1/25/14

From Ben Fronczek... Are You A Happy Christian?


Are You A Happy Christian? 


Today I have a personal question to ask. Are you a happy person?  Would you consider yourself to be happy and joy filled person more than 90 percent of the time?  Here’s a good test of this, if I were to ask others, maybe family members or those closest would they say that you are a happy person? What would they say about how joy filled you are?

Well you may be thinking, ‘Well I’m a happy Christian most of the time; that is when I’m not rushing around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. Or, when I’m not upset with my husband or my wife or my kids or the people I work with, or when I’m not feeling angry at those crazy drivers out there. Or, when I’m not having a personal pity party, or when someone purposely hurts my feelings.

So how much time does that leave you to be really happy and joy filled?

Do you realize that one of the very reasons why Jesus came into this world and died for you on the cross of Calvary is because the Heavenly Father and Jesus Himself wanted you to be happy and full of joy?

In Philippians 4 the Apostle Paul wrote,  

4 Rejoice in the Lord always (always). I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

When I read verses like this I can’t help but believe that Paul learned the secret of being truly happy. If you know anything about Paul’s life as a Christian it was anything but easy. Later in verses 12 and 13 he writes,           

12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content(happy) in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Paul joy and strength was totally rooted in knowing and believing in Jesus. His happiness depended less on waiting for others to make him happy, or for situations to make him happy, or events to make him truly happy because things may not happen the way you want them to happen and people will let you down.  Rather his inner peace and joy was rooted and grounded in someone who would never let him down; Jesus and all that He promised those who love and follow Him.

In Galatians 5:22 Paul wrote that  “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…”   I think happiness and joy is one of the evidences of our spiritual conversion in Christ.

So what’s the problem? Why are so many of us so unhappy?

Abraham Lincoln once said, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”  Centuries before Lincoln, the Roman Emperor Marcus Antonius said, “No man is happy who does not think himself so.”  The English journalist Roger L ‘Estrange said it best when he said, “It is not the place, nor the condition, but the mind alone that can make anyone happy or miserable.” Solomon wrote “As a Man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

So it’s all in our head, but all too often we are guilty of thinking wrong or what I call ‘stinkin thinkin’.   To often we think we will be happier if we get what we want, or run from where we are to some place else, or if we try to look like or be someone different than who we are.
Usually when we get the things that we want or crave, we are happy for a short time but it’s never enough and we find our self looking to get something else. And if we run away from our problems thinking things are going to be better some place else, that new found happiness is short lived. Why? Because we cannot escape our self and our own negative attitudes.
Jesus said that He came that we may have life and have it to the full (or more abundantly).  And so if you don’t accept Jesus and what He has provided whether you be a Christian or not you are going to find an empty hole in you spirit and soul. Faith in Jesus and what is promise to us because of what He did for us is the key to unlocking that happiness and joy that our soul craves.
It must make God sad when we don’t take advantage of the great blessings and happiness and peace He has made available to us.

In the Parable of the great banquet  (Luke 14:15-24) we read that a certain man goes out of his way to prepare this great party and feast at much expense to himself and then invites his friends and neighbors to come and enjoy this feast with him. My wife and I use to entertain more and we use to have big picnics during the summer and we’d invite as many friends and relatives that would come. We enjoyed entertaining people in this manner and we wanted to show them a good time and feed them some good food. Well as the story goes no one he initially invited wanted to go to this guy’s feast. They all came up with various excuses as to what they could not attend.

When his servants reported this to him we read that he was upset. I can understand.  He was probably more hurt especially since he went through all that trouble and expense to show these people a good time but they chose to do something different. I would be hurt a little if my wife and I put on this big picnic and bought all kind of great food and only s few we invited showed up.

Well as the story goes the man sent out his servants to find any and everyone they could find, even if he did not know then, to come to his feast.

Now I believe that this parable is letting us know how God feels when we don’t take advantage of the great blessings He has provided us with. He has provided us with so many blessings. He offers us abundant life, joy, peace of mind, an inheritance equal to that of His Son Jesus, yet many Christians seem oblivious or forget those blessings and promises. And just like the man in the story was disappointed, I can’t help but believe God is disappointed when we when He see us miserable and sad, and depressed and hears us whining and complaining, even coming up with all kinds of excuses as to why we don’t take advantage of what He wants to give us.
Just as a reminder I want to share with you some of those things which He has provided you and me with.

