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What this means to mean

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In this picture you see Jesus holding up a man who in turn is holding a spike and a hammer. That man is me! I don’t mean that I was the real model for this picture, I mean that I am one of the people guilty of the death of Christ. You see when Christ hung between heaven and earth he was dying for my sins, which are many, and I am as guilty as any of the Roman soldiers, or Pontius Pilate, or any of those on the Jewish counsel who had either accused Him, sentenced Him, or drove the nails into His hands and feet. You see ever since mankind first sinned against God in the Garden of Eden we have continually, when given the choice to, choose sin over God’s will, which created a gap between us and God. This gap or chasm (if I may call it that) is created because God demands sinless perfection and we cannot attain sinlessness by anything that we do. There are no holy scales in Heaven where our good deeds and evil deeds are weighed out and if our good is greater than our evil God says “Ok you’re allowed to enter”, no from the first time we ever willingly chose to be disobedient to God’s perfect will, we doomed ourselves to an eternity in the Lake of Fire, but God loves us, and does not want to sends to eternal torment, and in His great love for us He sent His only begotten son to carry our sins to Calvary, to die in our place for the crimes we committed against Him. The sinless dying for the sinful. This act was done out of love for us, not because we deserved it, but because God loves us. This means if you know that you are a sinner and deeply and dearly want to be forgiven of your sins all you have to do is ask Christ to be your Savior and believe that He will, in fact in the book of Romans it say (please forgive my paraphrase) that if you believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that God raised him from the dead, and confess Jesus Christ with your mouth then you will be saved! If you go on with your life rejecting this truth then you call the Holy Spirit a liar and sentence yourselve to an eternity of torment in the Lake of Fire. Even though (as I said in the beginning of this blog) I am guilty of the death of Jesus Christ, I will not be condemned for it, but because of Jesus’s sacrifice and my belief in Him, I have been forgiven, and today it is my greatest desire to share and help others to understand this great gift that God has given.

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Who is my neighbor?

In Luke, chapter 10 verses 25 through 37 we read, “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 
He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 
And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 
And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. 
But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? 
And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

The first thing I would draw your attention to here is that there are no descriptors of this man . I mean that outside of ” a certain man” we know nothing about him, not his age, his religious affiliations, or whether he is wealthy or poor, who his family is, we know absolutely  nothing!

 
And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 
And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

We have a little more information about these 2 men, we know that they have definite religious affiliations. the problem is that they have no concern for the injured man. This problem still exist today, there are those who have religion, but have no concern with the state of anyone else, it’s kind of like ” I got mine, you get your own”, and there in lies the problem with religion. Religion worships man-made doctrine and tradition, not God. If I follow some man-made set of rules of my own choosing with a dogmatic zeal, I am no closer to God than someone who rejects salvation altogether.


But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him
And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 
And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

The first thing here I would like to direct your attention to is this, the Samaritan, what is a Samaritan, to my understanding the Samaritans were Jewish people who during the captivity of Israel had inter-married with those in whose countries they had been captive, and the Jewish people could not stand them. This fact did not hinder the Samaritan who found this man, all the Samaritan knew was that this man needed help and didn’t care who the man was, he stopped and helped him, even going so far as to take him to an inn and paying for all his expenses that he may accrue in the process of being returned to health. The Samaritan was not concerned with reward or acknowledgement, he was concerned about the person.


Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 
And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.”

This is the commission, “Go, and do thou likewise.” Christians go into the world seek out those who have fallen among the thieves and are stripped and left half dead. Do not be concerned about reward or praise, be concerned about people, and God’s will. If we as Christians can do this, we will see God’s kingdom increase, and don’t be so preoccupied with the leading of people to Christ that once they’ve accepted the Lord, that you feel your work is done, but nurture these new believers in Christ and help them grow, no one would after spending 9 months and however long in labor would walk away from their new-born infant saying “alright your here now good luck”. 

Genesis 1:2

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face
of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

First I’d like to apologize for the amount of time it’s been since my last post, no excuses.

Now let’s jump right in. If you’ve ever studied the Bible you’ll know that we’re studying the creation process that God used when creating all we see and don’t see. In this second verse we read that the earth was a chaotic mess, but you’ll also notice that even so God was moving in this chaos. In the Strong’s Concordance, we can read the following definition of the words “without form”, From an unused root meaning to lie waste; a desolation (of surface), that is, desert; figuratively a worthless thing;adverbially in vain. There was nothing very appealing about the Earth at this point, in fact I would like to make a personal comparison at this point, before my rebirth into God’s family I was just like this, and I believe most Christians would agree with this assesment as well if we were to be honest, my life was a waste. I was just like the earth, barren, and empty, and all I was concerned about was myself, in other words I was (and even now still sometimes am) VAIN. Another thing I’d like to point out is that when the scriptures say that “and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” I believe it is referencing the vast expanse of the universe. You see at this time there is no light in the universe, and when standing on the earth looking skyward at night we still see large regions of vast emptiness. Darkness also represents the abscence of light, or the abscence of the knowledge of God’s will. In the last section of this verse it talks of waters and in most situation water is a reference to tribulation, and struggle. This puts me in mind of  Jacob the son of Isaac, and how that Jacob’s name means to struggle with men, and that God after injuring his thigh changes his name to Israel, which means struggles with God, and how as we walk through this world we struggle with both man and God and though some submit to God that others continue and even die in this struggle thereby seperating themselves from God for eternity. And finally even through the chaos and darkness God was, and is moving. That even though thing sometimes appear to random and disorganized that God is moving to will and do His good pleasure. I would like to encourage you to trust Him. I also would like to hear your thoughts as well cocerning what I have said here, please feel free to comment and let me know what you think. Until next time thanks for dropping by.

