BRIANNA PEREZ – SINGING “REDEEMER” BY – NICOLE MULLEN

November 30, 2011

CHRISTIAN VIDEO:

Brianna Perez – Singing “Redeemer” By Nicole Mullen, at Calvary Temple Int. in Wayne, NJ.

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WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT STAYING “FOCUS” – KEEPING YOUR EYE ON THE PRIZE – KEEP YOUR EYE ON JESUS !!

September 21, 2011

“And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” 

Matthew 14:22-33 KJV

In this passage in Matthew, we see something that is very significant. Jesus had preached and, as usual, had attracted a large crowd. Five thousand men, besides women and children, had gathered to hear Him, and He not only taught them, but He also fed them all, possibly as many as ten thousand people through a miracle of provision. After He had fed them, He sent them away, and instructed His disciples to get into a boat and go out onto the Sea of Galilee while He Himself went to be alone to pray. While Christ was in prayer, the wind became boisterous, and the waters of the sea became severely troubled. But in the fourth watch of the night, He went out to the boat, walking on the water! When the disciples, who were, I’m sure, already very concerned about the weather, saw Him, they were frightened, and thought they were looking at an apparition! Knowing this, Jesus said “Be of good cheer,. it is I; be not afraid!” Peter, always the first to speak up, good or bad, said “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water!”. So Jesus instructed Peter to come on out to Him. Peter, following Christ’s instruction, proceeded to go out to Jesus, and he too was walking on the water! But when Peter realized what was going on, and saw that the wind and the waves were tempestuous, he was afraid, and began to sink down into the water. Peter immediately cried out to the Master, and Jesus stretched out His hand to catch him. And as Jesus caught him, He said “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? ” Jesus then took him, and they got into the boat, and when they did, the storm immediately ceased, they were immediately to the other side of the sea. And they all worshipped Jesus, saying “Of a truth thou art the Son of God “ It is to our loss as believers, that so oftentimes we forget the simplest teachings of the Scriptures. Peter was able to walk on the water by faith, until he took his eyes off Jesus, looking at the storm’s tempest instead. What a truth! So often we take our eyes off the Lord, because of troublesome co-workers, marital difficulties, rude people, unfair situations, life’s problems, et cetera. The lesson is simple—keep your eyes on the Lord and you won’t go under! When we find our self in these situations-frustrated, discouraged, and angry because of people—we need to focus our eyes once again upon the Word of God, i.e., the Lord Jesus Christ. It is quite easy to lose sight of one’s Christian beliefs, when overshadowed with adversity and grief. It can be overwhelming at times. People can be so cruel. In 2nd Timothy 3:1 KJV ” This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”  This verse warned us that “perilous times” would come, when people would be… lovers of their own selves. The majority of Americans today have become selfish, self-conscious, and self-centered. Sadly, America’s Christians aren’t much better. The Biblical account of Peter walking on the water to Jesus, is one of the first lessons which Sunday School children should learn, and a lesson which every adult Christian should never lose sight of. When we focus our thoughts upon the divine Truths of God’s Word, we are able to withstand the attacks of Satan. The Bible says, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13 KJV  You see, our Lord has gone up. And we are left here below to face the storm. Yet, we do not have to face the storms of life alone; He is ever with us. It says in the Bible, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25 KJV  As long as we hear His Voice, and obey His Word, we will be on top of the troubled water, or, on top of the storm – the situation that troubles us – we will be on top of LIFE. But when we take our eyes off Him, and begin to go our own way, and focus on other things, we will begin to sink down into that which we are focused on. When Peter followed the Master’s instruction, He was on top of the water, as troubled as it was. But when Peter took His eyes off Jesus, and began to look at the troubled water all around him, he began to sink down into that water. What He was FOCUSED on began to CONSUME him! And it’s the same with you and me. You see, just as Peter sank into the troubled waters, we too will sink if we focus on the trouble that is all around us! Now, I know, there are many things out there to trouble the waters. There will be storms in life. But do not focus on the storm! Because what you are focused on will consume you! That is why we must keep our eyes on Jesus! Because as we are focused on Him, we will not be consumed by the storm, but will be consumed with our Lord and Master Jesus Christ and His precious Holy Spirit as He becomes more and more the centre of our lives! And when we are focused on and consumed with the central figure of all the ages, we will NEVER be shaken! The Bible says, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” Psalms 118:8 KJV  We are indeed in a very troublesome time in the history of our people. Wickedness abounds, and the righteous are pressed down. The turbulent wind and the tempestuous waves are all around us on every side, and the trouble and hopelessness of our situation would seem to be almost insurmountable. Life is full of storms. What are you going to focus on? We must be as determined as Job was when he said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” Job 13:15 KJV  No matter what happens, we must remember that God is absolutely SOVEREIGN, and that the rulers of all nations and kingdoms of this world are but pawns in His Hand, to accomplish that which He desires. Don’t focus on the troubled water, and be consumed by it! Live your life according to God’s Word, keep your eyes on Jesus and put your trust in Him, and you’ll be on top of the troubled waters! Because right out there in the middle of all that trouble is the ROCK OF AGES, and He’s a FIRM FOUNDATION! This makes me think of a spiritual principle in the Bible. Instead of concentrating on the sins we want to avoid, we are told to focus on the positive actions Christ desires for us. “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”  We are to discard old ways of thinking and acting and “put on” new ways of living. When Christ and His interests are the focus of our lives, the lure of the old life remains in the corner of our eye, while we aim to land squarely in the center of God’s will.

