February 23. 2020

To this end I labor, striving with all His energy working powerfully within me.- Col 1:29 BSB

This becomes the GREAT existential question: To what end are you strenuously contending with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in you? Your life is a resource; your time, focus, energy, talents, dollars….For what toil, struggling with all His energy that He powerfully put in you?

Leader, what are you spending your life on? Why-for what purpose, do you work and struggle so hard? The TIME IS NOW, DEPEND on Christ’s mighty power that works in you and NOT on your own fleshly gifts and talents.

Conduit, Let us be thankful that God has made known to us mysteries hidden from ages and generations, and has showed the riches of his glory among us. As Christ is preached among us, let us seriously inquire, whether he dwells and reigns in us; for this alone can warrant our assured hope of his glory. We must be faithful to death, through all trials, that we may receive the crown of life, and obtain the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls.(Matthew Henry commentary)

February 22. 2020

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”- Matthew 25:41-46 ESV


How does anybody know if we are a follower of Jesus Christ? OUR LOVE- is the way. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) “We are one in the Spirit; we are one in the Lord. We are one in the Spirit; we are one in the Lord. And we pray that all unity will one day be restored. And they’ll know we are Christians byour love, by our love. Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” Great lyrics from the Mark Swayze band, but how do we live those words? Love is a VERB it is not a feeling. Love is never about what we “can’t do”, it is about what we are willing to do for another.

Leader, the Bible, tells us that all fall short of the glory of God, ALL HAVE SINNED. There are 2 types of sins; Sins of COMMISSION-ones we do, we commit. And there are things we should do, but don’t do- sins of OMISSION. Romans 7:15 illuminates this struggle in Paul: For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. And Jesus’ half-brother James, tells us that to if we are ONE OF HIS, then we DO THINGS differently: What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17) We have heard it said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but I say, “What you are doing speaks so LOUDLY, that people don’t need to HEAR A WORD, coming out of your mouth!

Conduit, John is called the disciple that Jesus loved. His epistle, the book of John, is called the book of Love and He puts it bluntly: But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? (1 John 3:17) And when Jesus Himself was asked what the greatest commandment was- His reply: Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40) The cool thing, God even tells us, if we love this way- serving others and using God’s blessings as blessings to others- then we get a mulligan! Above all, love one another deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8) Today be a CONDUIT, and let the blessings of GOD, pass through your hands into those in need. In other words, LOVE! Use your temporary stuff, for others temporary help. “Love is long-suffering and kind. It does not envy; does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth: bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

February 21. 2020

So I became the shepherd of the flock doomed to be slaughtered by the sheep traders. And I took two staffs, one I named Favor, the other I named Union. And I tended the sheep. In one month I destroyed the three shepherds. But I became impatient with them, and they also detested me. So I said, “I will not be your shepherd. What is to die, let it die. What is to be destroyed, let it be destroyed. And let those who are left devour the flesh of one another.” And I took my staff Favor, and I broke it, annulling the covenant that I had made with all the peoples. So it was annulled on that day, and the sheep traders, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the LORD. Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. Then the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD, to the potter. Then I broke my second staff Union, annulling the brotherhood between Judah and Israel. -Zechariah 11:7-14 ESV

This is the reason we should believe the Bible is the inerrant, inspired WORD OF GOD! This is prophecy. This was spoken 500 years before it happened, and this prophecy is about Israel and about our LORD. It is about when God’s covenant with Israel was broken, when they rejected Christ, and it is about details of what would happen 500 years from this vision and also beyond that, into the second coming of our LORD. It is often taught that “the Bible is one-third history, one-third poetry, and one-third prophecy. According to “The Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy” by J. Barton Payne, there are 1,239 prophecies in the Old Testament and 578 prophecies in the New Testament for a total of 1,817. The Bible itself tells us to judge a book by the accuracy of its prophecy: When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord and the thing does not happen or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:22)

Leader; There is no finer teacher on whether Jesus is to be found in the pages of the Old Testament than the teaching of our Lord Jesus himself: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me”. (John 5:39) From https://www.bible-studys.org/, we get the following understanding: When Israel was in God’s favor and under His gracious protection, then He caused even their enemies to be at peace with them. When the Gentile nations gathered against them to devour, the Shepherd of Israel soon broke the arm of their strength and prevented them from doing harm to His people. But when He ceased to be their defense, then they became a ready prey to the Gentile world powers, which are well symbolized in the bible as “Wild Beasts”. The prophet’s symbolic act called for him to take “two staffs.” Eastern shepherds often carried two sticks, a rod to ward off wild beasts and a staff to guide and retrieve wayward sheep (Psalm 23:4). “Three shepherds also I cut off”: This refers to the priests, elders and scribes of Israel. Jesus bestowed grace and unity upon the populace, but confronted the hypocrisy of these religious leaders, and because they rejected Him all 3 offices were obliterated in a short time. God ended the traditional offices of the mediators and in their place brought a new priesthood of believers (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6)

