A Summons and We Must Answer

Today, I had the pleasure of looking through my Grandfather’s sermon notes. My Grandfather’s name was Reverend Joseph E. Hocutt, and he was a co-vocational minister who was a circuit rider preacher on Sundays and a school teacher during the week in Sharpsburg, NC in the late 1800’s. In one of his sermons, he preached on 2 Corinthians 5:10. But before I share that Scripture, I think it is prudent to read the preceding Scriptures to get a context of what verse ten should mean to us.

2 Corinthians 5:1-10 (English Standard Version)

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

The following are notes taken from RC Sproul’s Commentary in The Reformation Study Bible as well as my own understanding of Scripture. When we become “true” Christians, then our earthly home here on earth is only temporary. Even if we lose our home on earth, we still have a home, made for us in Heaven. In verse two, we groan means that we are sighing with frustration at the limitations of this present life, with its sin, weakness, and corruption. In verse three, “we may not be found naked” means that we are without a body. Verse four indicates that Paul is longing for the resurrection body, free of weakness and imperfections of this life. Swallowed up by life means the new heavenly life to come will overtake our presence existence. In verse five, God has given us the Spirit as a guarantee, which means the Holy Spirit’s work in us is a daily renewal and strengthening. It is the guarantee of complete sanctification and future completion of that work in resurrection bodies. In verse seven, we walk by faith and not by sight. This means that by trusting in the promises of God, we are have already begun to enjoy Christ, but we have not yet fully experienced our resurrection bodies. Verse eight means that the immediate state between our death and Christ’s return, when the Christian dies, their soul goes immediately into Christ’s presence and are at home with the Lord. Although their soul is with the Lord, their bodies remain here on earth and in the grave. When Christ returns, their bodies will be raised from the dead, glorified, and forever be reunited with their spirits. In verse nine, whatever our condition is, we are to praise God. In verse ten, the degrees of reward in Heaven are discussed in this verse. Although Christians are forgiven and will never be sent to Hell, they must still stand before the Judgement Seat of God and be judged.[1]

Rev. Hocutt wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ. This is a crownship of reckoning. The Bible is clear on this that there will be a settling day. We shall meet again and all we have ever done will be judged.” Then he gave an example of a young girl who was without Christ Jesus. He wrote, “A girl dying said, Father why did you not tell me there is a Hell? It will be the sinners doom and Christian’s joy!”

When Christ Jesus does return, as my Grandfather wrote, “There will be a summons and we must answer!” When Christ returns, on Judgement Day, we must all stand before Lord Jesus at the judgement seat. Those who are “true” Christians, will be judged on their life and receive various degrees of reward in Heaven. This judgement will include a disclosure and evaluation of the motives of our hearts. See 1 Corinthians 4:5, Matthew 6:20, Luke 19:11-27, 1 Corinthians 3:12-15.

Woe to the person who never gave their hearts to Christ Jesus. Their fate will be sealed and they will be cast into eternal damnation of Hell. See 2 Thessalonians 1:9, “They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.”

Those who have trusted in Christ Jesus will receive eternal life. See Matthew 25:46, “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

If you do not know Jesus, I would ask that you pray this simple prayer to Him.

Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. I believe that you are the Son of God and that you came into the world to save it. I believe you died on the cross to save me of my sins. I believe that you rose from the grave on the third day. I ask you to come into my heart and forgive me from all the sins and trespasses I have ever committed. Thank you, Jesus, for saving my soul. I pray this in Jesus Name! Amen!

I hope that you will come to Christ Jesus today! Don’t be like the little girl my Grandfather mentioned who was dying and saw that she was headed to Hell. She asked her Dad, why didn’t you ever tell me that there was a Hell? I pray that you will come to know the loving and living Savior today.

References:

Reverend Joseph E. Hocutt, Sermon Notes on 2 Corinthians 5:10, Date Unknown.


[1] RC Sproul. The Reformation Study Bible-Commentary (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2015) 2056.

Copyright © November 29, 2020. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Thanksgiving: Why Not Thank God Daily?

Thanksgiving: Why Not Thank God Daily?

Why is it that we celebrate Thanksgiving only one time a year? Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate and gives thanks for the harvest and the preceding year. It is a national holiday and celebrated in United States, Canada, Brazil, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Liberia; at various times of the year.

