Classics – Stairway Rules #108

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Watch the video! See Hank speak about going up/down the tower. (He really did—I know—because I’m Hank.)

Hank had a blast being free to go up/down. Until he found all the rules about tower usage. Where was the fun then, eh?

Life’s like that: live by the rules and there isn’t much life to your life. On the other hand, walk/live by the Spirit of the Living God and there are oceans of life to enjoy. Personally! And don’t worry about getting into the flesh and making a scene. When you are walking in the Spirit there’s no room for the flesh to mess things up.

And remember, as you walk in the Spirit, you will COME ALIVE!

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Classics – ANALEPSIS #107

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Recently we focused on Romans 6, citing 10 verses that ALL pointed to our OLD nature being dead, and the NEW man, our new nature, being alive to God – Hallelujah!

Unfortunately, sin doesn’t like having you dead to it, and hammers so many of us, deceiving to get us believing that the old man is still alive! And Romans 7 seems to say it’s true. Is it?

In Ro 7:4-6 Paul declares we were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ. We have been joined to Jesus – not ‘going to be’ but JOINED in UNION when we believed.

The sinful passions in us were aroused by the Law, but WE HAVE DIED to the Law to serve in newness of the Spirit. The Law was good, because it revealed, in fact inflamed, the sin that was within us. The Law said ‘this is the way to life’ – but was a fault finder; we were never good enough. In fact, Paul declares that the Law was a real killer – because of the sin that was within us.

Beginning with verse 14, Paul employs an ANALEPSIS – today we would say FLASHBACK – to a time when he was trying to obey the Law. Many commentators and preachers forget all about Romans 6 when they read 7, the truth that in Christ Jesus we ARE dead to sin, dead to the Law, and alive to God. They forget Paul just said we are IN UNION with Jesus–that means as righteous as He is righteous, and they make incorrect statements, like the Old Man Sin Nature is still there in us, fighting for top dog status.

Not true! Paul is simply explaining what it was like for him as old Paul the sinner, not as New Creation Paul. He found that even when he knew what “good” was, and even when he tried to do it, that he kept failing. There is no hope in the Law, friends. Trying your best to do what is right and good is never good enough!

But if you turn to Christ: BOOM! Along comes Romans 8 – “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death”

You do NOT have old and new natures duking it out within you. You are not a wretched person but a righteous new creation. Now is the time to renew that old man mind of yours into new man righteous thinking — and COME ALIVE!

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Classics – Raining Grace #106

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A decade or so ago Todd Agnew had an awesome revelation of God’s amazing grace and wrote the song, “Grace Like Rain.”

Here’s a snippet of the lyrics:
And I once was lost but now I’m found
Was blind but now I see so clearly

And Hallelujah, grace like rain
Falls down on me
And Hallelujah and all my stains
Are washed away, they’re washed away

Do you see that holy rain? Well, read John’s first chapter: we find the Word became flesh, lived among us and we saw His glory, full of GRACE and TRUTH.

Of His fullness we have all received, and GRACE upon GRACE. You may wonder what God is like—well, look at JESUS! JESUS is God revealed! And He is GRACE upon GRACE!

GRACE: when the free favors of God profusely abound. In the Jubilee Year of the Old Covenant, every 50 years Israel got to cease from their labors and enter God’s rest. But we are living in the New Covenant, where God’s GRACE is falling like rain continuously! Not in times, seasons, or portions like before, but continuously! It is a NEW DAY in the NEW Covenant.

No condemnation—ever!
Sins washed away—eternally!
God’s GRACE falling like rain—continuously!

There is never a Dry Day in Jesus—
Believe this GRACE is for you, dear friend.
It is time for you to come out of the desert of your own efforts.
It is time for you to come out of the desert of judgement and condemnation.

Receive His GRACE—it’s as easy as stepping out into the rain, and COME ALIVE!

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Classics – Water #105

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Mary and I recently visited Medicine Park, OK. Population 400. Having a history dating back hundreds of years, the Plains Native Americans visiting to find refreshment in the waters of Medicine Creek which they believed had healing and life giving powers.

We’ve been sharing about the New Covenant and how much BETTER it is than the Old. Jesus shared with a Samaritan women at Jacob’s well. He offered her Living Water that would quench one’s thirst forever, and for those who partook it would become a well of water springing up to eternal life.

And on the great day (eighth day) of the Feast of Booths, while the priest was pouring out an empty pitcher on dry ground (for the previous 7 days he would have poured out a pitcher filled with water from the pool at Bethesda), Jesus was shouting nearby, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39

God never intended for you to live life apart from Him. Since Pentecost (Acts 2) the Holy Spirit has been ‘poured forth’ to indwell and empower us to live life to the full, in joy, the joy of Jesus. Friend, don’t delay, receive the Holy Spirit today—and COME ALIVE!

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Classics – Stones #104

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Here is a stone: petros, or Peter to you and me. In Jn 1:42 when Andrew brings his brother Simon to Jesus, Jesus says to him, “…you shall be called Peter — a stone.” Then in Matt 16:18 we find Jesus saying to him, “…you ARE Peter…,” but remarkably Jesus never calls him by that name! Perhaps he had to grow into it.

