The River and Tree of Life

 / MULYALE MUTISYA

‘There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the Holy Place where the Most High dwells’ ~ Psalm 46:4

One of John’s vision of the New Heaven and Earth given to him by Jesus Christ concerns the River of Life. John writes, ‘And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city’ (Revelation 22:1-2). This river of life has God as its Source, and waters the tree of life so that ‘On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations’ (v2). This tree of life watered by the river of life was also found in the Garden of Eden. ‘In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ (Genesis 2:9). In addition, ‘A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters’ (v10). God then commanded man that; ‘you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die’ (v17). Mankind ate of it, and surely, he experienced death.

There was no command restricting the first man not to eat from the tree of life, but because of man’s sin and spiritual separation from God (death), the tree of life was also restricted from mankind. And so, ‘After he (God) drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way of the tree of life’ (3:v24). Since the tree of life as John describes was for the healing of nations, mankind could not have healing from sin, since access to the tree was denied. And denied it was for many centuries so that God says, ‘Your wound is incurable, your injury beyond healing. There is no one to plead your cause, no remedy for your sore, no healing for you’ (Jeremiah 30:12-13). Mankind’s wound and injury remained, until Jesus was revealed and says, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he was anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord’ (Luke 4:18-19).

‘Come, and let us return to the Lord; for he has torn, and he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind us’ (Hosea 6:1). This is an open call, and whoever chooses to turn to Jesus will be healed. Just like mankind chose to eat of the forbidden fruit, so are we given a choice to accept restoration from the tree of life Himself. Jesus says, ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener’ (John 15:1). In fact, Jesus is the ‘shoot . . . from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit’ (Isaiah 11:1). He even says of Himself, ‘I am the Root and Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star’ (Revelation 22:16). So, Jesus being the Root to the tree of life declares, ‘No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me’ (John 15:4). And so, ‘Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be a tree planted by the water that sends out its root by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit’ (Jeremiah 17:7-8).

Jesus, the Root to the tree of life, is also the Source of the river of life that nourishes it. He says, ‘Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life’ (John 4:14). Jesus our Root not only makes us bear fruit by giving us access to the tree of life, but also gives us His very life – His Spirit. His Spirit not only sustains us in this life, but also grants us access to eternity, because ‘no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit’ (3:v5). And so, anyone who believes in Jesus, ‘out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (by this he meant the Spirit)’ (7:v38-39). The level by which we grow in Christ determines the depth at which we can be in this river of life, God’s Spirit. When Ezekiel was led to a river flowing from the temple, at first the water was ankle deep, then knee deep, and then up to the waist. The further he went, he eventually noticed that ‘I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in – a river that no one could cross’ (Ezekiel 47:5). This shows that God ‘gives the Spirit without limit’ (John 3:34), and so it is up to one to determine the depths at which they want to reach.

A tree cannot grow in two places. Where its roots are, determines its growth. A tree in parched land does not fare well like a tree next to a river. Likewise, we cannot bear fruit in other sources besides the true Source, Jesus Christ. David writes, ‘Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers’ (Psalm 1:1-3). The more we remain in the Source, our flesh increasingly gets overshadowed by the Spirit, because ‘this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live’ (Ezekiel 47:9). Where the river flows, Ezekiel also notices that, ‘Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing’ (v12). In essence, when we abide in Christ, we take up His nature, becoming trees stemming from Him.

‘Jesus said to them, ‘Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life’ ~ John 6:61-63

https://carolynemutisya7.wordpress.com/2021/04/19/the-river-and-tree-of-life/

AUDIO Triumph And Tragedy

By Rev Bill Woods

Who’d believe it had been 3 years since Jesus began His public ministry!

 – 3 years since John the Baptist had pointed Jesus out to the multitudes saying,Behold, the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.”

Jesus’ fame had spread quickly.

    – People knew Him as a “great teacher,” the “miracle worker,” some even dared call Him the “Messiah.”

Huge crowds thronged Him everywhere He went to hear and see Him — to be fed and healed.

Not everyone held Him in such high esteem.

    – The Governing body of the Jews, the Sanhedrin, composed of Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes most of who hated Jesus. (70 men plus the High Priest = 71),

      – Their hatred grew in direct proportion of His fame.

      – They were jealous of Him.  He was drawing people away from them!

During the time of the Roman governors like Pontius Pilate, the Sanhedrin had jurisdiction only over the province of Judea.

The Sanhedrin had its own police force which could arrest people, as they did Christ in Gethsemane.

