DO YOU KNOW THE EXTENT OF GOD’S LOVE FOR YOU?

Why did Jesus of Nazareth endure a torturous death by crucifixion?  After all, he could have just stayed in Heaven and left us all alone to pay the penalty for our sins. Instead, “he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross

Who (Jesus), though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.Philippians 2:6-8

But why? For one thing, God loves us dearly. All three persons of the Trinity were in agreement. God our heavenly Father was prepared to send His only Son to pay the penalty we deserve to pay. Jesus was prepared to make the tremendous sacrifice (incomprehensible) on our behalf and the Holy Spirit had to endure making it happen. 

“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Love is the biggest reason Jesus “endured the cross, scorning its shame” (Hebrews 12:2). 

Jesus suffered and died on the cross so that you and I could be rescued from sin, death, resurrection to face judgment, punishment, and a second death in the Lake of Fire. If we could have saved ourselves by our own righteousness, it would have been utterly foolish for the Father to send his only Son to redeem us. The fact of the matter is that Christ’s crucifixion was the only way we could be rescued. “If righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing” (Galatians 2:21). 

I assure you that the Messiah didn’t endure crucifixion for nothing! It was the only way God’s worldwide rescue mission could be accomplished!

Do you realize what happens to a person after death if their sins are not forgiven? Jesus made it very clear that the wages of sin are death. And because God does not want you to go to Hell, but rather to Heaven, he did the one thing that would save us from punishment and a second death. 

The Father has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins Colossians 1:13-14

Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.Revelation 2:10-11

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.Revelation 21:8

The Bible says “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing” (1 Corinthians 1:18). We simply don’t understand any of it. It must be illuminated by the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God. The Lord opens our minds to understand the Bible, just like he did with his first disciples. “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45).

The prophet Isaiah foretold the crucifixion of Christ some 700 years prior to Jesus’ birth,

He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds, we are healedIsaiah 53:5)

This prophecy clearly foretold the suffering the Messiah would endure. Nevertheless, many people refuse to believe Isaiah’s message. “The 17th-century Jewish historian, Raphael Levi, admitted that long ago the rabbis used to read Isaiah 53 in synagogues, but after the chapter caused ‘arguments and great confusion,’ the rabbis decided that the simplest thing would be to just take that prophecy out of the Haftarah readings in synagogues.” So much for Biblical inerrancy.

Meanwhile, don’t forget: If Jesus had sinned even one time, he would not qualify as anyone’s Savior. In that case, he would need someone to save him. Thankfully, “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22). A sinner cannot pay for anyone’s sins; a perfect sacrifice is required.

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect1 Peter 1:18-19

God not only forgives our sins when we accept the Messiah by faith, but he also gives us a new heart with which to love and serve our Creator.

The death of Jesus on the cross pays for our sins and reconciles us to God. When we repent of our sins, trust Jesus to forgive our sins, and are baptized, we receive the third person of the Trinity into our souls to enable us to live the Christian life and be in a right relationship with God. Apart from the cross, we would remain rebels and would lack the Holy Spirit which enters our soul the moment we are spiritually reborn (John 3:1-18). Jesus endured the Cross so that all who receive him (John 1:12) will enjoy a relationship with the Lord forever.

Have you placed your faith in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, or are you living under the delusion that your best efforts are enough to gain eternal life? If we could defeat sin and death with our own righteousness, then it would have made no sense for the Father to send his only Son to suffer such excruciating pain and unrelenting physical, spiritual, and emotional torment. 

If you have not yet bowed your knee, repented, and surrendered your heart to Christ, this is a perfect time to do so. Turn away from your sins and believe that the Messiah’s death on the cross paid the full penalty for your sins.

Repenting your sins and accepting Christ as your Savior is the path to peace with God, whereas rejecting the Messiah leaves a person on death row facing punishment and second death.

TEXAS SENATE PROTECTS CHILDREN FROM A GODLESS FUTURE

Lawmakers in Texas have advanced two pieces of legislation requiring public schools to prominently display the Ten Commandments in every classroom and allow school districts to set aside time for students to pray and read religious texts. 