In the United States, Thanksgiving is rooted in English tradition and started from the Protestant Reformation and has evolved into a national holiday where families get together and enjoy a meal together. Although it has religious roots, it is now considered a secular holiday.

Let us look at the definition of “thanksgiving.” According to Dictionary.com, thanksgiving is defined as:

  1. the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors, especially to God.
  2. an expression of thanks, especially to God.
  3. a public celebration in acknowledgment of divine favor or kindness.
  4. a day set apart for giving thanks to God.

Three out of the four definitions mentioned pertains to giving thanks to God, our Heavenly Father. According to Dave Earley, “Prayers of thanksgiving are some of the most common prayers of the Bible. Many men and women in the Bible opened their mouths and thanked God for the things He had done for them.” [1]

Although we celebrate Thanksgiving once per year, we should be praying prayers of thanksgiving every day. Prayers of thanksgiving should be part of our daily lives and daily prayer life. Even in a time of adversity, we should continue to give thanks to God. An example of this was when in the Book of Daniel, Daniel faced sure death when he learned that he was going to be thrown into the lion’s den as a punishment. See Daniel 6:10, “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”

When it came time for Daniel to be thrown in the Lion’s den, God had heard Daniel’s prayers and He shut the lion’s mouths and his accusers were executed instead. See Daniel 6:24, “At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.”

This gave Daniel much more to be thankful for. His life was spared and God had saved his life by sending an angel to shut the lion’s mouths. Giving thanks to God every day has eternal consequences. In Psalm 106, we are to give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. See verse 1, “Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.

The Bible is full of Scripture verses telling us to give thanks to God. After all, our Heavenly Father is Infinite, Almighty, Majestic, the only One True God, Sovereign, Trustworthy, Faithful, Holy, Loving, True, Righteous, Just, Merciful, Gracious, Worthy of Worship, Redeemer, Savior, Deliverer, King of Kings, Lord of lords, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Good Shepherd, Great Physician, Maker of Heaven and Earth, Way Maker, Promise Keeper, and Miracle Worker. These are just a few of His names and attributes.

I have a challenge for each of you reading this. Why not incorporate thanksgiving and praise into your daily prayer life? Instead of only praying when there is an emergency or when something urgent comes along, pray every day, at least three times a day. Pray in the morning, pray at noon time, and pray in the evening. These times of prayer and thanksgiving should last longer than a four or five sentence prayer. Take time with the Father to dwell on Him and enter worship with Him. If you are not used to praying, start out thanking Him for everything that happened in the day. Include the small stuff, even if you think that it is not worth mentioning. Talk with God as if you were talking to a close friend. Give thanks for everything.

I pray that you will make “Thanksgiving” an everyday occurrence and that the Living God will mold you into the man or woman that He wants you to become. After all, God deserves to be praised and thanks every day until we go to meet Him at the end of life on earth.

References:

Dave Earley, 28 Days to Powerful Prayer (Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Publishing, 2020)49.

Dictionary.com

Photo Credit: Jean Leon Gerome Ferris: The First Thanksgiving


[1] Dave Earley, 28 Days to Powerful Prayer (Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Publishing, 2020)49.

Copyright © November 28, 2020. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Are We Making the Most of God’s Kindness?

It is Black Friday and many will be going shopping, looking for the great deals so many merchants are offering. When people are out shopping, I doubt very seriously they will see the folks who are destitute, homeless, and without much. These people seem invisible when so many are rushing around trying to buy toys and things for loved ones for Christmas. I would ask that if you see someone, who is destitute, won’t you stop and give them a helping hand? After all, it is the season of giving.

Destitute and “the least of these” remind me of the invalid lying down at the edge of the Pool of Bethesda. He couldn’t get into the waters when they were stirred up for healing, and he just laid there waiting for someone to have compassion on him to take him down into the pool.

Jesus came along and saw this poor sufferer lying in the crowd and Jesus had mercy and compassion on him. This invalid was neglected, overlooked, and forgotten in the great crowd of people by the pool, but Jesus saw him and went over to minister to him. Jesus pitied him, healed him, and sent him on his way.

JC Ryle stated it very well, “He was full of undeserved, unexpected, abounding love towards man. He delights in mercy (cf. Micah 7:18). He was far more ready to save than man is to be saved, far more ready to do good than man is to receive it” (Ryle 2020).

