Thursday, November 19 2015
My mother died last year. It was heart-wrenching and I mourned, but there is a peace that comforts me. The peace is more than knowing that she went to heaven or that she is "in a better place", my peace comes from Jesus Christ.
Yes, I am a pastor and saying that Jesus Christ is my source of peace is expected and pastorly. It seems like something that every pastor needs to say, but I lived it. My mom was young and suffered from Alzheimers. It was tragic. The peace that I felt was always there and it stays with me even as I write this blog. When we pray, fast and study the Bible, we tap into the source of our peace.
Psalm 85:8 I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.
There are a couple stories within the Bible that show God as the source of our peace.
1. Storm - We all will face storms in our lives, but we must remember that God is in control.
Mark 4:37-39 KJV
 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
2. The Woman with the Issue of Blood - Her life was chaotic because of something out of her control. Her disease had made her an outcast and without hope.
Luke 8:43-48 KJV
 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,
 Came behind him , and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.
 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee , and sayest thou, Who touched me?
 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.
 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.
 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.
3. The Sinner Woman that Washed Jesus' Feet - Her life was chaotic because of her own sin. She was prostitutue that used the alabaster box to make her smell good for her clients.
Luke 7:37-50 KJV
 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it , he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he , to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?
 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
When we face storms of life or our life becomes chaotic because of things out of our control or our own decisions, one interction with Jesus can bring peace. Find a place of prayer and read the Bible because Isaiah prophecied of Jesus:
Isaiah 9:6 KJV
 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Monday, November 02 2015
Do I have to be baptized to make it to heaven? This question is as old as Christianity, but the scripture is very clear on whether baptism is a necessary part of salvation. So I am not accused of being only a "book of Acts" preacher or church, I will begin in the Old Testament and the Tabernacle.
First, the Tabernacle was a shadow or outline of the future.
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. ~ Hebrews 10:1
The first piece of furniture that the priest would approach in the Tabernacle was the altar. A place of sacrifice and death. That was a shadow of the death of Jesus Christ at Calvary and a place of repentance for us.
The next place that the priest would approach was the Brazen Laver. The priest would have been covered with ash and smelled of smoke as he approached the Laver. This is where he would wash. God put a threat of death upon the priests that did not wash. It was absolutely a necessity.
When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord: So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations. Exodus 30: 20-21
The Brazen Laver was a shadow of the burial of Jesus Christ and baptism for us. If the priest did not wash, he would die. Paul wrote to the Roman church that, "Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death".
The New Testament reveals the very wording of Jesus and the Apostles concerning water baptism and more specifically baptism in the Name of Jesus.
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. ~ John 3:5
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father (Isaiah 9:6), and of the Son (Matthew 1:21), and of the Holy Ghost (John 14:26) ~ Matthew 28:19
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. ~ Mark 16:15-16
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. ~ Acts 2:37-38
Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days. ~ Acts 10:47 - 48
And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. ~ Acts 16:30 - 34
And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. ~ Acts 19: 3-4
Cornelius and the Apostles of John were devout. They loved God, but their belief in God was not enough to save them and Luke writing the Book Acts used the word "commanded". Peter did not give them an option nor did he put it off.
Baptism is an essential part of the salvation plan. The priest would die if they did not wash. Jesus said, "Except a man" and Peter "commanded". The question is, why would we not use the same language that Jesus and the Apostles used and feel the same urgency that they felt by preaching the necessity of salvation.