Category Archives: Good News

Choose Life Today

cross w- purple cloth        Several years ago, one friend told me how she came to faith in Jesus Christ. She had attended a church most of her life and thought her relationship with God was fine. Then she ran onto Ezekiel 18:4 (“For all people are mine to judge—both parents and children alike. And this is my rule: The person who sins is the one who will die.”
It haunted her. Finally someone told her the good news that “…God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:21)”
So she prayed and asked God for forgiveness for her sin because of Christ’s sacrifice. That day she believed in and received Jesus as her Savior and Lord. The last time I heard from her, she was still following Jesus.

My own commitment to following Jesus Christ began when I was a child and involved some stumbling. My friend and I came to Jesus differently, but we  have this in common—we believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel, our Lord and Savior, and the only Way to the Father. He is Truth and the source of life now and forever.

If your faith and trust are in someone or something else (such as your good deeds, your religion, a church, your parents’ faith, or a belief that God is okay with our doing what we please and/or ignoring Him), please ask God to show you the truth about Himself and about Jesus. Do it today. His love for you is so great, and His plan of redemption is so marvelous that I don’t want you to miss out on it. God longs for us to be with Him forever, and we can be if we choose to go His way.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 “Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.”
John 3:16-18 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. 18 There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.”
(All Scriptures New Living Translation)

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Regret or Righteousness?

675px-Potter_in_Rabka_03When my husband and I hiked in Kings Canyon, we got off the trail on one of the hikes. We weren’t sure when or how we departed from the route shown on the map, but we got into progressively rougher terrain and ran into more obstacles. We wondered, “Is this really the trail?”
Finally we decided to turn around, ask God’s help, and try to find our way back to a place we recognized. When we found the trail again, we thanked God, went back to the trail head, and looked for a hike that was more clearly marked.
As a follower of Jesus, I sometimes get off the path where He is leading. I find the going rougher and the obstacles greater as the Holy Spirit keeps prodding me to return to the right way. I’m so glad God doesn’t leave me alone, but instead calls me back into His light!
I used to get bogged down in hopeless regret when I made a seemingly big mistake or had grievously sinned. First John 1:9 assures me that God forgives and cleanses me as soon as I confess my sin and turn back to Him. However, I can’t go back in time and live those days the way God had planned. That righteous path is blocked for me.
Recently, thoughts on Jeremiah 18:3-11 encouraged me about that. There God says He can do with the people of Judah as the potter did with the pot he was making. It didn’t turn out as he had hoped, so he returned it to a lump and made a different vessel.
“O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand (Jeremiah 18:6 New Living Translation).”
Because of God’s goodness and mercy, He plans a different route for me to go where I can honor and glorify Him again. That righteous path will be just as wonderful as “Plan A.” Not only that, “Plan C” would be just as marvelous as Plan A or B. Likewise, His plans D, E…Z, AA, AB, and on to infinity will be equally amazing. In God’s multifaceted, infinite wisdom, He makes each one of His “paths of righteousness” perfect.
I don’t want to fail or sin or in any way damage this vessel God is working on. But I do. And God, with His unlimited creativity and grace still has great plans for me to take part in as soon as I return to Him and His way. Indeed, “He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (Psalm 23:3).”
Goodbye, Hopeless Regret. Hello, Joy in the Lord!

© Tricia Opitz Nov. 20515-Nov. 2016 https://triciajots4jesus.wordpress.com/

Picture credit: –”Potter in Rabka 03″ by User:Piotrus – my photos. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Potter_in_Rabka_03.JPG#/media/File:Potter_in_Rabka_03.JPG

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Overruled!

Gavel p275 Serif Gallery    “God overrules human sin for His glory and the ultimate good of mankind.” –from the devotional booklet “Our Daily Bread,” 11-19-14, note on Genesis 50:15-21.
I love it that God overrules sin for His glory and our good! I can just see a courtroom. Mr. Sin stands up with an objection to good and right. But God is the judge. The gavel comes down, and God, being far more powerful than sin or Satan, says with all authority, “Overruled.” Then God proceeds to bring good out of the evil. (Romans 8:28—“ And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” New Living Translation)
God (through Paul) tells us to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). As we do, we’re being like our Father God. So I want to pray the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi which says:
“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
“O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.”

