Archive for the ‘Jesus’ Category

An encounter with “Jesus”

April 3, 2016

We must never underestimate the power of one encounter for Jesus. I was reminded of this yesterday.

While traveling north on the bus, i stopped off at a local Walmart to use the restroom and pick up some water. While at the water aisle, i reached up to grab a bottle when i heard, “Hey! It’s good to see you again! Remember me?” My eyes immediately fell upon his name badge, which read “Jesus”. Bing! “Yeah! I remember you! At the neighborhood market close by where i live”.

Here we were…..

Approximately 6 months ago, i pulled into the neighborhood market parking lot and quickly noticed the “cart pusher”. I walked over to him to say hi. Then i noticed his name tag saying “Jesus”. I smiled and said that i really liked his name. Then of course, we asked him if he knew Jesus. He said that he did. We had a great visit in the parking lot that day.

Now…..

Approximately 6 months later, 5 miles north, and at a different store, here he remembers me. I was amazed. I complemented him for his remembrance, and of course knowing all the time that it was the Lord indeed that brought it all to pass. I asked him what God was currently doing in his life, and he shared a testimony of how God blessed him recently by being able to return to Walmart after quitting his last store. He realized that it was a mistake and that God showed mercy upon him and what a blessing it was to be able to work. We stood there sharing for a while, then parted knowing that we would see each other again.

One encounter can make a difference. We must never underestimate it. Go Jesus!

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Jesus and a testimony of reality

April 23, 2014

 

He told the story of the rich man in hell and how he begged Father Abraham that he would send Lazarus to his five brothers so that they would not come to this place of torment.

Now remember….. this is Jesus telling the story.

The rich man begged Father Abraham that he would send Lazarus so he could “testify” to the reality.

But Jesus points back to the necessity of the only way in which to not end up there. And that being, the scriptures that testified of himself.
“Abraham said to him (the rich man), “They have Moses and the prophets; let them (his five brothers) hear them.”

But the rich man still thought of another way that they might believe.

“And he (the rich man) said, “No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Here we again see a spiritually dead mind thinking in the natural.
However…. the man knew the value of repenting now, but it was too late.

Then Jesus sums up the story with the only way of salvation. The gospel that was even spoken through Moses and the prophets.
“But he (Abraham) said to him (the rich man), “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead (and tell them).”
(The story of reality as contained in Luke 16:19-31)

Our understanding of the character of God and Jesus.

October 9, 2013

We all have our personal understanding of what the character of God and Jesus means to us. By “character”, I am focusing here on their “attributes, dispositions, personalities and temperaments”.

We all have arrived at this point in our lives with the understanding we have. This comes over a period of time, and comes from several different means. Our life experience to this point makes up some of our view or understanding of God and Jesus. We have had a personal experience through our dealings with God and Jesus, be it good or bad. This helps to create our image of God whether we want to believe it or not. Experience cannot be denied. Of course now, if our experience has been filled with a lot of negativity, disappointment etc. then we must address the issues that have been experienced in hope to be able to move on in our to a proper understanding.

Along with our experience comes the way we were raised. Those who raised us had a very strong influence on us whether we will admit it or not. We are all products to some extent as to how we were raised. Those who raised us, be it our parents, our parent, step mother, step father, Grandmother etc. all taught us in many different ways their views or understanding about the character of God/Jesus. Even if they didn’t believe in God, they still taught their understanding of God/Jesus. It might have been in subtle ways but taught never the less.

Another means of which many of us have arrived to this point in our understanding is through the reading of books. We all particularly like the books that we can relate with, or agree with. If we find one that hits on our understanding of God and or Jesus, we get that one and enjoy reading it because we agree with what’s being said. It comes into line with what we have understood to this point.

