GALATIANS 2:20 ON 2/20

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I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.   – Galatians 2:20

The first step toward understanding the narrow path that we’re called to walk is understanding Paul’s epistle to the Galatians.  In the 20th verse we read that there should be Christ-centered living.  Our Savior lives in us and we live by faith in Him because he loved us and gave His life for us.

Paul emphasizes how life with Christ is so much better than life under the law.  The law could not make men righteous before God, yet in Christ they were made righteous.  By dying to self and embracing Christ, clinging to Him rather than cold, empty law…  they were able to rise to a new spiritual life as they fixed their eyes upon the cross of Christ.

The “old man” – dies to self and the old sin nature – and is given a life of close and intimate communion with God through Christ Jesus.  Faith in self turns to faith in Him, His way, His peace and His love.  We rely fully on Him for pardon, righteousness, joy, comfort, every supply of grace, and eternal salvation.

In Paul, the old law lost its power and ceased to influence him.  That means that he declared himself divorced from such things as the LOVE of money, the PRIDE of life and the DOMINION of hateful and evil passions.  These things that are so meaningful in the world around us, ceased to influence him – and were also crucified with Christ.

While we still live in these bodies of flesh, our spirits are renewed and recharged daily by the Lord.  We’re not given a pass from sufferings, grief or loss in life – but we know that our Lord is there to help us through them.  🙂

 

 

 

THE BEST BLACK FRIDAY DEAL OF THEM ALL

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It’s BLACK FRIDAY…  which means different things to different people.  Some folks are all hyped up and memorizing every sale circular and online resource they can get their hands on.  For them, black Friday is about getting the best deals while keeping the store in the black as opposed to them going into the red.  That is the intended meaning of black Friday – to do your “part” to keep businesses in the black.

To others, the meaning of black Friday is quite different.  They do everything they can to not leave their house all day long because there will be wall to wall human beings no matter where you go.

I fall into a third category of thought regarding black Friday…  I believe I can tell you about the best BLACK FRIDAY deal of them all.  Please show this blog some love if you agree.  ❤

There was a Friday a long time ago…  and a man named Jesus.  Here’s what He went through just for you:

At 6am, Jesus stood trial before Pilate.  Would He had had to do that?  No, but He loves you and me.  He did it in love because He wants us to place our trust in Him.

 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”  “You have said so,” Jesus replied.  When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer.  Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?”   But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.  – Matthew 27:11-14

 “Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.  “You have said so,” Jesus replied.  The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.”  But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.  – Mark 15:2-5

Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate.  And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”  So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”  “You have said so,” Jesus replied.  Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”  But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”  – Luke 23:1-5

Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”  “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”   Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”  “But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.   Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”  “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”  “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”   Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”  “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.  Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”  – John 18:28-37

Jesus was sent to Herod:

 On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.  When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort.  He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.  – Luke 23:6-12

At 7am, Jesus returned to Pilate:

Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate.  – Luke 23:11

Jesus was sentenced to death:

Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.  – Matthew 27:26

 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.  – Mark 15:15

But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed.  So Pilate decided to grant their demand.– Luke 23:23-24

Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.  – John 19:16

At 8am, Jesus was led to Calvary:

As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.  – Matthew 27:32-34

A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.  They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.  And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.  – Mark 15:21-24

As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.  A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.  Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.  For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’  Then “‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”  and to the hills, “Cover us!”  For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”  – Luke 23:26-31

Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.  – John 19:16-17

At 9am, Jesus was crucified.  The soldiers cast lots for His clothing:

It was nine in the morning when they crucified him.   – Mark 15:25

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.  – Luke 23:34

And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.  – Mark 15:24

At 10am, Jesus was mocked and ridiculed:

Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”  – Matthew 27:39-40

In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! – Mark 15:31

The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar  and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”  – Luke 23:36-37

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”  – Luke 23:39

At 11am, Jesus offered hope to a criminal:

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”  – Luke 23:40-43

Jesus spoke to Mary and John:

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,”  and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.  – John 19:26-27

At noon, darkness covers the land:

At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.  – Mark 15:33

At 1pm, Jesus cried out to the Father:

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?  – Matthew 27:46

Jesus got thirsty:

Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”  A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.  – John 19:28-29

At 2pm, It is finished:

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.  – John 19:30

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.  – Luke 23:46

3pm was the ninth hour.

black-fridayWhile you’re out grabbing up good deals on material things, please keep in mind that the offer that Jesus has to give you (it’s a gift and costs nothing)…  well, it really does offer eternal savings.  How long does eternity last?  Well…  it lasts forever, which is a very long time!

You know, I can’t remember what I got for Christmas last year.  I remember being with the one I love and enjoying his company…  but the stuff – well – not so much.  I’m pretty sure I got some great coffee and tea.  I remember that.  😉black-friday-door-buster

When I trusted Jesus with my life at 13 years of age, I remember that time well.  Jesus gave His very LIFE for me!  It was a Black Friday for Him that He chose to go through just for me.  He is my personal Savior.  I hope He is yours too.  Have a blessed day.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

HEBREWS 10:23 ON 10/23

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Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise.  – Hebrews 10:23

Shared with permission.

My parents and I were living in a refugee settlement in Vienna after we left the former Soviet Union.  Everything was uncertain, scary, and pretty terrible.  This didn’t stop my dad from announcing one day that we were going to visit the opera house in Vienna.  I thought playing tourists was ridiculous – we had no money, no citizenship, and no home.  “We don’t know if we’ll ever be back here again,” my dad said.  “Life is short.  It’s stupid to sit here and wallow in our troubles.”  Now I realize…  he’s right.  – Nataly Kogan

When our president said that he would fundamentally CHANGE the United States, a cold chill went up my back.  Part of me thought, “Well, maybe I’m just getting old and this is not as bad as I think it will be.”

This is not a political blog, but having lived under the leadership that promised HOPE AND CHANGE, I’m really just praying that in 2016 we get FAITH AND TRUST.  I want to be able to trust that those who lead my country are on my side.  It’s time for a change from hope and change.

Faith is not about finding meaning in the world:  there may be no such thing.  Faith is the belief in our capacity to create meaningful lives.  – Terry Tempest Williams

How many people can you really trust?  Do you have to use both hands to tally it up, or will one hand suffice?  If you are having to take your shoes and socks off to count up your trustworthy peeps, you are blessed indeed!

In this verse, we are told to HOLD TIGHTLY WITHOUT WAVERING TO THE HOPE WE AFFIRM.  Does that mean the hope and change in America?  I really don’t think so.  It’s referring to the eternal hope we have found in our LORD, Jesus Christ.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  It is a comfort to know that He has everything under control.

But this verse goes on to remind us that GOD CAN BE TRUSTED TO KEEP HIS PROMISE.  It is important to remember that even when we can’t trust our government or some people in our life – God can be trusted to keep HIS promise.  Every single promise He makes He will keep!  This includes His promise of eternal salvation for anyone who comes to Him and confesses Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, accepting Him into their hearts and lives.

At salvation, we become children of God and co-heirs with Christ. This means everything the Father bestows upon the Son, we will receive with Him. The Lord has sealed these gifts for us by the Holy Spirit and reserves our treasures in heaven.  – Charles Stanley

The times we live in are frightening, but we do not have to be polarized by our circumstances.  We cannot afford to stop dreaming, stop living and stop loving because the world around us is a scary place.  Find a way to hang on to God and trust Him to keep His promise.  In the meantime, live your life to the fullest because your life is in God’s hands and in His keeping.

We can’t make people change, but when we change, others may change.  – Gretchen Rubin

I think in this day of uncertainty we need to know there is a God who understands our fears and sees every tear we shed in the privacy of our room.  Lean on Him because He can be trusted.  🙂