Take Up Your Cross…

Matthew 16:24-25 KJV – 24 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.

25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

The words of Jesus to His disciples indicate to us that sacrifice is part of the Christian life. If we are to follow Christ, we must be willing to pick up our cross and deny ourselves. We need to ask ourselves what that really means. What is our cross? And what do we need to deny ourselves?

We are not a people who desire sacrifice. We like the blessings that God has given us and we do not want to deny ourselves anything. Following Christ at times goes against our desires of the flesh.

We do not like to talk about crosses and denials. But the Bible tells us that they are necessary. The desire for acceptance in the present day church, often causes us to accept things that are pleasing to God. We have forgotten many of the commands of scripture that tell us that we are not part of the world in which we live. We are to separate ourselves from much of what our society considers as normal.

2Corinthians 6:16-18 KJV – 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you,

18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Join with me in considering what should be part of our lives and what things should be separated from us as a Christian People.

Our lives should be lived in such a way that people can see Christ in us. Our testimony of Him should not blurred by activities that God does not intend to be in our lives.

Do Not Be Discouraged!

Isaiah 25:6-10 KJV – 6 And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.

7 And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.

 8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken [it].

9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this [is] our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this [is] the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

10 For in this mountain shall the hand of the LORD rest, and Moab shall be trodden down under him, even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill.

In a day in which the church is facing such strong opposition to its standards of conduct, we need to hear the words of Isaiah the prophet.

In the verses we have just read Isaiah points out the words of God to the nation of Moab. They had been afflicting the nation of Israel and God finally says it is enough.

Isaiah says God is going to lift the overcast that plagues the nation and He will defeat the nation of Moab.

It is easy to be discouraged by the things being done by our new national leadership as they support abortion and a variety of other topics that oppose the church.

Do not let that happen to you! Stand firm in your faith and rejoice that God is in control of all things. See the words of Isaiah in verses 8 and 9:

Isa 25:8-9 KJV – 8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken [it].

9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this [is] our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this [is] the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

It does not matter how powerful government officials think they are. God still controls the ultimate outcome of all things. We need not be downhearted but we can rejoice for God’s deliverance will come in due time.

Be glad and rejoice in His salvation.!

No Fear!

Isa 41:10-13 KJV – 10 Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

11 Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish.

12 Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, [even] them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.

13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

There are so many things that threaten men and women that many live in the constant state of fear. They feel as if someone is out to hurt them physically or emotionally.

People also live in fear of failure or lack of acceptance by those around them. This is just a partial list! It could take pages to describe the many fears of our society.

As never before we need to hear the words of Isaiah the prophet. He tells us not to fear for we can depend on the protection of God! Even when we have those who would cause us harm, God does not fail us. We can believe the declaration of:

Isaiah 41: 13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

Let me encourage you to not fear but have faith in the promises of God.

Remember the words of the Psalmist:

Psa 23:4 KJV – 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Rebellion Has Its Own Reward!

Nehemiah 9:16-17 KJV – 16 But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments,

17 And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou [art] a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not.

Here we see a picture of the nation of Israel. God had been good to them and blessed them. However, the Bible declares that they were not mindful of the goodness God worked in their lives. Instead they rebelled against the God who had created them.

I believe such is the state of our nation. God has blessed us with wealth above all other places on earth. However, we have forsaken his word and rejected His laws in pursuit of our own pleasures.

We are in a place of violence and hatred because of our departure from the laws of God. We are ruled by greed and malice. People have lost the peace God intended us top have. There is division as men seek their own way and God has removed His protection from our society. We read and hear daily of killings in our streets, rebellion against our police and public officials.

If there is not a return to civility and respect of God, it is only going to get worse.  Fortunately, we can see that God is ready to pardon. He is willing to forgive our disobedience to Him. He has not yet forsaken us.

As a nation we need to repent of our sins and return to the foundations that brought blessing to us. Let us Pray and ask God to once again put His hand of Protection and keeping on us. Unless we do I am fearful of what is ahead for a people that continue to reject God.

God Heal Our land!

2Ch 7:13-14 KJV – 13 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;

14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

We see the declaration of God in the time of Solomon and the truth is just the same today. Men think they are in control of the earth, but they are not.