Another way is through being taught by teachers. Maybe it was our teachers in school when we were children that influenced us on the character of God. Also, it could have been our Sunday school teachers. Later on, if you went to college, your professors may have taught you some about the attributes of God. It may have been in a direct way, or an indirect way. Either way, you were influenced. If you were raised in a believing home that went to church, your Pastor taught you on his understanding of the disposition, temperament or personality of God/Jesus.

And, not only were we taught while growing up, we are all being taught continuously through life.

However, there is a couple of questions here that we must address. We must ask ourselves these questions, and face the honest answer if we desire the truth with proper biblical understanding. It is of vital importance for us to know as much as we can about the character of God and Jesus because the more we understand what they are like, the more our relationship opens up. We are no longer one-sided or lopsided in knowing what God/Jesus is really like. We open the box to our limited view. This opens up our relationship. Also, it is very important because we need a proper, more complete understanding to share with all the different people we run across who have many different views of God, or a limited view. With more of a complete biblical understanding we will be sharing not our view, our God/Jesus, but the true biblical God/Jesus as the best we understand it.

The first question is:

Am I willing to reevaluate my understanding of the character of God? If not, then of course, you will continue to be limited because you choose to be that way. In other words, you are content to remain in your present understanding of God’s character. However, we must ask ourselves the question….why do I not want to learn more?

If we are willing to reevaluate, then,

Am I willing to open myself up and study for myself to find out the true character of God? In the light of doing this, would I be willing to embrace any new understanding or any understanding that I might not be comfortable with? Will I agree with what I find? Would I be willing to change my view? Would I be willing to receive all the attributes of God? Am I willing to lay aside any feelings/emotions that affect my view of God? (This one is a big one for many). Why?

Because if you have been hurt or abused by anyone that had anything to do with God/Jesus, you have formed a lot of your understanding from this. As hard as it may be, this has to be laid at the feet of Jesus if you are to come to any kind of balanced view of God/Jesus. You would have to be willing to let this go and be healed in Jesus name first. It’s a closed-door without healing, and Jesus is the only way the door can be opened.

We cannot move further in our understanding of the character of God unless all these questions are answered with an affirmative YES!

“Follower of Christ”

March 13, 2013

By definition, a Christian is a “follower of Christ”.

As we follow Christ, we become a disciple of Christ. The word “disciple” means a “learner, i.e. pupil”. The word “follow” in its Greek meaning, has to do with “union” and “a road”. This is very interesting when you think on these two words. When you picture in your mind being in union with someone on a road to somewhere. Along with that, the word “follow” also means, “to be in the same way with, i.e. to accompany, reach”. When these meanings are combined, we can really see the union that is involved as one “follows”.

However, its is very important to be reminded just who we are to be “following”. This is not just anybody we are to be following. This is the Son of God. This is the Lord. This is the Saviour. A due honor and respect must always be in order as we follow.

When Jesus said to Peter and Andrew “Follow me,” (Mt.4:19) what it meant by definition was, “Come here and get behind me, or get to the back”. It is important to remember this. When we follow Christ, we are following behind him. Yes, we are in union with him, but following “at the back”. This is also good to visualize. “Where He leads, I will follow”.

In the book of Mark, he says, “Come ye (you) after me,” (Mk.1:17) Coming after Christ is a follower of Christ (Christian). We learn as we follow. We become disciples as we follow. I like what the prophet Hosea said regarding this. “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord:”(Ho.6:3a) The words “follow on” here mean to “run after, pursue”.

The Lord willing, I would like to address in another post, the prime condition, or requirement for being a Christian (follower of Christ).

God’s love or his divine justice?

June 13, 2012

Most of us like everything about God that has to do with his love. Yes, he is certainly LOVE.

But, just how closely does his love and justice run together? Now, we all want justice to be served while crime is being done on this earth, right? If someone commits a crime that is against someone else, we want justice, right?