Conduit, the most clearly defined part of this prophecy is that Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ for 30 pieces of silver. When Judas saw that they were going to crucify Jesus, he repented and went back and threw the silver coins at the feet of the religious leaders in the Temple. It was against their rules to allow ‘blood money’ into the coffers, so they used the money to buy the Potters field. If you were to study statistics and probability…: How many people in the history of the world were sold for 30 pieces of silver, then the money was thrown back in a temple and then that money was used to buy a Potters field? Answer is…ONE, JESUS. “Thirty pieces of silver,” According to (Exodus 21:32), was the price paid to the master whose slave had been gored by an ox. A sound slave was considered to be worth twice that amount. This insult would ultimately be ascribed to the Messiah Himself (Matt. 27:9-10). This is the supreme insult, the Messiah, God’s Son, worth only the price of an incapacitated, gored slave! What price do you place on knowing and following Jesus? What value do you place on our Lord? How much time; daily, weekly and monthly do you spend knowing Jesus, talking to Jesus and sharing Jesus- compared to other things you value in life? Things like your job, your kids, your spouse, your hobbies, your intake of food, sleep and physical activity? Based on this formula, WHO\WHAT is on your throne? REPENT, for the kingdom of God is at hand!

February 20. 2020

When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat. -Nehemiah 4:1,7-9 NIV

We must KNOW the WORD OF GOD and then, REMIND ourselves of what we KNOW and methodically REMEMBER the WORD OF GOD! In Ephesians chapter 6 we are told to put on the WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD, so that we can BEWARE OF THE WILES of the enemy: Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (Eph 6:11) Why do we put on the ARMOR of GOD, so we can STAND AGAINST THE SCHEMES OF THE DEVIL! Paul even tells the Corinthian church: “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light”. (2 Cor 11:14)

Leader, the devil doesn’t show up looking like a DEVIL! The enemy’s biggest deception is he doesn’t want you to believe HE EXISTS. And if he can’t get you to doubt his existence, then Satan wants you to think of him as a little guy on your shoulder in a little red costume. We are NOT to TOY with the DEVIL, we are called to RESIST THE DEVIL AND HE WILL FLEE-in the name of JESUS! In the book of James 4:7 we are shown the order; Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. First SUBMIT yourself to GOD and THEN you are ABLE TO STAND against the WILES OF THE ENEMY!

Conduit, if you look at the OPPOSITION and the 4 phases that Nehemiah faced, we realize that this is OUR ENEMIES, MO- Modus operandi- method of operation! 1- Laughing at, 2-Ridiculed, 3-Outward opposition, 4- Opposition from within. This is our ENEMY’s Pattern! If you look at Satan’s attack to STOP the line of David, to STOP the birth of Jesus, and finally to KEEP the crucifixion from happening- when none of that worked- he mocked and ridiculed Christ and His followers and then outward opposition from the Romans, and opposition from within to the point of Judas betrayal. When all that failed, He joined the church through Constantine and the merging of the church with the Roman government! If we are going to be victorious with Christ, we must be like Nehemiah and his men and not even REMOVE OUR CLOTHES- Nehemiah 4:23! Daily put on the BELT of TRUTH, the BREASTPLATE of Righteousness, fitted feet of READINESS, SHIELD of FAITH, the HELMET of SALVATION and the SWORD of the SPIRIT, which is the WORD OF GOD! Be PREPARED to fight the GOOD FIGHT and Remember 2 things: 1- Get closer to God. 2- It’s ALL SPIRITUAL!

February 19. 2020

In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.- Exodus 16:2-5 NIV

Who are you trusting in? Where do your blessings come from? Are you truly TRUSTING IN THE LORD, or are you TRUSTING IN THE WORLD and the ‘god of this world’? 2 Corinthians 4:4 tells us: The god who rules this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers. They cannot see the light, which is the good news about our glorious Christ, who shows what God is like. The ‘god who rules this world’, sounds somewhat startling as a description of the devil, but it has parallels in “the prince of this world” (John 14:30), “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) What do you trust in- who is your GOD? You need to know this day- “Who DO YOU FOLLOW”?! Because, every God requires a sacrifice!

Leader, in the old testament EGYPT represents the world and PHARAOH, represents the devil. The Israelites were used to being dependent on PHARAOH- the devil for their provisions. ( see Luke 4:6-7) They were slaves of pharaoh-the devil. They were beaten, abused, they were VICTIMS of the world and GOD sent them a SAVIOR- Moses, a picture of JESUS- to remove them from their slavery- but when they didn’t have their guaranteed Jobs, their guaranteed health insurance and their guaranteed income and their guaranteed housing and their guaranteed food from their MASTERS TABLE they cried out to go back into bondage, back into slavery, back into EGYPT! God got the Israelites out of EGYPT, but He couldn’t get the EGYPT OUT OF THE ISRAELITES!

