THE GOOD NEWS FROM JESUS – Part 1

Street Painter View of Jesus

Luke 4:16-21 (New Living Translation)

When he [Jesus] came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.”

He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he [Jesus] began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”

 

The above passage is about Jesus introducing his ministry to the people after his 40 days fasting and being tempted by Satan in the wilderness. This is Jesus laying out the five big goals behind the work he will do while he walked on Earth. Let’s consider the first of these in today’s blog – “bring Good News to the poor.” 

Let’s start with the bad news – at creation, Adam was given rulership over the Earth, to rule under the guidance of God. Satan dethroned Adam, gaining authority and power over the Earth, including over our bodies, our soul, and our spirit. Satan uses this power to strongly influence every human person to live ungodly lives.

So, what is the good news?

It is that Jesus has set up the kingdom of God on Earth, side by side with the kingdom of Satan. Jesus has invaded the Earth and is forcefully establishing his own area of authority and power over our spirit, soul, and eventually our bodies. I can now choose to follow Jesus and live under the resurrection power of the kingdom of God.

Believing in Jesus, joining a Church, and diligent study of the Bible to understand God’s character, is how we join the kingdom of God. When God is satisfied with the number of people who have entered into the kingdom of God, this world will end, and a new world made up of only members of kingdom of God, ruled by Jesus, will begin.

This is the good news in summary. Are you in or out? Holy Spirit, please give us all a clear view of the good and beautiful kingdom of God, Amen!!!

 

Image: A street painter’s drawing of Jesus (Wikimedia)

OUR DESTINY IN JESUS CHRIST

Jesus

Acts 10:34-38 (New Living Translation)

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached—how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

 

In the above passage from the book of Acts, Peter is preaching to Cornelius, a high ranking official in the Roman army, recalling how Jesus went about ‘doing good and healing’ all who looked to him. The Jews had many prophets in their history, who did amazing things, but Jesus surpassed all of them.

Since the death and resurrection of Jesus, the world has been experiencing the Christian era, the period between the resurrection and ascension of Jesus to heaven, and his second coming, this time around to rule the world. What would the rule of Jesus look like? It will be similar to what happened when he came the first time.

A critical difference will be that the goodness and healing powers of Jesus will extend to people in every nation around the world. It will be a time of peace, love, prosperity, and health. His coming again, will usher in a time of joy and gladness for all peoples on the planet, Jews and gentiles. All the world will see Jesus doing good, healing all.

This is our destiny and nothing can stop it from coming to pass, hallelujah!   

Image: Jesus the Redeemer (Source: Wikimedia)

WHEN THE TROUBLES OF LIFE ARE TOO MUCH TO BEAR!

1024px-Climbing_in_Eagle_Lake_Cliff_-_Lake_Tahoe,_California

 

Genesis 24:67 (New Living Translation) – And Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah’s tent, and she became his wife. He loved her deeply, and she was a special comfort to him after the death of his mother.

John 14:15-17 (New Living Translation) – “If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate [Comforter, Encourager, and Counselor], who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.

 

Despite the wealth of Isaac, son of Abraham, when his mother Sarah died, he needed a comforter. Like Isaac, there will be times and seasons in our lives when the troubles of life seem too much to bear; in those times, some seek comfort in food, alcohol, drugs, shopping, careless sex, and even in violence against others.

We reach out to a comforter or comforting experience because we are in pain, we are hurting, and are struggling to cope or overcome what troubles us.

Jesus understood this, and spent much of his time being a comforter to those who were hurting and looked to him for solutions. Towards the end of his time physically living with us on Earth, Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit will come, and the major part of his work, will be to comfort, encourage, and counsel us.

As Christians, we experience good times and bad times – loss of a job or family member, ill health, difficult times with our studies, false accusations by close acquaintances, race based stress in society, broken homes – I could go on and on. What makes us different is that we have a comforter from God to help us overcome our setbacks.

As Christians, in times of troubles, we need to take time out to pray to God, asking for the comforter, the Holy Spirit to help us overcome, asking the Holy Spirit to give us strength and wisdom to keep going until we emerge out of the darkness into light.

Don’t let the troubles of life destroy you, ask the Holy Spirit for help, ask shamelessly and persistently, and he will answer, Amen!  

 

Image: Rock climbing California (Source: Wikimedia)

SHAMELESS PERSISTENT PRAYER

1200px-Tian_Menshan_Mountain_5

 

Luke 11:5-10 (New Living Translation)

Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’

But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.

“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

 

When it seems like you are praying and praying and praying, and heaven is not answering, pray some more, keep at it until the answer arrives. The answer may sometimes seem not the best, but over time we come to see that God always has our best interests in mind. Let’s not quit in prayer, lets be shamelessly persistent!

This is not me asking you to be persistent, this is from the teachings of Jesus as you can see from the above passage from the book of Luke. Yes, it can be frustrating praying over a specific issue time after time, but if Jesus says we should, then lets stick with it. The words of Jesus are true, and he says shameless persistence pays off eventually!

May the Lord give us the strength to be shamelessly persistent in our prayers, Amen!

Read – Pray – Share!

 

Image: Climbing stairs to the summit of Tian Menshan Mountain China (Wikimedia)

JESUS FAVORITE SERMON

Mustard oil and seeds (2)

 

Matthew 13:31-32 (New Living Translation)

Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants…”

 

Reading through the gospels, it is clear that Jesus preached about the Kingdom of God more than any other topic. He told the crowds that followed him that the kingdom was near, and asked them to repent, so they can be a part of it.

He explained the nature of the kingdom to them using many parables and stories like the one above about the mustard seed. Indeed as the image above shows the mustard seed is the smallest of seeds; but when fully grown it is a good size tree.

Jesus is the seed that has given birth to the Kingdom of God on Earth.

The Kingdom of God is simply the place where Jesus is King. The Bible teaches that Jesus is King in the hearts of all who sincerely believe in Him. These are the Church of God; not the Church referring to buildings, but of people who believe in Jesus; not perfect people but people who see their sinfulness and look to Jesus for healing.

These make up the Kingdom of God on Earth, and the number grows daily. It started with a single seed, Jesus, over 2000 years ago, and has been growing and growing. There is no exchange of money to get in, the visa is belief in Jesus as the one who can give us power from the inside, power in our soul and spirit, to live godly lives.

As you seek for daily bread, for career success, for friends, for intimate relationships, for fun and laughter, seek Jesus a little more through prayer and Bible reading. Be part of the Kingdom of God on Earth today! 

Read – Pray – Share!   

Image: Mustard seed and oil (Source: Wikimedia)