What about God and the ultimate crime (so to speak) against Him? The crime against all He is and all He stands for, His Holiness. Wow, now that is something that you will not hear about everyday. Who is talking about God’s holiness in this day? When was the last time you heard about it? Even, when was the last sermon at church you heard about it? Well, maybe if you attend a “hell-fire and damnation” church, and if so, your probably tired of hearing about it, or maybe you have heard so much about it, that there isn’t an ounce of God’s love in you. If that’s the case, you need to fall on your knee’s and cry out to God for more of his love.

His love and his justice must be balanced.

In the evermore popular book of John, in the most popular chapter three, Jesus takes us through both “Love” and “Justice”. I always love how we do not need to get complicated in God’s word to see how clear and to the point He is. The problem is and always has been, our minds, our intellect wants to complicate the simple truths of God.

I am going to share what He gave me this morning from John 3:16-20, 36.

“Out of God’s love, he gave his Son as the sacrifice for Sin. By believing that He did this, and receiving personally this atonement of His Son for our sins, we escape condemnation which is God’s divine justice for sin. By believing in the atonement of Jesus for our sins, we escape death (to the soul) and receive everlasting life. It is either death of life for eternity.”

“Always remembering that God did not send his Son to punish or even sentence us with death, but to save us from it.”

“All those who believe what God has given us through His Son, will have eternal life. But, those who do not believe what He has given, will receive divine justice for their sins. This judgement will be because they have refused The Light (Jesus) and have loved darkness more than Light. And, all the while, they practice darkness and despise the Light more and more. They don’t want the Light because they know that it exposes their darkness. And, why would one want to be exposed?”

“By believing in His Son, which provides for us the atonement needed, we get to experience God’s love. It’s not just “hear say”, but living a life of His love.”

“But, those who do not believe in the Son, will not get to experience this eternal life. And, hard to swallow, but true according to His word, will abide under the wrath or anger of God. And we must always be reminded that the “wrath” comes only because of sin. It is easy to forget this. God’s anger is not on the individual who refuses His Son, but on the sin which has yet to be atoned for. Unatoned sin brings forth God’s wrath. If in doubt of this, take some time and read God’s book. From front to back it deals with sin and atonement.”

God bless you with His love!

“No thank you. I have no need”

May 31, 2012

In street ministry, we get to see first hand how the masses respond to the Gospel. Most times, those who appear to be well off, pass by as to not even acknowledge our existence. I could be handing them a card and there would be no acknowledgement whatsoever. Not even an eye contact when looked at. It would seem that they already know what you are trying to give to them and they are not interested. On some occasions, they pass by so close, that they knock the card out of my hand.

We are thankful for the words of Jesus that says, “No one comes to the Father, unless he draws them”. We do acknowledge that it even takes the Father moving on their heart for them to even reach out and take a card. There is great contentment in knowing that the Father is always in control.

Today, we were in the NW part of town. It’s an area that we frequent about once a month on the average. It, like all the different parts of town, has its own type of people and spiritual darkness that goes with the territory.

It was a sunny beautiful day with lots of people out for a weekday. One corner that I usually stop by to hang out, has a drinking establishment on all four corners of the intersection. When the weather is nice, this makes for lots of people sitting around eating and drinking.

Before long, I notice that the response is practically nil. There is no “preaching” going on this day. Just standing there and holding out a card with a few occasional words. Many pass by, with most, there is no interest whatsoever. Maybe, one in 20 take one.

Then, guess who God brings by? An older homeless man. Yep. And what do you think he did when he approached me? He took a look at the card. That’s right. He noticed the card. He said, “I wish I had glasses to read it. I lost mine”. I briefly shared with him what is was about. He smiled and said, “God bless you. Thanks for being out here”. (Do you think he might have known a little about the neighborhood?). He thanked me again and proceeded across the street.

Soon, two scriptures come to mind.

“For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matt.9:13b) Those who think they have no need of a Savior, he did not come for. But, those who are “needy”, he came for.

“But many who are first will be last, and the last first” (Matt.19:30) Those who might think that they will be first, will end up being last. Those who appear to be last, will be first.

