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Archive for July, 2011

Greetings one and all. This is something i thought about writing. I hope you find it helpful.

It might come as a surprise to some to know I’m a huge sports fan (fan is short for fanatic, I heard someone say). Every team in sports has at least one chief rivalry. In some sports (like baseball, basketball, and hockey) the chief rivals play each other multiple times a season. In some other sports (like football) the chief rivals play each other only once a season.

With the chief rivals the teams’ records don’t matter, even if one team is undefeated and the other hasn’t one a game all season, whatever. If you win your game(s) against your chief rival it’s considered by the fans and everyone to be a  good season, no matter if that win (or wins) are the only win (or wins) the team got all season. Win against your top rival and all is forgiven. It also doesn’t matter if you win all your games but loose to the chief rival. It is considered a bad season if you loose to the chief rival. The whole season is considered a success or failure depending on the chief rivalry game(s).

In life, you can be rich or poor but if you seek to follow Jesus your life will be successful.  If someone is dirt poor and doesn’t have anything in this life, but if that person has Jesus in his life, he’ll have all the riches ever imagined in heaven. But if someone has all the riches money can buy in this life, but doesn’t have Jesus in this life, all the money he had will not buy him any comfort from the torment that goes to those who rejected following Jesus in his life on earth. Both the rich and poor who follow Jesus in this life will have eternal life in heaven in eternity. And both the rich and poor who live all their life in rejection of Jesus won’t have any comfort.

I hope you found this helpful. Your comments, thoughts, questions, etc are always welcomed and encouraged.

God bless you all. Grace and Peace.

Zack

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Greetings one and all. This blog post is a continuation of the church planting mission work in Acts.

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas traveled to Lystra, the hometown of Timothy. His mother and Grandmother were Jewish and were converts of Paul’s when he traveled there previously. His father was a Greek. I don’t guess anyone knows if Timothy’s father approved of the religious life they lived, but he probably didn’t allow Timothy to be circumcised in accordance to Jewish laws.

Paul wanted to take Timothy with them on their missionary journeys. So he took Timothy and circumcised him so as to not offend the Jews who lived in the cities they would visit. This shows how receptive and tender-hearted Timothy was that he would be humble enough to do that.

And off they trio went. They went to Philippi first and met a group of women. A woman named Lydia was there and was receptive to the word of God and was converted. And the church of Christ in Philippi was born. I imagine she was  a focal point in that church. She was very hospitable to them, even offering her home as a home base for them in their ministry. Very cool!

Later, when they were out and about in the city a little girl who was demon possessed and could tell the future, she found Paul and those with them. She was yelling how they were there to preach about Jesus. Paul became so irritated he called the demon out and she was back to normal. But this girl was the possession of a group of men and this girl generated a lot of revenue for them. So when they found out their money making scheme was gone, they got pretty mad about it. They got Paul and Silas beaten, arrested, and put in jail in stocks.

Paul and Silas were in jail and they were singing praises to God. A Brother I know of talked about this and asked us to imagine Paul singing “Silas, do you love Jesus? Oh yes I love Jesus. Are you sure you love Jesus? Yes I’m sure I love Jesus. Tell us why you love Jesus. This is why I love Jesus, because He first loved me!”. This means of witnessing must have been a great impact on those who were imprisoned with them.

Not long after this, God brought about an earthquake that shook the foundations of the jail. All of the locks were loosened and everyone went out of the jail cell. The jail guard was about to kill himself but Paul stopped him. The man begged Paul and Silas to tell him about Jesus and how he could be saved. So they taught him and everyone in his family. They all were baptized in the wee hours of the night.

The next day the city authorities ordered for Paul’s and Silas’ release, and after Paul said they were Roman citizens escorted both of them out of the city. Then they went to Lydia’s house and encouraged the brethren there.

The book of Philippians is a fascinating  book. I wonder how much (if at all) influence Lydia and her family had on that church there.

Does this make since? As always, your thoughts, questions, etc are always welcomed and encouraged.

God bless you all. Grace and Peace.

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Greetings everyone! Sorry again for the long spaces in between blog posts.

This is something i thought of a few days ago.

Have you seen those ax body wash commercials? They advertise no matter how dirty you make yourself, ax body wash can make you clean. That may be true in physical means.

