Monday, November 1, 2010

“…. won’t you be my neighbor?” - Mister Rogers

Jesus said:

Matthew 7.24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock…”

It is one thing to listen to Jesus and another thing to hear what he said the put it into practice. Lots of people listen; fewer people hear; and fewer still put what they hear into practice…

Jesus said:

Matthew 7.12 & 22.40 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22.37-.40 “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Luke 10.29 “And who is my neighbor?”

So, the important lesson to learn is – who is my neighbor? Because, if we can get the answer right, understand who are neighbor is and how to treat him, it will helps us with our relationship with the LORD and with one another. It is important to know who your neighbor is and how you should treat him because the Lord has commanded us to Love your neighbor as you love yourself. It is not a recommendation, but a commandment.



Luke 10.25-.37

An expert skilled in the Law asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life?
Jesus asked him, “What is written in the Law?” “How do you read it?”

The expert answered, “Love the Lord your God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” “You have answered correctly.” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But the expert wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

You know the story. He told him about a man that was beat up, robber and left half dead on the road-side. Three guys traveled by him and the third one, a Samaritan, went out of his way to help him. He had compassion and took pity on him and also went to personal expense to see that he was taken care of in his absence. Jesus then asked the expert which one of the three was the neighbor? Jesus used this as an example of how we should love/treat our neighbor. The man in need was never identified as a believer or non-believer.

A point to consider: If a Samaritan (generally considered a “Dog” or unbeliever) can be a good neighbor to a stranger, can’t we, as Believers, be good neighbors to other Believers? (That are perhaps… “not one of us.”) If this is how I am to treat my neighbor, how should I treat my brethren? Whether or not they are assembled with us or at another location? Should I treat them with any less respect, care, concern or compassion? Woe to me if I should discount them or devalue them by taking away from their reputation or good name. How do I appear to the LORD if I should engage in a lessening or a cheapening of their reputation? (Part of the definition of “envy” by Webster)

Ephesians 4.3-.6 "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called – one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of us all, who is over all and through all and in all.”


Matthew 7.12 & 22.40 “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22.37-.40 “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Matthew 5.17 “…. Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

V .18 and I paraphrase: “Every detail is important!” You don’t pick and choose from the Word of God. Christian living is not … ale-cart or `a la carte.


Matthew 5.19 “Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands well be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”


Matthew 15.1-3 & Mark 7.5 “Why do your disciples (those that are part of your group and not one of us) break the tradition of the elders” Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? Religious people can always find fault with others that do not hold to their traditions.


We need to make sure we don’t start accepting and practicing traditions substituting them for the commands of God. Do not exchange traditions for commandments. We need to stick with the commands and reject the traditions; especially, if they are contrary to the commands of God.

Matthew 7.12 & 22.40 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22.37-.40 “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

If Not One Of Us... Who Is?

Mark 9.38

Teacher,” John said, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.

“Do not stop him.” (Give him a cup of water! Vs41) Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.”

Remember in Number 11.16-30 when the LORD told Moses that he was going to take of the Spirit that was on him (Moses) and put it on 70 elders to help Moses carry the burden of the people? He had them assemble around the Tent and the LORD came down in the cloud and the Spirit rested on the 70 elders and they prophesied. Do you remember what Moses said to Joshua when a young man and Joshua took issue (not one of us) with Eldad and Medad, because they were not assembled where some thought they needed to be, yet were prophesying in the camp? (casting out devils in your name) .28 Joshua said to Moses - “Stop them!” 11.29 – Moses replied - “Are you jealous for my sake?” Remember the Apostle Paul said the most important thing is that Christ is preached regardless of the motivation! - Philippians 1.15-.18.

Again - Mark 9.38

Teacher,” John said, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.

“Do not stop him,” Jesus said…

Mark 9.42-.48

“And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.”

