Category Archives:Joy

What’s Your Story ?

 What’s Your Story? How did you come to know Jesus Christ? That is your testimony, and every Christian has one. Some stories be more radical than others, but every testimony is significant. Perhaps you have heard the testimony of some person who came from an extreme background tell of how they were delivered from drugs or alcoholism. They were a gang member or a prostitute. They served time in prison. I received an e-mail from a man who came to Christ at our crusade in 1991. He writes: “On that divine Thursday evening in 1991, God took this lost, suicidal, hardened, 15-year-old member of the Crips and radically transformed me. My life was instantly revolutionized, and I’ve never been the same since. Next month, I will celebrate 23 years in the Lord. By God’s grace I’ve had the privilege of ministering His Word all around the world. Had I not gone to the Harvest Crusade that evening, I’m confident that I would now either be dead or in prison!” What an amazing testimony! However, his testimony is no better than yours. Just different. When I was a young Christian, I remember a girl telling me she was going to go back into the world because she wanted a “more dramatic testimony.” She never came back. Listen, not everyone’s story may be dramatic, but everyone’s conversion is drastic, because when you get down to it, God essentially does the same thing for all of us at conversion: We were all separated from Him by sin. We were all going to hell. We all come to salvation through the cross. And now we are headed for heaven. Everyone’s story is legit. Why? Because we all essentially start from the same place and we all experience dramatic change at the hand of God. And no matter how different their circumstances may be from yours, those who listen to your testimony can recognize that they too are sinners and need change—they can see a part of their story in yours. When you share your faith with others, one of the best tools in your evangelistic toolbox is your personal testimony. But it should always be a bridge to share the gospel. Your story points them to the greatest story ever told: the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, what’s your story? By Pastor/Evangelist Greg Laurie

Nothing Too Hard For God

We Must Not Limit God

We too often place limits on God. We pray differently for someone with a headache versus someone who has a terminal disease.

Do not forget that God can provide a million dollars just as easily as a nickel.

Now to him who by his power working in us, is able to do far beyond anything we can ask or imagine…  Ephesians 3:20 CJB

They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” He said, “There, in the tent.” 10 He said, “I will certainly return to you around this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Sarah heard him from the entrance of the tent, behind him. 11 Avraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years; Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, “I am old, and so is my lord; am I to have pleasure again?” 13 Adonai said to Avraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and ask, ‘Am I really going to bear a child when I am so old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for Adonai? At the time set for it, at this season next year, I will return to you; and Sarah will have a son.” (ii) 15 Sarah denied it, saying, “I didn’t either laugh,” because she was afraid. He said, “Not so — you did laugh.”

Genesis 18:9-15 CJB

“Look, I am Adonai, the God of every living creature; is there anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27 CJB

 

Sweet and Salty Speech

 

Behave wisely toward outsiders, making full use of every opportunity — let your conversation always be gracious and interesting, so that you will know how to respond to any particular individual. Colossians 4:5-6 CJB

A friend once urged me to try a new drink at my local coffeehouse rather than the hot chocolate I usually order. When the barista cracked some sea salt on top of a mug of caramel hot cocoa and its mounds of whipped cream, I’ll admit, I was skeptical. But I trusted my friend’s advice and tried it and … Oh. My. Word. Who would’ve thought?

On the periodic table of elements (which I haven’t looked at since high school) it’s sodium chloride — NaCl. Salt is the number one flavor enhancer in the world and used in numerous cultures. In fact, over a quarter billion pounds of salt are produced each year.

Diners put a dash of salt on their casseroles, sprinkle it on piping hot potatoes and add a pinch or two to a bowl of soup. Salt is even added to sweet things to intensify their sweetness, thus the deliciousness overload of the salted caramel hot cocoa. My father always puts it on his slices of melon. And have you ever tasted dark chocolate with sea salt? Heavenly.

