Wednesday, April 30, 2014

May 1, 2014

"When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food. Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve baskets full of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children." Matthew 14:13-21

When a few people do small things in obedience to Jesus a big need can be met!

That is the story of the feeding of the 5,000.

Jesus and His disciples found themselves surrounded by thousands of hungry people miles away from any food source with not much money and nothing to eat. Does that sound like a formula for a happy ending?

Since you know the story you know that it was precisely the perfect scenario for a miracle to occur!

Each person who saw the need and cared about the need gave the little that they had and performed the small task they could do and Jesus did the rest! One of the disciples found a youngster with a lunch. The lad donated his lunch and the disciples went out into the crowd and got them to sit in an orderly fashion. After Jesus had bless the fishes and the loaves, He handed them to the disciples to begin passing them out. Moving through the famished throng they passed out bread and fish and handed out bread and fish and keep passing the out until people wanted no more.

After everything had been given out and was devoured, the disciples were instructed to collect the leftovers. Once the extra food was retrieved and returned to the Master it added up to twelve times more than they had when they started!

It is amazing what God can do when His people commit to doing what they can with the little they have, because it is all about Him and not about us!

The disciples found that out in a remote seaside location. FredWes discovered it with our "FLOW H2O" project this year. We committed to raising $8,500 for the cost of drilling a well in a remote African village. One after another, FredWes family members pledged to contribute what they could toward that goal. When the pledging was done, the total was $12,000! Over $10,000 of that has come in.

This Sunday we will present a representative from World Hope International with a check for our first well!

Little is much when God is in it!

Don't wait for big things, do little things in faith!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April 30, 2014

"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up" Ephesians 4:10-11

As popular as the passing game is in football, especially the NFL, I think there is nothing more beautiful than a running play that breaks for a long touchdown. In real time I will notice the running back shake a tackle, spin into the open and out run the defenders to the end zone for a score.

When they show it again on the replay, I see something different. Rather than just a stellar run by a speedy back, I see an offensive guard who knocks a defensive lineman down and an offensive tackle pushing another defensive lineman to the side opening a hole for the running back. I also see a fullback engaging a linebacker to make more space and a wide-receiver blocking a defensive back down field. 

Looking at the replay in slow motion reveals the touchdown was the result of a team executing their individual assignments and not just one ball carrier making a great play. 

No individual player can beat the opposing team by his self. One person going against eleven others is not a winning formula for football. It takes a team that is committed to teamwork in order to have a chance to win.

Winning teams are the product of players who consistently execute their assignments on every play. Teams that don't execute their assignments on a consistent basis will get beaten - often!

Jesus designed the Church in a similar pattern. God has gifted each member in each local church to be able to successfully execute a ministry assignment.

You have a spiritual gift as do I! Your gift is as important as mine. When we each use our gifts within the ministry of a local church under the authority of that local church, that church (team) becomes more effective in ministering the Gospel. Spiritual gifts are given by God and are empowered by the Holy Spirit.

No single person in a local church can do every thing that is required to be done. But he can do one thing! As each one does what he is gifted to do, under the power of the Holy Spirit, the "team" begins to execute more effectively! 

A lot can happen when each person on the "team" does the little things he is good at doing rather than trying to "do it all".

This year at FredWes, we raised $8,500 to build a well in an African village! We did not do it by one person giving it all, but instead we had many people doing the best they could!

Do you want to have a winning team?

Have you discovered your position on the team?

If so, play your position the best you can!

April 29, 2014

"The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building." I Corinthians 3:8-9

Helen Keller Quote

My life has been greatly enriched by belonging to teams!

In middle school and high school I was on winning basketball and baseball teams. 

Again, in college I enjoyed playing on soccer teams and basketball teams and baseball teams.

Even though I have played on a number of teams in several sports, I have never won a game by myself. Every victory was the result of playing my position as well as I could and counting on my team mates to do the same. Together we were able do what none of us could have done alone, win games and even championships!