You have heard it all before that you do not want to be a part of causing someone else to sin. It would be better to cut off your hand or pluck out your eye, than for you to be responsible for causing someone else to sin. To be more precise – it had to do with getting in the way of someone who was not part of the group, not recognized by (the 12), “not one of us.” Someone else that was having success in the name of Jesus. Yes, this individual is considered “a little one!” To add more context here: Be careful that your actions and the things you exercise control over, those things at your command and fall under your jurisdiction, don’t hinder or cause others to fail in their mission in Christ. There are many ways to be un-welcoming to others. We can learn from good examples and bad. So the question I must ask myself is – why is it or what causes someone else to have this type of disposition? Is it because they don’t believe others measure up to their standard? They didn’t want to compete with others? They were afraid of losing their influence over others for the cause of Christ. What about others measuring up? What about the LORD’s standard? The Lord’s standard is his Word and his Word is his command. (More on this on the next Blog Post.)

Matthew 18.10 & .11.

“See that you do not look down (despise) on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” We would be wise to remember that all believers have angels in heaven just waiting on God to send them on a mission! I would hate to be the object of their mission. If I am considerate, welcoming and encouraging to other believers, I can be assured of God’s favor and blessing - not his judgment.

Consider how hard it would be to look down on someone if you were washing their feet? Jesus told the disciple that they would be blessed if that did what he did. You can sin by causing someone else to sin. Did you know that you can cause someone who is serving the Lord to sin by looking down on them and despising them, because they are not part of your group (not one of us)? We need to do everything we can to encourage and welcome those who are serving the Lord - who are serving in the name of Jesus – especially if they are having success in serving him! Why would anyone look down on someone serving the Lord and having success? Why would you want to stop anyone who is being successful in serving the Lord? Why would you want to discredit or discount the service of another Saint? What if you cause that servant, because of your actions to become discourage and sin (to miss the mark)? Jesus warns the disciples to see to it that they don’t! Again, consider how easy it would be to look down on someone if you were ruling or lording over them? There is a difference between Leaders and Rulers – Leadership and Lordship. Jesus and Peter told those who wanted to be the greatest or shepherds serving as overseers of God’s flock that they could not lord it over others, but had to be servants and examples. He was trying to spare them from the judgment that comes as a result of taking a hubristic (prideful or arrogant) position or expressing such a disposition with his people. Luke 22.23-.27; 1Peter 5.5-.3

Luke 9.46; Mark 9.34-37

An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus knowing their thoughts took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”

“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me…”

Webster defines Welcomer as one who welcomes, salutes or receives kindly a newcomer.

You can be more concerned about your position that you can forget all about the mission!

You can be more concerned about losing your position that you forget about the mission.

You can be more concerned about someone else’s position that you can forget about the mission!

You can be more concerned about someone gaining a position that you forget about the mission.

MK 9.19 - Don’t forget, the disciples just got rebuked by Jesus because they were unable to drive out a spirit in the son of a man that was brought to them for help.

MK 9.18 - “I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they were unable to.”

.34 - The disciples were more concerned about who was going to be “the greatest” than who was going to be the most effective in serving the Lord.

The Lord new their thoughts. Before John could tell Jesus about their “Police Action.” Jesus took a child – “Taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me…’” (IN MY NAME) gets repeated over and over again. “We tried to stop him!” What would have Jesus said to the disciples if they reported to him that when they saw a man casting out devils in his name that they tried to encourage him? “We tried to provoke him on to do more!” “We were cheering him on!” Thank the Lord, even though they tried to stop the man driving out devils in the name of Jesus, in spite of the opposition from those who appeared closest to Jesus, he still carried on with his mission and was successful in serving him! What a great example of perserverance in the face of persecution and opposition, especially from those that appeared closest to Jesus! They were in the group of twelve (12) were they not? I am sure they enjoyed having the folk’s look-up to them, because they were with Jesus! They were riding his shirt-tails! Before, they were fishermen like most everyone else in town. “We left all to follow you.” We want our due!

So to those who are on a mission from the LORD - don’t let anyone stop you! Don’t let anyone discourage you; especially if they appear close to Jesus.

Could it be, since the disciples were concerned with “who is the greatest,” that after their failure to help the man’s son, (drive out the spirit) if someone else was allowed in their group, allowed to be “one of us” or they validated someone not part of their group, that was a successful servant… that person might BE THE GREATEST! If we can discount him, he can’t be in our group. He won’t be qualified to run for the greatest! After all, we haven’t gotten the job done! This guy is showing us up! How am I going to explain his success to others since he is not part of our group?

