Tag Archives: Jesus

The Key To Everything

Christ is the key that unlocks the mystery of history.

Poetic, isn’t it? The quote above, in part, is from a German theologian.  After writing more than 17,000 pages on the Bible and Christ these are his concluding thoughts.

The key to everything is Jesus Christ.  If you leave him out the box remains locked, the mystery still a mystery, the reason for our existence still uncertain.

Jesus himself told the religious leaders, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;” That’s either the most arrogant thing ever said or the most profound truth ever revealed.

Your response to Christ is the most important decision you will ever make.

Years ago I spent some time with the great Major Ian Thomas.  He was a wonderful man of God, crusty to be sure, but he loved the Lord.  Once, before he spoke, I made the mistake of asking him, “What are you going to talk about tonight?”

He replied, with a bit of irritation, “I’m going to talk about Jesus, what else is there to talk about?”

And he’s right.

In the last book of the bible these words begin the text, “The revelation of Jesus Christ.”  In five words we get a hint to the theme of this last book, to the entire bible, and in this book revelations about Jesus are in nearly every chapter.  It’s about him.  He’s the key to everything!

Without Christ, without knowing him, life remains a mystery. Without him we have no purpose, no meaning, no reason for being.

Jesus Christ is the key to everything. Do you know him?

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Insulting Muhammad

I’m a Christian.

I believe that Jesus is God in flesh, the only savior, the only provision of God for man’s sin.

Islam would tell me I have committed shirk.  It’s the unpardonable sin of associating anyone with God.

I get that.  But I truly believe the bible teaches that Jesus is God, the second person of the Trinity.

On many theological issues I disagree with Islam dramatically.  I know the issues.  I have taught courses on Islam.  I have read much of the Quran and studied it to know what Islam teaches.

I really love the Muslim people.  They are, for the most part, sincere passionate people of faith.  To the best of their ability they are living for and obeying the God they know.

So why would I, a Christian, insult Muhammad?  Why would I say something negative about a man my Muslim friend considers a prophet of God?  How would those statements help me relate to another person I believe God really loves?

I wouldn’t!  I couldn’t insult their prophet.  It serves no helpful purpose except to inflame and divide even more.  I truly believe that God loves the Muslim people and many millions are finding Christ as savior each year.  God is working with these sincere God seekers…he’s drawing them to him.

For me, a Christian, to insult a man they revere would only grieve the God I serve.  Instead, can I tell you more about my wonderful savior, Jesus Christ?

He is so amazing, so wonderful, he loves you and cares more for you than you will ever know.  And, as the Quran says, one day he is coming back to judge the world.

Can I tell you more about my wonderful Jesus?

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Peace, Peace….Oh For Peace

The world we live in is filled with anger, rage, violence and pain.

We look for peace, long for peace, but fail to find it.  

We call for tolerance, but it eludes us. 

How can we find that one thing we all want, desire and need….peace?

As I’ve watched the events in my own country in the last weeks I grieve over lost lives, broken hearts and bitterness of soul that has made peace, forgiveness and love more elusive than ever.

But, there is a passage of scripture that offers the solution to all of this.  It’s a difficult passage, in fact it’s impossible.  It means we have to set our own desires, our own wishes aside and put others ahead of ourselves.  It’s impossible without the help of God.  

It’s impossible unless we humble ourselves and put others first.  

Here’s how Jesus described this life that can change everything,

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  

If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.  

Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  Do to others as you would have them do to you.  

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that.  

And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Can you imagine how our world would change if we treated each other in this way?  But it goes against all that is in us.  We each put ourselves first, we each want “our rights”…we all want what’s fair, but this  is an invitation to a way of life that sets all that aside and says that you are more important than I am.  

Without God’s help that’s impossible,  but imagine a world where this is the way everyone lives…..

…..I think you might call it heaven.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Baggage

“Life is largely a matter of luggage.” -Frank Boreham, The Luggage of life

I’m always amazed at how much we are willing to carry with us that is completely unnecessary.

We are masters at gathering baggage.

The burden of the load slows our journey, distracts our minds and confuses our relationships.

John Bunyan wrote about baggage in his work Pilgrim’s Progress.

George Carlin talked about it in a comedy routine.

No matter who we are we find a way to carry our lives around with us. Often it’s emotional baggage we have accumulated over the years. Unforgiveness. Anger. Hurts. Old memories of wrongs done. Pain. And the list could continue for pages. But have you noticed that it’s always the negatives that become baggage? It’s all the hurts of life that weigh us down. The pain that handicaps us.