While the Sanhedrin heard both civil and criminal cases and could find a person guilty and impose the death sentence but couldn’t carry it out.  In New Testament times it didn’t have the authority to execute convicted criminals. – That power was reserved to the Romans, which explains why Jesus was crucified — a Roman punishment — rather than stoned, according to Mosaic law.

The Sanhedrin had to stop Him!  They had to convince the Roman Governor, Pilate to execute Him — He was destroying their Religious Empire!

    – They plotted His death — it couldn’t come too quickly!

On Palm Sunday, Jesus began His last week of public ministry.

    – His guarded secret that He was the Messiah was about to be revealed.

      – He’d cautioned His disciples after the Transfiguration to tell no one what they’d seen.

      – It was probably a miracle that Peter held it in and didn’t blab it!

Now it was time to proclaim who He was — He let the people proclaim Him King.

 – That day the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 was being fulfilled. 

Zechariah 9:9 (NKJV)
9  “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.

  1. Jesus rode into Jerusalem as The King in triumph.

1.  THE DAY OF TRIUMPH!

After eating breakfast with His friends, Jesus, and His disciples, left Bethany to go to Jerusalem.

    – The roads were crowded pilgrims were making their annual trek to the Passover.

      – Every Jew tried to go to Jerusalem for the Passover.

      – Jerusalem’s population swelled from 35,000 to 350,000 during that week.

Jesus prepared to ride into Jerusalem in the style of a king — Luke 19:29-34

And it came to pass, when He came near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples,
30  saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here.
31  And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’ “
32  So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them.
33  But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?”
34  And they said, “The Lord has need of him.”

    – A conqueror would ride into the city on a White Stallion flaunting his power and control.

      – A King, coming in peace, would come on a donkey.

Jesus sent 2 disciples to find a donkey to ride.

– Jesus was well known.

  – Everyone coming to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover knew about Him.

  – That day, the popular mood was favorable toward Him.

“The Lord needs it” was all the disciples had to say, and the owners gladly turned their little donkey over to them.

      – Here’s a lesson — we should make our possessions available to the Lord…….. Hang on loosely to all you have…..

Luke 19:35: Then they brought him (the donkey) to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him.

Jesus chose a time when all Israel would be gathered at Jerusalem to announce His true identity.   

    – Huge crowds could see Him, and understanding His proclamation was unmistakable.

– The people were ecstatic — They were sure their liberation was at hand.

As Jesus sat on the little donkey, the crowd went wild — their Messiah had finally arrived!

    – Kings rode donkeys………..

Describe the scene:

Psalm 24:7-10 (NKJV)
7  Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.
8  Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle.
9  Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.
10  Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah

Caught up in the emotion, people spread their garments along the path; others placed palm branches in the path.

Luke 19:36-38: 
36  And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.
37  Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen,
38  saying: “‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Soon they reached the summit of the Mount of Olives (describe Jerusalem)

The Pharisees complained to Jesus that the crowd was breaking a noise ordinance.                                   

 Luke 19:39-40

39  And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke

Your disciples.”

 40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

The little donkey jogged on toward the Kidron Valley.

    – The crowd grew larger — so did the excitement.

      – The whole valley echoed with cries of “HOSANNA!”

The excited crowd got so noisy the Pharisees again demanded Jesus quiet them.

    – Jesus said if the people held their voices the stones would cry out — lots of rocks!

The Pharisees concluded —

John 12:19–The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!”

  • It must’ve seemed that way that day!

This was the King’s Triumphal entry into Jerusalem — nearly everyone was shouting, “Hosanna.”

    – Nearly everyone was happy — in a holiday mood!

      – Everyone, that is, except the grumpy Pharisees, and — JESUS?

2.  TRAGEDYLuke 19:41-44
41  Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it,
42  saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.
43  For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side,
44  and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

Right in the midst of all the celebrating and hilarious shouting, Jesus began weeping.

    – The wild demonstration of affection by the fickle multitude caused Jesus to weep!

Listen as His heart breaks for His people — Matthew 23:37
37  “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

    – Here’s the agony of the Savior over a lost city.

His Phrase, “how often,” sums up the tenderest love story ever told.

    – Describe how God had tried to love Israel………

Now their days of grace were over — they still refused God’s Love.

    – Jesus sobs, “I wanted to gather you together and you wouldn’t let me!”- He knew the consequences they would face for rejecting Him.