The LORD answered the disciples concern regarding their climb to the top, their quest to be considered the Greatest and contrasted their desire with his desire to accomplish his mission by sending out 72 other disciples to get the job done! Now they got more competition! Luke 10.1-.20 Numbers 11.28-.29 – Moses replied,”…. I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” Moses had the right attitude.

In conclusion, we need to focus on the mission the LORD has given us and not worry whether or not others - that are “not one of us” - are measuring up to our standards, because they are, for sure, one of HIS!

Monday, October 18, 2010

To my Sister Florence:

I was wondering why you were on my heart the last two days. Yesterday I found out you were not feeling well and that you broke your hip. I thought to call Sam and see if it would be OK to come over to visit you. So much for my intentions - “…. the road to Hell is paved with them. “ Once again I let the busyness of life rob me of another opportunity to be a blessing and encouragement to someone I truly admired. I will cherish my memories of you and will never forget your kindness, encouragement and words or wisdom. You reminded me so much of my mother. I am sad for my loss and yet happy that you are no longer in pain or feeble, but strong and vibrant in the presence of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. See you again – at the East Gate!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

".... for whoever is not against you is for you."

Luke 9:49-50 "Master," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us."

"Do not stop him," Jesus said, "for whoever is not against you is for you."

Mark 9:18-50; Luke 9:40-10:20 The notes above are from Matthew Henry. I am preparing to share my thoughts on this. Tune-in later.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Measure Up to the LORD – (because he won’t measure down to you…)

NIV Matthew 11.1-24

John the Baptist was in jail and sent some of his disciples to see if Jesus was the one they were looking for. Jesus told them what was happening and told them to go back and let John know what you hear and see. John’s disciples had first-hand knowledge of what Jesus was doing. They left to report back to John and then the LORD began to give a testimony about John the Baptist and himself and the coming judgment of those who did not repent after the miracles that the LORD performed.

Two (2) Points I want to make here:

1- Doesn’t matter what you do or how you perform in your service to the Lord - you will never measure up to some people’s expectations – being more concerned about meeting the LORD’s expectations will help you get over this!

2- Be concerned about measuring up to the LORD’s expectations and that you respond properly to the things you hear and see!

Jesus said, we didn’t dance to your tune! You expected X and got Y. Because you got Y, you came to the wrong conclusions about us. We need to make sure we reach the right conclusion regarding who Jesus is. Like I have said in the past, your eternal zip code depends on it! There are some people out there that you will never measure up to even if you were the greatest human being born of man like John the Baptist or Jesus Christ - God himself! But know this: “Wisdom is proved right by her actions (children)!” Someone once said “The proof is in the pudding?” Jesus said in Vs 4 – “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.” You can’t argue with success! If you don’t dance to the tune that some people play or don’t respond in the expected way, after they sing a song – well… they can be hard on you. They had nasty things to say about John the Baptist and Jesus. The judgment can be harsh when you don’t perform to their level of expectation. If you are feeling bad about what some people think of your performance, ask yourself one question: Am I trying to win the approval of men or God? The Apostle Paul wrote that about himself to the Galatians 1.10. If you are truly serving the LORD, after perhaps the initial rejection by men, when you come back to your senses you will have solace that it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about your performance.

Many people think that God operates in a particular way, as they conceive of him in their minds, based on their imagination. We can be assured the Lord’s judgment will not be measured out according to our expectations or imaginations. Vs 20-25. We truly should be concerned about measuring up to his expectations. Judgment will be based on what he has done “miracles that were performed” (mentioned 3x’s, see verses 20; 21; 25) and not on what we expected him to do.

