Tag Archives: sacrifice

Teachers are Leaders

If you take the time to think about the impact that teachers have had in your life, you may be surprised.  But one thing that you can conclude in such an exercise is that you are the person you are, by and large, because of the influence of teachers throughout your life.

For me, I can point to eight different teachers throughout my life that had an impact on my educational experience.

Mrs. Jozsa was my seventh grade English teacher at St. Henry Junior High School in Cleveland.  She was an interesting person with a lot of character, and she was a character, too.  What I learned from her was that I didn’t know as much English as I thought I did.  After what I thought was a successful stint in Major Work courses in the third through sixth grade, I promptly earned a C+ in English for my first grading period under Mrs. Jozsa.  I learned from that experience that what I thought I knew was hardly enough to move to the next level. My parents were flabbergasted, and I was surprised, too, but it caused me to dig a little deeper in my studies at a very important time in my life.  She took her job very seriously, and was always encouraging.  By the time I finished her class, I received an “A” in English. (If you want some perspective as to how long ago this was for me, the brand new hit song during that year was Let’s Stay Together by Al Green).

My first English teacher in the ninth grade at Chanel High School was Fr. James. He was a pleasant, older gentleman with white hair, and his classes were legendary because he would crack open the windows of his classroom during the winter months, which according to his theory, would keep all of his students awake and keep their blood pumping.  My theory was that I was freezing to death and that I would need someone to pump my chest to revive me.  Anyway, you wouldn’t dare fall asleep in his class, or you might have been carried out on a stretcher due to hypothermia.  My class motto for Fr. James was “stay awake…stay alive.”

It got better from there.  I enjoyed my class experiences in 11th and 12th grade with Mr. Edward Gotch (Algebra and Calculus) and in 12th grade with Mr. Bruce Domski, who taught A.P. English.  Our big book for the year was to read and review The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  My senior year of high school was my breakout year as I had my best GPA and my best overall experience as a student.

I will never forget Dr. Vincent McHale, who was my Political Science teacher at Case Western Reserve University.  He was so engaging that his classes really challenged my approach to national and international affairs, and I will never forget his comment that there were so many lawyers in the field at that time that some of them will be marching off of cliffs for a lack of work.  I made up my mind, at that moment, that I was NOT going to law school.

Even in my adulthood, my encounters during my Master’s program at Crown College with Dr. James Cowman and Dr. Gary Keisling were very special and formative as I grew in my studies.  Finally, my most recent Clinical Pastoral Education class with Fred Madren in Indianapolis made me helped me to reflect more about who I was as an individual in learning more about becoming a chaplain.  In any vocational environment, it is important for you to know who you are as a person before you can reach out and effectively help someone else.

What I hope you can see from my experience is that teachers do a lot more than just teach subjects.  They provide all sorts of wisdom and knowledge—from their own education and from personal experiences—that shape the lives of everyone that they come into contact with.  Many teachers, whether they know it or not, are always providing this wisdom and knowledge—both inside and outside of the classroom.

Teaching is a God-given talent and ability.  It is referenced in Scripture as one of the gifts referenced within the body of Christ:

Romans 12:6-8 NIV

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. 

Interestingly, teachers use all of these attributes in carrying out their responsibilities:  service, encouragement, giving, leadership and mercy.  We will look at one of these attributes—leadership.  Leaders perform their duties with care and concern for those who they are responsible for.

Teachers are leaders.

The Bible stresses the importance of gaining wisdom and knowledge, and in listening to others who have their own experiences to share with you.  Jesus Christ spent the better part of two years giving instruction to His disciples.  He was a patient teacher in the same way as Scripture is defined:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

The disciples were being trained by Jesus Christ for a very good reason—they were to be the ones who would carry forth the Good News after Christ would leave them.  He was the ultimate Teacher (he was called “Rabbi” in Scripture, which means “Teacher.”)  Jesus provided the instruction and later “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45).  Their ministry, as well as anyone’s ministry, has to begin and continue with teaching, and not only teaching, but being open to be taught, as well.

Teachers share this information freely and openly, and it is good and beneficial to be a teacher of not only God’s Word, but in all areas of life.

Teachers are leaders.

Teaching carries with it a tremendous responsibility.  Teaching is not for everyone.

James 3:1

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

Judged by who? Well, by God Himself.  Whether you are teaching the Bible from Sunday school or from the pulpit, or a college professor or high school instructor, you are charged with making sure that whoever you are teaching is guided in the right direction.  Though this verse to follow is intended for those who mislead young people causing them to move away from Jesus Christ, you get the idea of its overall message:

Luke 17:1-2 HCSB

He said to His disciples, “Offenses will certainly come, but woe to the one they come through! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble.

Now you get the grasp of how this God-given attribute has a great responsibility.  It is not to be taken lightly.

Teachers are leaders.  They are meant to be leaders.  They are an important part of God’s creation.  They teach because they are born to teach others, and they do it for the love of it.

Teachers lead because they possess these six attributes, of which each begin with the letters from the word LEADER.

First, for the L in leader, teachers are “learners.”

A good teacher is willing to learn from others.  It’s logical, of course, but not all teachers, when they think they know it all, remain teachable.

