Jesus said; “You are the Light of the World”

Matthew 5:14  You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they   put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Jesus taught His disciples (then and now) that we are to stand out in this world by shining the light of good (godly) works that bring praise to our Heavenly Father. The world we live in is dark and lost in sin, full of hatred, cruelty, selfishness and greed. The lost men and women of the world desperately need to experience the light of God’s love and grace, and the goodness of our Lord Jesus through his people, His Church. Let’s consider how brightly we are shining as we seek to fulfill His commission to be the “Light of the World”.

Blessings Dear Friends and Family…. Vince

 

 

Jesus Explains the Parable of the Sower

In the last post on this blog we looked at Jesus’ explanation of why He spoke in parables. I have really enjoyed meditating on these parables as our home Bible study continues through Matthew.  This parable is very well know and is a key in many ways to understanding all of the others.    

Matthew 13: 3 – 9 The Parable of the Sower was Taught by Jesus while sitting in a boat near the shore of the Sea of Galilee.   Afterward He challenged everyone, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” I pray that we like His disciples will seek to understand the “mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven” revealed in these passages.

 In Matthew 13: 18, Jesus began to explain what the parable meant.  “Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

Jesus had already told the disciples that He spoke in parables (vs 10 – 15) because some of the people had hearts that were not ready, ears that were not willing, and eyes that were closed.  Jesus’ explanation of the parable illustrates that the word of the Kingdom (God’s Word) is like seed being sown; it is received by people in 4 different ways.

Of the 4 different ways that word of God is heard and received by people, first there are those who do not understand at all, and it is snatched away by the evil one (Satan).  Then there are those that  receive the word and seem to have some response, but due to the dullness of their hearts, ears that were not willing to hear, or the pressures and cares of the world (tribulation and persecution) , along with deceitfulness of riches, they do not let the word produce the fruit of life that God wants from us.

Notice that at some point in our lives many of us do have prepared hearts that are ready to receive God’s word and allow it to take root. The word is growing in us, renewing us, transforming us, teaching us what “fruit” our Lord Jesus seeks to produce from our lives.

The Apostle Peter writing to Christians, presented fruitful growth this way,   2 Peter 1: 5   “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”   

Galatians 5:22 The Apostle Paul reminds us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering  kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control.  

The wonderful teaching in this parable by Jesus is the promise that as we submit ourselves to God’s word and allow it to permeate our hearts, God will bring forth the wonderful fruit of His righteousness in us, and produce in us godly character.                                             Growing in His grace… Blessings Vince

 

 

Why did Jesus speak in parables?

Do you know why Jesus spoke in parables?

 Mathew 13: 10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:

‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; 15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.

When we are reading the parables of Jesus it is good for us to understand the reason that Jesus is speaking this way, using figures of speech and stories to illustrate his teaching of God’s truth. In this passage Jesus reveals to His disciples that they have been chosen to “know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, while others have not because they do not have ears to hear, and eyes to see, and hearts to receive what Jesus is saying.

We can see that today in our lives the same truth remains. There are those who despite their religious disciplines and beliefs, their worldly achievements, leadership or political power, they have dull hearts, ears that are hard of hearing, and closed eyes. , rendering them unable to perceive the “mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven” through the truths of Christ’s teachings.

(Next post will be the parable of the sower and our Lord’s interpretation of it)

Let’s pray that Jesus will give us clear and open hearts, ears to hear, and eyes to see the truth.   Remember what Jesus said;   Luke 11: 9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.        Blessings to All   Vince

Find Rest for Your Soul

Anyone who believes that they have a soul should think about what Jesus said!    (consider this) 

Matthew 11: 28 – 30   Come to Me, all you who labor and are laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Jesus came to redeem the sick, the lame, and the lost. He came to  save sinners like us  and offers forgiveness and a new life in Him. The burden of guilt, shame and condemnation, which we all carry, is lifted by His grace and mercy, when we simply “come to Him and learn from Him”.

Being “yoked” (united) with Him,  we now live in the joy of our salvation;  and under the easy “yoke”  of our Lord and Savior’s grace and mercy, we find rest for our troubled souls.

May we all live in the reality of His truth.. Blessings Vince

 

 

Considering Our Future Accomplishments

Something to consider as we begin the year 2013:

During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us to do good things to please God   Matthew 6: 1-4

1 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

There is another passage in Ephesians 2:10 which  tells us that as Christians, “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Whatever purposes we set out to accomplish in the coming year, they will only come from one of two sources of motivation.  They will originate from our own selfish interests and desires, or they will originate from the Spirit of God living in us, to accomplish His purposes and calling on our lives, for His glory.

May we all be steadfast in our commitment to keep Him first in our lives and to serve Him faithfully, seeking to understand and to accomplish the “good works” that He has prepared for each of us to do!