However, when we sin there is no amount of ax body wash or soap of any kind that clean the soul. Only Jesus can cleanse the soul of sin.

Ax body wash can cleanse your body of dirt, but only Jesus can cleanse your soul of sin.

God bless you today.

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Once again I apologize for the long break in between blog posts lately. I’ve picked up a few ideas and plan to write about now. Hopefully not too many long breaks like that any more.

I came across a website the other day that I found very interesting and very cool. Its a website called twloha.org. It stands for To Write Love On Her Arms. I had read about it in a book I’ve been reading. It’s a ministry dedicated to helping people who are struggling with addictions of various sorts, self-injuries, the suicidal, and more. Reading the story in the book was very moving and captivating. It was really sad reading about the person the director met and how he started the ministry. The person he met has stopped the self-injury and is recovering (or has recovered).

It makes me think of a man Jesus and His disciples met in Mark 5. At the end of Mark 4 Jesus and His disciples were sailing across the sea of Galilee and it stormed. The waves were crashing all around them and no doubt the waves must have crashed into the boat. The disciples were scared for their lives. But Jesus was asleep! “How could be possibly be asleep at a time like this!” the disciples must have thought. So they wake him up exclaiming they are about to die and asked Him if He even cared. He got up and calmed the stormy sea and it was peacefully quit. This scared the disciples even more that even the winds and waves obeyed Him.

Then they arrive at the shore. The disciples are all probably soaked, wanting to get a fire going to dry off and probably get some sleep. That is until they see they are in a grave yard, and they are met by a demon-possessed man who runs at them shouting at the top of his voice “what do you want with us Jesus! I know who You are. The Son of God” (as the other gospels say). Jesus asked him his name and he said his name was Legion because there were many demons inside of him (a foot note in the NIV study Bible says a legion is 6,000).

Many people had tried to contain this guy with chains and shackles, etc, but this guy (who is possessed by 6,000 demons) broke all of the chains, shackles, and everything else they tried to use to contain him. He also used stones to cut himself.

The demons saw a heard of pigs ran down the hill side and were killed in the sea. Everyone in that town surely knew who this guy was. They must have all been shocked to see him sane and in his right mind.

I don’t believe demons can possess people like that anymore, but Jesus can still rescue pe0ple who are as depressed and desperate as this guy was.

I invite you all to google search To Write Love On Her Arm and read about this great ministry. And check out knowtruth.com and read Bible study materials friends of mine in the AIM (Adventure in Missions) program have written to teach people about Jesus.

Thank you all so much! God bless you all. Grace and Peace.

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Greetings Readers! This post is something I started thinking about recently.

In the New International Version Mark 9:38-41 says “Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in Your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us”.

“Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in My name can in the next moment say anything bad about Me, for whoever is not against us is for us. I tell you the truth anyone who gives you a cup of water in My name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward”.

I have been rereading Together Again by Rick Atchley and Bob Russell. They talk about these verses in their book. They assume this man was a brother in Christ. To me, that’s assuming too much. It is true, as the authors point out, “… he had concluded that Jesus was sent from God, and that Jesus was in a cosmic struggle against Satan. And he took his stand with Jesus against evil in the world” (p 38).

As I’ve heard before, when Jesus said “whoever is not against us is for us” we need to remember what Jesus said there. He didn’t say “whoever is not against us is one of us”. And when Jesus said “anyone who gives you a cup of water because you belong to Christ…” (v 41) we need to remember He said the one who belongs to Him is the one to whom was given the cup of water, not the giver.

It seems to me Atchley and Russell assume anyone and everyone in the denominational world who claims Jesus as Lord is our brother and sister in Christ. They seem to assume these verses from Mark 9 are all inclusive of everyone who claims to be a Christian.

I wish that could be true. I really do. But that fact of that matter is, it’s not. While I do believe there are some in the denominational world who are truly followers of Jesus, I don’t believe everyone is.

Enough of my thoughts. I would like to know what you, the readers think about these verses. Please let me know what you think either by writing a comment in the comment section or by writing me an email (blaisdellzack14@gmail.com).

Thank you all so much for reading my thoughts. Please let me see yours. God bless you all. Grace and Peace.

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