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John 3:16

On the last Saturday of June, Emily, Ethan and I were shopping at a discount department store, when we heard a loud, happy boy in the toy department.  He shouted, “And the best part is, it’s only $1!!  That made us smile.

If that boy ever went to a dollar store, he must have been thrilled!  Happily, we can buy many things for about a dollar.  But how many things are free?  Not many.

Everyone, including the happy boy, was born into sin, and Jesus was the sacrifice.  So since King Jesus died for us, it’s expensive to get saved, right?  No.  The best part is, salvation’s free!  So if you want to be saved, come to Jesus’ wide open arms.

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Matthew 7:13-14

Soon, July 4th will be here.  Celebration has already begun in our city with a Freedom Festival Parade and even a new PAWtriotic parade with dogs, cats, horses, etc. was planned.

Let’s step away from a festive frame of mind for a moment and rewind back to the American Revolutionary War.  “Throughout the course of the war, an estimated 6,800 Americans were killed in action, 6,100 wounded, and upwards of 20,000 were taken prisoner. Historians believe that at least an additional 17,000 deaths were the result of disease, including about 8,000–12,000 who died while prisoners of war.”  https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/american-revolution-faqs

Of those thousands that died in the Revolutionary War, we can’t know how many were saved.  We do know that Jesus said “few” will end up on the narrow road to life.

Unsaved Americans that died in the Revolutionary War don’t have another chance to live even one minute for Jesus.  We do.

Matthew 28:18-20

This morning, a guest pastor shared a statistic with our congregation.  He said that 22% of Iowans are in church each Sunday.  He shared that because he has a big heart for the lost.

Billy Graham had a big heart for the lost too.  On today’s Billy Graham devotional it says, “As practical Christianity has declined, rudeness and violence have increased…I have seen tough, rough, hardened men open their hearts by faith, receive Christ as Savior, and become gentle, patient, merciful gentlemen.”https://billygraham.org/devotion/an-angry-world/

My family and I saw an example of evidence of a hardened person today after church.  A car had bumper stickers that said, “Proud Atheist” and “Remember-Pillage First, THEN BURN.”  They had another angry bumper sticker that I choose not to publish.

Even though the owner of the car with angry bumper stickers appears to hate Jesus, Jesus died for that person’s sins too.  Although he or she doesn’t seem to be headed for Heaven at this point, there’s still a chance.

Jesus asked those that are His to “Go and make disciples”, to baptize them, and to teach them to be obedient to His commands.  Jesus didn’t say it would be easy.

Matthew 25:37, Galatians 6:2

My Christian husband and I have two kids, Emily and Ethan, who are both saved.  They are blessed to have two Christian grandpas.

My dad loves plants and regularly feeds the hungry.  In Matthew 25:37, Jesus spoke well of those that feed the hungry.

My father-in-law loves Sudoku and has carried burdens of others.  In Galatians 6:2 Paul instructs believers to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Let’s celebrate the Christian influences of dads and grandpas today.  Happy Father’s Day!

Matthew 5-7, Matthew 8:23-34, 9:18-26, 14:13-36, 16:21-28, 26:17-30, 27:32-66, 28, John 6:20-21, Luke 24:50-53

Recently, I saw a man with a “Y’all Need Jesus” t-shirt.  The very next day, I saw a woman with a “Y’all Need Jesus” t-shirt.  How true!  Receiving Jesus is definitely a need.  And we need to know about Him.  Jesus preached.  Jesus stopped a storm.  Jesus healed.  Jesus fed thousands.  Jesus walked on water.  Jesus teleported.  Jesus predicted.  Jesus had communion.  Jesus sang.  Jesus was killed but rose again.  Jesus ascended to Heaven.

Jesus, the Son of God, our Savior, lives.  Jesus was and is REAL.  He really did die for your sins and mine.  We all need Jesus!

Acts 5:12-42

Jesus faced opposition while on Earth, and after He ascended to Heaven, the apostles faced opposition as well.  Because of Jesus, they were able to perform miracles for the people to witness.  The Sadducees knew about this and were very jealous.  They decided to arrest the apostles.  Subsequently, the apostles were put in jail.  However, at nighttime, an angel opened the jail doors and told them to go and teach the people.