2 Peter 1:3-4  

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

In other words, because of His glory and excellence, and love for us, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share in His divine nature and that will help you escape the corruption of this world. (When you put on Christ you put on God!

Romans 6:23 says   

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

  That’s a pretty awesome promise!

In John 14:15-19 Jesus said,   

“If you love me, keep my commands.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”

Jesus told us that He would send His Spirit into Christians and he Spirit will help us, lead us into truth, teach us, convict us when we mess up, and would be with us forever. In Romans 8:26-27 Paul told us that the Spirit also helps us to pray.

In Philippians 4:7 we are told that if we pray the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard our heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

In Romans 8:35 we are told that nothing will separate us from the love of Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 10:13 we are told that God won’t let me be tried or tempted beyond what I can endure.  

And that in Romans 8:28 All things work together for my good.

In 2 Corinthians 9:8 we are told that God is able to make all grace abound to me and you, so all our needs will be met.  We are in God’s favor!

We are promised an awesome inheritance in Ephesians 1:14 Col. 1:12

In Ephesians 3:12 we are also told that we can approach God with freedom and confidence.

In Hebrews 2:18  we are told that Jesus will help me if I’m tempted.

In James 1:5 James tells us that if we ask for wisdom from God, He will give it to us.

James also told us that If we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. James 4:8

John said that God will continue to forgive and cleanses us of new sin, if we confess those sins to Him.   1John 1:9

John also wrote that When Jesus re-appears, we will be made like Him. 1 John 3:2
Peter wrote that A new heaven and earth await you and me, which is called the ‘home of righteousness’. 2 Peter 3:13

God has also given you and me eternal life as a Christian. 1 John 5:11

These are just a few of the many promises given to those of us who are Christians.  So what it comes down to is you have a choice. You can choose to be happy, feel good and rejoice because of who you are in Christ, because you are God’s sons and daughters, because has set heavenly glory before you and want to richly bless you in your daily life, or you can choose to be miserable, sad, angry, depressed or filled with self pity always complaining about every little thing.  The choice is yours. (As a man thinketh …) One way leads to that abundant life God sent His son to give you. 

The other is a sad and unhappy way of life with may occasional good moments.

The key is what you believe; what and who you have faith in.

Make a decision everyday when you get up to rejoice in the Lord and what He has provided and called us to. When you wake up in the morning, have a meeting with yourself. Make a decision to be a more positive happy person for that day and ask God to help you. It may be hard the first few days, but as you keep making a decision each day and ask for God’s help you will become a happier person.

Also remember and acknowledge and thank God for His love and many promise He has made to bless you. Think about these things throughout the day and your life will. And one day you will be able to say like Paul,  

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”


For more lessons click on the following link:

From Jim McGuiggan... Waiting, Smiling People


Waiting, Smiling People

Peter Ackroyd said the thirteen year-old Charles Dickens was stronger than his companions when he had survived his fears and come through his bitter childhood experience of the darker side of London life. Having come through it, “actually lent to him a certain sense of power and of authority. He knew more than his companions, and this sense of having had a larger and deeper experience may well have spurred him forward.”

Yes, but what exactly is it that made Dickens stronger and spurred him on? It wasn’t just the experience of life in a blacking factory, cut off from his family—it was the fact that he had survived it intact! He now knew things about himself that he could not have known had he not gone through this time of trial. Others had sunk without trace in such circumstances; their fears had proved to be correct. The fears had said, “You’ll collapse, you won’t be able to take the pressure!” They did, and they couldn’t. But not young Charles Dickens! Whatever his fears had whispered to him in his lonely attic at night or during the long humiliating days at the factory—they were wrong! He now knew it! He knew it in the only way you can know such things—he’d come through it triumphant and that knowledge by experience was strength and it made him believe that whatever was ahead he could handle it!