That is the beauty of my most favorite team, the local church body at FredWes! In this year that just ended, we accomplished some significant things together that we couldn't have done alone!

While we may have some members who could write a check for $8,500 to drill a well in Africa, many could not. But with the members of our team giving $50, $100, $200, $500 we surpassed our goal and currently have raised over $10,000!

That's a big win!

That's a win that will result in eternal victories!

That win will not only be celebrated in this generation but for generations to come! 

It is the equivalent of your favorite sports team winning a game that makes them the champions of their league forever!

FredWes this Sunday will celebrate a team win when we hand a check for $8,500 to the representative of World Hope International! When we do, you should feel like a winner! You didn't win it by yourself, but we would not have won without you!

Well done!

Monday, April 28, 2014

April 28, 2014

"Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord."  Hebrews 12:14

"Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord."  Hebrews 12:14 (Amplified)

Holiness is hard!

Look at the two main verbs in this verse "strive" and "pursue". Those are extra effort type words. They require energy and determination - and desire.

What is holiness and why is it so hard?

Well, the "what it is" is "why it is" so hard.

Holiness is consecrating yourself to God, as the Amplified renders it. Consecrate means that I set myself apart from my selfish desires, my selfish ambitions, my sinful past and give myself completely to God for the purpose of being made holy by Him. You or I cannot make ourselves holy, we can only repent of our sins and renounce sin to give ourselves unreservedly to God so He can make us holy by the cleansing of His blood and the indwelling of His Spirit.

Holiness refers to the condition of your heart in relationship to God. Holy people love God with all their heart and all of their mind. Holiness allows the Holy Spirit to take up residence in your heart empowering you to overcome temptation and sin.

Holiness purifies your motives so that whatever you do is fueled by love (for God and for others). Holiness is being able to fulfill the Great Commandment by loving God and loving others as yourself.

In this verse holiness is equated with peace. You cannot be holy with God while you live in turmoil with others.

So, holiness is difficult because it requires being reconciled on two levels of relationship - holy with God and at peace with men. That doesn't happen automatically. It doesn't happen accidentally. You have to "strive" against your selfish nature and you must "pursue" God's nature.

But holiness is necessary and required of those who desire to see God - Who also happens to be holy.

Holiness really matters! Does it matter to you?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

April 27, 2014

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."   Hebrews 11:6

Did you ever have someone in your life who was hard to please? No matter how hard you tried or what you did you found you could never please them? That is pretty miserable isn't it?

God doesn't want you miserable and He is not hard to please. In fact, He makes it clear what it takes to please Him. When you come to Him believing that "He is" or "He exists" He is pleased.

When you think about it, why would you come to someone who doesn't exist or whose existence you doubt? What is the point in that?

God does, indeed, exist! He always has! He always will. There will never be a time He doesn't exist. He exists at all times in all places with all power and forever!

God can be fully present here in Fredericksburg, VA and be fully present with you at the same time!

In fact, when God identified Himself to Moses He named Himself as "I am". Or, you could also say "I exist".

So, when you come to God and you believe that He exists as the "I am" - the fully present, fully powerful, and fully perfectly personal eternal Being - He is perfectly pleased!

Are you fully persuaded that "He is" when you seek Him? If so, He is fully pleased!

Friday, April 25, 2014

April 26, 2014

".......because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."  Hebrews 11:6

The old saying claims, "You do for love what you wouldn't do for money."

That is proven every Sunday in every church nursery when faithful volunteer workers change stinky diapers of infants who are not theirs. Yep, that's love!

When someone volunteers to sit in a nursery filled with stinky bawling babies, what are they looking for? Why do they do that? It isn't fun or pleasant. It doesn't do much for them.

Motive matters and when you are a nursery worker you are not doing it for the reward you are probably doing it for the relationships.

This verse states that "God is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him".

Are you seeking God for a reward or are you seeking Him for a relationship? Is your faith based upon what you hope to get from Him or are you seeking  to know Him?