Listen to Mt 16:13-18: Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”

Stones: Jesus calls Peter a small stone, Petros. Then He says upon this R O C K I will build my church — the word for rock is petra, a huge stone. At this time the Nabataeans were thriving in the city of Petra in Jordan, population over 20,000 people, carved from a single huge rock! What imagery for the church!
30 years later when Peter is writing his first letter, he refers to Jesus as a Living Stone, and those who believe as living stones being built up into a house for God. This moment was cast in stone for him!

Peter was given a revelation by the Father: he heard it. Then he spoke it. Could this be the spiritual rock Jesus was referring to: the Church triumphant, comprised of those who have received a revelation of Jesus Christ, who declare it and in so doing become part of the living stones of this Church that hell cannot overcome!

My wife states she grew up in a Christian home, did all the church and Sunday school stuff, was even a theology minor in college, but it was not until, as Paul says in 
Gal 1:16, that God was pleased to reveal the Son in her, that she truly saw Jesus for who He is. She spoke it out — and CAME ALIVE!

How about you, friend? May our God reveal Jesus to you today — make that confession: Jesus Christ, God’s Son, your Savior, and Come Alive!

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New & Living Way part b #103

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Last time at Hank’s Place we asked, “How do we get close to God?” We found out there are no do’s and don’ts, for God has made a New and Living Way through the BLOOD of JESUS. Heb 10:20.

Through the blood of Jesus we have been perfected, made complete, and can enter God’s most holy presence without being burdened about “getting it right!”

Human nature enjoys the outward trappings of religion. Consider Israel who did not submit themselves to the Righteousness of God.  Ro 10:3. They clung to the Law but Christ is the END of the LAW for righteousness to everyone who believes. Like you!

The presence of the Lord was in the Ark. Under the Law. After Joshua conquered Canaan, the Ark came to rest at Shiloh. Joshua 18:1. It remained there through the times of the Judges and days of Samuel the priest; then was captured by the Philistines; and returned 7 months later, passing through Beth-Shemesh to Kiriath-Jearim, where it stayed for 20 years. Interesting, the Elvis American Diner, with a 16 foot tall statue of Elvis outside, called ‘the king,’ now resides there. Does God have a sense of humor or what?!!

1 Sam 7:2 says the people lamented after God those 20 years. But not King Saul. You didn’t find him at worship in Kiriath-Jearim. He was happy with OUTWARD RELIGION, with appearance, empty ritual — not the real deal, the actual presence of God. He never went and got the ark. But it was David – a man after God’s own heart, who got the Ark shortly after becoming king.

David brought it to Jerusalem. He placed it under a tent, 2 Chron 1:4. Then Solomon placed it in his temple. The Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 587 BC and the ARK has been missing ever since.

But that didn’t stop Herod from building a huge temple in Jerusalem. No ARK? No problem! We got religion where just doing the ‘best we can’ in worship and serving God should be enough, right? NO! Not for us, dear friend!

See the precious blood of Jesus making the New and Living Way directly into God’s presence! Then enter His presence — worship like you were made to —and COME ALIVE!

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New & Living Way part a #102

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How do we get close to God? What are the steps? What are the Do’s and the Don’ts? Human nature if you think about, simply LOVES RULES. Lots of rules. Rules keep others out. Rules keep you and your friends IN, if your the one making the rules. Ha-Ha. Some people just like to keep rules; it gives them a sense of accomplishment. Others like to BREAK RULES – it gives THEM a sense of accomplishment. Go figure.

Back to approaching God. Under the Old Covenant there was the blood of bulls and goats Heb 10:4. Animal blood could not take away sin, but God allowed that it to cover sin. It was all the Old Covenant people had! Once a year, on the Day of Atonement the high priest would enter the holy of holies and sprinkle that blood, hopeful it would be accepted and the nation’s sins would be covered for another year. He was the only one who could enter God’s presence. Talk about exclusive!

Thankfully, oh hallelujah, Heb 10:9-10 says He, GOD, “takes AWAY the first covenant to establish the second.” By His will (not our efforts) we have been sanctified — through the offering of the body of Jesus, once, for all. Then Jesus sat down – IT IS FINISHED. By one offering He has perfected (made complete) those who ARE sanctified. That’s Heb 10:14, and that’s you and me, dear believer.

Now, as Heb 10:19-20 state, “We have confidence to enter the holy places (ESV plural) BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS. His blood is the NEW and LIVING WAY. So, by the sacrifice of Jesus, the way is open for us to be instantly in God’s most holy presence. Without becoming a cinder, toast or charcoal!

Most Christians still think the ‘old way.’ They believe that God will not show up until they ‘get it right.’ What is “it?” Is it worship? 3 fast songs and then 3 slow songs? Is it prayer through the night? Fasting? Soaking? Sending out the praisers first like Jehoshaphat?

NO! It is not through the perfection of our performance. Not us at all. His love. His grace. His BLOOD at Calvary. Consider this New and Living Way, my friend. Don’t delay, come as you are. Enter God’s presence —and COME ALIVE!

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RENEW part d #101

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Where we are receiving and becoming ROOTED and GROUNDED in the amazing love of Christ. Dear friend, may YOU become rooted and grounded in God’s love.