Here is a small part of what Matthew Henry wrote in his commentary:

Matthew Henry – On Matthew 11

II. That what Christ said concerning John, was intended not only for his praise, but for the people's profit, to revive the remembrance of John's ministry, which had been well attended, but which was now (as other such things used to be) strangely forgotten: they did for a season, and but for a season, rejoice in his light, Joh_5:35. “Now, consider, what went ye out into the wilderness to see? Put this question to yourselves.” 1. John preached in the wilderness, and thither people flocked in crowds to him, though in a remote place, and an inconvenient one. If teachers be removed into corners, it is better to go after them than to be without them. Now if his preaching was worth taking so much pains to hear it, surely it was worth taking some care to recollect it. The greater the difficulties we have broken through to hear the word, the more we are concerned to profit by it. 2. They went out to him to see him; rather to feed their eyes with the unusual appearance of his person, than to feed their souls with his wholesome instructions; rather for curiosity than for conscience. Note, Many that attend on the word come rather to see and be seen, than to learn and be taught, to have something to talk of, than to be made wise to salvation. Christ puts it to them, what went ye out to see? Note, They who attend on the word will be called to an account, what their intentions and what their improvements were. We think when the sermon is done, the care is over; no, then the greatest of the care begins. It will shortly be asked, “What business had you such a time at such an ordinance? What brought you thither? Was it custom or company, or was it a desire to honour God and get good? What have you brought thence? What knowledge, and grace, and comfort? What went you to see?” Note, When we go to read and hear the word, we should see that we aim right in what we do.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Psalm 8 - "When I consider your heavens... His name is truly majestic!"

NIV Psalm 8.3-9

"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?.... O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!"

If you're going to take time to consider anything today - consider the LORD's heavens. They are his. You should be truly amazed the LORD in mindful of you. He has care and concern for you. Don't think you're not included and that his care and concern is for everyone else. His name is truly majestic! Continue to fight the good fight of faith!

Monday, September 6, 2010

How Big is Your Sandbox? Where Is the House?

How many of you have ever played in a sandbox when you were little? How many of you have ever been to the beach? Have any ever been to a desert? Maybe you participated in desert warfare training or war in the desert? Do you remember the Cosmos series on PBS? How many Carl Sagan fans do we have out there? Didn’t you just love to hear him say “.… billions & billions…” I personally didn’t care for him… must have been his personality or lack-there-of. How many stars do you think there are in the sky at night? Trick question… they are always there – you just can’t see them in the daylight. Have you ever had the opportunity to go star watch with someone who knew what they were looking at? Recently I did with my good Brother Dr., Br. John Connors, Esq. While he was giving me a general tour of the universe, I asked him if he had ever had a chance to look up at the stars at night with the aid of night-vision-goggles (NVG’s)? I told him the dark areas in the sky, that appear starless, actually are absolutely filled with stars. He found that interesting and he indicated to me, in his polite fashion, he was not totally surprised. NVG’s magnify the available light ~10,000 x’s. A star on a clear night will give off 1 millilux of light. 1000 milliux = (1) Lux or (1) Lumen per/sq meter. So when viewing a star with NVG’s you would get 10 Lux/10 Lume of light. A good tactical flashlight may provide 200 Lumen of light. In comparison, the moon, on a clear night, will give you 100 Millilux. The sun – 50000 Lux. When you fly at night, there is only one major problem with NVG’s – you only get a 30 degree field of view, and you need about 180 degrees of view to provide depth perception. God made us so that we needed about 180 degrees of view… to get “the big picture.” When I was “Born Again” on June 20th 1977, I had a 30 degree field of view of my Savior. He brought me into the light so that I could see. I could see my sin, my shame and my need to acknowledge what he had accomplished for me when he died on that cross. He was very bright, so I had no problem seeing him for who he claimed to be. Field of Depth is an essential part of our bio-mechanics which enable us to view the whole picture. Generally the greater the level of light the finer the detail of an object when can see. Remember Brother Paul prayed for the Ephesians - Eph 3.17-19 that they - “…. would have the power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ… and be filled with all the fullness of God.” Sounds like he was praying they could get a greater field of view and gain greater depth perception! I hope we all can get a greater understanding of the LORD and of His workings. I am so grateful he has the power to do what he has done and he continues to work-out in us through the power of the Holy Spirit his good pleasure as we cooperate with him in partnership.

