Christian Training Center InternationalPosts

Can the rich get to heaven?

Can the rich get to heaven?

Radical Jesus

Jesus, as always, asks a very penetrating question. The “rich young ruler” had just turned and left. He was very sad. Jesus had challenged him to sell everything and give it to the poor.

Jesus turns to his disciples.

Jesus asks the question. I imagine He lets the question linger.

Will anyone answer? Silence. No one can or no one will. The disciples have heard Jesus ask lots of questions. They are never easy. Best to just listen as Jesus explains.

Does Jesus innocence allow for him to sacrifice himself for us?

I have missed God’s goal for my life (aka sin). A penalty must be paid. Jesus, the innocent lamb of God, takes my place as a sacrifice. Now that is some very good news.

When Jesus is called the Lamb of God in John 1:29 and John 1:36, it is referring to Him as the perfect and ultimate sacrifice for sin. In order to understand who The Messiah was and what He did, we must begin with the Old Testament, which contains prophecies concerning the coming of The Messiah as a “guilt offering” (Isaiah 53:10).

How do we get right standing with God?

God’s holiness is what separates Him from all other beings, what makes Him separate and distinct from everything else.

God’s holiness is more than just His perfection or sinless purity; it is the essence of His “other-ness,” His transcendence.

It is amazing. It is stunning. I stand in awe.

God’s holiness embodies the mystery of His awesomeness and causes me to gaze in wonder at Him as I begin to comprehend just a little of His majesty.

What is joy a hallmark of?

1ac6b-treasureinafield

What a treasure we have in the joy that Jesus brings into our lives. God has a country. Jesus is King of God’s country. Joy reigns supreme in this country. It is a hallmark of the stunning beauty of Jesus that we worship.

Have I sold everything to get the joy of Jesus in my life? Do I rejoice that I am a citizen of God’s country and have a place in Heaven?

I need to do a happy dance when the lost are found and the sinner changes his mind about Jesus (aka repent). I need to be really glad. This should thrill me like no other activity.

Do I rejoice always? I need to carefully consider that. If not, what is wrong?

  • Galatians 5:22 —But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
  • Matthew 13:44 — “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
  • Luke 10:17–21 —The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Master, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, O Father, Master of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.
  • Luke 15:4–10 — “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? “When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. “Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? “When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’ In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
  • John 4:34–36 —Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift wo up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. “Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.
  • John 16:20–24 — “Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy. Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. 23 “In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full”.
  • John 17:13 — “But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.
  • Romans 12:12 —Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,
  • Romans 14:17–18 —For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves the Messiah is acceptable to God and approved by men.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 —Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in the Messiah Jesus.

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What We Believe

There is power in prayer. We see it every day. Let us join with you in tapping into the Power of God. Click here to make a request.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships.  Programs share a sequential vision, building an understanding of relationships and family culture.  The foundation is an encounter with Jesus.  This encounter is the means for both insight and vision.  Encountering Jesus leads a radical change in living and relationships. Learn more here.

We are an inter-denominational ministry, and our desire is for transformation: a genuine change of heart and lifestyle that flows out of an intimate relationship with Jesus.

We believe:

  • Jesus is Lord. We exalt the One True God who made us and gave us the Lord Jesus Christ as our salvation. Our goal is to be a people with a heart for obedience to Christ in all things. His work made it possible for us to live – eternally and now – as children of God. Jesus made it possible for us to be rightly related to the Father and to one another. His desire is for us to succeed. We believe a right relationship with Him is the first and most important step.
  • The Bible is True. God’s Word is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12-13), which we take into our minds and spirits and live out through the flesh. When Jesus asked what the greatest commandment was, He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31). The basis for everything we teach is “Life is Relationships.”
  • Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit. We desire to walk in and by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit (available to all believers) empowers Christians for living witness and dedicated service.

Learn more here.

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Will we be like the wind and the waves?

Image result for jesus rebukes the storm

One word. Jesus rebukes the storm. Jesus is in the power of the Holy Spirit, as the Son of God. He knows the power of a command.

That is it. It didn’t take more

A single word.

And … obedience! The goal is obedience.

One day he and his disciples got in a boat. “Let’s cross the lake,” he said. And off they went. It was smooth sailing, and he fell asleep. A terrific storm came up suddenly on the lake. Water poured in, and they were about to capsize. They woke Jesus: “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

Getting to his feet, he told the wind, “Silence!” and the waves, “Quiet down!” They did it. The lake became smooth as glass. Luke 8:22-24 (The Message Bible)

Does sprinkling with water symbolize spiritual cleansing?

Holy Spirit Water

I must prepare myself spiritually to fellowship with God. The Old Testament priest had to go through various washings and the applying of blood on the Day of Atonement.

Also, during the regular daily ministry, the priests had to wash at the laver before they entered the holy place. The New Agreement disciple must come to God with a pure heart and a clean conscience. Fellowship with God demands purity.

Where does faith come from? Is it a gift?

Faith is not something I conjure up on my own, nor is it something I am born with.

Faith is not a result of diligence in study or pursuit of the spiritual.

