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A Christian’s Prayer, Pt. 1

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His Word:

Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. (Psalms 25:4-5)

It seems as though this ought to be the prayer of most believers; that God would make known to us the ways in which He wants us to live our life, and that He would lead us in truth and teach us. The reason I say this, is because God’s plan for our life simply isn’t always all too clear. At times it may seem He’s leading us one way, at times it may seem as though He’s leading us in the opposite direction. At times, it may even seem as though God has outright abandoned us. (Of course, we know God never abandons us, but it can certainly be hard to recognize His presence in certain situations.) Which is why it’s also important that we ask God to, “make us know His ways.” – So that we can know, even when it seems we’re all alone, that God’s ways are above our ways. Thus, no matter what, it will all work out for our good and God’s glory in the end, one way or another.

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Posted by on June 18, 2013 in Prayer

 

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Foundations

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word

: To the choirmaster. Of David. In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain, for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalms 11:1-3)

What David implies here is quite true; there isn’t anything anyone can do if their foundation, the thing they put their very faith and hope in, is destroyed. This is one of the reasons Paul in his first letter to Timothy called the love of money, “the root of all kinds of evil” [See 1 Timothy 6:10]; because when you make money your foundation (i.e. you “love” it), it’s eventually going to let you down. Even if you make family your foundation, that’s going to let you down in some form or another eventually, too. In 1 Corinthians, however, Paul shows us the only possible foundation that a Christian can have:

10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:10-11)

Jesus will never disappoint. He’ll never take wings and fly away like money. He is our firm foundation, and the one and only person which we can truly trust with everything. If we try to trust in our-self, we’ll disappoint our-self. If we try to trust in doctors, the doctors will disappoint us. If we trust in a job, or electronics, those too will disappoint us. Only Jesus has given His life to save our’s, and He is the only one we can trust eternally.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2013 in Delivered Through Love

 

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Today’s Sermon

Hello again!

Today the sermon was on Acts 16:22-25, and Philippians 1:1-5. The main point was that we can find joy when we look to the cross. We were showed this by looking to Acts, where Paul and Cialis where praying and singing and worshiping the Lord in prison. They had joy, in spite of their trails, because they could see that all this was to further the work of the Gospel. Something we see did indeed happen when the jailer and his entire family was saved and baptized.

Another thing that was brought up was the, “four joy killers”:

1. Circumstances

2. People

3. Things

4. Worry

We were also shown, however, how all these things don’t have to be joy killers, thank’s to the Gospel. Our circumstances don’t have to kill our joy, because God abandoned His own son at the cross so that He wouldn’t have to abandon us. We don’t have to let people kill our joy, because no matter what other’s may say, we can always know that Christ loves and accepts us. Things (i.e. not having this or that) don’t have to kill our joy, because Jesus can make us content when we have little and when we have much. Worry doesn’t have to kill our joy either, because we can bring all of our worry to the cross, where we see that no matter what happens, Jesus will always look out for us.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2013 in Delivered Through Love

 

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Cleansing

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:20-22)

Now, it is certainly true that we have been saved by grace, through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. However, this does not mean we can continue living like we once did. Paul charges us here to, “flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace,”. Paul says this more clearly in Romans 6:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:1-4)

Jesus has already cleansed us of our sin nature, but it’s our job to, through Christ’s strengthening us, resist our flesh. In other words, we should cleanse our-self (again, through God’s strength, and not our own) from things we are tempted towards. One way we can do this is by removing any access to the thing we’re tempted towards. Other things we can do to cleanse our-self is to get in the Word, to pray, and to be around other believers. Also, there’s the obvious thing we can do, which is to obey Paul’s command to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2012 in Delivered Through Love

 

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Meditating on Jesus

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Meditate on Jesus, the Messiah, who was raised from the dead and is a descendant of David. This is the gospel I tell others. (2 Timothy 2:8) – A quick side note here: I prefer the ISV translation of this verse simply because I believe “meditate” has a stronger meaning than “remember”, which is how the ESV translates it).

Paul first talks about what we are to do for Christ (see 2 Timothy 2:1-7), and now he is telling us to remember what Christ did for us. Indeed, not only to remember, but to meditate upon it. Meditation implies finding a quiet place, clearing your mind of all other thoughts, and focusing only upon Christ. – The World has its own form of meditation, where you clear your mind of all thoughts except those which build you up. While this can sometimes provide temporary relief from stress, it cannot truly fix our problems. It’s only by focusing on Jesus and the mighty work which He has accomplished for us that we can truly have our problems erased.