Hebrews 11 is the Christian Heroes Hall of Fame (or Hall of Faith). What made these men and women exemplary was not just what they did, but what motivated them to do it.

Noah labored every day for over 100 years building something he had never built before to prepare for something he had never seen before! Why was he doing that? What reward was he seeking? He didn't get paid by the hour nor was he on salary. He not only had to pound the nails into the boards and seal then with pitch - he had to make the nails, he had to cut down the trees and draw the tar out of the trees. There were no Lowes or Home Depots in that day.

Noah wasn't in it for the reward. I believe he was in it for the relationship with God.

You could go through this list of great people and ask, "Were they after a reward or were they wanting a relationship?" I believe the answer would be the same, they wanted to please God through their obedience. And they did! They altered history! They changed the world! They changed lives!

In the end they discovered an amazing truth - God IS their reward! They found that what Who He is far exceeds anything we could ever receive from Him.

Are you seeking God for what you can get from Him? Are you after the reward more than you're after the relationship? God can't reward self-seeking. You run the risk of missing both the reward and the relationship - which, in fact, IS the reward!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

April 25, 2014

"Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." Acts 2:46-47

Faith becomes contagious like a virus or flu bug, through casual contact. When it comes out of quarantine and connects with other believers or makes contact with unbelieving people regularly and intentionally, it can infect many!

Healthy contagious churches have growing people and they have generous people but the also have genuine people.

What is a genuine person?

In terms of our analogy it would mean someone who has a real case of the disease.

How can you be contagious and infect others unless you are infected yourself?

Perhaps the key word in this verse is "sincere". This word has roots in two Greek words "sine" and "cera" which when translated literally mean "without wax". Here's the story behind it:

In the ancient days unscrupulous potters would use wax to seal up the cracks that were created in their kiln. Rather than throwing out their defective pottery they filled the cracks with wax and painted over them making them look first quality. But of course, the unsuspecting buyer who purchased one soon discovered the flaw and knew he had been deceived.

Not only did this reflect poorly on the crooked potter but also on the honest ones. So, in an attempt to distinguish themselves from dishonest pottery merchants the legit ones began displaying signs declaring - "our pottery is sine cera" - without wax!

To have a contagious faith you must be "sincere" - the real deal - not trying to hide your faults but committing those flaws to God. Genuine believers are not perfect in their performance but perfect in their desires and motives.

Like the early Christians, genuine believers don't just claim to love worship - they worshiped - "Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts".

How can you claim to be a genuine Christian and then be haphazard with worship?

Like the early Christians, genuine Christians don't just claim to love fellowship - they were involved daily in fellowship - "They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts".

How can you claim to be a genuine Christian and be careless in your fellowship with your church?

Like the first Christians, genuine Christians don't just claim to witness - they were involved with witnessing to their faith daily - "praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."

How can you claim to be a genuine Christian and not be clear or consistent with your witness?

Contagious Christians are genuine in their worship, genuine in their fellowship and genuine in their witness. When that happens God's Spirit is unleashed to call unbelievers to faith!

Genuine faith lowers the level of resistance non-believers so they can "catch" the contagious faith of sincere believers!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

April 24, 2014

"All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need."  Acts 2:44-45

I remember when I got it just like I get the flu, I caught it from someone else. I'll bet you did, too!

To what am I referring?

Faith! Contagious faith, that is!

When I read the second chapter of Acts I see contagious faith on display!

So, as one who would love to see the Church come out of quarantine and start and epidemic of Christianity I asked myself, "What causes a church to become contagious?"

I was able to recognize three traits of a contagious church:

1) Growing people

2) Generous people

3) Genuine people

In my previous post I talked about growing people. Today's verses focus on the second trait of contagious churches - generous people.

That begs the question, "What does it mean to be generous?" Does it mean giving to everything every time a need presents itself? Does it mean giving a large amount to a few needs?

In keeping with the big idea of this message, generosity is defined in terms of what can spread the most "germs" of faith? How can I give in a way that breaks down people's resistance to the faith and makes them more susceptible to "catching" our faith? Where can I get the most spiritual impact from my gift?