Faith doesn’t come from “good theology”. The religious elites can’t give it to me. Faith is a gift.

Are God’s people to aim to live free from blame?

Blame God

I need to focus more on being blameless. The Apostle Paul shows the being blameless is a result of my love being in abundance and abounding.

I need real knowledge to be blameless as the Holy Spirit reveals the journey I need to take as I follow Jesus. Guilt is removed in my walk with Jesus. I become set apart (aka sanctified). Now that is some stunningly good news.

Do the poor have an advocate?

Advocate

God cares for the poor, the widow, the orphan, the homeless, the sick, those in jail; all of the displaced of this world. I need to advocate for them as well. Jesus calls me to love and to give.

Jesus is an advocate for them all.

Jesus is not just an Advocate but he is mighty and powerful.

Don’t stealthily move back the boundary lines or cheat orphans out of their property, for they have a powerful Advocate who will go to bat for them. | Proverbs 23:10-11 (The Message Bible)

Why do we need the armor of God? 

Zoe provides some great insight into the helmet of salvation.

Ephesians 6:10-18 Christian Standard Bible (CSB) Christian Warfare

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.

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Our Mission & Vision

There is power in prayer. We see it every day. Let us join with you in tapping into the Power of God. Click here to make a request.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships.  Programs share a sequential vision, building an understanding of relationships and family culture.  The foundation is an encounter with Jesus.  This encounter is the means for both insight and vision.  Encountering Jesus leads a radical change in living and relationships

Our Vision is to see generations of leaders victoriously modeling Jesus in their families and communities.

Our Mission is training believers to live a victorious life through biblical Truth, experiential discipleship, and family relationships. 

Values

Life is:

1) Relationships

2) Personal Holiness

3) Biblical

4) Authentic

5) Relevant

Learn more here.

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

Has the kingdom of God come upon us?

Jesus is King

Is Jesus my Master? Am I His slave? Does Jesus own me? Jesus is the King, anointed by the Holy Spirit and in charge of God’s country. Even the demons obey. I must obey Jesus.

Now in thinking about the authority of the Messiah, perhaps it’s helpful to consider two words. The first is the word dunamis which the Bible translates “power.” The second is the word exousia which the Bible translates “power” or “authority” and is best understood as “authority,” and there is a difference.

Do God’s people find their joy in Jesus?

God’s Blessings

Jesus wants me to glad, joyful and happy. Jesus paid the price for my missing God’s goal (aka sin). I deserved death. Jesus died in my place. Jesus is resurrected and sits in authority next to God as King of God’s country. That should make me glad. If it doesn’t, what is wrong with me?

The Apostle Paul is emphatic in Philippians 3. He says “rejoice” and then he emphatically says it again. The word here is χαίρω (chairó). It means to be glad, happy and rejoice. It comes to us by combining. xará (“joy”) and xáris (“grace”).

Hell – Why do believers have to maintain their loyalty to God? What is the fear that cancels fear?

Loyalty

I need to take God and His Son Jesus very seriously. There will be a day of judgement. There is a place called hell.

I may be persecuted for following Jesus. They may kill me. That shouldn’t bother me, and I shouldn’t fear it at all.

All that men can do is kill the body; and, if they do, the believer’s soul goes home to be with the Master. But God is able to destroy both body and soul in hell! Of course, God will never condemn one of His own children. I do need to respect God and know that His judgement will be true. Following Jesus is the solution.

Do Jesus’ disciples have His patience in relation to people?

Patience

God is patient with sinners. Jesus perfectly models that for me. Jesus is my example. Jesus shows me the way. I can’t do it on my own.

Romans 2:4 says that God’s patience leads to our repentance. Romans 9:22 points out that only God’s patience prevents Him from destroying “the objects of his wrath.” Paul glorifies the Master for His “unlimited patience” that saved him, “the worst of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:16).

Is God’s glory our highest motivation?

Glory

God’s glory is to be my highest motive. God wants me to know that He sees what no one else sees.

He knows why I do what I do and desires to reward those whose hearts are right toward Him. My focus has to be on Jesus the Messiah and His cross.

Why does the Holy Spirit’s fruit include joy?

Fruit
Fruit

We love to eat fruit. We love the fruit and the juice. It gives us nourishment and refreshes us. May we relish the fruit of the Spirit and joy that it brings in our lives.

If I don’t have joy I need to check with Jesus and figure out what is going on. Something is wrong. I need to radically change my mind (aka repent) and see life the way Jesus does. I need the power of the Holy Spirit producing joy in my heart.

What does Jesus think about wealth and money?

Wealth

Jesus looks me hard in the eye. Jesus is clear. Jesus isn’t going to pull any punches with me.

Jesus loves me. Jesus cares about me deeply. Jesus has my best interest at heart.

That is the way our Master Jesus goes about teaching me, His slave and disciple.

Does Jesus reflect the anger of God?

Anger

Does Jesus get angry and upset? Jesus the Messiah shows controlled emotion arising from his unswerving opposition to evil and his determination to eradicate it.

