True North

COMPASS -- Efraim Stochter -- PX

In routine life on Planet Earth, there’s one rather ordinary looking piece of equipment that is used by thousands of people every day. It’s called a compass. Hikers, hunters, military personnel, navigators on ships and planes, and even  12-year-old boy scouts and girl scouts out on field trips use a compass as a normal part of their activities. Most of us have used one at some point in time, or at least played with one just to see how it works. Its job: to make geographical directions clear so that we can find our way safely and expeditiously from one point on this earth to another.

But that compass will not help us — it will, in fact, lead us the wrong way and get us into trouble — it is fails to point its arrow accurately to the North. It it’s off just a tiny bit, it can cause us to go miles in the wrong direction and totally miss our destination. That compass must point its arrow to TRUE NORTH, or it does us no good at all.

Now for individual journeys from one geographical place to another, any average compass in good working order is good enough. But what about our life-long journey — our time from birth to death — when we make our way along the road of life with all its twists and turns and possible detours? What provides our source of accurate directions for that journey?  Well, there’s only One who knows for sure how to navigate that life path successfully and wind up at the right places at the right times — as well as how to wind up in the right place at the end of the journey — and that person is our Creator — the One who made us to live this life in the first place.

We hear people today talk about how different people have different “moral compasses”  — to each his own — everyone lives by his own standards. But the truth is that all moral compasses that don’t point to Jesus Christ are extremely faulty and will lead the followers into trouble — and eventually into destruction.

Jesus Christ is the only TRUE NORTH. If our life compass focuses on Him, we will be able to stay on course — with joyful results. It if does not point to Him, we’re lost — in more ways than one.

I hear people say things like this: “Well, there are people who do good an live right in this world who aren’t Christians.” And i agree that I know some people who love their families and who try to live by rules that are, for the most part, kind. But the fact is that the only reason those people act as positively as they do is that they’ve been taught the basic rules of God’s Word.

Now they may not recognize those words as coming from the Bible. And they may not have learned them in a church. But they were influenced by others — even by the laws of the land — to understand a lot about what’s right and wrong. Every law of the land in any nation that protects people and guides them to act in ways that avoid hurting someone else came originally from the plans for living right laid out in God’s original law.

The truth is that the only foundation any society — indeed any human being from Adam and Eve down — has for determining what’s right and wrong is God’s Word. That’s why God gave the original ten commandments: so man would know what was good and what was evil. And all the civilized nations in the word have laws that follow those ten commandments. No human being came up with those ideas on his own. His Creator taught him right and wrong.

Why did the Creator need to teach man? Because the only good there is in the universe is in God Himself and what proceeds out of Him.

Let me say that again: There is no good in this world except what proceeds out of God. Man is born sinful — selfish, self-centered, and out for himself alone. Prove it you say? Look at any little baby. He wants his needs met, and when they’re not met, he cries — and cries — and cries — until Mom and Dad stop whatever else they are doing and give baby whatever it is he wants.  And as a child grows, he knows to focus on his own needs and wants without being taught. His wants come first.

Most parents — if they are responsible in their child rearing — begin teaching their children about kindness and consideration for others at an early age. But those things have to be taught. They never come naturally to any human being. Goodness, kindness, and generosity are learned behavior — coming either from instruction or environmental influence. There is no inherent good in any human being when left on his own.

The Word of God says it simply and succinctly when it says, “There is none good but God.” (Luke 18:19) and “There is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10 and “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).  There is no inherent good in any human being when left on his own.  He must receive his goodness from God.

Now, living on this earth in the right environment may help some people soak up understanding of some of that goodness. And they may exert some effort to make it active in their lives. Anyone who gets out in the rain gets wet. Anyone who gets out in the sun gets warm. But those conditions are superficial and temporary. So, in the same manner, anyone who is reared and nurtured in an environment of good, loving ways will, no doubt, soak up some of that attitude and that philosophy of life — and its accompanying behavior.