Another important concept in these verses is the idea of "getting by with less in order to give more". True generosity is not just giving more because you have more, it about needing less to be able to give more. It is about taking more risks in giving because we have each other's backs. 

Some look at the phrase "having everything in common" and see socialism or communism. I look at it an see Christian love. I see responsible stewards being frugal so they can care for their own needs and be able to care for others within the fellowship. That is being generous!

Caring for one another by living on less to give more, fosters a level of love and Christian community that catches the attention of unbelievers and draws them toward the faith.

Furthermore, when needs are cared for within the church that fellowship is prepared to respond to outreach opportunities when they arise. When that happens contagious churches are willing to do what it takes to reach out even if it means selling off some possessions to do it!

Growing people are generous people and growing generous people make a church contagious!

April 23, 3014

"They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." Acts 2:42-47

Nearly a year after I had returned from a mission trip to Africa I received a phone call from someone at the Center for Disease Control , Atlanta. As soon as the caller identified herself  and where she was calling from she had my full attention!

She proceeded to explain that it had been discovered that someone on the flight back to the USA from Africa had tested positive for tuberculosis so everyone listed on that flight manifest was strongly urged to get screened for TB.

Fortunately, I had not contracted that very dangerous and contagious disease and I hope no one else did either!

But that got me thinking about how one person can infect several hundreds of other people just by being in close proximity with them. 

The members of the Church in Acts 2 were like that! They infected everyone around their city with their contagious faith!

That raises the question, "How did they get contagious enough to infect others?"

Verse 42 gives some insights - "They devoted themselves......."

The original language renders it "they continually gave themselves"  to four important functions of a contagious church:

1) devoted (continually and earnestly) learning and study of the Word

2) devoted (continually and earnestly) fellowship with believers

3) devoted (continually and earnestly) sharing of the sacraments

4) devoted (continually and earnestly) prayer

You may accurately say they remained contagious by staying infected with a good case of the "faith" disease.

What about you?

Are you truly devoted to your faith?

Are you continual and earnest in your study of God's Word?

Are you continual and earnest in finding fellowship with other believers? 

Are you continual and earnest toward the sacrament of Communion?

Are you continual and earnest in your prayers?

Are you "contagious" enough to "infect" someone else with your faith?

Monday, April 21, 2014

April 22, 2014

"Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"  John 11:25-26

This is quite a claim made by Jesus! Very confident and quite comforting!

If you will live and believe in Jesus, and if you allow Him to live in you by faith, you will never die!

However, there ARE several things that WILL die when you die and I feel compelled to point those out.

When you die, suffering dies. The moment you slip away from your earthly body and into eternity with Jesus - your suffering is over! Forever!

When you die, sorrow dies. At your last breath in this life, you are done with sorrow! Once your spirit enters into the presence of God there will be only joy! Sadness has no place in Heaven! You will shed no more tears. You will know no more heartbreak!

When you die, sin dies. If you die in Christ and enter into His paradise you will enter a safe, secure, sin-free environment. Not only will you be free from sin but you will not have to deal with temptation either!

So, you see, death is final - final for the things that are not worthy of God or right for eternity!

As we bring the Easter Holiday to a close I just wanted to remind you of a few reasons why it is the pivotal event in all of human history! You will never die, but all the things that make your life difficult or painful will die!

He's alive! You will live! Your heart-ache and hardships won't! Your crises and crosses will become crowns!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 21, 2014

"And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered." Luke 4:1-2

Wow! Is this confusing!

It was the Holy Spirit that led Jesus into temptation? I thought Jesus taught us in the Lord's Prayer to pray, "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil."

So, how is it that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted?

This apparent inconsistency provides a good opportunity to clarify what Jesus meant when He gave us this pattern for prayer. Notice that the end of the verse says, "but deliver us from evil."