A good teacher knows that he or she does not know it all.  A good bible teacher is always reading and studying.  It’s important to stay humble in order to be open to learning more, and as a result, doing more for your students.

Titus 2:7-8 ESV

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Next, the E in leader refers to being “energetic.”

An effective teacher is one who consistently approaches their job with energy.  A teacher with energy is infectious, in a positive way, to his or her students.  It has an amazing effect as it indicates to the student that learning is fun and exciting, and that the subject is very interesting.  There is nothing wrong with making the learning experience a happy and memorable one!

The A in leader refers to “application,” as in applying knowledge in your instruction.  Your knowledge may indeed be from your own training, but effective teaching and communication also involves sharing your own personal experiences or providing examples to round out the instruction process.  A great lesson in Scripture is a demonstration of love is the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.  It was the perfect way to describe how a person loves God and also a neighbor.

The D in leader refers to “devotion.”  Devotion is loving your work as a teacher, and having a devotion for your students.  There is something to be said about having an emotional connection with the work you do.  If it is used properly, it can have a dynamic effect within the classroom!  Teachers love what they do, and do what they love!

The second E in leader is for “expecting greatness.”

Teachers are to strive for the best.  As Jesus wants each of us to be our best in Christ, teachers must also want their students to pursue excellence.  Excellence is the realization of one’s pursuit of greatness.  Teachers must have high expectations for themselves as well as their students.  Success breeds success, and teachers are the ultimate catalysts for a student’s drive to be as good as one can be.

1 Timothy 4:11

Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them.

Finally, the R in leader stands for “results-oriented.”  A teacher wants to see students progress over time and, at the same time, gain more confidence in their own abilities.  Their students reflect a love for learning that will become more and more evident as they show their progress.

Luke 6:40 HCSB

The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.

A teacher would like nothing better than to see his or her students become dynamic leaders and professionals.  They want the best for them, and that is why teachers set the bar very high in pushing their students to reach for success.

Teachers lead by example.

They are learners.

They are energetic.

They apply their knowledge as they teach.

They are devoted to their jobs.

They expect greatness from their students.

They are results-oriented.

Teachers make sacrifices for the sake of their students.  They do what they love and they love what they do.

Teachers build today’s leaders because teachers are leaders.

 

Copyright © Melvin Gaines


A Successful Family Life

Today’s message summary of December 4, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

A successful family is something that needs to be worked on.  It can be difficult at times, and there is no manual that is offered that gives clues how to do it.

Every person within the family has a divine purpose, and it is up to the family members to help sharpen each other.

It is better, by far, to grow healthy children into healthy adults than it is to repair old men and women.  The child raised in the Lord has a good opportunity to come up and succeed.

Dreams require sacrifice if they are going to become a reality.  Children are to be taught how to make sacrifices.  They need to be instructed how to give to others instead of just receive things.

Without sacrifice and dedication, a child will ultimately not go anywhere.  Making sacrifices are a requirement for those who desire a good education.

There is a threefold development that has to be taught within a family that are critical to successful living:

  1. Mind development (intellect, psychology)
  2. Body development (physical appearance)
  3. Reproductive drive (sexual desire)

This needs to be instructed within the family as there will be a number of voices from the outside that will try to shape or influence how a person views these issues.

The most important part of this that is developed last (that should be developed first) is the spiritual development of the child and the family.

Psalm 119:99

I have more insight than all my teachers because Your decrees are my meditation.

 

Psalm 119:59

I thought about my ways and turned my steps back to Your decrees.

 

Psalm 119:11-12

I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You. Lord, may You be praised; teach me Your statutes.

 

There will be the need for instruction to address the different levels of growth in the family.

Each person in the family has to still make his or her own commitment to Jesus Christ.

John 6:63

The Spirit is the One who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

 

John 1:12

But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name.

 

1 John 5:4-5, 13

…because whatever has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. And who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

 

Success comes from direct obedience to the Holy Spirit.

In the family, there can be these scenarios:

  1. One person saved and one not saved (1 Corinthians 7:13).
  2. Both husband and wife are saved.
  3. One following Scripture while the other does not.
  4. Both parents saved living out the Scripture, while a child may live for the Lord and another may not.
  5. The complete family is saved and is following the Lord.

The Holy Spirit is the teacher in the family (John 14:25-26).

We in the family are the students (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:13).

The Bible is the textbook (2 Timothy 3:16).

The family is to help one another to grow:

  1. Intellectually. We communicate our knowledge to one another. We listen to each other.
  1. Emotionally. We cry, hurt, laugh and have fun together.
  1. Physically. Hugging, touches, kisses, wrestling.
  1. Spiritually. We all help guide, but only the Holy Spirit can do the real teaching (John 14:25).

Understanding a person is to know when the Holy Spirit is the only one to meet the need at this particular time in life.

Philippians 4:19

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.


Signs of the Last Days: First Major Battle of Israel

Today’s message summary of February 22, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Lord, we want to be a people who studies Your Word as we want to be faithful to You. We want to be true unto You and committed to You. Burn this unto our hearts as we commit to loving this life for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The first two World Wars set the stage for Israel to take center stage in the scope of the entire world. World War I allowed for the return of many Jews to their homeland. World War II presented the opportunity for Israel to become a nation (in 1948). God’s Word has declared that Israel would be a nation, and this has taken place.

