Are You Getting Jesus or the CliffsNotes?

cliffs-notes

Remember CliffsNotes? I’m not sure if they still even have them now or not. Kids probably just use Google. But anyways for those too young (or for those who actually DID do their homework), CliffsNotes were the abbreviated version of literature classics. If you didn’t read the actual thing, you could buy the CliffsNotes and get the gist of it.

Are you getting Jesus or the CliffsNotes?

“The right understanding of Jesus Christ is essential to understanding many other vital truths, particularly the gospel and salvation. There’s no good news apart from Christ.” – John MacArthur

Let me give you just one verse. It is short and easy: “I and the Father are one.” – John 10:30.

I was at a restaurant once and they poured my Ginger Ale over a ton of ice. I could hardly taste it. It was gross, really. I have harsh words for anyone who waters down the Gospel to make it easier or more user-friendly.  Its gross, really.

MacArthur also admonishes those who make their faith a “private” matter: “If your faith is ‘a private thing,’ it’s not the Christian faith.” I have heard this defense as I’m sure you have too.

Nothing about the Great Commission sounded “private” to me.

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation].” – Acts 4:12 (AMP)

Don’t make that private. Make it public!

Don’t settle for an abridged rendition of Jesus. Demand the full version!

Don’t read the CliffsNotes. Read the original!


Ref:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CliffsNotes

MacArthur, John. Good News: the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Reformation Trust Publishing, 2018.

Like a Dog Licking Its Master’s Hand

dog licking hand

Jesus commanded us to: Worship the Lord your God, & serve Him only. – Matt. 4:10

In 60 of the 91 occurrences of “worship” in the NT, it is the Greek word proskuneo. It means “to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand.” Literally & figuratively, to proskuneo is to fawn over, crouch to, & fall down to kiss the ground before.

Our worship of the Lord is the metaphorical kissing-ground between we (the Bride) and Christ (the Bridegroom).

When my dog, Annie sees me, it doesn’t matter if I’ve been gone for 1 minute or 1 hour – she cannot contain herself! She goes completely spastic: she runs all over the place, she jumps up on me, & yes – she licks my hand. She is so excited, she just about explodes! Just like Olivia Newton John in Grease, Annie is hopelessly devoted to me.

When was the last time we got that excited worshipping our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ? Are we hopelessly devoted?

– If this post blessed you please like and share!


Ref: http://biblehub.com/greek/4352.htm

Your Sins Have Been FIRED!


Let’s say someone comes up to you, removes your coat, and sends it away. Would you say you still had your coat?

No. It was removed. It was sent away. Literally, the coat is no longer here.

Jesus takes our sins away. (1 John 3:5). When John the Baptist saw Jesus he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:19)!”

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 (Emphasis mine)

Just like that coat; they’re gone. Now, of course we don’t miss the coat or go shopping for new coats, right?

“No one who is born of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin,” – 1 John 3:9 (AMP)

Therefore, if we repent and turn to Him, Jesus forgives our sins (something only God can do, by the way).

The Greek for “forgive” carries the word picture of discharging something so as to leave.
I note it because:

  • It is so much fun to say: aphiémi (af-ee’-ay-mee).
  • Its roots are apó, “away from” and hiēmi, “send.”
  • Properly then, aphiémi means: send away; release (discharge).
  • By forgiving our sins, Jesus removes them and discharges them.

Therefore, because of Jesus’s wonderful Love & Grace, your sins have been:
Let go; fired, dismissed, sacked, axed, laid-off, and canned. They have been given their “pink slip” and “walking papers.” Like Elvis, your sins have left the building.

  • Stop re-living them.
  • Stop obsessing about them.
  • Stop beating yourself up over them.

Brother and sister, they are not even there! (Heb. 8:12, Rom. 11:27, Mic. 7:19, Psa. 103:12)

To pretend otherwise is to act like you still have that coat on that someone removed from you and sent away.

– If this blessed you, please like & share!

Jesus is the Common Denominator 

I constantly say the wrong thing. I consistently am weak when I ought to be strong. I have no power to speak of. However, I take great comfort and confidence in the common denominator of the following 2 verses:

(My wife would be so proud of that Math term!)

Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts – Zech. 4:6

And:

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, – 1 Cor. 2:4

It’s God’s gift of the Holy Spirit that empowers us. Anything we do that is even moderately successful is just a small demonstration of this power. When I mess up (which is often), it is because I am relying on my own strength and power (which we already established is dreadfully deficient). Relying on the Lord and the Holy Spirit dramatically increases the successful outcome of any situation.
If you are facing a crisis and feel overwhelmed, take comfort in the knowledge that a child of God can rely on the power that Zechariah and Paul relied on. It wasn’t their own, I can tell you that much. It was the power of the Spirit!
Not a child of God? He’s just waiting to adopt you! He’s got the paperwork ready. He’s got the car outside running. Sprint out of that orphanage into the mansion!
You can take that one all the way to the bank.
Do me a favor and chew on this “solid food” (1 Cor. 3:2):

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. -Rom. 8:11

We sort of gloss over that verse, but it’s implications are crazy amazing: resurrection power resides in us! Is there anything more incredible? The power to raise the dead? Dwelling in our bones? Come on, now!
Imagine if we really believed that.