The good that God intended has no weight at all.  Joy is light as a feather. Happiness lifts us up rather than weighing us down. Peace carries its own load and helps us along the way. Kindness refreshes the weary traveler. Love makes the impossible possible once more. Mercy energizes. Grace empowers. The things God wants us to put in our backpacks help us on the way and have no weight to load us down. It’s only when we carry the results of sin that the weight and struggles begin.

That’s the invitation Jesus extended. “Come unto me….” It’s found in Matthew 11-12 if you want to read it. His invitation is to make the journey without all the baggage of the world in tow. When will we realize that this journey was meant to be a wonderful adventure with God instead of a grueling journey to be endured? When will we get rid of all that weighs us down and pick up the things that make the journey a joy?

I wonder sometimes about our fascination with baggage. It’s as if we have to hold onto something. I even see it in death. We are so reluctant to let go of this life. We want to hold onto all the junk we have accumulated, but find in the end that it’s just that….junk. I wonder if we will ever realize we have become a race of junk collectors….glad to carry the burdens of our trash instead of enjoying the blessings God provides.

Alone

AloneOne of the grim realities of life is that we are alone. In the middle of a busy city with others all around we are alone.
This “aloneness” is one of the results of the fall, but is mostly ignored by writers. We simply don’t talk about it. Man, designed to be in constant relationship with God who made him is now thrust into the world empty, alone, isolated. Even with thousands around us we all have sensed this truth…we are alone.
In God’s amazing plan of redemption his intentions were to deal with more than one problem in the cross. Clearly the Christian world knows about his resolution of the sin issue. Without a doubt we all know about God’s redemption accomplished by Christ, the forgiveness of sin, the restored relationship, the promise of eternity, but what we don’t talk about is the resolution of man’s isolation problem.
Part of God’s plan in redemption was to bring us back into a relationship with him. We use those words so easily, but don’t realize what they mean. One of our major problems caused by sin is our isolation. We are alone! God’s plans included the restoration of how he designed us to be. His plans included the repair of this breach. Here is what Jesus says about this plan,
John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.’ 22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, ‘But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?’ 23 Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
“We will come to him and make our home with him.” Did you see that? In God’s amazing plan of salvation he also plans to resolve our aloneness. He resolves it by coming to us and living with us. Suddenly, we are no longer alone. In a moment of time the great ache of the heart is resolved. Human beings, designed to be in constant fellowship with God, through Christ, are restored to that relationship. God with us, living in us, our hope of glory. This truth is profound and immensely important. If we miss this we miss all that God has done. No longer alone….what an amazing and wonderful part of God’s redemptive work.

Hell’s Best Kept Secret

Hells Best Kept Secret by Ray Comfort This message was first preached in August 1982.

Use this for inspiration and equipping you to be a Christian who is fulfilling the Great Commission!

Matt 28:16-20

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

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Let The Children Come

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  Matthew 19:14

As Jesus said above, let the children come. I believe He also meant for them to be born…and so does the Brown family.

Watch this inspiring video about their incredible daughter, Pearl, and her daily challenges to beat the ‘odds’ the doctors gave her before birth.

Also, visit the family website at Pearl Joy Brown to follow their journey of faith in their baby girl and in Jesus!

Video: please specify correct url

 

Hope In Emptiness

I love that with the Resurrection there is hope in hopeless situations.

I love that even though it looks like things will end, that the beginning is right there in Christ, A new beginning in Christ. I love that when I feel that all is lost, the SONrise will remind me that the day can be even brighter when I choose to focus on HIM.

I love the joy we have in knowing that the gift of the cross is open and available for anyone who seeks peace that passes all understanding.

As we follow Jesus all the Way, This is my prayer for each of US

Lord, help us not to:

Focus on those that hurt me or use me for their gain. Even when I “thought” they were true friends. (Luke 6:28 Bless them that curse you and pray for them which despitefully use you)

Focus on how it looks like I’m not reaping from the goodness I’ve sown, when I’m so very blessed even though it’s not financial.

Focus on the impossibility because I know that with God all things are possible.

Focus on the why’s, the doubts or fears because I know to do so limits the good that I can do for the Lord.

Focus on the pain that engulfs my heart sometimes because in doing so, it blinds me from noticing and helping others that are hurting.

Focus on the famous because when I do, I lose sight of the forgotten ones that you bled and died for.

Focus on being powerful and mighty and just simply remain available for anything that you have for our life.

Focus on our inefficiencies but rather wrap my heart around the fact that I can do all things through Christ because HE strengthens me.

Focus on the past, because it will bog down my future with guilt, shame and keep me from pressing towards the great things God will do through me….right HERE, right NOW.

Lord, do help us to keep our eyes on YOU and to remain hopeful right in the middle of the impossible, because of the Empty Grave.

Remember:

Because of the empty grave, there is hope in emptiness.