Were you aware that every sickness and sorrow is the voice of God speaking to us? Ryle wrote, “Happy are they who have an eye to see God’s hand and an ear to hear His voice in all that happens to them. Nothing in this world happens by chance. … As it is with sickness, so it is with recovery. Renewed health should send us back to our post in our world with a deeper hatred of sin, a more thoroughness watchfulness over our own ways and a more constant purpose of mind to live for God. Far too often the excitement and novelty of returning health tempt us to forget the vows and intentions of the sick room. There are spiritual dangers attending a recovery! Well would it be for us all after illness to engrave these words on our hearts: ‘Let me sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto me’” (Ryle 2020).

Illnesses will help to draw us closer to God, even if the illness is very serious and could have life threatening consequences. If people were to survive such an illness like Covid, a heart attack, or cancer; and they made promises to God to change their life and they repent on their sick bed, and then they start to recover, God was in the mix of their healing. Then when these people recover, they go back to their old ways. They continue in their sin. According to what Jesus told the sick man, “Sin no more, lest a worse thing happen to you” (cf. John 5:14).

How many of you know people who were very ill and they made promises and then recovered and went back to what they were doing before the illness? There is a great chance that the next illness will be much worse or something entirely different happens to them.

Read Psalm 119:67, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your Word.” David found that affliction brought him back from wandering away from God. God often uses distress and suffering in our lives to bring us back to Him. David goes on to write in Psalm 119:71, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” David’s afflictions brought him back to God.

Because of broken promises to God, are we making the most of His loving kindness or are we building up His wrath against us? Let’s look at Romans 2:5, “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgement will be revealed.” We are to draw closer to Him, stay committed to Him once we are healed, and never go back to our old ways before repentance. Not only do we potentially face something worse happen to us, we will face God’s judgement and if one does not know Him as Lord and Savior, the final judgement is hell damnation.

There is hope today. Jesus came into the world to save it and not condemn it (cf. John 3:16-17). Jesus said, “I am the way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to our Heavenly Father except through Me.” The following are Scriptures pertaining to you coming to Jesus. Read them carefully and try to internalize them as to what they mean to you.

Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death (hell) but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.”

John 3: 3, “Jesus replied, ‘I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’”

John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Romans 10:9-11, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation. Now the Scripture says, ‘No one who believes in Him will be put to shame.’”

2 Corinthians 5:15, “And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised.”

Revelation 3:20, “Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.”

John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish (go to hell), but have eternal life (Heaven). For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

If you would like to surrender your heart to Jesus and ask him into your life, then pray the simple prayer:

Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. I believe that you are the Son of God and that you came into the world to save it. I believe you died on the cross to save me of my sins. I believe that you rose from the grave on the third day. I ask you to come into my heart and forgive me from all the sins and trespasses I have ever committed. Thank you, Jesus, for saving my soul. I pray this in Jesus Name! Amen!

I hope and pray that you have invited Jesus into your heart. Reach out to me via Facebook if you would like to talk further about giving your life to Christ Jesus. My Facebook is @JosephTLee777 or Instagram @PastorJoeLee.

I pray that you will come to know the living Jesus and that this Christmas season will be most meaningful to you! May the Lord Bless you and keep you; may the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; may the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace (cf. Numbers 6:24-26).

References:

JC Ryle Compiled by Robert Sheehan, Daily Readings (Welwyn Garden City, UK: EP Books, 2020) 24 February Evening.

Copyright © November 27, 2020. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart!

Happy Thanksgiving! I pray you will be blessed today spending time with loved ones and family. Thanksgiving is a time of year to give thanks to God for all the blessings received this year. Many wonder though with Covid, how is that a blessing? That itself is another story and we can expound on that in a future article. In short, Covid has brought many people closer to God through people seeking Him, working from home and having time for the study of the Word of God and in prayer.

Just this morning, I did a Tik Tok video under my user name @PastorJoeLee. The video was a Thanksgiving Scripture reading of Psalm 100. Please look at the words.

Psalm 100 – English Standard Version

A Psalm for Giving Thanks

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
  Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
  It is he who made us, and we are his;
  we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
  and his courts with praise!
  Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
  his steadfast love endures forever,
  and his faithfulness to all generations.