Note the following observations about Jesus’ displays of anger:

What does it mean Jesus is in the Father?

Jesus has a question for Philip. Jesus called Philip to be a disciple as he (Jesus) was leaving Bethany after being baptized by John.

Philip’s immediate response was to go and find Nathanael and tell him “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

What is the example of Jesus concerning gentleness?

Compassion

We have a lot to learn from Jesus. Jesus is gentle and shows compassion. Jesus has compassion for those in need. In fact, so great was His love for the needy that the Savior ministered to great crowds of people after the Sabbath had ended, when it was lawful for them to come for help. God’s Servant was at the beck and call of all kinds of people, including demoniacs and lepers; and He lovingly ministered to them all.

That Jesus would meet and touch a leper is somewhat beyond our understanding. Lepers were supposed to keep their distance and warn everyone that they were coming, lest others would be defiled. This man knew that Jesus was able to heal him, but he was not sure the Master was willing to heal him. Lost sinners today have the same unnecessary concern, for God has made it abundantly clear that He is not willing that sinners perish and that He is willing that all men be saved.

Why does Jesus hang out with sinners?

Jesus gets in trouble a lot. The religious elites don’t like who He hangs out with.

They let Jesus know. They let the disciples of Jesus know.

And … Jesus wants to sit down and eat with me. Jesus wants to sit down and eat with you. Jesus is smiling and in a good mood. Jesus has good news for us.

Does everything work together for our good?

I have something to shout about. I have family and friends that want the best for me. They really do.

They have my best interests at heart. They truly love me.

I should listen to those who want the best for me last. They should always have the last word. What they say is worthy of a glad shout.

Is family the foundation of relationships in God’s Kingdom?

Family of God

Family is extremely important in the Bible, both in a physical sense and in a spiritual sense. The foundation of family was introduced in the very beginning, as we see in Genesis 1:28.

God’s plan for creation was for men and women to marry and have children. A man and a woman would form a “one-flesh” union through marriage (Genesis 2:24), and they with their children become a family, the essential building block of human society.

How does Jesus take away the sins of the world?

Forgive

Jesus the anointed King and Messiah’s ministry of forgiveness was foretold. God has a plan. God executes it in His son Jesus.

Jesus paid the penalty for me. Amazing!

I need forgiveness. I have missed God’s goal for my life (aka sin). I am guilty. God forgives me.

Now that is stunning news.

The next day John saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” | John 1:29

Are God’s people to live pure lives?

Pure

Clearly, I am to be pure. It is a matter of the heart. Purity means to be “clean, blameless, unstained from guilt.” Interestingly, the word can refer specifically to that which is purified by fire or by pruning. John the Baptist told people that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.

I am pure through the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross and the power of the Holy Spirit working in my life. I cannot ignore continuing to miss God’s goal for my life (aka sin). I must change my way of thinking (repent) and act differently. Jesus requires me to be pure in heart! Jesus said to the woman caught in the act of adultery “Go and sin no more.” God didn’t condemn her but we are to be pure.

Does God sees right through all such smoke screens and holds me to what I’ve done?

The wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. There are atheists, God-deniers and God-haters who suppress the truth. They are not in right standing with God. They are on a spiral down. It is a very dark spiral. They don’t see where they are going. They spiral out of control.

I can’t be a hypocrite though. I have missed God’s goal for my life as well. I have to take the plank out of my eye so I can see clearly. While the godless may be in a downward spiral, I’m not on high ground here. I can’t point any fingers at others. When I criticize someone, I condemn myself.

How can we experience joy in our discipleship life?

Passion for God
Passion

Joy is something we all long for but that often seems difficult to grab hold of. Experiencing joy should be a part of every disciple’s life. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, produced by God’s work in us, and it is part of God’s will for us. Joy should be a consuming passion for me.

I know that even the most mature of God’s people experience periods of joylessness. For instance:

  • Job wished he had never been born (Job 3:11).
  • David prayed to be taken away to a place where he would not have to deal with reality (Psalm 55:6–8).
  • Elijah, even after defeating 450 prophets of Baal with fire called down from heaven (1 Kings 18:16–46), fled into the desert and asked God to take his life (1 Kings 19:3–5).

How to put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience

Jesus shows me how to love and be kind. Jesus commands me to love. God wants me to be kind, tender and loving.

Jesus is constantly moved by compassion to help the weak and brokenhearted. Jesus shows me the way.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, I can be tender, kind and loving.

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. | Colossians 3:12

Did obedience mean the ultimate personal cost for Jesus?

Obey God

Jesus was not wrestling with God’s will or resisting God’s will. Jesus is obedient. He was yielding Himself to God’s will all the time. As perfect Man, He felt the awful burden of sin, and His holy soul was repelled by it.

Yet as the Son of God, He knew that this was His mission in the world. The mystery of His humanity and deity is seen vividly in this scene.

Peter and his fellow disciples had promised to be faithful to death, and yet they went to sleep! They needed to pray for themselves, because danger was around the corner. And how much it would have meant to their Lord if they had watched and prayed with Him. They had failed, but their Lord had succeeded.

