Posts from the ‘hope’ Category

They Gave Christ a Cross, Not Guessing that He Would Make it a Throne

ChristBetweenTwoThieves

“He did not conquer in spite of the dark mystery of evil. He conquered through it.”

~James Stewart~

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“It is a glorious phrase of the New Testament, that ‘he led captivity captive.’ 

The very triumphs of His foes, it means, he used for their defeat. He compelled their dark achievements to sub-serve his end, not theirs.

They nailed him to the tree, not knowing that by that very act they were bringing the world to his feet.

They gave him a cross, not guessing that he would make it a throne.

They flung him outside the gates to die, not knowing that in that very moment they were lifting up all the gates of the universe, to let the King of Glory come in.

They thought to root out his doctrines, not understanding that they were implanting imperishably in the hearts of men the very name they intended to destroy.

They thought they had defeated God with His back the wall, pinned and helpless and defeated: they did not know that it was God Himself who had tracked them down.

He did not conquer in spite of the dark mystery of evil. He conquered through it.”

James Stewart (1896–1990) was a minister of the Church of Scotland

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” And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh,

He has made alive together with Him,

having forgiven you all trespasses,

having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us,

which was contrary to us.

And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

 Having disarmed principalities and powers,

He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”

(Colossians 2:13-15)

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

(John 3:16)

Watch “The Cross – Billy Graham’s Message To America”

Witness the power and reality of a man who knows Christ to such a degree that he became God’s prophet to the nations of the world.

Millions have come to know Christ through the ministry of the Reverend Billy Graham.

Watch this video and see how God has used and is still using Billy Graham as His instrument to bring life through Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world.

” For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

The Deconstruction of Absolute Truth and the Arts

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“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Imagine a painter throwing away half of his or her color palette.

Or imagine a black and white photograph without white, only shades of dark gray.

Whether the subject is painting,photography,theater, or literature, all the above involve using contrasts to make images or tell stories.

Painters use colors ranging from light to dark.

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Photographers use bright sunlight to dark shadows.

Theater and literature use contrasts in good and evil, peace and conflict, justice and injustice, love and hatred,truth and falsehood.

Now imagine a World that no longer accepts or believes in Absolute Truth, where the contrasts between right and wrong are no longer clear, and men stumble in the darkness because they cannot see.

Discovering that God is Love While in a Nazi Concentration Camp – Viktor Frankl “Man’s Search for Meaning”

Deutsch: Viktor Frankl

Deutsch: Viktor Frankl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vitor Frankl was a psychologist who was trained in Vienna.  and was imprisoned in Auschwitz, and other Nazi Germany death camps, as well as his wife and family.

Even though the Nazi prison camp meant facing death, and surrounded by constant threat and hatred, Victor Frankl found the meaning of life there.

From  “Man’s Search for Meaning”- Experiences in a Concentration Camp”

“A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth — that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way — an honorable way — in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words,

“The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.”

Viktor Frankl

1 John 4:10

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

The First Christmas Gift – God Came Down To Us

 

Immanuel

 

The First Christmas Gift – God Came Down To Us

Click on this link above to watch an amazing Christmas pageant by Kensington Church in Troy Michigan.

The humorous intro includes NFL ,(American), Pro Football Detroit Lions players Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.

Following that is ,”The Christmas Song”, an original Jazz/Rock piece by the Kensington praise musicians that about blew me away.

Most or all of this stage performance was recorded live, so the video includes a 1 minute intercession after the initial song.

What follows is an amazing  theatrical story that illustrates how when God came to be with us , He brought life and light into our dark and dead world.

The Bible says that we didn’t understand who Christ,why He came, or what He was doing.

When the story begins, everything is in shades of black, white , and gray.

Interestingly, the color red is used, the color of blood, to symbolize how Christ gave His life in order to give us life.

Then everything bursts into vibrant color to symbolize new life through Christ.

The video is 86 minutes long but can be started or stopped at any point.

If you wonder what Christmas is all about, or if you feel like you have lost the joy for Christmas, this video will help you find your joy.

The pageant is filled with amazing original music and a simple yet profound message.

I recommend watching this regardless of your condition in life.

Whether alone or with family,..

this message is meant for each one of us no matter where we are in life.

God came down to us!

The first Christmas gift was to us!

