22
Jul
16

FULL Of Grace And Truth

John 1:14
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus was FULL of grace AND truth. A friend of mine recently pointed out to me that this is not a 50/50 balance of grace and truth. He was FULL of grace and truth. It was 100/100! Jesus always told the truth in a grace-filled way. 
As followers of Jesus, we have so far to go. We often error on one side or the other. We’ll preach the truth of the Gospel, but we’ll forget the grace. We’ll be so loud and bold that we actually turn people off to Jesus because we think that it is our job to convict the world of sin. Jesus said that that is the job of the Holy Spirit. 
Or we will preach good news of love, forgiveness and grace and forget about the truth that there is bad news, too. We’re all sinners and deserve to spend an eternity separated from God in Hell. That’s the truth! 
How can we be more like Jesus when it comes to telling people the truth (we deserve Hell) in a grace-filled way (but God wants to save us because He loves us)? We have to keep our eyes on the cross. Jesus went through hell so that we can go to Heaven. The cross is that perfect balance of grace and truth. Without the cross, there is no good news. Jesus suffered and died so that our sins could be washed away in His blood. Without Him we have no hope. But we do have hope because Jesus came and laid down His life for our forgiveness. O praise His name!

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for sending Jesus, Your Son. Help me to be more like Him in my interactions with people. Help me to tell the truth in a grace-filled way. Thank You for saving me by Your grace. Amen.
21
Jul
16

Not Everyone Is A Child Of God

John 1:9-13 (NIV)

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

 
According to the Apostle John, we are not all God’s children. Those who have received Jesus Christ and believed in His name have the right to become the children of God. John repeats this idea in his first letter. 1 John 3:1-2 (NIV) says:
 

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

 
God has lavished His love on us and has made us His children by love and grace. We are all God’s creation, but we are not all His children.
The good news of the Gospel is that anyone can become a child of God through faith in His Son. It’s not an exclusive club that only a few get to join. Everyone can become a part of this amazing family. Just accept God’s gracious offer of salvation through expressing your faith in Jesus Christ and you will be saved and adopted into His family. 
 
PRAYER: Thank You, God, for adopting me and making me part of Your family as Your child. Help me to spread the good news that everyone can become Your child. The world needs Your love and grace. I want to be a part of sharing it with them. In Jesus’ saving name I pray, amen.
20
Jul
16

Testifying About The Light

John 1:6-8 (NIV)

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

What is your testimony? How has God transformed your life through the power of Jesus Christ? What has God done in your life lately? John the Baptist witnessed the Light, Jesus Christ, and testified to it. He testified about the Light so that others would believe in Jesus. He did not strive to bring glory to himself, but to bring people to Christ.
We whose lives have been changed by the power of the Gospel are the light of the world, according to Matthew 5. We are not THE Light, but rather we are God’s lights that shine His love and light all around. We must remember that it is not our job to save people. That’s God’s job. He is the One who saves by His grace through faith expressed in His Son. Our job is to bring people to Jesus so that He can forgive them. We do this by loving and serving people in His name.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your grace and forgiveness. Help me to bring someone to Jesus today. Give me an opportunity to testify to the Light and how Jesus has changed my life and my eternal destiny. Thank You for sending Him into the world to save us all. In His name I pray, amen.
19
Jul
16

Reflecting His Light

John 1:1-5 (NIV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

It’s a different kind of Creation story. The Gospel of John begins with the same words as Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning…” We see in John’s Gospel that the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, was with God the Father in the beginning and through Him all things were created. In Genesis 1, God said, “Let there be light…” (Genesis 1:3, NIV). In John 1:4, we read that Jesus is life and that His life is light. The life and light of Jesus shines in the darkest corners of the world and darkness cannot overcome nor overpower His light.

