|Posted by ptodd on August 18, 2014 at 10:40 AM||comments (0)|
Hope Built on Faith
John Ogden Sr.
August 11, 2014
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1, NKJV).
There are many things in life that we look for, think about and, from a natural standpoint, say we hope for. But that is man’s hope, not a hope tied to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The hope that is described in the above verse is the hope that is built on the principles and foundations of God’s Word. It is a hope that is planted in our spirit based on God’s faithfulness.
Hope built on faith in God and His Word will produce optimism and confidence that cannot be acquired any other way. It stands on the foundation and the faithfulness of God. This kind of hope in God and His promises produces faith. Even though at times we may find ourselves in what would appear to be hopeless conditions, God would remind us that, in Him, there are no hopeless conditions, only hope. He is faithful and He knows what we have need of. With this in mind, hope becomes faith which, in the Christian life, is the opening to God’s promises, moving us towards the confidence of Heaven itself.
He declared that in this world we would have tribulations, but He said, “…be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NKJV). I challenge you to lay hold of a hope based on God that produces confidence beyond the natural and takes us from victory to victory in every situation.
|Posted by ptodd on January 3, 2014 at 3:15 PM||comments (0)|
Have you prepared your ride plan?
Step #1 - Pick Your Road.
So Many Roads, So Little Time! Everybody enjoys a beautiful, scenic ride on a bike. Few people really enjoy riding the flat, straight roads. The flat, straight roads are practical when you are in a hurry, but nobody really enjoys riding them. Many people have ignored or rejected God because they think He wants to take the joy out of their ride, but God loves you and wants you to have a wonderful ride through life. In John 10:10 Jesus said, "....I have come that they might have LIFE and have it to the fullest!"
Step #2 - Consider Your Destination.
Where a Road Ends Is Important Too! A beautiful road leading to a fatal end is a deceptively bad road. The same is true on your Spiritual Ride. Prov. 16:25, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." We have all taken some wrong turns on life's road (committed sin). Rom. 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Any turn from the road detours us from Heaven to Hell. Rom. 6:23, "For the wages (destination, end result) of sin is death......"
Step #3 - Realize Your Dilemma.
You Can't Get There From Here! If the Grand Canyon separates you from your destination, you're done. Your bike can't jump the Grand Canyon, no matter how good it is! Everyone's Spiritual Ride ends at the canyon of Sin and Death. You can't jump it, no matter how good you have been. There is no way YOU can do it, but God made a bridge over it. In John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
Step #4 - Cross the Bridge Today!
Tomorrow Never Comes! To simply know the facts about the Bridge does nothing to solve your dilemma. You must make the decision to cross the Bridge. A bridge isn't crossed by acknowledging its presence or by good intentions of crossing it some day. You must accept Jesus Christ as God's only answer to your dilemma. A couple isn't married until they commit their lives and say, "I do". Jesus Christ isn't Lord until you commit your life to Him. You must accept Christ by an act of your will in FAITH, not the feelings of your emotions. You do that by simply asking Him to come into your life and take over. In Rev. 3:20 Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in....."
Reality Check: Take a good look at the two roads below.
Ride Plan #1
Your map is your own common sense. Your way is as good as any other way. You ride with fickle friends. You plan to cross the canyon by your good works outweighing your bad works to earn God's love.
Ride Plan #2
Christ and the Bible direct your life. You acknowledge Jesus as the only Way. You ride with the Good Shepherd. You plan to cross the canyon by submitting to God's plan and receiving His love. Which Road best describes your life? Would you like to change to Road #2?
How To Change Roads?
Simply pray and ask Jesus Christ to change you TODAY. God is personally calling you TODAY. Pray this simple prayer TODAY:
"Lord Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner in need of salvation. Please forgive my sins and come into my life as my Lord and Savior. Give me a new mind, a new heart and a new life. Direct me in my daily decisions so I can turn from sin. Take me to Heaven when I die and fill me with Your Holy Spirit now. Thank You for hearing my prayer and saving my soul TODAY."
If you prayed this prayer and meant it, Jesus Christ promised to come into your heart, forgive your sins and give you a new life. It is impossible for God to lie, so receive His love, ride with His peace and begin a new life TODAY.
|Posted by ptodd on January 2, 2014 at 9:40 AM||comments (0)|
John Ogden Sr.
December 30, 2013
“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29, NKJV).
As children of God, it is important that we understand and recognize that God has a specific calling and plan for our lives. We were not put here by chance and we should not be aimlessly going through life. God has given each of us spiritual gifts and callings to be used in His Kingdom here on earth. He does not take them away, even if we have never done anything with them or when we fail from time to time. These gifts and callings are ours to be used for they are God’s investment into our personal lives.
