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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Impossible Faith #83

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There’s a lot of nasty stuff happening in the world today. Might even be happening around you. You might be in an impossible situation. Fatal health condition. Might seem like the devil is out to get you, personally. Ouch! 

Well, live like Paul did with faith in God. Gal 2:20. Consider what Jesus said in Mk 11 when the disciples noticed the fig tree Jesus cursed previously now totally dead. Jesus told them God is listening to you! He’s paying attention – to you. You matter to God. What’s important to you – is important to Him. Others may say it’s impossible, but with God involved, all things are possible!

There IS NO HOPELESS SITUATION in God. Jesus in Mk 11:22-24 says, “Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Therefore I say to you (NOW LISTEN), all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you HAVE received them, and they WILL be granted you.

Yes, I know some preachers put the burden on you, to have enough faith, to confess, to stand and so on until you are utterly exhausted and under the weight of condemnation. Don’t believe it! Faith the size of a mustard seed, very tiny, can move a mountain – Mt 17:20, or cast a mulberry tree into the ocean – Lu 17:6. Friend, it’s not about OUR GREAT FAITH, something we can boast in; it’s all about WHO we are TRUSTING: Almighty God!

Dial back from the crushing urgency of the issues engulfing you. Use those eyes of faith. See Jesus at Calvary – for you. See Jesus now seated in the heavenlies upon the throne of all authority. Then pray! Ask for impossible things in your life.

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely  give  us  all  things?” Ro 8:32. 

Pray! Believe you’ve been heard – the answer is on its way. It will be as you have believed. You have COME ALIVE to the LIVING GOD!

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Children of GOD #82

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Gen 1 – is awesome. In a simple sentence, it confirms our origins: In the BEGINNING, GOD created the heavens and earth.

The apostle John confirms it, beginning his gospel saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. God has created everything, except for Himself.

The author of Hebrews also agrees, opening by saying in verses 2 & 3: “in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.  And upholds all things by the word of His power.

The universe was created by God. FOR GOD. Jesus owns the universe. And He keeps it held together – the atoms, protons, electrons – everything. With all this, does  He care for us humans?

Listen to John 1:12&13 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

We are not little nothings, of no account. He LOVES man! He LOVES YOU and me! We just heard that He offers ALL men the opportunity to receive Him and in doing so they become CHILDREN of GOD. A child has a like nature and character as their parents. WHOA! Did you catch that?

It took the unbelievable / incredible DEATH of Jesus to accomplish all this. Jesus died for US, to elevate us to sit with Him on His throne – eternally. That’s Eph 2:6

Scared of falling from that high elevation HE has put you in? Don’t be! Heb 4:14 Jesus our great high priest is always making intercession for us – eternally!

And remember all of chapter 10 of Hebrews: Jesus came to earth to do away with SIN, to do away with the need for a further sin offering. He was the last and perfect offering for sin, forever. Why, He has also done away with even the REMEMBRANCE of SIN!

Today friend, give GLORY to GOD. Praise Him for adopting us, REJOICE — keep on RECEIVING all He has to give you – and COME ALIVE and ALIVER and ALIVER! Forever!

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Superbowl Parable # 81

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Let me share a parable with you. There once was man who had grown up in a small town, moved away, and became rich. Very  rich. Unimaginably rich. He loved his home town, and he wanted to do something memorable for it. 

Well, there was the Super Bowl of sports coming. The whole world wanted to go. Ticket prices were stratospheric and hard to get. But his man also had connections. He went and bought tickets for everyone in town. Everyone! Food and beverage was covered. And parking. And hotel rooms. If anyone has been to a big sporting event you know those ‘extra’ prices can be HUGE. Everything was taken care of – all a person need do was say the rich man’s name and it was free.

Special arrangements were made for people in prison and in the hospitals. No one was left out. The rich man sent messengers to the town to tell everyone personally of the Good News. But you know what happened? Many people did not believe it! Too good to true, they said. Free? Then it can’t be any good said others. Some prisoners said it couldn’t be for them, they were too bad a person. Unworthy of such favor. They didn’t understand they would receive white garments to wear with the rich man’s logo on it – no one would ever know what kind of person they had been outside of the event.

Some even beat up the messengers. When the rich man found out, he told his messengers to go out and tell everyone the Good News, not just the town, so all the seats would be filled. He was generous and kind! 

Well they did! For those who believed and went, it was pure Joy and Gladness. Feasting and Celebrating. A time such as they had never experienced before. They praised and thanked the rich man for his love and generosity! Those who refused the invitation—well, they lost out. By their own decision.

My friend, it’s likely you know the REAL Good News about JESUS! I urge to share this Good News with others. That they may believe and receive — and Come Alive! Check out Matt 22 the wedding feast, Luke 14 the great banquet, and John 1:11-12 about believing and receiving for the details!

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The Gospel part k #80

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The Gospel of God’s Grace declares that His love is greater than your sin, and there is nothing you can do to earn it! 

The only thing you can do is — RECEIVE IT. Don’t hold back. Stop believing untruths that imply God will love you only if you measure up to certain standards. Or get yourself cleaned up. And live right. Go to church. Whatever. You know the drill.

God is NOT standing with crossed arms and a frown when He looks down on you. He has His arms wide open – remember Calvary – the Cross – Jesus’ arms open wide there, in LOVE for each of us. Religion says God is angry and maybe hates you. But grace says God is always in a good mood for the perfect sacrifice has been made and now His favor rests upon you. Religion says you have to get yourself sorted out and cleaned up before you can come home. Grace shouts, “Come as you are!”

You know what you need my friend? You need to let God love you the way HE wants to love you.

