Monday, April 7, 2008

Questions About the Bible

What is The Bible?
Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Who Wrote The Bible?
2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

Did The Stories Really happen?
1 Corinthians 10-11
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.

Why Do We Study The Bible?
2 Timothy 3:15
...and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Can We Study and Memorize The Bible?
Joshua 1:8
Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

The Bible Is So Old. Is It Still Supposed To Be Used Today?
Psalm 119:152
Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever.

What Questions Do You Have About the Bible?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Jesus Encounter-Have You Encountered Jesus?

This is the first article in a four-part series.
People have had Jesus Encounters. And Christ has affected those people in a variety of ways.
If we think back and read the scriptures we know that Mary Magdalene reacted a certain way towards Jesus. She first thought he was the gardener on the morning of the resurrection. Thomas doubted that Jesus was truly alive until he could touch His wounds.

Some over the years have tried to deny encounters or evidence of truth. That the resurrection didn’t happen. The Chief Priests did this. They came up with a lie and said the disciples stole the body. They even paid off the Roman Guards standing watch to follow along with this story. They spread this lie thinking that this would slow down the spread of Christianity.
In order for us to have an encounter with Jesus, we should figure out what Jesus said about himself.

In the Book of John, Jesus made some bold “I” statements about himself.
Some of these “I AM” statements were made as Jesus encountered certain people.
I AM The True Vine John 15:1
"I am the true vine...”
To quote one commentator: “Jesus is what God intended Israel to be, but had never become” Jesus Christ is The True Vine.

Vineyards, vines and other fruit bearing plants represented Israel in the Old Testament. If we read a little farther in the passage in John, we know that Christ is the Vine and we, the people, are the branches. The Vine gives life to the branches. The branches can not survive on their own.
It is our responsibility to receive the nurture, care, strength and nourishment by latching on to Jesus Christ, the True Vine. We need to open up the Word, and apply it to our life. We need to spend time in prayer and talk with the Father.

We need to become the person, the people, the church that Jesus Christ modeled and lived, by absorbing all that Christ gives and makes available to us.
We need to have an encounter with The True Vine.

I AM The Good Shepherd
John 10:11,14
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep... I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me–"

What kind of shepherd would lay down his life for the sheep? The kind of shepherd that would protect his sheep from the wolves, the bears, the animals that would hurt or destroy His flock. The kind of shepherd who loves and cares for the well being of his flock. I love the picture of Jesus as The Good Shepherd taking care of his sheep.

Jesus Christ wants to take care of you. He wants to provide for you. He wants to guide you and direct you through this journey of life here on earth. The good shepherd knows the needs, the thoughts, the concerns, the desires, the dreams, he knows what we need. He wants to be able to take care of us.

Jesus Christ is willing to protect us from the dangerous snares that Satan sets out for us. The sin that so easily entangles us. Just as sheep get caught in thorny bushes and the shepherd comes and releases them, so do we as people get caught in sinful entanglements. Allow Christ to help you. Don’t you think he wants to help guide and direct you in your daily activities? Allow Jesus Christ to be the leader and master in your life. Give your life over fully to His direction.

We need to have an encounter with The Good Shepherd.
I AM The Bread of Life
John 6:35
"Then Jesus declared, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.'"

Those who believe in Jesus Christ will find the atoning and satisfying work from Jesus Christ. Their sins will be forgiven, their new life will begin. He is saying, my doctrines will give life and peace to you.

We live in a time, when it is easy to think we have found satisfaction and joy on our own without Jesus Christ. One of the commentaries said that in the western culture, in which we live, bread is optional, but it was essential in the time and culture we are reading here. When we read the comment I am the bread of life, it has the tendency to not appeal to us.

We have so much stuff, it is easy to overlook the basics. We need Jesus Christ, just like we need to have the basics of life, bread and water. Jesus Christ needs to be an essential part of our life. Just as we need the basic physical bread and water of life, we need, more so, the bread and water that comes from partaking, eating, believing, drinking in the teachings, the doctrines of Jesus Christ.

When we take Communion, it is a testimony of the fact that we are redeemed. We have taken part in the salvation which Christ provided. The broken body, the spilt blood. Jesus Christ is what you need to have a better life here on earth. It is what you need to have life eternally with God.

We need to have an encounter with The Bread of Life.
I AM The Light of The World
John 9:5
"While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
The sun, in all it’s splendor, provides so much. It gives life to allow plants, vegetables, crops and other things to grow. The sun provides warmth, comfort. When the sun is out it provides sight for all to see.

The Son of God, the Light of the World will provide the guidance we need in life. Without Jesus Christ, we are all blind beggars who can’t see a thing. We are living in a dark world, a world in which without Jesus Christ, we can not see a thing. Once we invite Jesus Christ into our life and listen and follow the things he tells us to do, then we will be able to see.

He gives us sight. Are you ready to see? Are you ready to be opened to a new life? Are you ready for the light to shine upon you?

We need to have an encounter with The Light of The World.
I AM The Way, The Truth & The Life
John 14:6
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
He is the only way to which we can obtain salvation and eternal life with God in Heaven. He is the only possible way. He is The Truth. There is nothing false about him. He is the very essence of Truth, he is The Truth in flesh.

People want to know what is true in the world in which we live. Start with Jesus! Jesus Christ is the life we should all want to live and model after. He is the way to obtain that life. It is not impossible to live a Christ-like life.
I encourage you if you have not made that choice, if you have not walked down the path, do it today. Do it now!

Listen, There are only two choices: The path through Jesus Christ or everything else. One way leads to Heaven. All others may have the best intentions, but they lead to Hell.

Separation from God. Separation from peace, comfort, life. I am serious, there are so many good things, good teachings, good thoughts, good intentions, but there is only one path. The pathway to God The Father.

We need to have an encounter with The Way The Truth and The Life.
Have you had an encounter with Jesus?

He is The True Vine
Where do you find and receive your strength?

He is The Good Shepherd
Is Christ your comforter, counselor and guidance in life?

He Is The Bread of Life
Is Christ an essential part of your life?

He is The Light of The World
Does Jesus lead us and direct your living?

He is The Way, The Truth & Life
Is Jesus Savior and Messiah in your life?

Questions: When you think about an encounter with Jesus, what thoughts come to your mind? Have you had an encounter with the True Vine, The Good Shepherd, The Bread of Life, The Light of the World, The Way, The Truth, The Life? Please share your encounter.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Faith and Deeds

Our actions need to match our faith. A person must have faith, but with that faith one will acquire or learn to love, obey and do good works. Paul says that we are slaves to righteousness. We need to do that which God asks of us. The author of James states that along with amazing faith we also need to have deeds or works to accompany this faith. “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead.” James, who stands very firm on this issue, also says “show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by what I do.” Our actions show our faith, our relationship with Christ. We love, because God first loved us!

But first, we must have faith; we must believe that Jesus came and died for us. If good deeds alone got us in heaven than would have been the point of Jesus coming down to earth? Faith in Jesus Christ is what allows us to become righteous.

So remember the love that God has for us. Remember the love that Christ pours out onto us and the love that we need to show to God.

Questions: How are you showing God's love? How are you putting your faith into action?