God Bless, Jeff Ellinger


LABOR DAY – WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ? – KEEPING THE SABBATH

September 1, 2011

“Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” 

John 6:27, Exodus 20:10-11 KJV

Labor Day:

How do you define Labor Day?  For many, it marks the official end of summer.  Most children are back in school, each day show signs of getting shorter with earlier sunsets, and depending on your location, there might be cooler temperature in the air.  Yes, summer months are finally coming to a close and football fans are excited to cheer on their favorite team as the fall sports season begins. Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It forms a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. So, Labor Day is a holiday about work and recognition for the hard work people have put forth to strengthen our economy and our country as a whole. As men who want to be an example we need to remember some things about our work. The Bible says, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24 KJV  Also we must Be grateful. It says it here in the Bible, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” 1 Timothy 5:8 KJV  Most of all we need to remember that God values us not for what we do or how much we earn but for who we are… His beloved children redeemed through the sacrifice of his son Jesus. We should be dedicating ourselves to the Lord through our work. He is our real boss. So work hard as unto the Lord and know that his approval will guarantee success. We should also remember that it is by His labor on the cross that His rest is possible. So, the honor all goes to Him.

What Does The Bible say About Labor:

“And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11, 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11  KJV  I think Labor Day is a strange holiday. While we call it “Labor Day,” we try to do as little labor as possible and most working people have the day off. It’s a bad weekend for the Church…because everyone wants to do other things this weekend. Labor Day is different things to different people. To the factory or office worker, it may be a day off. But, for policemen, nurses and doctors, it’s just another work day. To farmers, it’s just another day to feed the livestock… and work in the field. Our passages today in 1 and 2 Thessalonians…encourage us to work rather than sit around on welfare. Many people think work is an undesirable thing…and they do as little as possible for the greatest return. This leads to the idea of someone else doing the work for you — an employee. In America, “labor” and “management” are adversaries. Labor wants the most money for the least work. Management wants the most work for the least money. The American way is based on this adversarial relationship. Our American work system is not necessarily Christian. The Bible says, “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.” Ephesians 6:5-9 KJV  This passage is about masters and slaves. However, it can easily be applied to management and employees. God cares about how we conduct business! He cares about how we treat others. We will all face judgment, both management and employees. The Christian cannot separate his business and his spiritual life. He has no right to “out-heathen” the heathen. The Christian does not live for self alone. The Bible says, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;” Romans 12:10 KJV  An employee should be paid what he deserves. The Bible says, ” At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee. Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbor, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.” Deuteronomy 24:15, Leviticus 19:13 KJV  These Old Testament passages applied to times…when a worker got paid every day.

