Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The Humility of Christ

 Tuesday, January 31, 2023 

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8

 The Humility of Christ

Jesus gave us the very best examples of how we are to walk the Christian walk and love others, not only in His actions, but also in His mindset.  What He modeled for us is loving and serving others in humility. We can learn to react to others like Christ by following His example. Paul wrote about this to the Church in Philippi who was having trouble with lack of unity. He doesn’t list all the qualities of Christ but highlights the qualities of Christ that fit their needs at that time.

Jesus was in the form of God meaning that He always was, since the beginning of time. He didn’t begin His existence when He was born in Bethlehem. He is eternal. He did not count His equality with God as something to grasp. He let go of the splendor of being God, to be man, and when He did this, He emptied Himself.

We can be humble like Christ, we don’t have to just read about Him and admire Him for who He is, thinking we can never be like Him. We are to be in awe of Christ but still see it as something we want to be a part of and imitate in our own life.

Jesus Became a Bond Servant - This describes how Jesus emptied Himself. Though he took the form of a bondservant, Jesus did not empty Himself of His deity, or of any of His attributes, or of His equality with God. He emptied Himself into the form of a bondservant. In Bible times, a bondservant was someone who served for no wages, or was in a constant state of servitude. They were completely at the disposal of their master. Jesus emptied Himself to become a bondservant to all mankind. Jesus had a servant’s heart. He had compassion for those in need and those that no one else wanted to have anything to do with. He was the King of Kings but set that aside to become a bond servant so we would have an example of how to serve others. 

Jesus Became a Man - Jesus becoming man was another way He emptied Himself.  Even though He was in the form of God, He understood that a posture of humility is important in serving and loving others. Jesus hadto do this for the will of His father to be fulfilled. He had to give up His royalty to become a man to then be obedient to God – obedient to the point of death, the greatest act of humility ever. The only way this could ever be fulfilled was for Jesus to leave heaven and become a man in order to become obedient.

Even Death On A Cross – Jesus’ death on a cross shows that there is no limit to what God will do to demonstrate His love and saving power for us. In obedience, Jesus came and suffered to fulfill this amazing act of love in humility for us. He lowered Himself down from the glory of His highest-ranking majesty, and perfect heavenly home, in order to join the common ranks of a morally imperfect humanity. He was willing to give up everything to bring salvation to a sinful, broken world.

“The lower he stoops to save us, the higher we ought to lift him in our adoring reverence. Blessed be his name, he stoops, and stoops, and stoops, and, when he reaches our level, and becomes man, he still stoops, and stoops, and stoops lower and deeper yet.” (Spurgeon)

Monday, January 30, 2023

When Jesus Washes Your Feet

  Monday, January 30, 2023

It was now just before the Passover Feast, and Jesus knew that His hour had come to leave this world and return to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the very end.The evening meal was underway, and the devil had already put into the heart of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had delivered all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was returning to God.  So He got up from the supper, laid aside His outer garments, and wrapped a towel around His waist.  After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel that was around Him. John 13:1-5

When Jesus Washes Your Feet
On the last Thursday before His death, burial and resurrection, Jesus gave His disciples a special commandment, a new commandment, as He celebrated His final Passover meal with them. This new commandment was A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (John 13:34). This command gave the disciples a new standard to measure themselves by - the way they loved others.

Jesus loved His disciples sacrificially, meeting their deepest needs in a way no one else could, by giving them forgiveness of sins and new life. He loved everyone that way, even His enemies. He commanded His disciples, and us, to love all the way He loved. That means those who we think don’t deserve it, those who are difficult to love, and those who are different than us. He loves us unconditionally, expecting nothing in return, and He expects us to love others that way as well. He gives us a choice we don’t deserve. We have the option of death as the wages of sin, (For the wages of sin is death… Romans 6:23a), or death to our self (sin) and eternal life in Him. (...but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23b) We only deserve death but He loved us enough to gift us eternal life, if we choose to accept it. That is the unconditional love that He loved us with so we would follow His example and love others the way He loved us. 

Jesus didn’t just share a meal with them that night, He washed their feet, a beautiful display of humility and servant leadership. As they sat and dined together, Jesus rose from the table and began to wash their feet.  The job of a slave.  Peter was uncomfortable with Jesus washing his dirty feet, but Jesus told Peter that unless he let Jesus wash his feet, that he couldn’t be a part of His work.  Jesus was setting an example for them.  He instructed them to wash each other’s feet just as He has washed their feet.  He served those who serve Him.  This is the lesson of the least shall be the greatest and the greatest shall be the least.  And Jesus wasn’t just setting an example, He was telling them to be humble and serve one another.  This is how He expected them to treat each other after He left.  I have set you an example so that you should do as I have done for you.  Truly, truly, I tell you, no servant is greater than his master,  nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. John 13:16-17

After He washed their feet, Jesus explained to them that one of them would betray Him soon.  They were all in a stir, each one positive that there is nothing that would ever make them betray their Lord.  Jesus proceeded to tell them that the one who betrays Him will face serious consequences.  They were consumed with trying to figure out which one of them Jesus was talking about.  Jesus revealed that it was Judas, whose feet He had just washed in humble service.  