I suppose that for most of us there were times when we feared we’d not make it, that the pressure was too great or the loneliness was too long or the hurt too intense. Some of us came out the other side and not only did we feel the ecstasy of relief there was the added awareness of an inner strength. “I’m still on my feet! Fancy that!”

When we came out of the blacking factory into the light and looked around there were waiting people, smiling at the sight of us, their eyes shining with admiration; not only glad for us but proud of us and giving God praise for doing such a wonderful thing in and with us.

There’s something of that in 1 Peter 1:7. The text is not just as straightforward as the major versions make it appear. The text says they were going through trial so that “the testing” of their faith might result in praise and glory and honour all round. Precisely the same phrase is found in James 1:3 where the testing process is in view. In James it isn’t their faith that works patience; it’s the trying of their faith that works patience and this might be Peter’s point—the testing experience will finally result in praise and honour. Faith is the “material” being tested but it might be the testing process that he has in mind.

How many metal-workers must have smiled when they subjected this substance to the fire and grinned all over at the proof that what they tested was truly gold. Gold is subjected to testing and the result is the proof of its preciousness. Christian faith is subjected to testing and is proved genuine and God and right thinking people recognize that faith is much more precious than gold.

Maybe, in the end, we’re not to separate the testing from the faith and that Peter is talking about “a proved-genuine” faith; not an untried faith but a faith that has come out the other side of the furnace. To know that you have a faith that can survive the fire is not just another piece of information—it is a kind of knowing, a kind of knowledge that becomes part of who you are. Some information you can live well without and some enables you to be and live profoundly better.

To know that God has protected you by faith (1:5) gives you a fine sense of present strength and courage for the future for while you recognize that God has been there, always been there, keeping you and guarding you, he didn’t do it by magic. He didn’t do it without you; he did it with you and in you and through you. It was always him but it was never him without you! You were no puppet! If anyone asks you how you made it through you’d remind them without any hesitation or reservation that it was all God’s doing. But you’d rejoice within knowing he chose not to do it without you!

God bless and keep you who are going through the fire.

From Mark Copeland... Three Pictures Of Faithful Service (1 Timothy 2:3-7)

                    "THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"

               Three Pictures Of Faithful Service (2:3-7)

INTRODUCTION

1. As Paul sought to encourage Timothy in his work as an evangelist...
   a. He made allusions to three secular occupations: soldier, athlete,
      farmer - cf. 2Ti 2:3-7
   b. Here we find "Three Pictures Of Faithful Service"

2. The lessons to be gleaned from these "pictures" is not limited to
   evangelists...
   a. All who serve the Lord should learn from the soldier, athlete, and
      farmer
   b. No matter what our function as members of the body of Christ

[With that in mind, let's look closer at the first "picture" in which we
are reminded of...]

I. THE DEDICATION OF A SOLDIER

   A. LONGSUFFERING...
      1. "...must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ"
         - 2Ti 2:3
      2. Soldiers often endure great hardship in their service for their
         country
      3. Should Christians be any less willing to suffer hardship?
         a. For the gospel of Christ? - cf. 2Ti 1:8
         b. For the kingdom of God? - cf. Mt 5:10-12

   B. FOCUSED...
      1. "No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs
         of this life" - 2Ti 2:4
      2. Soldiers must concentrate on the task at hand to survive
      3. Christians need to be careful less they be distracted by the
         world
         a. Or they will bear no fruit to maturity - cf. Lk 8:14
         b. Or they will drown themselves in destruction and perdition
            - cf. 1Ti 6:9-12

   C. DEVOTED...
      1. "...that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier."
         - 2Ti 2:4
      2. Soldiers desire to please their commanders
      3. Should not Christians desire to please their Great Commander?
         a. Note Paul's attitude concerning himself - 2Co 5:9
         b. Note Paul's prayer concerning the Colossians - Col 1:10

[The next time you see a soldier who serves his or her country with
honor, ask yourself:  "Do I serve my Lord and His kingdom with the same
dedication?"  Another picture that illustrates faithful service is...]

