It Is Well

My soul can be at peace when everything in the world around me is falling apart.

 

Our scars are a sign of grace in our lives 
And Father how you brought us through 
When deep were the wounds and dark was the night 
The promise of your love You proved 
Now every battle still to come 
Let this be our song 

It is well, it is well With my soul, with my soul It is well, it is well With my soul 

Weeping may come, remain for a night 
But joy will paint the morning sky 
You’re there in the fast, you’re there in the feast 
Your faithfulness will always shine 
Now every battle still to come 
Let this be our song 

You lead us through battles 
You lead us to blessing 
And you make us fruitful 
In the land of our suffering 
God It is well, it is well with my soul

Real Peace

John 14:27  "I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid.
One of the greatest gifts that we need is peace. The world is looking all over and they think that they have the answers but their answers don't work for every situation in life. They can't give you real peace when everything is falling apart.

Jesus tells us "I am," He is the bread and the living water, he is the light for our path and the only way to the Father.

To sum it up he is everything that we need for this life and for our forever life. That's why we have peace in the midst of the storm.


Scripture on suffering: 


2 Corinthians 6:3–10, Matthew 5:11–12, Romans 8:31–39,


The story behind the original song: 


It Is Well With My Soul (wikipedia.org)

I Am The Vine

God planted a new vine and he tends to it so it will be fruitful.

 

John 15:1-8  "I am the true grapevine, and My Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch of Mine that doesn't produce fruit, and He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.  You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.  Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me.   

"Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in Me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.  But if you remain in Me and My words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!  When you produce much fruit, you are My true disciples. This brings great glory to My Father.

Our God loves to create, out of nothing he likes to make the most elaborate and complex, out of the dirt he likes to make something clean, and out of the old he likes to make things new. Maybe that is why I like yard work, I like to do my part to create, it is a partnership with God to get things to grow. I do my part and leave the rest up to him.

Our creator is portrayed as someone who has planted and cultivated a vineyard. In the Old Testament God prepared the soil for his vineyard, he built up walls to keep out the wild animals and to keep people from stealing the fruit, his vine had every advantage and should have been the most productive and prosperous. (Isaiah 5:1-7, Psalm 80:8-16, Joel 1:7, Jeremiah 2:21, Ezekiel 19:10)

But after a lot of patient gardening Israel has forfeited its right to be the vine, the New Testament message is of God planting a new vine, Jesus comes along and says, "I am the true vine." Formerly God's life was poured through Israel and you must be connected with Israel to get God's blessings but that's all changed now.

God tends to the vine by looking for two different types of branches, the ones that bear fruit and those that don't, both types are holding the vine back from maximum fruit bearing. It may seem harsh but he uses his knife on both types of branches, the dead branches he cuts off and the fruitful branches get pruned.

He cuts off every branch of Mine that doesn't produce fruit


The way that John MacArthur explains it makes so much sense. If you look at the context of this metaphor it is easy to understand that the first branch that didn't bear fruit was Judas. He was close to Jesus and he played along like he was a fruitful branch but he proved to be a phony. The branches that are being cut and thrown into the fire were never Christ followers.

John 13:10-11  “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

A lot of people try to attach themselves to the vine, John calls them "Judas" branches. They attend church, they go to your small group, they sound like they belong but they are not genuine. Eventually, the fruitless branches are identified and they are removed for the sake of truth and the benefit of the real branches.

He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more


The last words you want to hear from the doctor is "we need to operate." That is the news that the Great Physician has for you. Pruning improves your fruit production. In order for us to operate at maximum fruit-bearing capacity God needs to cut off our sins, our habits and attitudes that slow down the production of fruit.

Hebrews 12:10-11  For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

God's discipline is to bring us to being holy, sanctification is the church word for the process of being made holy and set apart for God. To live attached to the vine is a life of dependence, exercising faith and imitating the vine.

Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the nature that controlled Him will control us. Are we really prepared for what that will cost? It will cost absolutely everything in us which is not of God.

Jesus is our only connection with God, the only means that we are saved and the only hope we have of living a fruitful life for God. When we are joined to the vine, we are united with Jesus in all our interests, we have common desires, we are delighted in the things that he loves and we hate the things that he hates. We are willing to endure the same trials, contempt and persecution that he bore.


When you produce much fruit you are My true disciples


Every believer bears fruit but not all of them bear much fruit. Jesus' followers should be know by the abundance of fruit and the type of fruit. The fruit we produce is the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. (Matthew 7:15-23, Galatians 5:22–23)

God's Pruning Tool

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
God never changes, he is still using the same tool that he has always used to prune his vine, he uses the knife of his Word to get rid of the impurities that will hold up fruit production. He takes off the old blooms, the shoots that are going the wrong way and the parasites.