Keep your eyes on the Lord. Hopelessness will try to consume you at some point in your life, but look to the empty tomb, and the hope in the Resurrection of Christ and know that He loves you enough to take on death, hell and your fears for you.

Don’t focus on fear or failure. Focus on the Father.

 

Yes, I will

In Christ Alone

 

I will Follow

Marie Wikle the Founder and President of Spreading Joy Corporation wants to empower everyone to make a difference and give without guilt.
Here is a personal Warm Welcome to Spreading Joy. You’ll find links to interviews, no cost ways to make a difference and other things that are guaranteed to bring a smile to your heart.

We want to rise above the discouragement of high prices, the obstacle of dead ends and the disappointment of our comfort zone. We want to be the change that is so desperately needed.

J – Artists

Jaci Velasques Jamie Grace Jared Anderson Jars Of Clay Jason Castro Jason Gray Jeremy Camp Jeremy Riddle Jesus Culture JJ Heller JJ Weeks Jody McBrayer John Mark McMillan John Waller Johnny Cash Josh Groban Josh Turner Josh Wilson Justin Bieber

Relationships

As I work my way through life, through marriage, through parenting, and through God’s word I am keenly aware of one thing….

ALL of life is about relationship.

Relationship with God.

Relationship with my wife.

Relationship with kids, and grandkids.

Relationship with PEOPLE! People are everywhere and if I’m going to survive well I have to deal with them, get along with them and care about them,

But there is a problem. You know the problem well, don’t you? People are selfish, mean, frustrating, prideful, hard to get along with and just messy! People make life hard!!! Isn’t that funny? People around us are our main source of joy, frustration and struggle. And it’s just plain messy!

Today I’m working on a passage of scripture I will be teaching this week and it’s all about relationships….how to get along with PEOPLE. You would think we would have this figured out by now, but we don’t tolerate each other very well. We can’t seem to get along with others well at all. The ongoing wars on our little planet tell the tale of our inability to exist together. We seem better able to kill than to care.

Anyway, the passage I’m working through is all about relationships and the key word for these relationship to work is the word “submit.” It’s this idea: “put under, subdue unto, (be, make) subject (to, unto), be (put) in subjection (to, under), submit self unto.” Now you see why we don’t do this well, don’t you? We are in a ME world with instructions from God’s word to make this an OTHERS world. It’s something that we can only do as we imitate the only one who ever did it perfectly- Jesus.

Submit to one another, in other words put others ahead of you…put them first…care about them more than you do about you. That’s the solution to our world’s problems, but it can only happen as I allow God to live it out in me. He did it perfectly and he can do it now through me….if I will let him. It would be really easy if it weren’t for all the people I have to deal with…..

Previously posted 5/10/11. Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

The Solution To Everything

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;  and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”  -Ephesians 5:1-2

Christians are often criticized for being critical….and we are.

Christians are called judgmental…and too often we are.

Christians can come across “better than thou” at times….but we aren’t.

There is much to criticize about the community called Christian, but the solution to all of it is in two simple verses in Ephesians.

Honestly, we were never called to be fruit inspectors judging the deeds of those in the world.  We were never asked to set the rules for everyone to follow.  Jesus never admonished us to be the morality police for the communities we live in.  He only asked us to do one thing….love one another.

That is the solution to everything!  If the Christian world would simply live by these two simple verses and not try to fix the world with our code of ethics we would in fact fix the world with the love of Christ.

How do we so easily miss this?  We miss it because it’s hard.  People are messy, dirty, mean, unkind…they don’t do things the way we want them to.  People are hard to love, but that’s our primary task.  If the Christian world would simply love those around them it would be the solution to everything.

No more signs in front of abortion clinics, instead we would be loving and helping the young girls in our communities so the abortion clinic would never be an option.

No more focus on changing laws,  instead we would love those around us and as they trust Christ because of that love the community around us changes.

There are a hundred more I could mention and they are all easier than loving the unlovely, but our task is to love….just as Christ loved us.

If we lived by these two simple verses it would be the solution to everything.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

We Are Not Orphans!

In my study of Matthew 6 in preparation for a message I came to a passage I have read hundreds of times before and always missed what Jesus was saying. Then it hit me….suddenly I began to weep as I saw it. Here’s the passage and then let’s talk,

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

The portion of this passage that had eluded me were these words,“For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” Then, this week for the first time, I saw it. The pagans don’t have a heavenly Father! They are orphans! Orphans have to be worried about food, clothing and a place to stay because they have no one to watch out for them. They are responsible, but the Christian has a Father. We have someone who is taking care of us. We have someone who loves us and like a child in a home with a dad we don’t even think about the house payment, the electric bill, will we have food…those are the things that Father takes care of. As his child I run into his house and take whatever I want from the fridge without a worry. Father takes cares of all those things so I can focus my attention on seeking HIM and his rule in my life. He has the rest taken care of. He cares for me. I have a father, I’m not an orphan. When I saw this the whole passage came alive for me. I wept over this amazing truth. Even as I tried to share it with my wife the next day I couldn’t get through it without tears…..we are not orphans on our own, caring for ourselves, worried about how we will get food, clothing and somewhere to stay. We have a father. He loves us and is fully able and willing to care for us.