Everywhere I go it seems Christians, precious saints, who are unconditionally accepted in the Beloved, are struggling with conditional acceptance; they are rooted and grounded in performance based religion rather than the UNCONDITIONAL love of God. And why not? The entire world, and all other religions, base a person’s approval, acceptance, honor, blessings, upon their performance.

In Christianity it’s often disguised as ‘obedience’ – if you obey God you will be rewarded. But you never know if you have fully obeyed, or if you could have done more, given more and so on – you live under a cloud of uncertainty – are you approved, accepted? You feel God has a bit of a disapproving frown, when He considers you.

There’s nothing wrong with obedience – but FIRST: receive the LOVE OF GOD which is UNCONDITIONAL – and walk in it. Obedience to the Holy Spirit will follow.

Remember Col 1:27— the mystery hidden for long ages but now revealed, “how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Obedience? Did they obey? Obey what? Jesus Christ came to live in Gentiles, that means anyone, who believed in Him. That’s all they did: believed in Him. They did not obey the rules. They did not know the rules. They did not have the RULE BOOK. They were excluded from such knowledge by those who had the rule book; the Jews.
Yet, when they believed on Jesus Christ, Jesus, the Anointed One, the Savior of the World, came to live in them. Unholy vessels? Not any longer! The Holy One had sanctified them, transformed them in an instant of time! Hallelujah!

Friend, Christianity is not about obeying the rules – that was Old Covenant at Mt Sinai through Moses. At Calvary it was replaced by the New Covenant. Who says so? God says so – read Hebrews!

Yes, dear friend, open up your heart, be afraid no longer. Receive His love, His favor, and His blessings that are contained in being accepted in the Beloved —and COME ALIVE!

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RENEW part c #100

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We are so excited how Paul in Eph 3:17 prayed that the Ephesians become ROOTED and GROUNDED in love, that amazing love of Christ. We ALL have this inherent need: to comprehend, to experience, the love of GOD, and to become rooted and grounded in it.

When we believed on Jesus we were immediately ‘accepted in the beloved’ – Eph 1:6 KJV. That is NOT conditional acceptance my friend! Jesus did not say, “I did My personal best, what you get from God now is up to you, try hard, real hard!”

“Acceptance” here in the Greek means “to make graceful, charming, lovely, agreeable, to surround with favor and to honor with blessings.” Oh  My  God – He is so wonderful! You believed, and it is His good pleasure, His grace, to make you grace-full, charming and lovely. Agreeable in every way, surrounded with His FAVOR and honoring you with His blessings! That’s the REAL Gospel.

You might want to rewind this video and hear that again! It’s true! ALL OF IT! Dear friend, I pray you become rooted and grounded in the love of God and come to really grasp it. After more than 20 years of performance based Christianity, I began to discover that God’s love, God’s acceptance, is based on Jesus and Calvary, not me. I began to receive His love — and you know what? I had enough love to give some away! I couldn’t begin to give it all away! My dear wife began telling me she felt loved and was experiencing love through me like never before. And you know what? I wasn’t even thinking about it, about purposing to love her – Mary was experiencing the love of God through me – and it was just spilling out from me effortlessly. 

Cool, very cool, and all God’s doing. Friend, begin receiving the love of God today – and DO NOT STOP receiving! It’s past the time to let go of performance based religion. Let go of rejection, and unworthiness, too. We HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED in the Beloved, in Jesus. STOP focusing on your performance; receive His love and become that graceful, charming, lovely, agreeable, surrounded with favor and honored with blessings person Jesus has made you.

Yes, let go of the lies, receive His love, and COME ALIVE!

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RENEW part b #99

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Last time I pointed out in Eph 3:16-21 that Paul prayed the Ephesians would become ROOTED and GROUNDED in love; able to understand and to know the amazing love of Christ. My friend, we ALL have this inherent need: to KNOW, to UNDERSTAND, the love of GOD, to become rooted and grounded in it. I recommend you pray this for yourself – and everyone you know!

When I first stepped out of the pew of the little church in Oakmont PA in 1976, I was immediately FLOODED with the LOVE OF GOD – the unconditional love of GOD! My years of struggle (and failure) to measure up to other people’s standards, even my own, was swept away by this OCEAN of God’s love! I knew He loved me! I knew I was accepted in the beloved! I cried tears of joy for hours.

While I had experienced the love of God, I was certainly not rooted and grounded in it. I did not understand it at all! Well meaning but misdirected church people pointed me back to CONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE! I experienced the love of God they said, because I was obedient to walk down that aisle declaring Jesus my Savior. And IF I continued to do everything God wanted me to do I would continue to experience His love. 

Friend, they meant well, but they were off base! They missed the glory of Calvary! So the next 20 or so years of my Christian life I spent still rooted and grounded, not in the love of God, but in conditional acceptance, in performance – I believed if I did right in God’s sight, if I performed well, He would bless me; if not, I would miss His best. THIS WAS A TERRIBLE WAY TO LIVE – and it’s the way MOST Christians are living today – perhaps even yourself!

I was also rooted in rejection and unworthiness. Since I wasn’t measuring up to God’s standards, I lived a life of Christian rejection and hung my head down as an unworthy son of God. Dear friend, there are NO UNWORTHY SONS OF GOD! There is hope for all of us, for God’s love is unconditional!

More next time; for we want everyone — to COME ALIVE!