Are we willing to start over like children?

Image result for who's first jesus

I am concerned and worry about lots of things. One of them is how am I doing compared to others. Culturally, and probably as a part of my sinful nature, I want to do better than others.

Maybe, compared to others, I want to be the best.

Jesus is having none of that. Jesus calls me up short on it all. Jesus is clear.

At about the same time, the disciples came to Jesus asking, “Who gets the highest rank in God’s kingdom?”

For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me. | Matthew 18:1-5 (The Message Bible)

Jesus has a goal for me. Jesus is clear that I must repent, that is, change my inner self — my old way of thinking, live a changed life and become like a child in my faith. I am to be trusting, humble, and forgiving. Unless I do that, I will never enter God’s country where Jesus is King.

I must humble myself like a child to be the greatest in the kingdom of God. If I receive and welcome a child in Jesus the King’s name, I receives Jesus.

If I cause one of the little ones who believes in Jesus to stumble and sin by leading them away from teaching of Jesus, it would be better for me to have a heavy millstone as large as one turned by a donkey hung around my neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Am I putting barriers up for those who could believe? Do I cause other followers of Jesus to stumble. Jesus challenges me to be careful.

Yes, Jesus is clear with me. I am to be last. Absolutely. All the time.

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There is power in prayer. At the Christian Training Center International, we see it every day. Let us join with you in tapping into the Power of God. Click here to make a request.

Leadership the Jesus: A Faith at work series — Looking how to focus your faith at work? | This series of leadership programs focuses on leadership skills that drive the purpose and passion for work as laid out by Jesus and based on sound scripture. We might see faith and work as estranged. It can be frustrating. But, in truth, faith and work should share a crucial aim: to see the unseen at work through the power of the Holy Spirit. Nothing new has been made without faith in God. Nothing unseen has been seen without work. When the force of what we do hits why we do it, we wither, or we flourish. Learn more here.

Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships. The foundation is an encounter with Jesus that leads to a radical change in living and relationships.

Heroes Semester is a 10-week residential, “family style” living experience like no other! | Participants ages 18-26 come with one purpose – to go deeper with the Lord. Learn more about our programs here.

Strengthening & Restoring Family Relationships — Train to Reign Program | Family is the most vital relationship and the one under the most pressure and attack. Come strengthen your family in a strong relationship with God. Learn more here. Check out our new online version “Marriage and Family the Jesus Way” here..

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

How does God remove sin from us? How is the penalty paid for?

Salvation

Jesus paid the price for my having missed God’s goal (aka sin) for my life. A penalty had to be paid. Jesus paid it for me.

Salvation is free, but it is not cheap. Three words express the price God paid for our salvation: propitiation, redemption, and blood. In human terms, “propitiation” means appeasing someone who is angry, usually by a gift. But this is not what it means in the Bible. “Propitiation” means the satisfying of God’s holy Law, the meeting of its just demands, so that God can freely forgive those who come to the Messiah. The word “blood” tells us what the price was. Jesus had to die on the cross in order to satisfy the Law and justify lost sinners.

The best illustration of this truth is the Jewish Day of Atonement described in Leviticus 16. Two goats were presented at the altar, and one of them was chosen for a sacrifice. The goat was slain, and its blood taken into the holy of holies and sprinkled on the mercy seat, that golden cover on the ark of the covenant. This sprinkled blood covered the two tablets of the Law inside the ark. The shed blood met (temporarily) the righteous demands of the holy God.

Why should we forgive others?

Forgive

True love is forgiving: God loves me so He forgives me for missing His goal (aka sin) for my life. Jesus paid the penalty for me. Colossians 1:14 says that in God’s beloved Son “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Now that is huge news. It deserves a “news alert”.

The Amplified Bible translates the last phrase like this: “the forgiveness of our sins and the cancellation of sins’ penalty.”

What should disciples do? Can I pass the mercy test?

Can I pass the test? Let’s call it the mercy test. Jesus orders me to be merciful.

Am I? Jesus wants to know. Jesus is serious about this. Jesus calls me to love. That is it. Love is made real in mercy. I need to consider that in my actions.

Every orthodox statement of faith ends with a statement about the return of Jesus the Messiah and the final judgment. Not all disciples agree as to the details of these future events, but the certainty of them none denies.

Nor would any deny the importance of a final judgment. Both Jesus (John 5:24) and Paul (Rom. 8:1) assured us that believers will never be judged for their sins; but our works will be judged and rewarded (Rom. 14:10–13; 2 Cor. 5:9–10).

Why are we so thick headed about who Jesus is?

God’s Wisdom

Jesus is resurrected to an incorruptible body after having been crucified. It is three days after His death. He is alive now and beginning to show himself to the disciples and apostles.

They are confused. They are befuddled. Some days, so am I. Jesus is patient. Jesus carefully explains it.

It will take them a few days but they will eventually “get it”. The suffering happened to Jesus, the Messiah, for a reason. Because of that Jesus has now entered into the glorious and stunning beauty that is only His.

