NO TURN ON RED – IT’S THE LAW!

Posted July 16, 2014 by "Working for Christ"
Categories: Leviticus, New Testament, Old Testament, Romans

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But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-24, NIV)

No Stop on Red

Red light cameras are becoming more and more popular here in the Orlando area. The other day, I was sitting at a red light in the right lane when an emergency vehicle pulled up behind me with its lights flashing. Although my intention was to go straight (once the light changed to green), I decided to get out of the way and make a right turn – while the light was still red. I thought I did the right thing. A couple of days later, I received a letter in the mail with a ticket for $268.00 for turning right on red when there was clearly a sign that indicated “NO TURN ON RED”. What was missing in the photograph? Right! THE EMERGENCY VEHICLE. I called the number on the ticket and was told that I could either pay the fine or take it to court. Either way, I lose. I’m frustrated because a penalty will have to be paid even though my infraction was unintentional and truly non-existent.

For the ancient Jews, a violation of God’s laws committed even in ignorance was taken very seriously. The Old Testament recognized and provided for unintentional sins through appropriate sacrifices: “If a person sins unintentionally against any of the commandments . . . let him offer to the Lord . . . a young bull without blemish as a sin offering” (Leviticus 4:2-3, NIV).

Old Testament sacrifices were more than a reminder that accidental wrongs have consequences. They were given in anticipation that God, in His grace, would provide atonement even for wrongs we didn’t realize we were doing.

Then came Jesus. His life, and ultimate death, meant that we no longer had to bring sacrifices to the altar. Christ sacrificed Himself for us! God’s grace is far greater than we could ever imagine! Grace is getting what we do not deserve. Because Jesus bore our sins on the cross, He has made us righteous in God’s eyes. This righteousness comes through faith in Jesus; it is given to us by God’s grace; and, best of all, it is free to all who believe.

Work for Christ
Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

GIVE GOD YOUR LOVE!

Posted July 11, 2014 by "Working for Christ"
Categories: 2 Corinthians, Deuteronomy, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament

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“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5, NIV)

Love God

Deuteronomy charges us to love God with all our heart, soul, and strength. Then along came Jesus. He added the word mind. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30, NIV). In those words, Jesus summed up what God most desires from us.

 We should love God with everything we have and everything we are … Everything!

That helps us change our perspective about the way we live. As we learn to love God with everything, we begin to see our difficulties as Paul described them - “light and momentary troubles” that will help bring us “an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17, NIV)

When we love God with our entire soul, doubts and struggles don’t necessarily disappear, but their effect on us diminishes. Our trials and questions recede as we learn to trust in His ultimate goodness.

The most treasured gift we can give to God is one that He can never force us to give – our love.
Work for Christ
Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

WHO IS THIS GUY?

Posted July 9, 2014 by "Working for Christ"
Categories: Matthew, New Testament

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“When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely he was the Son of God!’” (Matthew 27:54, NIV)

 Son of God

A researcher in Boston visited Harvard Square to ask college students what they thought of Jesus. Although often respectful of Him many people really didn’t understand who He was. One said He was “a person who took care of people.” Another said, “He sounds like a cool guy.” Another, “he was a Jewish carpenter.” Others rejected Him completely: “He was just a guy, a man. I don’t think He was the Savior.” And “I do not accept any faith system that says, ‘I am the only way to God.’”

Two thousand years ago, people questioned who He was, too. As Jesus faced death many people mocked the idea that He was anyone special. “Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews.” (Matthew 27:37). And there were those who said, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:40). The religious people of the time even said, “He saved others, but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.” (Matthew 27:42).

In His death, Jesus may have seemed powerless. But when we read the whole story, we see that He gave His life willingly. He proved Himself to be the Son of God with limitless power as He walked out of that tomb. Take a minute to reflect on the value of His death and behold the power of His resurrection. He’s not just some regular guy like you or me. He is the Savior of the world!

“Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!” – Lowry

He is the reason we wake up every morning. He’s the reason we go to work every day. Our work, and our lives, are meaningless if we are just living for ourselves. Don’t live just for today, to please yourself. Start living for eternity today - with someone special, Jesus Christ! Your day will be blessed!

Work for Christ

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

THE PEACE OF GOD COMES FROM THE GOD OF PEACE!

Posted July 8, 2014 by "Working for Christ"
Categories: 1 Peter, Matthew, New Testament, Philippians

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“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9, NIV)

Peace (2)

During the economic downturn of 2008, many people lost their jobs. Sadly, many of them also lost their faith in Christ. However, it doesn’t necessarily take a recession or the loss of employment to turn us away from our Savior. Losing a sale, a reprimand from our boss, or an unsettled relationship with our spouse may trigger doubt and cause us to fall away.

