Written and Submitted By: Stephen A. Brown, Marketplace Ministries, inc.
1 Thessalonians 5:8 (paraphrase) Let those of us who live in the light wear faith and love, and a helmet of hope. I read about a couple who discovered in an attic trunk, the torn, dirt and blood stained jersey of pro football running back Gayle Sayers of the Chicago Bears. The wife remembered that her dad has season tickets during that time, but didn’t know how he got the jersey. It was valued at $30,000; the appraiser explained the battering this jersey took made it more valuable. Battered believers are valued by God for we have been hit multiple times, but get up to run another play.
In 1995 the U.S. Stock Market experienced a modern record downturn. Investors lost 37.6% of their investments. In 2008 investors lost 37%. Market experts caution investors, warning of possible negative results due to uncertain economic relations with China.
I recall my study of economics in college, and how stocks and bonds chart up and down at a fast pace. There is one investment that will always pay positive returns: invest our time, talents, and treasure in growing the Kingdom of God. Mark 10:30 ” . . . and in the age to come eternal life.”
Continuing with John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way . . ” There is only one way to be physically born. Whether it’s in the womb or test tube, there has to be a natural union of a sperm and egg to produce birth. When Jesus said, “You must be born again…” (John 3:3), He was speaking of the super-natural union of a soul with the Savior. Being born of the Holy Spirit makes us a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way . . .” If we say Jesus is the only way to God, we risk being labeled intolerant. When Larry King interviewed Billy Graham and his son Franklin, he asked them if Jesus was in fact the only way. Both replied YES, and explained that Jesus stated He was the only way, and He is not a liar. You and I know who is the LIAR. Other religious leaders interviewed by Larry King stated there were many paths to God. A South American missionary hired a guide to lead him to a remote village. After several hours of slashing their way through the thick jungle, the missionary asked his guide if he really know the way. The guide dropped his large knife, opened his hands to display scars, and said, “Follow me for I know the way.”
The TV show TMZ consist of a platform where the host calls on entertainment reporters with celebrity news. On one episode, a picture was shown of a female movie star with a Bible in her hand. The host asked why she would take a Bible to lunch with her friend. The reporter responded, “the Bible makes for good reading in the Old Testament when David the warrior is really dramatic, but when Jesus shows up in the New Testament, its all downhill from there.” The Lord’s miracles were really dramatic, and His is the greatest love story ever told. Pray for the host, reporters, and producers of TMZ.
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:22 that Christ SEALED us and gave us the Holy Spirit in our hearts as a deposit. Imagine a fruit bar inside a protective wrapper. Once opened and left exposed, the bar begins to decay. However, if the bar is sealed in a zip-lock bag, the sweet fruit is preserved. Jesus has sealed our soul, preserving us from the rot of sin. 2 Timothy 2:19, Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those that are His.”
Hebrews 4:12, “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword . . .” In 1921, a New York doctor, Evan O’Neill, operated on himself. Using a local anesthetic, he removed his inflamed appendix. The surgery was successful. In like manner, we need soul surgery. Using the scalpel of Scripture (Sword of the Spirit), we can remove the deadly disease of sin.
1 Coronicles 29:14 “For all things come from You.” There are some 150,000 Life Coaches (personalized helper who for a fee, will partner with you in designing your future). For Christians, our Life Coach is the indwelling Holy Spirit. Einstein wrote, “Any intelligent fool can make things more complicated.” Isaac Newton once wrote, “Truth is found in simplicity.” Jesus is simply all we need (John 14:6).
Psalm 1:7 ” . . . fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Today is April Fools: Tricks played on others that are based on a lie. As a young husband and father, I played April Fool pranks on my family. My father-in-law once called my wife the night before to warn her, but I still pulled it off! Then it all changed when I was on the receiving end. We were at a beach rental during Spring Break, and told not to flush the hallway toilet or it would flood the condo. One morning my youngest daughter in a panic told me she forgot and flushed that toilet. I ran to the toilet and while bent over, my family yelled, “April’s Fool”. After my blood pressure returned to normal, I promised no more tricks. Don’t be fooled by fakers.
In Proverbs 28:2 , King Solomon points out that with sensible government leaders there is stability. On 12/6/18 NASA launched a space shuttle with experimental worms to study the human aging process. Seriously? Spending tax dollars when faced with what would become the longest government shut-down in U. S. history. Thousands of unpaid federal employees could have used those funds to feed their families and pay bills. What’s in your wallet?
Charles “Chuck” Colson was Attorney General for President Nixon. He was sentenced to prison for his part in the WATERGATE scandal. Chuck came to Christ while in jail, and upon his release, formed a prison ministry. While visiting inmates, he noticed one man in an unclean cell in the fetal position. Chuck shared the gospel with the man, and told him to say aloud the name of Jesus daily. Upon his return visit, Chuck noticed the man’s cell was clean. When asked about the change, the man replied, “Jesus lives here now.”
We celebrated EASTER SUNDAY, victory in Jesus over sin and death. In 2018 Jeremy Sutcliffe killed a rattlesnake in his backyard, cutting off its head. He got a plastic bag, and when he picked-up the head, the snake closed its fangs in his hand. A helicopter rushed him to a hospital where he received antivenom that saved his life. The ER doctor told Jeremy that decapitated snakes can bite for up to an hour. Jesus decapitated satan at Calvary, but the old serpent still strikes. In John 10:10 Jesus tells us that the thief comes to KILL. Stay clear of his deadly bite by staying in the Word.
As a boy I wanted more freedom of choice. My mom would say, “You’re acting too big for your britches” meaning act your age. When we’re too big for our britches, the answer is not bigger britches, its fitting into the size we have. It takes time to grow up. The best growth comes from the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable for teaching , for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness.”
Stephen A. Brown, Marketplace Ministries, inc.
In 2005 my wife Mary Ann was diagnosed with cancer. I posted signs in our home that read: Too Blessed to be Stressed. Following surgery, she underwent months of radiation treatments. Today she is cancer free! We were shocked to learn that her surgeon lost her life to cancer. In the same way a surgeon removes cancer cells, Doctor Jesus, the Great Physician, performs spiritual surgery to remove a deadly disease, sin. Hebrews 9:6, He came to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
Stephen A. Brown, Marketplace Ministries, inc.
Numbers 22:28, Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me three times?” When America’s Beloved Gospel Singer, George Beveraly Shea, was invited to speak at an event, he asked his dad for advice. His father replied, “Son, God helped Balaam’s donkey to talk, I’m sure He can do the same for you.” When we are given the opportunity to talk, ask God for help; His Holy Spirit will give us His words.