Then Jesus said to them, “So thick-headed! So slow-hearted! Why can’t you simply believe all that the prophets said? Don’t you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into his glory?” Then he started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to him. | Luke 24:25-27 (The Message Bible)

Jesus, as always, is clear. Why am I so thick headed? Why am I so slow hearted?

I know what the prophets and scripture says. Why don’t I get it?

And then …

Jesus takes me through it all. Jesus explains it to me. I need to listen carefully to what Jesus actually says.

Jesus gives me insight. This enables me to appreciate God’s mind and will in matters of behavior, truth and providence, especially where right perception is not obvious. Insight is akin to wisdom and understanding. It is given by God and is to be sought by believers.

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” | James 1:5

Do I have a love for God’s word?

Broken Heart
Heart

The believer has an old nature that wants to keep him in bondage; “I will get free from these old sins!” the disciple says to himself. “I determine here and now that I will not do this any longer.”

Jesus needs to take control of my heart. I need to stay in God’s word. I must love what Jesus says to me.

  • What happens? He exerts all his willpower and energy, and for a time succeeds; but then when he least expects it, he falls again. His heart isn’t it and ground in God’s word.
  • Why? Because he tried to overcome his old nature with Law, and the Law cannot deliver us from the old nature.
  • When you move under the Law, you are only making the old nature stronger; because “the strength of sin is the Law” (1 Cor. 15:56). Instead of being a dynamo that gives us power to overcome, the Law is a magnet that draws out of us all kinds of sin and corruption.

The heart (inward man) may delight in the Law of God (Ps. 119:35), but the old nature delights in breaking the Law of God. No wonder the believer under Law becomes tired and discouraged, and eventually gives up! He is a captive, and his condition is “wretched.” (The Greek word indicates a person who is exhausted after a battle.) What could be more wretched than exerting all your energy to try to live a good life, only to discover that the best you do is still not good enough!

Is there any deliverance? Of course! “I thank God that there is Someone who shall deliver me—Jesus the Messiah, our Master!” Because the believer is united to The Messiah, he is dead to the Law and no longer under its authority. But he is alive to God and able to draw on the power of the Holy Spirit. The explanation of this victory is given in Romans 8.

By “the mind” Paul meant “the heart or inward man” (Rom. 7:22) as opposed to “the flesh” (Rom. 7:18). He amplified this thought in Romans 8:5–8. The old nature cannot do anything good. Everything the Bible says about the old nature is negative: “no good thing” (Rom. 7:18); “the flesh profited nothing” (John 6:63); “no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3). If we depend on the energy of the flesh, we cannot serve God, please God, or do any good thing. But if we yield to the Holy Spirit, then we have the power needed to obey His will. The flesh will never serve the Law of God because the flesh is at war with God. But the Spirit can only obey the Law of God! Therefore, the secret of doing good is to yield to the Holy Spirit.

Paul hinted at this in the early verses of this chapter when he wrote, “That we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Rom. 7:4). Just as we are dead to the old nature, so we are dead to the Law. But we are united to The Messiah and alive in The Messiah, and therefore can bring forth fruit unto God. It is our union with The Messiah that enables us to serve God acceptably. “For it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). That solved Paul’s problem in Romans 7:18: “For to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”

My old nature knows no law and the new nature needs no law. Legalism makes a believer wretched because it grieves the new nature and aggravates the old nature! The legalist becomes a Pharisee whose outward actions are acceptable, but whose inward attitudes are despicable.

No wonder Jesus called them “whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness” (Matt. 23:27). How wretched can you get?

  • Romans 7:22 — 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man.
  • Deuteronomy 4:9 — 9 “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.
  • Psalm 37:31 — 31 The law of his God is in his heart; His steps do not slip.
  • Psalm 119:11 — 11 Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.
  • Psalm 119:30 — 30 I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me.
  • Psalm 119:111 — 111 I have inherited Your testimonies forever, For they are the joy of my heart.
  • Proverbs 6:21 — 21 Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck.
  • Jeremiah 15:16 — 16 Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O Master God of hosts.
  • Jeremiah 31:33 — 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Master, “I will put My law within them and on their heart, I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

Who is our advocate with God?

Special praise goes to Jesus for vindicating the penitent and the needy who have no human champions. Ultimately, all God’s ways will be seen as just and equitable.

God is God. God will judge and render a verdict. I have an advocate that is interceding on my behalf when I stand before God. Jesus has already paid the price. It’s all good.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus the Messiah the righteous. | 1 John 2:1

Justice — It is Declared in Jesus the Messiah: A major aspect of justice is impartiality. A God who did not care about the difference between right and wrong and did not judge me for acting one way or the other would not be an admirable being worthy of my love or trust. The fact that God is just and will judge between right and wrong gives ultimate moral significance to my life and makes me accountable for my actions.

Do I reflect God’s faithfulness?

Faithfulness
Faithfulness

Faithfulness is the proper response to God by his covenant people; seen in a steadfast commitment which reflects God’s own faithfulness to the covenant. Encouraged in all believers, it is especially important in leaders.