Soon, we left walking down the sidewalk. Maybe one in four, took a card. We came to a restaurant, and there was a young girl who was a waitress, going back inside. I said to her, “hey, can I share this with you?” She took one look at it and said, “no thanks”. She then looked me right in the eye and proceeded to tell me why she didn’t need Jesus. (I am noticing more and more, that the younger generations are getting more bold in telling you why they don’t need Jesus. The spirit of anti-christ is surely raising up.)

While listening (Key) she said the words, “lost soul”. The Spirit said to me to “go for that one”. When she stopped for a second, I proceeded to talk to her about being a “lost soul”. Our meeting was all to remind her once again that she is lost without Jesus. She had said in our conversation that she had others tell her that she was a “lost soul”. Conformation for her again?

Took off to the well-known “bookstore” in town. The Father brought some by there. Good day.

Jesus is “spiritual”

April 17, 2012

As recorded in the four gospels, Jesus was always trying to get people to understand things spiritually. But. most often, they didn’t get it. As I understand it today, there seems to be a lot of the same. It’s almost if some people are afraid of the spiritual. Maybe it’s because they have been taught, “oh that’s spirituality, and we must stay way far away from that”. Forgetting of course, that God is Spirit, and that it takes a birth of the Spirit to understand/perceive the kingdom, and most importantly, enter. (Jn. 3:3, 5)

One of my favorite teachings of Jesus regarding the spiritual, is where he taught on the “bread of heaven” or the “bread of God from heaven” as found in John chapter 6. It really gets heavy when He speaks about “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (6:53). After this discourse many of his disciples said, “This is a hard (or difficult) saying; who can understand this?”. Well, if we all were hearing this and we were looking at it from a natural point of view, we would say the same, right?

Then, if that wasn’t enough, Jesus said, “Does this offend you? (vs.61). If to say, what! are you offended at my flesh and blood? Are you offended at me for saying or trying to get you to see things “spiritually?”

Now, this is where it gets right down to the heart of the matter. In verse 62, he basically says, what’s the big deal if you see the Son of Man go up to heaven? I mean, isn’t that pretty big? Verse 63, he hits the nail on the head, finally. And if to say out loud, Hello!! It’s Spirit!! Somebody wake up!! This flesh profits nothing!! or basically we could say, the natural profits nothing!

The second part of this verse is KEY. “The words (Rhema, the utterness, the sayings, the commands, basically My spoken word) is to you “Spirit” and “Life”. But, He goes on and says, “there are some of you that don’t believe this”. Do you believe that the very words of Jesus are spirit and life? How many of us believe that today? Do we believe that Jesus is Spirit and Life?

In verse 65, He says that “No one can come to Me unless it is granted by My Father”. Now it was certainly getting too heavy for them.

Here’s a shocker! (verse 66). Many of His followers after hearing all this, threw in the towel. They left Him. They basically through up their hands and said, “that’s enough! We are outta here!”. “We can’t take all of this way out stuff”. “Jesus, you have gone mad with all the spirituality stuff!”

Then in verse 67, he says to the remaining twelve disciples, “Are you guys also going to split?”

Then, our good brother Peter jumps in and says basically, “Lord, if we cut out now after all this, where are we going to go? What’s left! Good question isn’t it? If we leave Jesus, where are we going to go?

Here’s the BOMB! and it’s back to the spoken words of the Christ! “You have the words (Rhema) eternal life” (vs.68). Basically, you have the Spirit words, or the words of the Spirit. The words of the Father by the Spirit.