But as with the sun and the rain, those things are superficial and temporary. They will carry that person only so far and for only so long. He will ultimately fail in his morality and goodness. I have lived 72 years on this earth and been actively involved with thousands of people from all over the world, and I have yet to see an exception to this rule. Nor do I know any other people who have come across an exception. No human being other than Jesus Christ has ever lived without failing in morality and goodness. Until we receive Jesus Christ and put Him in control, everyone of us fails to live up to the goodness of God — the goodness required to be fit to live with Him for eternity.

The only good we know and do apart from Jesus is what we acquired by osmosis because God’s goodness managed to penetrate our soul a little. But without our spirit being born again by the entrance of Jesus Christ, that “goodness” is nothing but a garment we wear. What’s inside will eventually come to the forefront. And, yes, I realize I am repeating myself here, but with good reason. My experience with humanity has taught me that very few people can capture and hold onto a new concept the first time they hear it. And, for many people reading this article, the concept I’m sharing is new indeed. So explaining the same truth again — and in slightly different terms — is a safeguard and an insurance that more people will grasp this truth and let it help them move forward to what they need.

The exciting part of this truth is that once Jesus is allowed to come in and take control, His own righteousness is transferred into our being. At that point, we aren’t just trying to be good and do good because of some training that will eventually fail us. No. Jesus gives us His own inherent goodness and holiness. It becomes who we are because He has become the controller of who we are. We are one with Him.

And since He alone is TRUTH (John 1:17; John 14:6), He provides the infallible compass for our life from that point through all eternity. Do our souls and bodies sometimes fail to measure up? Yes, but Jesus, our unerring compass, lovingly points us back to the right direction, and the wrong steps we took gets corrected so that we don’t ever get completely off course again.

Jesus Christ is our TRUE NORTH. If you haven’t yet made Him the compass of your life, right now is the best time to do it. No matter how far off course you are at present, if you’ll turn your life over to Him, you will immediately see where “True North” is, and you’ll never have to worry about being lost again on this journey through life. Not only that, you’re guaranteed to wind up at the destination you were always intended to reach — in this life on earth and for eternity.


photo credit: Efraim Stochter (MW) @ pixabay.com



 

Divine Woodcutters — Guest Post by Ted Pavloff

The following message is one my dad taught and shared on his own website several years ago. He’s gone on to be with the Lord now, but I decided to share this message here to encourage some of my readers as well.


DIVINE WOODCUTTERS

“But I would that you should understand brethren, that the things that happened to me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel: so that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, in all other places ….” Phil. 1: 12-13.

I suppose that hardly a day passes that we Christians don’t complain about something. We fuss about being handicapped in one way or another: that we are hedged in and are undergoing irritating and uncomfortable testing; or that we are tempted to the edge of our strength. Consequently, we grumble and are unable to do what we would like to do for the Lord.

The above Scripture text is one of many revelations into the ministry life of the Apostle Paul that proved the mettle of this man. His life as an apostle had been anything but easy. He was continually extinguishing brush fires of false teaching and practices in the churches he founded. He had problems with individual believers who were making a mockery of the Blood of Jesus. Add to that the repeated attacks of the unbelievers, Jew and Gentile, and you see a man who had plenty to complain about — but never did!

Are you contributing to, or hindering the advance of the Gospel? In the Scripture above Paul is writing to his beloved Philippians while a prisoner in Rome, and he is assuring them that his present circumstances are contributing to, rather than hindering, the advance of the gospel. What a remarkable statement

DIVINE WOODCUTTERS PHOTOThe key word in this Scripture is the word “furtherance.” I discovered that it was translated from a Greek word used in the first century to describe a company of woodcutters, who proceeded ahead of an army, and cut a road through a forest so they could advance. Paul is literally saying that his circumstances at the moment, were simply “divine woodcutters” cutting a path through the opposition so the Gospel might advance. Incredible! In prison, liberty gone, totally handicapped, chained to a Roman guard. But Paul says it is all God’s woodcutters making a road for the Good News!