What Jesus said to Israel that first Palm Sunday, He’s saying to us today………

    – How often He’d bless us, but we refuse………… He knows the consequences people face today  for rejecting God’s Plan of Salvation — Eternity in Hell…………….

      – He won’t send you there for rejecting Him, but He will let  you go there if you choose!……

God loves us so much, but we’re obstinate and rebellious and we won’t respond……

Israel lost Her Great Opportunity — Luke 19:42
42  saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.  

    – The opportunity was offered, refused and lost forever…(God’s Mercy will one day run out)

Israel had her times of visitation.

    – God sent Moses and the prophets — David stretched the Kingdom from Dan to Beersheba — again, when they returned from Babylon to rebuild the City, the Walls, and the Temple —

    — Now, they were rejecting Jesus, their Messiah.

They’d killed the prophets and stoned those sent to deliver them — soon they’d crucify God’s Son, Himself!

    – IF ONLY THEY’D KNOWN!

Jesus wept for what Israel might’ve been if she’d only obeyed God.

    – Israel missed her chance!

This sad story still happens in too many lives.

    – God has a purpose for your life — He wants the best for you!

Jesus came as King, but the people misunderstood His Kingdom.

    – They thought in terms of an earthly kingdom that would eventually pass away.

JESUS CHRIST IS COMING AS KING VICTORIOUS OVER ALL CREATION AND ESTABLISHING A KINGDOM THAT WILL NEVER PASS AWAY!

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was coming as King over sickness and disease.

    – Lame man, blind man, etc.

Jesus Christ was coming as King over demons and darkness.

    – Legion in tombs — boy possessed by demon — Mary Magdalene.

      – Our demonic problems are just beginning and will get worse — we need Jesus!

Jesus was coming as King victorious over discouragement and defeat — Nicodemus.

Jesus was coming as conquering King over pain and broken-heartedness.

    – Mary and Martha at Lazarus’ tomb.

Jesus Christ, God’s Son, was coming as King over sin, death, and the grave.

    – Zacchaeus had been forgiven!

      – Widow from Nain’s son was restored to his mother.

        – Lazarus was Alive!.

Listen to what Christ said was His purpose for coming — Luke 4:18-19
18  “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19  To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”

The people in Jerusalem didn’t understand — before that week was over they even thought Christ’s Kingdom was destroyed.

    – Jesus had to die on the Cross in order to establish His Spiritual Kingdom for all time and Eternity —

Isaiah 53:5-6
5  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
6  All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Satan thought he’d won a victory over God — he’d soon know he’d suffered the worst defeat he could experience — “Satan often shoots himself in the foot!”.

    – He’s now a defeated enemy forever………….

Jesus had to go to prepare a place for us who love Him.

    – He’s promised He’ll come again to get us……….John 14:2-6  
2  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
4  And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
5  Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
6  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Sunday, we’ll celebrate His first coming as King to Jerusalem.

    – Soon we’ll meet Him in the air — Rapture.

      – 7 years later we’ll see His 2nd Coming as KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS!

Then there’ll be no misunderstanding Who He really is!

Have you confessed Him as your Lord today?

    – YOU WILL ON THAT GREAT AND TERRIBLE DAY! —                                                 Philippians 2:10-11
10  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
11  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

How terrifying it will be to stand before our ALMIGHTY GOD unprepared!………………….  You don’t have to be unprepared!  He’s provided a way for you!

The King came to Jerusalem the first time.

THE KING IS COMING AGAIN!


PODCAST TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY

https://www.buzzsprout.com/977272/8219037


AUDIO He Was Innocent, But He Took My Blame!

By Rev Bill Woods

You’re driving down a busy highway at night. The traffic is dense — you’re tired — work’s been unusually hectic. Suddenly your car lists to one side.  – Oh no! A flat tire!

You stop and find the spare.  Half an hour later after changing the flat, you’re back in the driver’s seat.
    – “All that waste of time! I hope my friends are still waiting for me!”

Now that you’re back on the road, you think of the fun you’ll have this weekend.   – You deserve time off! — you’ll enjoy this break to the fullest. You smile.

Suddenly, a huge dark truck begins tailgating you!  Your first thought is “Idiot!”  – You accelerate — to your horror, the menacing truck matches your speed.

You read about a mad killer somewhere on this highway killing people with a kitchen knife. – What if he’s in the truck behind you?

You slow down, hoping it’s just a coincidence the truck’s keeping up with you.   – Hopefully he’ll pass and leave you alone. – He doesn’t!