One time I forgot to add salt to a mint brownie recipe. When I tasted a bite, there was plenty of mint and cocoa powder, the two main flavors of the dish, but somehow it just didn’t taste right. Even though the recipe called for only half a teaspoon, omitting the salt ruined the normally delicious treat. It takes only a little salt to coax out the wonderful flavor of other things around it.

In  Colossians 4 we see our speech should be seasoned with salt and gracious. And we’re told to know how to give the right answer to everyone. Might it mean that we should ask ourselves if we are bringing out sweetness in both our choice of words and in our conversations with others — especially online conversations where we not only start a conversation but often give answers?

In the Sermon on the Mount, at one point, Jesus states: “You are salt for the Land. But if salt becomes tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except being thrown out for people to trample on.” Matthew 5:13 CJB

100 Truths About Jesus

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. – C.S. Lewis

 

1) Jesus claimed to be God – John 8:24 8:56-59 10:30-33

2) Jesus created all things – John 1:3; Col 1:15-17

3) Jesus is before all things – Colossians 1:17

4) Jesus is eternal – John 1:1, 14 8:58

5) Jesus is honored the same as the Father – John 5:23

6) Jesus is prayed to – Acts 7:55-60

7) Jesus is worshipped – Matthew 2:2, 11; 14:33; John 9:35-38; Hebrews 1:6

8) Jesus is called God – John 1:1, 14; 20:28; Colossians 2:9; Titus 2:13

9) Jesus is omnipresent – Matthew 28:20

10 Jesus is with us always – Matthew 28:20

11) Jesus is our only mediator between God and ourselves – 1 Timothy 2:5

12) Jesus is the guarantee of a better covenant – Hebrews 7:22 8:6

13) Jesus said, “I AM the Bread of Life” – John 6:35, 41, 48, 51

14) Jesus said, “I AM the Door” – John 10:7, 9

15) Jesus said, “I AM the Good Shepherd” – John 10:11, 14

16) Jesus said, “I AM the Way the Truth and The Life” – John 14:6

17) Jesus said, “I AM the Light of the world” – John 8:12; 9:5; 12:46; Luke 2:32

18) Jesus said, “I AM the True Vine” – John 15:1, 5

19) Jesus said, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life” – John 11:25

20) Jesus said, “I AM the First and the Last” – Revelation 1:17; 2:8 22:13

21) Jesus always lives to make intercession for us – Hebrews 7:25

22) Jesus cleanses from sin – 1 John 1:9

23) Jesus discloses Himself to us – John 14:21

24) Jesus draws all men to Himself – John 12:32

25) Jesus forgives sins – Matt 9:1-7; Luke 5:20 7:48

26) Jesus gives eternal life – John 10:28 5:40

27) Jesus gives joy – John 15:11

28) Jesus gives peace – John 14:27

29) Jesus has authority – Matthew 28:18; John 5:26-27; 17:2 3:35

30) Jesus judges – John 5:22, 27

31) Jesus knows all men – John 16:30

32) Jesus opens the mind to understand scripture – Luke 24:45

33) Jesus received honor and glory from the Father – 2 Peter 1:17

34) Jesus resurrects – John 5:39; 6:40, 44, 54 11:25-26

35) Jesus reveals grace and truth – John 1:1,; John 6:45

36) Jesus reveals the Father – Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22