The Gardner's knife causes us much pain, sometimes we wonder why some things have to be cut away and we resist, we don't like it or understand everything that the Gardner cuts off. I have to wonder if I really need so much attention from the gardener. I must trust that he has great things in store.

I need to be a part of the true vine, the world grows their vines that I need to avoid, Their vine may be their bank account, their education, fame, talents or relationships. Many people plant a vine of religion and rules. None of these can bear fruit! The Vine is Jesus and you need to be attached.

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I Am The Resurrection

Jesus predicted the events surrounding his death to make it obvious that he is the promised Messiah.

 

John 11:25  Jesus told her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying.

Luke 18:31-33  Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus said, "Listen, we're going up to Jerusalem, where all the predictions of the prophets concerning the Son of Man will come true.  32  He will be handed over to the Romans, and He will be mocked, treated shamefully, and spit upon.  33  They will flog Him with a whip and kill Him, but on the third day He will rise again."

Luke 22:37  "For the time has come for this prophecy about me to be fulfilled: ‘He was counted among the rebels.’ Yes, everything written about me by the prophets will come true.”

John 13:19  "I tell you this beforehand, so that when it happens you will believe that I AM the Messiah."

If you met a very nice person today that predicted that they would be sentenced to the death penalty and all of their friends would desert them and then he would come back from the dead three days later you would think that they were insane. But that's exactly what Jesus did, he told us what would happen.

Jesus claimed to be the resurrection just a few days before Passion week, he told Martha that she will see her brother when he is resurrected, she knew that was true but what she didn't know is that Jesus was going to display his resurrection power right away. She wasn't going to have to wait very long to see her brother Lazarus alive again.

Jesus prophesied that he would be resurrected, he made a lot of detailed prophecies about his last days on earth and his return in three days. How could any ordinary man make such bold claims and then make it happen?


Jesus Predicted:


✔  The disciples would find an unridden colt when they entered town to prepare for Passover (Luke 19:30)
✔  When the disciples entered Jerusalem he predicted they would meet a man with a water pitcher who would have a room for them to meet in (Luke 22:10)
✔  His Words Would Be Everlasting (Matthew 24:35)
✔  The Story Of Mary Of Bethany would be well known (Matthew 26:11-13)
✔  His Own Betrayal By One Of His Disciples (Matthew 26:21-22)
✔  All Of His Disciples Would Leave Him (Matthew 26:31,32)
✔  Peter Would Deny Him Three Times (Matthew 26:33-34)
✔  He Would Suffer Because Of The Religious Rulers (Matthew 16:21)
✔  He Would Die By Crucifixion During The Passover (Matthew 26:2)
✔  His Resurrection From The Dead On The Third Day (Matthew 16:21)
✔  The Coming Of The Holy Spirit (John 14:26)
✔  The Destruction Of The City Of Jerusalem Within One Generation (Luke 19:43-44, 21:20)
✔  The Temple In Jerusalem Would Be Destroyed (Matthew 24:1-2)
✔  The People Would Be Scattered And The Holy Land Would Be Ruled By Gentiles (Luke 21:24)
✔  The Jewish People Would Be Persecuted (Luke 23:28-30)

None of it made sense from the human perspective but it was all a part of God's plan to save the world. Jesus made the connection to the Old Testament prophets, he said that the predictions of the Messiah and his sufferings would be fulfilled in himself. He told us that it was going to happen and then it did! What a way to prove your authenticity as the Messiah!

"If a man can predict his own death and resurrection, and pull it off, I just go with whatever that man says"
-Andy Stanley

If you are struggling to believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah, that he is the one who was in the beginning with God and was God, that he is the divine Son of God, who can forgive all your sins and give you eternal life then take a look at the predictions that Jesus made in his last days and consider the odds of somebody making all this stuff come true.

Jesus truly is the resurrection! He brought other people back from death, he came back after his own death and we have every reason to believe that he will resurrect us after we die if we have his life in us.

Thank you Lord for what was accomplished through your brutal death and victorious resurrection! You have made it easy to have faith in you!

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He's Risen!

Time to celebrate our risen Savior!