This Psalm calls the whole earth to worship Him. Make a joyful noise to the Lord all the earth! This call goes out beyond the “chosen people” but to all peoples of the earth. God is their king as well, whether they know it or not. We should serve the Lord with gladness, loving service is a grateful response to the grace of God. We are to know that the Lord is God and He made us all. We are His sheep of His world. We are to enter His presence with thanksgiving and praise. The Lord is good and His steadfast love is a covenant with His people. It is a forever covenant of His lovingness towards us.

My wife sometimes sings this song around our home when she is working in the kitchen. The song is called “Give Thanks” by Don Moen. Here are the lyrics:

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us”

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us”

Give thanks with a grateful heart (with a grateful heart)
Give thanks to the Holy One (to the Holy One)
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

Give thanks with a grateful heart (with a grateful heart)
Give thanks to the Holy One (to the Holy One)
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us”

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich (I am rich)
Because of what the Lord has done for us”
Give thanks

We give thanks to You

I pray that today, you will find the peace of God which surpasses all understanding. I pray that you will give thanks for everything! Jesus wants a personal relationship with you. If you do not know Him, won’t you pray this simple prayer today?

Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. I believe that you are the Son of God and that you came into the world to save it. I believe you died on the cross to save me of my sins. I believe that you rose from the grave on the third day. I ask you to come into my heart and forgive me from all the sins and trespasses I have ever committed. Thank you, Jesus, for saving my soul. I pray this in Jesus Name!

If you have prayed that prayer, please let me know by making a comment below. May the Lord bless each of you as well as your families. Jesus wants a personal relationship with you. Happy Thanksgiving!

References:

Song Lyrics for “Give Thanks” by Don Moen.

Photo Credit: Askar Abayev, Pexels Photos

Copyright © November 26, 2020. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Jesus Who Knows Us Completely Can Forgive Us Entirely

Today, we will continue in the study of Mark 2:1-12, Matthew 9:2-8, Luke 5:17-26. We are also adding Psalm 139:1-6. In our study from November 23, 2020, we are continuing in studying about when Jesus healed the paralytic. Today, we will focus on how God uses illness to bring us closer to Him as well as forgive our sins.

Can you imagine being healed by Jesus in that house after the invalid’s friends lowered him down on his bed through the roof? Jesus healed him, the man got up and took his bed and walked out of that home clean, forgiven of his sins and trespasses, and was healed and made whole. The man after spending years in a health affliction, suffering, so weak that he needed friends to carry him to Jesus. He walked home praising God for his healing.

JC Ryle wrote, “Let us beware of murmuring under affliction. Every cross is meant to call us nearer to God. Bereavements have proved mercies. Losses have proved real gains. Sicknesses have led many to the great Physician of souls, sent them to the Bible, shut out the world, shown them their foolishness and taught them to pray. Thousands echo David’s words from Psalm 119:71, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.”[1]

In Mark 2:8, Jesus can see into men’s hearts. We cannot keep anything secret from Christ Jesus. Read Hebrews 4:13, “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

The scribes thought that Jesus did not have the authority to forgave the invalid’s sins, only God could do that. And yet Jesus knew what they thought. The scribes thought Jesus had committed blasphemy. Jesus knew what they were thing and He knows what we think, even words before we speak them. See Psalm 139:4, “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.”

Jesus sees us daily. He sees our actions and He knows our hearts and our minds. Jesus has the priestly power to forgive our sins. See Mark 2:5 and 10, “And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” There is no other person, angel, minister of any domination, can take away a sinner’s sin guilt and absolve them of their sins. That authority only comes through Jesus Christ and the sinner praying for forgiveness and turning from their wicked ways. Go has given His Son, Jesus, the authority to forgive sins.

If you are not a Believer in Christ Jesus, won’t you come to Him today? Pray this simple prayer:

Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. I believe that you are the Son of God and that you came into the world to save it. I believe you died on the cross to save me of my sins. I believe that you rose from the grave on the third day. I ask you to come into my heart and forgive me from all the sins and trespasses I have ever committed. Thank you, Jesus, for saving my soul. I pray this in Jesus Name! Amen.

References:

Ryle, JC, Compiled by Robert Sheehan, Daily Readings (Welwyn Garden City, UK: EP Books, 2020) 24 February Morning.


[1] JC Ryle Compiled by Robert Sheehan, Daily Readings (Welwyn Garden City, UK: EP Books, 2020) 24 February Morning.

Copyright © November 25, 2020. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Is the Fall of Man the Cause of the Pandemic?