If passed by the House of Representatives, God will bless this State for taking a stand for Him. Texas will be a light on the hill for God and He will make it stand out in many ways. In fact, it is already happening as many companies are leaving California to move to Texas. If passed. watch and see how this move to save children from a godless future will bless this State.

Last Thursday, the state Senate approved SB 1515, introduced by Republican Sen. Phil King. If passed by the House of Representatives, it would require Texas public elementary and secondary schools to display the Ten Commandments in each classroom. 

In its current form, SB 1515 amends current law relating to how the Ten Commandments are displayed in public schools.

While there is currently no such requirement in Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District made such a proposal at least legally feasible, the bill’s author contends. 

Joe Kennedy, a public high school assistant football coach in Washington state who was dismissed for praying on the field after games, was reinstated after he was punished by Bremerton School District for praying on the field after games in 2015.

The text of SB 1515 states that enacting the legislation will remind “students all across Texas of the importance of a fundamental foundation of American and Texas law — the Ten Commandments.”

State senators also passed SB 1396, which would allow public, non-religious school districts to adopt a policy requiring its campuses to allocate time for students and staff to participate in an optional “period of prayer and Bible reading on each school day.”

Authored by Republican Sen. Mayes Middleton, the bill would allow prayer or Bible reading to be delivered over a school’s public address system. It would require parents to opt-in for their children to participate.

“A public school student has an absolute right to individually, voluntarily, and silently pray or meditate in school in a manner that does not disrupt the instructional or other activities of the school,” the bill states. 

“A person may not require or coerce a student to engage in or refrain from such prayer or meditation during any school activity.”

GOD MEANT FOR US TO BE FRIENDS

Gods desire to be friends with us absolutely does not equate to us treating Him as we would our ordinary human friends, our fleshy equals. Instead, we must begin by never, ever forgetting that God is God. This means always having a healthy fear (i.e. reverence) for Yahweh.

Nevertheless, God has been inviting humanity into friendship with Him since the beginning of time, starting with Adam and Eve. They literally, physically knew Him as their friend. They walked with Him in the cool of the day, communed with Him in the Garden and talked with Him along the way. They experienced an amazing real relationship with the God of the Universe – – – until the day they became convinced that God is not a good friend. Without a great deal of thought, they unfriended their Creator and decided to friend and follow someone else. Turns out, they friended their enemy, who was cunningly disguised as a friend – which, of course, he was anything but. The brokenness that followed shattered all creation. Ever since humanity has not been born into friendship with God but has entered this world in a broken relationship with Him. 

God has not given up on us, though. The magnificent story of the whole Bible, from beginning to end, is the story of how He is reaching out to humanity to re-engage in a relationship with Him. Over and over, throughout the centuries, He has sent many requests, through invitations such as,

“Return to Me!” (Zechariah 1:3), “Return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 30:2), and “Return to me with all your heart” (Joel 2:12). 

God then chose to articulate His friend request in a new way. It was in fact His redemption plan all along. God sent part of Himself – His Son – to earth to deliver the remarkable message. God in the flesh, fully God, fully man, hand-delivered the invitation signed with His very own name. Through the ages, the invitation had always been “Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved” (Joel 2:32). The angel told Joseph, “You are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). So now, when God sent His Son as Savior, the Name of the Lord became ever more personal:  His Name is Jesus.

Jesus so much wants to be your friend and my friend that, not only was He born into this world to walk amongst us, He was willing to die in our place and pay the price for our sins. Jesus told His followers, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). He said this, and then He did it.

Jesus laid down His life for us then took it back up into victory. And all we must do to accept His friend request is to believe in His Name. Scripture says, “If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). 

This friend request doesn’t require internet access, wifi capability, power grids, or solar energy. It doesn’t need new technology, the latest gadgets. or inventions of any kind. What’s more, God’s invitation isn’t limited to certain parts of the world or particular people groups. Jesus’ friend request is for every single person. The Old Testament invitation is echoed in the New: “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile — the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Romans 10:12-13).