The light of Jesus still shines in the darkness today through His people. As the moon reflects the light of the sun, so do Jesus’ followers reflect the light of the Son. We must always remember that Jesus is the light of the world, not us. We cannot do anything apart from Him. Reflecting any other light is futile for darkness can overcome any other light that is not divine. Our love for the world has to be motivated by the love God has for the world. That love was demonstrated on the cross where Jesus died for the world. Through His sacrifice we have been set free from sin and its consequences. Now we share that good news through word and deed with a world that is in desperate need of light.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I want to reflect Your light today. Fill me with Your life and light as I move about through the world today. May I bring glory to Your name, amen.
18
Jul
16

Facebook/Twitter

The latest message from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana.  This message is the second in our series, “There’s An APP For That” and is about what we post, like and share on social media.

18
Jul
16

No Place Like It

Joshua 13 has two parts to it.  The first part is God’s command to Joshua about how the remaining parts of the Promised Land were to be conquered and then divided among the Israelites.  I was thinking about this chapter here in Joshua and it occurred to me that God had a place for His people.  It was a place that He had prepared just for them.  It was a land flowing with milk and honey.  It was a good land where they could settle and call their own.  God led them there through hard times and good times.  He provided for them along the way and He gave them victories over their enemies.  He went before them and He fought for them.  He protected them and got them to their home.
It makes me think of our journey of faith as Christians.  Look at John 14:1-3:

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. – John 14:1-3 (NIV)

Jesus has prepared a place for us!   It is a wonderful place where we will never hurt in any way ever again.  Neither or bodies nor our hearts will ever break again.  Every tear will be wiped away and we’ll sorrow no more.  It is an amazing place where we will finally be home.  Along the way, God has promised to provide for our needs and protect us from the enemy.  He will always be with us and He will get us home to where we truly belong.  God has never promised that the road will be easy, but Jesus said He would go with us.  Let us take Him by the hand and keep pressing on toward our Heaven.  It is the special place that God has prepared for us.  It’s our true home and there’s no place like it.
PRAYER: Lord, thank You for Heaven. I look forward to the day when I see You face to face.  Until then, help me to keep my eyes on You when hard times come for I know that You will get me home. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Joshua 13 (NIV)

When Joshua had grown old, the Lord said to him, “You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.

“This is the land that remains: all the regions of the Philistines and Geshurites, from the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Ekron on the north, all of it counted as Canaanite though held by the five Philistine rulers in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron; the territory of the Avvites on the south; all the land of the Canaanites, from Arah of the Sidonians as far as Aphek and the border of the Amorites; the area of Byblos; and all Lebanon to the east, from Baal Gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo Hamath.

“As for all the inhabitants of the mountain regions from Lebanon to Misrephoth Maim, that is, all the Sidonians, I myself will drive them outbefore the Israelites. Be sure to allocate this land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have instructed you, and divide it as an inheritanceamong the nine tribes and half of the tribe of Manasseh.”

Division of the Land East of the Jordan

The other half of Manasseh,[a] the Reubenites and the Gadites had received the inheritance that Moses had given them east of the Jordan, as he, the servant of the Lord, had assigned it to them.

It extended from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Gorge, and from the town in the middle of the gorge, and included the whole plateau of Medeba as far as Dibon, 10 and all the towns of Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon, out to the border of the Ammonites.11 It also included Gilead, the territory of the people of Geshur and Maakah, all of Mount Hermon and all Bashan as far as Salekah—12 that is, the whole kingdom of Og in Bashan, who had reigned in Ashtaroth and Edrei. (He was the last of the Rephaites.) Moses had defeated them and taken over their land. 13 But the Israelites did not drive out the people of Geshur and Maakah, so they continue to live among the Israelites to this day.

14 But to the tribe of Levi he gave no inheritance, since the food offerings presented to the Lord, the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as he promised them.