 

Oh, oh, Hallelujah
Oh, oh Hallelujah

Grave where are you now
You've been overpowered
Death where is your sting
Conquered by the King

Resurrected One
Shining like the sun
Breaking through the fear
Victory is here, victory is here now

Oh, oh hallelujah
Oh, oh hallelujah
Jesus be lifted higher
We serve a risen savior

Risen He's risen forever glorified
Risen He's risen King Jesus
King Jesus is alive
Hallelujah, hallelujah

The same power, the same power
That crushed the enemy
The same power, the same power
The same power lives in me

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Jesus King Jesus is alive

Jesus is alive!

Luke 24:1-7  But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes.

The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.”

Sacrifice And Serve

At the Lord's Supper we are challenged to sacrifice and serve.

 

Luke 22:17-27 Then He took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then He said, "Take this and share it among yourselves.  18  For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come."  19  He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then He broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, "This is My body, which is given for you. Do this to remember Me."

20  After supper He took another cup of wine and said, "This cup is the new covenant between God and His people--an agreement confirmed with My blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.  21  "But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray Me.  22  For it has been determined that the Son of Man must die. But what sorrow awaits the one who betrays Him."  23  The disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing.

24  Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them.  25  Jesus told them, "In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called 'friends of the people.'  26  But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.  27  Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.

John 13:4-5  So He got up from the table, took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist,  and poured water into a basin. Then He began to wash the disciples' feet, drying them with the towel He had around Him.

John 13:12-15  After washing their feet, He put on His robe again and sat down and asked, "Do you understand what I was doing?

13  You call Me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and you are right, because that's what I am.  14  And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each others feet.  15  I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.

At the stroke of midnight God sent the final plague down on Egypt because of Pharaoh's refusal to let God's people leave his country so that they could move to a better place that God had prepared for them. God's people received instructions so that they would be covered with the sacrificial blood but all of Egypt was in mourning and finally they were allowed to go.

For hundreds of years the Jews have celebrated and now Jesus prepares to observe his third and final Passover. He knew that this Passover would be different, he knew that the symbolic Passover lamb would be replaced with the real and final sacrificial lamb.

At Jesus final Passover we see his example to us to be a sacrifice and a servant:


The Greatest Sacrifice


Hebrews 10:13 Our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.

The Savior is soon going to be killed, no longer living on earth and not yet glorified in heaven, Christ sacrifice was the beginning of a new covenant between God and man, an eternal covenant and the only sacrifice for our sins that would last forever. Jesus made His sacrifice our sacrifice, His life became our life, and His Father became our Father.

The blood of the new covenant was shed for all, the final payment for sin was achieved, the door to the Gentiles was opened and the temple veil was torn in two giving us direct access to God. (Hebrews 10:20-22)

Romans 12:1  And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him.

Now it is our turn to be a sacrifice, it is our turn to be offered up completely, we should give up any rights that we try to claim and give it all to Jesus. A sacrifice doesn't die partially, it is submitted to God, to be disposed of at his will. I should be devoted to God in the same way, I should be given over to his will for my life even if it means suffering, I need to be a living sacrifice.

The Greatest Servant


Isaiah 53:11-12  When He sees all that is accomplished by His anguish, He will be satisfied. And because of His experience, My righteous Servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for He will bear all their sins.  12  I will give Him the honors of a victorious soldier, because He exposed Himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.


The suffering servant displayed the greatness of his love for us at Calvary but before he died he gave us another example of his love in action. Our Lord became our foot washer, the King of Kings became our servant, he was never too good to do anything that would benefit us. Because of his incredible love he was completely sold out to his mission.

As God, He owned everything; as the servant, He had to borrow everything: a place to be born, a boat in which to cross the Sea of Galilee and preach from, a donkey (itself a symbol of humility and servitude) to ride into Jerusalem for His triumphal entry, a room to celebrate His final Passover in, and a grave to be buried in.

-John MacArthur

Meanwhile we are busy trying to accumulate everything that we can acquire while we are here on earth. We built bigger barns and rent out storage facilities to hold our stuff. We forget that slaves do not own property, they do not have anything of value, and they cannot control what happens to themselves.

Jesus made it clear that he came to live on this planet to be a sacrifice and to serve. How can I think that my life in this world should be any different? Why are we so busy looking out for ourselves?

I need to sacrifice and serve, look out for the interest of others and have the same attitude that Jesus had. I don't have the right to serve when I feel like it. I don't have the right to give an offering that doesn't seem like a sacrifice. (Philippians 2:2-5)

Thank You For All You've Done

Died! Arose! Saved! I Know, we are redeemed and loved!

