Jesus Said:(Two) "Blessed are they that Mourn" -Evotional- (July 27)


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Psalms: 4 1-4 "The Lord Will Hear" -Evotional- (July 27)


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Psalms
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Prophecy Today: "Take Up Thy Cross" - Rapture Ready

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Take Up Thy Cross

By Grant Phillips


And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)

Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22)

These two verses have one thing, especially, in common. One states it; the other implies it. What is it? Jesus is saying in Mark 8:34, “Take up thy cross.” He is saying the same thing in Luke 18:22 by implication.

In Luke 18:22, Jesus was not telling the young ruler that he needed to sell all he had and give to the poor, in order to follow Him. He is not telling us that we need to sell everything we have and give to the poor in order to follow Him. He was telling the young ruler that his “things” were his gods. That too, is the message to us today. To follow Jesus, the young ruler needed to put Jesus first in his life, above and beyond everything else. Now it may be, that we need to sell some “things” and give to the poor. If God has called upon us to pray about another’s need, perhaps He is also calling upon us as a fulfillment, or at least a partial fulfillment, to that prayer.

Then Jesus said, “For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:25) Think this out. Is it not true, generally speaking, that the more we have, the harder it is to let go of it? Let me give another scenario. If one person has a job earning $100,000 per year, and another person has a job earning $10,000 per year, which will have a harder time if they both lose their jobs? Which will it be harder on if they both are unable to find another job for an extended period of time? The answer is obvious.

We need to consider the possibility that there may be “things” in our lives that keep us from following Jesus. We cannot take up our cross and follow Him, if we already have a full load of “things” in our lives … those “things” that have become our gods.

There are numerous verses where Jesus either says plainly or implies for us to take up our cross and follow Him. Bless yourselves by reading the Gospels and looking for these instances. There are many.

So we see that taking up our cross is not allowing anything to come before Jesus in our lives. The pecking order should be something like this; God first, family second, others third, ourselves last. Notice that there is no mention of “things”.

Believe it or not, I have noticed over the years more pastors than you might realize not giving of themselves to their families as they should. They think they are putting God first by giving everyone else their time, not realizing that they are not putting God first when they deprive their own families.

What does it mean though to “take up thy cross”? From what I have heard over the years, many people think (giving two examples) that if they are afflicted with illness, or have family problems, then this is “taking up thy cross”. It is not. Everyone has been, is, or will be afflicted with some kind of illness. Everyone has been, is, or will have family problems. We all suffer the same maladies in this life, on this earth, but that is not “taking up thy cross”.

My heart goes out to anyone suffering sin’s affects upon this world. That is not to say that they are suffering because of their sin(s), absolutely not. It is simply saying that this fallen world has placed its curse upon us all, and it was caused by original sin. But these problems are just that, problems caused by a fallen world. They are not our “taking up thy cross”.

“Take up thy cross” simply means that we die to self, as our Savior died for us upon the cross, and live wholly for Him. Jesus died upon the cross, was buried, and rose the third day. (See 1 Corinthians 15:3-4) Here we have the cross, the grave, and the empty tomb. For us, we die to self, we are buried in Him, and we live for Him. We can die to self because He died for us. We are buried in Him, because we rest all hope in Him with complete trust. We live for Him, because He lives in us. That is what it means to “take up thy cross”.

I would like to add that Jesus also spoke of a yoke. He said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

When two oxen are yoked together, one is always the lead ox. Jesus takes our load upon Himself and leads us in the way we should go. In James He says that He will give us more grace to combat evil desires. “But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, "God opposes the proud but favors the humble." (James 4:6 NLT) Would it not also be true that He gives us more grace for any circumstance if we need it? Of course it would.

When we take up our cross for Him, we soon discover that the burden is light. Sometimes we are afraid to step out for Him, but once we do, we find that He gives us more grace. He makes the yoke easy and the burden light.

I hope this has inspired many to get out of the easy chair, so to speak, and “take up thy cross”. This is where the Lord wants us. This is where we need to be.

Grant Phillips


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Yes! Jesus is Coming!


Evotional: "Actual Repentance" -Tozer- (July 27)


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Prophecy Today Series:(6) "Salvation, Justification and Sanctification" [The Kingdom, Power & Glory] -Koinonia House


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Salvation, Justification and Sanctification

by Nancy Missler
  

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As was mentioned at the beginning of this series, after being Christians for more than 50 years, what Chuck and I have learned in our research for this material has totally revolutionized our personal walk with the Lord. We consider the truths contained in the Kingdom, Power and Glory book and these articles to be some of the most life-changing principles we’ve encountered since our new birth. As you can tell, we are passionate about this subject because it has made the whole Bible come even more alive for us.

Most Christians have been taught about the Millennium, but many of them don’t realize that not only our rewards, but also our place of responsibility in the future kingdom will be either won or lost according to our faithfulness in this life. (1 Cor. 3:12-15) In other words, our behavior here on earth matters—it counts! Therefore, there is a huge need for us to recognize our own personal accountability before the Lord. This is what The Kingdom, Power and Glory series tries to convey.

Jesus came to deliver us out of the authority of darkness and bring us into His kingdom of Love. Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin (2 Cor. 5:21) and gave His Life so that we could be reconciled back to the Father, be given the authority and the power to overcome the enemy and be trained as His companions to rule and reign with Him over the earth. This is what “salvation” is all about.

