on. "Who was Jesus? Was he just a man, was he a great prophet, or was he truly God incarnate." Just as in the time when Christ walked on this earth, the real issue remains the same. Those who truly know God, know Christ, but those who do not know God do not know Christ.

What about the return of Christ? When Christ comes again, will we know who He is? That is the most important question for us to answer! Our very lives hinge upon our knowing Christ. Do we perceive Him as just a great man who walked on this earth, or do we truly know Him as our God and Savior, and have a personal relationship with Him? There are no gray areas here! To even believe He is God is not enough; the devils believe also and tremble. Only those who fall before Christ and accept Him as their only Savior, desiring to live in obedience to Him, truly know Him.

When Christ comes, let us be found ready!

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Christ, the Savior


25
The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”
26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.

28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.

39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His own word.
42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”
John 4:25-26, 28-30, & 39-42, New King James Version

Christ, the Savior

Christ was expected! Even the Samaritans were looking for His appearance. Jews were not to mingle with Samaritans, and yet, as in the case of this Samaritan woman, Samaritans were often more ready to accept Christ than were many of the Jews.

Jesus sat down by a well to await the arrival of the disciples when a Samaritan woman came to fill her water pot. When He asked her for a drink of water, she was amazed that He would even speak to her because she was a Samaritan. As the conversation continued, Jesus told her that He could give her living water.

10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

Imagine her surprise, then, when she admitted that she knew the Messiah was coming, that He responded by saying, “I who speak to you am He. It did not take her long to return to the village and call for all of her friends and neighbors to come hear this man, asking the question, "Could this be the Christ?"

Many Samaritans responded to Christ's words, and urged Christ to stay there longer. After spending two days among them many believed in Him.

Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

No one is beyond the scope of Christ's salvation! No matter who one is, or what one may have done, Christ's invitation to come to Him is open to all.

Just think of that for a moment. How many people in your life do you consider not savable? For how many do you no longer pray, because you do not believe they will ever come to Christ, or even worse, you do not believe they deserve Christ?

Christ, the Savior, came to this earth to save a people for himself. Those people will come from all nations, and from all walks of life. Pray, today, that the Lord of the Harvest will have many laborers, including us, who will faithfully proclaim Christ through their actions as well as their words, and faithfully pray for unbelieving family and friends.

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Lord's Christ


25
And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
29 “ Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Luke 2:25-35, New King James Version

The Lord's Christ

Luke 2 is most well known for its complete description of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Later in the chapter we find this account of Simeon. Who was Simeon? The only thing the Bible tells us about Simeon is that he was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. Then it is further explained, And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. The Lord's Christ could be phrased, "The Majestic and Supreme Master's Anointed One."

As the account continues, Simeon immediately recognized Christ when he was brought into the temple by his parent's, Mary and Joseph. Lifting the Christ child up in his arms, he said,

29 “ Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

He closed by telling Mary, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

God did not make a great public acclamation among the Jews when Christ was born, but He did, in many ways, announce the Christ child's coming. Do you think Mary and Joseph really understood the word's of Simeon? Probably not.

How often are we clueless as to the what the Lord is doing, or means to do with our lives? Just like Mary and Joseph, we are caught totally unaware of His working in our lives. Maybe we do not actually believe that God could do anything at all with our paltry Christian service. However, the Bible reminds us that God uses the foolish ones of the earth to confound the wise.

As you ponder this revelation of the Lord's Christ given to Simeon, look for ways that you can be an obedient servant of the Lord right where He has put you. Truly, we will not know until we reach heaven the many ways God has brought forth His Gospel through our life testimonies before Him.

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, August 21, 2009

Belong to Christ


38
Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.”
39 But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. 40 For he who is not against us is on our side. 41 For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.
Mark 9:38-40, New King James Version

Belong to Christ

This Bible passage from Mark 9 has always had a great impact upon me, and I think it is one we should think about. We live in a day when there are so many churches, especially in the USA, that one hardly knows which one to choose. Why is that?

Due to man's zeal to be true to the Word, division after division has occurred in the church of God. While one must be impressed with the desire for Biblical truth, the divisions that have occurred are often very sad. In the town in which I live, there have been so many church splits, (often the split is located right across the street from the other), that there are almost 10 churches of the same faith, and that is in a city of about 10,000 people.

In truth, God has used these divisions to reach many for Christ. The sad part, however, is in the resulting animosity against fellow believers. Even worse, some churches believe that in a city of over 300,000, their church is the only Gospel preaching church. Satan has often used these attitudes to keep Christians fighting against one another rather than reaching the lost right at their doorstep.

We would do well to remember that we are not the ones who determine who belongs to Christ. That is up to Him, alone. Instead, let us, by the grace of God, heed the words of Christ from Mark 9.

“Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is on our side. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward."

So I encourage you who belong to God, to look to the ministry that God has given you in your own little corner of the world, and cease looking at your neighbors who profess to belong to Christ, seeking to point out the errors of their ways.