 

We stand amazed in awe of You
All of Your ways proclaim the truth

Only You alone can save us
Only by the blood of Jesus

We stand amazed in awe of You
In awe of You

Thank You for all You've done
Come on lift your hands up Come on
We join in Heaven's song
Come on lift your hands up Come on

We sing Glory in the highest
Glory in the highest
Glory in the highest

We join in Heaven's song
Thank You for all You've done

Died. Arose
Saved. I Know
We are redeemed and loved



Celebrate Jesus!


1 Peter 1:3-5 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by His great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead.

Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance--an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.

And through your faith, God is protecting you by His power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

Palm Sunday - Jerusalem Welcomes The King

Welcome Jesus as your Messiah and as your King.

 
Matthew 21:1-11  As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead.  2  "Go into the village over there," He said. "As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to Me.  3  If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, 'The Lord needs them,' and he will immediately let you take them."

4  This took place to fulfill the prophecy that said,  5  "Tell the people of Jerusalem, 'Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey--riding on a donkey's colt.'"

6  The two disciples did as Jesus commanded.  7  They brought the donkey and the colt to Him and threw their garments over the colt, and He sat on it.

8  Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of Him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  9  Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around Him were shouting, "Praise God for the Son of David! Blessings on the One who comes in the name of the LORD! Praise God in highest heaven!"

10  The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as He entered. "Who is this?" they asked.  11  And the crowds replied, "It's Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."

Jesus' popularity was at an all time high, Not long ago He healed two blind men and raised Lazarus from the dead, maybe this is the moment that we have been waiting for. Surely He would use his popularity to His advantage and prove that He is the king they have been waiting for. (Matthew 20:29-34, John 11:1-44)

The people of Jerusalem are looking for a ruler that who would give them some relief from the rule of the Romans, so when Jesus came riding into town looking like a king they were ready to sing His praises. They were so ready that they missed the symbolism, the fact that Jesus rode a donkey meant that he hadn't come to war against Rome, but still they were hungry for change and their hopes were high. Was king David's throne about to be re-established?

It is very rare to see Jesus receiving the worship and praise that He deserves. The crowds reacted according to the custom of the day, they spread their outer garments on the road as an act of royal homage and the Palm branches were used in celebration of victory. (2 Kings 9:13, Revelation 7:9)

Zechariah 9:9-10  Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your King is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet He is humble, riding on a donkey--riding on a donkey's colt.

I will remove the battle chariots from Israel and the warhorses from Jerusalem. I will destroy all the weapons used in battle, and your King will bring peace to the nations. His realm will stretch from sea to sea and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth.

The Passover lamb has entered the city of Jerusalem but the cheering crowds were not going to last for too long, what a surprise it was when Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple. "And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.” (Mark 11:11)

Talk about an anti-climatic moment! Jesus doesn't throw anybody out of the temple, he doesn't start a riot or even give a stirring speech. He just looks around and leaves, the crowd calms down and it is all over, talk about a lost opportunity! The crowd would never be as pro-Jesus as they were that day and by the end of the week they would be cheering for His execution.

Jesus came to help them but not with the temporary problem that they wanted help with. His mission was to help them with an eternal problem that nobody else could fix. He enters Jerusalem to complete the mission that He came to earth to accomplish.

Isaiah 29:13  “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."

The crowds welcomed a Jesus that wouldn't ask for much of them. They welcomed a Jesus that would serve them and give them a better life now. They didn't want a Jesus that required them to do anything and wanted to be their Lord.

I have welcomed Jesus as my Messiah but that's not all, I also need to welcome him into my life and allow him to reign as king, He didn't come as the Messiah so that I could go to heaven without any personal sacrifice. My life needs to be devoted to my king and my loyalty to him should be obvious in the way that I serve him and give my life for his agenda.

Have you welcomed Jesus to your life? Did you welcome him for who he really is or for who you wanted him to be?

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Givers And Takers

The ultimate giver overcomes the takers.

 
John 12:1-11 Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus--the man He had raised from the dead. 2 A dinner was prepared in Jesus' honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with Him.

3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus' feet with it, wiping His feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.

4 But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray Him, said, 5 "That perfume was worth a year's wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor." 6 Not that he cared for the poor--he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples' money, he often stole some for himself. 7 Jesus replied, "Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for My burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have Me."

9 When all the people heard of Jesus' arrival, they flocked to see Him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead. 10 Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, 11 for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.

The question that most of us want to have an answer to is "What's in it for me?" It is the normal mode that a worldly person operates in but a follower of Jesus should be asking "How can I give to somebody else?"