Today, we are continuing our study with JC Ryle. Before we venture into today’s devotion, let me tell you a little about Ryle. JC Ryle was born in 1816 and died in 1900. He was the first Anglican Bishop of Liverpool. He was a writer, pastor and an evangelical preacher.

As I had mentioned yesterday, I felt the Lord leading me to the February 23rd Scripture study of Ryle in his collection called Daily Readings, Evening. This collection of notes on Scripture has a morning and evening reading and notes to coincide with the Scriptures.

The notes are based on the following text, John 5:1-17 and Genesis 3:13-19. In John 5:1-17, the text refers to a paralytic who is lying beside the pool of Bethesda, waiting for years to be healed. He is lying on a bed and every time he tries to get up and go into the pool for healing waters, someone else takes the place of the prior person.

This man had been an invalid for thirty-eight years and when Jesus approached, He knew the man had been laying there for a very long time. In verse 6, Jesus said to the man, “Do you want to be healed?” Now, it was the Sabbath and according to the law, no one was supposed to do any work. The sick man answered Jesus and said that he had no one to put him into the pool. Then Jesus said to him, “Get up and take your bed and walk!” (8). “And at once, the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked” (9).

Because it was the Sabbath, the Jews asked the man why he was carrying his bed and the man told him that the man at the pool told him to get up and take his bed and walk and he did and he was healed. After Jesus healed the man, he withdrew into the crowd. Later, in the day, Jesus went to the temple and saw the man whom he had healed. In verse 14, Jesus said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus that healed him. The Jews were angry and were persecuting Jesus because he worked in ministry on the Sabbath. In verse 17, Jesus said to the Jews, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

In Genesis 3:13-19, God was angry at Adam, Eve, and the serpent. God pronounced the punishment on their sin of disobedience and eating the forbidden fruit. This was the Fall of man and the punishment as a result of that fall from God’s grace.

Even back in the 1800’s when JC Ryle wrote these notes, there was sickness and infirmities. People got sick and many had dreaded illnesses and they died. The reason we have illnesses today stems back to the Fall of man when Adam and Eve sinned against God and disobeyed Him.

Ryle mentions the paralytic invalid at the waters of the Bethesda Pool. He wrote, “When we read of cases like this, we should remember how deeply we ought to hate sin! Sin was the original root and cause and fountain of every disease in the world, God did not create man to be full of aches and pains and infirmities. These things are the fruits of the Fall. There would have been no sickness if there had been no sin” (Ryle 2020).

Ryle also references Proverbs 14:9, “’Fools’, says the wise man, ‘make a mock of sin.’” Back in his day, he wrote, “Thousands delight in things which are positively evil and run greedily after that which is downright poison. They love that which God abhors (hates) and dislike that which God loves. They are like the madman who loves his enemies and hates his friends. Their eyes are blinded. Surely if men would only look at hospitals and infirmities and think of havoc sin has made on this earth, they would never take pleasure in sin as they do” (Ryle 2020).

Wow!  Did you read this last paragraph? It sounds very much like it was written about today’s society in 2020. But instead of being thousands of people, it is more like millions and millions of people who delight in things which are positively evil and run after poison.

I bet many are wondering if the current pandemic is a punishment of God? Based on what we have read and studied, yes, it is. It is along with all the other illnesses, the result of the Fall, but there is hope through Jesus Christ. Although mankind has been punished for what Adam and Eve did, we have salvation through Jesus Christ. It is through His death that we are granted eternal life, but with one catch. We must believe in Jesus, that He is the Son of God, that He died to save us from our sins and that He rose three days later. We are to ask forgiveness and repent from our wicked ways, and live our lives in a manner pleasing to Him. Look at the verse one more time. In John 5:14, “Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” We are to stay steady in Christ.

Until Christ returns again, we most likely will continue to have illnesses, infirmities, and pandemics. Look at Philippians 3:20-21, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” There will be no more pain, no more suffering, no more infirmities.

If you do not know Jesus, won’t you ask Him into your heart today?

Pray this simple prayer. Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. I believe that you are the Son of God and that you came into the world to save it. I believe you died on the cross to save me of my sins. I believe that you rose from the grave on the third day. I ask you to come into my heart and forgive me from all the sins and trespasses I have ever committed. Thank you, Jesus, for saving my soul. I pray this in Jesus Name!