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Whose Son is Christ?


41
While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?”
They said to Him, The Son of David.”
43 He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying:
44 ‘ The LORD said to my Lord,

“ Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”’?

45 If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” 46 And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.
Matthew 22:41-46, New King James Version

Whose Son is Christ?

In our Bible passage today we are listening in to a conversation between Christ and the Pharisees. This conversation illustrates a very simple concept. When you begin with a false concept, you will keep running into contradictions. Only the truth exists without contradiction!

As Jesus was approached by the pharisees, He asked them a simple question, "Whose Son is the Christ?". Without thinking, they responded, "The son of David." What were they thinking? Were they thinking that He was asking them about himself? If so, they were expressing their view that He was only a man.

Christ answered them by quoting from Psalm 110:1. The LORD [God] said unto my Lord [David], Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Jesus then posed the question, "If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?”

The Pharisees walked away sadly, because no one was able to answer the question.

I am constantly amazed at the simplicity of the Bible, and also the great extent that man will go to, to not believe the simple truths of the Gospel. They are willing to make up any story or lie, no matter how ridiculous it may be, just to not believe in the simple truths of God's Word. How sad that is, for, oh what a great salvation they miss!

Ponder this question today, as you go about your various duties. Whose Son is Christ? Your very life depends upon your answer!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Son of the Living God


13
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 16:13-17, New King James Version

Son of the Living God

As Jesus and his disciples were walking along, Jesus asked them a very important question?

“Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

The answers were varied. Some believed He was John the Baptist, or Elijah, or one of the prophets. The answer did not surprise Christ.

I suppose if we were to go out into the public arena and ask the very same question, the answers would be just as varied. As a matter of fact, several years ago my husband was discussing this very question with a pastor. The pastor explained that Jesus was not THE savior, but A savior, and there could well be many more saviors to come.

Jesus, however, was very concerned about how his disciples answered this question. As was not unusual for Peter, he burst forth with the answer, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

The real question then is for us. We profess to be Christians, but what does that mean? Was Jesus a great man, a great spiritual leader, a prophet, or a delusional man who believed he was God? Sadly, these are all popularly held views.

Let us pray that, today, we can rush forward with the boldness of Peter and proclaim, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." To believe any less would mean we have no Savior!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Birth of Jesus Christ


18
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”

22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.
Matthew 1:18-23, New King James Version

Birth of Jesus Christ

We are very familiar with the birth of Christ as told in the Gospel of Luke. Matthew contains a more succinct version of Christ's birth, this time from the perspective of Joseph. Mary and Joseph were betrothed (engaged), when Mary became pregnant. Joseph knew it was not his child, so he was going to divorce her privately. Even though just engaged, the betrothal could only be negated by a divorce.

Before this could be done, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”

We have no indication that Joseph had any doubts about the dream; we only know that he obeyed the words of the angel. "Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS."

Why was Joseph told to call the baby, Jesus? Why not, instead, call Him Christ? Each name has its own significance. Christ, the anointed One was to be called Jesus, meaning Savior. The anointed Savior had come to this earth to save a people for Himself, and would bring them safely to His eternal kingdom to live with Him forever.

Christ is All! Not one thing on this earth can even come close to our union with Christ. Take some time to reflect on that thought as you go about the duties of this day.

What a Savior!

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, August 17, 2009

Genealogy of Christ


1
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:
17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.
Matthew 1:1 & 17, New King James Version

Genealogy of Christ

As we continue our study, "What is in a Word," we are going to look at the word, "Christ." It is interesting to note that the word, "Christ," is only found in the New Testament, appearing in the very first verse (Matthew 1:1). Why is that? Jesus was foretold in the Old Testament, and the New Testament shows that the fulfillment of those prophecies has come.

The word, "Christ," means anointed. Christ, the Anointed, Son of David, Son of Abraham (through Mary), and Son of God, came to this earth with only one purpose. As this study continues, it will be obvious to note that Christ was intent on this singular purpose all of his life, even as a child.

But, why does the New Testament start with a genealogy? And, why is this the genealogy of Joseph? To the Jewish nation, your genealogy was your proof that you legitimately belonged. To fulfill the prophecies of Christ in the Old Testament, the coming Messiah must be from the line of Judah, and then from the line of King David. Even though Christ's true father was not Joseph, but rather the Holy Spirit, Matthew takes the time to include the genealogy of Jesus Christ's earthly father, Joseph. Later, another genealogy is included which gives the genealogy of Mary.

As Christians, we are the anointed of Christ. We have one singular purpose for remaining on this earth, and that purpose will continue until the day we die. Being creatures of sin, however, we are often consumed with everything but our true purpose for being here. As we look into the ministry of Christ, let us pray that God will help us to renew our true purpose, and seek for the rest of our lives to fulfill our true God-given purpose, by faithfully serving Him no matter where He has put us.

Oh what a Savior we have!

