It’s All About Jesus!!! Bible Ballistics: BBs #509

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #509  It’s All About Jesus!!!

 

For I am the least of the apostles,

that am not meet to be called an apostle,

because I persecuted the church of God.

10 But by the grace of God

I am

what I am:

and his grace

which was bestowed upon me

was not in vain;

but I laboured more abundantly than they all:

yet not I,

but the grace of God

which was with me.

11 Therefore whether it were I

or they,

so we preach,

and so ye believed.”   1 Corinthians 15:9-11

I praise God for these words of Paul—“ by the grace of God I am what I am”! What a glorious confidence we can have in Jesus Christ our Lord, for He works His work in us through grace not our own frail efforts/works which Isaiah describes as “filthy rags”! (See Isaiah 64:6) We are to work for Jesus out of His power, grace and strength—never our own; so He can display His wondrous power before a lost and dying world who needs to see Him in us! You and I may be the only “Bible” that some may ever read; and if that is true what are they reading in me today?

We are to seek Him continually in prayer and Bible study—that is where we will grow in Him and He will take what we give to Him and transform it into HIS image for His glory! We simply need to press on with, for and through the power of Jesus Christ our Lord, learning to know Him more intimately each and every day! It’s simple but not easy—it requires devotion and commitment to the things of God rather that the things that call us from a dark and corrupt world trying to rob us of our testimony and influence—don’t succumb to the “wiles of the devil”, but press on with Jesus!

That I may know him,

and the power

of his resurrection,

and the fellowship

of his sufferings,

being made conformable

unto his death;

11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

12 Not as though I had already attained,

either were already perfect:

but I follow after,

if that I may apprehend

that for which also

I am apprehended of Christ Jesus

13 Brethren, I count not myself

to have apprehended:

but this one thing I do,

forgetting those things

which are behind,

and reaching forth unto those things

which are before,

14 I press toward the mark

for the prize

of the high calling of God

in Christ Jesus.”   Philippians 3:10-14

I can do this because of what Jesus has done for me/us!!! His life for mine—for yours! And when He dwells in us we can go forward in HIS power, love and grace!!! Press on dear ones—press on, so that:

I may know him,

and the power

of his resurrection,

and the fellowship

of his sufferings

Grace, my friends –grace that saves lost sinners like me!                                       Grace that takes cracked pots and makes us a glory to God!                                    Grace that heals broken hearts and lives, and makes them vessels of honor unto God! Amen! But how? By the indwelling of our Lord via His Holy Spirit living within us and empowering us for “His” work—not our own! (See Jn. 4:34)

To whom God would make known

what is the riches

of the glory

of this mystery

among the Gentiles;

which is Christ in you,

the hope of glory:”   Colossians 1:27

Remember to “forget” “those things which are behind” for God has a new day for you to live today– Right here—Right now. Go for it friend, just keep those eyes on Jesus!

Looking unto Jesus

the author

and finisher

of our faith;

who for the joy that was set before him

endured the cross,

despising the shame,

and is set down at the right hand

of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

 

Knowing that: “……. he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25b

Amen and Amen!!!

 

Failure Isn’t Fatal!!! Bible Ballistics: BBs #508

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #508  Failure Isn’t Fatal!!!

 

If we confess

our sins,

he is faithful

and just

to forgive us

our sins,

and to cleanse us

from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

As believers in and followers of Jesus, we sometimes think that we have failed our Lord and ruined our ministry, but God says different. Then there are also those times that we are striving diligently to yield to the Spirit’s leading and everything seems to fall apart; but our God clearly tells us that He is ever at work in our lives. While we ought to continually search our hearts for secret sin as well as known sin. And not only does God call us to “confess” our sins (And yes that is plural, for we all fail regularly, and ‘confess’ simply means to agree with God that the sin in our lives, IS sin!), He assures us that when we face our sin and bring it to HIM, that HE will not only forgive us, but He will also “cleanse us from all unrighteousness”! God also knows that we often struggle to know our own hearts—and when we bring that to Him, HE will hear our prayer and reveal any short-coming or sin that we are truly desiring to set aright!