“Salvation” literally means to deliver from chains or shackles by a payment or a ransom. Christ, of course, paid that ransom for us by shedding His blood on the Cross. Salvation is a “free gift” that God wants everyone in the world to have. All that is required of us is to believe in what Christ has already done on the Cross and commit our lives to Him. This simple act of faith is called “justification” and is what makes us “declared not guilty” before God. (Rom. 3:26; 4:5-6)

Even though “justification” declares us “positionally” reconciled to God and declared not guilty, “experientially” (in our life actions) we have not changed a bit. Our behavior is exactly the same as it was and our character hasn’t been touched a bit. In other words, the act of “justification” doesn’t automatically transform us into Christ’s image. It simply leads us to the process of “sanctification,” which is how God actually conforms us. Thus, complete salvation is really a lifelong process. One way to view this is: Our spirit is saved at our new birth (justification); our soul is in the process of being saved through the sanctification process. And our bodies will be saved in the future at the resurrection. Consequently, we receive the “salvation of our souls” at the end of our faith, not the beginning.

Both 1 Peter 1:9 and Hebrews 10:39 validate this. Therefore, complete salvation doesn’t consist of one simple choice at the beginning of our faith (to accept Christ as “Savior”), but thou-sands upon thousands of choices to stay faithful, obedient and persevering till the very end (allowing Christ to become “Lord” of our lives). The actual saving of our soul is dependent upon our moment-by-moment choice to “put off” our sin and self and to “put on” Christ. (Eph 4:22-24)

So, even though we have a redeemed spirit as a result of “justification,” until we are sanctified, we still have an unredeemed soul and body. The following CHART is what “justification” looks like:

See CHART 2 - Justification 

The gold dot in the middle of the circles represents our re-deemed spirit. It’s gold because at our new birth, it is saved and declared righteous before the Lord. This is a “free gift” just for the asking. Notice, however, the larger and yet, darker grey circle around the gold dot. This circle represents our soul. It’s grey be-cause at this beginning point, it is still unredeemed. It represents our own natural thoughts, emotions and desires that are usually opposite to God’s. Transforming these to Godly thoughts, emotions and desires is what the sanctification process is all about. The outer grey circle, then, represents our body which will be redeemed at the Rapture. This process is called “glorification.”

So, the first step of salvation (“justification”) simply means receiving God’s eternal Life in our spirits (the gold dot). It means we have passed from death (separation from God) to Life (i.e., God is in us).1 However, our soul (the grey circle) still has not changed a bit. It’s still the same as it was before we were born again, our own natural thoughts, emotions and desires.

As we proceed in these articles, when we talk about “justification” always remember the “gold dot” in the center of the circle, our saved spirit. If we should die at this point, we would go to heaven and be with the Lord. Sanctification, on the other hand, means seeing the Life of God that was placed in our hearts when we were born again, actually begin to come forth and transform our souls—His thoughts becoming our thoughts, His Love becoming our love and His will, our will.2

Sanctification is how we are transformed from a “soulish” and “fleshly” man to a “spiritual man.” It’s learning how to actually live Christ’s Life. At this point, because we are being sanctified, we becomepartakers of Christ’s Life—His Love, wisdom and power—(not just receivers of His Life). The light of Christ’s Life is coming forth—that beam of Light…

See CHART 3 - Sanctification Process

Therefore, justification is really just the first step of salvation. It’s not the end of the race; but only thebeginning of our walk with the Lord. (It’s the dot in the middle of the circle, not the beam of light!) God desires to make us in character and action, righteous, holy and set apart so that “beam of light” (God’s Life) can come forth. Unfortunately, this transformation into His image doesn’t happen automatically. It’s going to be our constant and continuing choice!

Receiving the Holy Spirit in our spirit is like the down payment, the pledge or the seal of a much greater commitment that is yet forthcoming. (Ephesians 1:13) In other words, the union of our spirits (justification) is simply a symbol of our “betrothal.” Our “wedding” is still forthcoming! “Justification” is what gets us into the Millennial Kingdom and heaven. It’s what opens the door for us, but “sanctification” (learning to actually live and partake of Christ’s Life) is what will make us those faithful and obedient overcomers who will rule and reign there with Christ.

Christ is the One who will accomplish this transformation in our lives by the power of His Holy Spirit. Butwe are the ones who must choose to let Him do so moment-by-moment.

Justification is a free gift that we simply receive and em-brace; whereas, sanctification is the process that will outwardly reveal that we have, indeed, been saved. (John 13:35) The whole point here is that salvation truly is a life-long process. Salvation begins with “justification” and the gift of a new Spirit, but the real work involves the “sanctification process” (faithfulness, perseverance and obedience) because that’s what will qualify us to co-reign with Christ in the coming Millennial Kingdom. Therefore, “sanctification” is what the majority of these articles will be about.

“No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setting it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. (Luke 8:16)

 


 

 Yes! Jesus is Coming!

Evotional: "Turn Your Eyes" -Streams in the Desert- (July 27)


Streams in the Desert

 

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 Streams in the Desert 

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Evotional: "Jesus in You" -God Calling- (July 27)

God Calling
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Prophecy Today Q&A: "How Can We Be Like Them? -Jack Kelley


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How Can We Be Like Them?

Q. What can we learn from John’s letter to the Church of Philadelphia, in which he could find NO fault with their mission or accomplishments?  Of the seven churches mentioned early in Revelation, it seems odd to me that only one received such lavish praise without a single, even gentle, criticism.  What can the church of TODAY do to emulate that congregation?

 

A. The letter to the Church of Philadelphia appears in Rev. 3:7-13.  In reading it we can tell they did just what the Lord asked them to do, no more and no less, by remaining faithful to the Gospel even though they appeared weak in the eyes of the world.  He commended them for keeping His word and not denying His name, enduring their time in this world patiently and awaiting His promised return.  That’s all He requires of us(John 6:28-29).  If He gives you the privilege of working with Him, He’ll prompt you and empower you.  Without that there’s nothing you can do that’s of any value to the Kingdom (John 15:5)

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