Solomon humbled himself before God and God honored the works that he did. We desperately need to look to God as Solomon did. If the people in our nation reject the teachings of God, judgement will come. God will have His way because He is the power over all the world.

If He speaks judgement it will come to pass. He can shut up the heavens and there will be no rain. He can cause us to fall to our enemies just as Israel did in Old Testament history.

Our deliverance is in verse 14 of II Chronicles 7. We must humble ourselves and pray. We must return to the foundations of God’s truths. Then he will grant us forgiveness and restore our nation.

As the verse declares we need God to heal our land. If we do not go to Him and repent of our sins and change our direction as a nation, hate and division will continue to rule.

Oh that we would cry out to God that He can heal us and give us peace. Make it your prayer today!

 

He Is Risen!

Mat 28:5-8 KJV – 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

This is resurrection day and we rejoice as we declare that Jesus is risen. The cross could not kill Him and the tomb could not hold Him.

The angel declares it to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary who was with her. “He is not here: for He is Risen as He said.”

This is what makes the gospel separate from all world religion. All the great teachers revered by mankind have gone into the grave but they have remained there. Jesus is the only one that is risen from the dead.

Because of this truth the Bible is alive and is the only true word of God. What it declares is true. Jesus is the only way to Salvation.

Rom 10:9 KJV – 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Because Jesus rose from the dead we can be free from sin and have hope for eternity. Accept Christ today as your savior and experience the hope of eternity.

Woman Behold Thy Son…

John 19:25-27 KJV – 25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the [wife] of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own [home].

Even in crucifixion Jesus reveals his concern for those He loves. He sees His mother at the foot of the cross with the apostle John. Jesus knows that His mother will need someone to care for her after His death. He gives that responsibility to John.

The concern of Jesus is the same concern He has for you and for me. He is well aware of the hostile world around us and does not leave us without help. With Jesus departure after His resurrection He gives us His Holy Spirit to be our comfort and guide.

If you will give your heart to Jesus, you need not be afraid! Even when the world is in turmoil and is hostile to your beliefs as a follower of Christ, you will have peace in your heart.

We can know without doubt that we are the children of God because of the testimony of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. We can Look forward to all of the promises of God being fulfilled. When you invite the salvation the death and resurrection provides a whole new world opens to you. Do not wait. Invite Christ into your heart today!

Lord Remember Me…

Luke 23:39-43 KJV 39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

The words of Jesus to a repentant thief who calls Him Lord are of hope and promise.

The thief near death recognizes Jesus as Lord asks to be remembered by Him. It is never to late to repent of our sins and allow Jesus to save us. You may think that many years of rebellion and rejection of God’s promises will keep Him from answering your prayers. That is not true.

Matthew 7:24 KJV – 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

The promise of God is that if we confess Him and do His works, we can have His salvation.

It is never too late. Give God the opportunity to forgive your sins and place you in His kingdom.

Father Forgive Them…

Luke 23:33-35 KJV – 33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided [him], saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.

The words of Jesus on the cross are beyond amazing! As He is hung between two thieves, He is not given to hatred for what the crowds and soldiers had done.

Instead, we hear Him utter a prayer to His Father. “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

They are words that I can still hear Him praying over the men and women who are in our present world. The rebellion of our nation crucifies Him over and over again. Yet the price He paid on the cross is still available to all who will repent of their sin and ask Him to become their Savior.

In this week before we celebrate His resurrection, we need to remember that even in death He was without sin. He bore your sins and mine as He was hung on the cross. He died for our freedom.

Hear the words of Christ as His prayer travels through thousands of years. “Father forgive them”.

We are a nation in need of forgiveness. You and I are in need of forgiveness! It is only Jesus who can give us that freedom from sin and set us free.

As we approach the celebration of Christ stepping from the tomb take advantage of His prayer for us. Repent of your sins and invite Jesus to be your Lord. He will forgive you and set you free.

He Was Crucified for You!

John 3:16-18 KJV – 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

This last Sunday was the beginning of the time when Christ would suffer that you and I might be free from the sins in our lives. It is known as Palm Sunday. It is the celebration of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. People proclaimed Him as the Messiah and expected that He would deliver them from Roman rule. They shouted Hosanna and gave Him praise.

However, the same people a few days later were calling for Him to be Crucified.

