The Authenticity of Christ

Have you ever been walking and all of a sudden you hit something with your foot and off you went step after step, tumbling down to the floor? With a stumbling block anyone how comes across with it will stumble. It is the same in the spiritual concept, if we do not watch our steps we can stumble and fall. But, do we really have to watch our steps if we are in Christ? Aren’t everyone who believes in Jesus Christ a Christian and in the correct path? It seems not, because in a parable Jesus speaks about certain individuals who came to the Lord mentioning all the things they did in his name, and yet he did not know them (Mt7:21-23). He also spoke of certain people who honor him with their lips but their hearts are from Christ (Mt15:8). So, this thing about saying something that you are not becomes a stumbling block by which others will stumble.

Matthew 11:4-6

Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosya] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

John’s disciples were sent to confirm the authenticity of Christ, and when they came to Jesus they witnessed first hand; the dead rising, the sick healed, the lame walking and the gospel being preached to the poor. They witnessed the word of God being confirmed of which the Prophet Isaiah spoke about in Isaiah 42:7. Jesus’ life authenticity is also certified by two well known Pharisee Joseph from Arimathea and Nicodemus. Joseph was an undercover follower of Christ whom after he died requested from Pilate the body of the Lord, and buried him in his own personal tomb (Jh19:40-42). Because of these two social status’ and position, Christ’s authenticity is certify. Finally, Christ’s authenticity is affirmed by 500 people whom witnessed him sharing and performing miracles for forty days after his death (Acts1:3). 

So, after John’s disciples witnessed first hand Christ’s authenticity, Jesus warns them of the possibility for finding a stumbling block on his account. Is is possible to find a stumbling block in Christ? Not in Christ himself, but because he lives in us, it is very possible. People are looking at our faith attributes to find flaws and have a reason to stumble. Each time we do not measure up to the expectation people see as a stumbling block. In the law of Moses it reads that we should not put a stumbling block before a blind or deaf person lest he stumble (Lev19:14). When we do the things that stumble from believing we become a stumbling block and we can suffer spiritual loses. The scriptures say that it is better to tie a rope with a rock around our necks and cast it to the see then to become a stumbling block (Mt18:6).

 

 

 

Verses
to open eyes that are blind,
 to free captives from prison
 and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
John 19:40-42
40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein was never man yet laid.42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulcher was nigh at hand.
Acts 1:3
3To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

“You shall not curse a deaf man, nor place a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall revere your God; I am the LORD”

Matthew 18:6

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Espanol

 

Decision time

Being challenged has become a way of life in this day in age. Today we are confronted with decisions that require action and sometimes it will cost a price. Say you go to the store and someone is not wearing a mask, you have the decision to either tell the person to put on and get into a rumble, or stay quiet and risk getting infected.  Life itself is not without challenges, from the time we rise in the morning till the time we go to bed we are challenged. Challenges bring out of us the bravery. Whether we like it or not life pushes the bravery out of us. But, the bible teaches us to encourage one another especially the fainthearted to continue forwards (1Thes5:14). It tells us not to grow weary of doing good (Ga6:9), because the challenges of life will not cease and we need to keep pressing forward. Keeping and following the faith is a challenge that is becoming harder to battle(2Tim1:13). 

2 Samuel 23:15

15 And David said with longing, “Oh, that someone would give me a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!”

There is a measure of bravery that is increasingly required today to keep and follow the faith from believers. And, there are some risks that we are going to have to start taking in order to do what the Lord requires of us. Now, King David makes a statement that pressed on his might brave men to act upon, he challenged them to bring him water from a well near the gate of Bethlehem; which was heavily guarded with Philistines. Jesus makes a similar request from a woman from Samaria to give him water (Jhn4:7), which required this woman’s boldness or bravery to come out. She confessed her sin to Jesus and went out and told all her town about the Christ.

These brave men of David after they had displayed their heroic acts were pressed even further with the request of a cup of water. Take for instance Josh-eb called Adino he killed eight hundred men at one time. And, the second of David’s brave men named Dodo after the people went out to battle and they retreated, he went and fought with the Philistines and alone took them out. Dodo killed so many men that his hand got stuck to his sword. Then, there was Shammah, who while he was with the people of God defending a small place that the people abandoned him. He alone defended the area from the enemy. 

And, now they are challenged another time as if all their challenges were not enough with David’s request for water. The kingdom of God is under attack and it is facing and about to face greater challenges (Mt11:12). God told Joshua to be strong and of great courage, because He was going to give all people to him (Jos1:9). 