God calls us to put our faith and trust in Him, allowing Him to develop what He has given us. Our responsibility is to walk out our faith daily so that He may fulfill His purpose in our lives.
What are your gifts and callings? For some the question is easily answered, for others, the answer is not as clear. I encourage you to prayerfully consider what God’s gifts and callings are in your life. If you are someone who has never accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, then He has the gift of eternal life waiting for you. If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, then your spiritual gifts and callings are to be used to touch and see other’s lives changed. Make a fresh commitment to know and use the gifts God has given you.
|Posted by ptodd on October 14, 2013 at 9:40 AM||comments (0)|
Resting in His Presence
John Ogden Sr.
October 14, 2013
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NKJV).
To rest means that you are in a state of inactivity, free from activity or labor. There are so many times in our lives that we allow busyness to creep in and take control. Unbeknownst to us, burdens pile on our back and before long we are weary and irritable from bearing such a heavy load. We do not realize the necessity of just stopping and allowing ourselves to rest in God’s presence. In fact, that is usually one of the first things to be cut out of a busy life.
The definition of busy (according to Merriam-Webster) is “engaged in action, occupied, being in use.”
|Posted by ptodd on July 25, 2013 at 6:00 PM||comments (0)|
I was meditating on Psalm 77 today. The Psalmist writes, “I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, that He may hear me. In the day of my trouble I seek The Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. I think of God, and I moan; I meditate, and my spirit faints.” Sometimes in order to get the breakthrough we need in life, we must seek God with all we have. We come after Him with a holy desperation. There is nothing so arresting as the faith-filled tearful cry of a desperate person. It never fails to move the heart of God. I think there are some answers to prayer that only come to the desperate. The Psalmist is desperate for God to intervene and he is willing to pay the price of pursuit, but He sustains a faith-filled, surrendered heart. He submits to God. He trusts God. One of the things necessary to this kind of breakthrough prayer is that we have to feed our faith. Often in our desperation our faith wobbles. So we must find ways to strengthen our faith through the long ordeals of life. The Psalmist feeds his faith by remembering the miracles. Psalm 77:11-12, “I will call to mind the deeds of The Lord; I will remember your wonders of old. I will meditate on all your work, and muse on your mighty deeds.” He remembers the things God has done in his life, and in the life’s of the ancient heroes of the faith. This intentional recollection steadies his faith and encourages him in his breakthrough praying. God is the God of the breakthrough. We all need breakthroughs. This week come join us at church and listen to stories that will encourage your faith and inspire you in your pursuit of breakthroughs!
|Posted by ptodd on April 22, 2013 at 4:25 PM||comments (0)|
by John Ogden Sr.
"'And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses'" (Mark 11:25-26, NKJV).
We are instructed to forgive anything we hold against anyone whenever we stand praying so that our Heavenly Father will forgive us. Forgiveness is like prayer: it is often talked about, but seldom done.
A common thought is that we should forgive when the person who has wronged us does something to deserve forgiveness. That is an incorrect view of forgiveness from a Biblical standpoint. We could never do anything to earn forgiveness from God; it was a free gift to us through Jesus’ death. Our forgiveness should not be based on someone deserving it; rather, it should be based on the fact that it is a commandment of God.
Harboring unforgiveness only harms us, not the other person. Jesus wants us to forgive so that we may be set free. It is only when we are free from this kind of bondage that we can truly allow the love of God to flow through us to touch the lives of those around us. Jesus died so that we might have life and that we might have it more abundantly. Only through forgiveness can we experience the joy, the peace, and the freedom that is ours as sons and daughters of God.
If you are harboring unforgiveness, I urge you to call the person and issue by name and release them, asking for God’s forgiveness. In many cases, this will require you to call or write the person. You forgiving them is not conditioned on what they have done or will do, but is a condition of your heart to release them as well as yourself.
|Posted by ptodd on April 8, 2013 at 5:05 PM||comments (0)|
John Ogden Sr.
April 8, 2013
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NIV).
As I travel throughout the world and the USA, I find that this is the best place to live with the most freedom of any country. We are a blessed people living in blessed country. We have the privilege to live in a free country, and we have the freedom to worship God. The freedom that we have is not free. Those who have lived before us have paid for this freedom. Our forefathers have made great sacrifices for us to have this freedom and many have given the ultimate price with their life for this gift called freedom.