The Importance of the Sabbath:

The Sabbath is more than a day of physical and mental relaxation. It is even more than the day on which we worship. The Sabbath has a definite redemptive significance—a distinct connection with the everlasting gospel. The New Testament often uses the word rest to describe the good news of salvation realized in the holy history of Jesus Christ. Ever since the Fall, this promised saving rest in Christ has been linked with the Sabbath. That is why the major feast days in the Old Testament were designated as Sabbath days of rest—they pointed ahead to the Messiah and His redemptive activity. The word sabbath means “rest,” and the first we discover about it in the Old Testament is that the Sabbath day belongs to God. He calls it “my holy day” here in the Bible, “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:” Isaiah 59:13 KJV  You can also recognize the importance of the Sabbath on Labor Day weekend. It says it here in the Bible, “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.” Genesis 2:2 KJV  It talks about how God ended his work and rested on the seventh day. If we want our work to be truly blessed by God, we should rest on the 7th day.  Our society today has trained us to believe that working happens from 9 to 5 every day, and then we have the rest of the day off!   Labor Day weekend is a great time to remind the people that work happens six days a week and not 40 hours a week, and you should still take time off on Sundays.  Labor Day is a great time to discuss the importance of observing the Sabbath in our lives.

Jesus’ Barbecue:

Jesus is inviting all of us over for a Labor Day soul food barbecue. The problem is that we take such poor care of our souls that we don’t even hear his invitation. There are hardly any of us here that go more than a day without eating. In fact, most of us eat every few hours. We live in a culture where our bodies are well-fed. In fact, our bodies are often overfed. And yet, in the midst of our culture’s all-you-can-eat buffet for the body, our souls are starving to death. We take great care to feed our temporary bodies, but our souls, which are eternal, are often lucky to get table scraps. How long has it been since you did something to nourish your soul? When was the last time you fasted, depriving your body of food so you could devote your spirit to prayer? When was the last time you read a book that stretched your thinking on some issue of theology? How long has it been since you worshipped God outside of our Church? When was the last time that you sat down as a family to read and discuss the Word of God? In a culture of unbelievable abundance and surplus, our souls are withering away from malnourishment. The problem is that a starving soul is harder to notice than a starving body. When you’re hungry, it’s easy to recognize. You feel it. It’s unmistakable. A hungry soul is less noticeable at first. The effects of a hungry soul are seen, such as, in a life lived with no peace. If all this talk about peace and rest is just ringing hollow with you, it could be because you’ve been starving your soul. The peace and rest Jesus offers is for our souls. It’s a peace that will outlast our lives and will outlast this world. The length of our lives is microscopic in comparison to eternity, and yet our lives in this world often dominate our time, attention, and energy. The Bible reminds us all that, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3 KJV  This is a call for us to have an eternal perspective in this temporary world. The challenge is to raise our sights above the physical and focus on the spiritual. If you have made a commitment to Jesus, you’re real life isn’t even here anymore. You’re real life is temporarily hidden with Jesus in heaven. So that is where our sights need to be. It’s a call to constantly guard against allowing ourselves to get bogged down with our temporary problems and struggles here. A time is coming when we will experience our real life in the presence of God. When that time comes, our struggles and hurts and pains will be a distant memory. And when we understand this, it gives us a peace in our lives that really does “transcend human understanding.”