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RENEW #98

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Where we LOVE the GOOD NEWS! The word today is RENEW “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is.” Ro 12:2. You ARE a Christian, complete in Him already. Col 2:10. You look and act more and more like who you really are, as you renew your mind: replacing the world’s thought patterns with heavenly, faith in God thinking, which leads to speaking and doing that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Paul tells us to put off the old and put on the new. Not just put off the old – there is a new that is waiting to be put on; so put it on! It’s the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

“You have received Christ Jesus the Lord, He’s already dwelling within you, so walk in Him.” Col 2:6.

Some people struggle with the truth. They say, “I guess God is far away, and doesn’t care for me.” They are not seeing Calvary! So they focus upon their performance, doing the best they can. Friend, can you see that’s an affront to God and His mercies?

So how can we help such people to walk in Him? How can we help people put off the old man and put on the new man? How can we help people grow in Jesus and say NO to the thoughts from the dark side, when they think God does not care and their focus is — themselves? 

They need to know the love of God! So, LOVE THEM. And let God do the impossible – How? By praying for them as Paul did in  Eph 3:16-21 that the Holy Spirit would strengthen their inner man, that Christ would dwell in their hearts through faith; that they become rooted and grounded in love, and able to understand and to know the amazing love of Christ — which surpasses knowledge.

Friend, we are asking God to help someone — COME ALIVE!

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All Good News #97

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Where there is never any bad news in the GOOD NEWS! “Gospel” means GOOD NEWS. Matthew says of Jesus in Mt 4:23, that He “was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming THE GOOD NEWS of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.” The next verse says “The news about Him spread throughout all Syria (those are Gentiles, like you and me, outside the covenant, outcasts, dogs); and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics;   and   He   healed   them.

Dear friend, anybody, everybody, who came or was brought to Jesus was getting healed. That’s GOOD NEWS, right? No one is ill in the Kingdom of Jesus, then – or now – or ever! Understand?! Good! 

Heb 1:3 says Jesus is the exact representation of the nature of God – all He said, all He did: exactly what God is like. He is God and He has revealed Him. So how many people did Jesus hurt? Break their legs? Put sickness on? Refuse to cast out demons? Give leprosy? Leave them in their distress?

Acts 10:38 tells us, “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”

True, there are Old Testament verses that would appear to say otherwise. But God appeared dimly in the Old Testament, and prophets saw only in part and their understanding was affected by the Old Covenant Law. NOW, it is Jesus who is the revelation of God to us. 

Job said in 1:21, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.” Later on he admitted he didn’t know what he was talking about. Hannah in 1 Sam 2:6 states, “The Lord kills and makes alive.” He has absolute power it’s true, BUT Jesus, our Jesus, came that we might have LIFE and that life abundantly. Jn 10:10. Not mostly life but kill a few people here and there.

Yes friend, God IS Good, and the news about Him is all GOOD. So be encouraged, believe in Jesus, the God who is GOOD, and COME ALIVE!

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Installment Plan? #96

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Where there is never any bad news in the GOOD NEWS! Last time we discovered in Col 1:13 that we have been translated out of the kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ – by our heavenly FATHER!
One moment in the darkness, ruled by the prince of this world. The next, although physically still on earth, we were placed into Jesus’ kingdom, under His authority, NO LONGER THE DEVIL’S PLAYTOY — we have been set free! Give a shout out to Jesus!

But so many Christians, maybe you, my friend, don’t look free, talk free, or act free? Did Paul lie? Of course not! The critical issue is the renewing of our minds, of believing, then growing up in Christ, laying aside the old self whose thinking runs in the unbelieving gutters of this world, and putting on the new self – in the likeness of God.

Are you struggling with that? It’s a glorious adventure with Jesus. Look at Col 1:19. It say all the fullness of God dwells in Jesus Christ. ALL OF GOD. ALL. In Jesus, Who is head over ALL rule and authority. Whoa!

At that moment we believed, Jesus came to live, to dwell, to inhabit us. Jesus, in whom is all the fullness of Deity — is living IN US. And, Col 2:10 tells us that in Him we have been made complete. Friend, we are already complete: our minds need to get the message!

You don’t need to sing songs of longing for more of Jesus, dear friend, as if He were far away somewhere. You are in His kingdom and the King is right there – IN you. GOD DOES NOT HAVE AN INSTALLMENT PLAN. None of this down payment and a little more each month. The bill was PAID IN FULL at Calvary and you have ALL of Him and He is in you and you are ALREADY COMPLETE IN HIM.
I pray understanding of who you are IN HIM and your completeness IN HIM come quickly to you – it is a mater of getting that mind of yours renewed. Yes my friend, it’s time you realize the truth: you H A V E COME ALIVE!

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Translated #95

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Jesus yielded His life at Calvary. Why? To be our sin offering – so we could have God’s BEST! We’ve been given rightstanding; 2 Cor 5:21. It is the BEST there is and it is eternal!

Jesus came to live IN us when we believed. We are learning to live a life of yieldedness to Jesus, for He has our best interests at heart. We learn to think different, because we BECAME DIFFERENT the moment we believed.

For instance, we were adopted as SONS of God, heirs, joint heirs with Jesus. Heirs inherit an inheritance!