These are the beginnings of the end times. We are to pay attention to how things are taking place in today’s world that are unprecedented in our time. What is accepted as normal today is far from what we can imagine. We have accepted teen pregnancy as the norm. While we can say that these things have been going on since the time of Adam, there is a greater intensity of these things that are taken place.

These things are leading us towards the tribulation or within the first years of the tribulation.

Ezekiel 38 and 39 are not part of Revelation 20, pertaining to the battle of Armageddon. My thought is that if Israel is going to sign a peace treaty, and the treaty is going to be broken, you won’t be able to have peace and conflict at the same time. What would be the circumstances where Israel would make a treaty with someone for peace? Something has to take place to lead up to the three and one half years that sets the stage for the Abomination of Desolation. There had to be a conflict that would set up Israel to enter a covenant that would grant them peace, and would allow them to rebuild the temple to resume their sacrifice. (Sometime during this period, Israel will get very comfortable with its practices and making sacrifices.) One who will promise peace, and then, at some point, step into the temple and call himself God will represent the treaty. It will take the entire world by surprise.

Daniel 9:27

He will make a firm covenant with many for one week he will put a stop to sacrifice and offering. And the abomination of desolation will be on a wing of the temple until the decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator.

 

Daniel 11:31

His forces will rise up and desecrate the temple fortress. They will abolish the daily sacrifice and set up the abomination of desolation.

 

Amos 8:11

Hear this! The days are coming–this is the declaration of the Lord God–when I will send a famine through the land: not a famine of bread or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.

 

Our world is in the midst of this famine today. Christians have readily put down their bibles and will make it much easier for the opposition–the Adversary–to present himself as one who brings peace and deceives the nations.

Matthew 24:15-16

15 “So when you see the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place” (let the reader understand[), 16 “then those in Judea must flee to the mountains!

 

2 Thessalonians 2:4

He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in God’s sanctuary, publicizing that he himself is God.

 

Ezekiel 38:5-6

Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shields and helmets; Gomer with all its troops; and Beth-togarmah from the remotest parts of the north along with all its troops–many peoples are with you.

 

Ezekiel 38:5-6 – Five other nations will join with Russia.

  1. Persia – Iran
  2. Cush – Ethiopia
  3. Put – Libya
  4. Gomer – Germany
  5. Beth-Togarmah – Turkey

Many nations with you (Not all nations are against Israel; however, in the battle of Armageddon, all nations will be involved.)

Russia and her friends are coming for the spoils of Israel.

Ezekiel 38:11-13

You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of open villages; I will come against a tranquil people who are living securely, all of them living without walls and without bars or gates–in order to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against ruins now inhabited and against a people gathered from the nations, who have been acquiring cattle and possessions and who live at the center of the world.’ Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish with all its rulers will ask you, ‘Have you come to seize spoil? Have you assembled your hordes to carry off plunder, to make off with silver and gold, to take cattle and possessions, to seize great spoil?’

 

Why the invasion of Israel? Why would Russia want to attack Israel?

Israel is considered to be in the center of the world. It links to three continents–Europe, Asia and Africa.

Israel may have the richest oil fields in the world.

To address hunger, Israel’s land is producing food (a land flowing with milk and honey)

The Dead Sea – salt, which has been taken from the earliest time of history

A land rich in minerals–sodium, chlorine, potassium, calcium, magnesium

Israel exports one million tons of potash (plant food) per year. Israel can supply potash for the next two hundred years.

 

In spite of all of this, God will restore Israel to Himself.

Ezekiel 39:21

I will display My glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the judgment I have executed and the land I have laid on them.

 

Scientists report general information about all nations. In this information:

“It now appears that no land in all of the world is near so rich in minerals as the little land of Israel. It is really the jewel of the world.” The salt alone has been valued at one trillion two hundred seventy billion dollars ($1,270,000,000,000.00).

In 1970, President Nixon said: “It isn’t a case of Israel versus the Arab states, but the Soviet Union is not moving into the Eastern Mediterranean (Afghanistan).

Ezekiel 38:12 – Israel is said to be in this midst of the land.

Ezekiel 5:5

“This is what the Lord God says: I have set this Jerusalem in the center of the nations, with countries all around her.”

 

A comparison of the two wars:

  • In Ezekiel, the main purpose was for God to be made known (8:23; 9:21).
  • In the battle of Armageddon, all nations of the world are involved (Joel 3:2, Zechariah 14:2, Revelation 16:14, 16; 20:7-8). Its purpose for its perpetrators was to come against Christ and the Jews.
  • Ezekiel 38:13 – the nations protest against Russia
  • Armageddon – Satan leads the opposition
  • God defeated the northern invaders in Ezekiel 38:22
  • In the battle of Armageddon, the slain will be from one end of the earth to the other (Jeremiah 25:33).
  • Russia (Gog) – the dead will be buried (Ezekiel 39:12-15). God will destroy them (Ezekiel 38:21-23).
  • In Armageddon, there will not be a burial.

1 Timothy 4:1-3

1Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods that God created to be received with gratitude by those who believe and know the truth.

