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Proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ.


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The Life of Ruth Bell Graham

Footprints of a Pilgrim

Meet Ruth Bell Graham, the extraordinary wife of evangelist Billy Graham whose commitment to God’s
Will led her on a lifelong journey few could imagine. Go behind the scenes with those who knew Mrs. Graham best, and discover her sharp wit, God-given wisdom and audacious faith.

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When You Miss the Mark

Backup_of_Missing the Mark 1The Bible tells us that all we are all sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God. But, what does it mean to sin?

The word sin comes from the Greek, hamartánō, which means to “miss the mark.” Miss what mark? Missing the mark is symbolism that is derived from the practice of archery – of having shot an arrow and failing to strike the target. Therefore, sin is having failed to strike the bulls eye of God’s standard of perfect obedience, or perfect living. I can relate to that! I admit, I have missed the mark many times myself. How about you?

I think we can all agree that none of us are perfect, nor have lived an absolutely perfect life. Yet, God’s standard for us to make it into heaven is still perfection, because there is no sin in heaven. Since God is holy and perfect in everything He does, everything in heaven is perfect, as it should be.

So, in order for us to be saved and allowed to enter into heaven, our heavenly Father sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to be perfect for us, and pay the penalty for our sins. Through our faith in Christ’s atoning work on the cross, His perfect obedience and righteousness is imputed unto us. Imputed means that our sin debt was placed upon Him on the cross, and His perfect righteousness is transferred unto us.

When did this occur? The day we believed.

It was a free gift of God’s grace through faith. We did not earn it, nor deserve it, but God gave it to us anyway. We are justified (cleared of all sin guilt) freely through the redemption that He provided for us in Jesus Christ.

Missing the Mark 2How far have you missed the mark?

Imagine participating in an archery competition: You shoot your arrow and get about three-quarters of the way to the target. Other people next to you shoot their arrows and only get about half the way. Still others may miss the mark by a mile while others by an inch. No matter how close anyone gets to the target, everyone is disqualified just the same. Our sin debt is like that.

Jesus Christ died to save every sinner.

It does not matter to God how close or how far you’ve gotten to the target, or how much you have sinned in the past, He is willing to forgive us all the same. Whether we’ve sinned a little or a lot, He does not judge us on this basis. Everyone is already condemned because no one was ever righteous enough to be saved by his or her own merits; everyone has missed the mark. There is none righteous, no not one.

However, when we come to faith in Christ, everyone is equally given a clean slate and allowed entrance into God’s kingdom on the same basis: By grace through faith alone.

Therefore, we conclude that since all of us have missed the mark and fallen short of God’s standard of perfection, we must enter into God’s kingdom by faith, trusting upon His grace and forgiveness. Because God is merciful, He provided a way for our sins to be punished on the cross of Christ, so that we would not have to suffer His judgment for our sins. God the Father has justified us and forgiven us completely, through our faith in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Afterward, through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, we are now capable of honoring and obeying God’s moral laws. We are no longer powerless to the desires of sin, but mighty in power to live victorious as conquerors in Christ. It is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us, who loved us and gave Himself for us.

Let us, therefore, endeavor to keep from continually missing the mark and making sinful choices. Let us honor God with our hearts, minds, and bodies forevermore.

– Luis Josephus

 

 



Scripture References:

But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him apart from keeping the requirements of the law…Even the righteousness of God which is by faith in Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe, for there is no difference. For everyone has sinned, and we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” – Romans 3:21-23

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20

“…overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” – Romans 8:37


Study Notes:

“The Glory of God” in Romans 3:23 refers to the praise or approbation of God. The Jews had sought to be justified, or approved, by God the keeping of the Law, which was impossible to perfectly do. They did not realize they had all failed. Their works of the Law had not secured God’s approbation, and Jesus said they were still under condemnation.

The Hebrew word for sin is chata, pronounced khaw-taw. It also means to miss the target, make a mistake, an error in judgment, commit a sin against God. Sometimes the idea of sinning against a fellow human being is also present.

 


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Ruth’s Vision of Jesus

Ruth Gottlieb

Ruth Gottlieb

Ruth Gottlieb is a Holocaust survivor who lost her parents in the Nazi Death Camps. In 1945, the Nazis evacuated Auschwitz and Ruth and 7,000 others were left behind. The Soviet army liberated them from the camp and Ruth eventually migrated to Israel. Her complete story was told to Jews For Jesus Ministry at: http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/issues/v20-n04/auschwitz-mengele-and-the-god-who-was-with-me

Although she was raised in the Jewish religion, she relates how one day she received Jesus as her Savior, Lord and Messiah:

Jesus walks on water“In the 1980’s at one point I lived in a hotel in Tiberius, Israel.  I could see the Sea of Galilee from my room. One day, I had a vision in which I saw Yeshua (Jesus) walking on the lake. It wasn’t a dream; I just saw him! So I told my daughter and I got more and more interested in Jesus and read many books about him.

