Friday, March 27, 2015

Fighting Temptation!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  JESSICA HONC  is the wife of 14 years to Will, and homeschooling mother of three children (and one on the way! YAY!).  She is the Director of Freedom Fellowship Home School Co-op.  Jessica has served in many different capacities at Freedom Fellowship in Silsbee, Texas, such as librarian and children's teacher.
Fighting Temptation
I was recently in battle.  That is, I was recently tempted in an area where the enemy knew it was difficult for me to withstand the urge to sin. 
We are all sinners and fall extremely short of the Glory of God.  Coming out of a sinful life and accepting Jesus as your Savior is only the beginning of your walk with God.  I have been saved for over 10 years now and still, I battle with the enemy.  I am certain there are others who may be reading this who have been saved much longer then myself who are still battling with the enemy on a daily basis.  He is the Thief of Hope, the King of Lies, the Great Deceiver, and the Dark Magician who enjoys either hitting you when you are down or puffing you up with pride.
I remember my husband once told my daughter, “Satan already knows he’s got a hold on the drunkard.  He will spend more of his efforts trying to cause the person going to church every day to sin then the person who walks daily into the bar.”
This is so true! Our enemy is a devious little pill.  If you are a recovering addict, he may wait until you are suffering heartache and BAM, you run into one of your old “friends”.  If you struggle with lust, he may try to fill your mind with all kinds of ideas after an argument with your spouse.  If you have a tendency to be prideful and your friend reveals to you they need help with their own battle, you may be tempted to think you are better than them.  The list of the devil’s sneaky ways can go on and on.
When you recognize you are a sinner, repent, accept Jesus as your Lord and begin your walk in the other direction, it is only the beginning.   Life on earth is difficult, Jesus told us it would be.  John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world!”
As Christians, we must have a battle plan, not just a good defense, but a GREAT defense. The battle strategy that works for me is to:
  1. KNOW my temptations and weaknesses
  2. PRAY daily for God’s guidance and strength
  3. When the enemy attacks, to know how to FIGHT BACK WITH SCRIPTURE OR SONG.
    (Yes, I said song.  Praising our Lord is a POWERFUL weapon.)
No matter how long you have been walking with our Lord Jesus, please know that you are not alone if you continue to struggle with temptation and more importantly, please know that you can WIN!  Have a battle plan.  Practice it.  Be prepared when the enemy thinks he’s going to strike you down and be ready to fight back!
Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Matthew 28:1-10

Good morning, my friends!  It is a great day to be alive and serving the King!  We are in the last chapter of Matthew.  It's exciting and sad at the same time.  To be honest, I am not sure where we will head after this, so be praying for me to have direction! 

I had a whole post prepared last night for today, but in the process of saving it, I accidentally deleted it.  It was a sign that I was trying to do too much at one time, so we will just have to try this again!  As I read through the passage this morning, some different aspects of the resurrection stood out to me.  Everything happens for a reason!☺ 

Go ahead and dive into Matthew 28:1-10 in your own Bible or read it HERE!!!

1 Corinthians 15:17 says, "And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins."  Because of the victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ we can be confident that the ransom has been FULLY paid!  Hallelujah!

The truths we read in this marvelous passage of Matthew is the foundation of Christianity.  It is clearly depicted in all four Gospels that Jesus not only suffered and died on the cross, but indeed, HE ROSE AGAIN!  The resurrection is the seal upon the work of redemption.  I am amazed at the wisdom of God that he understood His creation so well, and knew the nature of humans to be full of unbelief, that He provided many witnesses to testify they had seen the risen Savior.  Many people were (and still are) anxious to disprove that Jesus was the Messiah.   

We are told in scripture that there was a great earthquake and that the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone of the door of the sepulcher, and sat upon it.  Of course signs and wonders would accompany the Son of God as He gloriously and triumphantly rose from the dead as a conqueror because death could not hold Him!

In that moment, I picture the Roman soldiers and every enemy of Christ that was alive to be terrified.  The Bible says that at the sight of the angel the "guards shook and became as dead men!"  I bet they did.  In the last day, we will see this again when every knee bows, not just believers, and every tongue confesses that He is Lord!