Conduit, the enemy always HITS US at what SUSTAINS US- what sustains you? In the book of Judges, 6:3-4, the enemy shows us his WILES: the Midianites, Amalekites, and other people of the East would come up and invade them, encamping against them as far as Gaza and destroying the produce of the land. They left Israel with no sustenance. God’s first lesson that He wanted to teach HIS people was to depend on HIM for everything that sustains them. What sustains you? For the Bible is clear, man does not live by BREAD ALONE, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God. God wants us to trust in HIM, not in our 401K, not in our job, our family or our PRESIDENT. He wants us to TRUST IN HIM and let HIM be our portion! “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever,”. (Psalm 73:26) In the 16th chapter here of Exodus God told them to only take enough for the day, do NOT STORE ANY for tomorrow and if the did if was rotted, full of maggots- except on the Sabbath, when the double portion they took the day before was fine. And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. (Deuteronomy 8:2) Do you trust in the LORD, or do you trust in what this WORLD has for you? Are you storing up your treasures in your retirement, bigger houses, nicer cars, more expensive vacations- MORE TOYS and PLOYS from the slave master who runs this world? The time is NOW to trust in the LORD and share what HE has given you to the GLORY of HIM and HIS people! Are you still in EGYPT and still trusting in PHARAOH as GOD has called you OUT and into HIS KINGDOM, HIS FAITH WALK, HIS PROVISION? Are your blessings from God or from pharaoh? Is your stuff yours, or is it GOD’s? God’s economy is GOD’s people, using GOD’s resources for GOD’s people, for GOD’s GLORY! Amen.

February 18. 2020

And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. -Luke 24:25-27 ESV

Jesus Himself said, “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” The word TESTAMENT can be translated COVENANT- Will, agreement. We have the OLD agreement and we have the NEW COVENANT. In Hebrews 7:22 we are told, “Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.” We were given the 10 commandments to show us our ineptitude at keeping them. The OLD AGREEMENT pointed to a NEED for a SAVIOR, WHO is the FOCUS of both the OLD and NEW WILL and TESTAMENT!

Leader, The Lord Jesus Christ made it very clear that the Old Testament spoke of Him, stating: “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about Me” (Jn 5:39). The Old Testament predicts a Messiah (see Isaiah 53), and the New Testament reveals who the Messiah is (John 4:25–26). The Old Testament records the giving of God’s Law, and the New Testament shows how Jesus the Messiah fulfilled that Law (Matthew 5:17; Hebrews 10:9). In the Old Testament, God’s dealings are mainly with His chosen people, the Jews; in the New Testament, God’s dealings are mainly with His church (Matthew 16:18).

Conduit, Jesus told us clearly in Matthew 5:17: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” The Old Testament lays the foundation for the coming of the Messiah who would sacrifice Himself for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2)). The New Testament records the ministry of Jesus Christ and then looks back on what He did and how we are to respond. Both testaments reveal the same HOLY, MERCIFUL, and RIGHTEOUS God who condemns sin but desires to save sinners through an atoning sacrifice- the MESSIAH. In both testaments, God reveals Himself to us and shows us how we are to come to Him through FAITH alone, by GRACE alone through CHRIST alone!(Gen 15:6, Eph 2:8) We are called to KNOW HIM and to MAKE HIM KNOWN, we start this process by KNOWING HIS WORD- the OLD and the NEW- it’s all about HIM

February 17. 2020

And you his son Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored. – Daniel 5:22-23 ESV

In the 5th chapter of Daniel, a Babylonian king- the Hebrew word for king can also be interpreted as governor or royal prince, and history records that he was both- by the name of Belshazzar mocks God by throwing a party with articles taken from the Jewish temple. As a result, God passes judgment on Belshazzar by taking away his kingdom and dividing it between the Medes and Persians. This is where we get the saying, “The Writing on the Wall”. And this is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN. This is the interpretation of the matter: MENE, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; TEKEL, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting.” (Dan 5:25-27)

Leader, good deeds are important in the lives of believers, but they do not provide salvation. We do good works – BECAUSE of our salvation, not to provide our salvation. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Paul repeatedly emphasizes that salvation is accomplished on the basis of GRACE, through FAITH in CHRIST- ALONE! Good works, human effort, and our best intentions will never be enough to earn salvation. Every person is marked with sin, both deliberate and accidental, and for this reason we deserve to be separated from God. Only through His mercy and grace can we be saved, leaving no room for bragging. This also means that all who are saved, Jew and Gentile alike, are part of the same spiritual family.

Conduit, And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment. (Hebrews 9:27) Each of us will be judged, all of our works, time, intentions; what we did and shouldn’t have done, and what we should have done, but DIDN’T DO! We will be weighed in the balances and found wanting without JESUS! He is the ONE that overcomes, He is our DAYSMAN, our RIGHTEOUSNESS! HIS BLOOD tips the scales in our favor! And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26) For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. – 2 Cor 5:21 Just like NO ONE but Jesus is worthy to open the deed to planet earth; But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Rev 5:5) No one tips the scales of RIGHTEOUSNESS and SALVATION except the worthy ONE, JESUS! Jesus paid it all and He has balanced the scales of those WHO LOVE HIM and keep His commandments! Amen!