So, today you can resign as general manager of the universe, you don’t need to worry about all the things that take up your thoughts. You are not an orphan, you have a father and he loves to care for his children who will trust him.

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Heart Direction

“May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.” 2 Thes. 3:5.

I’m fascinated by this short, simple verse. It’s a prayer of Paul for those suffering in Thessalonica. I would have prayed “May the Lord direct your minds…” but Paul prays for heart direction. There is a knowing of the heart that the mind cannot comprehend. There is an assurance of the heart that the mind cannot grasp. There is a relationship with God of the heart that the mind can only dream about. In this time of rest and sabbatical I have been seeking the face of God. It’s a passion I acquired from David the king. He pursued the face of God. I can only imagine what that looks like because, in truth, it’s a heart quest, not a quest of the mind.

One of the things I find as I get closer to the face of God is his love and joy in my presence. He really loves me! He likes me, he really does. He’s glad to see me. Personally. I feel so inadequate to even be in his presence, unworthy, imposing on his time and attention, but he loves me. As my heart is directed into his love I begin to see myself as he does. I see the me he sees and it brings the same response that Jesus had to the love of the father….steadfastness. As Jesus prayed in the garden, steadfast in his decision to obey the father because of the father’s love for him and for us, he went to the cross steadfast in obedience because he knew the father loved him. I see I cannot walk in steadfast obedience until I know the father’s love. It’s his love that gives me the ability to be steadfast in Christ.

We all go through difficult days, days that challenge our commitment to faith, but the love of God will bring us to a steadfast walk that can only be known to the heart. The mind would say you are crazy, but the heart knows the Father’s love and that makes all the difference.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

33 Greater Than 40

We understand how powerful our own words can be in lifting up or bringing down those around us. The Word of the Lord are the most powerful indeed.

In this thought provoking video produced by Alpha & Omega Ministries called 40 Arabic Words, we are presented with the power of what just 40 words can do to prevent a whole group of people from knowing the gift of Jesus at the cross.

In contrast, just 33 Greek words from the New Testament prove to be such a gift to us now….

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. ~ Galatians 2:20 

 

Alpha & Omega Ministries is an apologetic ministries where you can go to learn more about apologetics. Renown apologist James White is the current director.

The Eight Beatitudes

The eight blessings included in Matthew 5:3-12 from Jesus during His Sermon on the Mount…

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Cardboard Testimonies from East 91st St Christian Church

Although you may have seen cardboard testimonies like these before, please take a few moments once again to appreciate just what a blessing it is to have a relationship with Jesus.

Hope you enjoy and are inspired by these testimonies from the people at East 91st Street Christian Church.

If you don’t have a relationship with Him now, learn how you can.

Visit our page Roman Road To Salvation.

Are You A Fan Or A Follower?

Not too long ago, we watched an amazing dvd series, now a movie, Not A Fan, produced by City On A Hill Studio. This movie takes you into the life, or rather death, of a man who finds himself confronting what was his life as a nominal Christian.

When Jesus said to ‘Follow Me‘, he was looking for completely committed followers, not just fans. He wants us to be all in, not just with our toes in the water at the edge of the pool. Meditate on these awesome verses and join in following the King of Kings!

  • “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”  Matthew 4:19
  • But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”  Matthew 8:22
  • As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.  Matthew 9:9
  • Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.   Matthew 10:38
  • Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
  • Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  Matthew 19:21
  • Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.   Matthew 19:28
  • “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”  Matthew 1:17
  • As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.  Mark 2:14
  • Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  Mark 10:21
  • After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him,  Luke 5:27
  • Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”  Luke 9:23
  • He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”  Luke 9:59
  • Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”  Luke 9:61
  • And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.  Luke 14:27
  • When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  Luke 18:22
  • The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”  John 1:43
  • When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever followme will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12
  • My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  John 10:27
  • Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.  John 12:26
  • Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”  John 21:19
  • Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”  John 21:22

Watch this interview with Kyle Idleman, Teaching Pastor at Southeast Christian Church, talk about what it means to go from being an enthusiastic admirer of Jesus to a completely and utterly, committed follower.

 

 

Visit their website for more testimonies at not a fan.

 

Interested in reading more what this means? Check out the book on Amazon…