NIV Isa 66.1&2
This is what the LORD says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?”

NIV Colossians 1.16, 17
“For by him (Jesus Christ) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities: all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

JOB got into some discourse with God, and God did some cross-examination. He asked some interesting questions. The questions he asked showed how limited Job’s abilities and understanding truly are -

NIV JOB 38.12,19, 31-33
“Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place…” v12
“What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside?” v19
“Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades? Can you loose the cords of Orion? v31
Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs? v32
Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up [God’s] dominion over the earth? v33

NIV Isa 40.26
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

NIV Psalm 147.4-5
“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our LORD and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”

There is a study quoted by by Australian astronomers, I paraphrase:
There are 70 Sextillion stars in the viewable universe – that’s 70 with 22 0’s after it. That's the total number of stars in the known, universe, according to a study by Australian astronomers. Dr. Simon Driver said: “It's also about 10 times as many stars as grains of sand on all the world's beaches and deserts.” He said there were likely many million more stars in the universe but the 70 sextillion figure was the number visible within range of modern telescopes. The actual number of stars could be infinite he said. The universe is so big light from the other side of the universe "hasn't reached us yet," The Age newspaper quoted him as saying.

Cut & Past this address:
Works Cited: 1355 29082010

NIV Isa 40.26
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

Cut & Past this address:

Works Cited:1650 04092010

Man is Limited –

If I asked you to think of as many names as you can in 60 seconds you would come up with ~#25 names. Let’s be generous; say you could come up with 100 names in 60 seconds. Multiply that X’s 60 minutes X’s 24 hours X’s 25,500 days (Number of days in 70 years of life) = 1.3TT 1,342,908,000,000. That is the number of names you could come up with if you had the ability. (Understanding) One “trillion” - that’s a 1 followed by (12) ZERO’s. It’s a number we can understand since it is often linked to the National Debt. Don’t forget you still need to add another (10) Zeros to that number to reach the approximate number of “known” stars.
I did a little looking around. I could not find anything definitive on the number of stars that have been named. I think I saw 2000-4000?? I am not sure that some of those were named by Numbers – e.g., N-15? We really lack creativity. In comparison, God knows the number of stars and calls them each by name. I may be speculating here but, I don’t think He is using numbers for names.

NIV Psalm 146.3-6
“Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save…. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them- the LORD who remains faithful forever…”

NIV Psalm 147.4-5
“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our LORD and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”

Cut & Past this address:

Works Cited: 1408 29082010

I had read that it is estimated there are over 100 BILLION Galaxies!

NIV Psalm 147.4-5
“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our LORD and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”

NIV Gen 15.5
He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars--if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."

There is Good & There is Evil – There is God (Good – o)& there is Devil (D+ evil)
The God who made the heavens and the earth has a plan for man. When God makes a promise, the devil is there to try to thwart it!

Case in point:


NIV Genesis 15.1-6
After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:“Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. But Abram said, “O Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Remember what Dr. Simon Driver said:
It's also about 10 times as many stars as grains of sand on all the world's beaches and deserts. God indeed had a plan!!

THE THWART: The Enemy of God tries to prevent Moses from his mission on leading the Jews out of Egypt:

NIV Exodus 1.15-22
The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, “When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?” The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.” So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own. Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”
Conclusion: The LORD had His way!

THE THWART: The Enemy of God tries to prevent Jesus from fulfilling His Salvation Mission to the world:

NIV Matthew 2.16-18
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.

Conclusion: The LORD has his way!

What do you think the enemy is trying to prevent today?

REMEMBER: ONLY GOD CAN CREATE LIFE – and ever since he formed man from the dust of the earth and women from man’s side he has been using his creation to fulfill his promise to Abraham. So with that is mind – what part do you play in God’s Promise to Abraham? The enemy has always wanted to stop it and he continues to this day to thwart it! Pharaoh and Herod are long gone; they have been insidiously replaced!