Search me,

O God,

and know

my heart:

try me,

and know my thoughts:

24 And see if there be

any wicked way

in me,

and lead me

in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23

While the Psalmist knew that God would hear and reveal his own heart in a way that he could keep “short accounts” with his God, for the believers since the cross and the New Covenant of grace and the indwelling Holy Spirit we have that privilege continually as The Spirit is our ever-present intercessor!

Likewise the Spirit

also helpeth our infirmities:

for we know not

what we should pray for

as we ought:

but the Spirit itself

maketh intercession

for us

with groanings

which cannot be uttered.”    Romans 8:26

Yet we have even more assurance of our recovery from failure—our Lord, even as the author of Hebrews reminds us of HIM!

Wherefore he is able also

to save them to the uttermost

that come unto God by him,

seeing he ever liveth

to make intercession

for them.” Hebrews 7:25

Our Great High Priest, Jesus, is ever interceding for us and assures us of His faithful provision, grace and cleansing forgiveness!

Being confident of this very thing,

that he which hath begun a good work

in you

will perform it

until the day of Jesus Christ:”   Philippians 1:6

Our faithful God is working continually so that we will be “conformed to the image of His Son”! (See Romans 8:28-29) And time and space would fail us to mention those precious saints of old who failed and were restored to their Lord’s service—and so can we be, when we but recognize our sin, turn back to seek HIS face and receive His forgiveness and cleansing. David says it better than I can!

Have mercy upon me, O God,

according to thy lovingkindness:

according unto the multitude

of thy tender mercies

blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash me throughly

from mine iniquity,

and cleanse me from

my sin.

3 For I acknowledge my transgressions:

and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against thee, thee only,

have I sinned,

and done this evil in thy sight:

that thou mightest be justified

when thou speakest,

and be clear when thou judgest…..

7 Purge me with hyssop,

and I shall be clean:

wash me,

and I shall be whiter than snow.

8 Make me to hear joy and gladness;

that the bones which thou hast broken

may rejoice.

9 Hide thy face from my sins,

and blot out all mine iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God;

and renew a right spirit

within me.

11 Cast me not away

from thy presence;

and take not thy holy spirit

from me.

12 Restore unto me

the joy of thy salvation;

and uphold me

with thy free spirit.

13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways;

and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”   Portions of Psalm 51

God is in the restoration business—He takes ‘cracked pots’ like me and will restore us to become “vessels of honor”, and will so graciously and lovingly give unto us “beauty for ashes”!

So my dear friend, wherever you are—wherever you have been—if you will but seek His face and His heart, HE will meet you and take your ‘failure’ and “ashes” and give you “beauty” in exchange! Don’t despair or give up—but look UP to the One who loves you and has never said “oops”, He can restore you! He is waiting—run to HIM!

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion,

to give unto them beauty

for ashes,

the oil of joy

for mourning,

the garment of praise

for the spirit of heaviness;

that they might be called trees of righteousness,   

the planting of the LORD,

that he might be glorified.”   Isaiah 61:3

The Greatest Evangelist??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 12 No. 12

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 12 No. 12   The Greatest Evangelist???

 

God saves and equips His children when they are born again to do the unique, and special tasks that HE has given to each one. Paul reminded the Ephesian believers that the work of ministry is NOT just for the pastors, teachers and evangelists—it is for all of us.

But unto every one of us is given

grace

according to the measure

of the gift of Christ…..

11 And he gave

some, apostles;

and some, prophets;

and some, evangelists;

and some, pastors

and teachers;

12 For the perfecting

of the saints,

for the work

of the ministry,

for the edifying

of the body of Christ:

13 Till we all come

in the unity of the faith,

and of the knowledge

of the Son of God,

unto a perfect man,

unto the measure

of the stature

of the fulness of Christ:

14 That we henceforth

be no more children,

tossed to and fro,

and carried about

with every wind

of doctrine,

by the sleight of men,

and cunning craftiness,

whereby they lie in wait

to deceive;

15 But speaking the truth in love,

may grow up into him

in all things,

which is the head,

even Christ:

16 From whom the whole body

fitly joined together

and compacted

by that which every joint supplieth,

according to the effectual

working

in the measure

of every part,

maketh increase of the body

unto the edifying

of itself

in love.”   Ephesians 4:7 & 11-16

Paul told the Ephesians that our goal should be for the “increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love”; we are to work together through the leaders (Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (or pastor-teachers) whom God has given to the church. So that we can each grow and affect edification and increase (Not necessarily numbers but in maturity, growth and power in The Lord and His Word!) amongst the believers “in love”! The leaders are called and given to the church for:

For the perfecting

of the saints,

for the work

of the ministry,

for the edifying

of the body of Christ”!