Look at Col 1:12 – it says the FATHER has qualified us to share in this inheritance. Forever putting to bed the question, “Am I good enough?” Heirs are not asked that question; they are told to sign on the dotted line and it all belongs to them! 

And not only heirs, but we have been relocated, for the next verse says the Father has rescued us from darkness and translated us, into the kingdom of His beloved Son. 

It’s the same concept as when Enoch in Gen 5:24 was translated by God from earth to heaven in an instant. We have been translated, my friend, into the kingdom of Jesus Christ. So don’t be surprised if the world hates you! You are in an awesome place!

It’s not about paying the price! JESUS already paid the price, in full, for eternity! Give Him all the glory and take your place as an heir of God, ok? Your performance could never earn your salvation. Nor can your performance keep it afterwards or improve on it!

You ARE someone alive from the dead. Your behavior as a Christian improves as your renew your mind to the truth – Ro 12:2. Again in Eph 4:15 Paul exhorts us to GROW UP in Christ. In 4:22-24 he says lay aside the old self and renew your mind TO THE TRUTH. Put on the new self which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Yes friend, that old worldly thinking and believing doesn’t fit you any more: you have been translated into Jesus’ Kingdom, under His authority; where you have COME ALIVE!

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Righteousness Trumps Sin #94

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We have been looking at Ro 5:17 our past meetings, and can you believe that there is MORE treasure to be found in that verse? It’s True! It speaks of God showering us with an ABUNDANCE of GRACE (unmerited, undeserved favor and blessings) – including the GIFT of RIGHTEOUSNESS – right standing with GOD – to REIGN in life.

You might ask, but what about my sins? What about all that bad stuff I’m so ashamed of from my past? What about the stuff I’m still doing – stuff I like to do – that I know is wrong, but I go ahead and do it anyhow?

Good questions, my friend! Instead of focusing upon YOU and your performances, past, present or even future, I ask you to STOP – look – see your sins already placed upon Jesus. See Him on the CROSS – brutalized, beaten, horribly disfigured in taking the punishment for your sins. TOTALLY taken. TOTALLY paid for. ETERNALLY. The past sins you have committed. Those you are still doing. Even, even sins you have yet to commit. How is that possible you ask? Dear friend, Jesus went to the Cross 2,000 years before you were born! You were in the future at that time and so were your sins!

Remember, Jesus is your High Priest and Intercessor, eternally. Fret not! Now, here’s the point. If you are so readily SIN CONSCIOUS, it’s a good indication of two things. 

First, you have not forgiven yourself, even though GOD Almighty has forgiven you, and placed your sins behind His back. That means God is DONE with your sins and will NEVER speak of them. So forgive yourself, friend, and be DONE with your sins. 

Second, you have yet to open the gift God has given you: of Righteousness! There it is, in your possession. You have it. OPEN IT. Experience it. You don’t know how to open it? NO PROBLEM! Start with a declaration. For example, “Thank you Father for the gift of righteousness. I receive it, and I OPEN IT now.” Say it a few times – the revelation of your righteousness through Jesus will come. You ARE the one who reigns in this life. You ARE the one who has COME ALIVE!

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Better Off Righteous #93

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We have been discovering treasure in Ro 5:17. For if by the transgression of Adam, death reigned through him, MUCH MORE those who receive the ABUNDANCE of GRACE and of the GIFT of RIGHTEOUSNESS will reign in life through – Jesus Christ! ABUNDANCE of GRACE – the GIFT of RIGHTEOUSNESS – to REIGN. Who? Anyone. Everyone—who believes in Jesus.

Ro 9:30-33 gives us more insight. Gentiles, that’s us, did not pursue the righteousness of the Law – that’s where if you wanted to be ‘right’ with God you had to become a Jewish proselyte, begin keeping all the DO’s – and not doing all the DON’TS found in the Laws of Moses, plus those added by the Pharisees. Well, those Gentiles attained to righteousness anyhow. It was the righteousness that comes from Faith. They believed on Jesus and were GIVEN the GIFT – of RIGHTEOUSNESS. 

They ignored or were ignorant of the 600 something commands and 10 big ones! They did ONE THING: believed on Jesus: God’s Son, God’s Savior, Who took ours sins and gave us everlasting life. WHOA!

Israel kept trying to keep the Law – they couldn’t see that rule-keeping, or trying to,  only gives power to sin and the result is DEATH. No one ever ‘arrives’ by keeping the rules. But if you pursue righteousness by faith, like these Gentiles, you would be given it. But there would be nothing to boast in. Precisely! And that can be a stumbling block to our pride. Righteousness is about Jesus, to the glory of God’s grace.

While there is no place for pride, there is also no place for condemnation, either!  Ro 8:1. And the next verse says “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and of death” – Jesus gave the perfect performance: it’s not yours, it’s HIS – and your gift is still a gift and it remains with you regardless of YOUR performance. 

There are no more low-lying black clouds over you my friend. The Spirit of LIFE in CHRIST has cleared the air. All blue skies! Because of Jesus, you are righteous. You have COMEALIVE!

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More Righteous #92

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In the previous message we looked at Ro 5:17 and found everyone who believes upon Jesus has been given a gift, the gift of RIGHTEOUSNESS. Always accepted, approved, stamped “Top Quality” by the Holy Spirit. It’s God’s idea: to make His children as Righteous as He is by giving us HIS righteousness – It is not something we have earned or worked for. Not something we can lose. We can however, leave it on the shelf and not make use of it.