NIV Isa 66.1&2
This is what the LORD says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?”
The LORD is saying take a good look at all that I have done. Do you see anything that is that I had not created? What were you hoping to be able to do for me? What do you think I could possible need from you that I cannot provide for myself? I submit – there is nothing we can offer to build for God that he cannot provide for himself. I feel comfortable with stating the only thing we have to offer him, with his help and with our cooperation, are souls. Eternal Souls - which he can influence. Eternal Souls - which he can indwell with his Holy Spirit. Those souls, like Moses and Jesus that lead and saved His people, will be the next leaders in the Kingdom of God that will lead others to salvation fulfilling his promise to Abraham. If you will – Here is the House you will build for me!

NIV Isa 55.9
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Conclusion: Let us be comfortable with putting our trust and confidence in the LORD. He is capable. He calls the stars by name. The earth is his footstool! Where is the house??

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fight the Good Fight - Never Surrender!

A young man in the Lord stopped by my home the other day. Like many of us, he had a struggle surrendering himself to the Lord. I truly mean it when I say, it was great to see him alive in Jesus Christ. How I felt reminded me of what the Apostle John said in 2 John 2.1-4 “It has given me great joy to find some (means not all) of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.”

To him I would say - I know it pleases the Lord, when we take his hand, get up on our own two feet and truly begin to walk with him and in him. He carries us for a while in his arms - sometimes in an ambulance; sometimes in a wheelchair. You know when you have something that’s valuable (your faith in Jesus Christ) when you have to fight for it! Be encouraged – “Fight the good fight of faith!” NIV 2 Tim 4.7

I will leave you with this final verse of scripture and final thought - NIV Jude 22 “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” It is true that God wants all men to repent and be saved. It is true that he has commanded us all to be his witnesses and to teach them to obey everything he commanded. I believe this verse demonstrates that our approach to them with the salvation message should not be a “one size fits all” approach. To be effective, we need discernment from the Holy Spirit in order to know how to reach out to them. This will take some practice! Make yourself available - ask the Lord for the gift of discernment - and let the LORD use you. Blessings -

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Believing Another Gospel will Change Your Eternal Zip Code

Not too long ago, a friend, who I knew walked with Jesus for some time which now was not walking with the LORD, started telling me he was reading some books by a man who said that God was talking to him and showing him a new way of looking at this life and the eternal life to come. I will not tell you what these “new insights” were all about, but now I understand why this man was so confused and no longer serving Jesus. He asked me what I thought of his revelation. I know you might find this hard to believe, but I calmly told him what he was telling me was total heresy and that if he embraced it, he was a heretic under condemnation of hell fire… which, not surprisingly, he no longer believed in.
If a man claims God speaks to him, how can he prove it and how can we validate it? We are charge with proving all things and to hold fast to the good (true & sound). We know God was with Jesus because of the miracles he performed, and much more so because he rose from the dead. If any man claims anything other than or contrary to what Jesus stated, should we wait to see if he is raised from the dead to validate what he said to be true? If they are true, why would God who is the same yesterday, today and forever contradict himself or change His mind? Specifically, “There is salvation in no other name than Jesus Christ.” I am not talking about a debate on how old the earth is or were the 7 days of creation 24 hour periods. Regardless of what you believe regarding that, it will not change your eternal zip code. To think salvation can come any other way than through believing in Jesus Christ (which means repentance, not penance) will undoubtedly change your eternal destination. Why would you want to give someone, you do not even know, the precious time you have left to serve the LORD to consider something contrary to your faith in Jesus Christ? I would agree with the Apostle Paul who stated “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! .… let them be eternally condemned!” NIV Galatians 1.6-10

Monday, August 23, 2010

Psalm 142 – When in Trouble: Speak Up to the Lord

There is a saying in the military – “Never complain down in the ranks. If you have an issue or complaint, complain up the chain-of-command.” Those under your rank, have less power (positional authority) – for all you sociologist out there - to affect a change that can help you in your situation. Even those at your rank, generally speaking, can’t affect a change either. King David, often found himself in places that were not comfortable. (intentionally understated) Unlike us in Western Civilization, he was concerned about losing his life… King David knew who to talk up to & we should too:
Vs 2 – “I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble.”
Vs 5 – “I cry to you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.’”
Vs 8 – “Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me…”
To those of us who know the Lord, who are serving him and obeying his commands, it is a comfort to know “…. it is you who know my way. In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me…” vs 3. I am not taking to the folks that create their own trials through disobedience and the consequences that stem from those poor choices. You will need to get that right by asking for forgiveness from the LORD before you can have confidence he is with you. But, for those of us that find ourselves in a place of trial through no fault of our own… HE is our help and our hope! WE need to acknowledge our place, our rank, and remember how great HE is:
Isaiah 66.1 & 2
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?’ declares the Lord. ‘This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.’”
Psalm 34:18
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Stop Doubting & Believe! John 20.19-31