Amen.

Works Cited

Ryle, JC Daily Readings. Edited by Robert Sheehan. Welwyn Garden City: EP Books, 2020.

Copyright © November 24, 2020. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

What Is Your Secret to Success?

I have been asked numerous times the question, “What is your secret to success?” I look at them and my reply is “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you!” Then they reply, “Come on now! I will believe you!” Then I ask them if they really want to know my secrets to success? They say Yes!

I have a successful business! I am not only a Christian ordained minister, but also own a for profit business. My business involves helping clients secure their financial needs, assets, and interests.

You want to know my secret? The key to my successes? It will be hard to construct how I appear to be successful to a secular world. The key to my success really belongs to someone else. I am just a steward of the company for I serve a greater one than I. As a Christian, I apply Christian Biblical Principles in my daily life. My life bleeds over into my business affairs. I cannot turn off being a Christian and then turn on the entrepreneur. I am one of the same.

The key to my success is actually very simple. It involves a commitment as well as to “stay steady in my practices of my daily calling.”

You are wondering, what is the secret to my success? Here is the answer. But before I share, not everyone may find this believable. You see, what you may deem as success, I may deem as failure. I have daily struggles. You may think I have a successful business, but my business is of a much greater calling that the selling of products that secures assets. As a Christian businessman, after all my mistakes of life and failures, I am probably considered to be a success, and yet I feel that I have not done enough to help people, to secure their well-being in life.

Getting back to the secret. The secret really isn’t a secret at all but it is a lifestyle. My success is granted to me because of my commitment to Jesus Christ. The key to my life is to stay steady in Christ, live out each day as if it is my last, pray not only for myself and my family, but for my clients, for my friends, for those I do not know, for our community, and our nation; and of course, I pray for my business. This is the first key to my success in life.

The second key is studying and reading the Word of God, the Holy Bible. It is through God’s and Jesus’ teaching that the Holy Spirit can minister to me, teach me the things that He wants me to know and understand, correct me in my behavior, and to instill love in my heart for others who are less fortunate, those who are hard to love because of their actions, and love for God and the Gospel of Christ Jesus.

Now before people start to accuse, sin, and commit a trespass of judging me, let me explain. This is NOT Prosperity Gospel. Not at all. Prosperity Gospel is heresy. I attribute all my successes to God Almighty and to His Son, Jesus Christ. It is through the relationship that I have with Him today that has placed me where I am. I give Him all the glory and honor. I have worked hard all my life. When I wasn’t following Him like I should, I failed miserably and suffered. As I am following Him now, trying to live a life of Christ, trying to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind; and to love my neighbor as myself; even though I am in the midst of the Lord, sometimes, I fail miserably. But when I am successful, I give God all the glory. It is only through Him that He gives me the strength and knowledge to get through each day.

The previously mentioned failure was not because God failed, but because I got out of God’s Will. The secret to my success and my successes is that Jesus Christ loved me so much that He laid down His life for a dirt bag like me. My sin was a black as tar and Jesus saved me from my wickedness, redeemed me, made me whole, forgave me, and He loves me.

I have found that the secret to a successful life is not measured by monetary means, but by having a personal relationship with a loving Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus, who laid down His life for a friend; and that friend was me. I could be poor and homeless, but with Christ Jesus, I will have everything that I need. Jesus promised us that He would provide our needs. See Philippians 4:19, “And God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.”

As a Marketplace Minister and Christian Businessman, sometimes we have been involved in people lives not only from a business standpoint, but also from a spiritual realm. I have been with clients and loved ones on their death beds and have held their hands and prayed for them and sung for them during their time of need. I and my staff will pray for clients and others who have needs.

Success cannot be measured out in dollars. For me, success is quality of life, family, tending to the needs of others, ministering to those in need, showing the love of Christ to others in ways that surpasses understanding. It’s loving the homeless man on the corner by stopping and giving him a helping hand or a meal. It is taking in the garbage cans of some elderly neighbors. It is cutting a neighbor’s grass without expecting anything in return. It is buying a person a pair of shoes when you see that their existing shoes are worn through and they have holes in their soles. It is buying a case of water and then distributing them to immigrant construction workers in neighborhoods. It is loving people who are different from you and telling them about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. It is investing in heavenly treasures as opposed to amassing a huge wealth on earth.