Genesis 1:1

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

Today I’d like to start something. I’ve always wanted to study through the Bible, verse by verse, line by line, and precept by precept, and I would like to start now. I hope you join me in this study, and please feel free to collaborate as you feel the desire. So let’s get started.

Since this is the first verse in the Bible (I’ll be using the King James Version of the scriptures for this study) it seems to be the best place to start.

“In the beginning God created”, this is in my opinion the place where all people should establish their beliefs. The question  is a simply one, did God create, with a purpose and plan, or our we just the victims of time and chance? How you answer the question reveals who you are. I believe that with the evidence we have in just the natural world around us that God has given us enough to believe that He does exist. Our ecosystems are to finely tuned to believe that there could have been anything left to chance. We live in an enviroment that is “designed” for our unique needs for the sustaining of our lives, and if this is the case then there must be a designer. The ramifications of this belief is that I have a responsibility to this designer. As we progress through this study we will become more aware of those responsibilities, but, right now I think we need to further examine this verse before moving on.

What did God create in the beginning? “In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth”. I believe when Moses conveyed these words, he was relaying to us what God revealed to him during the numerous time they spoke. We know that the Bible tells us that God spoke to Moses face to face, often in the doorway to the tabernacle the Isrealites built in the wilderness.

When this verse tells us that God created the Heaven and Earth, I believe that it’s telling us that God created all that we needed to be able to exist, i.e. the heaven mentioned here is the atmosphere that we move through not God’s throne room. As we progress through the rest of this chapter we’ll find that the creation of human life was the last thing God created, and when we get there we’ll talk more about the reasons why God created in the way that He did.

Prior to this verse, in God’s grand design nothing existed, and maybe contrary to our own beliefs, God did not have to create us! We add nothing to the glory of God, and He does not need us. Having said that isn’t it wonderful that God wanted to create us. I think it is , and am always amazed that even now he seeks to bring us into communion with Himself, in other words He doesn’t need us, He wants us, hence the reason for His creative process in the beginning.

Isaiah 59:1-2

“Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid [his] face from you, that he will not hear.” Alright, let’s see if we can break this down in a way that will make it more applicable for our lives. The first thing that this scripture tells us is that God can reach where ever we are or where ever we need Him. In and of itself this is an awesome thought, God can, and wants to save me whatever I’ve done! that my sin does not impede God’s grace! The next point made in this scripture is that God is not tired of listening. I get the impression that not only is God not tired of listening, but, God is waiting to hear from us, that He isolates the sound of our voice and listens to us, pays attention to each of us as though we’re the most important person to Him at that moment, that He wants to have a personal relationship with each of us. WOW!Now here is the crux of the situation, though God wants to have a relationship with you, in fact God created us (human beings) to have a relationship with Him,  He won’t. Why because God is holy, and God will not allow sin to enter into his presence, so what our we to do? Well think about this, even though our sin created a separation between God and us, God made a way that we could restore our relationship with Him, and He did all the work of restoration Himself. What does this mean? Well it means that there  is nothing you can do to work yourself back into God’s grace, in fact if you could then it wouldn’t be grace, and God being the creator knew exactly what was needed to satisfy His holiness and provided that for us. I mean, well think about it, God loved us, His creation so much that he made a perfect and infallible way for us to be justified (proclaimed innocent) even when we were not! So that we could have a relationship with Him, isn’t this the most amazing thing you’ve ever read or heard, That the Holy and Perfect Creator of everything wants to be apart of your life so much that even though you have sinned against Him, He made away for you to restore fellowship with Him? And how was this done? Well for us to be justified we needed to have a perfect sacrifice to offer God, a spotless offering. The problem was that there was nothing on Earth that could satisfy this requirement, so God in His infinite wisdom, provide one Himself, He sent us a perfect, sinless, and willing offering, namely His Son, Jesus Christ. Now give me a minute to explain, in period covered by our Bible (historically), a person convicted in a court of law could only escape execution if an innocent person willing took his sentence on himself, and agreed to die in the place of the guilty party. Now we know that everyone on earth is guilty, and that no one can, or would take our place, but Jesus did. Because He was the Son of God and was without sin (I don’t care what Dan Brown, or anyone else says) only He was worthy to stand in our place, and He did so willingly, to take the punishment for us. Jesus did this to appease the wrath of God, and in doing so He became an intercessor for us to God. So when our sins caused God to hide His face from us, Jesus died in our place, taking on all the sins of the World, so that  we could come back to God.

The trouble with DENOMINATIONS!

