To Whom Are You Showing Love Today?
June 21, 2017, 3:57 pm
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2 John 1 “The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth.” The term elder is from a Greek word that can either refer to a church office or someone of advanced age. Sometimes it is used for some church leader who is older. In the case of 2 John, John, who never mentions Himself by name in his writings is referring to himself, both a church leader and an older man. I love that he starts this passage telling the elect lady (which could be an actually lady or as some think “lady” is a metaphor for a church) that he loves her and her children. How consistent is John? He has written the first epistle talking about love and now he shows it into practice. This in my challenge for today- put loving others into practice. Not just by words, but by my deeds. Others know we are Christ’s because we love!


What Love Looks Like
May 28, 2017, 5:18 pm
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“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10. Love’s definition and example is found in God sending His Son to become the atoning sacrifice for all our sins.

Twenty-One Days of Prayer, Day 12, Our Revival, Psalm 2 (Turning our World Upside Down)

upside down
Twenty-one Days of Prayer, Day 12, Our Revival, Psalm 2:7-9. God, please turn our world upside down! “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Psalm 2 can be outlined as follows: Part 1, Man’s Rebellion (1-3); Part 2, God’s Response (4-6); Part 3, God’s Control (7-9); Part 4, Man’s Responsibility (10-12). Taking this into consideration, then our prayer for revival is essentially a plea for God to be in control of us in the same way that He controls all. Verse 7 is both an important and unique Old Testament passage because of two reasons. First, it is important because it recalls the basis for the Davidic Covenant as given in 2 Samuel 7 and is quoted in the New Testament at the birth of Christ. Second, it is important because it is the only Old Testament reference to the Father/Son relationship of the Trinity. This concept is a major part of the New Testament. Not only is this seen in the Gospel, but most epistles greet the readers with a greeting that includes both the Father and Son. So revival that we are seeking comes first from elevating Jesus Christ to the main thing in our lives. Verse 8 is an exciting verse because it reveals the prayer of the Son for the nations of the earth. The Son is instructed to “ask of Me” or “claim the promises from Me” by the Father. What promises are in view? Look at the verse, “I will give your inheritance of the nations of the earth and your possession of the ends of the earth”. God the Father is telling God the Son to claim the world. Today, Jesus is making intercession and is praying for His inheritance and possession of the world. It make sense that our prayer for our missions revival is to “claim the world” because we always pray “in the name of Jesus”. We pray what Jesus would pray and we know from this passage what Jesus is praying. Two things are in view in verse 9. First a breaking in mentioned. Our prayer is for God to break those who are rebellious with the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, using God’s Word. But the phrase can also refer to shepherding His people. Our prayer should be for the power necessary to break the hard hearts of those we seek to reach. We also need to pray that we will follow His leadership in sharing the Gospel with others. We need to pray for God to revive us and to convict those who need Him before we intersect with them. God, please, give me my part of the world as I share you. I pray for You to convict and guide with your great power. Use me by breaking me first so I depend totally upon You and I completely surrender to You.

Twenty-One Days of Prayer, Day 7, My Family
February 24, 2015, 7:53 pm
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the crossroop troop
Acts 16:31, “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” When I read the story of the redemption of the Philippian jailer it is such a straightforward and simply explanation of what salvation is. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Here’s what I believe: Jesus Christ is God, who unconditionally loves me and demonstrated that love by clothing Himself in a human body and after living a sinless life, died as my substitute on the cross for my sin and sins. He resurrected and is alive today, seeking to have a relationship with me. I believe He is who He says He is, and I believe that His death was for me. I also believe that by His grace, my trusting His Good News of the Gospel as my only hope, God the Father will save me and adopt me into His family. I believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and that He is worthy of my surrendering to Him and following Him. I trust Him! In the story in Acts, it seems as if the jailer’s family was convicted and came to Christ immediately. I want to thank God for saving so many in my family and I pray that they will grow as they follow Him. I also pray for some of my grandchildren to come to Him as they understand and come to conviction. I don’t want them pressured to go through a ritual, but I want them to be led by the Spirit to recognize Jesus as their personal Savior. I also am praying for others in my extended family to come to Him. Finally, I pray that I am real and authentic in my walk with my Savior so that others will not be driven from Him by me. I don’t want to be a stumbling block to those who know me best and most intimately. In reading the story, I see the obedience that faith produced within the jailer and how he demonstrated his relationship with Jesus Christ by loving others. He loved God and showed that love by washing and caring for the wounds of Paul and Silas. He then fed them. Loving others is a result of true salvation, so God please love others through me. Finally, he rejoiced. Worship is a natural result of salvation. If you are doing church, please starting being the church and worship and living and loving as a Christ-like one will.