Believers in Jesus can have peace in the midst of uncertainties because we know that our heavenly Father loves us and cares for our needs (Matthew 6:25-34). We can bring all our concerns to Him with an attitude of thankfulness, trusting Him to meet our needs and to give us peace (Philippians 4:6-7).

“The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,” writes the apostle Paul, “will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  To say the peace of God surpasses all understanding reveals that we can’t explain it, but we can experience it as He guards our hearts and minds. Our peace comes from the confidence that the Lord loves us and He is in control. He alone provides the comfort that settles our nerves, fills our minds with hope, and allows us to relax even in the midst of our daily trials and challenges.

Jesus taught us not to worry, because we can entrust our needs to our heavenly Father who loves us and cares for us (Matthew 6:25-34; 7:9-11; 1 Peter 5:7). In Philippians 4, Paul follows Jesus’ example and encourages us to replace our anxieties with trust and prayer. The “peace of God” is not a psychological state of mind but an inner calm or tranquility. This peace comes from trusting in God who answers our prayers. It comes when we develop a disciplined spiritual perspective, and when we deliberately practice our Christian virtues.
Those who entrust themselves to God will not only experience the peace of God, but the “God of Peace” will be with them.
Work for Christ
Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

COME TO THE WELL!

Posted June 25, 2014 by "Working for Christ"
Categories: John, New Testament

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“Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.” (John 4:4-6, NIV)

Samaritan Woman

Everyone in town knew her. She had grown up right before their eyes. Five husbands had come and gone. Now she was alone, minding her own business. But one day, as she was drawing water from the well, she met another man. He was different from the rest. He looked worn – as if from a long journey. But he seemed friendly. There was no official introduction. He simply asked her for a drink.

“Why are you asking me for a drink?” she said, surprised he would even bother to talk to her. After all, he was a Jew and she was a Samaritan. But he replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who I am. You would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

This wasn’t the answer she expected. What was He up to? If she had known who He was, her response might have been entirely different. This was no ordinary man. He was the One whose coming had been prophesied for centuries. The One whom angels proclaimed. The One whose hands healed the sick.  The One whose voice raised the dead. The One whose life brought hope to the hopeless.

This was the Messiah. Yet she did not recognize Him. And she asked, “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket, and this is a very deep well. Where would you get this living water?”

Jesus replied, “People soon become thirsty again after drinking this water. But the water I give them takes away their thirst altogether. It becomes a perpetual spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

“Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me some of that water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t ever have to come back here again.”

The woman’s excitement was understandable. She thought the stranger before her offered some sort of magical water to prevent her from ever thirsting again. In fact, what He offered was something far greater. He was offering the gift of eternal life – a gift she could receive by drinking living water.

What is living water? It’s not actually a beverage, but a being. Living water is a symbol for the Messiah. To drink of the living water is to enter into a refreshing relationship with God that can heal hurts, mend hearts, and satisfy souls. In answer to the woman’s deepest needs the Messiah offered Himself.  And the woman accepted. She accepted the gift no other man had given her before – a real relationship founded on unending love. No more broken promises or abandoned commitments. Here, at last, was the love for which she longed.

Turning from the well, she ran straight into town and started shouting to everyone in earshot, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?”

So people came. They talked to Him. They listened to Him. They believed in Him. And they, too, accepted the Living Water.

Everywhere you look today there are disenchanted people looking for something more than this world offers. They’ve tried it all. They’ve tried drinking from the well of wealth, the spring of success, the pond of power, the fountain of fame, the pool of possessions, and the ocean of pleasure. But none of these offer lasting satisfaction. They offer only temporary relief to a permanent problem.

The Messiah is the solution. He is the Living Water. Only He can satisfy the soul. His forgiveness is cleansing. His grace is refreshing. His presence is purifying. And His love is invigorating.

What about you?  Have you tried the waters of this world and found them disappointing? Has your soul been longing for a sip of something more satisfying? If you try to quench the thirsting of your soul at the wells of this world, you will be thirsty again. But if you seek satisfaction in the living water of Christ and His love, then you will find fulfillment.

To each and every heart the Messiah makes the same offer. “If you will but ask, I will give you living water.” And when you have living water, you have life.  So today, if you are thirsty for something more, why not accept the offer of the stranger by the well?

Come to Christ. Drink deeply. And be satisfied.

Living Water

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ”!

TODAY ISN’T OVER YET!