Instead he slows and flashes his lights at you — he thrusts his arm out the window gesturing towards you.

“What’s he want?”  You’re frightened now! — Nothing like this has ever happened to you before.

You get an idea.                                                                                                                                

– Cops often work this highway. If you drive over the s – The truck’s matching your speed!

You’re terrified and push your accelerator to the floor. –  You didn’t know your car could go 120 miles an hour!

You check your mirror — that truck’s matching your speed. He’s unshakable!

A half hour and this high speed chase is still going on! – Wouldn’t you know there are no cops anywhere!  Your exit is still 3 miles away.

You’ve got to keep on racing – It’s a good plan. The only plan that hopefully will deliver you from your aggressor.

You succeed in taking the exit — you’re rejoicing!  You’ve finally shook off that truck, then you notice those same lights are still following you.  – Your blood turns icy. “What now?”

Your gas tank’s almost empty – there’s nowhere to go except to the mansion where your friends are waiting.

You hope John has his shotgun with him. He seldom leaves it behind — he’s an avid hunter.

No matter where you turn, the truck stays right with you.

Finally you’re at the mansion — John’s waiting for you. – You leap from your car and shout “Get your shotgun!” John sees the truck. – He runs into the house and grabs his gun.   – Hope’s finally in sight!

John points his gun at the driver of that dark, menacing truck, and orders him out. – The poor guy comes out of his truck shaking.

What would you be thinking about this driver at this time? – Would you welcome him with open arms? Or want to strangle him?
– The shaking man yells, “It’s not me! It’s not me! It’s him!”

Confused you and John look at each other. “Who?”

“There’s a man in the back of your car. I saw him slip into your car while you were changing your tire. He had a kitchen knife in his right hand. I followed you to warn you about him!”
 –
Is he telling the truth?

Slowly all 3 of you approach your car. – John opens the back door, his shotgun ready.  – Sure enough, a man’s crouching behind your seat, a kitchen knife in his hand.

Imagine your feeling when you realize the one you accused had nothing but purest intentions.   He wanted to save you from certain death.  – He’s not the one who deserves judgment. He’s your hero, your savior!

What a picture of how people respond to Jesus!

Most people run from the One who can provide the safety they need and harbor the very murderer bent on destroying them.

Jesus has done and is doing everything He can to save you from sin and Hell (the 2nd Death) while you run from Him afraid He’ll ask you to give up too much of the world to serve Him.  

Christ’s doing everything He can to get your attention before it’s too late, but you’re not pulling over.

At the same time, Satan, the thief and murderer,” who you should fear is invading your homes and families – planning your destruction. – John 8:44-45 –“For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.
45 So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me!”

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!
17  This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
18  And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.
19  For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.
20  So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
21  For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right
– You and I didn’t choose whether or not we’d be born – we were just born. – We didn’t choose our parents or where we’d be born.  – I didn’t choose to be William Walter Woods from Walla Walla, Washington.  – I was born in Walla Walla to be near my mother.

On the contrary, Jesus chose to be born in Bethlehem. – He chose His mother to be the Virgin Mary — His step-dad to be Joseph.  He chose to be a Jew and to be born in a stable.

He left Heaven to live a perfect life without sin and take your punishment for your sins. – Romans 6:23 — For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus is the Eternal Son of God: of one substance with the Father, co-equal, co-eternal, co-existent with the Father, became a human being in every way, except for sin.  – He was a man of suffering, of pain, of anxiety, of temptation – who was crucified and died for our sins.  

2 Corinthians 5:21 makes clear Christ “had no sin.”  For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

He didn’t inherit the guilt of original sin. He lived a sinless and pure life from His conception  until His death.  – He didn’t allow the evil that surrounds all of us to enter into His deeds or His heart. 

No matter what temptation, how hard the struggle or how great – He remained perfect! — 2 Corinthians 5:21 He “has no sin”. 

He reflects the perfect image of God — Hebrews 1:3 — The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. – Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory and Being …  

Paul said in Romans 3:23 — “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”                                                                                                      .  – “we” are the sinners.                                                                                           

Not just the drunkard, the addict, the liar, the thief, the blasphemer, the idolater or murderer.  We’re all sinners

Who’s a sinner? Everyone who’s broken a single commandment of God!- You and me – we’re the sinners!

“I’ve lived a good and decent life and my good deeds outweigh my bad deeds!”

Isaiah 64:6We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.”

