Christian

Tell the Truth: Do You Really Know Jesus?

There was a popular game show “To Tell the Truth” that aired from 1956-1968 in which three people stood before a celebrity panel and all claimed to be the same person who had accomplished something significant. The show began with a reading of the famous person’s credentials, after which each of the three people would claim they were that person by starting their statement with “I am…” and ending their statement with the name of the accomplished person. However, only one was telling the truth and the other two were imposters. The goal of the celebrity panel was to try to determine who was the truth teller and who were the imposters. Imposters throughout the ages have claimed to be the promised Messiah, and there will be others in the future who will also make that false claim. However, there is only one who claimed to be the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection proved He indeed was telling the truth. His name is Jesus. He alone fulfilled over 350 Old Testament prophesies.

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The following are reasons why Jesus came to earth, and He accomplished everything He was sent to do:

“For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth.” John 18:37 “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” 1st John 3:8 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. “ John 3:17 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” 1st Timothy 1:15 “…so that by his death He (Jesus) might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—”Hebrews 2:14 “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Mark 2:17 “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. “John 10: 17-18 "…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28 “…that He (Jesus) might make atonement for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:17 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18 Jesus, Who is Truth, made the following “I am” statements about Himself, and past and current disciples attest that they are indeed true of Him:

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

I encourage you to take the time to read the gospel of John, which is all about the person of Jesus. Knowing Him will change your life! (Philippians 3: 7-14) It is my hope that as you celebrate Easter this year that you will reflect upon all that Jesus accomplished; consider Who He is and all that you have because of Him; and realize that He is the only Way to experience abundant life on earth and eternal life in Heaven!

Written by Julie Van Gorp

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More Than Conquerors!

Are you facing any struggles in your life right now? Are you in any kind of pain? Fighting a physical illness? An annoying co-worker or client? Fighting against fear due to unemployment, debt, or financial troubles? Are you struggling with an addiction? Are you battling sinful thoughts in your own head? Whatever it is that you are facing, God longs to remind you that you are “more than a conqueror through Him who loved you!” (Romans 8:37) What does ‘more than a conqueror’ mean? Isn’t it enough to be a conqueror? Yet, God says we are “more than conquerors.”

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Think of the shepherd boy David, who later would be made King of Israel, when he went into the valley to slay the 9’ 9” giant Goliath who taunted and mocked him. There were enormous consequences at stake in this battle. If David lost, he certainly would die, and all of his countrymen— including his brothers— would be made slaves. However, even knowing that, David approached Goliath with bold confidence, as if he had already won the battle. How could he do that? He focused his attention on God, on His power and His past faithfulness, not on his own abilities or the circumstance in front of him. (1st Samuel 17:36-37) David’s mouth spoke prophetically of God’s divine victory over this formidable foe because he knew the character of God and put his faith in Him!

Next, David picks up five stones as he prepares to kill Goliath. David did not pick up five stones in case he missed Goliath with the first one or two. David picked up five stones knowing that Goliath had four brothers who may join the fight after Goliath’s demise. David came as a conqueror spewing words of faith and victory before the victory was won! He also came to the battle equipped for the possibility of more battles to occur in the valley. Are you expecting to win, yet prepared for more attacks that may come, relying on the Stone that is in your possession?

Jesus is “the stone that the builders rejected…” (Psalm 118:22, Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17, Acts 4:11, 1 Peter 2:7) Are you looking to Jesus and His strength to win your battles, or are you trying to fight them in your own power? It is only through Him that we are more than conquerors! He is our “Rock”, and our sure foundation.

God has made us victors in Christ. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our

Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39)

Nothing can separate you from this love that promises victory in Christ Jesus. You are more than a conqueror. You have gained access to all authority on heaven and earth through Jesus

Christ. Do not doubt this truth. In your valley, begin now to speak and pray as if your battle has already been won; see yourself as the fearless victor through Christ’s strength at work in you. Then, like David, you will be able to claim, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1) 

 

Written by Jamie Shaver

Are you curious to know how much fear, worry and anxiety is impacting your life? Take our free quiz to learn how fearful, worried and anxious you really are?

Knowing God Through Families

  Recently— and joyfully— I became a first time grandmother to adorable twin girls.  These, like all precious babes, declare the miracle of creation. As I’ve watched my son and daughter-in-law, I’ve been reminded anew of the gift God gives to marriages of joining with Him in the creation of life…and the joy of being a part of a family!

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God created the family, as He created everything else, for His pleasure and the glory of His Name. Families, as God created them, consist of a husband, his wife, and any children that are created from that union.

Although the role of husbands, wives, and children is enumerated in the Bible, we don’t necessarily know all of the reasons that God created families. Since it’s God’s desire that we come to know Him (John 17:3), it makes sense that He put us in families so that we could better understand Him and His heart of love for us, His family. Below are just three of what I believe are many of the reasons that God put us in families.

1) Unity:  He longs for us to experience the joy of unity that the trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—have enjoyed for all eternity. John 17:23 clearly expresses God’s desire for His children to experience oneness. “I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and [definitely] recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them [even] as You have loved Me.” Families are ideally created for us to experience unity. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) Every loving marriage that is blessed with the gift of children experiences the heightened unity that the shared love and responsibility for raising those children brings to the marriage. Each member of the trinity has a different but vital role to fulfill as part of the Godhead, and similarly the husband, wife, and their child(ren) each have a unique and important role in the family.

2) Creation of life: Each person of the trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—were present and involved in the creation of the world.

