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March 28, 2017, 11:57 AM

An Unfair Exchange

"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” II Corinthians 5:21

"Whenever you think, that life is not fair; think of the cross of Christ.”

The cross of Christ was the scene of the greatest exchange in history.  Jesus was not just arrested, beaten, spit upon, and crucified to die as a martyr...

He died as the substitute for all who will believe, repent, and call on Him as Lord and Savior!  He became sin, for us.  

That means that He carried all of our sins and buried them in the grave and left them in Hell.  Every sin you can possibly imagine, and even the ones you cannot bring yourself to fathom was laid on Him who knew no sin.  

Every lie, murder, act of bullying, sexual sin, pride, every evil, lust, rebellion, selfishness, hatred, violence, every self-righteous and self indulgent act, everything...anything that is opposite of Godliness and God Himself was laid on Christ and was paid for once and for all.  

But that is not even the whole story or even the best part.  

When Jesus died on the cross and was raised to life again it was proof and validation from God that He accepted the sacrificial death of His Son.  Every past, present, and future sin has had it’s debt paid in full and is available to be forgiven.  

In order to get this forgiveness you simply have to believe on Jesus Christ as God and Savior, and repent (turn away from sin).  

You see there is where the unfair exchange takes place.  God took all of your sin (all the sin of the whole world) and laid it in one lump sum on Jesus and then  for all who will believe he exchanges that sin for Christ’s righteousness.  

Righteousness is simply the quality of being good enough for God.  When we believe by faith and call on God and repent of our sin and accept the payment of Christ in our place then God no longer measures us by our own merits but measures us and accepts us based on the righteousness of Christ.  He exchanges our “un-worthiness” for Christ’s “Worthiness!”

In Christ alone you are worthy of God’s love and forgiveness forever.  

The more we understand it, the more we will live it day by day.  The more we live it day by day the more thankful we will be.  

The gospel of grace offers the good news that a  Worthy Substitute willingly died in your place and in mine and exchanged His righteousness for our filthy rags.  

Celebrate that!  Believe that!  Suddenly the expression “life’s not fair” takes on a whole new meaning.  

March 21, 2017, 4:49 PM

Hope that Holds on to You!

Hope is a good thing.  

Hope is a good thing to have.  

Hope is a good thing to hold on to.  

We can hope for something, or we can put our hope in someone. 

Hope can be a great thing.  It can be something to live for and something to help see you through a trying time.  We can hope for ourselves or for someone we care about to succeed and accomplish goals or a dream.  

Hope can be a good thing

Unless what or who you are hoping in or for fails.  Then it is depressing and even soul crushing.  When something or someone in which you have placed your hope does not fulfill that hope it can be as bad as never having had hope to begin with.

But when your hope is Christ.  Hope never fails.  Because Christ never has never failed, nor will He ever fail.  

Hope in God is a well placed hope that is more than something you can hold on to it good times and bad, it is a hope that holds on to you.  

When your hope is found in God and His Son Jesus Christ, there is a hope that is eternal, never failing and all sufficient.  

If your faith is in Christ Jesus as Savior, then you have an eternal hope that is sure and a firm foundation because it is already set.  It is fulfilled, it cannot fail.  

Christ has already paid the price so that your hope in Him will set you free to live for Him and free to live with Him in eternity.  

You don’t have to worry about hope not being enough when your hope is in the Lord!

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entirety into that within the veil;” - Hebrews 6:19

Turn to Jesus.  Let the Love and hope of God hold on to you. 

#hope #salvation #God #jesus

March 16, 2017, 2:51 PM

For Better Reception...Adjust Your Satellite.

“And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at the other times, Samuel,Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak, for Thy servant heareth.” 

- I Samuel 3:10

Is that you, Lord?

Lilly Tomlin once said:  “Why is it that when we speak to God, we’re said to be praying, but when God speaks to us, we’re said to be Schizophrenic?”

When we pray, most of us believe, or at least hope, that God is listening and hears us.  But, not many of us expect God to answer us back?  

Prayer is a two way street.  It is a part of the fellowship relationship that we have with God.  When we pray we aught not only ask for our wants andneeds, express our fears, or list our complaints, but we aught to pray to praise Him, and just talk to God like would a friend.  When we talk to God we aught to expect Him to talk to us.  But, when He doesn’t or we don’t hear Him, then what do we do?  If we don’t ever hear God speaking to us is it because there is a  problem?  Is there something we can do to ensure we hear from God?

In I Samuel, God chose not to speak to Eli, the high priest, but to Samuel, an innocent, humble, little boy.  Samuel did not at first realize that it was God that was speaking.  Much can be learned from this passage of scripture.

First, in order to hear from God, make sure your spiritual satellite is pointed in the right direction.  You won’t hear from God through the latest talk shows, sitcoms, or the latest magazine at the check out counter.  God’s written Word is the final word.  The more spiritual disciplines you practice in your life, the greater the likelihood that God will speak to you and that you will hear Him.  

Read the Word of God, pray, submit to His will (whatever it is), worship, and tithe.  Think of these as channels of obedience in which you can hear God speak.  