Summary:

Tomorrow, a lot of us will take a short respite from work or school. I hope you enjoy the day. But much more than that, I hope we’ll all pursue a higher form of Labor Day. I pray that we’ll make every day a Labor Day God’s Way. The rest and peace that Jesus offers us is a life-changing, life-giving experience. He offers us peace to get us through heartaches and struggles. He offers us the peace of knowing that, no matter what hurt we experience, there is a hope that is sure. God is faithful to his promises, and if you have committed your life and your eternity to Jesus Christ, He will take you home to live with him forever. Those who come to God encounter no “Keep Out” signs. Through prayer, God the Father allows us immediate and unlimited access to Him because His Son Jesus Christ has opened the way to all who receive Him. The Bible says, “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” Ephesians 2:18 KJV  The parts of our lives that we have tried and failed to repair can be restored by the hand of God. Through faith in Christ, we can be made whole. It says “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” Matthew 11:28, John 6:37.7:37 KJV  Once you come to Christ for salvation, you can enjoy unrestricted fellowship. The door is always open.

By: Jeff Ellinger


WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT “TAKE UP THE CROSS AND FOLLOW ME” – HE MUST INCREASE, I MUST DECREASE

August 24, 2011

“Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”

Matthew 19:21 KJV

Denying Self:

This means not allowing ourselves to be constraint by natural limitations. Every one of us is surrounded by natural limitations. Right now we are now in the worst recession in history.  Looks like things are really getting bad. How are we going to survive this crisis, let alone trying to live within our means? These are facts. We should not deny their existence. However, Jesus wants us to deny ourselves. This means, we should not allow ourselves to be limited by the situation. We have God on our side. He is more powerful than the worst economic crisis. As long as we choose to deny ourselves in not allowing the natural circumstances to have the final say in our lives, we can overcome them. Yes, we can live within our means even in the worst recession. He who is in us is greater than he who is in this world. The Bible says, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24 KJV

Take up His Cross Daily and Follow Me:

Taking up the cross daily does not mean we must get crucified every day. Even Jesus got crucified only once. It means we should live everyday with the constant awareness on what Jesus had done at the Cross. At the Cross, Jesus died to pay for all our sins: past, present and future. The moment we believe in him, we are righteous by faith. We can go to God at any time we want and behave as though we have never committed a single sin in our lives. Why? As far as God is concern, all the penalties of our sins had been paid. We are always holy because of what Jesus has done at the Cross. Peter was the most vocal of the disciples and because he hadn’t yet grasped the power of the cross he openly rebuked Jesus for preaching what he labeled as wrong doctrine. The Bible says, “Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” Matthew 16:22 KJV   Peter, like many christians, did not understand that sometimes our walk with God will include struggles, rejection, and for some believers, death. He was yet to comprehend that the path that leads to the fulness of life in Christ Jesus must include “the cross” which represents the emptying of self and the crucifying of the flesh. The Bible says, “But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Matthew 16:23 KJV  Anything that prevents you from obeying God’s plan for your life is a hindrance and a snare to your spiritual growth. “Get thee behind me, satan!” Jesus was saying that I will not be talked out of the cross. The cross is the will of God for my life. And I must obey. The cross is necessary. You can’t have salvation without the cross. You can’t have freedom from sin without the cross. Paul wrote inColossians“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Colossians 1:20 KJV and he also wrote it here, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” Colossians 2:14 KJV  The cross is at the center of everything that God has provided for us through the Lord Jesus Christ.  I have heard many christians say things like, “Well, the suffering in my life is just my cross to bear.” Or, “I’ve just got to carry this cross on my shoulders no matter how difficult it is.” But what are they really saying? To many christians, sickness and disease, a bad marriage, a bad temper or poverty is the cross that Jesus has required them to carry. But is this a correct interpretation of scripture? Does God require us to be poor to serve Him? Does God require us to learn how to put up with chronic sickness and crippling disease as a means to the emptying of self? Remember, the purpose of the cross is to bring you to the resurrection; not to leave you suffering in agony and shame. Jesus is not continually hanging on the cross. Jesus does not need to be crucified all over again and again and again. He took up His cross once. That was enough to purchase our eternal salvation and deliverance. The purpose of the cross is to remove something ungodly out of your life and to bring you into the resurrection life. God isn’t asking you to merely deny the desires and the longings of your flesh and have nothing to gain in return. No! The purpose of taking up your cross is to bring you to a place of living an overcoming and victorious life in Christ Jesus and to partake of the resurrected life with all of it’s power and all of it’s privileges. The Bible says,“As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:” Isaiah 52:14 KJV  This adds fresh light to the accepted meaning of Matthew 16:24. The cross is not intended to be borne forever; rather, it is taken up whenever the plan of God requires it of us. The “taking up of your cross” is the means whereby God procures our deliverance from earthly, fleshly things possessing our hearts and minds, and severs their stronghold over us. It liberates us from the controlling appetites and the unnecessary weights of our ungodly flesh and our soulish life, and frees us to completely follow God. Peter wrote, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 KJV  Jesus took up the cross so that we could now live a righteous and fruitful life; a life that is free from sin and free from the guilt and shame that sins brings. Jesus bore stripes on His body to purchase our healing so we could now live free from sickness and disease. To say that bearing a chronic sickness in your life is your cross to bear is to deny the power of Christ’s sacrifice and to deny the scriptures that teach, “…by whose stripes you were healed.”. To say that poverty, anger or strife is your cross to bear is to deny the power of the Holy Spirit’s operation in your life. Also if your heart is focused on earthly things, you will have difficulty following the leadings and the promptings of the Spirit. For the Bible says, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.” Philippians 3:18-19 KJV  You can’t serve the flesh and serve the Spirit at the same time. You can’t follow the appetites of your flesh and at the same time be obedient to the desires of the spirit. If you desire to follow God and to be a true disciple of the Lord you must learn to crucify the flesh with its unholy appetites and take up your cross by dying to the selfish desires of your flesh. The Bible says, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:19-21,24 KJV  You’ve got to let go of “self” and learn to put God’s Word first in your life if you want to be a committed disciple of the Lord.