 

2 Timothy 3:1-5

But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people!


No Ways Tired (God Has Brought Us Through It All)

Rev. James Cleveland

Rev. James Cleveland

Original post August 2, 2009 – Edited for re-post January 19, 2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Cw75v2uqts

I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired – Rev. James Cleveland (via YouTube)

I don’t feel no ways tired,
I’ve come too far from where I started from.
Nobody told me that the road would be easy,
I don’t believe He brought me this far to leave me.

(excerpt from I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired – written by Curtis Burrell – sung by Rev. James Cleveland)

 

When your son asks you in the future, ‘What is the meaning of the decrees, statutes, and ordinances, which the Lord our God has commanded you?’ tell him, ‘We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand. Before our eyes the Lord inflicted great and devastating signs and wonders on Egypt, on Pharaoh and all his household, but He brought us from there in order to lead us in and give us the land that He swore to our fathers. The Lord commanded us to follow all these statutes and to fear the Lord our God for our prosperity always and for our preservation, as it is today. Righteousness will be ours if we are careful to follow every one of these commands before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us.’ (Deuteronomy 6:20-25)”

When reflecting upon our lives as we remember our victories and learn from our defeats, do we respond with awe as to how God has brought us through it all?

We are (if we choose to be) a living testimony to the true statement that “God is able (Ephesians 3:20).” When we look at our life from where we came from to where we are today, we should be giving thanks to the Lord through Jesus Christ, proclaiming aloud “look where God has brought us from.” It is His grace and mercy that has carried us through. God’s grace has brought us out of generations of servitude and bondage to a new generation of freedom. He has allowed us to realize true freedom, not just in this country, but also in our ability to worship and serve our Lord Jesus Christ. Few today know of the sacrifices of our ancestors and predecessors who gave their lives for the freedom that we can celebrate in today. The times of difficulty experienced by those who lived before us in those days of persecution required a strong measure of faith and trust that God would be the One who would sustain them and deliver them. Their vision was far from short-sighted.

We have a responsibility, however, to acknowledge, who Jesus Christ is in our lives. “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it’ (Luke 9:23-24).” God has truly blessed us, in our following Jesus Christ, with a sense of family in our neighborhoods when we were raising not just our own children, but the neighbors’ children, too! Today, that precious family value has been lost to a new generation of single parenthood and a lack of a healthy overall family presence. The world has a powerful effect on today’s youth and family structures that has diminished the impact of the family structure.  Only the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit can overcome adversity and move people to reconcile with God and with others.  If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, pray for the Spirit to change lives and more!  He is able to provide many miracles!

Let’s personalize this.  When looking at where God has brought you from, take the time to review and reflect upon where you are today. Looking back at your past helps you to move today in the right direction in order to be in the place where God would have you to be now and in the future. Jesus transforms lives from a lost existence through repentance and His forgiveness of sin.  His grace and mercy from His gift of salvation is ready for anyone who is willing to trust in Him as personal Lord and Savior.  He can, and will, transform you today.  Just ask, and you will receive.  Amen.

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)


Step Back to Step Forward in Christ

A message text from Melvin Gaines for Sunday, August 17, 2014:

This past week, I was able to take the opportunity to use a paid day from work as a volunteer at a charity of my choice.  I selected The Emergency Assistance Center in Northfield Center, which is the largest food pantry in northern Summit County.  I was able to meet Joyce Hunt, the Executive Director, Lori, one of the staff members, and a group of volunteers.  The ministry there has grown in the last couple of years since Joyce came on board, and they have extended their footprint beyond the Nordonia Hills area.  They also serve the needs of residents in Twinsburg, Richfield and Boston Heights.  The need has grown over the years where they are servicing over 700 clients per month who are in need of food, clothing or even hygiene products, and they always serve every person who comes through the door with a smile and the love of Jesus Christ.  A person can select what they want according to guidelines established, and they also get free meats and bread.  The Emergency Assistance Center has partnerships with churches in the area and businesses throughout Greater Cleveland—and all without one dollar of government grants or assistance.  It is all done through donations and the selfless efforts of 60 volunteers.  They are making a difference in the community to thwart hunger and provide a lifeline to overcome poverty.  Joyce and the staff readily admit that without all of the volunteers, they could never keep up with the demand and maintain the ministry, and they absolutely believe that God is in the midst of all of it—and that He is to be glorified.

Here is one more way that kingdom work is going on for the glory of God—and giving credit where credit is due…to God and for His glory and purpose.  The testimony to others is in the sharing of the love of Christ.

Notice how all of the heart and soul of ministry certainly begins with our collective efforts of service and duty for the kingdom, and yet we see how people sincerely attribute their efforts, and especially our successes, to God.  When we see testimonies like this, know that God Himself is at the very center of our Christian faith and ministry.

In order to be able to see God truly at work in your life, you need to take a step backward in order to move several steps forward.

James 4:10

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.

 

Exalt you in what way?

By giving you fame and fortune? Maybe—but it’s highly unlikely.

By giving you a bigger house and car? Maybe—but it’s highly unlikely.

If you’re entertaining these thoughts, you are missing the point.