37) Jesus saves forever – Matthew 18:11; John 10:28; Hebrews 7:25

38) Jesus bears witness of Himself – John 8:18 14:6

39) Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself – John 5:36 10:25

40) The Father bears witness of Jesus – John 5:37; 8:18; 1 John 5:9

41) The Holy Spirit bears witness of Jesus – John 15:26

42) The multitudes bear witness of Jesus – John 12:17

43) The Prophets bear witness of Jesus – Acts 10:43

44) The Scriptures bear witness of Jesus – John 5:39

45) The Father will honor us if we serve Jesus – John 12:26; Colossians 3:24

46) The Father wants us to fellowship with Jesus – 1 Corinthians 1:9

47) The Father tells us to listen to Jesus – Luke 9:35; Matthew 17:5

48) The Father tells us to come to Jesus – John 6:45

49) The Father draws us to Jesus – John 6:44

50) Everyone who’s heard & learned from the Father comes to Jesus – John 6:45

51) The Law leads us to Christ – Galatians 3:24

52) Jesus is the Rock – 1 Corinthians 10:4

53) Jesus is the Savior – John 4:42; 1 John 4:14

54) Jesus is King – Matthew 2:1-6; Luke 23:3

55) In Jesus are the treasures of wisdom and knowledge – Colossians 2:2-3

56) In Jesus we have been made complete – Colossians 2:10

57) Jesus indwells us – Colossians 1:27

58) Jesus sanctifies – Hebrews 2:11

59) Jesus loves – Ephesians 5:25

60) We come to Jesus – John 5:50; 6:35, 37, 45, 65; 7:37;

61) We sin against Jesus – 1 Corinthians 8:12

62) We receive Jesus – John 1:12; Colossians 2:6

63) Jesus makes many righteous – Romans 5:19

64) Jesus is the image of the invisible God – Hebrews 1:3

65) Jesus sends the Holy Spirit – John 15:26

66) Jesus abides forever – Hebrews 7:24

67) Jesus offered up Himself – Hebrews 7:27 9:14

68) Jesus offered one sacrifice for sins for all time – Hebrews 10:12

69) The Son of God has given us understanding – 1 John 5:20

70) Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith – Hebrews 12:2

71) Jesus is the Apostle and High Priest of our confession – Hebrews 1:3

72) Jesus is preparing a place for us in heaven – John 14:1-4

73) Jesus cleanses us from our sins by His blood – Revelation 1:5; Romans 5:9

74) Jesus is the Light of the world – Romans 9:5

75) Jesus has explained the Father – John 1:18

76) Jesus was crucified because of weakness – 2 Corinthians 13:4

77) Jesus has overcome the world – John 16:33

78) Truth is in Jesus – Ephesians 4:21

79) The fruit of righteousness comes through Jesus Christ – Philippians 1:11

80) Jesus delivers us from the wrath to come – 1 Thessalonians 1:10

81) Disciples bear witness of Jesus Christ – John 15:27

82) Jesus died and rose again – 1 Thessalonians 4:14

83) The Christian dead have fallen asleep in Jesus – 1 Thessalonians 4:15

84) Jesus died for us – 1 Thessalonians 5:10

85) Jesus tasted death for everyone – Hebrews 2:9

86) Jesus rendered the devil powerless – Hebrews 2:14

87) Jesus is able to save completely – Hebrews 7:25

88) Jesus was a ransom for many and to serve – Matthew 20:28

89) Jesus came to be a high priest – Hebrews 2:17

90) Jesus came to save – John 3:17; Luke 19:10

91) Jesus came to preach the kingdom of God – Luke 4:43

92) Jesus came to bring division – Luke 12:51

93) Jesus came to do the will of the Father – John 6:38

94) Jesus came to give the Father’s words – John 17:8

95) Jesus came to testify to the truth – John 18:37

96) Jesus came to die and destroy Satan’s power – Hebrews 2:14

97) Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets – Matthew 5:17

98) Jesus came to give life – John 10:10, 28

99) Jesus came to taste death for everyone – Hebrews 2:9

100) Jesus came to proclaim freedom for believers – Luke 4:18

Be Aware: Occult Symbolism that is Hidden in Plain Sight

Over thirty years ago I was involved with Menconi Ministries, an organization founded on keeping parents involved in their children’s lives. The purpose was to aid parents and grandparents in connecting communicating with their children and grandchildren so they could instill family values and lead them to Jesus. One of these ways was to be informed as to the music these children were listening to and to share with them the dangers of the modern day musicians. As most of you know, Lucifier, (Satan) was the Worship leader in Heaven. He  is now the worship leader of the Earth. Not of Christ Jesus, but to himself. This is a perfect example:

There are many symbolisms and occult references that stand out in the music culture today. From historical artifacts, to the music artists today, it seems the occult world has never really gone away, but in fact has become more flagrant and blatant. The problem is that many are unaware of the meanings behind what many consider to be just artistic entertainment that appeals to the senses with no real hidden meanings, or agendas behind them. There are many artists that promote their music through occult influence. The evidence that will be provided will show striking similarities with occult ideologies that are synonymous with many artists in the music industry.