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Link to Sermon Glorious Adventure

http://www.sermoncloud.com/grace-bible-church/glorious-abundance/ This sermon by our pastor Randy Huddleston was especially meaningful to me. One thing he points out is that God is so generous and kind that He invites everyone to share His eternal kingdom–anyone who desires may come and drink of the living water He offers. But we come and drink on God’s terms, not our own. We “wash our robes” in the blood of the Lamb. Again, it’s God’s way not our own way.

That invitation reminds me of a song I’ve heard Carroll Roberson sing: “Without Him.” Here are the lyrics:

Without Him I could do nothing
Without Him I’d surely fail
Without Him I would be drifting
Like a ship without a sail

Without Him I would be dying
Without Him I’d be enslaved
Without Him life would be worthless
But with Jesus thank God I’m saved

Oh Jesus, oh Jesus
Do you know Him today
Please don’t turn Him away
Oh Jesus, my Jesus
Without Him how lost I would be
Without Him how lost I would be

Songwriters
LE FEVRE, MYLON RAE

Published by
Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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THE COST OF FOLLOWING JESUS

Really good sermon by Pastor Tom. I especially appreciated the firefighter illustration of true belief/trust. Hope you’re blessed by it.

Clear Bible

self grave

We are not necessarily called to an life of increasing comfort and ease. We are not called specifically to get more and more financially secure. We aren’t even directly called to success, or even excellence. What we are definitely called to is the cross. A faith that says: “Yes I believe, but not so much that I would give up my life for him,” is not a faith that truly grasps who Jesus is.

To listen to the sermon, click the play button:

To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer: Download Matthew Part 55

Matthew #55 . Matthew 16:20-27

I’m afraid that I’m going to have to take this section slowly also. Don’t blame me: blame Jesus, for saying such profound things. Let’s start with this:

And He gave the disciples orders to tell no one…

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THE COSTLY, FREE GIFT

One of the things Pastor Tom talks about here is the fact that the cross is JUSTICE for sin. “Jesus, by his suffering, has endured what sin deserves–all sin. …You can’t just…say ‘it doesn’t matter.’ You can’t say, ‘You’ll make it up next time you’re re-incarnated.” Nor can you say, “Do your best, and God forgives the rest.” No, sin must be accounted for. Justice must be done. Excellent sermon.

Clear Bible

marriage-proposal

God’s grace is free to us, but it was not free to Him. It was very costly. It is free in the same sense that a diamond is free to the girl who is getting engaged. It is freely given, but it cost the giver a great deal. And like the diamond engagement ring, it is offered not just as a trinket, but as an invitation into a lifelong relationship that will change the course of our future forever.

To listen to the sermon, click the play button:

To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer: Download Easter Message 2015

EASTER 2015

LIFE FROM DEATH

On Good Friday, we remember the crucifixion of Jesus – how we was killed by torture on a Roman cross. On Easter Sunday, we celebrate his resurrection – the fact that he…

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Whosoever Will

I loved the January 31, 2015, devotion in the “Our Daily Bread” booklet titled “A Closing Door,” written by Poh Fang Chia. I wish everyone who doesn’t know Jesus Christ as Savior would read it and heed the invitation there. It can be found at http://odb.org/2015/01/31/a-closing-door/ .

It reminded me of the old hymn “Come to the Feast.” A web page with that hymn is https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/1330 . Lyrics include “Come for the door is open wide,” and “Hear the invitation, Come, whosoever will;” and “Delay not while this day is thine, Tomorrow may never be,” among others.

Later in the day, I read an e-mail from one of my uncles that echoed the invitation in the “A Closing Door” devotion, and I have his permission to pass it on to you:

“This time in reading through this wonderful collection of books we call the Bible, I am not on the alert for sermon material, but I’m finding the reading even more rewarding. Strange isn’t it?

“I’m reading about the great care that was to be given to the lamb that was to be killed so that Israel’s descendants might live. The firstborn son of every household would die without the blood of that lamb, that perfect lamb, that pet of the family, loved, kept close, then slain, its blood applied on the door posts and lintel of every home, for the death angel is no respecter of persons. Each firstborn male not covered by the blood died. They did not have to. Safety was provided, the message was proclaimed, time was given and action was urged. But the choice was individual. The choice is still individual. The Lamb has been slain, His blood spilled, the blood applied to the door. If you will, come in, stay in. Choice is yours. This is not a church thing; it is a faith thing. It is a Jesus Christ dying on the cross thing, only begotten Son of God thing; it is a being saved or forever lost thing.