.   – You can’t live good enough to make it to Heaven!  – Ephesians 2:8-9 — “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”

Because it was impossible we escape Hell, Jesus stepped into history and provided the sacrifice needed to save us. – Hebrews 9:22 — In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.”

Two thieves spotted what looked like a sweet deal.

They found an unguarded 2007 Volkswagen cargo van with a moveable platform and crane. – It looked like easy pickings — the driver was asleep — the van was unguarded.

They overpowered the driver, tied him up, dropped him in a vacant parking lot, and drove away.

They drove about 24 miles and decided to investigate the van’s cargo. What can it hurt? They made a score, and needed to see their loot.

Soon they unloaded the containers, broke them open, scattered the contents, and found nothing of interest.
– They found nothing of interest, but that doesn’t mean they found nothing.

The crooks opened containers of radioactive cobalt-60 pellets taken from hospitals in Tijuana and headed for a nuclear holding plant outside of Mexico City.                                                                                                                                                       .   – There’s one other thing those crooks found in those pellets – DEATH!

Those cobalt-60 pellets were small, but deadly. They carried enough radioactive punch to kill anyone who came into close contact with them.                                                                    

Death would come in 2 or 3 days. – The crooks didn’t know, but opening those containers made them walking dead men.

Their story isn’t much different than Adam and Eve who thought the forbidden fruit wasn’t such a bad thing … – or David who believed a little look at Bathsheba couldn’t hurt … – or Achan who thought a few bars of silver and gold taken from Jericho wouldn’t cause any  problem   the rest of us.

Because of sin, we were all walking dead. – Big sins, little sins, every sin separated us from God and condemned us.

This is why human’s walking dead need a Savior.

We’re better off than the thieves who stole the cobalt-60.  – There was no cure for them, but Jesus has provided the antidote for our lost condition.

Jesus is the Judge we’ll someday face.  – We know we’re guilty and we know the penalty.

God’s Law demands we be punished (sentenced to Eternal Death, separation from God in Hell).  – Jesus has assumed the punishment for our sins – GRACE! (UNMERITED FAVOR!)

Through His life, by His suffering, death, and glorious resurrection from the dead, Jesus has become our Heaven-sent Savior, Who can cleanse sinners of all that’s contaminated and condemned us.

He’s promised riches beyond our wildest dreams — forgiveness, Heaven, Joint-heirs with Him!

We have to decide to accept His Pardon and gifts He wants to bestow on us.  – We must accept His Identity by Identifying with Him!  – With Holy Spirit-given faith we’re no longer walking dead, we’re eternally saved souls.

THE OLD ACCOUNT WAS SETTLED LONG AGO!  

Easter is not about bunnies and chocolate eggs!  Easter is HIS RESURRECTION DAY!  AND BECAUSE HE LIVES I CAN FACE TOMORROW!

Today, I want to gather with God’s saints and remember what Jesus has done for us and that He is soon coming to get us and take us to His Place where we’ll live with Him for Eternity.

Jesus tasted death, the grave and the consequences of sin in Hell for 3 days for you and me!

He didn’t stay in the grave!  HE AROSE AND THAT’S WHAT WE ARE CELEBRATE!

HE LIVES!  HE LIVES!  CHRIST JESUS LIVES TODAY!


PODCAST HE WAS INNOCENT, BUT HE TOOK MY BLAME!

https://www.buzzsprout.com/977272/8168735


VIDEO The Difference Between “Son of God” and “Son of Man”

FROM Nathan W. Bingham Nov 14, 2020

Jesus is given many titles in Scripture. What does it mean that He is the “Son of God” and the “Son of Man”? In this brief clip, R.C. Sproul reveals that these two titles actually signify something different than what we might expect.

Transcript:

Just briefly in passing, let me ask you to pay particularly close attention, when you read the Gospels, to the use of the phrase or the title “Son of Man.” It’s one of the most important titles for Jesus in the New Testament and yet, at the same time, one of the most frequently misunderstood.

Part of the reason is we see the difference between the title “Son of Man” and “Son of God.” And given the church’s confession, historically, of the dual nature of Jesus—that He has a divine nature and a human nature—the tendency is for folks to assume that when Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of Man, that He was speaking of His human nature, and when He’s referred to as the Son of God, He was being referred to vis-à-vis His divine nature. Well, it’s not as simple as all of that, because both of these titles have within them elements that refer to His deity and to His humanity. But if anything, the emphasis on the two is just the opposite of what we would normally expect.