You see, something was happening that the Roman government never anticipated: the Gospel of Jesus Christ was being preached from the pulpit of the Roman Empire. Detachments from the Praetorian Guard (the emperor’s elite unit of 10,000 palace guards) were the soldiers assigned to guard the Apostle 24 hours a day. As each detachment came on duty, Paul saturated them with the Good News, and they would in turn carry the message back to the palace barracks. Gradually the entire unit and the palace staff were soaked with the Good News.

And there were even more “Divine Woodcutters.” Brethren in Rome, jealous of Paul, were preaching the Message more energetically, simply out of envy. Other brothers friendly to Paul, out of love, began preaching with added enthusiasm. Paul’s response? “It makes no difference to me the why’s behind it; the woodcutters are at work, the gospel is getting out, and I’m glad.”

The Apostle’s message here refers to experiences that eventually come to the life of every Christian. All of us may not spend time in a prison or experience anything as drastic as Paul. But there are times when the walls seem to close in upon us, and barriers appear out of nowhere — things like difficult personal circumstances or physical problems. All such roadblocks, even though they are the work of the enemy, or even our own failure to heed God’s Word, can be turned into “Divine Woodcutters” contributing to the advancement of the Gospel … Through you!

Listen, Beloved, we do not glory in hardships and problems; but in the midst of them, we can become closer to Jesus and more dependent upon the Holy Spirit. When we do that, we ultimately overcome all of them and grow more efficient in proclaiming the Word.

Paul accomplished some of his greatest work when limitations upon him were the strongest. Listen to him as he speaks in Second Corinthians 12:9, paraphrased: “My weakness is no big deal anymore. I am glad to be a living demonstration of Christ’s power instead of showing off my own power and abilities. Since I know my whole life is all for Christ’s glory, I just get happy about it, and about all the persecutions, insult, hardships, and difficulties … for when I am weak then I am strong and the less I have the more I depend on Him!”

 

Christmas Light

People all over the word are celebrating “Christmas.”  But many of them don’t even know the person whose name makes up the title of the season: CHRIST JESUS. Without Him and His sacrifice to pay for our sin and rebellion, there would be NO  Christmas season at all. He really is the light of the world. And He really is the reason for the season. Let’s continue to pray and preach the Gospel fervently and with great love, so that this year, more people will come to recognize the Christ who gives us Christmas.

WHITE-CHRISTMAS-TREE-MODERN-LIGHTS-2-Ana_J-PX

Oh Christmas tree, oh geometric Christmas tree,
Updated decoration of this century,
Combining old tradition with technology —
Eye-catching combination set for all to see.

I wonder if the architect has realized
That though his modern concept is a structural prize,
The Light that gives it meaning appeared to Moses’ eyes.
From burning bush to modern tree, it’s Jesus Christ.

 


photo courtesy of Ana_J @ pixabay

 

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God Will Make A Way

CURVING ROAD WITH LIGHT - BRITHERE

God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way.
He works in ways we cannot see.
He will make a way for me.

He will be my guide,
Hold me closely to His side.
With love and strength for each new day,
He will make a way;
He will make a way.”

(Worship lyrics by Don Moen)


God will make a way for you to be healed. There is no such thing as God not providing healing for His people who turn to Him in trust. Many times, however, due to our own lack of complete knowledge of His Word, or our lack of complete submission to Him – and then our lack of faith that results from either of those two situations – we fail to receive that healing. That problem can be remedied, but in order to fix the situation, we must clearly differentiate between God’s doing His part and our doing our part.

God has never failed to grant healing to anyone who asked for it in faith, in the name of Jesus Christ, and with a pure heart. Jesus never turned down one single person who came to Him for healing, and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Heb. 13:8). That being the case, we must never accuse Him of refusing healing. And, in truth, He cannot refuse, because 2 Corinthians 1:20 tells us that every promise that God ever made has already been answered ‘Yes’ in Jesus. So He cannot go back on that promise now. In fact, Isaiah 53:4-5, Matthew 8: 16-17, 1 Peter 2:24, and Galatians 3:13 all tell us that the work of healing and deliverance from every part of the curse of the broken law has been accomplished and completed. Your healing is already in existence and waiting for you.