This is just my opinion, and I guess before I get started I need to say that I am in a denominational church. Our church is an independent baptist church. There, now you know that. I also follow friends and groups on Facebook, which is what moved me to write this blog today. There is a group whose post started appearing in my feed one day awhile back and I’ve continued to let it go. Now I’m not going to mention the name of the group, but, they come off to me in a manner which seems to be that they’re a more pure, or better brand of Christianity than any other modern believer group, and it never fails whenever they make a post there will be at least one Hebrew word in their post.

Now to the point of this post. I got to thinking about it and even though I’m in a denominational belief system, that in reality all denominations tend to do is to encourage separation of the body of Christ. I mean the doctrines we use to label ourselves Baptist, Episcopalians, Methodist, or continue ad nauseam, do not in anyway unify the body of Christ nor do they lead people to Christ. In my opinion they create confusion, and give the unbeliever reason not to seek salvation. We put away the doctrine of the Bible and promote human doctrine and earthly traditions. It has been done to the point that new converts can’t even sort out the basics of their faith, and salvation becomes just a “get out of hell free card”. The lost don’t want what we have because we don’t even know what we have!

As I’ve been pondering this issue it comes to mind that Jesus had something to say about this, so I’m going to let His word speak. In the gospel of John, Jesus is at Jacob’s well in Samaria speaking to a Samaritan women when,”The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” to which, “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:19-24

What I see in this discourse between Jesus and the Samaritan women is that it’s not so important where you worship, but, how you worship. You see the women spoke of what their traditions were, this mountain or Jerusalem, and Jesus spoke on how people should worship, in spirit and truth. He didn’t say anything that would cause this woman to feel unwelcome or that there was some sort of work she needed to accomplish in order to be in a right relation with God. You know one of the marks of Christ earthly ministry was to bring to our awareness that we stand guilty before God not just by what we do, but, also by what is in our hearts. This last Sunday as I continued our sermon series on the beatitudes I mentioned that one of the aspects concerning righteousness is a legal one, that it is a right relationship with God that justifies us. The Bible tells us that, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20. So, I guess as Christian’s we may need to reconsider where we stand in the light of what God’s word says, and we need to let go of every weight that holds us back, this may even mean we reevaluate which is more important denominations, traditions, or our relationships with God and our fellow man.

Thank you for taking the time to reads this, God bless, Pastor Charlie.

A “Lively Hope”

1 Peter 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Good morning, I know it has been quite a while since I last wrote and for that I apologize. This week during our mid-week bible study (we are in the process of studying our way through the first letter of the apostle Peter) we came across this little 2 word phrase, “Lively Hope“, and as God would have it, it has been trapped at the forefront of my mind. I can’t shake it and I find myself returning to it over and over again. Why you might ask, I guess one reason is that I don’t believe I had a very good explanation for it at bible study, I didn’t give a clear illustration.

So, I was hoping to maybe, in as few words as possible, be able to make a clearer illustration here. With your permission I will begin, and with God’s help maybe clarify a little better what a”Lively Hope” means at least to me. As I was preparing this weeks lesson and began to break down this verse I came to interpret this phrase, based on my Strong’s concordance, as a “Joyful Anticipation“. Now l know this doesn’t seem that significant, and for all intents and purposes, it may not be, but, for some unknown reason it sparked something in me. Now I am in no way a young man anymore in point of fact the AARP invitations are beginning to litter my mailbox which some of you might understand.

Like most people I do not look forward to my transition to eternity even though I believe my place in eternity is secure in Jesus Christ. So as I studied this phrase something came to me, that even though I wasn’t looking forward to dying, that I was looking forward to my future home in heaven! Now why do I bring this up? Because as I’ve grown older I have become a bit jaded and I don’t get excited about things that are on the horizon anymore, please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying here I do look forward to future events on this side of forever I just don’t get to excited about them. So, with this mindset I began to try, and I do mean try, to explain to the people at bible study a”Lively Hope“, and made a complete mess of it.

As I’ve contemplated on this I’ve come to the conclusion that the best illustration for a”Lively Hope” is this, a child mood during the last few days before Christmas, or their birthday. I mean think about the unbridled ecstasy they go through without even knowing what that special day has in store for them. This is something I remember quite well the sleepless night on Christmas Eve, or the night before my birthday, I didn’t know what was in store, but, I believed that something great was coming my way, and I couldn’t wait! This is “Lively Hope” ! Now why did this stick so adamantly in my thoughts? BECAUSE I believe we as Christians do not live in light of this “Lively Hope” or “Joyful Anticipation“. I believe that the world doesn’t what we have because we don’t live in the realization of what is coming, we aren’t excited about our home in heaven, so, we aren’t living in that “Lively Hope“. The truth be told, and I’m guilty of this too, is that we to often let the concerns of this world and our present conditions rob God of our joy in Him. We need to be less concerned in the affairs of this world, to a point, and more excited about what’s to come! I mean Jesus has purchased your your salvation and because of this you have eternal life in heaven with Jesus and God! It’s almost Christmas! It’s almost your birthday! Rejoice and be glad!

I hope you do not judge me to harshly for this post, God bless, Pastor Charlie.