The next day, the officers had to tell the Sanhedrin that even though there were guards and a “securely locked” jail door, the apostles weren’t there.  That report confused the chief priests.

God sent the apostles an angel to get them out of jail.  I believe God sent me an angel on 5/21/09.  I was driving without my family on Bever Avenue, a busy street, when someone ran a stop sign and headed for the left front of the car.  I was forced to swerve immediately to the right onto a side street, and unfortunately, there was a little car that suddenly appeared at a stop sign there, right in my path.  I closed my eyes and braced for the impact as my tires screeched, but instead, the front of our car just seemed to float.  When I opened my eyes, I saw the little car I had tried to avoid still at the stop sign, with no damage.  I was pointed in the right direction.  Shaken, I drove very slowly and found a place to park.  I checked out the car.  There wasn’t any damage, and I wasn’t injured!

Believe what you like, but I believe God sent an angel to pick up our car.  Thanks be to God, my rescuer!

Acts 3-4:1-22

There are many accounts of healing by Jesus in the New Testament.  But after Jesus ascended to Heaven, Peter and John later came upon a 40+-year-old man who was crippled.  The crippled man had been brought to the temple gate each day so he could beg.   Peter called on the power of Jesus’ name for the man and he was healed!  The man jumped around, praising God.  He wasn’t the only one praising God.  Shocked onlookers that knew the man, ran to them, praising God too.

Oh, the power of Jesus’ name!  If the man’s mother was around, I’m guessing she would have been one of the loudest praising God.  PRAISE GOD!

 

Luke 22:49-59, John 18:10-11, 25-27

In Luke and John, we read about a man named Malchus.  Who’s Malchus?  Well, before Jesus was arrested, Peter wielded his sword and chopped off Malchus’ ear.  Jesus then healed him.  Malchus was a servant of the high priest.  Later, one of Malchus’ relatives asked Peter if he was with Jesus in the garden.  And as you probably remember, others questioned Peter as well.

Regarding those who questioned Peter, Luke mentioned, “a servant girl,” a man, and “another.”  John gave the significant detail of Malchus’ relative to this account.

The Reformation Study Bible says about Malchus’ relative, “A question by this man endangered Peter more than the previous ones, since he might have wanted to avenge Malchus.”  And the NIV Study Bible says, “a relative.  Another piece of information we owe to John.  A relative would have a deeper interest in the swordsman than other people had.  But the light in the garden would have been dim, as in the courtyard (a charcoal fire glows, but does not have flames.)”

This chapter in Peter’s life included Malchus and a relative of his.  What feelings would Malchus have had?  Malchus probably screamed when his ear was cut off.  I don’t know if Malchus had time to be angry at Peter since Jesus healed him so fast.  If Malchus’ relative tried to rile Malchus later about Peter, Malchus might have instead secretly told him about the loving, healing touch of Jesus.  After all, Jesus has a way of stealing the show.

 

John 18:1-9

One of the most interesting parts in the Bible is Jesus’ words right before He’s arrested and what followed.  Soldiers and Pharisees were coming after Jesus, but “they drew back and fell to the ground” after Jesus said, “I am he…”

Liberty Bible Commentary says about verse 6, “The crowd was caught off guard by the unusual behavior of Christ.  He calmly faced the crowd, identified Himself, and made no effort to escape.”

I wanted a visual for the action in John 18:4-6 and found a 2003 movie called, The Gospel of John.  With eager anticipation, I watched the scene where the actor for Jesus said, “I am he” and watched closely as Roman soldiers looked slightly fearful and walked backward a few steps.  Someone behind them seemed to have fallen since they looked down behind them.  Seriously?  If I could have directed that scene, I would want at least 10 falling Pharisees and soldiers.  Bummer.

 

John 11, 11:16, John 20:24-31

Most have probably heard of “Doubting Thomas” and that the reason he’s been called that is because he doubted the disciples had seen Jesus.  He doubted until he saw Jesus for himself.  That Thomas is found in John 20.

If you go back to John 11, you read about the same Thomas, but he’s acting in an honorable way.  Jesus had heard Lazarus in Judea was sick.  A couple days later, Jesus wanted to go to him even though the Jews had recently attempted to stone Him.  Thomas (Didymus) then bravely told the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

There’s no doubt that Thomas doubted.  But let’s not forget Thomas’ bravery for Jesus.

 

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