My key to a successful life is to Love God with all my heart, soul, and mind; to pray and have a relationship with Him, His Son, and the Holy Spirit; and to Love my neighbor regardless of who they are or what they have done. God provides for me because He allowed me to learn a trade and do it very well. To God be the Glory! I consider myself a tentmaker like Paul. I have a trade but the key to it all is my relationship with Jesus Christ. My Heavenly Father is my CEO, He is the owner of the business. I am just the steward of what God has provided for me.

Tell me, what is your secret to success?

Copyright © November 24, 2020; Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Why Do Christians Have less Time for God?

This morning, I decided to do a study of Reverend JC Ryle and was going to read today’s text for November 23 in his collection, Daily Readings. Instead, I was inspired by the Lord to read February 23rd, the Morning reading. This reading was centered around Mark 2:1-12, Matthew 9:2-8, Luke 5:17-26, and Philippians 2:17-26.

The main text is about Jesus preaching in a home in Capernaum. The house was packed with His followers as well as Scribes. While preaching, four men brought a paralytic who was laying in his bed. They could not get into the home so they went up on the roof and removed some of the roof so they could lower the paralytic’s bed into the home and Jesus could heal him.

As they lowered the man through the roof, Jesus saw their faith and He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5). When the Scribes saw this, they thought to themselves that Jesus was blaspheming as no one can forgive sins except God (See Mark 2:6-7). Jesus then detected what the Scribes were thinking and He said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or say ‘Rise and take your bed and walk?’” Jesus went on to say, “But that you know that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins-He said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.’” The paralytic rose, he picked up his bed, went out among all the crowds to see, and went home (See Mark 2:8-12).

Isn’t it interesting that the Capernaites had the pleasure to hear the true faultless preaching of Jesus surrounded with miracles? JC Ryle stated, “they were dead in their trespasses and sin. Nothing seems to harden men’s hearts so much as to hear the gospel regularly, and yet deliberately prefer the service of sin and the world” (Ryle 2020).

Ryle goes on to write, “Pains and diligence are just as essential as well-being and prosperity of our souls as of our bodies. In all our endeavours to draw near to God, in all our approaches to Christ, there ought to be the same determined earnestness shown by the sick man’s friends. …Men who are not in spiritual earnest about salvation have no time for Bible-reading, prayer, and hearing the gospel. They have time for money, business, pleasure, and politics” (Ryle 2020).

Did you read that last sentence? Men who are not in spiritual earnest about salvation have no time for Bible-reading, prayer, and hearing the gospel. They are more interested in money, business, pleasure, and politics!

Where are you? Are you seeking God, have a hunger to read God’s Word and pray to Jesus? Do you crave to hear the gospel? Or are dead in your sin and trespasses and are more interested in money, business, pleasure, and politics? If the latter, then I have a great concern about your salvation and your faith! Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Why is it that Christians of today do not spend more time in prayer, Bible reading, and hearing the gospel? After all, they do work shorter hours than our forefathers, and yet they have no time for God. Why is it that way? Even when JC Ryle lived, he asked this same question.

Christians, I pray that you will seek a closer walk with Jesus. Don’t be like the Caperniates who listened to Jesus in person and yet criticized Him and rejected Him. They were dead in their sins and trespasses.

Do you know Him? If not, then you are dead in your sins and trespasses. Why not invite Him into your heart and life today?

Pray this simple prayer. Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. I believe that you are the Son of God and that you came into the world to save it. I believe you died on the cross to save me of my sins. I believe that you rose from the grave on the third day. I ask you to come into my heart and forgive me from all the sins and trespasses I have ever committed. Thank you, Jesus, for saving my soul. I pray this in Jesus Name!

Amen.

Works Cited

Ryle, JC. Daily Readings. Edited by Robert Sheehan. Welwyn Garden City: EP Books, 2020.

Copyright © November 23, 2020. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved

Profanity and Cursing: Do you proclaim to be a Christian?

Do you identify with the Christian faith and yet you use profanity? Do you ever say the GD word? If so, then you might want to read on.

Just yesterday, I was going out to my car at night to get something out of the car and I saw a neighbor walking down the street. I said hello and how was the wedding and his response was a grumbling and a GD word and it was there that I lost focus on what he was saying. It was like he had assaulted me with his words, GD. I was in shock that he would use this word so cavalierly that he gave no thought as to how offensive it may have come across to me, being a Christian and a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. At the same time, I could not expect him to act or talk like a Christian because he isn’t one. He isn’t of the Christian faith.