Ever Look For Your Car Keys in the Freezer?

man-looking-in-freezer-face-obscured-by-door-side-view-200455254-001-57c5ecff5f9b5855e50428d8We are all looking for something, aren’t we? What is it that you looking for? Wisdom (experience, career)? Knowledge (facts, degrees)? Happiness (marriage, relationships)? Peace (also marriage and relationships… just kidding)? Riches (security, comfort)? Whatever it is, ALL is found in Jesus.

All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Him – Col. 2:3

If you are looking anywhere else, then you are barking up the wrong tree. You know, that is a pretty funny expression now that I am actually thinking about it; the dog has chased a cat up a tree and is now barking at it, but the cat is in another tree? Silly dog. However, that is what I want you to envision if you are looking for…. lets say, self-fulfillment, in any other place than in Jesus. Yep, you are that silly dog barking up the wrong the tree. Come on, dog! Ya got the wrong tree!

If I were looking for something in the wrong place, I would want someone to tell me. Constantly searching sounds too exhausting. I would much rather rest. Its like looking for the car keys in the refrigerator. They probably aren’t there. If I were rummaging through the freezer looking for my keys and you knew where they were – I would want you to tell me.

If you are not looking to Jesus, then you are looking in the freezer for your car keys.

ALL treasures are found in Him. Satisfaction for your heart? In Him. Satisfaction for your mind? In Him. Satisfaction for your bones? ALL are found in Him. I promise you: Jesus doesn’t come up short. Jesus doesn’t disappoint. Jesus doesn’t leave you holding the check. Jesus doesn’t promise, and then not deliver. In fact, He over-delivers. He exceeds. He excels.

Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], – Eph. 3:20a (AMP)

Anything worth knowing, is known in Him. Anything worth finding, is found in Him. Anything worth discovering is discovered in Him. Think about that: All the secret riches that can potentially come out of all intelligence and understanding is revealed in Christ! That’s why Paul calls it treasure. Treasure is priceless, precious, and rare. The closest to finding treasure I ever got was using a metal detector at the beach one summer. Man, you never saw a kid more excited over a quarter. You would have thought I found the Heart of the Ocean or something. Jesus is talking about FOR REAL treasure. Not some rusty old quarter! Life treasure. Soul treasure. Eternal Treasure. True fortune.

Treasures are hidden, aren’t they? They are buried. They require some digging. They must be unearthed.  You have to remove the dirt to find the treasure. We have a lot of dirt piled up in our lives. We are buried in it! Jesus can remove the dirt – if you will let Him. He wants to unearth the potential underneath all the guck and grime.

The most worthwhile treasure you can ever possess is knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. It may take some digging, but it is well worth it.

Hurled Into The Sea

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I was talking with my mother-in-law today about the “Your Red Sea” blog and she brought up an interesting point. The blog positioned that the Red Sea could represent your problems and that by relying on God, your problems could be solved in a way that you couldn’t even imagine. She said not only that, but the Red Sea then destroyed the Israelites’ enemies. In essence, what was once an obstacle became a tool for deliverance! Not only did God create a door for the Israelites to escape, but He also used that door to vanquish their foes.

With God, the thing that would destroy a person can be transformed into the thing that destroys the person’s problems.

Now, most of us today don’t have what we would call “foes” or “enemies.” We don’t have a Dr. Moriarty… unless you count the enemy of us all: that old serpent. But, we do have abstract enemies like fear, hate, and worry.

If a person is up against their Red Sea, then they have two options:

1, Rely on themselves and… risk drowning, or go broke buying boats, or weary themselves by traveling all away around…

Or

2, Rely on God, calmly walk across dry land to the other shore, and then watch as the waters crash down and drown your foes.

God Bless!
#AwesomeGod #GodDelivers

Not Struggling To Be Free

mrpatvincent
Not Struggling To Be Free – 2 Cor. 12:9

When I was little, I was scared of quicksand. I was absolutely certain I was going to fall into some quicksand and never get out. I don’t have facts on this, but I’m pretty sure there isn’t even any quicksand in West Virginia. Anyways, try telling that to a 10 year old.

Anyone who has ever seen a Western or Indiana Jones, can tell you – don’t struggle! It will only make you sink faster! If you just remain calm, you may have more of a chance… to find a rope, or branch, or call out for help, or something.

2 Cor. 12:9-10 tells us that God’s Grace is sufficient. His power is made perfect in our weakness. Boast happily in your weaknesses and then the Power of God may rest upon you. If that doesn’t make your heart burst in praise, I don’t know what will. The weaker you are, the easier it is for God to jump in and blow that hardship out of the water? Sign me up!

Tenth Avenue North has a song called, “The Struggle.” It has a line that really resonates with my wife and I. “We are free to struggle, We’re not struggling to be free.”

Thank God for that.

God Bless!