Leaders aren’t called to “do the work” but to raise up the believers to become “mature”, to “minister” and to “edify”! We have all been called to live our faith—to serve and sacrifice for the Lord—not pick our “pew” and “soak and sour”! But on to the main focus of our post today, which is the gift of ‘evangelist’ that Paul mentions in this passage, yet from a passage that might surprise you. When we think of evangelists we think of those preachers who go from place to place calling the church to spiritual renewal and revival, and the lost to salvation. And when the church gets right with God—the lost will be drawn to the Savior! This is a lengthy passage, but one that is worth our consideration!

There was a certain rich man,

which was clothed in purple

and fine linen,

and fared sumptuously every day:

20 And there was a certain beggar

named Lazarus,

which was laid at his gate,

full of sores,

21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs

which fell from the rich man’s table:

moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died,

and was carried by the angels

into Abraham’s bosom:

the rich man also died,

and was buried;

23 And in hell he lift up his eyes,

being in torments,

and seeth Abraham afar off,

and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 And he cried and said,

Father Abraham, have mercy on me,

and send Lazarus,

that he may dip the tip of his finger

in water,

and cool my tongue;

for I am tormented

in this flame.

25 But Abraham said, Son, remember

that thou in thy lifetime

receivedst thy good things,

and likewise Lazarus

evil things:

but now he is comforted,

and thou art tormented.

26 And beside all this,

between us and you

there is a great gulf fixed:

so that they which would pass from hence

to you cannot;

neither can they pass to us,

that would come from thence.

27 Then he said,

I pray thee therefore, father,

that thou wouldest send him

to my father’s house:

28 For I have five brethren;

that he may testify unto them,

lest they also come

into this place of torment.

29 Abraham saith unto him,

They have Moses

and the prophets;

let them hear them.

30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham:

but if one went unto them

from the dead,

they will repent.

31 And he said unto him,

If they hear not Moses

and the prophets,

neither will they be persuaded,

though one rose from the dead.”  Luke 16:19-31

Before we take off on the “greatest evangelist”, let’s look at the last thing that is recorded of this story—and I believe this is a true story, rather than a parable, for Jesus never called anyone by name in a ‘parable’—“neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead”! We need to remember that Jesus is facing the cross, and He will lay down His life on the cross, and be raised from the dead on the 3rd day—yet most wouldn’t believe in Him even though:

...how that Christ died for our sins

according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried,

and that he rose again

the third day

according to the scriptures:

5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:”                                     1 Corinthians 15:3-5

The Gospel is Jesus—crucified, buried, raised again, all for our salvation and the forgiveness of our sin! So what about the evangelist in the passage from Luke? Well, who is the one who is asking for the warning to be taken to his family? The rich man in hell—the greatest evangelist of all time—yet now as then, most aren’t listening to his warning. He wanted Father Abraham to send Lazarus back to earth to preach the gospel to his family that they would avoid his destiny. So if you are one of those who have laughed off “hell” by saying you wanted to join your friends there and “party-hearty”, you need to think again. Here we have “eye-witness” testimony of one who is there—and ‘it ain’t no party’ and other than the relief from his own torment, his desire was that his family would trust God and not join him in ‘hell’ (or technically “Hades”—the temporary place of the lost dead, not the lake of fire, hell)!

Yet notice the response:

If they hear not Moses

and the prophets,

neither will they be persuaded,

though one rose from the dead”!