Kanye West is a popular musical artist who promotes music and imagery with deep occult meaning, which is rooted in Freemasonry. The pictures presented will parallel historical pictures from ancient cultures to recent ones. There are too many similarities for it to be just coincidence. The music culture has aligned itself with something much more than just poetic lyrics and sounds, but is progressing into something much bigger that is symbolic of the veil that is thinning between the physical and spiritual realm. It is important to be aware of the occult agenda that is manifesting in greater force these days.

The representation of the pillars behind Kanye West are ubiquitous with many cultures as an entrance, or gateway which holds the key to power and enlightenment. Kanye West is pictured at the gateway as the chosen one to represent the hidden rulers of the world that reside behind him.

The ancient Egyptian god, or deity known as Horus was considered to be the Sky god, which represented the symbol of the single seeing eye. The one eye is the most well known in occult symbolism as the all-seeing-eye; the Great Seal of the United States originates from Horus

The symbolism of Horus is very important in Freemasonry. The path of the initiate, through the Masonic degrees, is described as the process by which the Eye of Horus is opened.

The pillared gateway is for the exclusive illuminated ones. Kanye West is wearing a Horus pendant, which has importance and significant meaning not only in ancient Egyptian culture, but in Freemasonry as well.

The horned females next to Kanye represent two goddesses ofancient Egypt, Isis and Hathor. Isis was the goddess of nature, magic, and motherhood. Hathor was the goddess of music, dance, and fertility. They are known as the protectors of the dead as they journey into the afterlife.

In the occult, the initiate symbolically dies and is reborn. Kanye West is standing under the sword of Damocales as part of a Masonic ritual to obtain the 33rd degree. The rite happens in public; the more there are witnesses, the more power is given. In a metaphorical sense, Kanye West kills off his former self and is reborn to receive power right in front of the eyes of the public audience.

 

Eight Ways Jesus Suffered for You

1. He was betrayed by His disciple Judas. Jesus’ pain was not just physical. Can you imagine the sorrow He felt when one of His own trusted friends became the ultimate traitor? We aren’t exactly sure how to calculate the modern value of 30 pieces of silver, but many scholars suggest about $950. All the pain Jesus endured on Good Friday began the night before, when Judas took blood money to have his Master arrested.

Think about it: There’s a bit of Judas in all of us, and we all betrayed Jesus to get our own way. Yet He chose to forgive us!

2. He was abandoned by His other followers. We often focus on Peter’s denial of Jesus. But the Scriptures remind us that all of Jesus’ disciples “left Him and fled” after His arrest (Mark 14:50, NASB). Jesus had to suffer alone. All the men He had taught and invested in for three and a half years abandoned Him in His hour of need.

Think about it: Jesus paid it all. He accomplished His work of redemption without our help. But He forgave us for our denials!

3. He carried the burden of the sins of the world. Jesus’ greatest agony didn’t start on the cross. It began at Gethsemane, where God laid on His Son the sins of the world. Jesus agonized so intensely in those moments that He sweat drops of blood (Luke 22:44). Scholars say He probably developed a condition known as hematidrosis, in which blood is emitted through the sweat glands because of intense stress.

Think about it: Your sin was transferred to Jesus’ account, and He bore the punishment you deserved!

4. He was falsely accused and rejected by Jewish leaders. Can you imagine the heartache Jesus experienced when the very people He was sent to save spat in His face, blindfolded Him, cursed Him and accused Him of blasphemy? The Sanhedrin set up a kangaroo court and sentenced the Son of God to death.

Think about it: Jesus did not open His mouth in self-defense when He was falsely accused. Now, when Satan accuses you, Jesus argues your case and declares you not guilty!