“They worked in unity. Each part of creation was a sovereign act of each member of the Trinity. None of it would have been produced without the co-operation of each one. Psalm 33:6 explains this in a nutshell, “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth”….the first chapter of Genesis, when seen in the light of other Scriptures, reveal that God the Father spoke the Word (Jesus Christ is that Word) and the Holy Spirit moved. Creation was the will of God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Excerpted from The Trinity in Creation by Creation Ministries International

Just think of the joy the trinity experienced in creating the world together!!! The joy must have been magnified because it was done in tandem; each person of the trinity looking upon their joint creation and sharing in what together they had brought forth.

God, in His infinite wisdom and goodness, created man and woman to be suitable helpmates with the ability and purpose of creating life together. He commanded them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it…” (Genesis 1:28)  Obvious to anyone with the most rudimentary knowledge of anatomy, that charge can be accomplished only by the union of a man and a woman.God made husbands and wives  to complement (or complete) one another, which He intended to result in their unity and He gave them the ability and joy of being able to create life together from their union—a tiny taste of the joy the Godhead experienced in creating the world!

3) Unconditional love:  Immediately upon the birth of my firstborn, I was struck with the revelation of God’s unconditional love for me in a way that I had never before experienced it.  As I looked upon my son and beheld him, I was awash with a gush of love for him that has never gone away. (Same kind of love for all subsequent children too!) I realized that although my son had done nothing at all to deserve my love, that I would give up my life for him in a nanosecond. I loved him in a way that I had never loved before… just because he was mine.He was loved by us merely because he was created by my husband and me…he was our child... and his presence in our lives enhanced our love for and unity with one another. The recognition of my love for my son that was based in no way upon his doing anything at all except being mine, helped me for the first time in my life to comprehend that God’s love for me is not conditional.  I am His special creation and He loves me just because He created me….He loves me because I am His child whom He made (Psalm 139:13).  The unconditional, sacrificial love that we experience in families gives us a greater understanding of the depth of God’s amazing love for us, His beloved children, which is the bedrock of our lives.

Have you thanked God today for the priceless gift of ‘family’?  Are you experiencing the unity in your family that God desires and created you to have? Have you praised Him for the gift of life He has given to you, and if you are a parent, the gift of being a co-creator with Him in bringing forth life? Are you walking in the reality and joy that God loves you unconditionally?

Written by Julie Van Gorp

Are you curious to know how much fear, worry and anxiety is impacting your life? Take our free quiz to learn how fearful, worried and anxious you really are?

Don't Want to Deny Jesus? Don't Be Offended.

The only “climate change” I believe in, is the “climate change” that is occurring in our culture towards those that hold firmly to the Word of God.  As the number of incidents where Christians are discriminated against are adding up, I believe soon they may begin multiplying!  Would you deny your faith?  Would you deny Jesus if your job was threatened?  What about if your house or children were threatened?  What if your very life was threatened?  “Deny Jesus, or else!…”

Scripture gives us a glimpse of our human frailty in this area when we look at Peter.  Here he is, bold, courageous and proclaiming that he would die before disowning Jesus!  Jesus knows their hearts and states otherwise.  Later, we know that Peter denied Him by his words, the others deserted Him, denying Him by their actions.

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Then Jesus said to them, You will all be offended and stumble and fall away because of Me this night [distrusting and deserting Me], for it is written, I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.

But after I am raised up [to life again], I will go ahead of you to Galilee.

Peter declared to Him, Though they all are offended and stumble and fall away because of You [and distrust and desert You], I will never do so.

Jesus said to him, Solemnly I declare to you, this very night, before a single rooster crows, you will deny and disown Me three times.

Peter said to Him, Even if I must die with You, I will not deny or disown You! And all the disciples said the same thing. Matthew 26:31-35 AMP

First, we must consider that Jesus says to his disciples “you will all be offended and stumble.”

The dictionary.com definition of offended is:

1.to irritate, annoy, or anger; cause resentful displeasure in

2.to affect (the sense, taste, etc.) disagreeably.

3.to violate or transgress (a criminal, religious, or moral law).

4.to hurt or cause pain to.

5.(in Biblical use) to cause to fall into sinful ways.

When our government, schools, workplaces, communities etc. want to “kill” Jesus and anything that may slightly resemble Him (including you hopefully, if He resides in you), many of us may feel offended.  We must recognize that those who are offended, stumble and fall away.  Instead, as Mark 4:16-18 points out our faith must have roots!

And in the same way the ones sown upon stony ground are those who, when they hear the Word, at once receive and accept and welcome it with joy;

And they have no real root in themselves, and so they endure for a little while; then when trouble or persecution arises on account of the Word, they immediately are offended (become displeased, indignant, resentful) and they stumble and fall away.- Mark 4:16-18 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Why does Jesus tell us these things?

I have told you all these things, so that you should not be offended (taken unawares and falter, or be caused to stumble and fall away). [I told you to keep you from being scandalized and repelled.]

They will put you out of (expel you from) the synagogues; but an hour is coming when whoever kills you will think and claim that he has offered service to God.

And they will do this because they have not known the Father or Me.

John 16:1-3

Amplified Bible (AMP)

What can we do to increase our faith, grow roots and not become offended and “fall away” when Jesus our Lord and Spirit in us in under attack?

Seven times a day and all day long do I praise You because of Your righteous decrees.

Great peace have they who love Your law; nothing shall offend them or make them stumble.

Psalm 119:164-165

Amplified Bible (AMP)

Are you in love with His law?  Are you easily offended?  Do you praise Him all day long?

I pray that we all- “Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving.” Col 2:7

Written by Jamie Shaver

Are you curious to know how much fear, worry and anxiety is impacting your life? Take our free quiz to learn how fearful, worried and anxious you really are?