He Must Increase:

He must increase, He must become greater, He must grow greater and greater.  HIS INCREASE IS ASSURED BY THE WORD OF GOD. The Bible says, “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:7 KJV  “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” Daniel 7:27 KJV  “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” Psalms 119:89 KJV  “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11 KJV  “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32 KJV “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;” Colossians 1:18-19 KJV  “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,” Ephesians 1:22 KJV

I Must Decrease:

OUR DECREASE IS REQUIRED BY THE WORD OF GOD. The Bible says, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:24-26 KJV  “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3 KJV  “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:29-20 KJV  

Conclusion:

It is interesting that one of the meanings that the dictionary gives to the word “cross” is a trial, a burden, an affliction or a frustration. This is religions view of the cross. But I believe that Jesus would give us an entirely different perspective of the cross. From God’s point of view, the cross was the means whereby Jesus purchased our salvation and our deliverance. The cross is therefore a blessing to be experienced and not a burden for us to bear. And the phrase “take up your cross” should be viewed as a means to our deliverance and not as a frustrating or a defeated experience. Everyday brings with it new challenges and new blessings. And when we learn to “take up our cross daily”  we will be delivered from the annoying frustrations of life and we will be able to take hold of the blessings that the Lord is daily bringing into our lives. As followers of Christ, are we lifting Him up instead of seeking honor for ourselves? Rather than being disappointed when our contribution is unnoticed, we should be glad because our highest privilege is to magnify the Lord. He’s the hero! Honoring Him is the mark of greatness. Our goal must be the same as that of John the Baptist, who said when he met Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

By: Jeff Ellinger


WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT “TAKE UP THE CROSS AND FOLLOW ME” – HE MUST INCREASE, I MUST DECREASE

August 24, 2011

“Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”

Matthew 19:21 KJV

Denying Self:

This means not allowing ourselves to be constraint by natural limitations. Every one of us is surrounded by natural limitations. Right now we are now in the worst recession in history.  Looks like things are really getting bad. How are we going to survive this crisis, let alone trying to live within our means? These are facts. We should not deny their existence. However, Jesus wants us to deny ourselves. This means, we should not allow ourselves to be limited by the situation. We have God on our side. He is more powerful than the worst economic crisis. As long as we choose to deny ourselves in not allowing the natural circumstances to have the final say in our lives, we can overcome them. Yes, we can live within our means even in the worst recession. He who is in us is greater than he who is in this world. The Bible says, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24 KJV

Take up His Cross Daily and Follow Me:

Taking up the cross daily does not mean we must get crucified every day. Even Jesus got crucified only once. It means we should live everyday with the constant awareness on what Jesus had done at the Cross. At the Cross, Jesus died to pay for all our sins: past, present and future. The moment we believe in him, we are righteous by faith. We can go to God at any time we want and behave as though we have never committed a single sin in our lives. Why? As far as God is concern, all the penalties of our sins had been paid. We are always holy because of what Jesus has done at the Cross. Peter was the most vocal of the disciples and because he hadn’t yet grasped the power of the cross he openly rebuked Jesus for preaching what he labeled as wrong doctrine. The Bible says, “Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” Matthew 16:22 KJV   Peter, like many christians, did not understand that sometimes our walk with God will include struggles, rejection, and for some believers, death. He was yet to comprehend that the path that leads to the fulness of life in Christ Jesus must include “the cross” which represents the emptying of self and the crucifying of the flesh. The Bible says, “But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Matthew 16:23 KJV  Anything that prevents you from obeying God’s plan for your life is a hindrance and a snare to your spiritual growth. “Get thee behind me, satan!” Jesus was saying that I will not be talked out of the cross. The cross is the will of God for my life. And I must obey. The cross is necessary. You can’t have salvation without the cross. You can’t have freedom from sin without the cross. Paul wrote in Colossians, “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Colossians 1:20 KJV  and he also wrote it here, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” Colossians 2:14 KJV  The cross is at the center of everything that God has provided for us through the Lord Jesus Christ.  I have heard many christians say things like, “Well, the suffering in my life is just my cross to bear.” Or, “I’ve just got to carry this cross on my shoulders no matter how difficult it is.” But what are they really saying? To many christians, sickness and disease, a bad marriage, a bad temper or poverty is the cross that Jesus has required them to carry. But is this a correct interpretation of scripture? Does God require us to be poor to serve Him? Does God require us to learn how to put up with chronic sickness and crippling disease as a means to the emptying of self? Remember, the purpose of the cross is to bring you to the resurrection; not to leave you suffering in agony and shame. Jesus is not continually hanging on the cross. Jesus does not need to be crucified all over again and again and again. He took up His cross once. That was enough to purchase our eternal salvation and deliverance. The purpose of the cross is to remove something ungodly out of your life and to bring you into the resurrection life. God isn’t asking you to merely deny the desires and the longings of your flesh and have nothing to gain in return. No! The purpose of taking up your cross is to bring you to a place of living an overcoming and victorious life in Christ Jesus and to partake of the resurrected life with all of it’s power and all of it’s privileges. The Bible says, “As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:” Isaiah 52:14 KJV  This adds fresh light to the accepted meaning of Matthew 16:24. The cross is not intended to be borne forever; rather, it is taken up whenever the plan of God requires it of us. The “taking up of your cross” is the means whereby God procures our deliverance from earthly, fleshly things possessing our hearts and minds, and severs their stronghold over us. It liberates us from the controlling appetites and the unnecessary weights of our ungodly flesh and our soulish life, and frees us to completely follow God. Peter wrote, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 KJV  Jesus took up the cross so that we could now live a righteous and fruitful life; a life that is free from sin and free from the guilt and shame that sins brings. Jesus bore stripes on His body to purchase our healing so we could now live free from sickness and disease. To say that bearing a chronic sickness in your life is your cross to bear is to deny the power of Christ’s sacrifice and to deny the scriptures that teach, “…by whose stripes you were healed.”. To say that poverty, anger or strife is your cross to bear is to deny the power of the Holy Spirit’s operation in your life. Also if your heart is focused on earthly things, you will have difficulty following the leadings and the promptings of the Spirit. For the Bible says, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.” Philippians 3:18-19 KJV  You can’t serve the flesh and serve the Spirit at the same time. You can’t follow the appetites of your flesh and at the same time be obedient to the desires of the spirit. If you desire to follow God and to be a true disciple of the Lord you must learn to crucify the flesh with its unholy appetites and take up your cross by dying to the selfish desires of your flesh. The Bible says, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:19-21,24 KJV  You’ve got to let go of “self” and learn to put God’s Word first in your life if you want to be a committed disciple of the Lord.