I am called to be faithful and trustworthy. I am challenged by this some days. When I think about it and focus on it, I execute God’s goal. Some days, like a sheep, I wander off. I am thankful for the good Shepherd who finds me and brings me back home.

The good news is that God is always faithful. That is just the way He is. He has always been patient, waiting for me to come back to Jesus and follow Him. God is good! God is in a good mood. God will see me through to the end.

How long has Jesus existed with God?

Jesus is my Master. Jesus is the Word of God. Jesus has always been with God. Jesus is the Son of God. I must get this in my heart and soul. The Son of God owns me.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:1 | Christian Standard Bible. (2017)

What is the good news?

The good news is we have Jesus, the very word of God, in our lives. He has always been there. He was there in the beginning.

Jesus is God. Jesus has redeemed us. We have great and stunning news for the world.

I need to get on with the work of delivering His message of good news and making disciples.

Can we dig deeper?

In the beginning — of all time and created existence, for this Word gave it being (Jn 1:3, 10); therefore, “before the world was” (Jn 17:5, 24); or, from all eternity. Beginning is a starting point, origin or source. The beginning often refers to the time of or before the creation of the world. God is described as the Beginning and the End, denoting the eternity of his existence. Jesus the Messiah’s coming marks a new beginning both for God’s people and, finally, for all creation.

Beginning is from the Greek ἀρχή archē, ar-khay´; a commencement, or  chief (in various applications of order, time, place, or rank):— beginning, corner, (at the, the) first (estate), magistrate, power, principality, principle, rule.

was the Word — He who is to God what man’s word is to himself, the manifestation or expression of himself to those without him. (See on Jn 1:18). On the origin of this most lofty and now for ever consecrated title of the Messiah, this is not the place to speak. It occurs only in the writings of this seraphic apostle. In a mainly nonliterary society the dependability of the spoken word was all-important in law, trade, religion, marriage, and reputation. Receipts, agreements, and records had little general usefulness. Personal integrity and sincere speech were essential to communication, and for most people to self-expression and stable relationships. The words of poets, prophets, storytellers, and instructors were carefully preserved.

Word is from the Greek λόγος lŏgŏs, log´-os; something said (incl. the thought); by implication. a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension. a computation; the Divine Expression (i.e. the Messiah).

was with God — having a conscious personal existence distinct from God (as one is from the person he is “with”), but inseparable from Him and associated with Him (Jn 1:18; Jn 17:5; 1 Jn 1:2), where “THE FATHER” is used in the same sense as “GOD” here.

was God — in substance and essence GOD; or was possessed of essential or proper divinity. Thus, each of these brief but pregnant statements is the complement of the other, correcting any misapprehensions which the others might occasion.

Was the Word eternal? It was not the eternity of “the Father,” but of a conscious personal existence distinct from Him and associated with Him.

Was the Word thus “with God?” It was not the distinctness and the fellowship of another being, as if there were more Gods than one, but of One who was Himself God—in such sense that the absolute unity of the God head, the great principle of all religion, is only transferred from the region of shadowy abstraction to the region of essential life and love.

But why all this definition? Not to give us any abstract information about certain mysterious distinctions in the Godhead, but solely to let the reader know who it was that in the fulness of time “was made flesh.” After each verse, then, the reader must say, “It was He who is thus, and thus, and thus described, who was made flesh.”

Much as our words reveal to others our hearts and minds, so Jesus the Messiah is God’s “Word” to reveal His heart and mind to us. “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). A word is composed of letters, and Jesus the Messiah is “Alpha and Omega” (Rev. 1:8), the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. According to Hebrews 1:1–3, Jesus the Messiah is God’s last Word to mankind, for He is the climax of divine revelation.

Jesus the Messiah is the eternal Word (vv. 1–2). He existed in the beginning, not because He had a beginning as a creature, but because He is eternal. He is God and He was with God. “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).

What does the Logos mean?

Logos is the Greek term translated as “word,” “speech,” “principle,” or “thought.” In Greek philosophy, it also referred to a universal, divine reason or the mind of God.

In the New Testament, the Gospel of John begins, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1-4). Here it is clear that the “Word” or Logos is a reference to Jesus the Messiah.

John argues that Jesus, the Word or Logos, is eternal and is God. Further, all creation came about by and through Jesus, who is presented as the source of life. Amazingly, this Logos came and lived among us: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

John’s Gospel begins by using the Greek idea of a “divine reason” or “the mind of God” to connect with the readers of his day and introduce Jesus to them as God. Greek philosophy may have used the word about divine reason, but John used it to note many of the attributes of Jesus. In John’s use of the Logos concept, we find that:

  • Jesus is eternal (“In the beginning was the Word”)
  • Jesus was with God prior to coming to earth (“the Word was with God”)
  • Jesus is God (“the Word was God.”)
  • Jesus is Creator (“All things were made through him”)
  • Jesus is the Giver of Life (“In him was life”)
  • Jesus became human to live among us (“the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”)

The opening of John’s good news book carries a striking resemblance to Genesis 1:1.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him…” (John 1:1).