Posted May 28, 2014 by "Working for Christ"
Categories: Mark, New Testament

Tags: , , , , , , ,

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.

The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”  He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:35-40, NIV)

Calming the Storm

Our days are filled with stress. Most of us wake up at about six o’clock in the morning so we can be to our jobs by eight. Not only do we have to get up and be ready to go, we need to make sure our spouse and kids are up and ready to go, too. It seems that when we are rushing around, trying to get ready, nobody in the house wants to cooperate.  “I want cereal,” the youngest screams out.” “I want scrambled eggs,” replies the middle one. “I don’t want to eat today. I’m too fat,” says the oldest. “I’m making pancakes and everyone is going to eat them,” commands mom! Then, the cries and arguments begin. It’s only seven o’clock and my day has just begun.

After dropping my third grader off at school, I sit back in my car and take a deep breath. Ahhh! Finally I can relax. I put on some nice, relaxing blues and get ready to make the rest of my drive to the office. As I get ready to enter the freeway, I notice that the traffic is moving, but at a snail’s pace. It looks as if my forty-five minute commute may take a little longer than expected. Cars in front of me are stopping and starting as if they’d never been in a traffic jam before. Cars behind me are honking, and those around me are cutting in and out of traffic trying to gain an advantage any way they can. There really isn’t any apparent reason for the delay. Nobody can handle it. Horns are honking, fingers are raised and flying at each other, and words are being said that would embarrass even the nastiest of drunken sailors.

Traffic Jam

Finally, at eight thirty, I make it to my office. I’m exhausted. I haven’t even grabbed a cup of coffee before my secretary says, “There’s a call on the line. They’ve been holding for ten minutes, and they really sound upset.” Are you kidding me? I can’t take any more! How am I supposed to show others that I am living for Christ if I can’t get a handle on anything that’s going on around me? What am I supposed to do?

Perhaps when I woke up at six o’clock and made sure my wife and kids were awake, I should have taken a few minutes to “wake” Jesus, too! Maybe I should have invited Him to breakfast with us. I’m sure He would have enjoyed my wife’s blueberry pancakes, and I know He enjoys having breakfast with the kids. I could have even asked Him to sit next to me on the freeway and to protect me and those around me. Before getting out of my car at work, I could have asked Him to bless my day and to show me ways in which to glorify Him as I meet the various challenges that I will be facing today.

I could have and I should have, but I didn’t. Lucky for you (and for me), today isn’t over yet. It’s not too late to “wake” Jesus up and invite Him into your day. It only takes a few minutes. When your storms are raging and you think Jesus is asleep, He’s not! He’s just waiting for you to come to Him! There is no need to worry. He’s got your back!

Work for Christ

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?

Posted May 27, 2014 by "Working for Christ"
Categories: Acts, New Testament

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“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24, NIV)

 It's About Jesus

How do you make a living? Or perhaps it would be better to ask, “What do you do to earn a paycheck?” What do you do with the money you earn? What goals have you set for yourself? What plans do you have for your future? Where do you see yourself five years from now? Ten? Twenty? Fifty years from now?

No matter what you do to earn a living, or how you spend your money, or what goals you’ve set for yourself, you have limited time on this earth. If you’re lucky (some may say “unlucky”) you just might live to be eighty or ninety or possible even one hundred years old. However long you may live really isn’t important. The important thing is this: sometime between now and the time you leave this world I pray that we can all find a way to “finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given us (me) – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

That “task” does not require you to become a doctor , a lawyer, a missionary, or a preacher! It doesn’t require you to make a lot of money or to give everything you own to the church or to some  charity.  It only requires an obedient heart – one that loves the Lord and is willing to live in a way that honors Christ Jesus. That heart could be yours whether you mop up dirty floors at the corner McDonald’s or you are the president of Chase Bank.

We are all the same! Where Christ is concerned, no one is less that anyone else. No one is greater than anyone else either. We were all placed on this earth strategically by our Father in Heaven, to do His will, not ours. He placed some of us in lowly positions, not because we are lowly, but because He knew we could do the most good in those places. And, He has elevated others so they can use their position to elevate even more people and to bring them closer to Christ. Unfortunately, where human nature is involved, some people fall back on their own free will and use their positions to better themselves instead of our Savior.

We live in a broken world. It’s not so broken that it can’t be fixed, however. It takes just one person at a time. Like Paul suggests, our lives aren’t worth anything unless we use them in a way that brings glory to our Savior! Where do you see yourself five years from now? I pray that you can honestly answer, “I see myself a little closer to our Lord!”

Work for Christ

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”


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