Stop putting your own restrictions on His love! God’s love changes us. Just look at that murderer Saul. Literally killing Christians. Then he encountered Divine Love. In a very short period of time his old buddies – wanted to kill HIM, because He was preaching Jesus and His resurrection. It’s time you settle yourself into the Father’s loving arms of love.

While the love of God is transformational, you will not know that unless you go beyond mental assent into actual experience. So how do you receive the love of God? Well, reject those thoughts or mistaken beliefs that God is unhappy with you, or that your sin is a block between you and God. When a person turns to the Lord, He takes away sin. Demons may try to keep you from receiving the love of God, through unbelief. Use Jesus’ name and bind them!
Then, and this is only one possibility, simply get quiet and talk to your heavenly Father – tell Him you receive His love and ask Him to pour it out over you.
Yes, receive His love, and COME ALIVE!

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Gospel part j #79

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No one sets out to waste their lives, but this is what happens when we live disconnected from the Author of Life. When we try to write our own story, without input from him, we write inferior stories. Even if our lives have the appearance of success, they leave us empty and unfulfilled because we were not made to live alone. 

We were made to live in communion with God! Whoa! That’s BIG and it’s true! So, I ask you, “How is your relationship with God? How’s it working?”

Some people define their relationship as one of:
Obedience. “We must obey God and all of His rules and commandments. God sees and rewards.”
– For some, it’s attitude. “We must always make a good effort. God sees and rewards.”
– For some, it’s about sacrifice. “We must give all we can to the work of God. God sees and rewards.”
– For others, it’s about fruit. “We must prove ourselves as His disciples and bear much fruit. God sees and rewards.”

Do you see a common denominator in all these, friends? It is the person. Their performance. And people who say such things are admitting they do not know God very well at all. Their communion at best is that of a mere servant. A rule keeping servant.

Rule keeping IS clean cut in comparison to the confusing freedom of relationship. But to prefer or demand rules is a sure sign one does not know the love of God. Jesus gave His life for so much MORE!

True, when asked Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love God totally. But think: commandments are rules, and God’s rules applied – BEFORE THE CROSS – to reveal our need for a Savior. Read Galatians. Hebrews. Romans 3-8.

Now, we have been freed from rule-keeping. Instead of rules, our focus is JESUS. We sit at His feet like Mary did, and receive. Yes, sit at Jesus’ feet. Receive His love. Then arise and give that love away, the love that never fails, to this hurting and needy world.

And you know what? Others will say that the love coming from you is nothing less than divine and causing them – to COME ALIVE!

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Gospel part i #78

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The Gospel IS – the GOOD NEWS! First and foremost is the fact that God Loves YOU! John 3:16 begins, “for God so loved the world….” Are you a part of the world? Then you are loved by God! Will He love you MORE if you try harder to keep the 10 Commandments? Most people think so but they are wrong. We live under the New Covenant, not the Old Mosaic one. Our performance FOR God does not determine the measure of God’s love for US.

Is 54:10 tells us even if the mountains are removed, His unfailing love will never be removed – it’s the real thing.
Ro 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Before we made ANY attempt at doing right, at repenting and turning TO GOD, God was loving us and busy opening up heaven’s gates through Christ’s blood. Now THAT’S GOOD NEWS!

What about the wrath of God you may ask? GOOD QUESTION! Search the scriptures and you will find the wrath of God being visited upon the ungodly. Jesus drank willingly of the cup of the wrath of God so it would not come upon anyone who believes in Him as their Savior. Yes, He saves today still!

Furthermore, Jesus is our High Priest, always making intercession for us. That Great White Throne of Judgment in Revelation? Thanks to Jesus has become a Throne of Grace for us to approach confidently, with the expectation of finding mercy and grace – Hebrews 4:16. The love of God has covered all the bases, my friend.

How about Jer 31:3b in The Message? “Israel, out looking for a place to rest, met God out looking for them! God told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!””

Many people think of God’s love in terms of their own love: weak, conditional, seasonal, whatever. God’s love however, is unfailing and unconditional. 

Today, wondering where is God? Are you wondering if He cares for you? Look at the CROSS. It is a mighty declaration of God’s grace and favor. It’s the Good News. 

Yup, look at the Cross, my friend, and COME ALIVE!

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Gospel part h #77

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The Gospel is called the GOOD NEWS! It is all GOOD News—there is NO bad news in it! You DO know that, right? The Gospel is an announcement – a Savior, who does not play favorites, has come and completed His mission: to save all of humanity. He succeeded, and forever we shall be singing and shouting His praises!

Many Christian’s perceptions of God are of Him looking down from heaven with a frown on His face. They believe He is displeased with them. That their Christian performance is not good enough. That is NOT True. Jesus’ blood covered every sin and failure and He has given us a new heart so we don’t want to do iniquity. Thanks to Jesus, God is eternally pleased with us – IF – and there is only 1 “IF” – you believe this GOOD NEWS! Believe it! Call out to Jesus today.

Don’t you see Jesus’ love for you revealed at Calvary? It’s true. Jesus took care of our sin issue there, and that’s the truth. When we believe in Him, He cleanses us from all unrighteousness. He makes us a holy vessel, His sanctuary, His dwelling place. We are not some kind of vacation cottage that Jesus visits from time to time. NO! We are His dwelling place. He lives in us now and He will never leave us!

Learn what it means to have Jesus living IN you. It’s better than that 100 million dollars I mentioned last message. Paul calls this learning “working out our salvation.” Phil 2:12. Don’t ignore Jesus within you, but learn what it means to walk through life WITH THE LIVING GOD! As you do so with humility, you will find this outworking of your salvation being accompanied by that fear and trembling Paul mentions.

How do you, discover the Mighty God of creation within you? Begin responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Soon you’ll be overcome with joy and gladness of heart as you realize God cares for you. About every thing in your life. YES! Don’t you see? This working out of your salvation is helping you – to  COME ALIVE!

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