In which case we go around feeling and acting unworthy of God’s favor, grace, blessings, provision, healing – it goes on and on! So, today, why not declare in a bold voice, “Father! I receive my righteousness, the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!” Say it a few times a day and I am confident mulligrubs leave you and amazing grace will come your way!

Ro 5:17 explains the gift of R has been given us so we may reign in life through Jesus. It means circumstances and situations shall NOT rule over you. Righteousness provides an inner strength.

True, life’s happenings CAN weigh heavily upon you for awhile – it’s shown in several of the Psalms of David. David was anointed of the Holy Spirit, but stuff came at him, like King Saul hunting him down and trying to kill him. Ouch! He was ‘anointed’ to be the next king, then he was fleeing for his life. In the Psalms he cries out about his situations, and time and again he inserts divine “buts” – ‘but you O God are my strength, my fortress’ and so on. And David prevailed.

You will too, my friend, for you have God’s righteousness to reign in life. How to start? How about in Ro 6:6, declaring your old self WAS crucified with Christ. How about not letting sin reign in your body. (Ro 6:12) Having been given the gift of righteousness, you are no longer a slave to sin but a slave of righteousness. Ro 6:18.Yes! You can’t help but want to do what is right before God.

That’s the way you have been re-wired. Friend, with this gift of righteousness, you have COME ALIVE! 

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Righteous Gift #91

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In the previous message we looked at 2 Cor 5:21 and discovered we have been made acceptable to God because JESUS gave us HIS own right standing before the Father. It’s called righteousness. Right standing. Acceptable to GOD. We passed the test – because JESUS passed the test and swapped the test papers with US. Hallelujah!

We have passed out of judgment and into life; eternal life with God. (Jn 3:18) Now we are heirs of God, and this is a GOD thing.

Not sure? How about Ro 5:17 “For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, MUCH MORE those who receive the ABUNDANCE OF GRACE AND OF THE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”

Adam fell and death came to all his descendants. Us. Sinless Jesus gave His life at Calvary, and LIFE came to all who believe on Him. You believe upon Jesus? Then God has given you the gift of righteousness.

You don’t earn a gift. You don’t prove yourself worthy of a gift. The GIVER of the gift decided – GOD decided, in His love and matchless GRACE, to give us this gift. Just RECEIVE it! Then – enjoy it!

Take off those old clothes of failure and discouragement, of unworthiness and sin. We have been given the gift of eternal life and the gift of righteousness. We are seated with Christ Jesus on that heavenly throne – so let’s reign in this life – ok?

As Ro 6 declares, we HAVE died with Christ, we have come alive with Christ. We are dead to sin and alive to God. Reckon it so. Count it so. Act like it is so, because it IS so!

You might read and say aloud 2 Cor 5:21 and Ro 5:17 and then shout out, “Praise GOD! There is nothing wrong with me!” If you hear a little voice within disagreeing, tell it to shut up and leave you – and shout again, “Praise GOD! There is nothing wrong with me!”

We HAD a sin nature, then the Holy Spirit came in, took away the bad and gave us that new nature: the RIGHTEOUS NATURE. Learn to walk in who you really are, for you have COME ALIVE!

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Righteous #90

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In the previous message I pointed out Paul’s attitude in sharing the Good News, “we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” Humility. 2 Cor 5:20. A friend of mine in PA, Kent Addams is his name, has an auto and motorcycle body shop. In the shop sits an old wooden office chair. Folks come in with their damaged vehicles, sit in the chair and before you know it are talking about their own damaged lives.

My friend might ask if he can pray for them, since the God he knows is GOOD, FULL of grace, mercy, lovingkindness. Kent has given many testimonies of God’s healing and restoring power as his customers experience what it means to be reconciled to God. 

Friend, as YOU go through your life, you can share the Good News, too. You don’t have to travel to a far away land.

Here is more Good News. In 2 Cor 5:21 we find, “For our sake he (God) made him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him (Jesus) we might become the righteousness of God.”  The Message bible says, “Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you. How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.”

This is powerful! Jesus has taken all our B A D, and in exchange given us His right standing with God. HIS right standing, not something second rate. It’s the BEST: His right standing!

This means we are always ‘in the right’ with God. On God’s good side. Always. Always approved by God. Always preferred by God. Always delighted in by God. Always pleasing to God. In all your life, in everything, we are a delight to Him. He says of you as He said about Jesus, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

You believed upon Jesus. He did the rest. Sure, you can choose to do bad things. But your actions do not define you – you are defined by what God says about you. And He says you are the Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus – believe it! Walk in it—as someone who has Come Alive!

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Accredited #89

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Here at Hank’s Place we believe the Gospel is – GOOD NEWS! NO bad news in the Good News. As John 3:17 tells us, God didn’t send the Son into the world to judge the world, quite the contrary, He sent Him to SAVE the world. Although the Light has come into the world, many love the darkness instead. They think they do not want to be saved. Why? Because their deeds are evil. John 3:19 But back to the Good News. Let’s consider 2 Cor 5:18-20.