So how do we get to it? That’s where we need guidance into the right path. God has made so many avenues available to us for accessing His healing. He responds to our own personal prayer of faith, agreement in prayer between two people on earth, laying on of hands, anointing with oil, our partaking of the Lord’s supper, the many gifts of healing, casting out demons (demonic spirits of infirmity), and praise and worship. Those are all ways in which He is willing and able to work independently of man’s system of medical science in order to put healing into our bodies and minds. Then God is also willing to work with us in combination with medical science if that is where the level of our faith is. He will move gladly and powerfully to bless doctors and medicines for good work in our bodies.

However, it is important to remember that God is a great believer in man’s free will, and He will not overstep the personal will of medical people to force them to do things totally against their will. So we need to bear in mind that when using medical science, we could also be limiting God’s hand by allowing physicians and drug companies to dictate what we do rather than the Word of God. That’s why it is important to pray and get wisdom and direction from the Lord when choosing a doctor or a medication. And, ultimately, we must be careful not to put more trust in those doctors and medicines than we do in God’s own Word. Should there ever be serious disagreement between man’s system of medicine and God’s Word, we must choose to side with God’s Word only.

Now siding with God’s Word is particularly crucial when we hear a doctor say that there is no way for us to be healed. We must refuse and reject that mindset completely if we want to free God’s hand to work for us. We must not believe the doctor when he tells us that there is “no hope” for recovery or that the disease or situation we have is “impossible” to cure. When a physician says such things, all he is really saying is that he personally does not know how to cure us. And if a dozen doctors tell us the same thing, then they are saying the human medical personnel have not figured out how to cure that problem yet. But, dear sick one, that does not mean there is no cure. Jesus Christ is the cure, and He finished the work thousands of years ago.

And just think: even throughout Old Testament years, God’s people received healing when they turned to God for it and obeyed His Word, and that blessing was based on their faith in only the PROMISE of healing – not the completed work. We now have a completed promise in Jesus’ completed work.

So quit looking at a man-made diagnosis or prognosis. Instead look at God’s prognosis: “We are healed by the stripes of Jesus.” When Hezekiah was king of Judah, his nation was surrounded by three great enemy armies, and the king of one those nations sent him a threatening letter. It would have been enough to frighten almost any leader because it recounted all the nations these armies had successfully defeated and subdued.

The situation looked absolutely hopeless, but Hezekiah took the letter (the report) and went into the temple and laid it before the Lord, calling on Him to save them. After he prayed, the prophet Isaiah was sent to Hezekiah to give him God’s report: he announced that the Lord would defeat the enemy armies and that not one arrow shot toward Hezekiah’s people would even land in the city. Hezekiah turned his face from that bad report and looked at God’s report instead, and God gave them a mighty victory by sending an angel to destroy the thousands of enemy soldiers during the night. (2 Kings 19).

Another time, Hezekiah was so sick that even the prophet told him that he would die. There was no hope. But again Hezekiah turned his face from that hopeless situation and looked to God alone, crying out to him for mercy and a longer life. God heard Hezekiah’s prayer – not because Hezekiah was so good – but because he put all of his trust in God’s mercy and faithfulness. God healed Hezekiah, and gave him 15 more years of life. (2 Kings, 20).

The list of others who faced totally “hopeless, incurable” situations and diseases is exceedingly long. And every one of them received deliverance and healing from the Lord. God’s Word is full of such examples, and of God’s faithfulness to prove that nothing is impossible with Him. You can get into the Word and meet these people for yourself, or if you already know about them, you can read their testimonies again and let them create new faith in you.

And, in fact, dear sick one, you must get into that Word and read these passages for yourself, because if we are going to put our trust in the Lord and His Word for our healing, we have to KNOW His Word and believe it. If you find yourself in a position of not believing His Word, then your solution is to get into that Word, with an open, honest heart, and read it and absorb it until it has created faith in you. It will create faith, because God tells us that faith comes from the Word of God. (Romans 10:17).