II. THE DISCIPLINE OF AN ATHLETE

   A. OBEDIENT...
      1. "...he competes according to the rules." - 2Ti 2:5
      2. Athletes understand the need to abide by the rules if they
         desire to win
      3. Are Christians under any less obligation to abide by the rules?
         a. Jesus calls upon to observe what He taught - Mt 28:20; cf.
            Lk 6:46
         b. We must doers of the Word, and not hearers only - Jm 1:22;
            cf. Mt 7:21-27

   B. SELF-CONTROLLED...
      1. Note another comparison by Paul regarding athletics - 1Co 9:
         24-27
      2. Athletes know that ultimate victory requires great self-control
      3. Should Christians exercise self-control any less?
         a. We strive for an imperishable crown - 1Co 9:25; cf. 1 Pe 1:4
         b. If we are "disqualified", what then? - 1Co 9:27; cf. 2 Co 13:5

[As you watch athletes competing in the different sports, let their
example of self-discipline challenge you in your own service to the
Lord.  Finally, consider a third picture of faithful service...]

III. THE DILIGENCE OF A FARMER

   A. HARDWORKING...
      1. "The hardworking farmer..." - 2Ti 2:6
      2. Farming is certainly no easy task
      3. Should Christians labor any less in the vineyard of the Lord?
         a. The harvest is plentiful, and laborers are needed - cf. Mt 9:37-38; 20:1
         b. The fruit that we gather relates to eternal life (souls are
            at stake!) - cf. Jn 4:36

   B. MOTIVATED...
      1. "...first to partake of the crops - 2Ti 2:6
      2. It is the hardworking farmers who enjoy the benefit of their
         labors first
      3. Do Christians not have good motivation to labor diligently?
         a. Their labor is not in vain - 1Co 15:58
         b. Their hope is eternal life, and the crown of righteousness
            - Ro 6:22-23; 2Ti 4:8

CONCLUSION

1. From these "Three Pictures Of Faithful Service", we glean that
   Christians should be...
   a. Dedicated like soldiers
   b. Disciplined like athletes
   c. Diligent like farmers

2. Are we willing to learn from these three "pictures"...?
   a. Willing to suffer in our efforts to please the Lord?
   b. Willing to discipline ourselves to receive an imperishable crown?
   c. Willing to work diligently that we might benefit from the fruit of
      our labors?

As Paul instructed Timothy:  "Consider what I say, and may the Lord give
you understanding in all things..." - 2Ti 2:7

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011


From Gary... Bible Reading January 25

Bible Reading  

January 25

The World English Bible



Jan. 25
Genesis 25
Gen 25:1 Abraham took another wife, and her name was Keturah.
Gen 25:2 She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.
Gen 25:3 Jokshan became the father of Sheba, and Dedan. The sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim.
Gen 25:4 The sons of Midian: Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah.
Gen 25:5 Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac,
Gen 25:6 but to the sons of Abraham's concubines, Abraham gave gifts. He sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, to the east country.
Gen 25:7 These are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived: one hundred seventy-five years.
Gen 25:8 Abraham gave up the spirit, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years, and was gathered to his people.
Gen 25:9 Isaac and Ishmael, his sons, buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron, the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre,
Gen 25:10 the field which Abraham purchased of the children of Heth. Abraham was buried there with Sarah, his wife.
Gen 25:11 It happened after the death of Abraham that God blessed Isaac, his son. Isaac lived by Beer Lahai Roi.
Gen 25:12 Now this is the history of the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bore to Abraham.
Gen 25:13 These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to the order of their birth: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebaioth, then Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam,
Gen 25:14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa,
Gen 25:15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah.
Gen 25:16 These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their villages, and by their encampments: twelve princes, according to their nations.
Gen 25:17 These are the years of the life of Ishmael: one hundred thirty-seven years. He gave up the spirit and died, and was gathered to his people.
Gen 25:18 They lived from Havilah to Shur that is before Egypt, as you go toward Assyria. He lived opposite all his relatives.
Gen 25:19 This is the history of the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son. Abraham became the father of Isaac.
Gen 25:20 Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Paddan Aram, the sister of Laban the Syrian, to be his wife.
Gen 25:21 Isaac entreated Yahweh for his wife, because she was barren. Yahweh was entreated by him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
Gen 25:22 The children struggled together within her. She said, "If it be so, why do I live?" She went to inquire of Yahweh.
Gen 25:23 Yahweh said to her, Two nations are in your womb. Two peoples will be separated from your body. The one people will be stronger than the other people. The elder will serve the younger.
Gen 25:24 When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
Gen 25:25 The first came out red all over, like a hairy garment. They named him Esau.
Gen 25:26 After that, his brother came out, and his hand had hold on Esau's heel. He was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.
Gen 25:27 The boys grew. Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field. Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents.
Gen 25:28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he ate his venison. Rebekah loved Jacob.
Gen 25:29 Jacob boiled stew. Esau came in from the field, and he was famished.
Gen 25:30 Esau said to Jacob, "Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am famished." Therefore his name was called Edom.
Gen 25:31 Jacob said, "First, sell me your birthright."
Gen 25:32 Esau said, "Behold, I am about to die. What good is the birthright to me?"
Gen 25:33 Jacob said, "Swear to me first." He swore to him. He sold his birthright to Jacob.
Gen 25:34 Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils. He ate and drank, rose up, and went his way. So Esau despised his birthright.