In who's name do you have life today? By believing in Jesus Christ, you may have life in His name. Imagine what it must have been like to be Thomas and the Lord invites you to put your finger in the hole in His hand... Stop doubting and believe! Without faith it is impossible to please Him. Someone told me that "faith" was based on the past performance of someone or something. Because of the resurrection, we believe and have faith in Jesus Christ today and that the Bible has been validated as the Word of God. So what is it that the Lord is asking you to do for him today? It will take faith to believe that he is speaking to you and will take faith to take action and get it accomplished. Whatever the act of obedience or mission, be assured it will have value in the Kingdom of God and will bring glory to Jesus Christ.

IHS - Br. Mark

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Which Path Are You On? The Way -

John 14.6 - Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
What path are we on? What direction are we headed in?
Proverbs 3.5,6 - “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not to your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.”
NIV - Proverbs 5.21 “For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths.”
In Jersey City there is a train system – The Path. I often take the path that runs from Jersey City under the Hudson to the World Trade Center in NYC. It also goes to Hoboken, NJ (opposite direction) among other destinations. One time, I took the wrong Path Train and ended up in Hoboken. The train was going the right direction to go to Hoboken, I just made the wrong choice. If you get on the wrong path you end up somewhere other than where you want to be. Choose the right path and life is good! Life is like that.
Have you ever examined the path your life has taken? What path are you on? How did you get to where you are? You made some choices. Have you ever started out on a trip and gotten lost along the way? Generally speaking this happens because of poor choices and poor planning. I taught navigation as a civilian a long time ago. The aviators I flew with me in the Army generally had me fly the aircraft because I was a lousy navigator. (Yes you can teach navigation and be a lousy navigator) I have gotten lost many times so I know what I’m talking about. This happens in life as well. Most people look to others to point them in the right direction or give them the directions to the place they desire to go. How do you know they gave you the right directions? You won’t until you follow them. All the while you are hoping they take you to where you want to go. What’s your final destination for this life? How do you know the path you’ve chosen, and you did choose it, will get you where you want to go?
Poor planning and not having the right tools is a recipe for disaster. To have a successful trip, you need good preparation. We had a saying – “plan the flight and fly the plan. When lost, go back to your last known location.” When lost, you need a compass, a map and it’s helpful to have a watch – In that order. I compass tells you your heading in the right direction - only if you know approximately where you are. I map can point out a good path to take to get you where you want to go – only if you know approximately where you are. I need to back up a bit. Most people, when they get lost, have a hard time admitting it. It’s pride. That gets you deeper into lost because, remembering the first rule of getting lost is to get back to where you last knew you were. After you have meandered around a while you get totally lost! This is where most people find themselves in life. Poor planning and poor choices get you lost in this life. You meander around (make more poor choices) and get really lost and then, to top it off, you reach out to other people who can’t admit they are lost and they give you more bad advice… “The blind leading the blind.” Are you feeling lost in this life? A personal relationship with Jesus Christ can put you on the right path. The first step is admit and understand that you are lost and you need His help. He will give you true, good and proper direction for your life. Jesus Christ can be your compass in life – he points the way - for he is the way, the truth and the life. Without him we are lost. The Bible is the map that will show you how to get to where you want to go. The Holy Spirit can give you the light or the illumination needed to help you understand what you read in the Bible and give you the power to apply it to your life and keep you on the right path!
We need to examine the path we are on - How about Proverbs 3.5,6 - “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not to your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.”
Psalm 119.105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
What path are you on?
Proverbs 14.12 & 16.25 - “There is a way (path) that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
Proverbs 16.2 - “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weight by the LORD.”
Proverbs 15.10 - “Stern discipline awaits him who leaves the path: he who hates correction will die.”
Proverbs 12.11- “In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.”
The path to immortality is the path I want to be on how about you?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Not What I Believe.. What Do You Believe?