Jesus has given us the free gift of Salvation. We have His gift that gives us freedom from sin. While Salvation is free, it requires the sacrifice of Jesus for us to experience this life changing gift. I am very thankful for the freedoms we have, and thankful for the men and women who have given us this freedom. As we celebrate our independence, we must ask ourselves, what are we willing to give that others may be free?
|Posted by ptodd on April 1, 2013 at 12:10 AM||comments (1)|
Suffer with Me Awhile
"Then he said to them, 'My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.'" Matthew 26:38 (NIV)
I dipped my piece of torn bread in the cup of dark purple juice and placed it in my mouth. I tasted the ripeness of the fruit and savored the texture of the bread. "I will remember, Lord." I spoke the words in my head, silently thanking Jesus for the sacrifice He made for me on the cross.
Within a minute, the aftertaste of the juice distracted my communion meditation. It was more bitter than usual and I thought about taking a sip of something else to remove the flavor from my mouth. Should I grab my coffee, or some water?
Immediately, the Lord spoke to my heart: "Suffer with Me awhile."
Sadness filled my heart as I realized how quickly I wanted to remove the unpleasant taste ... how fast my thoughts drifted from the suffering of Christ to my own comfort. And I wondered how many times my self-focus had led me away from obedience in the hard places of life.
The Bible tells of three disciples who also chose comfort over obedience. On the night of His betrayal, Jesus asked Peter, James and John to watch and wait for Him while He prayed. During the time when our Lord was "overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," His closest friends couldn't keep awake. Three times Jesus returned to find them sleeping.
For those disciples, it was sleep that drew them from Christ's request to keep watch with Him. What is it for me? What keeps me from obeying Jesus' requests? Oh, the easy ones I have no problem with. It's the ones that infringe on my comfort that I wrestle with.
Someday, we'll get to enjoy heaven and all its perfection. But for now, the work God calls us to do here on earth is often uncomfortable, physically tiring and emotionally draining. Some days it's downright dirty and difficult.
While my flesh would prefer a cushy assignment, I don't want to shake the nail-scarred hands of Jesus the hands that touched lepers, the hands that stroked the head of a broken sinful woman with hands that have never gotten dirty with life.
During this time before Easter, consider what sacrifices the Lord might be asking of you. Perhaps it's serving in an area at church that's difficult, reaching out to an unfriendly neighbor, or mending a damaged relationship. Or maybe it's getting less sleep in order to wake up and spend time with Him through prayer and reading Scripture.
Moving from serving in comfort, to serving in sacrifice, builds spiritual character and maturity. But more than that, our hearts unite with Christ as a suffering servant.
Jesus asked us to carry our cross daily. Before we can truly appreciate what happened on the cross 2000 years ago, or the resurrection that happened on Easter, we need to deny ourselves and follow Jesus wherever He leads. And stay awake while we do.
Heavenly Father, You are faithful and awesome. Forgive me when I disobey Your requests to sacrifice my own comfort. I ask for a heart like Yours that sees beyond the surface of this life, a heart that sees the work that needs to be done from an eternal perspective. Please give me courage and boldness to become a steadfast servant, pleasing in Your sight. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
|Posted by ptodd on March 19, 2013 at 8:10 AM||comments (0)|
Psalm 121:1-5, “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper.”
I was meditating on this Psalm today & was struck by the word ‘keep,’ ‘keeper.’ It is used repeatedly throughout the Psalm. The Lord is our keeper. He doesn’t sleep or slumber. He isn’t laying down on the job. Nothing slips past his attentive gaze. He is our keeper. He keeps us from evil. When the enemy attacks, it is the Lord who keeps us as we look to him. We cannot overcome evil, but he has. He is our keeper. When my heart wanders, He keeps me in his family. He keeps me from wandering away from the family. He is faithful, when we are faithless. He is my keeper. When death comes knocking he keeps death from having the final word. He takes us by the hand and leads us through the passageway of death to eternal life. He is our keeper. He is a trustworthy keeper because he has overcome. He has overcome the evil one. So, he can keep me when Satan attacks. He has overcome sin, so he can keep me through temptation. He has overcome the wounds of a cruel world, so he can keep me through my soul wounds. He has overcome sickness, so he can keep me through infirmities. He has overcome death, so he can keep me even through death. He is the only one worthy of being the keeper of your soul. Into your hands, O Keeper of My Soul, I commit my spirit, for you are worthy, and with you I have eternal rest!
|Posted by ptodd on March 2, 2013 at 12:35 AM||comments (0)|
Hebrew Law required the shedding of innocent blood as a way of "covering" sin. Why is Jesus' death at Passover so timely?
No man survives the Roman Cross, but Jesus said that He would come back to life again. He promised He would defeat death and all it's cohorts. What does the resurrection of Jesus mean in your life?