Logos is used in many ways, yet in John’s book Logos is a clear reference to Jesus, the God who both created us and lived among us. Logos became a theological term important to the disciples in the early church and remains a concept of significant influence today.

What do other Scriptures say?

“In the beginning”

  • Ge 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.,
  • Col 1:18 He is also the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.
  • Jn 1:14 The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
  • 1 Jn 1:1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have observed and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—
  • Php 2:6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited.
  • Jn 8:38 I speak what I have seen in the presence of the Father;, so then, you do what you have heard from your father.”
  • Jn 17:5 Now, Father, glorify me in your presence with that glory I had with you before the world existed.
  • Ac 26:4 “All the Jews know my way of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own people and in Jerusalem.
  • Col 1:16 For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities— all things have been created through him and for him.
  • Heb 1:2 In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe, through him.

Word” refers to Jesus — Son of God, savior of the world.

  • Jn 1:14 •The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
  • 1 Jn 1:1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have observed and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—
  • Re 19:13 He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called the Word of God.
  • Jn 20:28 Thomas responded•• to him, “My Master and my God!”
  • Php 2:6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited.
  • Jn 8:38 I speak what I have seen in the presence of the Father; so then, you do what you have heard from your father.”
  • Jn 17:5 •Now, Father•, glorify me in your presence with that glory I had with you before the world existed.
  • Ac 26:4 “•All •the Jews know my way of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own people and in Jerusalem.
  • Col 1:16 For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities— all things have been created through him and for him.
  • Heb 1:2 In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe, through him.
  • Ro 11:36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.
Logos – Word

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Leadership the Jesus: A Faith at work series — Looking how to focus your faith at work? | This series of leadership programs focuses on leadership skills that drive the purpose and passion for work as laid out by Jesus and based on sound scripture. We might see faith and work as estranged. It can be frustrating. But, in truth, faith and work should share a crucial aim: to see the unseen at work through the power of the Holy Spirit. Nothing new has been made without faith in God. Nothing unseen has been seen without work. When the force of what we do hits why we do it, we wither, or we flourish. Learn more here.

Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships. The foundation is an encounter with Jesus that leads to a radical change in living and relationships.

Heroes Semester is a 10-week residential, “family style” living experience like no other! | Participants ages 18-26 come with one purpose – to go deeper with the Lord. Learn more about our programs here.

Strengthening & Restoring Family Relationships — Train to Reign Program | Family is the most vital relationship and the one under the most pressure and attack. Come strengthen your family in a strong relationship with God. Learn more here. Check out our new online version “Marriage and Family the Jesus Way” here..

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

Is joy promised to me from Jesus the Messiah?

We have a great promise from Jesus the Messiah. It is joy and happiness. Jesus wants me to have joy. Jesus my joy to be overflowing. Jesus wants my joy to be completed and fulfilled.

I am to be glad and joyful, even when I am being persecuted. When I am joyful, I know where my reward is. My reward is in heaven. Now that is good news.

In Jesus, my grief and sorrow are turned into joy. I am born again. I am a new creation. No one, not anyone, can take the joy of Jesus the Messiah away from me. Some will try. It seems like it is almost daily.

Where does faith come from?

Bold Faith

I really don’t have an excuse for not having more faith. I have heard Jesus clearly. That is the first step. I have to listen and hear Jesus.

Paul rightly lets me know it is about obeying the message of the good news. That is the difference. Do I need to hear more or do more? I need to do more.

What do we know about fools from Proverbs?

I want wisdom. It is important to my daily walk with Jesus.

Sometimes it helps, in understanding something, is to look and see what it is not.

The following is a partial list of some characteristics of a fool from the book of Proverbs:

  • A fool hates knowledge (1:22)
  • Takes no pleasure in understanding (18:2)
  • Enjoys wicked schemes (Proverbs 10:23)
  • Proclaims folly (Proverbs 12:23)
  • Spurns a parent’s discipline (15:5)
  • Speaks perversity (19:1)
  • Is quick-tempered (12:16)
  • Gets himself in trouble with his proud speech (14:3)
  • Mocks at sin (14:9)
  • Is deceitful (14:8)
  • Despises his mother (15:20)
  • A foolish child brings grief to his or her parents (17:25; 19:13)
  • A foolish man commits sexual immorality (6:32; 7:7–12)
  • A foolish woman tears down her own house (14:1)
  • The ultimate description of a fool is one who “says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’
  • They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1).

Are we an enemy or ally of Jesus?

Miracles Happen

We love to form groups. Even early on, the disciples had figured out who was in and who was out. Woe to you if you were out. The disciples were going to report you to Jesus.

Jesus isn’t going to have anything to do with that. Jesus is all about doing good. People who do it in the name of Jesus are on Jesus side. It doesn’t matter about what group [denomination] they are in. Or does it?

John spoke up, “Teacher, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn’t in our group.”