The title “Son of God” is given, in the first instance in Scripture, to those who manifest obedience to the Father. Sonship is defined predominately, not in biological terms here, but in terms of being in one accord or submissive towards, and so on. Remember Jesus Himself, in His discussions with the Pharisees, who claimed to be “sons of Abraham,” Jesus rebuked them and said, “You are the children of Satan. You are the children of the one whom you obey.” Now, don’t get me wrong. The “Son of God” also contains, in certain references in the New Testament, clear indications of Jesus’ eternal sonship and His deity. So, we don’t want to overstate the case.

But this title, “Son of Man,” is the one I want you to really pay attention to when you’re reading the Gospels, because it’s used so often in the New Testament, and all but three times that it occurs in the New Testament, it comes from the lips of Jesus. And it refers back to the Old Testament vision that was written down by the prophet Daniel, where Daniel had a vision into the interior of the heavenly court of God, where he saw the Ancient of Days enthroned, and the judgment was set. And to the Ancient of Days comes “one like unto a son of man,” who then is given the authority to judge the world. So that in the first instance, the Son of Man is a heavenly person—a heavenly person who descends to this world, whose principal role in His visitation to this earth is that of the heavenly judge.

Then He returns to the presence of God in His ascension. We remember that Jesus says, “No one ascends to the Father except He who has first descended from Him.” Again, we tend to think that Jesus’ calling Himself the Son of Man was an expression of humility, when, in fact, it was a claim to divine authority. That’s why I want you to notice this. When He heals on the Sabbath day and is rebuked by His enemies, He said, “I did this that you may know that the Son of the Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” And when He forgives sins and creates an uproar from His contemporaries, saying, “Only God has the authority to forgive sins,” Jesus said, “I did this that you might know that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” And again, and again, and again, you will begin to see that this title, “Son of Man” that Jesus uses for Himself, is a highly exalted title.

https://www.ligonier.org/blog/difference-between-son-god-and-son-man/

VIDEO Forgetting What is Behind – The Great Reset of the Church

 / MULYALE MUTISYA

‘Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith’ (Hebrews 12:2). By looking straight ahead, we get to see the Perfect One who perfects our faith even while we are in our weak flesh. Jesus, our Perfection, also looked straight ahead and ‘for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame’ (v2). Forgetting all His glory and miracles, and the current suffering, Jesus looked on ahead and saw the joy set before Him- the greater glory that would not only be His, but to all those who believe in Him. And so Paul in beseeching us to forget what lies behind urges that ‘All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have attained’ (Philippians 3:15-16).

King Solomon puts it bluntly and admonishes, ‘Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions’ (Ecclesiastes 7:10). Yet many of us look back on the good ole days pondering on its glories, simplicity, and joys. When Lot came to the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, he saw that the land ‘was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, towards Zoar’ (Genesis 13:10). But ‘the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord’ (v13). When God’s angels were about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, they urged Lot and his family to, ‘Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away! (19:v17). Amidst the moving forward, ‘Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt’ (v26). Perhaps, she looked back to behold the City’s greenery and glories once more.

To date, Jesus tells us, ‘Remember Lot’s wife!’ (Luke 17:32). He was speaking in the context of His second coming saying that just as it was in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, so ‘It will just be like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed’ (v30). The day the two Cities were destroyed came suddenly and with such urgency. There was no time to think or do anything, not even looking back. In the day of the coming of the Lord, the only requirement would be, ‘Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city’ (Revelation 22:14).

A garment can only be made clean if it is washed daily. No one thinks of how their garment was clean yesterday, but only considers what it looks like now. In the same way, ‘Always be clothed in white, and always anoint you head with oil’ (Ecclesiastes 9:8). In other words, only those who ‘have clothed yourselves with Christ’ (Galatians 3:27) and have oil (Holy Spirit) in their lamps (Spirit) like the ‘five wise virgins’ (Matthew 25), and like our Lord and Saviour Jesus whom ‘God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power’ (Acts 10:37).

Our salvation is not a one-time affair. It is a continuous state of being and of relying on God’s daily mercies. It is not a yesterday I was, or tomorrow I will be affair. ‘As long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness’ (Hebrews 3:13) because ‘God again set a certain day, calling it Today’ (4:v7). The only day of entering into God’s rest, and His salvation is today so that ‘Today if you hear his voice do not harden your hearts’ (Psalm 95:8). If we daily look on ahead to Christ, forgetting our mistakes or past glories, then we will eventually achieve perfection when our bodies die, and spirits rise. Paul reminds us, ‘We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end of the confidence we had at first’ (Hebrews 3:14). The great men and women of faith were commended because ‘they were longing for a better country- a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them’ (11:v16).