When we moved back to France, we were still seeking and reading. Then one day, I was walking on the beach in Nice, and I met a Christian woman named Rosemund. We spoke about Jesus for quite a while. When we began to read the Bible together, it suddenly became very clear to me that Jesus was our Jewish Messiah. I talked with my daughter, and over time she too came to believe in him.

Jesus was Jewish. He taught from the Hebrew Scriptures. In his day the New Testament didn’t exist. He died for our sins voluntarily – no one murdered him, neither Romans nor Jews. Some people claim the New Testament is anti-Semitic. What an idea! It’s not in the least bit anti-Semitic. All you have to do is to read it and you will find a book that is thoroughly Jewish.

I’ve always wondered why God took me out of the concentration camp and restored my health. There are millions that died. I was not saved thanks to my own wisdom. I recognize that God saved me, but why me?. I don’t know the answer.

Since I have come to know Yeshua, I have a whole different way of thinking. I don’t need to go to be entertained or a lot of material things to be happy. I am just more content. Most of all, I have peace in my heart knowing that my sins are forgiven and that one day I will be with my Messiah in heaven.”

Regardless of your culture or religious background, believe that there is one true God, and Jesus Christ (Messiah) His only begotten Son. He died on the cross to redeem all men from their sins. He rose from the dead after three days and three nights and now sits in heaven at the right hand of God the Father interceding for His people, and awaiting the day of His return to the earth. Won’t you receive Him today as your Savior, Messiah and Lord of your life?

Pray this prayer and mean it with all your heart:

Dear heavenly Father, I thank you that You sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my sins. I repent of my sinful life; please forgive me. I invite Jesus to be my Savior and Lord of my life today. Help me to be the man (or woman) of God You want me to be. Amen.

If you just prayed this prayer, you have now been forgiven of all your sins. Start attending a Bible-believing church regularly where you can continue to grow in your Christian faith. If you need a Bible or other Christian literature, write us and we’ll send it to you absolutely free.

– Luis Josephus

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SCRIPTURE READING:

Matthew 14:22-33

Jesus Walks on the Water

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

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Faith That Pleases God

faith that pleases GodIf we truly love God with all our hearts, minds and souls, as Jesus commanded us, we will endeavor to please our heavenly Father in every area of our lives – how we speak, how we live our lives, and how we treat others.

However, the greatest way, I believe, we can please God is to acknowledge Him in our hearts and enjoy intimate communion with Him. Wherever we go and whatever we do, we should acknowledge Him in all our ways. The writer of Hebrews tells us:

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must [first of all] believe that He exists, and that He will [always] reward those who earnestly seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6

Before we came to saving faith in Jesus Christ, we wandered this earth in uncertainty, restlessness, and sinful choices. We had no lasting peace or joy in our lives, because we didn’t really know the true source of all peace and joy. We were alienated from God, and thereby the most miserable people. Then, one day, we heard the gospel of Jesus Christ for the first time. Our hearts opened up to the good news that God loves us, has a perfect plan for us, and wishes for us to turn our lives back to Him. He would forgive us of our rebellious ways and accept us back into His family – if we would acknowledge our transgressions. Like the story of the Prodigal Son, our heavenly Father would throw a big celebration in heaven on our behalf, in order to rejoice in our return. And He did.

Afterwards, we began living a new life of faith, our sins were washed away. We had peace with God for the first time in our lives. All our doubts and insecurities were dispelled. We now earnestly seek God everyday and trust in His promises through faith. We no longer feel condemned, for there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live according to the leading of God’s Spirit.

Isn’t wonderful to be saved today? Let us praise and thank our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who made it all possible. Let us continue to walk in the kind of faith that produces a changed life, a hope for eternity with God, and manifests the kind of love in our hearts that will please God and help draw others to Christ.

– Luis Josephus

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Scripture References:

You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…” – Romans 5”1

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7

“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:26

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” – Romans 8:1


 


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Except You Abide in the Vine

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can you, except you abide in Me.” – John 15:4

In the parable (allegory) of the vine tree, Jesus compares Himself to the “True Vine” because when we come to salvation, we are spiritually born again and given a special position as a branch on the Tree of life, which is Jesus the Messiah. He alone is the only Savior that can give us eternal life; all others are false prophets and false religions.

God the Father, on the other hand, is the “husbandman” (the farmer) that cultivates us as branches on the vine and tends to our care. He waters us every day, prunes our twigs, trims our leaves, and makes sure we are receiving the right amount of sunshine and nutrients from the ground.

But Jesus reminds us that unless we continue to abide in Him, we cannot bear good fruit or flourish as one of His branches, since a branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless we abide in the source of nourishment – the tree.