All I could do was muster up a “have a great night” and go back into the house thinking that God has placed this man and family in our neighborhood for a reason. Could it possibly be that a divine appointment would open to share the gospel of Christ with him? My wife and I shall surely pray for him in the coming days and weeks.

Going back to the words that he used, GD which is using the Lord’s Name in vain. It is using His mighty name as a curse or in a manner that is insulting to Him. Although this man is not a Christian, I am surprised to hear Christians using curse words in everyday conversation. Unfortunately, we all are guilty of using curses in our lives, because anything that is not pleasing to God in our conversations to others could be an insult to another.

Using profanity is not pleasing to God. The Bible says that we should not curse. Here are several Scriptures that speak against cursing:

Colossians 3:8 “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”

Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Matthew 12: 36-37, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

James 3:9-12, “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.”

Matthew 15:10-11, “And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

Ephesians 5:4, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”

Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

Mark 7:20-23, “And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

These are just a few Scriptures that speak out against cursing other. But what if one is using the big curse, GD? What about that? In Exodus 20:7, it reads, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” This is one of God’s Ten Commandments. We are instructed not to use His name in vain. Using “God” in any expression, unless it is praising, worshiping, or praying to Him, we are not to use His name in vain.

Many times, people might say, “Oh my God!” or “God” or some other form. One may be invoking God’s name in their expression which could be considered using it in vain.

What does it mean to use God’s Name in vain? According to Google, “the most common definition of the word vain is emptiness. When someone takes the Lord’s name in vain, they are using His name in a perverse way. For this reason, most Christians will avoid simply saying the Lord’s name in any way that may be, or even seem, irreverent.”

If you think you may have committed this sin, just ask Jesus to forgive you. If you have a problem with profanity, then you need to get on your knees and ask for forgiveness. Pray and ask God to deliver you from this sin nature. Maybe you truly do not know Jesus? The Bible says that we will be known by our fruit. If we do not have any fruit of the Spirit of God, then we might need to examine our hearts, pray, ask forgiveness, and if you have never done this, ask Jesus into your heart and life.

I pray that God will change your hearts and that you will live your lives in a holy manner pleasing to Him.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Copyright October 11, 2020. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

I Will Recount Your Wonderful Deeds

When reading and studying the Word of God, I often journal Scriptures that jump out at me during my study. Then I often pray using these Scriptures in my prayers. This brings an enrichment into my prayer life. I write these Scriptures down in my journal and often revisit them during the day and refresh myself with God’s Word.

Today, I studied Psalm 9, which was titled “I Will Recount Your Wonderful Deeds.” Although all the verses recounted the Lord’s deeds, these were the ones that ministered to me the most.

Verse 1 – “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, I will recount all your wonderful deeds.”

Verse 2 – “I will be glad and exult in you, I will sing praise to your name, Oh Most High.”

Verse 7 – “But the Lord sits enthroned forever, He has established His throne forever.”

Verse 8 – “And He judges the world with uprightness.”

Verse 9 – “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”

Verse 10 – “And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, Oh Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.”

Verse 18 – “For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.”

The Lord has many countless deeds which He rewards uprightness and righteousness. He is a stronghold for those who are oppressed and those who know Him, they place their hope and trust in Him, He has not forsaken them. The poor and the needy are not forgotten. We are to place all our hope and trust in Him.

Our Father sent His Son, Jesus into the world, not to condemn it, but to save it (cf. John 3:17). Our Father loved us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, into the world, and whoever believes in Him would not die and go to Hell, but would have everlasting life with Jesus in Heaven (cf. John 3:16). By believing and coming into the saving grace of Jesus, we will be made righteous through the Blood of Jesus, which was spilt out on His cross, at His crucifixion.

When I pray, and thank God for all His wonderful deeds, that deed in which His Son took my blame on the cross, Jesus redeemed me of all my unrighteousness. I will sing praise to The Most High. I will be glad and exult in Him, Jesus, the Christ.

I pray that if you do not know Jesus, the Messiah, that you will come to know Him today. May the Lord minister to your heart, that you will surrender to Him today, so that your fate will be sealed in the Book of Life forever.

Copyright © August 30, 2020. Marketplace Evangelism Today, a publication of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.