 

Verses
13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
John 4:7
There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
Matthew 11:12
12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest

Espanol

 

You are the light 

Like everyone else, we believers are no exemption for calamities’, trial, tribulations and even persecutions. In fact, because we choose to follow Christ we draw the unwanted. And, because of those trials and tribulations we stick out from the rest of the population. Paul says that we carry with us those unwanted attributes everyday (1Cor4:9), of tribulations, persecutions, trials, (2Cor4:8-10)etc…, and those with a purpose. Every person ever since the great fall is destined to face hardship during their life (Mt5:45), is what Jesus was referring too when he said that God causes the rain to fall on both the good and the evil. In fact, every person whether good or bad is destined to die; even (Ecc3:20). But, one thing distinguish us the believers from the rest and that is we shine when everyone else does not. 

Acts 28:4-6

When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.

Now, the islanders when they saw Paul and the condition that he was in understood that he must have been an evil person destined for punishment. Paul’s situation seemed to be worse then of their own, he was surrounded by guards and missed a storm. It painted a picture in the islander’s mind common to them of someone worse off then they. Things that happens to believers are usually worse then that of the unbelievers. And, to top it of Paul was bitten by a venomous snake of which the writer describes as a beast, so his situation became even worse. Jesus said that we are the light of the world and this light cannot be put under a bowl, but on a stand so that everyone sees (Mt5:14-15). The islanders thought that Paul escalated from judgement with man to that of gods, painting the worst picture imaginable. But this, what was happening to Paul was for the purpose of advancing the gospel (Ph1:12-14). Insomuch, that when the islanders; after they observed him for a while, noticed that this snake bite did no harm to Paul and changed their perception of him. The snake can bite us but it cannot kill us. Now, they thought of Paul as god and opened their hearts to the gospel to the point that healing came to their community. Paul was able to heal their leaders father along with many other islanders. 

 

Verses
that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Ecclesiastes 3:20 
20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters,a] that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guardb] and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

Espanol

 

Thanksgiving is a time to show our gratefulness towards God who has, though we are not worthy, provided us with all the necessary things to survive. Throughout the year He has blessed us with clothing, food, homes and jobs for which we need to show our appreciation. And while God calls us to take a leap of faith and leave everything behind; that is mother, father, sister brothers, wives (Lk14:26), he promises us that we do not have to worry because he will provide those things a hundredfold (Mk10:28-30). But, while we are reminded that God supplies all our needs and gives us reasons to be thankful, there are things that we are not so willing to release to him. Things that we hide throughout life that encompass a sense of selfishness for which we will not show any appreciation towards God, we will manifest only until we decide.

Luke 4:26-27  26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy[g] in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

Jesus tells these religious leaders that a prophet is not with honor in his own town, when he is addressing how difficult it is for those who love money to enter into God’s kingdom. It does not matter one’s economic status any person can enter into God’s kingdom, as long as the love for money is not prioritized in that person’s life. God sent Naaman the leprod to Elisha be healed. Naaman was the captain of the Syrian army even though he was plagued with leprozy. He along with his army invaded Israel and took captive many people, and for himself took a young girl as a servant to his home. In order for Naaman to lead the army he needed to cover his entire body so that his leprosy would not be seen. This young girl understood that God uses his prophets in might ways to heal, and so she was not shy to recommending Elisha to heal her master (2Kgs5:3). Naaman requested permission from the king to go and see Elisha, and when he went to see him he told him to just wash in the Jordan 7 times and he would be healed(2kgs5:10-11). Naaman did as Elisha told him and was cleansed of his leprozy. He returned to Elisha and was so grateful that he did not have to wear his mask, because he was cleansed that he wanted to bless him with a gift(2Kgs5:15-16). But, Elisha did not want the gift that Naaman brought to him, because all that God wanted was Naaman’s heart. Naaman was released from his mask, and no longer that thing that plagued him under the mask; leprosy, was going to be present. So, thanksgiving is about really giving God thanks for the things that he has set us free from, and not just for the add on blessing he provides.

Expecting God’s rule on earth is what everyone should be doing. We work and live as Christ will come tomorrow even though we do not know the hour or day when he comes (Mt25:13). Even though we are witnessing plenty of signs that something is going to happen; we believe Christ is coming, we do not know when it will happen. It is not entrusted into us to pin point the hour (Mt24:36), it is only in the Father’s time when Christ is coming. But, we do know one thing and that is Christ is coming, and we should be living and working as he was coming today. The bible teaches us that Jesus Christ is coming back to take his church; we call this the rapture (Jh14:1-3). And, after the rapture the bible speaks that a great tribulation will occur. A period of seven years when the earth will experience changes like never before, and men will experience God’s wrath as depicted in the book of Revelations. A brief list of things that will happen on earth that we do not want our family and friends to experience are; one third of man, trees and living things will be wiped away, a giant meteor will fall from the sky, people will be killing people, Christian persecution will escalate to the highest level, diseases like never before will be rising.

