Monday, April 20, 2009

Press On

Philippians is a letter written to the Church of Philippi to thank them. Paul wrote this letter while in Prison in Rome around 60 A.D. Paul's passage of Philippians 3:12-14 is in the context of him wanting to know Christ and obtaining Christ.

"But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

This one thing that Paul does, I often fail to do. Forgetting what is behind and pushing on to the future, the hope that is ahead. The past cannot be changed, a mistake made last week will always be there, but what you can change, is the future. What has happened in the past is exactly what God had planned for you and now you must press on to live for God now and in the future. Pressing on towards the ultimate goal, the unconditional love, the one and only, the eternal life in the light of the Lord. I must learn to constantly desire to strive to achieve the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. I must be still and let God speak and call to me and follow the will God has written on my heart. Striving for this prize, striving for serving Christ, striving for desperate dependence on Christ, striving for loving like Christ, striving for walking with Christ, striving for a life eternally with our Father and Savior in Heaven. If you do not put your past behind then how can you live life to the fullest. If you do not put your past behind then how can you truly live for Christ.

So Press on! Because Christ has already forgot what is behind and is striving ahead in His relationship with you, shouldn't you be striving with Him?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

We Can Overcome

Jesus overcame immense suffering leading up to and on the cross. Jesus overcame temptation. Jesus overcame the devil. Jesus overcame every single sin ever being placed on his heart and shoulders. Jesus overcame the ways of this world. Jesus overcame complete separation from God. Jesus overcame DEATH. Something that has never been done by a human. Jesus overcame death and is alive today.

So if Jesus overcame, what does that mean for us?

We face temptation, being doubtful, being far from God, financial difficulties, persecution, suffering, selfishness, broken relationships, and the death of loved ones. We all face hard times in our lives. We all face tribulations. These hard times are all part of life. Can we overcome like Jesus did? Yes we can because Jesus overcame so we can overcome. Like Jesus says in Mark, "If you can? Everything is possible for one who believes (9:23)." If we believe in Christ we can now overcome anything we are facing. We can look that trouble right in the eyes and know that we can overcome it because of Christ overcoming and our belief in Christ. My belief in Christ brings me assurance and hope for better things to come. "Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for yet praise him, my Savior and my God (Psalm 42:11)." Always praise God through the good and bad. Always praise your father and your savior. Jesus overcame sin and death and that allows us to overcome sin and death and this world that we are seemingly stuck in and allows us to reach Heaven and live there for eternity.

Jesus overcame so we can overcome!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Choose Joy

"You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are the pleasures forevermore."
-Psalm 16:11

In times of struggle, in times of trial and tribulation, there is always God. God has been and always will be alive and present. So seize the day, make the best of every day and opportunity God gives you. So this choice of joy is ours and it is one I face everyday. The choice to follow Christ's path of life brings me life and joy to the fullest, but the choice to go down my own path for the day brings me nothing but despair and selfishness, neither of which I want. And always know that God has your best interest in mind. Even though God's plan may make your life more challenging or more difficult, God's will for your life is perfect. God's challenging, but rewarding life chosen for you will shape you into a disciple of Christ, following and trusting and living in God's path of life will bring you the fullness of joy.

So remember, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice." - Philippians 4:4