This passage begins by saying God has reconciled us to Himself – through Jesus of course. Supernatural salvation is God’s idea. His daring rescue plan – by super-heros: Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and it is permanent! Once you have been reconciled by believing upon Jesus; no one can do the un-reconciling. You cannot be saved one day, lose your salvation the next, and find it again the day after. Just like you cannot jump out of an airplane and half way down change your mind and get back into the plane. Your stepping out of the plane was irreversible. In salvation, you have been sealed with the Holy Spirit, a seal of what’s to come; it is irreversable and it’s all GOOD.

Paul goes on to say God has given us, those who are reconciled, a ministry. It is the ministry of reconciliation. First God was in Christ – reconciling the world to Himself. NOT COUNTING our trespasses against Him. Then He appointed us ‘Ambassadors of Christ.’ We cry out, “be reconciled to God.”

An ambassador is “an accredited diplomat sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country.” What are your credentials? The Holy Spirit! Let us be about this ministry of reconciliation. By the way, did you know your credentials have given you authority in this world? Heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons – give freely as you have received of the good things of heaven.

Yes, let people know God is not angry for He has sent us a Savior, May your attitude be that of humility as Paul indicates here, “we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

I am confident you will proclaim it, you will declare it, you will announce it, and many will turn from darkness to light – and as they do, they will – COME ALIVE! 

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See Jesus #88

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Here at Hank’s Place we believe the GOOD NEWS – is GOOD NEWS! No bad news in the Good News. And it’s simple, too. We believe in the Savior God has sent: Jesus Christ. We believe enough to declare it. Salvation is ours. 

We become New Creations with the past behind, a glorious eternity ahead of us, and this present life being lived in His victory, His righteousness, His joy – I’m saying we live in this flesh by faith in Him. We are IN HIM – we don’t worry about failure. 

We don’t worry about not measuring up. We are IN HIM. We don’t worry about holiness and sanctification; we are IN HIM. We don’t worry about being a failure; we are IN HIM. And He who began the Good Work in us will complete it. JESUS, the author and finisher of our faith! REFS

Oftentimes we worry if we have enough faith. Several times the Gospels record Jesus saying things like, “If you have faith as a mustard seed” and “All things are possible to him who believes.” And, “How is it that you still have no faith.” No wonder we worry! 

Friend, STOP the worry! I’m sure you’ve heard Helen H. Lemmel’s hymn, written in 1922, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus?” When doubts assail, turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. When you see Jesus, all else fades into the background noise.

The last verse of that hymn goes this way, “His Word shall not fail you—He promised; Believe Him, and all will be well….”

Blind Bartimaeus in Mk 10 had turned his spiritual eyes upon Jesus before he was healed. It says when he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene passing by, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Son of David” – Bart saw Jesus as descendent of King David, promised Messiah and ruler of Israel – while those with physical sight around him did not have a clue! He came to Jesus to gain physical sight—and did! But FIRST he SAW Jesus while he was blind.

YOU can do that too!  Nothing holds you back. No circumstance, no situation, NOTHING! Yes, today, take a good look at Jesus—and COME ALIVE!

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Hold Fast #87

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Please—stop striving to prove yourself worthy of God’s favor, blessing, eternal life. Believe the GOOD NEWS. Salvation is FREE, thanks to Jesus’ matchless sacrifice at Calvary. Ah, but each Sunday, messages are preached that add another component to the Good News: YOU. How you better act like a Christian. Perform. Produce. Pay God back in installments when the offering plate comes by – or those blessings will stop!

How ludicrous my friend. He who began the Good Work in you will complete it. Phil 1:6. Not you— JESUS will complete it! You – HOLD FAST your CONFIDENCE in Him. Heb 3:6. He WILL see you through every trial.

Believe the GOSPEL. Enter His rest – in fact Heb 4:10 says ‘be diligent’ to enter His rest. That word has its root origin in “diligere” to love, take delight in. Take delight in entering His rest, dear friend. In John 14:2-3 we learn there are many dwelling places in heaven; and Jesus has gone to prepare a place for US, will return to receive us to Himself, so we can all be together. There is no struggle in that – this is ALL JESUS. Start rejoicing!

Afraid you are too weak of faith, too frail in the face of temptation? Well, HOLD FAST your CONFIDENCE in – yourself? Your abilities? Ha! Our confidence is in JESUS! He knows our weaknesses and has sympathy for us – Heb 4:14.

That great while throne of judgment in Rev 20:11 – has become a Throne of Grace for believers, a place to receive mercy, and receive grace to help in time of need. Keep rejoicing!

Mercy – not getting what we deserve. GRACE – God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Getting what we do not deserve. God is love. He made a way of salvation for mankind. Sending Jesus. That He could shower us with grace, and grace, and more grace: goodness lovingkindness at His expense.

Friend, got issues? Messed up? RUN to the throne of grace right now. Receive mercy. Got big needs? Hurts? RUN to the throne of grace right now!  You will find grace to help you NOW. In fact, you will find grace to COME ALIVE!

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Ain’t Got Trouble #86

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Hear Jesus in Jn 14:1 as He says, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” Hear Paul in Phil 4:6 say, “Be anxious – for nothing!” So what is it today friend? What’s the Trouble? The Anxiety? What is disturbing you? Whatever it is, you don’t need to allow them to overwhelm you. Rather, believe in God. Believe in Jesus your Savior. They love YOU. They proved it at Calvary.