Right up to the end of His life Jesus was setting the example of how we are supposed to live our lives and treat others. It is almost as if He was working really hard that last week to get everything done that He needed to before He left. Life is relationships - Brother Van has said it so many times, and Jesus showed us with His life - how we treat others will be more important than any other accomplishment we will ever achieve. 

A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another. John: 13:34-35

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Whatever It Takes

 Whatever It Takes 

John 13:1-17


Posture is everythingPhilippians 2:5-8

Assured of the faithfulness of God, the Father that would never leave Him not forsake Him…



It’s a Heart Issue!  

Pride verses humility every time...Proverbs 14:12; Romans 8:6-8



godly example is a greater example.

Be the being before you do the doing.” Mark 10:45



Actions for Whatever it Takes:

·  Seek First HIs kingdom and righteousness Matthew 6:33

·  Seek to SERVE not to be served Mark 10:45

·  Seek the Savior to save the lost Luke 19:10

Pray, Serve, Share!


Friday, January 27, 2023

The Testimonies of Baptism and The Lord's Supper

 Friday, January 27, 2023 Some material taken from United By Our Beliefs Part 3

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.  II Peter 3:17-18

Why Baptism and The Lord’s Supper

Believer's Baptism by Immersion is the symbol and a testimony to our faith and decision to become a believer. It connects us with Christ and the church. The act of baptism itself is not where salvation lies. It is an extension of our public profession of faith in Jesus Christ. We are declaring to the world that we are now His. It is done “in obedience to the command of Jesus Christ.” (Matthew 18:19-20)

Only those individuals who have repented placed their personal faith in Jesus Christ and experienced the new birth, are eligible to be baptized (John 3:3). 

The Lord's Supper a Symbol and Testimony

The Lord’s Supper was instituted by Christ as a memorial to His atoning sacrifice. 

When we observe the Lord’s Supper, we remember Him and what He did for us on Calvary. It is an opportunity for us to confess any sin and focus on our own personal relationship with Christ. Just as baptism does not bring salvation, the Lord’s supper does not save us. It is a sacrament to remember the saving grace of God through His shed blood and broken body. The juice symbolizes His blood that was shed, and the cracker or bread symbolizes his broken body. 

It is not a sacrament in the sense of conveying saving grace through the elements of bread and wine (or juice). The elements are to remind believers of the broken body and spilled blood of Christ in giving his life for others. 

Our Testimony

When we become Christians, we have a testimony. A testimony is the story of our lives from the time we were born until the time we accept the gift of salvation. Some people have a more dramatic testimony than others, but that’s okay! It’s great if God brought you out of the depths of drug abuse or alcohol addiction, and your life was radically changed. But it is also great if you have been in church your whole life but realized you are missing something very important – a relationship with God. 

As Christians we know that Jesus is coming again. Every day we have to persevere, push forward, and encourage each other to remain steadfast. How can we persevere? We persevere and remain steadfast by studying His words and growing in His grace and knowledge. 

Testimonies are not for keeping to ourselves. They are for sharing. We need to share our testimony with others so that they too will know that they can have what we have – a transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Honoring God in our Decisions

 Thursday, January 26, 2023

For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil. 1 Peter 3:17

To be right with God has often meant to be in trouble with men.  – A.W. Tozer

Honoring God in our Decisions

Sometimes trusting God and doing what you believe to be right is the loneliest place in the world, even in Christian circles.  It is a difficult place to be in when you know what you should do, but it upsets the people closest to you, even when it is the right, God-honoring thing to do. It is confusing at times because we expect others to want the right thing too.  But that is not always the case.  There are times our faithfulness can bring us promotion in the world but there are also times when it can make things very difficult for us. It is better to be lonely doing the right thing than to be in a roomful of people, knowing that you have compromised your own personal principles and crossed a line. 

God’s words are not negotiable.  Christians should be the last ones to give other Christians a hard time about standing up and doing the right thing, but alas, we are human through and through.  There is no worse feeling in the world than when you can’t turn to the people you need to turn to for guidance and help.  You may have alienated them by making the decision that would honor God and now you have no one to turn to.  You may feel isolated and alone, having made a right decision but feeling like a horrible person. Then and only then will you realize true dependence on God.  When you have no one else, you always have your Heavenly Father, and during this time, it is Him that you need the most.  