Moreover, it’s that Word that reveals to us many avenues to receiving healing from the Lord. God’s Word offers us the avenues of personal prayer, agreement with others, anointing with oil, partaking of the Lord’s Supper, praying for others, and numerous other acts of faith what will help us receive our healing from Him. We must each feed on that Word and give God time and attention so he can lead us — through His Word — to the best pathway for each of  us at any given time. And, in fact, our Radical About Jesus YouTube channel has video lessons on many of those pathways to healing that you may find helpful as well.

Now, before I leave you to study that Word on your own, let me also point you to Psalm 25. In that one Psalm alone, there are several passages that tell us clearly that God wants to make HIS WAY into all good things known to us. Let’s look at all the encouragement in this one Psalm:

Verses 4-5: “Make me know Thy WAYS, O Lord: Teach me Thy PATHS. Lead me in Thy truth and teach me, For Thou art the God of my salvation.”

Verses 8-9: “Good and upright is the Lord; Therefore He instructs sinners in the WAY. He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His WAY.”

Verse 10: “All the PATHS of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.

Verse 12: “Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the WAY he should choose.”

And remember, beloved reader: Jesus Himself, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, tells us in John 14: 6, “I am the WAY, the truth, and the life.” The path (the way) to everything good that God has for us is provided by Jesus. Set your eyes, your mind, and your whole heart on Jesus, and He will show you the WAY that you can be healed.

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Sandra Conner/Radical About Jesus Ministries


photo courtesy of Edmondlafoto @ pixabay.com


 

 

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You Don’t Have To Be a Christian To Call on Jesus

JESUS ON DONKEY - 700 WIKIPED.

“Here comes Jesus!”

“Jesus of Nazareth is coming!”

“Do you see Him yet?”

“Here He comes!”

“Here comes Jesus!”

Excitement was rampant, and cries of “Hosanna” filled the air. Shouts of joy and triumph could be heard for miles along the road, and people rushed to lay palm branches and their personal garments as a carpet of welcome. Jesus of Nazareth was coming to Jerusalem.

This carpenter-teacher who had journeyed among them for nearly three years, teaching them, healing them, feeding them, forgiving them, raising their dead. This miracle worker, this wise man, this man who was gentle enough to draw crowds of children to his side yet bold enough He would soon drive money-changers from the temple with a whip — this man whom many claimed was the prophesied Messiah of Jehovah — this man was coming again to Jerusalem! I’m sure, had we been there, we would have heard the message repeated over and over again for miles: “Here comes Jesus! Here comes Jesus!”

We in the Christian world celebrate that event on one special day out of the year, and we call it Palm Sunday. We have special services and some of us wave palm branches in the air to commemorate the day that is often referred to by church historians as Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. But that event happened over 2000 years ago. One could say it’s all history now; it’s been said and done;  it’s over.

But not so, my friends! I am thrilled beyond words to be able to tell you that Jesus is still coming to anyone and everyone who would like to receive Him. He’s a living, vital, right-now Jesus. He is the I AM. That term is what we English-speaking people have accepted as the translation of the name God gave Himself when He spoke with Abraham, as recorded in Genesis —-. The Hebrew speaking people recognize that the name means much more. It quite literally translates as “The self-existent one who causes all other things to be; the one who is and becomes whatever He desires to become.” And the great I AM desires to become everything that His creation needs.

Jesus of Nazareth is alive today, and He’s still loving people, teaching people, feeding people, forgiving people, delivering people, healing people and making  them whole. And, yes, He’s still raising people from the dead. He’s the same Jesus who fulfilled the words of the ancient prophets by riding  into Jerusalem on a donkey that day.  He’s the same Jesus who worked myriads of miracles for the people. He’s the same Jesus who went to the cross to pay for the rebellion and sin of all the human race.