In the context of the verse, the act of humbling yourself in the book of James chapter 4 means having a serious approach to who God is when you consider your overall unworthiness before Him.

James 4:1-10

1 What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don’t they come from the cravings that are at war within you?  2 You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires.

Adulteresses!  Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world’s friend becomes God’s enemy. Or do you think it’s without reason the Scripture says that the Spirit who lives in us yearns jealously?

But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says:

God resists the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.

Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people! Be miserable and mourn and weep. Your laughter must change to mourning and your joy to sorrow. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.

 

God wants to see more from you than someone who talks a good game.  He wants to see how you are truly following Him, and it’s not in what you say or in how much you are doing for Him.

Ecclesiastes 5:1-3

1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Better to draw near in obedience than to offer the sacrifice as fools do, for they ignorantly do wrong. Do not be hasty to speak, and do not be impulsive to make a speech before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. For dreams result from much work and a fool’s voice from many words.

 

1 Samuel 15:22-23

22 Then Samuel said:

Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?

Look: to obey is better than sacrifice,
to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
He has rejected you as king.

 

Note that your success in Christ has nothing to do with your own thought process, your own ways of thinking or reasoning—all of these originate in the flesh.  In order to take steps forward in your faith and in your ministry before others, you need to take a step back and humble yourself before Him.  If you choose not to humble yourself, you render yourself useless within His kingdom.

Here’s a point of controversy, for sure—I’m not saying that you can’t do anything without Jesus.  You can do a lot of things without Jesus.  In fact, you can do many things and even see results, but be sure that you understand what those accomplishments mean according to His ways and His standards.  You may have your own standards, but how do they stand up to God’s standards?

Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV)

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 

You can do something without Jesus, but in the end, it amounts to nothing.

Isaiah 64:6 (ESV)

We have all become like one who is unclean,

and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.

We all fade like a leaf,

and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

 

Isaiah wrote about these so-called righteous deeds of the Israelites but he was stating, in reality, that they were nothing more than junk before God because of their hypocrisy.  This verse is commonly known as the “filthy rags” verse.  Gotquestions.org notes that the word filthy is a translation of the Hebrew word iddah, which literally means “the bodily fluids from a woman’s menstrual cycle.” This is how we are to see how God sees our self-centered approach to the good things that we think we are doing—namely, they are as useless to Him as a soiled feminine hygiene product. [1]

The things that we think we are doing for the Lord amount to nothing that is worth keeping around.  It all comes down to thinking more of yourself than you really are when you are outside of God’s will and live in disobedience to Him.

Jeremiah 13:1-11

1 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and buy yourself a linen undergarment and put it on, but do not put it in water.” So I bought underwear as the Lord instructed me and put it on.

Then the word of the Lord came to me a second time: “Take the underwear that you bought and are wearing, and go at once to the Euphrates and hide it in a rocky crevice.” So I went and hid it by the Euphrates, as the Lord commanded me.

A long time later the Lord said to me, “Go at once to the Euphrates and get the underwear that I commanded you to hide there.” So I went to the Euphrates and dug up the underwear and got it from the place where I had hidden it, but it was ruined—of no use at all.

Then the word of the Lord came to me: “This is what the Lord says: Just like this I will ruin the great pride of both Judah and Jerusalem. 10 These evil people, who refuse to listen to Me, who follow the stubbornness of their own hearts, and who have followed other gods to serve and worship—they will be like this underwear, of no use at all. 11 Just as underwear clings to one’s waist, so I fastened the whole house of Israel and of Judah to Me”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“so that they might be My people for My fame, praise, and glory, but they would not obey.

 

Without obedience, your works amount to nothing.

If Jesus is not in it, it isn’t worth doing it.

If Jesus is not in it, you’ve received your prize for your effort.

Matthew 6:1-4

1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of people, to be seen by them. Otherwise, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So whenever you give to the poor, don’t sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be applauded by people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward! But when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

 

God proclaims that your fleshly works, on their own merit, amount to nothing more than soiled products or ruined underwear.  Your works are only justified when you are justified in your humble relationship with Jesus Christ.  Your works will be seen as fruits of the Holy Spirit when you humble yourself before Him.  Only then will He exalt you, and it will be in such a way where you will see His fruits in your efforts and all that you will be able to do is proclaim, “He did it!”

How connected are you with your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?  Just as we cannot live without an air supply, we cannot be fruitful in the world, and even within the body of Christ, without the presence of the Holy Spirit.  One of the best examples of this is the study of the verses in John, chapter 15, of the vine and the branches.  It reflects the necessity of one very important element in our actions as we exist within a loving relationship with Jesus Christ, and it has everything to do with our obedience to His Word, His commands, and His will.

God wants you to see that He values your relationship with Him much more than your service.  Yes, the service is important, but not more important than Him.

If you choose to “do good with works” over a relationship with Jesus Christ, you should know that, at some point in the future, you can’t be fruitful without Him.  There is no substitute for Jesus Christ.  Your ministry depends completely upon the fruitfulness of the presence of the Holy Spirit, who enables you to minister to others.

 

John 15:1-8

 1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.

 

Whether you remain in Him (or not)—he will not desert you or forget about you—He encourages us, and even fortifies us with His very presence.