He Must Increase:

He must increase, He must become greater, He must grow greater and greater.  HIS INCREASE IS ASSURED BY THE WORD OF GOD. The Bible says, “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:7 KJV  “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” Daniel 7:27 KJV  “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” Psalms 119:89 KJV  “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11 KJV  “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32 KJV “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;” Colossians 1:18-19 KJV  “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,” Ephesians 1:22 KJV

I Must Decrease:

OUR DECREASE IS REQUIRED BY THE WORD OF GOD. The Bible says, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:24-26 KJV  “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3 KJV  “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:29-20 KJV  

Conclusion:

It is interesting that one of the meanings that the dictionary gives to the word “cross” is a trial, a burden, an affliction or a frustration. This is religions view of the cross. But I believe that Jesus would give us an entirely different perspective of the cross. From God’s point of view, the cross was the means whereby Jesus purchased our salvation and our deliverance. The cross is therefore a blessing to be experienced and not a burden for us to bear. And the phrase “take up your cross” should be viewed as a means to our deliverance and not as a frustrating or a defeated experience. Everyday brings with it new challenges and new blessings. And when we learn to “take up our cross daily”  we will be delivered from the annoying frustrations of life and we will be able to take hold of the blessings that the Lord is daily bringing into our lives. As followers of Christ, are we lifting Him up instead of seeking honor for ourselves? Rather than being disappointed when our contribution is unnoticed, we should be glad because our highest privilege is to magnify the Lord. He’s the hero! Honoring Him is the mark of greatness. Our goal must be the same as that of John the Baptist, who said when he met Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

By: Jeff Ellinger


WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT “THE GREAT COMMISSION” – IS IT IMPORTANT TO CHRISTIANS ?