Those who forget what is behind and strain ahead in their faith like the ones who went before will realize ‘that the world was not worthy of them’ (v18). A Christian who serves a God that says, ‘Behold, I make all things new!’ (Revelation 21:5) should they themselves ensure that they daily enrich their spiritual life. For ‘if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!’ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Their yesterday state should be forgotten and their focus adjusted to the newness of each day. And so, each day, one should, ‘Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses’ (1 Timothy 6:12). A Christian should not be ‘of those who draw back unto perdition, but of those who believe and are saved’ (Hebrews 10:39). When Jesus comes back, He will not seek to find out what your state was yesterday, but how it is like when He Himself finds it. So He asks, ‘Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth?’ (Luke 18:8). Will He find faith in you?

The end of a matter is better than its beginning’ ~ Ecclesiastes 6:8

https://carolynemutisya7.wordpress.com/2021/01/01/forgetting-what-is-behind/


The Great Reset of the Church | Pastor Shane Idleman

The Child of Prophecy

The Child of Prophecy

by John MacArthur Wednesday, December 9, 2020

This post was first published December 16, 2015. -ed.

The Christmas story in the Bible begins several hundred years before that night in Bethlehem. One Old Testament prophecy after another promised a coming Savior—the Messiah, the Anointed One—who would redeem the people of God. The centerpiece of all the Christmas prophecies, Isaiah 9:6, was written nearly six hundred years before Jesus’ birth. Isaiah promised it would be a miraculous event, unlike any the world had ever known, and the details Isaiah gave were fulfilled precisely by Jesus.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 is the most familiar of all the Old Testament prophecies about the birth of Christ. Handel included it as one of the great choruses of his Messiah oratorio. Chances are you either sing it or hear it several times every Christmas season.

Consider the rich truths in this one short verse and the attributes given to this extraordinary child. To the Jewish nation, Isaiah’s prophecy was news of a coming King. To the unsuspecting world, the prophecy promised a Savior, God incarnate, whose coming would dramatically and forever alter human history.

Son of Man
“A child will be born to us” is a statement about His humanity. He began life like any other human—as an infant. Isaiah doesn’t say more about this here, but we know from the New Testament that Christ experienced every temptation common to humanity, but He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). As a man, He felt everything we feel, hurt like we hurt, wept like we weep, and in His death He even felt the weight of sin as He took ours upon Himself.

Son of God
“A son will be given to us” speaks of the Savior’s preexistent deity. By saying “given,” not “born,” Isaiah suggests that Jesus existed before His birth. He was already God, the second Person of the Trinity, before He was given to us to be our Savior (Philippians 2:6-7). He came as the Son of God—God in a human body—to conquer sin and death forever. He is the perfect Son of God, the promise of the ages, the Holy One of Israel, the desire of nations, the light in darkness, the only hope for our lost world.

King of kings
“The government will rest on His shoulders” looks beyond that first Christmas to a time still in the prophetic future when Christ shall reign over a literal, earthly, geopolitical kingdom that encompasses all the kingdoms and governments of the world (Zechariah 14:9Daniel 2:44). In that day, the government of the whole world will rest on His shoulders, and He will reign as sovereign over a worldwide kingdom of righteousness and peace. In the meantime, His government operates in secret. His kingdom and sovereign rule are manifest within those who trust Him as their Lord (Luke 17:20-21).

Wonderful Counselor
Messiah’s kingdom has the answer to the world’s confusion. During His incarnation, Christ demonstrated His wisdom as a counselor. When people came to Him, He always knew what to say, when to reach out to a seeking heart, and when to rebuke an impetuous soul. The testimony of those who heard Him was, “Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks” (John 7:46). Christ is the source of all truth (John 14:6), and it is to Him that we must turn to make sense of life’s confusion. Jesus is the Counselor who knows everything. He knows all about you; He knows the needs of your heart; He knows how to answer those needs. And He always gives wise counsel to those who will hear and obey Him.

Mighty God
The King is the Mighty God and His kingdom is free from all chaos. “God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33), which means chaos is antithetical to who He is. Christ the King loves to step into a life of chaos and not only provide wonderful counsel, but also display His divine power by bringing order. He not only tells His subjects what to do as a wonderful Counselor, but He can energize them to do it—because He is the Mighty God. In Jesus we have a sovereign Master who can forgive sin, defeat Satan, liberate us from the power of evil, redeem us, answer our prayers, restore our broken souls, and reign over rebuilt lives, bringing order to chaos.