5. He was mocked and abused by Roman guards. After Pilate caved into pressure from the Jews, Roman soldiers flogged Jesus with a whip, drove a crown of thorns into His scalp, beat His head with sticks and mockingly pretended to worship Him. The flogging alone—which would have involved leather cords with pieces of lead or bone attached—would have drained much of Jesus’ blood.

Think about it: Jesus could have called on angels to stop His torture—but He chose to endure the pain because He loved us!

6. He was crucified between two thieves. We cannot even fathom the pain of crucifixion. Metal spikes were driven into Jesus’ hands and feet, and He had to slide His mangled body up against the wood of the cross in order to catch His breath. And because it was the habit of Romans to crucify criminals naked, Jesus endured the ultimate shame. What’s more, He hung on that crude cross next to two men who had been convicted of crimes—while He was completely innocent.

Think about it: We should have been on death row, not Jesus. But He took our place!

7. His body was pierced with a spear. Even after Jesus took His last breath, a soldier jabbed a spear up through the chest cavity—most likely to make sure Jesus was dead. John tells us that blood and water spilled out (John 19:34), evidence that the spear pierced the pericardium, the sac around the heart. Jesus’ heart was literally broken for us.

Think about it: Just as Adam’s side was opened to bring forth the first woman, Jesus’ side was opened to bring forth the church. His piercing produced a fountain of life for us!

8. He tasted death for all. This is the most horrible reality of the cross. Christ did not die metaphorically or symbolically. He died literally. The Son of God, who had never sinned—and who was least deserving of death—died so we could have life. His heart stopped beating, He stopped breathing and His spirit left Him. First Peter 3:18 says: “For Christ also died for sins once and for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God.”

Think about it: Because Jesus died in our place, we no longer have to die. Eternal life is His free gift to us!

This Easter season, ponder the steps the Savior took from Gethsemane to Golgotha. Look at His nail-pierced hands and feet. Take a careful survey of His wondrous cross, and thank Him for hanging there six hours for you.

 

God’s Plan of Salvation From The Begin

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Genesis 1:1 CJB

In Hebrew: In the beginning…
Barasheet “B’reshit
Tav Yod Shin Aleph Resh Bet
Bet (House or Tent)
Resh (Head-First or Highest Person)
Aleph (Ox or bull, the first, the Ultimate Strength, God)
Shin (Teeth-To Destroy, To Consume)
Yod (Arm, Hand-My Hand, My Effort, My Work)
Tav (A Cross- the Mark, the Covenant)
Bet-Resh (Ben) = Son of
Bar in Aramaic = Son of
The Son of God will be destroyed (killed) by His own effort or Hands on a cross.

But he was wounded because of our crimes,
crushed because of our sins;
the disciplining that makes us whole fell on him,
and by his bruises* we are healed.  Isaiah 53:5 CJB (700 BC)

Everyone living on earth will worship it except those whose names are written in the Book of Life belonging to the Lamb slaughtered before the world was founded.  Revelation 13:8

 

In Hebrew: Created…
Bara (to Create)
Bet (House)
Resh (Head)
Aleph (God)
Bet-Resh (Son of ) in Aramaic (Bar)
Aleph (God)
All things were created by the Son of God.

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

All things came to be through him,

and without him nothing made had being.

John 1:1-3 CJB

He is the visible image of the invisible God. He is supreme over all creation, 16 because in connection with him were created all things — in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, lordships, rulers or authorities — they have all been created through him and for him.  Colossians 1:15b-16 CJB

 

Be Persistent

Preach the word [as an official messenger]; be ready when the time is right and even when it is not [keep your sense of urgency, whether the opportunity seems favorable or unfavorable, whether convenient or inconvenient, whether welcome or unwelcome]; correct [those who err in doctrine or behavior], warn [those who sin], exhort and encourage [those who are growing toward spiritual maturity], with inexhaustible patience and [faithful] teaching.

2 Timothy 4:2 AMP

Persist:

When it seems the anointing has run completely dry.

When it seems heaven has forgotten you’re alive.