15 This is what Moses had given to the tribe of Reuben, according to its clans:

16 The territory from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Gorge, and from the town in the middle of the gorge, and the whole plateau past Medeba 17 to Heshbon and all its towns on the plateau, including Dibon, Bamoth Baal, Beth Baal Meon, 18 Jahaz, Kedemoth, Mephaath,19 Kiriathaim, Sibmah, Zereth Shahar on the hill in the valley, 20 Beth Peor, the slopes of Pisgah, and Beth Jeshimoth— 21 all the towns on the plateau and the entire realm of Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled at Heshbon. Moses had defeated him and the Midianite chiefs, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba—princes allied with Sihon—who lived in that country. 22 In addition to those slain in battle, the Israelites had put to the sword Balaam son of Beor, who practiced divination. 23 The boundary of the Reubenites was the bank of the Jordan. These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the Reubenites, according to their clans.

24 This is what Moses had given to the tribe of Gad, according to its clans:

25 The territory of Jazer, all the towns of Gilead and half the Ammonite country as far as Aroer, near Rabbah; 26 and from Heshbon to Ramath Mizpah and Betonim, and from Mahanaim to the territory of Debir;27 and in the valley, Beth Haram, Beth Nimrah, Sukkoth and Zaphonwith the rest of the realm of Sihon king of Heshbon (the east side of the Jordan, the territory up to the end of the Sea of Galilee[b]).28 These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the Gadites,according to their clans.

29 This is what Moses had given to the half-tribe of Manasseh, that is, to half the family of the descendants of Manasseh, according to its clans:

30 The territory extending from Mahanaim and including all of Bashan,the entire realm of Og king of Bashan—all the settlements of Jair in Bashan, sixty towns, 31 half of Gilead, and Ashtaroth and Edrei (the royal cities of Og in Bashan). This was for the descendants of Makirson of Manasseh—for half of the sons of Makir, according to their clans.

32 This is the inheritance Moses had given when he was in the plains of Moab across the Jordan east of Jericho. 33 But to the tribe of Levi, Moses had given no inheritance; the Lord, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as he promised them.

15
Jul
16

Sin And Forgiveness

Luke 17:1-4 (NIV)
17 Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. 2 It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 So watch yourselves.
“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

How are we supposed to treat each other as brothers and sisters in Christ?  Luke 17:1-4 gives us two reminders.  First, we need to be careful not to cause others to stumble in their faith and sin.  One commentator suggests that this carries with it the idea of making someone lose their faith in Christ.  This would truly be an egregious sin!  One of my greatest fears as a pastor is that something I say (or don’t say) might cause someone to fall away from their faith.  God forbid!  As Christians, what we say and do carries with it such an awesome responsibility.  Jesus said, “…woe to anyone” who causes someone to sin or fall away from the faith (Luke 17:1, NIV).
The second exhortation has to do with forgiveness.  Warning: this is a hard teaching of Jesus!  If someone sins against you, Jesus says, we are to rebuke them to repentance and then forgive them.  Here’s the fun one:

Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them. – Luke 17:4 (NIV)

Surely Jesus doesn’t mean this, right?!?  You know the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  If someone punches you in the face and then says, “I’m sorry” and then does it six more times and sincerely apologizes seven more times, I have to forgive them?  The number seven isn’t literal.  We shouldn’t count and then say, “Ha!  Eight times!  I don’t have to forgive you now!”  Rather, the number is a number of wholeness or completion.  We should completely forgive someone, even if they sin against us over and over.  But why?

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. – Luke 6:36 (NIV)

and

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. – Luke 6:37-38 (NIV)

In other words, God forgives us over and over and over again.  We return to Him time and again with the words, “I’m sorry” on our lips.  We may even be truly remorseful and repentant.  How does God treat us?  He forgives us.  Every.  Single.  Time.  So don’t tell me that you cannot forgive the brother or sister that has sinned against you a few times.  I’m not saying it is easy.  But with the power of God’s Spirit and the knowledge of our own sinfulness against God, we need to be forgiving as we have been forgiven.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, help me to be faithful in forgiveness. I want to be merciful like You. I need Your help to do that today. Help me to be more like Jesus today, amen.



Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,583 other followers

%d bloggers like this: