Victory In Jesus

2 Corinthians 2: Praise, Promise, Prayerbloggratitude-1201944_960_720

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14(NASB)

I have a bit of a competitive nature when it comes to games—I like to win. But then who doesn’t? Actually, I like to play and have fun, winning just makes it more fun. I don’t think I’ve met a person who wants to lose. Knowing this, I don’t understand why more people don’t choose to follow God—

“Who always lead us in His triumph in Christ …”

Life is no game but a battle and the stakes are high. Apart from Christ we lose. In Christ we win. That is the,

“simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”

(2 Corinthians 11:3)

God’s Promises to those who are In Christ:

“God … always leads us in His triumph in Christ.”

Even when the battle of life appears to bring defeat, we can stand strong in God’s word, knowing He will bring us to victory.

“Just as it is written,

‘FOR THY SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG’ WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.’

But in all these things

we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,

nor angels, nor principalities,

nor things present, nor things to come,

nor powers, nor height, nor depth,

nor any other created things,

shall be able to separate us from the love of God,

which is in Christ Jesus our Lord…

 For whatever is born of God

overcomes the world;

and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

And who is the one who overcomes the world,

but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

(Romans 8:36-39;1 John 5:4-5, NASB)

Our Praise to God:

“O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.

For the LORD most high is terrible;

he is a great King over all the earth.

He shall subdue the people under us

and the nations under our feet …

Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises unto our King, sing praises.

For God the King of all the earth:

sing ye praises with understanding.”

(Psalm 47: 1-3,6-7, KJV)

“And the seventh angel sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying,

‘The kingdom of the world

has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ;

and He will reign forever and ever …

We give Thee thanks,

O Lord God, the Almighty, who art and who wast,

because Thou hast taken Thy great power

and hast begun to reign.’”

(Revelation 11:15,17, NASB)

Right now, we look with eyes of faith to the fullness of Christ’s triumph. We have read the end of the book—He wins! And so do we who are His—Hallelujah! Until then—

We offer our sacrifice of thanksgiving, Our Prayer:

To Him who—“manifests through us the sweet aroma

of the knowledge of Him in every place.”

Heavenly Father, for all your wonderous works, we offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving, living out the sweet aroma—an acceptable sacrifice—of Christ in us through the giving of ourselves to you.

“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,

to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice,

acceptable to God,

which is your spiritual service of worship.”

Romans 12:1, NASB

May we, “Through Him then …

continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God,

that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”

Hebrews 13:15, NASB

That wherever we go we will cause,

“They name to be remembered in all generations;

Therefore the peoples will give Thee thanks forever and ever.”

Psalm 45:17(NASB)

For Thought: Christ has won the war of life and death. Don’t be found fighting a lost cause. Stand in the victory He has already won. Where will you stand when the victory is fully realized?

You Are Adequate

2 Corinthians 2: Are You Adequate?

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“But thanks be to God,

who always leads us in His triumph in Christ,

and manifests through us the sweet aroma

of the knowledge of Him in every place.

2 Corinthians 2:14 (NASB)

Last Wednesday’s post, “Comfort” introduced you to a man who refused the sweet aroma of Christ. As far as I know, he perished in death’s stench. To him my words and life proved to be,

a fragrance of Christ to God … an aroma from death to death …” (16)

But there is another who lived in his house.

The phone rang. “Donna?” A breathless pause filled the receiver before the laboring voice continued. “Can you come help me? My oxygen isn’t working.”

“Sure, I’ll be right over.” With a quick prayer I walked next door and entered being sure to breath through my mouth. It was better to taste the smell than breath it in. I only knew to call her Granny. At 67 years of age she lived in the body of one bearing 107 years. A hard life covered her flesh. And she lived with the burden of her son abusing her grandchildren and she was powerless to prevent it. The aroma of death surrounded her. But her story didn’t end there.

“For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;

to the one,

an aroma from death to death,

to the other,

an aroma from life to life.

And who is adequate for these things? “

2 Corinthians 2:14-16(NASB)

After 12 years of the children living in unimaginable circumstances, The Department of Children and Family Services removed them from the home and arrested their father. He dropped dead 2 months later and 30 minutes after being released. His release came because authorities failed to charge him. During that time Granny was hospitalized.

A stirring in my heart urged me to visit her in the hospital. I didn’t want to go. The Holy Spirit would not let go. Peace alluded me as I tried to ignore the prompting. Finally, I went.

The hospital bed swallowed the frail frame of a woman. A nurse stood to one side checking ivs. The figure lay lifeless, eyes shut, breaths labored.

“Can she hear me?”

The nurse nodded and said, “If you touch her hand she seems to respond to touch.”

I laid my hand over hers and prayed silently to know what to say. Then I began to tell her of God’s love and that’s when the Lord spoke to my heart. “It’s not about what you’re saying to her but what I’m saying to her.”

The Lord was with us and in that moment I knew this woman who was perishing, now had received the fragrance of Christ—the aroma from life to life. Through the Spirit’s witness to mine, I knew I could tell her grandchildren their Granny would be in heaven and how they could see her again.

And who is adequate for these things? 

The apostle Paul tells us—

“Not that we are adequate in ourselves

to consider anything as coming from ourselves,

but our adequacy is from God,

who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant,

not of the letter, but of the Spirit;

for the letter kills,

but the Spirit gives life.”

2 Corinthians 3:5-6

It was never about me but the fragrance of Christ, the aroma of life, He uses us to leave in another’s life.

Not everyone Paul went to received the fragrant word of the gospel to life, but they all had the opportunity. God has chosen us to carry the fragrance of Christ through the lives we live, and He makes us adequate for the task. Not everyone will receive the sweet aroma of life—but some will.

For Thought: Do you ever feel you are not enough for speaking the gospel to another? Or for a task the Lord has called you to? How can 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 help you?

Our Prayer:  Heavenly Father, as you have given us life in Christ, may we carry the sweet fragrance of life to all who will hear. May others see Jesus in us. May they know we have been with Him, that our lives bring no discredit to the ministry of the gospel. Help us be bold in love for you have made us adequate for the calling.

Death, Taxes, and the Resurrection

blog tombb796a201f64ff34f04fe09f604ff0ae4--easter-crafts-crafts-for-kidsIt’s been said two things are certain in this life –  death and taxes. We’re not going to talk about taxes. Nobody likes taxes. Of course nobody really likes death either. But as the author of the Book of Hebrews writes –

“It is appointed unto men once to die,

but after this the judgment.”

You might evade taxes for a time, but death is a certainty. Only two men escaped death in this life, Enoch and Elijah. Personally, I believe they may have to face it in the tribulation days as the two witnesses. Every other person ever born has died or will die – unless Jesus returns before that day. Even Jairus’ daughter, the widow’s son, and Lazarus faced death a second time after Jesus raised them back to life. Of course, when He raised them from the dead, each were still clothed in a flesh and blood body with its weaknesses.

In our “I Am” passage this week Jesus says,

“I am the resurrection and the life:

he that believeth in me,

though he were dead,

yet shall he live:

And whosoever liveth and believeth in me

shall never die.

Believest thou this?”

John 11:26

Those who witnessed and we who read the accounts of Jesus raising the dead have proof Jesus has power over life and death. Remember from last week’s posts concerning the Good Shepherd Jesus spoke of his own death and life when he said,

“No man taketh it from me,

but I lay it down of myself.

I have power to lay it down and

I have power to take it again…”

John 10:18

Jairus’ daughter had been dead for a very short time when Jesus raised her from the dead. The widow’s son had been dead long enough to have his body prepared for burial and be on the way to his tomb. Lazarus had been dead for four days. Decay surely had to be setting in as Martha remarked of the fact he would stink. Yet, Jesus spoke the word and he came out of the tomb. Jesus would be the only one to come out of the tomb with a new body, a glorified body. His resurrection proved his power over death. No one would ever have to suffer death again.

Our flesh must die in order to inherit the new body fit for our eternal soul. But the soul who believes in Jesus will never die. We step from this life into our eternal life where there will be no more death ever.

Jesus’ Promise:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you,

He that heareth my word,

and believeth on him that sent me,

hath everlasting life,

and shall not come into condemnation:

but is passed from death unto life.” John 3:24

Jesus, who is the I Am the resurrection and the life, has bought our pass from death into life through his own death and resurrection. Because He lives, all who believe on him, live and never die. His word doesn’t say we will have everlasting life but that we have everlasting life.

Jesus is asking, “Do you believe this?”

The Last Sermon

Christ’s most famous sermon was his first – the Sermon on the Mount, which included the beatitudes or blessings. His first sermon presented the people with the heart of the kingdom of God. Taking the letter of the Law and giving it a heart and spirit. Then Jesus summed up the whole in what we call the Golden Rule:bloglove-699480_960_720

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you,

do ye even so to them:

for this is the law and the prophets.”

Matthew 7:12

Then He admonished the people in entering the kingdom of God.

  • “Enter ye in at the strait gate:
  • for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction,
  • and many there be which go in thereat:
  • Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life,
  • and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

He warns them to be careful who they follow by leaving them with this question.

“Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch?”

Luke 6:39

Fast forward three years and we hear Jesus’s last public sermon. In this message, He gives birth to a saying I’m sure many of us have said or alluded to: “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Jesus has entered Jerusalem hailed as King. He has cleansed the temple, healed a few blind and lame. A day or two has passed. Passover draws nearer. The cross is in view. To read the whole of his last message to the multitude see Matthew 23. Below are a few of his points addressed to those who are leading others into the ditch – those who have –

“shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” Matthew 23:13

They are the scribes and Pharisees who –

“sit in Moses’ seat: Jesus says,

“All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do;

but, do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.”

Jesus describes them by their works.

  • They lay heavy burdens on the people but won’t, “move them with one of their fingers.”
  • They do to be seen of others.
  • They desire the honor of being called rabbi, master, father.

In contrast, Christ makes us one with one Master and one Father:

  • “all ye are brethren …
  • call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
  • Neither be ye called masters for one is your Master, even Christ.
  • But he that is greatest among you shall be  your servant.
  • And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased,
  • and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”

We are of the kingdom of heaven serving one another in brotherly love. We are those who have entered the narrow way.

Next He addresses those walking in the kingdom of this world, the scribes and Pharisees. His comments are harsh, pointed, and steeped in sadness. His first warning came because they knew better but chose the worst.

“therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.”

He then explains why.

  • “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
  • For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith:
  • these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
  • Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel…
  • for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward,
  • but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
  • Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men,
  • but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”

These have a heritage of killing the prophets and will continue to do so. Jesus will be the next Prophet they kill. They will cry for his blood to be on their hands. He cries for what could have been.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,

thou that killest the prophets,

and stonest them which are sent unto thee,

how often would I have gathered thy children together,

even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings,

and ye would not!”

There are no sadder words to hear after been given the opportunity to enter the kingdom of God than, “and ye would not!”

If you haven’t already now is the time to –

 “Enter ye in at the strait gate…

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way,

which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

Are you among the few who have found the way?  Jesus is the way, the only way to the Father. Or are you one who will hear, “And ye would not!”


What message would you want to speak if you knew this was your last opportunity ?

Judges, the Final Chapter

Most would agree, the Book of Judges is about a people who,

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“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25.

But the overlooked theme is Israel’s deliverance. Each judge served as a deliverer, pointing us to the time of our great Deliverer. He delivers from darkness, death, and the destroyer.

DARKNESS

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid…Ps. 27:1;

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined…Is. 9:2;

Then spake Jesus again unto them saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life…John 8:12; For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ…

2Cor.4:6; Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light…Eph. 5:14; …the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.” 1John 2:8b.

Hallelujah! We, who believe this word, no longer stumble through this life in darkness but walk in the beauty of the light of our great deliverer, Jesus Christ.

DEATH

“Jesus saith unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this…John 11:25,26;

For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ…That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord…Rom. 5:17,21;

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John 3: 36.

Praise God, those believing this word no longer live under sin’s power or penalty.

THE DESTROYER

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage…Heb. 2:14,15;

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming…2Thess. 2:7,8;

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world…1John 4:4;

And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Rev. 20:10.

Thank you, Jesus, for those who believe this word, you have freed us from darkness, the power of sin; from death, its penalty; and from the destroyer, whom you have stripped of  power and one day will remove his presence forever.

Are you among those who believe this word?

If not, you are walking in darkness, under the fear and certain penalty of death, and will live in death forever with the destroyer.

If you with me are then may we deliver to the world what Paul delivered to us.

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” 1Corinthians 15:3,5.

 

Are You Afraid to Die?

Genesis relates the conception of a nation, a people God would call His own. Exodus shows us the growth of that nation in the womb of Egypt until its deliverance through the blood of the lamb.

blog passover“Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house…Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats…And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it…

For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.

And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” (Ex. 12: 3,5,7,12,13).

From the first promise of deliverance in Gen. 3:15,

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

To the Lord’s appointed time in Galatians 4:4,

“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.”

And declared in Revelation 12:5,

“And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.”

Israel’s deliverance from Egypt pictures our deliverance from the womb of a world of sin into the glorious light of our Lord.

cross-sunset-sunrise-hill-70847.jpegWe have the promise of deliverance…

From sin:

“…Behold, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world…John 1:29; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins…Matt. 26:28; Grace be unto you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” Gal. 1:3,4.

And death…

DSCF0360“But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: In whom we trust that he will yet deliver us…1Cor. 1:9,10; Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Heb. 2:14,15

Through the precious Lamb of God;

“For great is thy mercy toward me; and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell…Ps. 86:13; Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.” 1Peter 1:18-21.

Deliverance from sin and death are available. Exodus shows us the way. Jesus is the way.

Do you know this deliverance? If you don’t you can.