Making disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to obey all the Lord has commanded is every Believer’s calling. What you choose to believe is what is most important. Your eternal destination is dependent on what you believe. Mat 28

Many people ask me… what do I believe? I tell them what I believe really isn’t important to you. It is what you believe that is important to you. If you really want to know what you believe, look at your life and how you are living it. Your decisions & choices reveal to you what you truly believe. As you look at your present state of existence, does it reflect what you were hoping for?

I think the first question the LORD may ask when we transition into eternity is not what church you attended, but “What did you do with the sacrifice I gave you – my only son Jesus? You will need the right answer or the right Advocate (Jesus) with you at that time. If you get the answer wrong, if there is a follow-up question, it might be… “Why did you believe that?” To answer “That is what the preacher, priest, guru or Rabbi taught me will not help your situation. If you haven’t already, you need to take the personal responsibility to make sure you get that answer right. Read the Bible for yourself & do what it says. God did not create a manual for your life and put it into a format that you can’t understand. Jesus said, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” - NIV John 12:46 Without a personal relationship with Jesus… you are walking in the darkness. If you have been a blind person all your life, you have never known what life looks like until your blinded eyes have been open. Jesus extends to you a personal invitation to come to Him and walk in the light.

IF you come to know Jesus as your personal LORD and Savior understand this has only been made possible by His Father in Heaven:

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.” NIV - Matthew 16:13-17

Monday, August 2, 2010

IF... THEN...

What a deal... The Lord knows how to structure a deal! But unlike men, when the Lord puts together a deal, he is always generous and more than fair. He always has our best interest at heart... not always so when you make a deal with man. You see, the Lord wants us to have a blessed life and has structured the deal so that, with a little cooperation on our part, we can enter into the deal of the eternities. With the Lord, if we choose the right path, the benefits are immeasurable. You find throughout the Word of God, IF/THEN sequences. Deuteronomy 30:19 "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live..." & Proverbs 2:1-11- Choose Blessings!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I was reminded yesterday how important our mission is to share the message of salvation with those we are put in front of. I took a customer and his brother to a Yankee game last Wednesday. The brother told me several times he was ready for death at least 3x's. He died 2 days ago unexpectedly in his sleep. Are you ready? Why do you feel that way? On who's authority? How was that authority validated?


Boasting About Tomorrow – NIV James 4:13-17 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What I Wanted to Say Today on FaceBook

My hope today is that all who read these words will come to know Jesus Christ for whom he claimed to be. It is the most important and fundamental acknowledgment one can make in this life-time. Jesus told some folks that unless they came to know whom he claimed to be, they would surely die in their sins. It is when you understand and come to embrace who Jesus is - is when you will be transformed from an individual with a death-sentence to one who truly has a wonderful future ahead of him. (I am not saying that your life will be easy.) One man wanted to follow Jesus and said he would go wherever Jesus would go. Jesus told him that foxes have holes in the ground and birds have nests, but the son-of-man has nowhere to lay his head. Jesus was telling the young man that in light of this fact, he might want to re-consider what he was proposing or intending to do. You may say to me, “Mark - you telling me Jesus told this guy not to follow him?” No, I am pointing out that Jesus was telling this person you need to give serious consideration to the choices you are making. We all need to give consideration to the course of life we pursuit. Straight is the way and narrow is the gate that leads to eternal life and very few are they that find it; but, wide is the road and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many are they that travel down it. IF you are traveling down the road (or broad way) of life that most people are, you really need to reconsider that the majority, that you are following, may not be moving in the Right direction… then make a change (in direction). Another way to say to make a change is to repent. Repent means to change the direction you are going. If you are reading this and have questions and want to communicate privately with me, you can do so by sending me an email at: Have a blessed day!