Sunday, April 5, 2009

It was His Choice

Jesus is the solution to the problem, that we all have. The problem: we are all sinners, and we all turn our backs on God and go our own way. Us going our own way is a problem because without God we are helpless, we can't do anything, we need God's love it is a necessity. So how is Jesus the solution? Well, Jesus is the ONLY solution to our problem. This is only part of what Jesus went through for us: he was stripped naked, a crown of thorns smashed upon his head, receiving continuous vicious blows to the head, mocking being called "The King of the Jews", begin spat on, carrying his own cross on his back to Golgotha where he already knew he was going to be crucified, nails pierced his wrists and feet. The only way for him to breathe upon the cross was to lift himself up, which cause the nails in his wrists to dig deeper into his flesh and tear away at his wrists, but this was the only way he could survive. As Jesus suffered upon the cross, the religious leaders and Romans continued to mock him calling to him, "Come down from the cross, if you are the son of God." Jesus continued to stay and suffer upon the cross. At any point in this sequence of events Jesus could have stopped all of this, he could have stopped the suffering the crucifixion, but this was his choice. This was a plan between Jesus and God for Jesus to be the perfect and only sacrifice to repair our relationship with God. Yes, all of the physical pain Jesus suffered was excruciatingly painful, but what he experiences next brings him the most pain of all. Next, all of the sin of the world are put on Jesus' shoulders. All of the sins that existed before that point in time, all of the sin going on right now, and all of the sin that has yet to take place in our lives, all of it was placed on Jesus' heart. This was the 1st time Christ's perfect connection from God was broken and he was separated from God. For the 1st time Jesus' experiences sin, without God he could no longer survive. He was so dependent upon God and so in sync with him, that the first time Jesus experienced life without him, he died. Jesus said, " 'It is finished.' With that he bowed his head and gave up his spirit (John 19:30)." Why would Jesus' last words be "It is finished"? Why would the savior of the world's last words be "It is finished"? There is definitely a valuable meaning behind Jesus' choice of words. Jesus' plan to save the world was now complete, He had become the ultimate sacrifice for the world. The plan that Jesus and God formulated was now finished. The disbelievers that crucified Jesus now said, "Surely He is the Son of God." Now they believed. But, the story does not end here.
Jesus is now taken down from the cross and is placed in his cave-tomb and an enormous boulder is pushed in front to cover the entrance and guards are placed outside of his tomb to guard Jesus' grave. Now a couple of days pass and Mary comes to visit Jesus' grave to find that he is gone, disappeared. She asks the guards what had happened and they were clueless. Next, and angel comes to talk to Mary and tells her that Jesus has been raised from the dead, he is resurrected, He is alive. But How do we know this is true? How do we know that someone didn't come and steal Jesus' body and then spread a rumor that he was alive? We know from the Bible. After Jesus' resurrection he showed himself to his apostles and numerous people in the Bible.
This story is true. This story is incredible. Jesus was dead, but now he is alive. This changes everything, this changes the whole world. We do not worship a God that is dead and buried in a cave, but we worship a living God. We worship a God who conquered death, a God who lives with us right now no matter where we are.
Jesus was faced with a choice, suffer and die for us and the world or to continue to live his own life, sinless, in complete unison with God, perfect. He chose to suffer and die and sacrifice himself for sinners, for us. Now we have a choice to make, to live for ourselves and for the temporary things of this world or to live for a savior who died for us, to give our life to Jesus Christ. What choice will you make? I have chosen to give my life to Jesus Christ and have and still am experiencing life to the fullest. You can do the same, Jesus made his choice now it is time for you to make yours.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A New Heaven

"Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 'He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or morning or crying or pain, for the old order of this has passed away." - Revelation 21:3-4

"I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp." - Revelation 21:22-23

The return of Christ brings us hope! We will live side by side with God in heaven, we will no longer cry in sorrow, there will be no more pain, there will be no more death. The way of the Earth and your life on Earth will be gone and your new life of constantly and uninterrupted living in the light of the Lord will start and will last for eternity.
In heaven there are no temples, churches, or chapels. Why is there no longer a place of worship you might ask? Why can't we attend church in Heaven? There is no longer a need for church in Heaven because you are constantly in sync with the Lord 100% of the time. There is no longer any chance of separation from the unconditional love, care, and comfort of the Lord. There will be continuous and constant worship not just your once a week, Sunday Church. God will be worshiped and thanked always and in every moment.
The light of the Lord will illuminate Heaven, there will no longer be a need for a sun or moon. The will be NO more darkness figuratively and literally. The darkness will be overcome and conquered completely be our God. "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5)." On this day darkness will NO LONGER EXIST. We will no longer be subject to evil or impurity because, "Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life (Rev. 21:27)." All of the children of God, who truly follow Jesus Christ our savior will be untied together and become neighbors with God.

Where will you be when the new heaven and new earth are seen and the first heaven and the first earth have passed away? Maybe the better question is, who will you be?