I Corinthians 3 Part 2–It Is Simply About Christ

As Paul was dealing with the church at Corinth, it became apparent that they would substitute anything with skin on it for true faith in God through Christ. It is difficult to simply trust God and take Him at His word.  People wanted to trust Paul, Peter, Apollos…and the list goes on. If that was not enough, they wanted to trust in their accomplishments, souls saved, meetings attended, good deeds that were done, contributions that were given.  Paul was trying to help the Corinthians and Christians in general to know–It is always Christ and Him crucified that justifies our faith, our salvation and our relationship with God.
 
In our world, little has changed. It is still difficult to walk in this life simply trusting God to lead us and to save us.  We want to help, somehow.  We want to join the right church, do the right activities and be the right people in order to justify our faith.  Paul and God say no! It is simply not about who we are, where we attend church or what achievements we have accomplished.  We are justified by our faith in Christ. It is all about who He is and what He has done.  We are saved by faith, through grace. If we will simply trust Christ, follow Him and rest in his provision, protection and preparation, then He will transform us into his image and prepare us for an eternity with Him. There is no greater gift, nor is there any easier formula.  Help me Lord to follow You!
 
God Bless You

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.

18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”[a]20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”[b] 21 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas[c] or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

Numbers 25 Part 1–Even After All God’s Blessings…

Unbelievable, The Moabite King spent days trying to destroy Israel by having a prophet curse them.  He literally tried every angle to make it happen and God protected Israel. That should have been the happy ending, but sadly it was not.  The Israelite men started sneaking over and sleeping with the Moabite women and taking part in the idol worship, sacrifices and sexual rituals.  

Aaron’s grandson who was now the priest saved Israel from God’s wrath and stopped the ridiculous behavior. He followed  one of the men while he was with 2 Moabite women in camp, walked into the tent and killed them for their horrid behavior! That stopped God’s wrath against His people. Really?!!?

Sadly, as a result, over 24,000 folks died of plague.  How one could think it was safe to act so horribly with God right in camp– it is beyond belief…well, that is until we look at our own lives! We are all notorious of committing acts that are sinful knowing that God is right there! We are, therefore, blessed to have so great a salvation–that forgives us when we sin.  Only God can forgive that sin.  We must trust the Lord, and follow Him daily–to reach a place where we follow Him humbly and gracefully. 

Help me Lord to trust, follow and walk with You daily.

God Bless You

While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them.

The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the Lord, so that the Lord’s fierce anger may turn away from Israel.”

So Moses said to Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death those of your people who have yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor.”

Then an Israelite man brought into the camp a Midianite woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping at the entrance to the tent of meeting. When Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear into both of them, right through the Israelite man and into the woman’s stomach. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped; but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000.

10 The Lord said to Moses, 11 “Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites. Since he was as zealous for my honor among them as I am, I did not put an end to them in my zeal. 12 Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him. 13 He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood,because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites.”

Numbers 1 Part 1–Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!!!

God is methodical. From the beginning of time, He has had all knowledge of what was to come.  After liberating the children of Israel from captivity in Egypt, He brought them together in the desert, He gave them the law and prepared them to be a nation. Now 2 years after their release from captivity, it was time to ready them to take the land.  The book of Numbers is not an accounting guide. It is the story of God aligning the people of Israel to be a nation of free people.  

Ironically, the first thing God requires in the book, is for Moses to take a census.  He is to number the people of Israel, He is also to number the fighting men. God appoints leaders from each of the tribes named for Jacob’s sons and the two half tribes named for Joseph’s sons.  God was ready to have these people organized and prepared to enter the promised land.

In our lives, God is equally prepared.  He begins a work in us that He promises to carry on until we join Him.  It is methodical, just like the preparation of Israel. We have to trust that even though we cannot see the end; God has and does. We have to trust and simply follow Him there.  There is no promise that the journey will be easy–it took God two (2) years to get this group organized and prepared to be a nation! While we trust God to lead us, He will work in our lives to make us ready for what He has planned.  It has been, is and will always be a matter of trusting God to take the lead and then humbly following Him to victory! Welcome to the book of Numbers!

God Bless You 

 The Lord spoke to Moses in the tent of meeting in the Desert of Sinai on the first day of the second month of the second year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. He said: “Take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clans and families, listing every man by name, one by one. You and Aaron are to count according to their divisions all the men in Israel who are twenty years old or more and able to serve in the army. One man from each tribe, each of them the head of his family, is to help you. These are the names of the men who are to assist you:

from Reuben, Elizur son of Shedeur;

from Simeon, Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai;

from Judah, Nahshon son of Amminadab;

from Issachar, Nethanel son of Zuar;

from Zebulun, Eliab son of Helon;

10 from the sons of Joseph:

from Ephraim, Elishama son of Ammihud;

from Manasseh, Gamaliel son of Pedahzur;

11 from Benjamin, Abidan son of Gideoni;

12 from Dan, Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai;

13 from Asher, Pagiel son of Okran;

14 from Gad, Eliasaph son of Deuel;

15 from Naphtali, Ahira son of Enan.”

16 These were the men appointed from the community, the leaders of their ancestral tribes. They were the heads of the clans of Israel.

Matthew 28 Final–The Great Commission

The Lord returned to a place to stand with the men He prepared to change the world. Now, after the Resurrection, after the years of preparation, Jesus had simply one more command.  Go and make disciples.  What a great command–He did not ask them to go unseat the Jewish leadership–although they could have.  He didn’t ask them to go and overthrow the Roman government–though, that was still the popular desire for the Jewish leadership.  