When you feel uninspired. Tired. When you’ve been fired.

When your faith shows no results.

When your obedience has not paid off.

When your prayers seem like wasted breath.

When your bones feel dead–and so does the Word.

Persist. Jesus is on His way. Your anointing has not run dry. Heaven has nor forgotten you’re alive. You have not believed for nothing. The results of your faith will soon sprout from that fallow ground. Just a little more rain. Just a little more thunder. Your obedience will pay off. You have not wasted a single breath on prayer. There is still life in your bones and, child of God, there is still life in His Word. Persist!

Everyone Worships Something. Yes, I Said Everyone!

While I am NOT an expert in any of these areas, I have experienced many of them. By the grace of God I am an overcomer. It is a daily struggle but I trust in Him to get me through one day at a time. He has brought me through so much in my 58 years of life; He can and will do same for you if you will allow Him.

As a child, I led a normal life with the exception that I felt closer to my dad than my mom. At the age of 13 I discovered that my mom was not my birth mother. Truly it did not matter, as she always loved me as her own. My only regret is that my parents had not been honest with my step-brother (I call him brother to this day) and I sooner.

When I was a baby, 1-1/2 years old, my biological mother left my two half-brothers and I with my dad to be with another man. Granted I was too small to remember, but my half-brothers were older. After approximated six weeks following her departure, my dad took my two half-brothers to their maternal grandmother’s house a short distance away from where we lived. We were not to see one another until I was 19 years old.

My mom, the one who raised me, married my dad when I was 4 years old. She brought with her my brother with whom I was raised. We had a fairly normal life. We were a happy family. About two weeks before my 13th birthday I was caught shoplifting at our local mall. I had been shoplifting for close to two years by this time. Honestly, I was glad that I was caught. I knew right from wrong and it ate me up inside. You see God has created all of us with the need to worship. Who or what we choose to worship is our choice.  Praise and worship seems to be universal. Have you ever heard of an explorer finding a new tribe or culture that doesn’t worship? Worship is a natural instinct and a basic need for every person. A simple definition of worship is to regard with great devotion or to honor as a divine being. Take a second to think about what you are most devoted to in this life and ask yourself, “Is it worthy of my devotion; do I worship a divine being?”

We don’t all worship the same God, but everyone worships something or someone. Since we all worship, we should question the reason for this desire. The most logical conclusion is that we were created by a higher being for the very purpose of worship. Addiction is a worship problem.

The ongoing quest of man is to find answers to the fundamental questions of human origin, human nature, and human destiny. There is one book that has the answers to all these questions, including our questions about worship. The Bible is the wonderful and mysterious book that God has chosen as a way to communicate with us. God loves you and will not force you to love Him back. That’s genuine love.

The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17.

In the weeks to follow I will be sharing more of my journey thus far with you in hopes that God will touch your life and lead you to a relationship with Him. He never promises that we won’t go through trials and suffering, but if you are truly a child of God, He promises to get you through it. Jesus teaches us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. I implore you to give Him chance. You will NEVER regret it.

Please feel free to contact me through this website, confidentially of course. I have added a ‘contact me’ page for this purpose.   I do not have all the answers, but I will do my best to get you any help you might need throughout this journey we call life. Blessings to you all.

Lose Yourself to Gain Yourself

When I was dealing with despair I noticed that it was because I was putting my focus and trust in everything else besides God. I was constantly dwelling on my problems and taking my eyes off of God.

When you do this that gives the devil an opportunity to tell lies such as God is not near you and He will not help you.

Please don’t listen to these lies. I found out what I was doing wrong and I went into prayer mode.

Take your eyes off the things of this world. Allow difficulty to bring you to your knees in prayer. Fight off those lies by crying for help. Trust in the Lord, not your circumstances.

The key to overcoming despair is keeping your mind on the Lord, which will keep your mind at peace.

Take your eyes off the things of this world. Allow difficulty to bring you to your knees in prayer. Fight off those lies by crying for help. Trust in the Lord, not your circumstances.