After The Cross (Scrubbing Bubbles)

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This product provides a good example of the finished work of Jesus Christ. Before “Scrubbing Bubbles” the go-to agent for cleaning was Ajax.  It required sprinkling the product on the surface to be cleaned; scrubbing with a brush or sponge, then rinsing. More often than not, a second rinsing was required to remove the residue of the scouring powder.  This type of “work” is what kept professional house cleaning contractors employed.

Then came “Scrubbing Bubbles”!  You just spray it on, let it sit for a while and rinse or wipe it off! That’s straight from the throne right there!  Little to no effort required, but the results yield a clean surface.

Before the cross, we were bound by sin, subjected to a law (ten commandments) we could not keep) Especially since breaking one of them meant we were guilty of all ten (James 2:10).  We were doomed without a savior.

After the cross, our only work is to believe in the finished work of Jesus. His last words… “Teteletestai!”  Hebrew translation…”It is Finished”. Then, His final show of force demonstrating his power was the way he died.  Usually a person’s spirit leaves his body at death, causing the head to slump.  Our Lord Jesus bowed his head and  “gave up the ghost”. No man had power to take his life, He willingly gave his life; the greatest act of love this world has ever known.  He did it just for me and you.

Allow me to interject the famous phrase from the old scrubbing bubbles commercial:

“He worked hard, so we won’t have to!”

Paradise Lost? (Not So Fast)

The young man looked at his wife with utter disappointment. “How could you have done this?”, he snarled. She wiped away her very first tears and wondered why all of a sudden she was to blame, when he was there too.  Why did her covering, her king, not stand up to her, cover her, protect her?  Now, all was lost and they had to face the music.  Suddenly, like clockwork, at the appointed time, they heard him coming.  Gripped with  fear at the sound of parting vegetation and the whistling cool gentle breeze, the husband held his wife close as they hid themselves. It was at that moment they were introduced to hope.

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. ” Genesis 3:15

Translation: “I will not leave you in the state that you are in. I have a plan. I will send my son who will make all things new.”

We often confuse hope with wishing. To wish for something is like playing the lottery; while hope is defined as a confident expectation of future good.  There is a difference!

Confident expectation is your direct deposit hitting your bank at the appointed time.  In fact, most of us start spending it days before it actually appears.  Confident expectation is you swiping your debit card on that day without going to the bank to lay eyes on “your” money that was deposited.

As believers we should have full confidence in the finished work of Jesus. His precious blood paid for our healing, prosperity, soundness, safety, deliverance, and favor. No matter what happens in life, we have hope.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. ” Romans 8:28

So the next time that “snake in the grass” (Satan) introduces fear of loss to you, look him dead in the eye and pull a Lee Corso on him and say “Not so fast!”

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Love Gives, Faith Takes

” And He said to them, Why are you so fearful. How is it that you have no faith?”

Mark 4:40 NKJV

Physicians prescribe antibiotics to fight infection in your body.  The instructions indicate the medication is to be taken for a certain period of time, usually 5-7 days, sometimes more. Even though the symptoms may subside after a couple days, it doesn’t mean that the infection is gone. However, following the doctor’s instructions provides the most likely successful treatment. There is a biblical faith lesson to be learned here.

The disciples had just left church, hearing a great message from the “master teacher”. Afterwards, they had questions regarding the parable and wanted to get a better understanding of the sower, the seed and the ground.  Once this intimate session was completed, they were to board the ship and cross over to the other side. Jesus went below to catch some Z’s.  He had been pouring of Himself for quite some time which can take a lot out of you physically.

Not long after they got underway, a storm interrupted their journey. Being that several of them were experienced fishermen, this should not have alarmed them. But this was no ordinary storm. It was like a tsunami to them and they panicked as the ship began taking on water, starting to sink. Someone said, “Go get the Lord!” Master, Master! How can you sleep during this? You act like you don’t care that we are all going to die! Jesus was so cool. If I could use my imagination, He said something like’ Chill Dawg!” You wit me!