When we do this, when we call on Jesus, we begin the adventure of a real relationship with Him. In this, Jesus says, “I no longer call you servants… Instead, I have called you friends” (John 15:15). 

Jesus calls us friends when we accept His friend request. 

What’s more, accepting His friend request isn’t just a past-tense, one-time decision. Just like in our relationships with the special people in our lives, the more time we spend in a relationship with Jesus, meeting with Him, and getting to know Him, the deeper and more intimate our friendship becomes. His is a friendship we can and should continue to respond to and accept every single day of our lives.

GOD IS WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO

Think about how Joshua felt when God told him to lead the Israelites into Canaan, drive out the pagan inhabitants, and secure the land as a homeland for His people.

In the natural, this would seem to be an impossible task but the key of course is revealed in the following Scripture:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 

God does not commission us without the promise of His presence and provision. We only have to be “strong and of good courage.”

How would you like to be Noah, being told to build an enormous boat as God was going to destroy every living creature on the earth save those on this boat Noah was to build. We are simply told that “Noah did this; he did all that God had commanded him” Genesis 6:22

How Long Was the Ark?

At approximately 510 feet long, it would take nearly one and a half football fields to equal the Ark’s length. That’s big enough that NASA could lay three space shuttles—nose to tail—on the Ark’s roof! 

How Long Was the Ark?

How Tall Was the Ark?

The roof of Noah’s Ark was more than 50 feet from the ground—higher than a modern four-story house. That’s plenty of space for three extra-tall inner decks as the Bible describes.

How Tall Was the Ark?
Truckloads of Cargo Space

The Ark had the same storage capacity as about 450 standard semi-trailers. A standard livestock trailer holds about 250 sheep, so the Ark had the capacity to hold at least 120,000 sheep.

And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive. Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up. It shall serve as food for you and for them.” Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.” Genesis 6:13-22

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Are you confident that God is with you wherever you go? He will be if you are obedient to His commands. Moreover, you will know if you are not being obedient because you will experince His discipline. What form that takes varies widely but repentance is required to get you back on track. This is a word usually not spoken of in apostate churches.

Do you want times of refreshing from the Lord? If you do then repent.

BEING OBEDIENT TO GOD

For Christians sometimes obedience comes before understanding.

To enable us, Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to indwell our Spirit to be our counsellor, teacher and comforter.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.John 3:5-8

In my own life, many times, I am confronted by the Holy spirit prompting me to do something I would not ordinarily do and when I am obedient and do it, I discover that God had orchestrated all aspects of the the event, circumstances, people and location and it invariably did one or more of the following things: helped others, proved God’s existence and brought glory to Him and His Word.

Even before Jesus made it possible for believers to be born again and receive the Holy Spirit, God was working with people like Abraham who by faith was prepared to be obedient . Think about it, Abraham could have had no understanding of why he was called to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice. This is trusting God to the uttermost.

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.Hebrews 11:17-19

What did God promise Abraham because of his obedience:

By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voiceGenesis 22:16-18

Long after Abraham had died the children of Abraham knew that:

Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.” Joshua 21:45

Jesus now calls us to do the following things, which in the natural you would not do, but by the power of the Holy Spirit you can do.

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.Luke 6:27-31

Are you being obedient to the Holy Spirit’s leading each day of your life? Are you living eternal now?

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PRISON TRANSFORMED ASIA BIBI

WASHINGTON — A Pakistani Christian woman imprisoned on death row for over eight years based on trumped-up blasphemy charges recounted how that experience helped her “grow strong in faith.” 

In an address to religious freedom advocates at the annual International Religious Freedom Summit, Asia Bibi, aided by a translator, described how her experience in prison transformed her from an “ordinary Christian” into a passionate defender and believer of the faith.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

Asia Bibi
Pakistani Islamists hold a poster displaying the portrait of Asia Bibi, a Christian Pakistani woman accused of blasphemy, during a protest against the Supreme Court decision on Bibi’s case in Lahore on February 1, 2019. As Islamist extremists announced fresh protests demanding her execution, officials said she was free to go abroad, with speculation rampant that she will seek asylum in Europe or North America. 