Then Peter adds the “Also” in verse 69. Believe me, it’s a very big “also”. As if this wasn’t enough concrete evidence up till this point, he says, “we have come to believe and know”. Here we have two most very important truths. “Believing” and “Knowing”. It’s one thing to believe, but to believe and know is the rock solid part of “believing”. Without “knowing” how can it really be “believing?”. Can we say like the Apostle Paul, “for I know on whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day?” (2Tim.1:12b)

 

Children and the Light

April 17, 2012

Christ is the life, and this life is manifested through Him who is light. And, it shines through people who have received the light. This is God’s design, not man’s. (see Jn.1:4, 2 Cor.4:6)

There is also a measure of light (understanding) given to every person born into the world. (see Jn.1:9). However, as the child (the person) grows up, the light can either be increased or it can diminish depending on the influence that he or she is around, i.e if they are around darkness, the quicker they become dark. The same goes for the light influence. Thus we can see the vital importance in raising a child in the light of Jesus who is The Light.

Eventually, the child comes to a place when they must receive the light of Jesus for themselves. The typical “age of accountability” comes into play. Sin has now grown to maturity and must be dealt with as an individual before God. Where the influence of the light has become an essential part, still the child must believe and receive the light of Christ personally. Basically, they must be born again like anyone else. They must be born of the Spirit of God, which is the “light of Jesus”. Some would like to think that this comes automatically. No, the foundation might of well been laid, but the act of regeneration must take place for all, no matter the age or if they have been raised in the “church” or not.

When this regeneration has taking place, there will be diffident evidence and fruits of this regeneration. Baring in mind of course, that the child, depending on its age, is still a child.

No Spirit in “endless debate”

April 14, 2012

On two occasions today, I seen the power of the Holy Spirit in presenting the birth of the Spirit into the spiritual kingdom of God. And also, the fact that it takes the birth to perceive/understand the things of the kingdom. (See Jn.3:3, 5)

The first was when I was on a “one on one” mission. One guy when approached with the question “what have you done with Jesus in your life” went into spitting bullets in a somewhat mild form. He went into scientific matters. I listened, and when he stopped, I shared with him about God who is Spirit, then how it takes a spiritual birth to enter and perceive the kingdom. After I finished, he was at a loss as to what to say. He got a dose of the Spirit. It might have been the first time for him. When asked what kind of religious background he had, he said “none”. I said to him that he could very well be in a better place than many out there. He smiled and said, “have a good day”.

The other situation, was much more involved spiritually. I will try to give you the short version.

In the afternoon, I was led to stand on this corner which I haven’t been to in about three weeks. Lots of awesome things have taken place here over the years. After standing here for a few minutes, I heard someone yell my name. I looked across the street, and it was this sister who sells newspapers (street roots) on the corner. She came over and we were having a good visit. After about 20 minutes, this Muslim guy walks up and I hand him a tract. He takes it and proceeds to go over and board the train. A few minutes later, he shows up again.

So, this is how it went down.

The guy was a somewhat usual Muslim that wanted to try to convince us that he had the truth. He went into all the usual stuff that they do. Now, here’s the catcher. My friend/sister is well acquainted with the Muslim crowd. Here husband was once one. Now on the outside this appears pretty awesome doesn’t it? Here you have a sister that is well equipped  and very familiar to debate with them, right?

Now, after perceiving in the Spirit what was going on (it took a while), I had noticed on two occasions that my sister mention to me as the guy was talking, “it’s ok, I have it under control” and “just hold your peace”. She said that when I had hardly said anything. Our Muslim friend was doing the majority of the talking, with our sister doing some also. When she had said the last comment about holding your peace, I got a real big check in my spirit. The light went on. The Spirit was being silenced, and I finally caught on. I also heard her agree with the man on some things that threw up a “red flag”.

Now the war was on, and I was right in the middle of it.

The Holy Spirit did give us opportunity to speak truth to him in the Spirit and was also able to help our sister to remain quite. The real eye opener was the fact that our sister was not aware that an “endless debate” was developing back and forth. This is not wisdom to do on a sidewalk in front of lost people walking by. I have never agreed with this approach whither  its believers talking over doctrine or debating with an unbeliever.