All of us are givers and takers, we walk a fine line in every interaction with the people that we meet, it is a delicate balance to maintain. Sometimes we need to take but we don't want to always be that person, sometimes we give but we can't give for too long or we will be drained.

The extreme form of takers are people that are trying to get as much as possible from everybody and contribute as little as they can in return, they are always looking to achieve their goal and get ahead with as little investment in others as they can get away with.

The strange people that give are the ones that look the most like Jesus. They give anything from personal encouragement and mentoring to finances. They live life with their hands and their hearts open ready to release what they have for the good of others.

Jesus gave life


Jesus is the best giver and His gift of eternal life is made possible because he overcame death. Jesus gives us the same victory over death because we have His life in us. proved that death has no ultimate power over Him, that power to triumph over death is given to His followers. Believers in Jesus will experience resurrection because it is impossible for death to win against the life that Jesus gives. (1 Corinthians 15:53-57, 1 John 5:11-12).

Mary gave sacrificially


A years wages is the estimate of the earthly value of Mary's gift, and what a waste it was from our perspective but Jesus showed us that his perspective the gift that Mary gave was priceless. She had received much love and she was motivated to give back.

Luke 7:47  “I tell you, her sins—and they are any—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”

Judas was a taker


All of the advantages of having intimate knowledge of Jesus didn't do a thing for Judas. He was a taker in every area of life, Jesus knew it and yet he never called Judas out for stealing from the limited funds that the disciples had. Financial gain didn't work out and neither did the desire to overthrow the government and take some of the power for himself.

Religious leaders were takers


They loved to take advantage of their position and power. Now they had the opportunity that they have been looking for, who would have thought that they would have one of Christ followers sell him out?

There are givers and takers in every area of life, some people are always scheming about how to get ahead or how to get things their way. Judas and the religious leaders had their own ideas about how things should be. The takers met up with Jesus, the ultimate giver, and they took His life without knowing that they a part of God's plan to give us all the greatest gift.

Come Lord Jesus Come

Like a bride waiting for her groom we'll be a Church ready for You

 

All of creation
All of the earth
Make straight a highway
A path for the Lord
Jesus is coming soon

Call back the sinner
Wake up the saint
Let every nation shout of Your fame
Jesus is coming soon

Like a bride waiting for her groom
We'll be a Church ready for You
Every heart longing for our King
We sing
Even so come
Lord Jesus, come 

Even so come
Lord Jesus, come 

There will be justice
All will be new
Your name forever
Faithful and true
Jesus is coming soon

Are You Longing For That Day

Revelation 22:1-7  Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.  2  It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.

3  No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and His servants will worship Him.  4  And they will see His face, and His name will be written on their foreheads.  5  And there will be no night there--no need for lamps or sun--for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.

6  Then the angel said to me, "Everything you have heard and seen is trustworthy and true. The Lord God, who inspires His prophets, has sent His angel to tell His servants what will happen soon. "

7  "Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book. "
This world of sin should make us long for something better and we should be anxious for the day that Christ returns and puts an end to the sorrow and pain that we must experience here. We should think often about the fact that He is coming soon and that every person must stand before Him and give an account for how we lived.

Are you enjoying this world too much or are you hungry to go home? Are you longing for that day with great anticipation?


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Be Ready

I am compelled to look like Him and live for Him until he returns.

 

2 Peter 3:10-13  But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.

11  Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live,  12  looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, He will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames.  13  But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth He has promised, a world filled with God's righteousness.

The book of 2 Peter has been a great guide to help us see that the Christian life should look different in comparison to the rest of the world. We believe that Jesus gave us the power to live for Him and be productive and useful for a cause that has eternal significance. I have a solid foundation of truth to build my life on and I have God's promises that I will share His divine nature and escape the world's corruption.

Despite the overwhelming evidence for the truth, the world is going to make fun of us when they see that we are compelled to live for him and they will scoff at the idea that we are looking forward to Jesus return. How can you think that he is still on the way? Peter tells us that the length of the wait doesn't change the certainty that it will happen. (2 Peter 3:3-8)

2 Peter 2:9 So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment.

Jesus return is still coming, he hasn't changed His mind, judgment will follow and then we will see what is really important. The world and all of the things that it thinks is important is going to burn. Sometimes we get sidetracked by these things but we need to ask ourselves if we want to live for everything that will certainly be destroyed, or do you want to live so that you will have an inheritance in the new heavens and earth?