If they won’t receive the truth that is in front of them, they won’t believe even when ‘one’ rose from the dead—not even when ‘The One’ rose from the dead! That was true two thousand years ago, and it is still true today. There are no second chances after death, and we are choosing today whom we will believe! And refusing to trust Jesus, is deciding! Doing things your own way is choosing! This rich man chose every day to go his own way—just as the church in Laodicea in the book of the Revelation, he was totally satisfied with his own self-sufficiency! How about you? Are you putting Jesus off—waiting for a more opportune time—for whatever reason? There is no guarantee of tomorrow—not for Lazarus (the poorest of the poor), not for the rich man (the richest of the rich), not for you or me! But choosing can only be done in this life! But just as Paul told the Philippians:

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10

That at the name of Jesus

every knee should bow,

of things in heaven,

and things in earth,

and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess

that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.”    Philippians 2:10-11

The time is coming when “every knee” shall bow before Jesus! The question isn’t “if” you will bow, but “when” will you bow! Will you bow before Him now as your Lord and Savior, or will you bow before Him as your “judge” with no opportunity for salvation and redemption. The choice is yours, but choose wisely—there is a test at the end.

And as it is appointed unto men

once to die,

but after this

the judgment:”   Hebrews 9:27

So my question is, “Will you bow before Jesus now and receive His grace, mercy and redemption? Or will you refuse His grace and have to face Him as your judge?” And if you know Him, won’t you join me and commit to being a better “evangel” (A bearer of the good tidings of redemption through Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin!) of the good news that delivers from sin, death, and hell and gives us everlasting life with Jesus!

(For he saith,

I have heard thee in a time accepted,

and in the day of salvation

have I succoured thee:

behold, now is the accepted time;

behold, now is the day of salvation.)”   2 Corinthians 6:2

Every person will bow—with saving grace or without! May we be great evangels in “this” life not ineffectual ones in death and hell? Remember it’s not what your house looks like to the world—but where your foundation is set! Is it built on the rock or on the sand? The house may not show it until the storms come—and they will come—but God knows!

Therefore whosoever heareth

these sayings of mine,

and doeth them,

I will liken him unto a wise man,

which built his house upon a rock:

25 And the rain descended,

and the floods came,

and the winds blew,

and beat upon that house;

and it fell not:

for it was founded

upon a rock.

26 And every one that heareth

these sayings of mine,

and doeth them not,

shall be likened unto a foolish man,

which built his house upon the sand:

27 And the rain descended,

and the floods came,

and the winds blew,

and beat upon that house;

and it fell:

and great was the fall of it.”   Matthew 7:24-27

May God grant you wisdom and grace to see His truth and trust in HIM each day—no matter the storm? Today is all we have!

But exhort one another daily,

while it is called To day;

lest any of you be hardened

through the deceitfulness of sin.”   Hebrews 3:13

Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

Resting Or Wrestling??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #507

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #507  Resting Or Wrestling???

 

I’d simply like to share a bit of encouragement with you all today; a word to help us face the busy, hectic pace of life that confronts us all. I pray that you will find comfort and refreshment from God’s Word.

The LORD grant you that ye may find rest,

each of you

in the house of her husband.

Then she kissed them;

and they lifted up their voice, and wept.”   Ruth 1:9

Naomi wished her daughters-in-law the Lord’s blessing of new husbands and the ‘rest’ of a peaceful marriage and home. A home can be the blessing of a lifetime or it an bring turmoil and grief; Naomi wished for her loved ones the peace and “rest” that only God could provide within marriage.

And it came to pass,

when the king sat in his house,

and the LORD had given him rest

round about

from all his enemies;” 2 Samuel 7:1

Here we find King David in the latter part of his reign, finding the peace of God from the many wars that he had lead his armies in. No matter the wars that we may face—God will bring the peace in HIS time.

Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.

11 And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said,

LORD, it is nothing with thee to help,

whether with many,

or with them that have no power:

help us, O LORD our God;

for we rest on thee,

and in thy name

we go against this multitude.

O LORD, thou art our God;

let not man prevail against thee.

12 So the LORD smote the Ethiopians

before Asa,

and before Judah;

and the Ethiopians fled.”   2 Chronicles 14:10-12

King Asa asked for God’s help going into the battle—and he understood that even in the fray of battle “we rest on thee, and in thy name”! So even in the middle of your battles you can “rest” in God’s faithfulness in every situation. He never says “oops”, and He always knows where you are, and where HE is taking you!