He’s the same Jesus who rose from the grave and took His throne as Lord of the universe. He’s the same Jesus who promised that if we would call on Him and receive Him as Lord, He would freely fill us with His own eternal life and with power to serve Him. He’s the same Jesus who promised that after our life of service to Him on this earth, we would move on to Heaven and live with Him forever. No questions —  no if’s, and’s or but’s. No struggling to get there, no sacrifice, no hard work, no price to pay. Jesus did the work. He gave Himself as the sacrifice. He paid the whole price. We receive the benefit as a free gift.  And the Word of God, in Hebrews 13:8, says “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.”

So I can tell you confidently: “Here comes Jesus!  He’s coming to you today! He’s coming because He sees your need; He sees your trouble; He sees your sorrow and your pain; He sees your desperation and hopelessness. He hears your questions; He hears your confusion; He hears the crying you do in secret. And He’s coming to you because He loves you.

Did you know that you don’t have to be a Christian for Jesus Christ to love you? Sometimes we who call ourselves Christians tend to flock together so tightly that we become almost like a clique, and the rest of the world feels as though they can’t break through the wall to become a part. But my message to the “rest of the world” today is that you don’t have to become a part of the “clique of Christianity.”  All you have to do is get to know Jesus, the real person.

And did you know that you don’t have to be a Christian to call on Jesus? That’s right. Jesus isn’t listening just for the call of the Christians. Certainly, He’s attuned to their cries and He rushes to their help when they need Him, but Jesus the Christ is listening — intently — for the cries of all the millions of  His creation in this world who don’t know Him at all. His heart is waiting expectantly for their voice to call out His name. And He’s ready to answer that call swiftly. He’s ready to come home with you at any time.

When Jesus walked the earth, He was often found in the homes of those who were not active believers. People whom the scriptures refer to as “publicans” and “sinners” found that Jesus was more than willing to spend time with them and teach them the truth about God — and show them God’s love by healing their sick and delivering those in demonic bondage. In fact, He often received hateful criticism from the religious leaders of His day because He gave Himself so freely to those who did not have a relationship with the true God. But Jesus’ response was simply that His main reason for coming into the earth was to find those who did not know Him and offer Himself to them.

Zacchaeus was one such man. (His story is told in the Word of God, the book of Luke, chapter 19.) Although technically a descendant of Abraham, Zacchaeus was chief among publicans — which means he made his living working for the Roman government, collecting taxes from his fellow Israelites — and, by his own admission, cheating them. He had heard about Jesus, but he was no believer. However, he was curious, and as Jesus passed through Jericho, right before his entry into Jerusalem on the donkey, Zacchaeus, a short man,  climbed into a tree so that he could see and hear Jesus easily. Jesus called him down from the tree and invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house.

Zacchaeus recognized Jesus as the Messiah and opened to Him his home and his heart. We know that he invited Jesus in with his whole heart, because, after spending only a short time with Him, Zacchaeus voluntarily confessed his sin of cheating and promised to make restoration of everything with interest. Jesus did not ask Zacchaeus to do so. The man simply opened his heart to Jesus, and a changed nature was the result.

So, I will say once more: You do not need to be a Christian to call on Jesus. No matter what religious tag you wear — including that of “Atheist” —  that tag will not keep Jesus from coming to you if your heart is reaching out for Him and inviting Him in. What will happen to that religious tag after you meet Jesus? Who cares?  I can guarantee you — without qualification — that if you ever meet the real Jesus, you won’t care.

Here comes Jesus!  He’s coming to us today — Christian and non-Christian — He’s coming. With words of comfort and reassurance to destroy fear — with delivering power to destroy the yokes of the devil — with healing and wholeness for body, mind, and spirit — with wisdom and direction that leads to successful solutions — with the power of His Holy Spirit and all of the anointing for service — with eternal life to overcome death once and for all and forever.

Jesus is coming!  He’s coming to you!  Right now! If you don’t already know Him, just open your heart to Him now. Like Zacchaeus, invite Him in – yield yourself to His love, and let Him meet all of your needs today.


Sandra Pavloff Conner/ Radical About Jesus President


This message is also available as a video lesson on your YouTube channel.