In the days of the week after the triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Jesus is taken before the magistrates and is condemned, beaten beyond recognition and finally Crucified.

The words of our scripture for today tells us why. Jesus was crucified to save us from our sins. God sent Jesus into the world that we might have a way to find forgiveness of sin. Jesus came that we might be able to have a relationship with God. He gave His life for you and me.

Let me encourage you to take advantage of Jesus sacrifice and ask Him to be your personal Savior. It is the most important action that you can take. Do it now!

Podcasts Back online again!

I am pleased to announce that after a long absence we are now doing the podcasts at Bible Patterns and Principles once again. Please take time to listen to the spiritual encourgement and challenges we try to share on the podcast. You can find the podcasts at: https://www.buzzsprout.com/546637  My recovery from Covid with a two week stay in the hospital has been long and slow. We are now strong enough to start contributing to the podcast and also to this blog. I hope you will take advantage of the both.

A Savior Is Born!

As We are on Christmas Eve, Let us read a magnificent portion of God’s word about the birth of Jesus.

Luk 2:1-11 KJV – 1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

2 ([And] this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

This is a day for rejoicing for we who are Christians. The Scripture in Luke chapter 2 declares the coming of our Lord. Mary and Joseph had made the journey to Bethlehem to pay their taxes and the time came for Mary to give birth to the Child conceived by the Holy Spirit. Jesus was born in humble circumstances as Mary gave birth in a humble stable and wrapped the babe in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger.

We are now on the eve of Christmas Day and we proclaim that Jesus is the real reason for Christmas. His birth, death and resurrection are the real reason that Christmas has meaning.

God provided for our salvation by giving us His only Son to set us free from our sins.

Jhn 3:16-17 KJV – 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

I am forever amazed that God loved you and me so much that He sent Jesus to die on a cross for us.

Let all of us honor The great gift that marks Christmas as the beginning of our Salvation!

2Co 9:15 KJV – 15 Thanks [be] unto God for his unspeakable gift.

Too Wonderful For Words

2Corinthians 9:7-15 NLT – 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. "For God loves a person who gives cheerfully."

8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.

9 As the Scriptures say, "They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever."

10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.

12 So two good things will result from this ministry of giving–the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.

13 As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.

14 And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you.

15 Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!

We are now only two days away from the celebration of Christmas Day. I believe these words from the scripture show the true nature that God wants in the hearts of men and women.

You cannot really have a relationship with Jesus Christ as your Savior and have a selfish heart. God wants us to give cheerfully and out of the abundance He has given us.

God tells us that if we will give freely and He will generously provide for us.

As we approach Christmas let us accept the provision of Jesus for our salvation. Then let us share freely with one another the physical blessings He has provided for us.

May we lay aside selfishness and embrace the true Spirit of God that gives without reservation. And let it be not only at Christmas but every day of the year!

No Condemnation In Christ

Rom 8:1-4 KJV – 1 [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

This may seem like a strange verse for the Christmas season. But it tells us what the truth of Christmas is all about. We are all lost in our sins and are condemned to eternal judgement. It is the gift of Jesus Christ that delivers us.

There is no condemnation in us when we accept Jesus as our Savior. Instead we have in us the “law of the Spirit of life”. When we accept Christ we become free from the law of sin and death.

No longer are we bound by sin but we are able to fulfill the righteousness of God. What the law cannot do Jesus does.

We celebrate the work of Christ in our lives because His birth at this wonderful time of the year sets us free. Rejoice and Proclaim the name of Jesus.

Luke 2:11 NKJV – 11 "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Jesus Is the True Meaning of Christmas

Heb 1:1-4 KJV – 1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

3 Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

We are just days before Christmas and in Hebrews we see a tremendous description of Jesus. He is why Christmas is so important to those of us who believe the declarations of the word of God.

Here is what is declared about Jesus:

1. He is the heir of all things

2. He made the worlds

3.He is the brightness of His Father’s glory

4. He is the express image of God the Father

5. He upholds or maintains all things by the word of His power

6. He purged our sins

7. He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high

He is declared to be superior to the angels. As such He is the most important person in history and He is the Savior of our souls.

As Christmas day approaches take the time to glorify Him for who He is.

Isa 7:14 KJV – 14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.


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