To abide comes from the original Greek word, menō, which means: to remain, continue, abide or live in. If the branch is broken, snapped or disconnected in any way from the vine or tree, the life-giving support cannot continue to flow. Without the tree’s nourishment, the branch will eventually wither and die. Likewise, the life of Christ can only continue to flow in us as long as we abide in Him by:

  • Studying the Word of God daily, keeping it continually in our hearts and minds, and letting it guide our lives.
  • Maintaining the habit of prayer and communion with the Holy Spirit in order to draw new and fresh strength from Him.
  • Obeying God’s commandments and endeavoring to live pleasing to Him.
  • Attending church regularly and loving the fellowship of the brethren.
  • Witnessing for Jesus everywhere we go and helping to bring lost souls to salvation.

We will continue to abide in Christ if we follow the above guidelines. As we do, we will also continue to bear the kind of good fruit He desires from us as His disciples and remain eternally secure in our salvation.

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he that abideth in Me, and I in him,” Jesus said, “the same brings forth much fruit [not some fruit, but much fruit]. For with Me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5

– Luis Josephus

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Comment from Donna: “This morning I was thinking about being grafted into the vine and what it means. I was thinking of the fact that the power that flows from the vine to us is LOVE. It is his love that gives us life. That is what the two great commandments were all about: LOVE. It’s not about what we do, per say, it is about how we LOVE God first and then others. All the instructions that you gave for abiding in the vine can be summed up in: LOVE GOD, LOVE OTHERS. May the Lord truly bless you for your service to Christ!”

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Free Booklet, “Grace For Today.”

Grace For TodayOrder your free devotional booklet “Grace For Today” by Pastor Luis Yosefus which contains many more inspirational messages written to encourage your life and enhance your understanding of God’s Word. Simply email us your postal address and we will mail it to you free of charge at no obligation.


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Let God speak through you

Luis Josephus 1“Trust in the LORD (Jehovah) with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes… “ – Proverbs 3:5-7

Many times as I sit down to write these inspirational messages, I have no idea what I’m going to say. I study the Bible, pray and ask God to speak through me, and by faith the words begin to flow from my mind unto my computer.

Afterwards, people will hit the “Like” button or email me that the message touched their hearts and came to them “at just the right time.” I cannot take any credit for this since it was God who obviously directed the whole thing. He gave me my message, and placed it in the right place at the right time, for someone who needed to hear it.

God wants to use you too.

As you humbly make yourself available in God’s service (whatever area that may be), He too will direct your paths. Do not measure your success on how precisely you accomplished your task or how eloquently you delivered your speech, but by what God did through you. Simply pray and make yourself available for God’s anointing to rest upon you. He will do the rest.

God can do great and mighty things through the humblest person who trusts Him implicitly, and allows His divine Spirit to direct their paths.

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I trust you completely with my life. Guide me everyday in the paths that I must follow, and use me to be a blessing to others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

–         Luis Josephus

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Believe His Prophets

“…Hear me, O Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall you be established; believe his prophets, so shall you prosper.” – 2 Chronicles 20:20

When King Jehoshaphat faced the greatest crisis of his life – an enormous invading army from Moab and Ammon – he turned to God in an exemplary manner. He led his people to prayer and fasting, as we all should do under seemingly impossible circumstances.

God then spoke through the prophet Jahaziel. The man of God encouraged the people and said:

“You shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand you still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.” – 2 Chronicles 20:17

The next morning, the LORD God gave them a miraculous victory – just as the prophet had predicted.

The assembled men of Judah marched in accordance with the words of the prophet to the wilderness of Tekoa. As they marched forth, Jehoshaphat stood and called upon them to trust firmly in the Lord and His prophets. He ordered them to march, not for battle, but to assure themselves in faith, of the wonderful help of the LORD. He placed the singers of the Lord in front singing praise in holy array, marching forth before the army and thanking the Lord in advance for the help He would deliver.

Matthew Henry comments: “Jehoshaphat exhorted his troops to firm faith in God. Faith inspires a man with true courage; nor will anything help more to the establishing of the heart in shaking times, than a firm belief of the power, and mercy, and promise of God. In all our trust in the Lord, and our praises of him, let us especially look at his everlasting mercy to sinners through Jesus Christ. Never was an army so destroyed as that of the enemy. Thus God often makes wicked people destroy one another. And never was a victory celebrated with more solemn thanksgivings.”

When they began to sing and praise the LORD, their enemies were discomfited and began to fight among themselves. They were smitten by God without Judah having to lift a hand against them.

In times of crisis we should also fast and pray, believe upon His Word, and seek out God’s true prophets for understanding.

In addition to His written Word, Jesus has appointed prophets in the New Testament church to give us special revelation from God during troubling events, as well as day-to-day guidance for our spiritual lives. Contrary to what dispensational churches falsely teach, the Eternal God is still speaking today through His true prophets. They are men and women of God who He has raised to preach, teach, and prophesy under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Only when we listen and obey God’s prophets shall our Christian lives be firmly established, and everything we do shall prosper and succeed.

– Luis Josephus

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