Jan. 25, 26
Matthew 13

Mat 13:1 On that day Jesus went out of the house, and sat by the seaside.
Mat 13:2 Great multitudes gathered to him, so that he entered into a boat, and sat, and all the multitude stood on the beach.
Mat 13:3 He spoke to them many things in parables, saying, "Behold, a farmer went out to sow.
Mat 13:4 As he sowed, some seeds fell by the roadside, and the birds came and devoured them.
Mat 13:5 Others fell on rocky ground, where they didn't have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of earth.
Mat 13:6 When the sun had risen, they were scorched. Because they had no root, they withered away.
Mat 13:7 Others fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and choked them.
Mat 13:8 Others fell on good soil, and yielded fruit: some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.
Mat 13:9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
Mat 13:10 The disciples came, and said to him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?"
Mat 13:11 He answered them, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them.
Mat 13:12 For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have abundance, but whoever doesn't have, from him will be taken away even that which he has.
Mat 13:13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they don't see, and hearing, they don't hear, neither do they understand.
Mat 13:14 In them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says, 'By hearing you will hear, and will in no way understand; Seeing you will see, and will in no way perceive:
Mat 13:15 for this people's heart has grown callous, their ears are dull of hearing, they have closed their eyes; or else perhaps they might perceive with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and should turn again; and I would heal them.'
Mat 13:16 "But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.
Mat 13:17 For most certainly I tell you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which you see, and didn't see them; and to hear the things which you hear, and didn't hear them.
Mat 13:18 "Hear, then, the parable of the farmer.
Mat 13:19 When anyone hears the word of the Kingdom, and doesn't understand it, the evil one comes, and snatches away that which has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown by the roadside.
Mat 13:20 What was sown on the rocky places, this is he who hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it;
Mat 13:21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while. When oppression or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
Mat 13:22 What was sown among the thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of this age and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
Mat 13:23 What was sown on the good ground, this is he who hears the word, and understands it, who most certainly bears fruit, and brings forth, some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty."
Mat 13:24 He set another parable before them, saying, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field,
Mat 13:25 but while people slept, his enemy came and sowed darnel weeds also among the wheat, and went away.
Mat 13:26 But when the blade sprang up and brought forth fruit, then the darnel weeds appeared also.
Mat 13:27 The servants of the householder came and said to him, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where did this darnel come from?'
Mat 13:28 "He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and gather them up?'
Mat 13:29 "But he said, 'No, lest perhaps while you gather up the darnel weeds, you root up the wheat with them.
Mat 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest time I will tell the reapers, "First, gather up the darnel weeds, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn." ' "
Mat 13:31 He set another parable before them, saying, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field;
Mat 13:32 which indeed is smaller than all seeds. But when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches."
Mat 13:33 He spoke another parable to them. "The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, until it was all leavened."
Mat 13:34 Jesus spoke all these things in parables to the multitudes; and without a parable, he didn't speak to them,
Mat 13:35 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophet, saying, "I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world."
Mat 13:36 Then Jesus sent the multitudes away, and went into the house. His disciples came to him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the darnel weeds of the field."
Mat 13:37 He answered them, "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man,
Mat 13:38 the field is the world; and the good seed, these are the children of the Kingdom; and the darnel weeds are the children of the evil one.
Mat 13:39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.
Mat 13:40 As therefore the darnel weeds are gathered up and burned with fire; so will it be at the end of this age.
Mat 13:41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather out of his Kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and those who do iniquity,
Mat 13:42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be weeping and the gnashing of teeth.
Mat 13:43 Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Mat 13:44 "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found, and hid. In his joy, he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.
Mat 13:45 "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a merchant seeking fine pearls,
Mat 13:46 who having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Mat 13:47 "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet, that was cast into the sea, and gathered some fish of every kind,
Mat 13:48 which, when it was filled, they drew up on the beach. They sat down, and gathered the good into containers, but the bad they threw away.
Mat 13:49 So will it be in the end of the world. The angels will come forth, and separate the wicked from among the righteous,
Mat 13:50 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth."
Mat 13:51 Jesus said to them, "Have you understood all these things?" They answered him, "Yes, Lord."
Mat 13:52 He said to them, "Therefore, every scribe who has been made a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a householder, who brings out of his treasure new and old things."
Mat 13:53 It happened that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed from there.
Mat 13:54 Coming into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom, and these mighty works?
Mat 13:55 Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother called Mary, and his brothers, James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?
Mat 13:56 Aren't all of his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all of these things?"
Mat 13:57 They were offended by him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and in his own house."
Mat 13:58 He didn't do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.