Finally, the Spirit gave me what was needed for the man to hear, and he listened to it. We went into how God is Spirit. He agreed. Then we shared how His kingdom is spiritual. And……. it takes a spiritual birth to enter it, and also to perceive/understand it. We shared that it’s not about what religion you’re a member of. We then shared Jesus again. Here is a man who is wrapped up in dead religion, like many. We helped him and our sister to try to understand that it cannot be understood unless one is born again. The intellect was not going to bring about the “light”. It never has and never will.

Then, I looked to my left and it was my ministering brother. He knew right off the bat what was going on. War! Later he shared with me how thick the atmosphere was in warfare. Believe me, when I was finished, I knew that I’d been through the mine-fields.

As I parted, I assured our Muslim friend that it’s all about Jesus. He tried to stop me with some more of his religious junk. I padded him on the shoulder and said, “Jesus!”.

My brother and I took off uptown. We stopped to have prayer and cleansed ourselves of all the different spirits that went with that battle.

One hour later as I was returning to head back home, I passed by that corner again. Guess who was still there? Yep, the Muslim guy and our sister caught up in endless debate. I paused out of sight and had prayer, then proceeded on my way.

We must be reminded that one cannot be convinced nor converted by “intellectual debate”. Why do you think this is so? The answer is, so that man will not get the credit, the glory. It’s God designed. It’s Spirit!

The Spirit will cause you to do and say things that could not be repeated in its entirety if it had to be. Then, you know that it’s Spirit. When man moves out-of-the-way and the Spirit takes over, then God has his way to do what He wants. What He wants to teach also. The Spirit is Light.

Let us get back to the Spirit and out of the mind.

“In your quest for knowledge, don’t forget Jesus”

January 21, 2012

He was a 24yr. old guy who was raised in the Seventh Day Adventist Church. When he got into High School, he decided to take his stand with those who just say regarding God, “I just don’t know”.

I had just sat down at the back of the bus, when along comes this guy and parks at the back, two seats away. I knew right off the bat that this was no “happen chance” here. So, I said “Hi” and handed him a card. He looked at it and handed it back. (Most of the times when this happens, I smile and say “Ok” and or “God bless you”. I am so thankful that I didn’t this time)

After he handed it back, I said, “so you’re not interested in God?” Then the hour-long dialogue started. I love them. Dialogues are of course, you talk, I listen. I talk, you listen. How often do you see this? How often do you partake in one? Dialogues give the Holy Spirit time to operate, instead of “land-blasting”, then they look at their phone after about 10 minutes and say, “hey, I gotta go now”. While this dialogue is taking place, your listening to what the other person is saying, and the Holy Spirit is giving you something to say off of what they are saying. While he is listening, the Holy Spirit is moving upon his heart. It’s awesome!

Now, here was a guy who was no doubt, very intelligent. It didn’t take me very long to figure out what was going on with him. I have met many people over the years that have allowed their knowledge, their reasoning to get in the way. He was going to college to get a major in mathematics. Believe me, this guy had some smarts. He talked about stuff that was way off my charts, for sure. The Holy Spirit just had me listen, then He would give me some stuff to remind him of Christ. We went into the Gospels, and also shared a little regarding Solomon.

Besides being reminded about Jesus, we shared how God is Spirit, and that it takes a spiritual birth to enter and to understand His Kingdom. At times, he would grasp a little, then his brain would kick in and off he would go to another planet. That was OK, because the Spirit knew just how to circumvent his reasoning and bring it back to the basics. I am so thankful that it doesn’t matter how smart, or not how smart you are, God can deal with anything.

So, towards the end of our conversion, the Spirit had me ask him if He ever remembered being born again while he was younger. He could not pin-point a time, and seemed to not clearly remember a time where he knew for sure. So, I reminded him of the necessity again.

My stop came, and it was time to get off. The Spirit had me lean over to him and tap him on the shoulder and say, “In your quest for knowledge, don’t forget Jesus”. We both smiled, shook hands and parted. I hope to see him someday 🙂