The Master of the sea calmly went topside and said three words. “Peace be still.” The bible says those three words
brought about a “great calm”.  He then questioned why they were afraid in the first place. Where was their faith?  No doubt they were puzzled by this reaction from their leader.  What they failed to realize was what He had been trying to teach them earlier that evening.  Faith for anything can only be supplied by hearing the word of God on a consistent basis. But it’s more than hearing only. Faith must be taken. By that I mean ingested, meditated on, spoken, until the symptoms dissipate. Then it must be taken some more; over and over again just like an antibiotic.  Smith Wigglesworth was quoted as saying: “We feed our bodies three square meals a day and our souls one quick snack a week, expecting great faith.”
Regular consistent  doses of the Word of God  according to Joshua 1:8 successfully fight the infection of life’s trials. That explains the “great calm” you have when all hell is breaking loose around you.

Behold The Star!

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Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. Matthew 2: 1-2 KJV

 

The star that the wise men saw was not an ordinary star. It was His star. The star announcing the birth of the Messiah. The one who would take away the sin of the world. It was the light of one whom the prophets spoke about. Centuries had passed and they were alive to witness it all!  This caravan of learned men, bearing gifts, made their way to Bethlehem, to see this child. By the time they arrived, he was 3 years old.  What kept them going as they travelled over all types of terrain and weather conditions?  Why didn’t they falter in the heat of the day or the coolness of the night air? They followed this star for three years! Who does that and why? It was the light of the star and the Promise that lay beneath it.

Today, that Promise, that Light, that Star is within us. Inside every believer is that Light that can never be extinguished.  But life can be hard, gruesome, unkind, and unrelenting at times. Even the best of us waver and lose focus on the Light within, giving way to situations and circumstances that seem to choke the life out of hope.  Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a broken relationship, financial hardship, or health issues, our “Herods” want to find the source of our Light and quench it forever. Just as Herod the King really wanted to kill the Christ child, Satan’s task is to kill our hope once and for all.

Our only recourse is to focus on that Light, but we cannot force ourselves to focus.  If we could, we would have succeeded by now. The key is the source of the Light and it can be found in this verse of scripture:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16 KJV

The key to this whole verse is that God’s love for us caused an action on His part. He gave. Yes, giving is part of our DNA. It’s the reason our faces light up when we see the smile on someone else’s face as a result of our gift . It’s the joy we feel, not expecting anything in return, while walking away more blessed than the recipient. What if we were to turn the tables on our own tragedies like the woman whose son was killed in the line of duty as a police officer. She had every reason to literally stop living.  I can’t imagine losing a child.  But she chose to give by feeding the other police officers every year for Thanksgiving at her house until she was 70 years old. What a blessing!

Christmas can be a tough time for many people and believers are not exempt from the trials of life.  But instead of focusing on “What do the lonely do at Christmas?”;  How about being a blessing to  someone else. It could be something as simple as a smile, a hug, a listening ear, a sandwich to a stranger; paying for someone’s meal, or groceries; There’s no greater gift than the one we have inside of us!  Let’s “Give Love on Christmas Day!” And when we Behold the Star, it alters our perspective!

 

 

 

Bad Decisions Are Not Final

Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt. Gen 37:28

It was cold, damp and dark in what used to be a place where water flowed freely and people came to draw from its sweet refreshing contents.  The young man was mentally and physically anguished, disillusioned by his kin that they would actually be excited about his dreams. He should have kept his mouth shut, but he had to share what God had shown him with those closest to him. Look what that got him; thrown into a pit and left there to die. ” …and now what would become of his dreams?…” -the very words spoken by his brethren  rang out in is spirit.  Sometimes we make poor decisions even with the best intentions.  But that doesn’t stop God’s plan for our lives from being accomplished.  It’s not like He is caught by surprise or anything.  If Joseph hadn’t opened his mouth he may have never ended up in Egypt and would not have eventually become the Prime Minister of that country, second in command to Pharoah and responsible for saving his entire  family.