Make sure there is nothing between your satellite dish of your heart and His signal.  Trees of sin, or mountains of unbelief can block the signal and prevent you from clearly hearing from God.  If there is something in the way, remove it out of way.  Do whatever it takes to get a clear signal and your heart pointed in the right direction.  Real life cannot be navigated until you are hearing from the control tower.  

Put yourself in the position to hear God speak each day.   Expect God to speak each day.  A relationship with God through Christ is how you grow as a Christian.  Good communication is part of any real, loving relationship.  

Samuel was willing to hear, Samuel was desiring to hear, and He did what it took to hear.  And,God spoke clearly.  

Adjust your heart’s satellite and adjust your reception to the Word from God.  

March 15, 2017, 11:12 AM

Just Pray!

“Rejoice evermore.  Pray without ceasing.  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God concerning you.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Praying is hard.  That is why most Christians don’t do it.  Or at least why most Christians don’t do it enough.  It is difficult to spend time on your knees talking to a God that we cannot see without our minds wondering, or the devil distracting us with a dresser that we see out of the corner of our eye that needs dusted.  

But God says that it is His will that we pray.  So pray!  Christian, make an effort to obey God’s will for your life.  The following are some tips to help you in your prayer life.

1.  Set aside a specific time - If you don’t plan for it, you are not planning on doing it.

2.  Find a quiet place to pray.  The Bible talks about a prayer closet and it also says we aught not to pray to be seen.  The devil wants to prevent you or distract you.  Limit the chances for distraction.  That being said, the Bible says we are to pray without ceasing.  That means that aught not be afraid to pray in public or with our eyes open while driving or just walking down the road.  We can pray in our hearts and minds anytime and don’t let a lack of specific time prevent you from praying.  

3.  Pour out your heart to God. Just talk to him.  He knows what is on your mind and in your heart anyway so you might as well be honest.  The Bible says that when we don’t even know what or how to pray that the H.S. intercedes on our behalf.  That being said...

4.  Praise Him in your prayers.  Rejoice in the fact that you can pray and He does hear you and can act on your prayers.  Give thanks that He is in control.    Pray for more than just the physical.  Pray for wisdom and patience.  Pray for God to meet your spiritual needs as much as you pray for Him to meet the physical.  

5.  Pray for forgiveness of sin when you sin and for others who are not saved to be saved and have their sins forgiven.  

6.  Pray for others.  Your spouse, parents, children, co-workers, church members, and PASTOR!  Pray for your community and nation.  Pray for the world.

7.  Pray with others.  Although we aught to get alone to pray primarily, it also helps to invite others to pray with us.  Our spouse, children, or friends are just a few that we could involve.    

8.  Ask God to help you and He will.  Ask that He give you a desire and He will.  

This is just a start.  Although it seems daunting to pray for a long period of time, when you get started and realize all you have to pray for, you realize that its not as difficult as you might think.  

Recently I led our church to spend the entire second half of the church service in prayer.  It was approx. 35 minutes!  But we prayed for 3 minutes at a time, and each segment focused on one topic.  At the end of 3 minutes I gave them the new topic and continued for 10 total topics.  Before we realized it, the 35 minutes had passed.  

Never worry that your prayer is not long enough or pretty enough.  Charles Spurgeon was a famous preacher that once said:

“...True prayer is measured by weight, not by length.  A single groan before God may have more fullness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length.”

The bottom line is that we are instructed to pray.  Find a way.  Turn to God and call on His Holy name.  

No matter what your need, He is the only one that can really meet the need.

March 14, 2017, 1:27 PM

The Problem with Problems

“The righteous cry, and the LORD hearth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.” Psalm 34:17

We don’t like problems.  The problem with problems is that we typically try to avoid them.  Trying to avoid a problem often leads us into another problem.  Either we can’t avoid the problem we were trying get away from or, getting away from one problem has led us into another.  

There is an old African proverb that says: “Instead of asking God to take away a problem, ask Him for a stronger back and broader shoulders.”

Most of us ask God to eliminate or clear out the traffic of our lives instead of relying on God to help us navigate the speed bumps and pitfalls of life.  Everyone likes to cruise in the fast lane of life, but while cruising through life we often miss what God is trying to tell us.  

Perhaps we need to change our point of view when it comes to problems.  Instead of avoiding problems perhaps we should see them as an opportunity to see God at work, directing us through and overcoming the problem.  

Jesus never seemed to try to avoid problems.  Problems were opportunities to display the power and glory of God.  Sick, lame, or blind?  No problem!  Dead? Seems like a big problem, but not to Jesus, just ask Lazarus or Jairus’ daughter!  

Running from your problems does not make you stronger nor does it make you closer in your walk with God.  But, embracing the problem and overcoming it by the strength of the Lord increases your faith and brings glory to God.  

The Next time you find yourself face to face with a problem, hurdle, trial, or fear, pray that God would help you overcome it in a way that will bring glory to Him and increase your faith while drawing you closer to Christ.  

It is only then that you will really learn...There is no problem with problems.

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