Pray for Revival in the Church and the World   Blessing to All in Jesus our Lord …Vince

 

The Question after the Tragedy

In the daily aftermath of every tragedy a question is asked:

Why?  Why is there so much pain, selfishness, hate, lust, greed, drug / alcohol abuse, child abuse, killing and insanity, in every part of the world?  This is a question that is in the heart of every person who is impacted by the consequences of these attitudes and behaviors.  There are many solutions to these issues being proposed worldwide, from the local governments to the international bodies like the United Nations. Many theories are being put forth by the “educated” and “elite” leaders and heads of governments, but we realize that  the same men who propose solutions often demonstrate these same problems and behavior in their own lives. This only gives us another reason to ask “why?”  Why should we believe that our leaders have any answers or solutions to the deep, catastrophic problems that we as individuals and the world face when they themselves cannot seem to refrain from being corrupted by their power, using it so often for their own selfish interests?

The reason that we do not find an answer to our problems is that mankind, every one of us, is inherently unrighteous (sinful). We all contribute to the collective problems of the world we live in, and we are all subject to the consequences of the sins (evil behavior) of our fellow man.  Our own sinful pride and arrogance keep us from admitting our failures and our part in the insanity, from the least of us to the greatest and most talented.

Many of us do come to the realization that we are the problem and that the solution is not to be found in us. We have become motivated to turn our attention to the God who created us and who alone has the answers to our questions and the solution to our problems.  The Bible teaches us that the problem we have stems from what is missing in the soul and spirit of mankind. We need to be transformed, regenerated, and reborn by the Spirit of God.  Jesus said that He, Himself, is “the way, the truth, and the life, and no man can come to the Father except through Him.”  Any person who is willing to come to the one true God who created us, and receive His grace and mercy through “His only begotten Son”, (miraculously formed into a human being in the womb of the virgin Mary) can be saved from their sinful nature, forgiven by God, and become part of the true answer to the insanity of sin.

Millions of us have found that the affirmation of all of this is in the Bible.  If you also are at a point in your life where you also realize it is our very nature that is the problem and we do not have the power within us to change ourselves, then perhaps you are ready to consider what God’s Word has to say. It is recommended that you first pray and ask God to reveal Himself to you; then read the New Testament gospels and consider carefully what Jesus said and did.

Here are some suggested passages: John 3:1 – 21; John 8:12; John 12:44; John 14:15 – 21; John 16:5 -11

Blessings to You all,    Vince

Christmas Thoughts Ephesians 2: 1 – 9

Christmas Thoughts,  

As I sit here with my wife in the quiet of our home looking at the glimmer of our tree and thinking of the joy that we have experienced this year and this season in Jesus, I recognize that another year has come and gone. I was reminded today in my conversation with some other believers that there are a whole lot of issues going on in our culture and in this world that would try to get our eyes off of Jesus. We continue to have so many social and political issues swirling around us in what seems like an endless ocean of corruption, pain and suffering.

As Christians we understand the unrighteous and ungodly nature of man because we realize that man is separated from God and walking in darkness, even as we all were before we came to Jesus and our eyes were opened to the truth of our need for salvation and the transforming power of His Holy Spirit. Because of this, we cannot and should not, ever think that the world we live in will ever solve its problems of selfishness, insanity, greed, and hatred. We can, and definitely should, be thankful for the blessings and joys of being redeemed from this world and saved by the wonderful mercy and grace of our God.  Ephesians 2: 1 -9 (Saved by Grace, made Alive in Christ)

Going forward into 2013 may we be cautious about getting caught up in the social and political arguments and “solutions” that promise relief from the troubles of this world and yet have no power to overcome the sin that underlies it all. May we, as God’s people, focus our lives on sharing the hope and joy we have in Jesus and His Truth. May the Lord give us boldness and wisdom to share the saving grace of our Lord.  Most of all, may we diligently pray for the souls of our families, our neighbors, and friends and for revival in the coming year.

Blessings and Love to All in Christ Jesus,   Vince

Supporting Birth Choice and All Human Life

This is a presentation I was asked to make in behalf of our Church for the Birth Choice Gala fundraiser held last night at the Weston hotel. It was a very successful event and well supported by the community and local churches.  Please pray for your local Birth Choice Clinics and other Pro life clinics in your areas.

Dear Friends and Fellow Napans,

I am very privileged to briefly speak here, representing Cornerstone Ministries and all of the other churches that stand behind and support our wonderful brothers and sisters at Birth Choice.

We have seen this blessed ministry grow and begin to thrive because of their dedication and love for people, and their respect for all human life…It is an honor, along with many other churches, to support and stand with them to protect the precious unborn children of our community and the nation.

The Bible teaches us; that God is our Creator and He has a very personal interest and investment in all human life… We were created by Him, in His image, for fellowship with Him…  God did not just set all of creation in motion… and then sit down on a cloud to watch it fall apart… He has been intimately at work in the midst of His creation seeking to establish that relationship with those who will respond to Him.  We know through the teaching of His word; that each and  every person who is conceived in the womb is known, and loved by God and precious in His sight. We know this because of the straight forward truth of passages like John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

We do not know the potential and future of any individual, but God does and he has illustrated this in His word.  An example of this is found in Genesis 25:19

This is the genealogy of Isaac, Abraham’s son:  Abraham begot Isaac.  ( -;}  (Don’t worry I am not going to read a long genealogy) But…Listen to what this passage teaches us.

Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah as wife…   Now Isaac pleaded with the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived.   But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If all is well, why am I like this?” So she went to inquire of the LORD.

23 And the LORD said to her:

Two nations are in your womb,

Two peoples shall be separated from your body;

One people shall be stronger than the other,

And the older shall serve the younger.”

Isn’t it amazing.. that God sees a pregnant woman and knows (because he ordained it) that there are not just 2 babies (twins) in her womb, but two whole nations… looking forward to all the babies that would be born from this one pregnancy?

Isn’t it amazing that men and women today can be so blinded to the truth; that at conception there is such great potential and promise in the life of every yet unborn child, no matter who they are?

Amazingly the Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ; the only begotten Son of God who came to be our Savior, was born from the very lineage of Abraham and his son Isaac through their descendant, the Virgin Mary. Through God’s word we realize that He planned this and was in control of all of this from the very beginning.

We have learned through the word of God… that He knows while we are still in our mother’s womb what we will be… That every life that is given by God, no matter what the circumstances, is precious to Him… That every human life should also be very precious to us, and especially to those whom He has blessed with that child.

But… we live in a world that is lost and floundering and walking in darkness. Today the Prophesy of Isaiah 5:20 is being fulfilled, because it warns of the times when Men will call evil good and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  Many people today have no hope past the gratification of their own personal desires and do not see man’s potential for living in the righteousness and truth of our God who loves us and has created us in His own image.

Every person has the potential to be a godly human being and to be used of God for good in this world.

We at Cornerstone stand for Jesus and for life at conception and we appreciate and support Birth Choice because it is such a powerful and needed ministry. They are on the front lines of the battle for life…They are graciously and lovingly, opening the eyes of women and men who are blinded to the wonderful gift of life that God has given us, and much much more.  They are educating and enlightening those who have been sold the lie, that the precious human soul that is conceived in the womb is not a person.

This is such an important service at a very critical time in the lives of young people.

Cornerstone Ministries with many other churches and the people of this valley, are blessed to have these dedicated men and women at Birth Choice. They are representing the love and grace of our God to our community.  They are educating and advocating for the precious life of the unborn children, and by God’s grace, serving our loving Heavenly Father.

As a Church body Cornerstone has many ministries and outreaches that we support and participate in. We are privileged and happy to include Birth Choice in our list of supported outreach services.

We encourage you to continue to pray diligently for this is a fierce battle. The Bible tells us that Satan is a deceiver and he has blinded the eyes of many people across our nation.

We encourage you to continue to participate… and be a faithful advocate for this ministry.

We encourage you to join us in contributing financially for this ministry.

In the dialog of the Book of Job 31:15 Job posed this question; “Did not He (God) who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same One fashion us (all) in the womb?” The Bibles answer to that question is a resounding Yes, He truly did fashion us all!

Each and every human life conceived in the womb is worthy of all our efforts to protect that precious soul.

 God bless you all and thank you for your generous support of Birth Choice

Jesus said; He came to fulfill the law and the Prophets

The Fulfillment of the Law

Mathew 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. 18 I tell you the truth, 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.” 

Jesus did what sinful man could never do and took the sentence of condemnation and death by the law upon himself for all men and fulfilled all the requirements of the law and fulfilled the promise of God given through the Prophets .

Rom 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”.            Romans 8:1 -2 “ there is therefore now no condemnation (Judgment of death) for those that are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death”.

 

 

 

Jesus said; “Blessed are those who are persecuted…”

Persecution of the Body of Christ…

Persecution of “born again” believing Christians around the world varies from being killed and molested, harassed, stalked, being pursued and driven out of homes and land, to milder forms of disapproval, arguments, put downs, scoffing, and mistreatment in the work place, home, or school. As believers and members of the body of Christ (the Church) around the world we should be ever aware, and in prayer, for our brothers and sisters who face persecution of all sorts. And also for those who are persecuting them because of hatred, or fear, or ignorance of God’s loving truth.

Mathew 5: 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 Jesus warns of persecution for those who are committed to being right with God and are His followers. The reality of living in this world is that when we proclaim and stand for the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ the world will revile and persecute us and speak evil falsely against the truth of Jesus gospel. This is a sign of our acceptance and reward in the Kingdom of Heaven, for which we can truly rejoice and be glad / blessed.

Persecution…Diōkō Pronunciation dē-ō’-kō (Key) Part of Speech verb

Outline of Biblical Usage; 1) to make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away 2) to run swiftly in order to catch a person or thing, to run after a) to press on: figuratively of one who in a race runs swiftly to reach the goal    b) to pursue (in a hostile manner) 3) in any way whatever to harass, trouble, molest one a) to persecute  b) to be mistreated, suffer persecution on account of something 4) without the idea of hostility, to run after, follow after: someone

1 2 3 4 5 13 14