Jesus wasn’t pleased. “Don’t stop him. No one can use my name to do something good [perform a miracle] and powerful, and in the next breath cut me down. If he’s not an enemy, he’s an ally. Why, anyone by just giving you a cup of water in my name is on our side. Count on it that God will notice.” | Mark 9:38-41 (The Message Bible)

  • Jesus is clear that it doesn’t matter about “the group”.
  • It is about performing miracles in the name of Jesus. Am I doing the powerful things?
  • It is about doing little things, like giving a cup of water, in Jesus name. Am I doing the little things?
  • It is all about loyalty to Jesus not loyalty to the group. Jesus did not come to set up denominations. Jesus expects us to be disciples.

_____________________________________________________

There is power in prayer. At the Christian Training Center International, we see it every day. Let us join with you in tapping into the Power of God. Click here to make a request.

Leadership the Jesus: A Faith at work series — Looking how to focus your faith at work? | This series of leadership programs focuses on leadership skills that drive the purpose and passion for work as laid out by Jesus and based on sound scripture. We might see faith and work as estranged. It can be frustrating. But, in truth, faith and work should share a crucial aim: to see the unseen at work through the power of the Holy Spirit. Nothing new has been made without faith in God. Nothing unseen has been seen without work. When the force of what we do hits why we do it, we wither, or we flourish. Learn more here.

Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships. The foundation is an encounter with Jesus that leads to a radical change in living and relationships.

Heroes Semester is a 10-week residential, “family style” living experience like no other! | Participants ages 18-26 come with one purpose – to go deeper with the Lord. Learn more about our programs here.

Strengthening & Restoring Family Relationships — Train to Reign Program | Family is the most vital relationship and the one under the most pressure and attack. Come strengthen your family in a strong relationship with God. Learn more here. Check out our new online version “Marriage and Family the Jesus Way” here..

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

Does Jesus have preemminance over his enemies?

Jesus is first in my life. Jesus is preeminent. Jesus comes before anything else. Let it be so!

The word preeminence is the Greek word proteuo, which means “to be first in rank or influence.” It comes from the word protos, meaning “foremost in time, order, or importance.” We see this word in the English word prototype—“the first type or model of something.” It is therefore the idea of being first, and in that sense, holding the number one position in the order of things.

Now, preeminence simply means that the Messiah, as the head of all the disciples, should be held in the highest esteem in my life. As I think about His exalted status, there ought to well up within me an appreciation for His supreme position in the universe. In the priority structure of everything, He is in first place. He is the preeminent One.

Did Jesus believe he was the Son of God?

I believe that Jesus, God’s anointed King (aka Messiah) is God’s Holy Son.

Jesus is God’s Son in that He was conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:35 declares, “The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.’”

God declared it to be true. God said “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”

Jesus declared it to be true.

Do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? | John 10:36

And again in Luke 22:70 Jesus makes it clear.

And they all said, “Are You the Son of God, then?” And He said to them, “Yes, I am.”

How long will Jesus be King?

Kings came and went. Kings died. Someone else became King. It could have been a son. It could have been a conqueror. But the fact is the King would one day lose power to rule.

Jesus is King of God’s country forever. Jesus rose from the dead in an incorruptible body. Jesus ascended to heaven. Jesus sits at the right hand of God as King and ruler.

Why don’t we understand what Jesus is doing?

Image result for i don't understand

There are days I just don’t understand what Jesus is doing or saying. I like to think I do. I am pretending. I really just don’t get it. Do you?

Jesus knows that. Jesus is loving but clear to me. Jesus says “You don’t understand now what I’m doing!” I have to stand before Jesus and acknowledge that is true. Jesus, I say, you are right. I don’t understand. I want to but I just don’t get it. What’s up with this?

There is good news here. After I confess, Jesus says “It will be clear enough to you later.” Whew! There is hope for me. Jesus is going to reveal it to me. I can take a deep breath.

What is self-control? Why is it important?

I need more self control in my life!

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. It is physical and emotional self-mastery, particularly in situations of intense provocation or temptation. It isn’t talked about a lot and I surely can use more of it in my life. I can use a ton of it.

Paul reminds me 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22

Was Jesus His own spokesperson?

Elijah

I know what I know about Jesus because Jesus is His own spokesperson. Prophets are spokesmen for God. When the people of Israel asked the prophet Samuel for a king, God told Samuel, “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king” (1 Samuel 8:7).

Samuel was responsible to relay the Word of God to the people of Israel, and God states that He was the source of Samuel’s authority and words. Thus, Samuel the prophet was God’s representative.

Can we live and breathe God?

God is good all the time

King David knows what it is like to be in some tough places. He spent much of his life in hiding as he went about securing Israel from its enemies.

David invites me to join him in spreading the good news about how good God is. This should be as natural to me as breathing. In comes the the Spirit of God, out comes my praise of His amazing love of all of us.

I live and breathe God; if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy: join me in spreading the news; together let’s get the word out.” ~King David | Psalm 34:2-3 (The Message Bible)

How should we deal with sinning disciples of Jesus?

Church Building
Church Building

There was a pastor who became involved immorally with a married woman in his congregation. They each divorced their respective mates and then were married to each other in the church of which he was the pastor. The congregation turned out en masse for the wedding, giving open support.

If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. | Matthew 18:15-17 New American Standard Bible