On the other hand, sometimes we make poor decisions knowing full well the error of our ways. Consider Abraham, for example.  God told him he was going to have a son. Granted, he was 75 when he was told this and there was absolutely nothing cookin’ in he and Sarah’s bedroom.  First, God changed that situation with supernatural Viagra. He had to because why else would Sarah offer her handmaid (a sister with a bangin’ body) to be the surrogate and help God out.  Abraham said “Sarah, I believe you heard from the Lord!”  Now you know Jehovah had nothing to do with that. The result was Ishmael who was blessed but not the son of promise. Isaac came just the way God said he would, through Abraham and Sarah.   Generations later, the descendants of this “mistake” purchased Joseph from their brothers the Midianites and took him to Egypt, the location where his purpose was manifested.

God is the air traffic controller of our lives. He proves his love for us in that even when we  “miss it” (our scheduled flight) He always redirects and revamps the flight schedule, sometimes even sending a chartered flight just for you to get you to your destiny.  As long as you are “in Him” (in the terminal – in Christ) you will always reach your destination.. You may not can trust Delta or United, but God can be trusted.

Not Good Enough

” You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. “

John 15:3 NKJV

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I never have nor will I ever be a fan of Chitterlings (If you eat them or know of them the common vernacular is “Chitlin’s”). If you don’t know what they are, don’t ask.  They can be easily identified by the stench while cooking.  It is undeniably the worst, even though they are extensively cleaned as part of the preparation process. I have been told that some people clean them better than others and you can hardly sense the aroma at all.  Unfortunately, the best chitlin’ cooker can’t hide the evidence once the heat is applied. Such are our efforts when we try to clean ourselves. Many say they will one day “get themselves together”. ” I’m gonna stop this, stop that, and stay on the straight and narrow.” That’s about as futile as cleaning Chitlins’.  Our best efforts aren’t good enough.  Once the heat is applied in our lives, we see the stench of the impurities that were hidden from plain view in the intestines of our soul.

Jesus already cleansed us. Before we were born, He knew us.  His death burial and resurrection sealed our redemption and now we are clean.  Not because of our efforts, but because He said so.  Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am? Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God!”  A revelation of who Jesus is and what he has done will cause the transformation of or present manifestation. Faith for this only comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.  This is not natural because it doesn’t make human sense.  After all,”Nothing is free, right?”  Wrong!  For by grace are you saved through faith; that not of yourselves, but it is the gift of God;  with no strings attached! On you worst  day, you are clean because He said so! Be blessed.

It’s A Mind Game

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

2Cor 10: 4-5 KJV

Mark Batterson has a 7 Day devotional reading plan that I came across called “Chasing The Lion”.  One of the daily readings referenced this scripture and his thought was from a different perspective. Most believers are somewhat familiar with this passage which is  usually referenced from a negative connotation.

Before I begin, let’s determine what is meant by “strongholds” or “imaginations”.  A stronghold can best be defined as a mental house of thoughts.  These mental images (imaginations) are vivid images of negative situations or circumstances.  We typically interpret this passage from the perspective of receiving healing, or deliverance from something; even negative thoughts that our innermost fears give residence.  We impeach those mental pictures introduced to our mind by replacing them with what God has said.  Yet, Mark Batterson suggested that we can use this passage to impeach Satan’s attacks on our ideas, inventions, our purpose, our Godly plans and God-given assignments.

What is it that God has placed in your heart that you can’t [not] do?  What about that dream or purpose He has placed in your heart that you would do for free? Joseph’s brothers tried to kill the dreamer thereby killing the dream he had. We are protected in the arms of Jesus but I believe many dreams, plans, and aspirations are snuffed out by our failure to cast down those strongholds as well.  The devil doesn’t mind you going to church, serving in ministry, and the like, as long as you never fulfill your individual purpose for being on the planet. The only reason he attacks your mind is because he is threatened by your potential. We only fail to finish when we never start the process.  The task of “casting down strongholds” is never over as long as you are on the planet.  You must know that God cannot lie and, that truth will make you free to live out your purpose.  You will complete that book, write that song, find that cure, start that business, and God will be glorified in you. Replace those contrary mental houses of thoughts with what God has said.  After all, it is finished!