Acts 16:31 tells the story of the Philippian jailer’s salvation experience. Here is mine. I have seen some people posting the story of when they got saved so here’s my story. I was in a Watch-Night Service at a union hall in Fairlawn, VA where Gethsemane Baptist Church was meeting. I was sitting in the back with a girl who was my friend, waiting to preach. The preacher speaking was my 2nd cousin, Ray Franklin. He began to reveal the hypocrite that was me, and it seemed as if he had followed me around and saw what a phony I was. I got really uncomfortable and began to listen more seriously. (Remember I was waiting to preach). I was a pretender and I had convinced many that I was saved and a really good person, but God knew my story. The Holy Spirit had brought me to an encounter with Jesus Christ and I saw my awful sinfulness and separation from God. I remember bowing my head and admitting to God that I needed to have a relationship with Him. I believed that my God, Jesus Christ had died for me and was resurrected, defeating dead and sin and offering me an eternal relationship with Him. I felt as if a heavy burdened had been lifted and I have never been the same. Within 3 months I surrendered my life to serving Christ with my life and decided to attend Piedmont Baptist College (PIU) and 41 years later, I still have the relationship and still seek to serve my Savior Jesus Christ. I still have a sin nature, but I am a son and a servant of the most High God and He has taken my sins and removed them forever. He is my best friend and has and is blessing my life. I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. Not me, but Christ!
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God’s Glory on Display