God Will Help You

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“Behold, this river of God is full for your supply;”

“He Will Help You” 

by C.H.Spurgeon

“‘I will help you,’ says the Lord.” Isaiah 41:14 (NKJV)

This morning let us hear the Lord Jesus speak to each one of us:“I will help you. It is but a small thing for me, your God, to help you. Consider what I have done already. What! not help you? Why, I bought you with my blood. What! not help you? I have died for you—and if I have done the greater, will I not do the less? Help you! It is the least thing I will ever do for you; I have done more, and will do more. Before the world began I chose you. I made the covenant for you. I laid aside my glory and became a man for you; I gave up my life for you; and if I did all this, I will surely help you now. In helping you, I am giving you what I have bought for you already. If you had need of a thousand times as much help, I would give it you; you require little compared with what I am ready to give. ‘Tis much for you to need, but it is nothing for me to bestow. ‘Help you?’ Fear not! If there were an ant at the door of your granary asking for help, it would not ruin you to give him a handful of your wheat; and you are nothing but a tiny insect at the door of my all-sufficiency. ‘I will help you.’”O my soul, is not this enough? Do you need more strength than the omnipotence of the united Trinity? Do you want more wisdom than exists in the Father, more love than displays itself in the Son, or more power than is manifest in the influences of the Spirit? Bring hither your empty pitcher! Surely this well will fill it. Haste, gather up your wants, and bring them here—your emptiness, your woes, your needs. Behold, this river of God is full for your supply; what can you desire beside? Go forth, my soul, in this your might: the eternal God is your helper!Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismay’d!I, I am thy God, and will still give you aid.“How Firm a Foundation”Adapted from Morning and Evening.By: Charles Spurgeon on Dec 16, 2012

“Counterfeit Gods”- Video Summary of Tim Keller’s Book By The Same Title – Jeff Bethke – 5 min.

Based on Tim Keller’s book ,”Counterfeit Gods”, this may be Jefferson Bethke’s best work yet.

They say ,”Counterfeit God’s”,may be Tim Keller’s best work yet.

And the two combined make for a powerful video with a strong Christian message.

We all worship something. We are hope based creatures, and all place our hope or happiness in something or someone.

But even the best of us will let you down.

But Jesus never will.

If we pin our hopes or happiness on it, that is a clue it is a counterfeit god.

If we can’t give it up, we don’t own it, it owns us, and is a counterfeit god.

Counterfeit Gods take many forms like jobs, money, possessions, duty,style,sex,drugs, pleasure,ease,companionship, power, accomplishment,even religion.

None of these things would die for us.
None of these things give ultimate hope.
But Jesus did die for us.

All other things, if you serve them, will take everything from you.

He is the only God who gave everything for you.
Why not give everything to the only true God who will never betray you?

Stand You’re Gospel Ground – Don’t Be Moved

Jesus

Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Take your stand on the Rock of Ages. Let death, let the judgment come: the victory is Christ’s and yours through Him.” ~DL Moody

So many subjects and issues seem to govern what Pastors preach.
But only one subject can have lasting impact in this life ,and in the next.

Pastor, if your three-point sermon isn’t about Jesus, you are missing The Point.

Case in point– One particularly hot topic is marriage. To be fair, the Bible covers marriage, and we need to listen to what God says about the Holy union he established between man and women. God made us to uniquely compliment each other physically, emotionally,and so on.

But the Bible has an overall theme of man’s redemption through Christ.

Both the old and most obviously the New Testament reveal Christ and His purpose,the Gospel, as central to all that is written in them.

Jesus heals marriages because He alone makes sinners into saints, and saved sinners make Christian couples.

If the issues that plague secular marriage are as prevalent in the Church it is because the church is filled with unchanged sinners.

If that is true, then you need to ask yourself if three or four Gospel messages per year are enough.
(Selah)

Pastor, you should consider making Jesus and the Great Commission the central theme of every message.

Christ can show you how all subjects begin and end with Him.

“Without Me you can do nothing.”, is an all-encompassing statement.
” I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,”is another all-encompassing statement.

Both of theses Biblical truths point to the central truth of Christ’s supremacy.

It really is all about Jesus.

Isn’t it time you plugged your sermons into that power?
The ONLY power to change us forever is Jesus.

Jesus! The Savior Of My Soul!

Jesus!

The Savior of my soul,
He is the promise of eternal tomorrows,
the fact that He resides in me,
and the thought that He will never leave me,

He lives in me as the promise of life unending,

A promise that God who cannot lie, has made!

He is the seal of an eternity of tomorrows!

His Spirit in me!
His Spirit teaches me,
His Spirit guides me,

His Spirit changes me,

His Spirit comforts me,
and gives me peace that passes understanding,…

theses are only a few reasons I worship my Jesus.