April 28, 2011

   “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

  Matthew 28:16-20 KJV

  After Jesus Christ‘s death on the cross, he was buried and resurrected on the third day. Before he ascended into heaven, he appeared to his disciples in Galilee and gave them these instructions: Matthew 28:16-20. This section of Scripture is known as the Great Commission. Jesus the Messiah has given marching orders to his followers. His first Church in Jerusalem received the Great Commission. This Commission tells how they, and all true Churches since then, are to be His Witnesses. The main verb in the Great Commission is TEACH (evangelize = make disciples of) all nations. The other verbs — GO (going or as ye go) BAPTIZING and TEACHING are all participles in the Greek New Testament, built around the main command — EVANGELIZE. Therefore, true Christianity is evangelistic. It has the Glad Tidings (Gospel) of Jesus Christ,  the Gospel is not good advice, but good news. It does not tell us what we are to do to earn salvation, but proclaims to us what Christ has done to save us. True Churches are missionary Churches. They seek to spread the Gospel. They seek to win people to the Lord Jesus Christ. They GO. They go to their relatives, neighbors, friends, and acquaintances, even to their enemies, with the Gospel. They go to strangers. In obedience to the Great Commission, they send Missionaries to language schools, then to foreign lands. They use all lawful means to reach others. They hand out Bibles, New Testaments, Gospel Tracts and Videos. They preach in the Churches, in home, school and workplace, Bible studies, on the Radio, TV, and on the Internet. Christians are GOING. Missionary Churches BAPTIZE new converts,, those who repent and believe in Christ.  The word “baptize” means to immerse, and it is clear that the rite of immersion was observed in the ancient church. Immersion bests shows union with Christ in His Death, Burial and Resurrection. The new convert goes under the water (burial) and comes up out of the water (resurrection) according to Romans 6:3,4. It also best symbolizes the washing away of sins (Acts 22:16). Thus, Churches should serve as training schools for Pastors and Missionaries. These Missionaries are not just preachers. They are Church-planters. They do not just evangelize. As they go and make disciples, they baptize those new disciples, and teach them all things, whatsoever Messiah commanded. To do this, they set up new Churches. Messiah is with true Churches, from the time of His first Church in Jerusalem, until the end of the world, or age as we know it. This promise implies that Christ has always had some true Churches in existence, somewhere in the world, in every generation. Thus, those who obey the Great Commission are part of a long train of witnesses. They have Messiah’s authority to do what they do. And they have His blessing, guidance, provision and divine presence with them — even unto the end of the world. As the last recorded personal directive of the Savior to his disciples, it holds great significance to all followers of Christ. It is the foundation for evangelism and cross-cultural missions work in Christian theology. Because the Lord’s instructions were to go to all nations and that he would be with us until the very end of the age, Christians of all generations have embraced this command. As many have said, it’s not “The Great Suggestion.” No, the Lord has commanded us to put our faith in action. It is also found in the following Gospel texts. Though each version varies, these accounts record a similar encounter of Jesus with his disciples after the resurrection. In each instance Jesus sends his followers out with specific instructions. He uses commands such as go, teach, baptize, forgive and make disciples. It says in the Bible, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Mark 16:15-18 KJV  Also He said to them, “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” Luke 24:44-49 KJV  And in the book of John He told them, “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.” John 20:19-23 KJV   The Great Commission is one of the most significant passages in the Holy Bible. First, it’s the last recorded personal instruction given by Jesus to His disciples. Second, it’s a special calling from Jesus Christ to all His followers to take specific action while on this earth. In the Great Commission, Jesus calls every Christian to step out in faith and spread the Good News. This is faith in action! People who obey this command change their spiritual lives forever! It could be spreading the Good News to a neighbor or moving to another country to reach the people there. It could be sharing with less fortunate kids down the street or spreading the Word in a town two hours away. Wherever we go, every faithful Christian is compelled through obedience to share the Gospel. If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, where has He called you to go? Who has God put on your heart to share the gift of salvation? What small or large steps can you take, with the knowledge that Christ will be by your side, “to make disciples of all the nations”?  Do we have the same kind of concern for people who are starving, sick, and suffering from cruel oppression? And what about the multitudes who, without Jesus Christ, will spend eternity in hell? How concerned are we about their future? Do we share the compassion that motivated our Savior? The Bible says, “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” Matthew 9:36 KJV  The apostle Paul had that kind of concern. He wrote in the Bible, “That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.” Romans 9:2 KJV  Are we concerned enough to pray? We can all do that. Do we care enough to give? We can be faithful stewards and give to the ongoing work of the gospel. And what about witnessing? We can speak about our faith to a friend. We can write a letter, give out a tract, or perhaps send a book to some non-Christian acquaintance. If we care, we’ll do something. If you’re not a child of God, now is the time to think about being one. It’s not hard to do, just have faith and trust in the Lord. Open your heart to Him today, because He is the One that died on the cross and shed His blood and paid the penalty for your sins so you could have that free gift of eternal life. Amen

By: Jeff Ellinger



EASTER SAND BIBLE PART 4 – RESURRECTION, ASCENSION – LUKE 24:1-53

April 18, 2011

ABOUT THIS VIDEO

Available from http://www.sandbible.com or http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/18005/Easter-Part-3–Jesus-Resurrection?utm_source=affiliateutm_medium=bannerutm_campa


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