Hebrews 13:5-6

Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you. Therefore, we may boldly say:

The Lord is my helper;
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?

 

Jesus is the vine that allows you to be fruitful in your ministry.

Without Him, you cannot bear good fruit.

Jesus will also prune you in order for you to be fruitful.  Pruning sounds a little painful, doesn’t it?

When was the last time that Jesus used His pruning shears on you?  Was it a moment of discipline?  Believe it or not, you should be encouraged by the fact that you were indeed shown the way to repentance, for repentance means that God loves you and desires to draw you back into fellowship with Him.  Your return to fellowship means that God is pruning you to return you to fruitfulness.

Hebrews 12:3-11

For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart. In struggling against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons:

My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly
or faint when you are reproved by Him,
for the Lord disciplines the one He loves
and punishes every son He receives.

Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline—which all receive—then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had natural fathers discipline us, and we respected them. Shouldn’t we submit even more to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them, but He does it for our benefit, so that we can share His holiness. 11 No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

What work does Jesus need to do in your life to make you more fruitful?  Does he need to do some minor pruning—or more than that?

With the knowledge that obedience to Jesus Christ keeps you fruitful, you can now see God working in your life of fruitfulness by showing the love of Christ to others.  He chose you to do the work.  What an honor it is to serve the Lord Jesus Christ!

 

John 15:9-17

“As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love. 10 If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love.

11 “I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.12 This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father.16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.17 This is what I command you: Love one another.

Your work in Christ will show the love of Christ to others.  You were selected to do the work for His glory.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.

 

Colossians 3:17

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

 

1 “Why are all of our righteous acts considered filthy rags?” (n.d.). Retrieved August 12, 2014, from http:// http://www.gotquestions.org/filthy-rags.html

 

Copyright © Melvin Gaines


Sin and its Consequences

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Are you ready to hear how God speaks to you? Are you prepared to be a student of the Word?

God has often warned us about the dangers of sin, and we will not take His advice. When we ignore God, we find ourselves in sin and sometimes wonder later why we are in such a mess. Even though we cause the sin, we can see how sin erodes us and our lives.

We have to recognize the warnings that God gives each of us when it comes to sin. He will not let you off the hook if you are willfully disobedient. He will forgive you, yes, but God will always punish sin–there are consequences.

Romans 6:12-13
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires. 13 And do not offer any parts of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness. But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness.

Each of us knows when sin occurs. You are not just doing what you want to do, but in reality you are subject to the sin itself. You are actually following the desires of Satan, and they will ultimately lead to unhappiness. We often have a problem calling out sin for what it is. Sin is a choice. It is your will and you choice to offer yourself to do what is pleasing to God or what is sinful.

If you allow sin to live within you, it will effect you emotionally. It will, over time, destroy you.

Philippians 3:12
Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:18-19
18 For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things.

There comes a point where willful sin is in direct opposition to the saving blood of Jesus Christ, and there is nothing good that comes from this. Sin, for example, will cause you to feel emotional loss and turn you away from those who are close to you. It is the emotional response that sometimes overcomes reason, wisdom and knowledge. As a result, the mind is to always focus on heavenly things, kingdom things, and godly things–not on earthly or worldly matters. God wants you to focus on His Word and His will for your life.

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
4 Finally then, brothers, we ask and encourage you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received from us how you must walk and please God—as you are doing—do so even more. 2 For you know what commands we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

3 For this is God’s will, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality, 4 so that each of you knows how to control his own body in sanctification and honor, 5 not with lustful desires, like the Gentiles who don’t know God. 6 This means one must not transgress against and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger of all these offenses, as we also previously told and warned you. 7 For God has not called us to impurity but to sanctification. 8 Therefore, the person who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who also gives you His Holy Spirit.

God gives us the instruction manual for life–the bible. It covers the basics for life. The Holy Spirit is given to all believers to help fill in the details for living that are in line with Scripture that go beyond the basics. Even with this instruction, a believer still needs to trust and believe in God’s Word in order to please God. You make the choice to live for Christ in order to please Him.

1 Samuel 10:8
Afterward, go ahead of me to Gilgal. I will come to you to offer burnt offerings and to sacrifice fellowship offerings. Wait seven days until I come to you and show you what to do.”

Note the instructions that Saul was given to wait for Samuel…now go to 1 Samuel 13:8:

1 Samuel 13:8
He waited seven days for the appointed time that Samuel had set, but Samuel didn’t come to Gilgal, and the troops were deserting him.

Samuel did not arrive when Saul expected him to, but if the instructions are to wait, then you should wait. Saul took matters into his own hands and committed sin because he responded to his emotions and was disobedient to God (only priests were allowed to submit burnt offerings).

1 Samuel 13:9-12
9 So Saul said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” Then he offered the burnt offering.

10 Just as he finished offering the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. So Saul went out to greet him, 11 and Samuel asked, “What have you done?”

Saul answered, “When I saw that the troops were deserting me and you didn’t come within the appointed days and the Philistines were gathering at Michmash, 12 I thought: The Philistines will now descend on me at Gilgal, and I haven’t sought the Lord’s favor. So I forced myself to offer the burnt offering.”

Saul felt that he was compelled to respond from his own desires. He was looking at men and not at God. For his disobedience, there is a consequence.