Paul, writing God’s Word in Romans 3:21-31, turns from the logical argument that all men have sinned before God. “But now” indicates a change in the flow of Paul’s (and since he was being used of God to write, God’s) logical argument. Paul has shown that it is impossible to gain right standing with God through human effort. Now he shows that true righteous is provided by God Himself. But it is more than just an act for our benefit. God reveals that His righteousness has been revealed in the law and we have miserable failed. That’s the sin part. But again, there is a transition and the focus is on the “righteousness of God” that has not been revealed by the law or sin, but in a different way. Notice the word “manifested”. The idea behind this word is “displayed” or “seen”. This is a righteousness man could see! This righteousness, which focuses upon God, was witnessed by the law and prophet in over 300 predictions. Only through Jesus has this righteousness been seen, and that is through the life lived in the midst of this violent and sinful world by God Himself. He lived a life of total obedience to the laws which showed us the righteousness that God expects and He did it as 100% man, although He remained 100% God. The miracle of the virgin birth is that Jesus took the form of man and became a servant. Jesus did it! He lived in perfect obedience to each standard and every law. Not one small part of the law was ignored, set aside, or broken. Perfect and complete righteousness was obtained by Jesus the Anointed One, selected before the foundation of the earth to show the righteousness of God to us who could not imagine what it looked like, much less achieve it for ourselves.
Notice that all are guilty of failing to live according to the perfect standards of God and is incapable of fixing the situation. So God steps in to be the solution. I notice the word “all” appears twice in verse 22. Repetition is a strong way for God to emphasize something. It appears that that this solution is unto and upon all. Our part is to believe that we are incapable of solving our sin problem and that God has provided the solution through Jesus Christ, who has been displayed as the all-righteous One.
Then we go to the famous verse, Romans 3:23. In the Romans Road plan of salvation, this is the starting place. “For all (affirming what God has revealed in the first section of Romans) have sinned. This is the crucial point for us. The natural “me” doesn’t see this because it has to be spiritually revealed. This is a difficult decision point because we struggle with admitting we’re wrong, unable to solve our problems, and accountable to a Supreme God. This shakes our foundation. Jesus spoke of this as us becoming aware that we are “poor in spirit”. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin and we are suddenly aware of the overwhelming judicial guilt we have without any solution. What a wonderful point when we see ourselves as the sinners God tells us we are. But there is a second part of this verse that is equally important. We have come short of the glory of God. Since we are self-centered, we see this as “we have failed to live up to God’s standard which we call ‘glory’!” But I think this in more than just a man-centered verse. In Romans 1, a part of the accusation against man was that he had exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for worthless counterfeits. In simple terms, man had no respect for the greatness of our supernatural God because we can’t understand what is beyond our reasoning. At stake was our understanding “the glory of God”. God wanted to show just how amazing He is. We sin because we have settled for the inferior instead of the Ultimate. One important thing to note in verse 23 is the two different tenses. All have sinned (past tense) and come short (present tense). We have sinned because we don’t value the glory of God right now. That’s man’s dilemma, sin separates us from God and therefore we have a low view of God. So God has to do something that solves man’s separation from God because of missing the mark of God’s specific laws while at the same time restoring man’s view of God’s glory.
So let’s go back to verse 21. The righteousness of God is displayed by Jesus Christ who allows us who have sinned to be “justified freely by his grace through redemption that is in Christ Jesus”. We don’t have to justify ourselves because God did it for us. We receives this “freely” by God’s “undeserved favor” though the “purchasing from the slave marketplace” by the only price that satisfied God. In verse 25, Jesus is set forth or publicly displayed as the propitiation or perfect sacrifice which would satisfy both the justice of our Holy God who punishes sin and the love of our Gracious God who wants to purchase sinners from the slave market. God then remits or blots out our sin so He can make us His sons, who because of their awareness of the awesomeness of God, follow Him and desire to be His servants. The last part of verse 25, tells us that Christ’s death on the cross was the public display that God was, is, and will always be, righteous. Notice the part of the verse that tells us “for the remission or sins that are past through the forbearance of God”. In the Old Testament, God accepted animal sacrifices from sinners. In Psalms 103:10 we read, “He (God) hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities”. God saw the cross as the final payment for sins as well as the proof that God judged sin severely. Yet man saw that man didn’t get judged the way they thought man should be judged. Job’s three friends saw his “punishment” as God judging Job for sin, yet didn’t understand why God would bless him as recorded at the end of the book. The Jews listened to Jeremiah’s warnings without fear because they thought God would deal with them after their sins, nor would they be rewarded based on their iniquities. God’s glory wasn’t “feared” or honored by those who were pagan believers or those who were His people. Yet there were those who believed God and were overtaken by Him and His awesomeness. This believers are the heroes of the Old Testament who believed God did deal with sin and saw the sacrifices and types of the Old Testament as pictures of God’s Ultimate Sacrifice, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. The cross was God publicly displaying His serious judgment of sin as Jesus Christ took the wrath of God for man’s sin. No one could walk away from the cross without understanding how serious God was about the punishment sin deserved. The questions about His righteousness and justice were settled and His glory displayed. What an amazing demonstration of the glory of God. God’s glory was upheld by the cross. God’s wrath is satisfied by the sacrifice of Jesus. God assumed the responsibility for the redemption of man, His creation. God’s righteousness is demonstrated. The cross was to show God’s glory and solve man’s sin problem. Man can take no credit for salvation because it is totally God who does everything. He alone can take credit for salvation because He did everything. When we see God as One who is so incredible, it is evident that He alone deserves our worship because He alone is worthy of our praise and devotion. The question, we each have to answer is: “Are you right now trusting in a God that is so incredible that you are willing to turn from everything and in faith trust Him to the point of turning everything over to Him and surrendering and following Him as the King of your life just so you can bring glory to Him each day?”
the cross