A Sign of The Times

Does anyone still believe politics can save America?

We are way beyond anything politicians can fix.

Many of our politicians need help themselves, so how can they help us?

Jesus is the reason we were blessed.

Only Jesus can save us.

Pastor Mike Says

We have to do something and soon, or God‘s house will surely fall.

Confidence in organized religion hits all-time low in Gallup poll

gallup.com
By Jason White, msnbc.com

Americans’ confidence in religious institutions has hit an all-time low, with only 44 percent expressing a “great deal” of confidence in organized religion, according to a new Gallup survey.

This follows a downward trend since the 1970s, when 68 percent of Americans had a high degree of confidence.

Gallup cites two big blows to confidence in organized religion: 1980s scandals involving televangelists like Jim Bakker and the Catholic sex abuse scandal in the 2000s.

Perhaps as an outgrowth of the abuse scandal, Catholics lag far behind Protestants in their confidence in the church, by a margin of 10 percentage points.

But the scandals of recent decades, and the ensuing lack of confidence in organized religion, are not necessarily affecting…

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Suffering: If God is good, why is there so much evil in the world? A Audio Sermon By Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church Manhattan N.Y.

Suffering is one of the biggest questions facing the human race.

Why does God allow evil and suffering?

The why of suffering is also the biggest accusation for atheists who claim God is indifferent to the plight of mankind.

The cross of Christ proves that God cares and has intervened on our behalf through Jesus’s sacrificial death on the cross to pay for our sins and save us from an eternal state of suffering.

The book of Job is considered to be the oldest book in the Bible, yet it is about suffering and loss, and the struggle to maintain hope and belief that God really does loves us despite loss.

The biggest question we should ask is, “do I love God for what is in it for me?”

Or do I love God regardless of if I get anything out of  the situation?”  Isn’t that how God loved me?”

Unconditional?

Isn’t that Grace ?

So suffering is the worst kind of teacher, but also the best kind of teacher, because if we can say that even after suffering the bitterness of loss that we still love God, then our love is truly mature and free, and full of the deepest meaning.

We love Him because He first loved us.

Click on the link below for a 30 minute sermon on this subject by Dr, Tim Keller.

http://sermons2.redeemer.com/sermons/suffering-if-god-good-why-there-so-much-evil-world

Real Lasting Hope From The Bible

This is a re-posted blog – by Pastor Mike Says

A great sequel to my previous post ,”How to Run the Race.

Very informative and encouraging.

Pastor Mike Says

Are you needing to be uplifted and comforted today? These Bible verses about Hope will do just that for you. Take a deep breath and read through them slowly. We all too  often rush through things in life ( I am  guilty of this myself) and miss what God is telling us. God led you to these versestoday for a reason, don’t let them go unread!

Hope of A Future Bible Verses

Proverbs 24:20 for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.

Proverbs 24:14 Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Hope of Eternal Life

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To Run The Race – Forget the Past – Live In Each Moment

The Race

I was listening to an interview on the radio about a woman who had a tumor removed from her brain and the affect it had on her life.

Her name is Diane Van Deren and she is,“One of the world’s best ultra-runners (as in races of 50 miles or more)”, according to the NPR journalist who reported about her amazing ability to overcome, “mental barriers.”

Her seizures stopped after having a kiwi sized tumor removed and all seemed normal. Then a while later she had an idea,“why not enter a fifty mile marathon?”

It seems she loved to run but she had never done anything like this before. She won the race.Then she entered the Canadian ,”Death Race”, a 78 mile race through the Yukon wilderness. The temperature was 48 degrees below the first day.

Her running shoes froze, yet she took second place because only 2 runners finished the race.

Then she placed in a 100 mile race through drastic changes in elevation and placed in that race as well.

By that time her family members and acquaintances had notice a pattern of short-term memory loss.

And it all started to make sense her.

She forgets the past and presses toward the mark.

She forgets how far she has gone and how tired she should be.

She has little sense of the amount of time that has lapsed and that does not weigh on her like so many of us, so waiting and anxiety are minimized I suppose.

She lives in the here-and-now every moment she runs.

I don’t know if Diane Van Deren is a Christian, but she is living proof of something that sounds like the same advice from God’s word that the Apostle Paul shared with us !

“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13,14)

And I would like to say that I have a personal application in this.

The Mid-life Crisis – that’s where you realize that you don’t have enough time to make your dreams that you have put on hold into reality.

Living in the here-and-now means that if you are reading this you still have the here-and-now.

So start working on a smaller version of your dream now. Maybe you can make you dream into reality.