Luke 19:15-20

15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. 17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. 18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. 19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. 20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:

So, the people during this time of Jesus thought that God was just going to come and reign without holding man accountable for their actions. Jesus needed to clarify to this people that, because God has given us so many talents to use we are some day going to give account for them. And, this is called the “Judgement Seat of Christ”(2Cor5:10), where a reward will be given to man for his works. The servants in this parable were given talents according to their abilities (Mt25:15), and immediately there were supposed to get to work. The reward for our work is weighed in heavenly volume and not earthen. All three of the servants were given bags of money to negotiate and for their rewards they were to be placed as rulers of cities. One of the servants chose not engage in making gains with their talent, although he could have had others helped him. Rewards for serving the Lord are great. God has very big rewards for people who engage in serving and making gains on their talents (1Cor3:12-15).

How Americans experience and express their faith
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Victory over our enemies is the reward God has for those who seek him. We have a continual battle each day that does not waiver and does not cease. If we are not warring against our mind, we are against family, or friends, and other humans. It seems that our wars never end. The bible teaches us that we have different types of battles, but that the victory is ours (1Cor15:57). Some of our battles happen away from home; at work, school or church, and our enemy is not carnal (Eph6:12). So, no matter the reasons for us engaging in war and battle our enemy is the same. He; the enemy, does not rest. The bible tells us that he lurks around us like a roaring lion seeking to whom he may devour (1Pt5:8). So, how do you know if you are in a battle? There are several signs that identify’s a spiritual battle is going on, and one of them is a sudden feel of lose or troubles. Also, attacks of physical danger, illness, increase temptation, feeling of overwhelm or fear, and deep confusion are signs of war.

1 Chronicles 15:17 17 But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days.

God promises that we have the victory in Christ and that though we will have troubles in this life we are more then conqueror’s (Ro8:37, Jh16:33). Now, King Asa had just come victorious from battle and was feeling pretty good. But, the battle that he was coming to was going to be more difficult, so God sent him a prophet to encourage him. This battle that he was going to engage in was not like the one he had just finished winning with flesh and blood, it was a spiritual battle in taking down idols at home. His family and friends got involved with idolatry and lifted high places. The people of God knew how God felt about idols because of the 10 commandments; the 2nd commandment in Exodus 20:4, and yet they continued to set them up. King Asa made the decision to bring the idols down at home and went throughout Israel destroying them and he even took down his mother’s idol and removed her from her position as queen. Yet, a high place remained; to which King Asa neglected to bring down, and it is a reminder that high places may still exist in our lives that we may not be ready to bring down. The symbolic significance of high places are those things that the highest place in priority in us; our children, job, relationship, homes and ourselves.

The effects that Christ produce in us is such that produce thanksgiving in both us and those around us. When a life is changed from that of a horrible person with the characteristics of that fairy tail character of the Grinch, to that loving person of Christ it produces a grateful heart. Being thankful is a God thing, and it is something that we do towards God such as bringing sacrifices of thanksgiving before him (ps107.22). We all have something to be thankful for of God, he has comforted us when we needed it the most, he has turned dry moments into enriching ones; It’s what God does, and thanksgiving is the product of such (Is51:3).   

2 Corinthians 9:11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.

Paul is working to prepare this church of Corinthians to becoming bountiful givers, for another church; the church of Macedonia, was coming to see their fruit and they needed to be ready. We have been blessed in all things to the point that gratefulness has no other choice but to pour out from us. The scriptures tell us that he shall supply all our needs according to his riches in glory through Christ Jesus (Ph4:19). It also says that God knows all your needs (Lk12:30) and if we seek him he will supply them. When God supplies your needs; whatever they may be say a job, a healing, the effects are to the production of the unspeakable gift through us. When something is unspeakable they are either forbidden to be spoken of, or there is not enough knowledge. But, Christ is the later, we do not have sufficient knowledge to say the things that are his (1Cor2:9). And, that unspeakable gift is Christ in us which produce thanksgiving unto God. In turn, those around us will see your good works and glorify the Father which is in heaven (Mt5:16).