When you understand what Jesus was REALLY praying here you will get a greater appreciation for it. He is teaching us to daily implore the Father to never lead us into temptation unless He delivers us from doing evil. In fact, when you have prayed that prayer and God does lead you into a time of testing you can be assured that He plans to deliver you!

What Jesus knew when He went to the wilderness, led by the Holy Spirit, to be tempted by the Evil One that God would deliver Him from evil. God did not lead Him out there to fail.

This is akin to what Paul writes in I Corinthians 10:13 regarding temptation and trials, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

The alternative to having God lead you into temptation would be to go in alone. You don't want to do that! There is only one reason to go into temptation - TO COME OUT STRONGER! Only God can do that!

Jesus discovered first hand that God only leads us into temptation in order to deliver us from evil.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

April 20, 2014

"The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. "He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. "Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you."… Matthew 28:5-7

The glorious news of Easter is that Jesus is alive and that makes all the difference in the world!

A Muslim in Africa became a Christian which is extremely dangerous  and even fatal in Muslim countries. One of his friends asked him, “Why have you done such a thing?” He answered, “Well, its like this: Suppose you were going down the road and suddenly the road forked in two directions. You didn’t know which way to go; and there at the fork were two men—one dead, and one alive—which one would you ask to show you the way?”

The glorious news of Easter is that Jesus is alive! He arose from the dead and that makes all the difference in the world!

Max Lucado, in his book, “Six Hours One Friday,” tells the story of a missionary in Brazil who discovered a tribe of Indians in a remote part of the jungle. They lived near a large river. The tribe was in need of medical attention. A contagious disease was ravaging the population. People were dying daily. 

A hospital was not too terribly far away — across the river, but the Indians would not cross it because they believed the river was inhabited by evil spirits. And to enter its water would mean certain death. 

The missionary explained how he had crossed the river & was unharmed. But they were not impressed. He then took them to the bank & placed his hand in the water. They still wouldn't go in. He walked into the water up to his waist & splashed water on his face. It didn't matter. They were still afraid to enter the river. 

Finally, he dove into the river, swam beneath the surface until he emerged on the other side. He raised a triumphant fist into the air. He had entered the water & escaped. It was then that the Indians broke into a cheer & followed him across.

Isn't that what Jesus did? He entered the river of death & came out on the other side so that we might no longer fear death, but find eternal life in Him.

The glorious news of Easter is that Jesus died for our sins and arose on the third day! He is alive for ever more and that makes all the difference in the world!

On Feb. 27, 1991, it was the height of the Desert Storm War. A woman by the name of Ruth Dillow received the worst news that a mom could ever receive. Her son, Clayton Carpenter, Private, First Class, had stepped on a land mine in the Persian Gulf and he was . For the next three days she grieved the loss of her son, and although people tried to comfort her, there just isn’t any comfort that can comfort the grieving mom – no words that can be whispered. Three days after the notification of the of her son, the phone rang. She picked up the phone, and on the other end of the line there was a voice that said, “Mom, it’s me. I’m alive.” She didn’t believe it. She thought it was some kind of cruel joke and as he continued to speak, she recognized his voice. Her son was alive She said she laughed, cried, she rejoiced – what seemed like a hopeless situation was radically transformed into the greatest day of her life. That’s what news from a graveyard can do Today, I’d like you to know that there is still hope from an empty tomb.

He is alive! Rejoice in the difference Easter Sunday makes for you!

Friday, April 18, 2014

April 19, 2014

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;" I Corinthians 15:3-7

There is a saying that only two things are sure in this world, death and taxes.

This week I have had very real experiences with each. It was a tough week.

But on this Easter week-end I want to declare there is a third thing in life that is sure - THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST!

Some doubt that.

This week an atheist group posted billboards that claimed - "no one died for your sins - Jesus is a myth"

I am amazed at how stupid people become when they are overcome by hatred for Christianity.

There is nothing mythical about Jesus. He is so well documented that we mark time by His life. It is 2014 AD!

And the Resurrection of Jesus is one of those most documented events in history! 