The disciples were troubled and anxious in Mk 4. They were crossing Lake Galilee heading to the Gaderenes, when a storm of incredible magnitude descended on them. Huge waves covered the boat. It was terrifying. And Jesus? Where was Jesus? Must have been SUPER TIRED, because He was sleeping in the back of the boat. In a colossal storm. Have similar instances happened to you, my friend? In a terrifying place, and in your mind you know Jesus is with you. Scripture says so. But how come He’s so totally disinterested? We are perishing and He is catching up on sleep. Don’t we count? Certainly that’s what the disciples likely thought.

They awaken Jesus, “Don’t you care that we are perishing?” they say. They can play the blame game very well! Jesus quiets the storm: “Hush. Be still.” Calm ensues. He asks, “Why were you afraid? How is it that you still have no faith?” Friend, we may not see Him, but God is near. With us always. Don’t give place to fear, but FEAR NOT.

Where was their faith? In a bad situation faith, or lack of it, is revealed. They were overwhelmed by the magnitude of their circumstances – the waters were covering them! I can understand their fear. It appeared to be a life and death situation with death gaining the upper hand.

Whatever our situation, FAITH makes the difference. Live by faith in the son of God. Walk by faith in Him, daily. When the “NO’s” surround you, resist them. Exercise faith in God in those impossible circumstances, with the people who say, “NO WAY.” Be confident in your God. Make your prayers and petitions known to Him. His peace will guard you. And, HIS POWER and AUTHORITY will turn the NO’s into YES!!!

Yes – keep faith in God for your situation. You will COME ALIVE – right in it!

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Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled #85

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In Jn 14:1 Jesus is giving a final address to His disciples before He is arrested. He says, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” The world of the disciples is about to be turned upside down. Jesus gives them a good word; an amazing word to prepare them.

He does the SAME for you and me today, my friend. Notice it speaks of a choice: when troubles surround you, you can LET THEM engulf you or you can choose to NOT LET THEM. But how?

The verse continues: “Believe in God.” That’s the God who spared not His own son but delivered Him up for us ALL. That’s you. And “Believe in Me,” Jesus said. Who willingly went to Cross bearing our sins and their punishment – because of LOVE. God WILL help. He WILL get us through.

So what is it today friend? Trouble? Anxiety? What is disturbing your mental calm and contentment? What’s the worry, distress, agitation? Affliction? Dilemma? Impossible situation? What’s the heartache? The heartbreak? You don’t have to LET them overwhelm you. Do that by believing in God and His Son Jesus.

In Phil 4:6-7 Paul says similar words: “Be anxious – for nothing.” How, Paul? How? He tells us, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” So, in our believing we talk to Jesus, we talk to our heavenly Father about every burden, every trouble, my dear friend.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.”

We live in an anxious and troubled society today, folks. Instead of hugs from loving people, instead of acceptance and forgiveness, people get isolated on the internet and their mobile devices. They get insulted, mocked, ridiculed, blamed and bullied. They may need our help. To believe. To pray.

Help them, to believe in God, with whom all things are possible. Help them, to believe in Jesus, full of mercy and grace, already demonstrated at Calvary. Help them to pray, humbly making requests to God in an attitude of appreciation. His peace will become the guardian of their hearts and their minds. And ours.

We won’t all go crazy friend, no matter the circumstances; we’ll COME ALIVE!

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Got Faith #84

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In Gal 2:20 Paul said the life he now lived, he lived by faith in God. How could he do that? Because, he writes, he knows God loves him and gave up His life – for him. What a GREAT way to live!

Don’t entertain doubt about God’s goodness, mercies, tenderness, lovingkindness and grace toward YOU. See Jesus at Calvary bearing YOUR sins, taking ALL the accusations against you to the cross, and receiving the punishment for every failure and mis-deed you performed. True, Paul had many difficulties in life; stonings, beatings, lashings, to name a few, but they were because of the Gospel he preached, not because God was teaching him a lesson or punishing him. It is the same with us. Do you understand?

I love the simplicity of faith found in Mt 9:27-30. Two blind men ask Jesus for mercy. Jesus asks, “Do you believe I am able to do this?” How simple is that, friend? But think about it. At that time the religious rulers taught that all permanent affliction was due to sin and God was punishing these men with blindness. So Jesus’ question not only concerned His ability, but it was flying in the face of Jewish theology. There was more going on here than believing someone had healing powers! They showed simple, but substantial faith, my friend. We can too!

In Mt 8:5-13, Lu 7:1-10 – a Roman Centurion sends his servants to Jesus, and despite being a Roman, a conqueror of Israel, he describes himself as being unworthy of Jesus’ attention, not worthy of Jesus coming into his house. Not even worthy to come to Jesus personally. But he saw – by faith – where Jesus’ authority was coming from – from God, who is so much greater than nations and tribes and peoples. And by faith He understood that he too mattered to Jesus. That everyone matters to Jesus. Even you and me, friend! That’s awesome faith!

Think about these examples. Understand, Jesus died for you and me. Jesus is with us eternally. Don’t ever be afraid of anything. Have faith in God – what you have asked for in prayer is on its way. Believe, and COME ALIVE!

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