1 Samuel 13:13-14
13 Samuel said to Saul, “You have been foolish. You have not kept the command which the Lord your God gave you. It was at this time that the Lord would have permanently established your reign over Israel, 14 but now your reign will not endure. The Lord has found a man loyal to Him, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not done what the Lord commanded.”

1 Samuel 15:1-3
15 Samuel told Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you as king over His people Israel. Now, listen to the words of the Lord. 2 This is what the Lord of Hosts says: ‘I witnessed what the Amalekites did to the Israelites when they opposed them along the way as they were coming out of Egypt. 3 Now go and attack the Amalekites and completely destroy everything they have. Do not spare them. Kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

Yet Saul does not follow the instructions that God has given, and he actually begins praising himself for the things that he accomplished:

1 Samuel 15:7-12
7 Then Saul struck down the Amalekites from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is next to Egypt. 8 He captured Agag king of Amalek alive, but he completely destroyed all the rest of the people with the sword. 9 Saul and the troops spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, cattle, and choice animals, as well as the young rams and the best of everything else. They were not willing to destroy them, but they did destroy all the worthless and unwanted things.

10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel, 11 “I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned away from following Me and has not carried out My instructions.” So Samuel became angry and cried out to the Lord all night.

12 Early in the morning Samuel got up to confront Saul, but it was reported to Samuel, “Saul went to Carmel where he set up a monument for himself. Then he turned around and went down to Gilgal.”

Saul also had difficulty in taking responsibility for what he had done.

1 Samuel 15:13-19
13 When Samuel came to him, Saul said, “May the Lord bless you. I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.”

14 Samuel replied, “Then what is this sound of sheep and cattle I hear?”

15 Saul answered, “The troops brought them from the Amalekites and spared the best sheep and cattle in order to offer a sacrifice to the Lord your God, but the rest we destroyed.”

16 “Stop!” exclaimed Samuel. “Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.”

“Tell me,” he replied.

17 Samuel continued, “Although you once considered yourself unimportant, have you not become the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel 18 and then sent you on a mission and said: ‘Go and completely destroy the sinful Amalekites. Fight against them until you have annihilated them.’ 19 So why didn’t you obey the Lord? Why did you rush on the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord’s sight?”

In spite of Saul’s excuses, his disobedience showed that he was not truly following God.

1 Samuel 15:20-25
20 “But I did obey the Lord!” Saul answered. “I went on the mission the Lord gave me: I brought back Agag, king of Amalek, and I completely destroyed the Amalekites. 21 The troops took sheep and cattle from the plunder—the best of what was set apart for destruction—to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”

22 Then Samuel said:

Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
Look: to obey is better than sacrifice,
to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
He has rejected you as king.
24 Saul answered Samuel, “I have sinned. I have transgressed the Lord’s command and your words. Because I was afraid of the people, I obeyed them. 25 Now therefore, please forgive my sin and return with me so I can worship the Lord.”

The Lord delights in your praises but He truly desires is your obedience. If you are obedient to Him and to His Word. Disobedience to God is indeed sin, and there is a cost for transgression. If you look at Saul’s life, you begin to see Saul’s deterioration emotionally with his fear and jealousy of David (1 Samuel 18). Saul later became angry with Jonathan and his wife (1 Samuel 20). His sin continued to progress to a point where he lost control and had a priest killed (1 Samuel 22). Finally, in 1 Samuel 28, he calls not on God, but on a medium. His sin ultimately cost the life of himself and his two sons.

1 Samuel 31:1-6
1 The Philistines fought against Israel, and Israel’s men fled from them. Many were killed on Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons and killed his sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua. 3 When the battle intensified against Saul, the archers caught up with him and severely wounded him. 4 Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through with it, or these uncircumcised men will come and run me through and torture me.” But his armor-bearer would not do it because he was terrified. Then Saul took his sword and fell on it. 5 When his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his own sword and died with him. 6 So on that day, Saul died together with his three sons, his armor-bearer, and all his men.

Sin will destroy you and others if it is unchecked and unresolved. It is very important to heed the warnings that God gives us about it and provides us instructions on ways that we can live in holiness and righteousness before Him. God wants us to run from sin and hate it for what it does to us and to those we know. Sin can rob you of many things, but it is especially damaging to your relationship with God, and it robs you of having joy in The Lord. It can keep you from being all that you can be in Jesus Christ. Our prayer is that you be all you can be in Christ and to be peaceful, joyous and righteousness in your service for Him.


The Body of Christ – Part 2

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:I believe that, in the midst of today’s troubles and conflicts, God is speaking to us.

Job 37:1-13 (HCSB)
1 My heart pounds at this
and leaps from my chest.
2 Just listen to His thunderous voice
and the rumbling that comes from His mouth.
3 He lets it loose beneath the entire sky;
His lightning to the ends of the earth.
4 Then there comes a roaring sound;
God thunders with His majestic voice.
He does not restrain the lightning
when His rumbling voice is heard.
5 God thunders marvelously with His voice;
He does great things that we cannot comprehend.
6 For He says to the snow, “Fall to the earth,”
and the torrential rains, His mighty torrential rains,
7 serve as His sign to all mankind,
so that all men may know His work.
8 The wild animals enter their lairs
and stay in their dens.
9 The windstorm comes from its chamber,
and the cold from the driving north winds.
10 Ice is formed by the breath of God,
and watery expanses are frozen.
11 He saturates clouds with moisture;
He scatters His lightning through them.
12 They swirl about,
turning round and round at His direction,
accomplishing everything He commands them
over the surface of the inhabited world.
13 He causes this to happen for punishment,
for His land, or for His faithful love.