In life we all have losses. Whether we are buying a new car or grocery we find some loses. In fact, as soon as we drive a new car out of the store it depreciates some 20%. We have losses with the value of our homes due to varying factors. The effects of losses have some detrimental effects in our lives such as low self esteem and depression and as children of God we have to learn to over come those feeling of lose. If we do not learn to deal with loses in life it will have hindering effects on our relationship with God. The lose of $100 over weighs the effect of winning it. One thing that God always makes clear in our lives is that we are on the winning team. That we are more then over comers (Ro8:37, 1Jh5:4), and therefore we need to make sure that, because of the losses we face in life like everyone else, that we do not forget our victory. One of the things that Paul teaches us is found in the letter to the Philippians church where he says that he considers all things but a loss for the knowledge of the son of God (ph3:8). We have losses in family, money, health and in every aspect of life. If negative feelings of losses are never going to change, because no one likes to lose.

Obadiah 1:17

17 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.

The book of the prophet Obadiah was dedicated against the people of Edom whom were the enemies of God’s people. They hated the people of God, God and everything that included God. And, such behavior against God’s people produced many losses to Israel’s economy and in every aspect of life. But, one thing for sure was that, God sought out a remnant of his people to satisfy his promises with.  God was going to return everything that they had lost to his people. The promise of the Messiah was sure to come and be manifest along with the restoration of that which was lost. Jesus said that everyone who forsake’s all that they have for his name’s sake should receive hundred fold (Mt19:29). Causing a shift in losses to gains in the kingdom, is what happens in the kingdom. But, too often we get so focused in life, that the loss effects make us loose perspective of the kingdom and why we are really in it; we don’t really want to let go. Jesus said “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mt6:33). The prophet Isaiah gave us some suggestions to dealing with losses, he said not to focus on yourself and these things will come your way (Is.58:13-14).

Thanksgiving day is about giving thanks and thanks to God for all he has done for us; even though we need to give thanks all the time. But, we have chosen one day of the year to express our gratitude to God for all he has done 365 days of the year. Now, gratefulness is something that one can be abundant in, and display it even unintentionally. You can tell when someone is full of gratefulness, for example, there was this guy who had leprosy and he was walking along other eight fellows who too had leprosy. One day they saw Jesus and they shouted for him to heal them, so Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priest and as they walked towards the priest they were healed. And, one of them recognized his healing and returned back to Jesus to give him thanks for his healing (Lk17:15-18). A part of being grateful is recognizing what God has done. Now, people can do many things for you as favors, and one might just forget to show gratitude, but when God does something for you, you cannot ever forget; however, showing gratitude is a different story.

Ephesians 4:4-7

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Gratefulness is something that we can have abundant of unlike other things like hope, God’s Spirit, the body of Christ, faith, baptism and God himself. Paul tells us that the glory of God is a rebound of thanksgiving which is dispersed in more people (2Cor4:15). Our display of gratefulness towards God reaches multitudes of people even the hardest and farthest to reach. There was this lady by the name of Mary whose brother past away, but not for long because Jesus; who was a dear friend, raise him from the dead after 4 days dead. Well, Mary had a jar of alabaster ointment and she came to Jesus and poured it on him without giving a thought of its value. This expression of gratitude got printed in the scriptures for memory of her (Mt26:12-13). A grateful attitude is something that does not rest; it does not forget. We must become thanks givers, the bible tells us “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name” (ps100:4). The more thanksgiving experiences one has the more gratefulness he/she will be(Lk19:26); and have glory of God sightings.

With Christmas around the corner the worries about gift giving surfaces along with the stress. But, once the time comes to give out those gifts the surprise will come once the gifts are opened. People will either love the gift you gave or hate it and request a gift receipt. Now, when we were born and came out of the womb we were born into a box, a box of unbelief and bondage; at least most of us. We were prisoners of our desires and passions; slaves of sin, in a box. You have heard that we need to step out of the box to see things more clearly and this applies to the religious sect. In order to step out of the box the box needs to be opened and the only way that box can be opened is through faith. Now, faith alone is not enough the bible tells us that faith without works is dead(Jm2:20). The law of sin and death states that if a man sins he will die, and this law is that box of which we were born into. But, when Christ came he provided a way for us to come out of the box and that is through faith in him.

Galatians 3:23-23

23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Being in the faith is freedom to call the things which can not be seen to being seen; the invisible things of God (Ro1:20). So, when we are out of the box we can freely claim things that have not come and with God’s timing they will come (He11:1-3). Being out of the box as living by faith we have justification from sin (Ro5:1-4). Out of the box is freedom from any guilt, low esteem, bondage from sin, It is total freedom. When one is in a box there is only so much space one has to move. Whereas, when one is out of the box all things are possible for him/her (Mk9:23-24).  This father’s son was possessed with a demon which cast him in the fire and tried to destroy him, but because of his unbelief Jesus’ disciples could not cast him out. When he recognized that he was boxed in unbelief he called out to be taken out of the box. It pleases God when we are out of the box (Heb11:6).