Romans 2:4-5  Don't you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can't you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.

There isn't an escape route. The world likes to think that they get another chance, they want to see some more information before they decide that they need to accept the truth, there isn't a second chance or reincarnation or purgatory, we don't get to change our situation or improve ourself after we die. Your relatives cannot light enough candles or pray enough prayers to change what has already been decided.

Devoted To God

Titus 2:11-14  For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave His life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us His very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.
Are you ready for that day? Are you digging in the Word to find out how you can be more like him while you are waiting? God doesn't want to wait and change us after he comes and gets us, he wants us to start the change now, the surest way to know that I am ready and anticipating that day is for me to begin to look like who I will be after his return.

The new earth will be a place where righteousness dwells. It will then be impossible for sin to mess things up! And, we will be in God’s glorious presence forever! Are you ready?

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Come Lord Jesus Come (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)

Be Real

Be cautious because there are plenty of beliefs about Jesus that are not real.

 
2 Peter 2:1-3  But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves.

2  Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered.  3  In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed.

One of the most amazing things about traveling to Europe is to see their old castles and cathedrals that are made out of real natural materials. As an example take a look at the city of Oxford, none of the building materials are fake, most of our architecture is just a facade.

We live in a world where we are used to fake, plastic is used to replace all kinds of things, from building materials to body parts, we even have milk that comes from sources other than cows. With all of this fake stuff around it is easy to accept it all without questioning any of it.

There was plenty of fake in the Bible, from Abram lying about his wife being his sister (Genesis 12:10-13), Isaac tells a similar lie about his wife and then his son Jacob deceives him into thinking that he is actually Esau (Genesis 27:1-46) and then Jacobs sons hide the truth about what has happened to their brother Joseph. (Genesis 37:1-36) All of that deception is in one family in the first book of the Bible.

Ever since the original false teacher talked to Eve in the garden with his clever stories and destructive intentions there have been many more teachers of deception that have caused the fall of many. They slander the truth, seek to get into your pocketbook and they put the spotlight on themselves to feed their own ego. Some of them are like a snake but they can be like savage wolves or they may not look mean at all. (Matthew 7:15-23, Acts 20:28-32)

The apostles were God’s instruments to record His full and final revelation for us. The prophecies that they give us in the New Testament are the last revelation on God's timetable. There have been plenty of false prophecies since then and people that claim to have a vision from God. Muslims, Mormons and Seventh Day Adventist all claim to have a new revelation and the Jehovah's Witness claim to have another publication that must be used in order to understand the Bible.

Real Truth

John 14:6  Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me."

John 17:3  And this is the way to have eternal life--to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the One You sent to earth.
By promising a new life of freedom, the false teachers deceive people just like water-less springs and rain-less clouds, they build up people’s hopes only to disappoint. The only real hope that we have and the only real truth that we can build our life on is to know the only true God and His Son Jesus. If you are trusting anybody else with your eternal destination then you are playing a dangerous game. 

Even if you are a child of God you have to be careful that you have a real perception of who He is and what that implies about our lifestyle. We can be guilty of conforming Jesus to our idea of Jesus instead of continuously digging into God's word to see the real Jesus.

Help me Lord to know you more and to have a better picture of who you are and how I can better look like the real Jesus.

Who Is Like Our God

Come let us remember what our King has done and let us remember his everlasting love.

 

Come let us remember what our King has done
Let us remember His everlasting love
Let us remember He alone has overcome

Come let us remember He rules His enemies
Let us remember we share His victory
Let us remember we were slaves but now we’re free

We will sing through the night
Til the darkness breaks
We will rise up and shout
Til the heavens shake

Majestic holiness
Glory and righteousness
Who is like our God
Who is like our God

Unending strength displayed
Forever He will reign
Who is like our God
Who is like our God
No one

Come let us remember our God will never change
Let us remember His Kingdom will remain
Let us remember the power of His name
No one above Him, beside Him
There’s no one like our God

Praise The Lord

Psalms 113:1-9  Praise the LORD! Yes, give praise, O servants of the LORD. Praise the name of the LORD! Blessed be the name of the LORD now and forever.  3  Everywhere--from east to west--praise the name of the LORD.

For the LORD is high above the nations; His glory is higher than the heavens.  Who can be compared with the LORD our God, who is enthroned on high? He stoops to look down on heaven and on earth.

He lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump. He sets them among princes, even the princes of His own people! He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother. Praise the LORD!
 I rejoice in Your word like one who discovers a great treasure.   Psalms 119:162