Eternal Father
We tend to cringe at the word “government,” picturing an administrative labyrinth. But our Messiah’s kingdom is not like that. He requires no bureaucracy; He shoulders His government by Himself. He can do it because He is the eternal Father, or as the phrase in Isaiah 9:6 is literally translated, “the Father of Eternity.” Christ is Creator of heaven and earth. According to God the Father’s own testimony, the Son—Jesus—was the Person of the Godhead who created time out of eternity and fashioned the universe from nothing (Hebrews 1:10-12). Nothing is too difficult for the Creator and Sustainer of everything. Infinity and all its intricacies are nothing to Him who is the Alpha and Omega, the First and Last, the Beginning and the End—the Father of Eternity. He declares the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). He is in complete and sovereign control, He sees the end of everything, and He guarantees that all things will work together for the ultimate good of all His kingdom’s subjects (Romans 8:28).

Prince of Peace
In Messiah’s kingdom there are no conflicts because He is the Prince of Peace. He offers “peace from God” (Romans 1:7) to all who receive His grace. He makes “peace with God” (Romans 5:1) for those who surrender to Him in faith. And He brings the “peace of God” (Philippians 4:7) to those who walk with Him. As we hear so often at Christmas, the beginning of His earthly life was heralded by angels who pronounced peace on earth (Luke 2:14). There never really has been peace on earth in the sense we think of it. Wars and rumors of wars have characterized the entire two millennia since that first Christmas, as well as all the time before it. The announcement of peace on earth was a two-pronged proclamation. First, it declared the arrival of the only One who ultimately can bring lasting peace on earth (which He will do when He returns to bring about the establishment of His earthly kingdom).

But more importantly, it was a proclamation that God’s peace is available to men and women. Read the words of Luke 2:14 carefully and note this emphasis: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” God is pleased with the people who yield their lives to Him. “The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy” (Psalm 147:11 NKJV). When the angels proclaimed peace on earth, they were speaking primarily of a very personal, individual application of God’s peace that grows out of a firsthand knowledge of the Prince of Peace.

The prophetic message of Christmas is the good news of God’s answer to all the confusion, chaos, complexities, and conflicts of life. It is the gift of the newborn infant who is also the Father of all eternity. He is an innocent child, yet He is a wise Counselor and mighty King. He is God with us. Immanuel.

This Christmas, consider the wonderful promise of Christ, and how He has fulfilled these rich prophecies in your life through His saving, sanctifying, and sustaining work.

(Adapted from God’s Gift of Christmas.)

https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B151216

VIDEO 100,000 at Bonnarro Encounter Evangelism Explosion

By Larry Tomczak – June 17, 2019

The largest camping music festival in North America had a sell out attendance this year of 80,000 alongside 20,000 staff gathering outside Nashville. Scores encountered the love of God and the transformative message of the gospel.

“I was so lonely. I thought no one cared for me. I met believers around the tent. They showed me how to receive the love of Jesus.”

“I could feel darkness all around me. Then I met the Jesus people and they led me to Christ. I could literally see the darkness cloud leave me.”

“I went to church but was religious. Then I met ‘fired up’ Christians at the outreach tent. I had never witnessed this before. I wanted what they had and I prayed and my life is so different now!”

 

Last year over 750 conversions were recorded at the event! Multitudes were baptized in water.

With our nation in one of the most turbulent times in its history similar to the Revolutionary War and Civil War periods, Christians are awakening to our sacred responsibility to evangelize the lost. Legislation and education are extremely important but only regeneration changes lives and can lead to a desperately needed Third Great Awakening.

Jesus showed us the way by His example in lifestyle evangelism. He said:

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk.19:10).

Because He directs us as leaders to “be examples to the flock” (1Pet.5:3), we who are pastors shouldn’t delegate the task to an “evangelism team” while secluding ourselves to study and prepare sermons. I count it an honor to join leaders in our city on the front line of missional living.

Enjoy these pictures from our adventure in lifestyle evangelism. Gain fresh inspiration from the video followed by a message from the born-again mayor who’s a catalyst for our being on the grounds. Note how important it is for Christians to be salt and engage in the political process to strategically put people in positions of influence.

“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?… How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring good news of good things!” (Rom. 10:14-15).

Original here