Brother Van once said that if you hunger and thirst for righteousness, you will not win the popularity contest and this is true. The relationships you have here on earth are only temporary but the relationship you have with your heavenly father is a forever one.  He is the one that holds your eternity in His hands.  He gave His one and only son for you. He is the one that is the lover of your soul and it is to Him we should look to and live to please.  It seems like making the right choices should not bring about such uncomfortableness in our lives.  We should be rewarded and protected for making choices that honor God, but Jesus warned us that we would be suffer sometimes for choosing Him. In the end, it all comes down to you and God and that should be what matters the most. 

Someone said If you have to choose between being liked and being respected, choose respect every time.  And not only respect, but the deep down satisfaction that you have made the right choice.  The bible says in 1 Peter 19-23: For God is pleased with you when you do what you know is right and patiently endure unfair treatment. Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.  So we should expect hardship for doing wrong things but God takes notice when we do the right thing and suffer as a result. Jesus trusted God, who judges fairly. He is the one who will judge all of us in the end. 

Our Purpose is to please God, not people.  He alone examines the motives of our hearts.  
1 Thessalonians 2:4

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Have You Secured Eternity?

Wednesday, January 25, 2023 Some material from United in Our Beliefs Part 3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. I Peter 1:3-5 

Securing Eternity

Security of the Believer - All true believers endure to the end. 

When we become a Christian, we begin a relationship with God that guarantees our eternal security.  We are held by God, sanctified by His Spirit and destined for an eternal home with Him in Heaven. Jude 24 says, To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy. God’s grace is forever, and nothing and no one can take it away or snatch you from His hand, but the familiar “Once saved, always saved’” tends to cheapen the grace of God. We should never take the grace of God for granted and not look at this concept as an extra allowance to fail, but instead as a safety net, or protection from ourselves. I am so glad that I cannot do anything that would make God stop loving me or take His grace from me. We cannot even disqualify ourselves after Jesus Christ has qualified us with His shed blood. 

Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the cause of Christ, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

The Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed, I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. John 10:28-29b

The Eternal State 

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

"He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." John 3:36

Because we have this eternal security, we will be raised to eternal life with Him in heaven. Those who are not saved will be judged and everlasting punishment. Christians are present with the Lord as soon as they breathe their last breath. There they wait for the first resurrection, when spirit, soul and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord.

Satan is real. Hell is real. He may not be able to snatch us out of His hand, but he will try to turn our attention away from God as much as possible. He couldn’t care less about the unsaved. They are not a threat to him, but we are. Christians are a threat to Satan because he knows who already won. He wants to deceive as many as possible here on earth and keep Christians from leading more people away from him and to the Lord. We are safe. We have eternal security in God but there are many more who do not, and the time is now -  we need to be leading them to the Lord. 

We have eternal security because of God’s love for those whom He has redeemed. We have eternal security purchased by Christ, promised by the Father, and sealed by the Holy Spirit.


Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Where Does Abundant Life Come From?

Tuesday, January 24, 2023 

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.  2 Peter 3:18

Regeneration, Justification and  Sanctification= Abundance

The day we are saved is the first day of the rest of our lives, earthly and eternal. Salvation is the first step,in which we are justified by Christ. Titus 2:11 says that if we surrendered our lives over to Jesus Christ we are justified in Him. That means that we are delivered from the penalty of our sin. This deliverance from sin is the beginning, but the steps that follow require discipline, intention, and commitment on our part. The result is sanctification, which is an ongoing process that we will walk in for the rest of our lives on this earth. 

God’s purpose for us is to change us into the image of His Son that we might know the abundant life He promised.  God promises to finish what He starts in us. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 tells us Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. God will do it – He will bring it to pass. But we must do our part. We didn’t save ourselves and we cannot sanctify ourselves. Neither will He sanctify us if we go on with our lives, ignoring Him but expecting Him to be there, clearing the path and setting up a sweet life for us. At our invitation, He walks with us through this life, through this process of regeneration, justification, and sanctification.

Regeneration, is the new birth, or when we become new creatures in Christ Jesus. When we believe Jesus is the Son of God and we confess and repent, we begin the process of regeneration. We start the process of becoming a new creature in Him. 

Justification happens when God has paid the debt of our sin. To justify is to declare righteous. Justification is an act of God whereby He pronounces a sinner to be righteous because of that sinner’s faith in Christ. Justification brings the believer into a relationship of peace and favor with God.  