Bibi’s ordeal began when Muslim field workers accused her of contaminating their water supply by drinking from the same water container, rendering it “impure” because Christians are viewed as unclean. An argument ensued between Bibi and the women that escalated into a criminal complaint after the women publicly accused her of committing blasphemy by insulting the Islamic prophet Muhammad, a charge that brings a sentence of life in prison or death by hanging. 

During a police investigation into her alleged crime, Bibi was beaten up in her home and arrested. In 2009, she was convicted and sentenced to death under section 295-C of Pakistan’s blasphemy law. 

This is the antichrist spirit at work and will culminate in the prophesied Antichrist figure spoken of in Revelation 13.

Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come.1 John 2:18

And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.1 John 4:3

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.” 2 John 1:7

Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.1 John 2:22

ACKNOWLEDGING GOD’S GOODNESS

During the U.S. Olympic track and field trials on Sunday, Sydney McLaughlin broke the world record in the women’s 400-meter hurdles, giving all of the glory to God. McLaughlin, 21, recorded a time of 51.90 seconds and became the first woman to run the event in under the 52-second mark. She beat defending Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad’s previous time of 52.16, Sports Spectrum reports.

McLaughlin recalled the moment she crossed the line during a post-race interview.  

“All the glory to God,” McLaughlin told NBC Sports. “Honestly, this season just working with my new coach and my new support system, it’s truly just faith and trusting the process. I couldn’t ask for anything more and truly it is all a gift from God.”

AP Photo/Ashley Landis
‘A Gift From God’: Sydney McLaughlin Breaks 400 Meter Hurdles World Record to Win U.S. Olympic Trials

When she compared this race with previous competitions against Muhammad, McLaughlin pointed out that the most important difference was placing her faith in her Lord and Saviour.  

“Dalilah’s a great competitor,” McLaughlin said. “I think I was growing into my own person. And I think the biggest difference this year is my faith, trusting God and trusting that process, and knowing that He’s in control of everything. As long as I put the hard work in, He’s going to carry me through. And I really cannot do anything more but give the glory to Him at this point.”

On Monday, McLaughlin continued to direct the focus on God while reflecting on her victory.

“I just kept hearing God say, ‘Just focus on me.’ It was the best race plan I could have ever assembled,” she wrote on Instagram. “I no longer run for self-recognition, but to reflect His perfect will that is already set in stone. I don’t deserve anything. But by grace, through faith, Jesus has given me everything. Records come and go. The glory of God is eternal. Thank you Father.”

LIVING ETERNAL NOW

It is time to rejoice, time to be thankful, time to speak the praises of Him who is faithful even when we are not.  It is time to know and to look forward to dwelling with Him in the eternal realm. It is time to know that the things of this world are unreliable, and not to trust in them, but to trust in Him who alone is entirely reliable, in all of life! 

Bible prophecy tells us that in the last days before Jesus returns the world is going to turn away from God and His Word. It is already happening. God has also said that many who think they are Christians will fall away.

And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:10-13

Hence, it is important we remind ourselves of God’s promises and to not grieve the Holy Spirit.

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Having believed you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of His purchased possession” Ephesians 1:13b-14

Christ … who has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 2 Corinthians 1:22

Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God who has also given us the Spirit as a guarantee.  2 Corinthians 5:5

“He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

“The Lord Jesus Christ will confirm you to the end.”  1 Corinthians 1:8

“The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29

“Whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

“Begotten, born again, into a living hope, an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” 1 Peter 1:3-4

“Neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:38-39.

That’s it – a cast iron guarantee!  It leaves only one question – is my guarantor reliable?  Can He be trusted?  

If we are faithless, He remains faithful.”  2 Timothy 2:13