“And it is the passion thing of every man, woman or youth called out to ‘go to all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,’ thing. You pray, prepare and you go. It may be next door or the remote places of the world, but you go.

“So says an old evangelist, pastor and missionary. My name is just Dale, thank you.”light-on-door-at-the-end-of-tunnel_w725_h544-pub dom img

The last line of Poh Fang Chia’s devotion says, “Today Jesus invites, ‘I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved’ (John 10:9).

Have you answered Him?

(Photo courtesy http://www.public-domain-image.com )

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WHY DOES JESUS HEAL?

Excellent sermon by Pastor Tom.

Clear Bible

healing

Healing in this life, or making this life better somehow, is ultimately meaningless unless we respond to Jesus in faith. Jesus is focused on the eternal person, the spiritual person. That’s where his priority is, and I think that is where our priorities should be also.

To listen to the sermon, click the play button:

To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer: Download Matthew Part 30

 Matthew #30 . Matthew 9:1-8

This time, we will take the incident with the paralyzed man and his friends. Mark and Luke include the detail that the paralytic man’s friends couldn’t get him through the crowd, so they lowered him from the roof to set him in front of Jesus. Once again, there is no reason to assume that this contradicts Matthew. Matthew often omits details supplied by Luke…

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True Soul Food

Bible w-cornbrd-1       Isaiah 55:2-3 “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. 3 Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you — the sure mercies of David.” (New King James)
Feeding on what I hear from God as I come humbly to Him and listen—this is true soul food. He gives wisdom abundantly. I’ll delight myself in what He says, and my soul will be refreshed and revived and will live. I’ll learn of Jesus and find rest for my soul (Matthew 11:28-30). I’ll receive the “sure mercies of David—pardon, blessings, and connection/fellowship with the almighty, totally just yet perfectly loving, only true God. (The New Living Translation says “all the unfailing love I promised to David” instead of “the sure mercies of David.”)
And what further delights my soul is that this very God has made me His child through His Son Jesus Christ! Indeed, as Isaiah 55:8-9 says, His ways and thoughts are higher than mine! They are more wonderful and marvelous than I can comprehend or imagine.
Psalm 37:3 “ Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed.” Amplified Bible

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God Brings Us Back

house drawing 1     Sometimes people remark, “You can’t go home again,” meaning perhaps that we can’t get back what’s in the past. A woman speaking to King David in 2 Samuel 14:14 expressed a similar thought: “All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.”
This wise woman doesn’t stop with the fact that no one can go back to yesterday. She goes on to tell about how God deals with people who have been separated from Him by past events or experiences. God finds ways to bring us back to Himself.
In John 14, Jesus said that He is the Way to the Father. Romans 5:18 says, Bible Rom title“…Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.” Jesus came to earth as the spotless sacrificial lamb, suffered and died on the cross, and was raised to life the third day. In doing this, Christ became the Way that God provided for people to be brought back to Him. All those who come to Him through Jesus Christ can enjoy wonderful relationship with the almighty, all-loving, God, both now and forever. What joy!
However, even we who live in right relationship with God through Christ can put distance between ourselves and Him in daily life. We let busy-ness, distractions, sins, or bad habits draw us away, or we get lazy and start to drift from closeness with the Lord. Our merciful God has devised ways to bring us back then also. In James 4:8, God tells us to draw near to Him, and He will draw near to us. 1 John 1:9 tells us what to do about sin—confess it and receive forgiveness. In John 16, Jesus promises the Holy Spirit who helps us get back on track when we’ve gotten off.
We also have God’s written Word to bring us back to Him when we’ve wandered.  Timothy 3:16-17 says,Bible 2 Tim title“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” God’s Holy Spirit lives in us revealing the truths in the Scriptures and applying them to our lives.

     Thank You, Lord, for devising ways to bring us back to Yourself when we’re separated from You. Amen.

(Bible verses quoted are New Living Translation.)

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