The Romans documented His resurrection in their attempts to prevent it! By sealing the tomb and posting Roman guards in front of it, they assured His body would not be stolen. The fact that the seal was broken, the stone rolled away, the fearless guards having fled in fear, the grave clothes neatly folded, the angels present, and Jesus' body gone are all evidences that Christ arose from the dead.

Reliable historic record documents that over 500 people testified to having seen the Risen Jesus following His Resurrection. They testified to this despite the threats and pressures to deny the Resurrection. No one ever found the dead body of Jesus but hundreds saw the Risen body of Jesus.

The millions of transformed lives over the two thousand years of Christian history testifies to the power and presence of a Risen Savior! Why would people be willing to forsake everything that this world system values in order to follow Jesus if they were not absolutely convinced of His resurrection?

It is illogical to declare Jesus is a myth. History documents that Jesus lived and that He was crucified on a cross. There are three logical conclusions about Christ:

First, He was a liar. He claimed to the the Son of God while knowing that He was not.

Second, He was a lunatic in that He lived under the delusion that He was the Son of God but wasn't.

Third, He is Who He claimed to be - the Son of God in the flesh Who came to take away the sins of the world.

So who do you say Jesus is?




If you conclude that He is Lord then you concede the resurrection!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

April 18, 2014

"But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.  More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins."  I Corinthians 15:12-17

There are many reasons to rejoice over the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. I have shared two:

The Fear of Death Is Gone!

The Freedom of Forgiveness Has Come!

On this day, Good Friday, I want to share a third reason for rejoicing in the Resurrection:

The Foundation of Faith Is Here to Stay!

Some 350 prophecies were fulfilled through the birth, the life, the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If just one of those had failed then all of them would have been proven false! In fact, if just one small detail of one of those prophecies would have gone amiss then every prophecies would have been discredited.

But every detail of every prophecy, some given centuries in advance, happened exactly as predicted!

Jesus' resurrection was the most significant event in human history. He predicted His resurrection on several occasions prior to pulling it off. If after predicting it He would have remained in the tomb, He would have been proven a fraud.

The veracity of God's Word depended entirely on Jesus fulfilling the mission of the Messiah. Mankind's sins had to be atoned for and death had to be defeated.

When the sinless Jesus from Nazareth died on the cross of Calvary and then rose from the dead on the third day, He satisfied the penalty for sin and smashed the power of death!

Because Jesus accomplished everything the Scriptures predicted, we can rest assured that the foundation of our faith is firm forever!

Since every prophecy and prediction put forth in the Bible has been fulfilled up to the present day, there is every reason to have full expectation that His word is reliable and prophecies yet to be fulfilled WILL BE FULFILLED!

That's a reason for rejoicing!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 17, 2014

"If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins" 1 Corinthians 15:17

The Resurrection is reason for rejoicing because the fear of death is gone!

Also, the Resurrection is reason for rejoicing because the freedom of forgiveness is come!

When you wrong another person you make yourself indebted to them because you must right the wrong.  The more important the relationship the heavier will be the sense of indebtedness. That's why three of the most comforting words in the English language are "I forgive you". 

Jesus went to the cross on Good Friday to provide payment for a massive debt. But it wasn't a debt He owed it was a debt owed by you and me for our selfishness and disobedience against God! Your debt against a holy loving God resulted in feelings of guilt, shame, regret, and condemnation in your spirit. This debt was too great for you to ever pay and in fact, you continued running up the debt.

On the cross, Jesus paid a debt He didn't owe and a debt that only He could pay so you can be freed from the haunting feelings of shame and guilt and condemnation!

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."  Romans 8:1-3

"Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law." Romans 13:8

That is a reason enough for rejoicing, but it is not the only reason! It gets better!

Not only did Jesus die to pay the price and take the penalty for your sins, but He rose from the dead to prove His power and authority over sin and death! So not can you know His forgiveness you can know the Forgiver!

Rejoice that fear has gone!

Rejoice that forgiveness has come!