Sanctification - Progressive Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is grown into the image of Christ. For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:6

There is nothing in the Christian walk, besides salvation, that is not an ongoing process. Salvation happens once but growth in grace should continue throughout our lives. Christians should develop in their faith and be committed to a life of personal devotion to God. 

How does this process of sanctification work? God’s plan is to change us through a personal relationship with Him. This is personal discipleship. We get to have one-on-one discipleship training with the King of Kings. He loves us enough to give us a personal relationship with Him. Through this relationship with Him, He transforms us into what He created us for, while also giving us the strength we need for everyday living.It is a two-fold process. He transforms us into the image of His Son, Jesus, while strengthening and empowering our daily life. This happens when we spend time with Him, listen to Him and follow His leading. 

God wants a realationship with us more than He wants us to follow the rules. He wants us to obey out of our love for Him, so it is our responsibility to make this happen. It is our responsibility to prioritize our relationship – and time – with Him. The Bible tells us that our relationship with God and that transformation is worth more than anything we can ever attain on this earth. For bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:8  

Regeneration, justification and sanctification - this kind of growth is not found in a self-help book or in a program. It is only found in Him – in a relationship with Him. He is the only One who can give us new life, justify us before God and change us or sanctify us. When these things are happening, we will know abundant life. More abundant than having more things. Every relationship takes two for it to succeed. If we want to know God more, to obey in love, be transformed in His image, and know the abundant life He offers, we must invest in a realsionship with Him. The result of a personal relationship with Him will be knowing Him and His word, knowing His power and protection in our lives, knowing God’s direction and wisdom in our lives, knowing God’s peace and joy in our spirits, and seeing God’s work in our lives.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Three Things You Need to be Free Forever

MondayJanuary 23, 2023 
For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23

Three Things You Need to be Free Forever

It is both the most comforting and the most terrifying thing that we cannot do anything to earn our salvation. There is absolutely nothing we can do to save ourselves. We will fail at every attempt because it cannot be done. For some, they will strive their whole lives to “qualify” and “earn” salvation, only to realize that there is nothing they could do in their own power to help themselves. God gives us salvation as a gift, and we only need to accept it. 

How very comforting to know that God has already done for us what we will only ever fail at. He has earned our salvation for us and given it to us as a gift. Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man and begins and ends with God and His purpose of grace.  

There are Three Elements of Salvation:

Conviction - Salvation is brought about by the convicting work of the Holy Spirit and by the Word of God (proclaimed or read). The lost person is convicted of his sin and is convinced of his need of Jesus Christ, the Savior, to save him from sin.

Conviction is not just shame or guilty conscience over sin. It is not a fear of divine punishment, or just knowledge of right and wrong. Understanding sin and its consequences is far from being convicted of our sins. 

When we are convicted we feel such contempt for our own sin and how it dishonors God that we cannot stay the same. It usually comes after we have become aware of the true glory and holiness of God. When we see this, we feel our sin to such a greater extent compared to His presence. It is a realization of our condition and how much we truly need Him. 

Repentance - The natural man is called by God to a single act of repentance and believing.  Repentance is a change of mind, turning to Christ from sin, trusting and believing in Him as personal Savior in regard to the Gospel message. Both faith and repentance are a gift from God.

Once we are convicted, if we do nothing to change our condition then we just stagnate in our sin. We know that we are sinful and He is holy and without change we cannot have a relationship with Him. In order to make this change repentance is necessary and that means literally turning away from our sin and going in the opposite direction. Away from our sin and towards Christ. It requires action – not action that earns you salvation, but a necessary action for salvation. It involves both a physical turning from sin and a mindset of turning from rejecting Christ in sin to faith in Christ in repentance. 

Faith - Salvation is by grace alone through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Believers are saved and fully justified before their faith ever produces a righteous work.  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9   Salvation is all God's work. Those who believe are saved utterly apart from any effort on their own.  Eternal life is a gift of God (Romans 6:23).

Faith is trust and confidence in Jesus to do what He said He will do – forgive and reconcile us to God to enable our growth in Him. 

The salvation God offers us is freely ours if we’ll dare to believe He is that good. – Danielle Bernock  In faith we believe He is that good

Through conviction, repentance, and faith, God draws us, opening our eyes, and changing our hearts. All of these begin at salvation, but they are not a one and done. Every time we sin we should feel convicted and repent, renewing our faith in God and relationship with Him. We are saved once, but because of our human condition we will find ourselves asking for forgiveness and changing our ways forever – and that is growth. God knew this about us and that is why He gave His son to pay for all our sins – past, present, and future, and to secure our eternal home with Him in heaven. When we believe and receive the good gift of His grace and redemption, He gives us new life in Him forever. 

But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master. Romans 6:22-23 MSG


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