How about Marriage or any relationship?– remember the movie,“The Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind”?

The couple had a lot of bad memories erased from their minds by a scientific process,(that only exists in the movies),and they were able to love each other totally without the bad memories to hold them back.

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead“.

Help me readers. The first application came from me,(mid-life crisis).

Do you see any helpful applications to share here?

Please do.

I know we could all use this in our lives and most importantly, as we, ” press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Read the full article about Diane Van Deren – Click the link below.

http://www.coreperformance.com/daily/mindset/how-to-make-the-miles-go-faster.html?utm_source=RSS&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS

The Righteousness that Comes from God and is by Faith

 “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20)

“If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” ( Philippians 3:4-9)

God is a Father to the Fatherless

 

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. “( Psalm 68:5)

To anyone and everyone who ever had a father and for whatever reason he is no longer present,

To all who never knew what it was like to have a father there for them when they needed him,

To all who did have a father there but he only made them wish he was not there because he was not a good father,…

God is a father to the fatherless.

No matter if you are young or old, God will be the father to you that you need.

He is love,

He is ever-present,

He is all-knowing,

He is all-powerful,

Nothing is too hard for Him,

He has provided our greatest need,

He will never forsake you.

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:6,7)

A Reason For Living – An Audio Sermon By Dr. Tim Keller – Redeemer Presbyterian Church- Manhattan, NY- Keller Answers The Big Question- “What Is The Reason,Meaning, And Purpose For Life?”

Christ's Resurection from Death

What is the reason for living?

All the big thinkers, atheist , agnostic, and believer, have written about the reason for our existence and the meaning of life.

In this sermon, Keller does what many big thinkers refuse to do, and that is to honestly and logically examine the premise, or basis on which to answer the big question.

If God does exist and we can know Him, then we have hope in this life because we know this is not the end, the best is yet to come.

This view also gives hope to all who suffer in this life because they too can say they have a ,”future hope”.

Keller exposes that the typical atheist view is built on the premise that if God does not exist then the individual experiences ,

“Freedom”, but that view is not enough reason for living.

The problem is that ,”freedom”, as the sole reward in life ,robs us of any hope for a future beyond this life,

and results in a lack reason, purpose and meaning, and results in a loss of hope.

But the answer to life’s big question is that God does exist, we do have a future hope, and we have a reason  for living.

His name is Jesus.

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How I Post Sermons

I typically listen to a sermon 6 or more times before I recommend, comment and post them ?

This is especially true of Keller’s sermons.

I do this in part because I’m following Keller’s own example of how he studies the great early American revivalist, Jonathan Edwards.

Keller has mentioned that he reads, and re-reads Edward’s books and sermons over and over again.

Re- reading Edwards, Keller says, allows the benefit of learning how Edwards thought, and gives the benefit of applying that kind of thought to all of life,

as if to anticipate how Edwards would have answered any question himself.

Since I can’t listen to Edwards audio sermons,( since none exist), but Keller studies Edwards,

then I figure Keller’s audio sermons are the practicle choice for the student of deep theological issues.

This Sermon – In Summery

Keller answers the big question by dwelling on the basis for question, for most of sermon.

At one point in the sermon Keller receives applause for one of his comments, to which he replies,”that has never happened to me before, no wait,

I should say , that has never happened to me in a white church before.”

Another great sermon by Keller.

Free online. Click on the link below.

http://sermons2.redeemer.com/sermons/reason-living

Enjoy.

God Loves Us More Than We Love Ourselves-An Anchor For Hope

A Sure Anchor for Hope

A Sure Anchor for Hope

We may give up on ourselves.

God loves us more than we love ourselves because He never gives up on us.

Life can be tough and sometimes people give trying.

Hope is the basis for much of this life and also for our eternity.

When people lose hope they stop believing in themselves and those around them.

The outcomes of hopelessness can be devastating to families and relationships, and even end in tragedy.

But if hopelessness leads to disillusionment and disbelief, then hope leads to faith and belief and life.

God, who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all will not forsake us.

“if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” ( 2 Timothy 2:13)

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”(Romans 8:32)

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”(Deuteronomy 31:6)

Place your faith in the anchor of your soul, and nothing in this life can touch your hope for eternity.

“while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,”(Titus 2:13)

 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Believe in Christ as your Savior.He will come into your heart and will never leave you or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)

And if He will never leave you then you will never loose all hope.

No matter what happens in this life, even death will only hasten your reward of your eternal hope.

Jesus in you will become Jesus with you.You will be in His presence forever.

 

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