Instead, He told them to do for the world, what He had done for them. Make disciples–baptize them, teach them and pour their lives into others. He did not give them the job, however, without the accompanying promise–“I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.”  All these men would be martyred–John survived simply because when, boiled in oil, nothing happened–he was then exiled to Patmos–where he wrote the book of Revelation.  These men heeded Christ’s command and began the work of saving the world–a job that continues on today.

We have the same calling. Go and make disciples. It is as simple as sharing your heart with your kids.  Telling those you work with what makes you tick. Serving in your church as a teacher, server, prayer warrior or giver.  Never losing sight of the eternal perspective that comes from following Christ daily, hiding in His word; seeking Him in prayer. We should be in fellowship with other believers, and living in a way that allows Christ to mold you into His image. As you are going–if you follow him, you will make disciples.

God Bless You

 

 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened.12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

The Great Commission

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28 Part 1–He Has Risen!

What an amazing way to start the week. When one stops to think how significant it was for Jesus to face and beat death, it is not only a joyful thought, but an empowering one.  The entire world thought the defeat was complete. In fact, many would have argued, it was too easy.  But, on that Sunday morning, there was a violent earthquake and an archangel appeared, rolled away the stone, scared the guards to death, and announced the truth; Jesus had risen.

Mary and Martha started their morning sad and wishing that they were not going to the grave of the Master. They had no idea, that they would first be greeted by an angel, but then met by Jesus, himself.  Not a ghost–but Jesus–hugging them and setting their hearts at ease. He sent them to meet the disciples; and, tell them to meet up with Him in Galilee.  So, they did. while they may have slowly trudged to the tomb, they raced back.  Their Savior had risen, just as He said.

The beautiful thing about the Gospel is that God demonstrated His love for us.  The most powerful thing about the Gospel is that Jesus defeated death and the enemy.  He rose from the dead, and now sits at God’s right hand; interceding for us and redeeming our eternal lives.  We can only be joyful knowing that He did rise. We can believe His promises, simply because he kept each one. Now, because he did we are invited and allowed to spend eternity with Him in heaven–all we have to do is ask. There simply is no better news than that He is risen. We, like Mary, Martha and the rest have to embrace that; and agree that He has risen indeed!

God Bless You

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Mathew 27 Final–The Burial

The complete sadness  of the followers of Jesus was obvious. The crowd finally cleared as people started the sabbath. Joseph of Arimathea buried Jesus in his tomb. The ladies, Mary, Martha, Mary Magdalene wrapped and prepared the body of Jesus.  Deflated, depressed and despondent, the crowd cleared and the Lord lay in a lovely tomb. Still, the religious elite were not happy.  They, who had been extremely deceptive, just knew the disciples would try to trick them and steal the body–so, they asked for and were given a group of Roman soldiers to guard the tomb. In addition a seal was places on the stone to make sure no one sneaked in.

As is often the case, the world cannot deal effectively with spiritual things. Jesus promised to rise from the dead. His apostles were home and without hope–the ones that should have been full of anticipation. The religious elite were on the edge of their seats–the ones that “won” and put Jesus to death.  It simply seems backward.  We have to face each day, each trial, each new situation trusting that God will do what He said He would do.  He has done so since the very beginning.  We are simply travelers passing through–we have to trust someone, and it only makes since to trust our Lord, the one that created, loved and died for us.  We have to make a personal and daily choice to forget what is behind, and press forward to take what is ahead. Trust God, follow Him and not doubt that His plan remains the best. 

God Bless You

As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.

The Guard at the Tomb

62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”

65 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

Matthew 27 Final–It is Finished

It was a scene to behold. Only a week before, crowds lined the streets throwing down their jackets and palm fronds hailing the triumphal entry of the Messiah. Now on this day, crowds again lined the streets to watch the travesty of the same man being ingloriously executed.  There were no cheers. There was some sadness, but mostly simple disbelief. How could last week’s conquering Hero be marching to His death?  It was the price God was willing to pay for those He loved.  Make no mistake, Jesus felt every blow, every lash of the whip. He heard every rude and demeaning comment; but, He was now completing the mission for which He left Heaven.

On the cross, Jesus accepted the shame of abuse delivered by those that hated Him. Three things, however, needed wrapping up. He agonized as man’s sin rested on His shoulders. It caused him to be separated from the Father, for the 1st and only time in all eternity. He grieved for those that were killing Him-He interceded to God for their forgiveness. He cared about his Mom, and made sure She was safe; and then, He announced the end–“It is finished!” Jesus died. From there, He was taken down and buried. What had been an amazing life, ended in an earthquake, the temple curtain splitting and the Jesus movement, stopped cold–or so the world thought.

We know different. We know that the crucifixion of Jesus was a somber prelude to the most glorious symphony that was ever to be written. In the coming days, the world would be turned upside down. The utter defeat of man–through sin was about to be erased and the tablets cleared.  We, as a race, were about to receive the final piece of the promise a heartbroken God delivered to Adam as He led he and his wife from the Garden of Eden. We all recognize the complete anguish and grief the cross caused that Friday–BUT, the victory that rang from the words “It is Finished” were only starting to reverberate through the bowels of the earth. Soon, they would peal across the sky and into all of history; announcing the beginning of restoration between God and men. Soon, God himself would exalt Jesus to the highest place and give Him the name that is above every name.(Phil 2:9). As the famous preacher Tony Campolo so eloquently put it–“It was Friday, But, Sunday was coming!!!”

God Bless You

As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there.37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is Jesus, the king of the Jews

From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,[c] lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).[d]

47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and[e] went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph,[f] and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.