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Servants of the Almighty


5
Then a voice came from the throne, saying:
"Praise our God,
all you his servants,
you who fear him,
both small and great!"

6Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
"Hallelujah!
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
7Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
8Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)
Revelation 19:5-8, New English Standard Version

Servants of the Almighty

What a fitting portion of Scripture to end these devotions on the word, "servant." Take the time to read the verse shown above, and meditate upon them. We are ushered into the very throne of God, where the Lord God Almighty reigns, and exhorted, as servants of our king, to bring praise to God.

Then a voice came from the throne, saying:
"Praise our God,
all you his servants,
you who fear him,
both small and great!"

The end of the world has come, the judgments have been poured out upon all peoples, and only the servants of God remain before Him. Now will come the time we have all anticipated, when we will be formally wed to our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no concern over what we will wear, for our Lord has clothed us in white linen, representing the righteous acts of the saints. It is important for us to remember that even our righteous acts have been given to us by Christ.

As servants of the Almighty, let us praise His name together. Everything good we do is done by the power of God. Left to ourselves, we would only sin. What an amazing God who took us from the depths of sin and robed us in white linen, bought by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hallelujah!
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Friends of Christ


9"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17This is my command: Love each other.
John 15:9-17, New International Version

Friends of Christ

You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Just think of the implications of these two verses from John 15. We are friends of Christ! Why does Christ make the distinction here between servants and friends? Ours is not a dark, hidden faith with the details known only to a few, but rather God has sent us His Word with a plain presentation of the Gospel as well as in depth knowledge of God himself.

I fear that we, as Christians, tend to take our Bibles for granted. How soon we forget the dark ages when the Bible was only in the hands of a few. The truth of the Word was not known to the common man. God has blessed us by giving us His Word so that we may read it and study it.

When you think about it, what an amazing thing it is that God does not hide the details of our faith, cloaking it in a field of mystery. God does not desire mere servants who obey because it is their duty, but rather, he desires a relationship with his children who obey out of love for Him.

How does that relationship with Christ impact our lives? As friends of Christ we love Him and desire to keep His commandments. Our prayer time is not just a formal time of stiffly listing our needs to Christ; our prayer time is a time of communing with Christ. Yes, we should always goes to Christ with our needs, but we should also go to Him with praise and adoration on our lips, thanking Him for all He has done and continues to do in our lives. What a sweet time of fellowship it is!

As you go about the duties of this day, just ponder the fact that, as children of God, we are friends of Christ! How amazing that is!

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, August 14, 2009

Two Masters


13"No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

14The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight.
Luke 16:13-15, New International Version

Two Masters

What is the lesson that Christ is teaching in Luke 16:13? Is it wrong for a Christian to be rich? I am afraid that some take that view, but they could not be more wrong. The emphasis in this verse is not on the word, "money," but rather on the word, "serve."

Money is a tool that can be used effectively for the service of the Lord, or not. A faithful servant of God who is wealthy has a great responsibility to use that wealth to advance the kingdom of Christ. It is not wrong for him to enjoy the fruits of his wealth, but it is wrong for him to serve his money and the seeking after more, rather than keeping his service to Christ preeminent in his life.

In our culture of greed, seeking after more money is considered a healthy attitude. The problem, however, is that no man ever reaches that point where he is satisfied with what he has. The more money one has, the more that one tends to seek after more. As such, it is often true that the rich are emulated and given high offices in our land.

Again, that is not wrong in and of itself. God often uses his servants in high offices. The heart attitude is the real issue. I love Paul's words in Philippians 4.

11Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Truly, no man can serve two masters. Let us pray that we will internalize the words of Paul in Philippians 4, that we would have the desire to live faithfully for Christ whether we abound in wealth or suffer need.

Go to Christ this day. Pray that you will not serve two masters, but will only serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

God Bless You,
Linda


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wise Servant


42"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

45"Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, 'My master is staying away a long time,' 49and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 24:42-51, New International Version

Wise Servant

There is more to being a servant than just being a servant! Jesus gives a contrast in today's Bible passage from Matthew 24 between a wise servant and a foolish servant. As servants of Christ, this is a lesson we would do well to heed.

A short statement by Christ preludes this lesson.

If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.

We often express this same truth by saying, "Hindsight is always 20/20."? What kind of a Christian life do we live? Are we ready for the Lord's return, or do we become lax in our daily living because we view the return of Christ as a long time in the future? This is a most serious question for us to consider.

Our chief focus in this life, as Christians, is our service to the Lord. No matter what our station in life and no matter what our circumstances, God has placed us right where we are to be a faithful and wise servant to Him. As wise servants of God, we are actually ministers to everyone we are around each and every day of our lives.

Let us, this day, be faithful and wise servants to the Lord. Let us live as though He will return this very day and seek an accounting of our service to Him. This is only possible by the grace of God; call to Him for help today and He will hear you.

God Bless You,
Linda