Jesus once told a parable about a man who built his house on sand, and a man who built his house on rock. Storms came to both houses, but only the house which had been built upon rock survived the storms. Jesus is our rock, and we are to mentally “build a house” on Him. Meaning that we are to settle down, as it were, on Him. When you live somewhere, you see that place constantly. You can’t go outside without seeing where you live; for that matter, you can’t even go inside without seeing where you live. It should be the same with us and Christ: If He truly is our rock, and if we truly have built our-self upon Him, it only makes sense that we ought to be thinking constantly of Him. He is our savior and our Redeemer, He deserves our constant praise and worship. Of course, we can’t hope that thoughts of us won’t ever intrude upon thoughts of Him here on Earth, we have to wait until we get to Heaven for that to happen. However, we can certainly set time apart to be with Jesus, and think on Him.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Delivered Through Love

 

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Does God Get What God Wants

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:3-6)

Now, this is one of the favorite passages of Universalists, because of the simple logic that B must follow A. i.e. God wants all people to be saved, God is all-powerful and therefore can get whatever He wants, therefore all people will be saved (come to the knowledge of truth). Now, I personally won’t say one way or the other as to what I believe on this, as I just know somewhere out there, there is someone on both sides who will claim they’ve figured out all the passages on the matter fifteen years ago, after their parents and uncle just died, and using only a spoon, and I just don’t want to have that conversation as of right now. However, I will say that there are passages on both sides of the matter. Some people would say that Matthew 25:31-46 (where Jesus separates the goats from the sheep), for example, teaches that not all people will be saved.

Regardless of your personal belief on universal salvation though, there is one thing that we should never forget, and that is context. So many people read “God wants all people to come to the knowledge of truth,” and then ignore the very next couple of verses! Regardless of whether or not all people will be saved, we can know for a fact that the only way they will be saved, is through Jesus Christ’s death and Resurrection. Jesus is the only mediator between God and man (sorry Pope), because He is the only one that can be mediator between God and man. I believe the main point of the passage is that God has provided a way whereby all people can be saved. Does that mean all people will be saved? Maybe, maybe not. We won’t know until we are in Heaven, but we can always be confident that if someone puts their faith in Jesus, He will cleanse them, save them, and make them a new creation in Him.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2012 in Delivered Through Love

 

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Getting Back to Christianity

Hello again!

Today we’ll be moving from Ruth (which we finished up last Saturday) onto 1 Timothy. – This is what God gave me today in His word:

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. (1 Timothy 1:3-7)

What is the only “doctrine” that is indisputable among Christians; the only doctrine that causes stewardship by faith instead of speculations? What is the only doctrine which charges someone to love, and gives them the capacity to love by giving them a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith in God? What is the only doctrine which should never lead to vain discussions, or cause people to want to become teachers of the law?

Is it the Baptist doctrines? No, it can’t be those. Those have led to some many vain discussions among believers it’s: stunning. Could it be the “doctrine” of Catholicism? Catholicism is the epitome of what this doctrine can never be: they are not only teachers of salvation through the law, but their message is entirely void of love. Could this doctrine be the doctrines of the Armenians, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, or Jehovah’s Witnesses? No, no, no, and no. The answer is no, because none of these doctrines or religions can give someone a pure heart! None of these can cleanse someone’s conscience, or make them want to love others, and none of these can give someone a sincere faith. The only thing that can do that, is the Gospel.

Jesus, and not any one group, is the only one that can cleanse our conscience, give us a sincere faith in God, and give us a pure heart. – Only by looking at the cross, and seeing the great love that He has poured out for us, can we gain a desire to love others. That’s why, at first, those who followed Christ were called Christians. They were called that, because they were so radical in their faith that people came to identify them very closely with the one that they followed. They were not called Baptists, because baptism wasn’t nearly as an important thing as following Christ was to these people. They weren’t Catholics, because those who were around them knew that their obedience to the law sprang out of their love of Christ. We need to get back to that: to where people see that we identify so closely with Christ, they can only call us Christians.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2012 in Delivered Through Love, Religions

 

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