Rest in the LORD,

and wait patiently

for him:

fret not thyself

because of him who prospereth in his way,

because of the man who bringeth

wicked devices to pass.

8 Cease from anger,

and forsake wrath:

fret not thyself in any wise

to do evil.” Psalm 37:7-8   (Read the entire chapter for an extra blessing!)

The Psalmist reminds us that we can have total confidence in our Lord and we can “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him”! We don’t have to fret over those who are wicked and stand against us! We don’t have to take our own “vengeance” but can leave that to our Lord, and walk in peace even when others may come against us! My rest is in the Lord, not man!

And finally, we can take great confidence in the knowledge that our Lord will bring about ultimate and final rest in Him for eternity.

And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me,

Write,

Blessed are the dead

which die in the Lord from henceforth:

Yea, saith the Spirit,

that they may rest from their labours;

and their works do follow them.”   Revelation 14:13

The key is to be sure that we have placed our faith and our confidence in the salvation that only Jesus can impart! Be sure that you have placed your faith in Him and nothing else! We can have HIS rest when we have Jesus, but if we are steeped in unbelief (like those that Hebrews 3 & 4 are talking about) there is no ‘rest’!

There remaineth therefore a rest

to the people of God.

10 For he that is entered into his rest,

he also hath ceased from his own works,

as God did from his.

11 Let us labour therefore

to enter into that rest,

lest any man fall

after the same example

of unbelief.” Hebrews 4:9-10

Are you resting or wrestling? The choice is yours, but there is a test coming!

Sovereign Control??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #506

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #506      Sovereign Control???

I have a very simple but profound passage to share with you today. After the election in the U.S. yesterday I just wanted to remind us all that our God is faithful and sovereign over all things. So no matter how the elections turned out—God Still Reigns—Amen and Amen.

Why do the heathen rage,

and the people imagine a vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth

set themselves,

and the rulers

take counsel together,

against the LORD,

and against his anointed,

saying,

3 Let us break their bands asunder,

and cast away their cords from us.

4 He that sitteth in the heavens

shall laugh:

the Lord shall have them

in derision.

5 Then shall he speak unto them

in his wrath,

and vex them

in his sore displeasure.

6 Yet have I set my king

upon my holy hill of Zion.

7 I will declare the decree:

the LORD hath said unto me,

Thou art my Son;

this day have I begotten thee.

8 Ask of me,

and I shall give thee the heathen

for thine inheritance,

and the uttermost parts of the earth

for thy possession.

9 Thou shalt break them

with a rod of iron;

thou shalt dash them in pieces

like a potter’s vessel.

10 Be wise now therefore,

O ye kings: be instructed,

ye judges of the earth.

11 Serve the LORD with fear,

and rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son,

lest he be angry,

and ye perish from the way,

when his wrath

is kindled but a little.

Blessed are all they

that put their trust in him.” Psalm 2:1-11

God is at work in our world to accomplish HIS purpose in all things—leading to the imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ at any time—and that my friend is our hope, joy and confidence!!! Will you be blessed to be HIS child or one that HE will receive His wrath? The choice is yours but there is a test at the end!

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse;

and he that sat upon him was called

Faithful and True,

and in righteousness

he doth judge

and make war.

12 His eyes were as a flame of fire,

and on his head were many crowns;

and he had a name written,

that no man knew,

but he himself.

13 And he was clothed with a vesture

dipped in blood:

and his name is called

The Word of God.

14 And the armies which were in heaven

followed him upon white horses,

clothed in fine linen,

white and clean.

15 And out of his mouth

goeth a sharp sword,

that with it he should smite the nations:

and he shall rule them

with a rod of iron:

and he treadeth the winepress

of the fierceness

and wrath

of Almighty God.

16 And he hath on his vesture

and on his thigh

a name written,

KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”   Revelation 19:11-16

Even so come quickly Lord Jesus, our eternal “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS”!!! Amen and Amen!

Are you ready? If not I pray that you will come to Jesus today in repentance and faith—for HE gave HIS own life’s blood to save YOU/me from our sin! And I pray that those of us who are HIS will faithfully, “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” in His power, love and grace!

Blessings on your day!!! Amen and Amen.