There is something so comforting in the angel's words "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified."  HE IS NOT HERE!  GLORIOUS DAY!  HE IS RISEN!  He defeated death, hell, and the grave!  Every word that was prophesied about the coming, death, and resurrection of Jesus had been fulfilled so every word that is the hope of salvation to believers can be fully trusted as well. 

One last note about this passage.  When the Risen Lord appeared to the women in person He tells them to "Go, tell my brethren."  He was not angry with the disciples for forsaking Him or fleeing, and He had not forgotten them.  Jesus looks at us through these same eyes of love and mercy.  He knows our weaknesses and failures, yet He does not cast us away.  We can trust Him without fear or reservation.  King Jesus invites us to reign in His Kingdom with Him forever!

If you can't view this video here, please go to YouTube and watch "Alive" by Natalie Grant!  It is a perfect ending to this study!


Monday, March 9, 2015

Matthew 27:45-56

Just four more days of Matthew: The King and Kingdom!  It has been an incredible study.  There is nothing better than diving in to the Gospel and seeing Jesus our Savior!  The next few days cover some of the most important events in the history of Jesus, and we need to take in every morsel of wisdom about our King and the Kingdom we serve in.

I am at my desk with computer, Bible(s), coffee, pens, highlighters, journal, concordance, and Bible dictionary spread out ready to start.  Are you?  Let's go ahead and read through Matthew 27:45-56.  You can also read it HERE!!!

Can you imagine this 6 hours of agonizing pain?  Jesus became obedient unto death, "and yielded up His spirit."  “Oh to have heard Him say, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”  These words were not spoken from mere physical pain, but expressed under the burden of the sins of the world.  In our place, He was made sin and endured the wrath of God's righteous anger in His very being.  In that moment those incredible words were spoken, the iniquity of us all was laid upon Him.  Isaiah 53:10 says that it pleased the Lord to bruise Him, and put Him to grief.  The burden of our sin, the weight of our transgressions, the heaviness of the curse caused Jesus, The King, to feel forsaken. 

I imagine that many of the Roman soldiers and the large crowd who gathered to mock Jesus saw nothing remarkable about Jesus' death, but a debt had been paid and a way was made for every believer to have life.  The righteousness of God was satisfied!  The death of Jesus made a way for God to be completely Holy and completely merciful.  (I am truly sitting here almost unable to breath!  The weight of the truth of what Jesus has done is almost too much.  It makes me want to cry, yet it makes me want to shout!  I feel like the Psalmist in Psalm 139 who said, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Hallelujah!)

Victory over Satan!  No wonder the earth quaked!!!!!!  I think everything in the earth trembled because of the amazement that God sent His own Son to be the atonement for the sins of all mankind.  No greater love will we ever know! 

Of all the incredible things that happened that day, let us not forget that "the veil in the Temple was rent in two".  This heavy curtain separated the Holy of Holies which only the priest was allowed to enter.  We need to really get this!  The 3 hours of darkness probably had people on edge.  The earthquake that split rocks probably left them in shock.  But the veil, rent from top to bottom, surely must have pierced their hearts because it declared the end of ceremonial law.  These ordinances and sacrifices had served their purpose in redemptive history but Jesus had come!  The mercy seat was no longer needed.  Performing priests, animal sacrifices, and burning incense no longer a requirement.  The High Priest had come as the Lamb of God and was slain.  It was pleasing before the Lord as is incense to the  nostrils to make Him the True Mercy Seat.

These signs convinced the Centurion and those with him to say, “Truly this was the Son of God!”  My prayer is that this is also our confession!  I'm running to the Mercy Seat where Jesus is calling.  He said His grace would cover me.  His blood will flow freely.  It will provide the healing!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Mt.27:27-44 & Food with Friends

Have you read through the passage yet?  If not, please read it in your Bible or online HERE! 

If any passage ever goes with the title of this study, today would be that day.  We are reading about the King, who for the Kingdom, gave His life!  If you have ever seen The Passion of the Christ, you can somewhat imagine the suffering and torture inflicted upon our King during this cruel and savage account.  How can something be so horrific and so marvelous at the same time?