God has a way of telling us, as a nation, “Listen to me.” I pray that we are listening to Him, and that we acknowledge His presence. There is nothing that takes place that He is not aware of.

What should draw us near to Him is His love for us. He wants to have a relationship us, and He wants us to live in such a way that we remain steadfast in Him and to live according to our purpose for His glory and His praise.

The Body of Christ

This month, we will focus on the body of Jesus Christ. It has its purpose in acknowledging that Jesus really did exist as a man. It is proof that He lived as a child that grew into manhood. While some of us may deny His deity, there is no denial of His existence in bodily form.

His body was not different from the body that we had. He experienced hunger and thirst as we did. The difference between Him and us is that He was without sin.

Jesus often spoke in such a way where He showed each of us that we are dependent on something. The body needs food and water, and sustenance in order to live. In comparison, Jesus Christ showed us that our life in Christ required a dependance upon Him. Jesus declares that, without Him, a Christian cannot live the Christian life. He is to be involved in our lives on a daily basis. The food and drink that we take in sustains our bodies. As we take on Jesus Christ, He sustains us.

Matthew 5:6
Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed, for they will be filled.

John 4:13-14
Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again—ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.”

Matthew 26:26-29
The First Lord’s Supper

26 As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take and eat it; this is My body.” 27 Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He gave it to them and said, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood that establishes the covenant; it is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 But I tell you, from this moment I will not drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it in a new way in My Father’s kingdom with you.”

Luke 22:14-20
The First Lord’s Supper

14 When the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you, from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

19 And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

20 In the same way He also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you.

When Jesus broke the bread with His disciples (as He did in Matthew and Luke), He demonstrated that the breaking of bread was a way in which we can have fellowship with Him.

Scripture points out that those who have eternal life with the abundance of the presence of Jesus Christ. Those who do not follow Christ will experience the loss of fellowship with Jesus Christ, and be subjected to the punishment of failing to acknowledge Him.

John 6:53-58
53 So Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves. 54 Anyone who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day, 55 because My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink. 56 The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood lives in Me, and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the manna your fathers ate—and they died. The one who eats this bread will live forever.”

The bread that Jesus speaks of as a provision by God for His people. God is the one who gives us what we need to live. Don’t miss that our Heavenly Father desires to provide everything that we have need of. In the midst of our rebellion, we often miss God’s provision, and even His protection.

Exodus 12:1-11
12 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: 2 “This month is to be the beginning of months for you; it is the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month they must each select an animal of the flock according to their fathers’ households, one animal per household. 4 If the household is too small for a whole animal, that person and the neighbor nearest his house are to select one based on the combined number of people; you should apportion the animal according to what each person will eat. 5 You must have an unblemished animal, a year-old male; you may take it from either the sheep or the goats. 6 You are to keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembly of the community of Israel will slaughter the animals at twilight. 7 They must take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where they eat them. 8 They are to eat the meat that night; they should eat it, roasted over the fire along with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or cooked in boiling[b] water, but only roasted over fire—its head as well as its legs and inner organs. 10 Do not let any of it remain until morning; you must burn up any part of it that does remain before morning. 11 Here is how you must eat it: you must be dressed for travel, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. You are to eat it in a hurry; it is the Lord’s Passover.

Note that this sacrifice was to be eaten in its entirety. Jesus Christ became, through His unblemished body, the ultimate sacrifice for our sins and transgressions. We are to embrace HIm in His entirety as our Lamb of God.

1 Corinthians 6:13
“Food for the stomach and the stomach for food,” but God will do away with both of them. The body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.

John 6:32-35
32 Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Moses didn’t give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the real bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the One who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 Then they said, “Sir, give us this bread always!”

35 “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again.

John 6:48-51
48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that anyone may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

The flesh that Jesus speaks of is His body, which He gave up for us in order for us to be able to receive eternal life. The Lord’s body was given up for us for the purpose that our bodies to grow and be sustained for His will and purpose. Our bodies are intended to be for The Lord and nothing else. Note what Jesus accomplished for us with His sacrifice on the cross…

2 Corinthians 5:21
He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Man cannot do anything with His own sin. There has to be an atonement for our sin that we cannot achieve on our own. Christ had to be the intercessor for our sin with His body, where He took our sin upon Himself because of His love for us.

Matthew 27:45-46
The Death of Jesus

45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over the whole land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Elí, Elí, lemá sabachtháni?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

When we take communion, we are to be mindful that all of our sins…past, present and future, are accounted for by the bodily sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

When you look at the goodness and mercy of God, He readily invites you to seek Him and look to Him–first, for eternal life, and then for the abundant life of the believer. He is worthy to be praised for His sacrifice for us.

Psalm 34:8
Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!