Precious Blood

I recently saw an article that talked about the importance of knowing your blood type. This would indeed be a helpful fact to know in case of a medical emergency where you might need to receive blood or where you might be able to give blood to someone who was in need.

It is also important for us to know the type of blood that Jesus had. He had the only type of blood that could possibly pay the price for the sins of mankind—the precious blood of the perfect Lamb of God!

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”—1 Peter 1:18-19.

 

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The Need to Forgive

Leonardo da Vinci

It is reported that when Leonardo da Vinci was painting “The Last Supper”, he became angry with a man and lashed out at him. He even threatened the man. Then he went back to his workplace and tried to paint the face of Jesus. He couldn’t do it because there was too much ill will stirring inside of him. The lack of peace finally forced him to put down his brushes, go find the man and ask for his forgiveness. Only then did he have the inner calm he needed to paint the face of his Master.

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”—Matthew 6:12.

 

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Think about Such Things

A patient in the doctor’s office once asked, “What’s my blood type, doctor?”

“B positive”, the doctor responded.

“I am positive”, insisted the patient, “but what’s my blood type?”

It’s very important to keep a positive outlook on life. Too often we tend to dwell on the negative, and that tends to put us in a bad frame of mind, which makes us not so pleasant to be around. We would be much better off—and so would those around us—if we tried to cultivate positive thoughts.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”—Philippians 4:8.

 

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Your Standard of Measure

Years ago there was a law on drunk driving that was passed in Louisiana that was one of the toughest laws in the nation. A prison sentence became mandatory for anyone convicted of driving while intoxicated. Getting the law passed was a major victory for various groups against drunk driving, and they could not have gotten it passed if it wasn’t for the help of one particular state legislator who sponsored the bill. It wasn’t long after the new law took effect that the first person to be arrested for driving under the influence was brought before the judge and found guilty and was sentenced to a prison term. Who was he? The same legislator who sponsored the bill!

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven…For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”—Luke 6:37-38.

 

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Give Thanks in All Circumstances

Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry, the famous Bible scholar, was once accosted by thieves and robbed of his money. Following that event he wrote these words in his diary:

“Let me be thankful first because I was never robbed before; second, although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, and not someone else.”

I suppose we can always find some reason to be thankful!

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”—1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

 

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Humble Service

President Jimmy Carter

Years ago someone visited the church in Plains, Georgia where President Jimmy Carter is a member. The visitor noticed that the church had some sign-up sheets for members to volunteer for particular jobs that needed to be done in the church. He also noticed that Jimmy Carter had signed up to clean the bathrooms!

Image that! The man who was commander-in-chief of the most powerful army on the face of the earth was willing to clean the bathrooms in his local congregation! That’s what you call humble service. And that’s the kind of service Jesus expects from those who follow him.

“Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’”—Matthew 20:25-28.

 

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Let’s Be the Church!

We have a theme for the new year at Vanceburg Christian Church—“God’s 2020 Vision for the Church”. This year we will focus on what the Bible says about the church.

In January, we have a 3-week series of sermons planned. The title of the series is “Let’s B the Church”. In the next few weeks we will talk about three words that describe the church; all three words begin with the letter “B”—Body, Building and Bride.

The Bible says that the church is the body of Christ. It functions much like the human body, with many different parts working together for the good of the body. We have different gifts and talents, and God uses the uniqueness of each church member to complement what other members add with their own contributions. With all the members working together, the church becomes all that God intends for it to be. Ephesians 4:15-16 says, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

The Bible also says that the church is like a building. According to Ephesians 2:20-22, the church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

So while the church is not the building where the members meet, it is like a building, built on the firm foundation of Jesus and his apostles and prophets. As people are added to the church, they become a part of this dwelling in which God lives.

Finally, the church is the bride of Christ. Many people try to say “Yes” to Jesus while saying “No” to the church, but the Scripture does not leave us with that option. The church is the beautiful bride of Christ! In spite of the imperfections of each congregation, the blood of Jesus washes the church clean and through his power Jesus is able to present us as his wonderful bride!

Because of this, marriage is intended to be a beautiful picture of the sacrificial love that Jesus has for his church. We read in Ephesians 5:25-27, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”

There you have it. The church is a body, a building and a bride. If you are a part of the church, let’s “B” the best church we can be! If not, I urge you to seek out a Bible believing church and find your place in God’s wonderful story of salvation in Jesus.

 

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Making Good Sense

Jeremiah 10:21 contains a dire warning for anyone in a position of leadership in the church—“The shepherds are senseless and do not inquire of the Lord; so they do not prosper and all their flock is scattered.”

No one wants to be called “senseless”, but that’s exactly what the Bible says about a leader who does not ask for God’s guidance. The failure of a leader to pray shows that he does not have a proper understanding about how to succeed. Without the direction of the Lord and the power that he gives, no leader can expect to prosper.

A leader who fails to pray not only hurts himself, he causes harm to the people he is trying to lead. There are no winners when a church leader doesn’t have the good sense to inquire of the Lord.

It just makes good sense to pray!

 

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Beyond Reading

I have quite a few books on my shelf about eating and exercising properly. I subscribe to a magazine that has all kinds of articles about diet and workouts. I enjoy reading and about fitness and saving some of the better ideas to review later. However, all of my reading and studying would be worthless if I didn’t actually put that knowledge to use. If I don’t eat properly and exercise regularly, all of my reading would be for nothing.

The same holds true for reading the Bible. If we don’t put into practice what we learn from Scripture, we might as well have not read it at all.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”—James 1:22.

 

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No Looking Back!

Luke 17:32 contains a short warning—“Remember Lot’s wife!” We all should remember what happened to Lot’s wife. Lot had been warned that he needed to flee the coming destruction of Sodom. He and his family were to leave without looking back. His wife, however, couldn’t resist the temptation. She looked behind her, perhaps longingly, at the worldly city that had incurred God’s wrath. And she lost her life because of her disobedience.

Once we decide to follow God, we need to continue on that forward path. Jesus says that those who put their hand to the plow and then look back are not worthy of the kingdom. We can’t set our sights on worldly things without becoming worldly ourselves. Once we have put our sinful past behind us, let us continue to move forward to bigger and better things.

 

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