Can we truly comprehend that Jesus was fully human and capable of feeling this intense physical pain.  He endured this and "died for our sins". (1 Cor. 15:3)  He had already missed a night's sleep and his body fatigued.  He had been taken from Gethsemane to the Jewish council, and from there to Pilate.  He had been tried twice and unjustly condemned.  Jesus had been scourged and beaten, then delivered to Roman soldiers. 

Our King was stripped of His clothes, had a crown of thorns embedded into His head, mocked, spit upon, hit in the head, and led through the city to Golgotha to be crucified between two thieves.  During the crucifixion, He was laid on a piece of wood and nails driven through hands and feet into this wood.  Then, He was left in pain and exhaustion for hours until death.  Even to death, Jesus was perfect.  Could we endure such agonizing torture and still stand blameless before God?  Could we endure this punishment for someone else?

King Jesus "bore our sins in His own body on the tree", "suffered the sin, the just for the unjust", "He was made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him", "He was made a curse for us", "He was offered to bear the sins of many",  "He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities", and "The Lord has laid on Him the iniquities of US ALL!"  (1 Pet.2:22, 3:18; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal.3:13; Heb.9:28; Isaiah 53:5,6)

This is the foundation of the Gospel.  When I read this, I am totally overwhelmed and undone!  My sins are many and great yet Jesus made the atonement.  My sins drove the nails and pressed the thorns into His brow.  Oh, that we might meditate daily on the suffering of our King and may it give us passion to further the Kingdom at all cost!

Sour Cream and Onion Chicken Bites
Boneless skinless chicken tenders
Family size bag Lays Sour Cream and Onion chips
2 eggs
Tony Chachere's seasoning

Prepare a cookie sheet by covering with aluminum foil.  Butter the foil to keep chicken from sticking and for extra flavor.  Cut your chicken up into bite size pieces (we like ours the size of nuggets).  Put chips in a Ziploc bag and crush.  Prepare to eggs and seasoning in a bowl.  Dip chicken pieces in egg and coat with crushed chips.  Place on cookie sheet. Make sure the pieces are not touching.  Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Barabbas (Mt.27:11-26)

There is nothing better than waking up to the smell of a fresh pot of coffee and getting your Bible out to spend time in fellowship with the Savior of the World!  Deuteronomy 4:2 says, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you."  We can trust every word that God intended for us to have is found right in our Bible.  Every time we read, it should become more evident to us that there is authority, clarity, necessity, and sufficiency in the Word of God!  What a wonderful comfort!

We have almost completed the Gospel of Matthew.  I want to say a GREAT BIG Thank You for going on this journey with me!  I am blessed to have Brothers and Sisters in Christ to share the joy of the Word with!  HUGS!  Today, we are reading Matthew 27:11-26.  You can read through it in your Bible or online HERE!!!!

"He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth." Isaiah 53:9  The blameless, sinless Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor.  Would you agree that Pilate governed a jealous and violent people?  He wanted nothing more than to secure favor with them and had little conscience of sin against God.  After several weak attempts to divert the mobs fury from Jesus to Barabbas, and publicly washing his hands of the matter, he condemned Jesus whom he called a "just man".
What a representation of many rulers and leaders in the world today!  Have you ever wondered what made Pilate, such a powerful ruler, cower before the people?  The praise of men can easily become and idol and blind people from doing what is right and just.  The sad thing is that men's favor is one day, gone tomorrow.  This should be a lesson to us as believers to let our striving be to please and fear God greater than anything or anyone else! 
Acts 10:38 says that Jesus "went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil".  So why did the Jews hate Him so much?  He was no robber, murder, or blasphemer of God.  He was innocent of any transgression against the Laws of God and man.  And yet the Jews wouldn't rest until Jesus was dead. 
THEY HATED JESUS BECAUSE HE TOLD THE TRUTH!  They hated the light because it made their darkness visible.  Jesus spoke against sin, and they wanted to stay in their sin and not let go.  Human nature is corrupt.  Jonathon Edwards said, "unconverted men would kill God, if they could get to Him."  Many unbelievers flatter themselves that it is the inconsistency and hypocrisy of professing Christians that they dislike, but truly they hate the light. 
There is nothing that the heart of man is not capable of doing.  As long as we live, we should not trust our hearts.  Even after salvation, our hearts are still "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked"! (Jer.17:9)  We need to trust in the Word and the guiding of the Holy Spirit!