From Gary... At the end of power, comes...




























I think this may be the Great Wall of China.  I could be wrong on this one, but it it looks like it is.  Anyway, when I saw this picture I thought of that great empire, with its millions and millions of people and unparalleled longevity.  But, as the picture shows, there are limits to even its power and greatness.  But, with God, there is unlimited power...

Matthew, Chapter 24
30  and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky. Then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.
 
Acts, Chapter 26
 12  “Whereupon as I traveled to Damascus with the authority and commission from the chief priests,  13 at noon, O king, I saw on the way a light from the sky, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who traveled with me.  14 When we had all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 

  15  “I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ 
“He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.   16  But arise, and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose: to appoint you a servant and a witness both of the things which you have seen, and of the things which I will reveal to you;   17  delivering you from the people, and from the Gentiles, to whom I send you,   18  to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

Colossians, Chapter 1
 3  We give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,  4 having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which you have toward all the saints,  5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in the heavens, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the Good News,  6 which has come to you; even as it is in all the world and is bearing fruit and growing, as it does in you also, since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth;  7 even as you learned of Epaphras our beloved fellow servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, 8 who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.  9 For this cause, we also, since the day we heard this, don’t cease praying and making requests for you, that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,  10 that you may walk worthily of the Lord, to please him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power, according to the might of his glory, for all endurance and perseverance with joy;  12 giving thanks to the Father, who made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light;  13 who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love;  14 in whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins;  15 who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  16 For by him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and for him.  17 He is before all things, and in him all things are held together.  18 He is the head of the body, the assembly, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.  19 For all the fullness was pleased to dwell in him;  20 and through him to reconcile all things to himself, by him, whether things on the earth, or things in the heavens, having made peace through the blood of his cross.

1 Corinthians, Chapter 15
 20  But now Christ has been raised from the dead. He became the first fruits of those who are asleep.  21 For since death came by man, the resurrection of the dead also came by man.  22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.  23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then those who are Christ’s, at his coming.  24 Then the end comes, when he will deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when he will have abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
 
To some people Jesus is nothing more than a curse word. Others consider him a great teacher and still others think everything about him is a lie.  Frankly, I do not understand such people.  Jesus' life is more documented than any other person in history. Yet, people refuse to believe all this accumulated evidence in favor of their opinion.  That opinion will fade because they will fade (that is, die).  Just like that great nation of China has its limits- so do they.  But Jesus, well, HE is another story.  He is God's answer to disobedience and that really is GOOD NEWS!!!  Turning darkness into light, death into life, and everything earthly into a new heavenly creation.  What's not to like!!!