4Jesus Outreach

Proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ.


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God Can Clean Up Your Mess

And the winner is...you!

And the winner is…you!

Being confident of this, that He [God himself] who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6

“He will keep you firm to the very end, so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.” – 1 Corinthians 1:8

Both the Old and the New Testament teach that election and salvation is a sovereign work of God’s grace. God is the One who chooses us, God is the One who gives us faith to believe, God is the one who does the work of regeneration, and it is God who preserves us to the very end of our lives. True Christians patiently look forward to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and they will trust in His promises until they are fulfilled. Those that have this hope will be blameless in the day of Christ, made so by the rich and free grace of God.

Christians are distinguished from the profane and the atheists, that they have been chosen of God, and they have chosen to follow God.

Since God chose us from the foundations of the world, He didn’t wait for us to “clean up our act,” so to speak. He knew, in advance, what a mess we would make of our lives in many cases. Yet, God overlooked our sinful condition before coming to Christ foreknowing what a glorious transformation we would make one day. He also saw all sinful blunders we would commit – even after coming to Christ – as part of the process of transformation. Praise be to God that our Heavenly Father, continues to love us and patiently work with us despite ourselves, and the many, many times we fall short of perfection.

Why? Because He foreknew that we would eventually experience complete regeration and Christ-likeness. He keeps His eye on the big picture. He saw ahead of time, the beautiful masterpiece our lives would turn out to be.

Because He is the author of our book, He knows exactly how our story will end. He has already written the last chapter and it is thrilling! Surprisingly, it does have a happy ending. He has promised it will be a best seller among the saints and angels in heaven.

I can rest assured of my salvation.

“We love Him, because He first loved us..” – 1 John 4:19

I can rest in the assurance that God doesn’t make mistakes. Because our Heavenly Father chose us and loved us before we were able to love Him back, He saw the winner in us, not the loser.

I’m also glad that He gave me a free will. He gave me the ability to choose who I want to spend eternity with. I’m glad that my Heavenly Father didn’t make that choice for me; He wants us to choose Him of our own volition. He wants children that voluntarily love Him and want to be with Him in heaven. He does not want slaves who involuntarily give Him lip service. Everyone in heaven, and throughout eternity, will be present with God because they voluntarily chose to be there.

But right now, I have to admit, that sometimes my life is still a little messy. I’m not happy about it; I wish I could do better. I want to live in a manner that is pleasing to my Heavenly Father and make Him proud of me. But regardless of how messy it becomes at times, I’m not anxious about my eternal future. I am confident that despite the temporal setbacks, I am slowly being transformed into the image of Christ – holy and blameless. The inward man is being renewed day-by-day (2 Corinthians 4:16).

Beloved, we are the sons and daughters of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when Christ shall appear again, we shall be like Him. Praise be to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in heavenly places with all spiritual blessings.

Let us always remember that no matter how messy it’s been in the past, we have a glorious future ahead of us!

– Luis Josephus

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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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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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Believe in Yourself – God does!

Daily Inspiration_Logo_sm_300 x 230_jpgDaily Inspiration – A dose of daily inspiration and encouragement from the Word of God.


 

When I was a young boy, I suffered from low self-esteem. Part of the reason is that I had an abusive and critical father who constantly pointed out all my faults and rarely had anything good to say about me. This did considerable psychological damage. I grew up shy, insecure, and awkward around other people. I felt I was unloved and worthless.

But God, our heavenly Father is not that way at all. I discovered after becoming a Christian, that God loved me and thought the best of me. After all, He created me for a special purpose. And that He wanted to always encourage me to succeed in life, not to fail.

Did you know God feels the same way about you?

He loves you just as much. And He created you with a special purpose too. You are beautiful in His eyes, so don’t let anyone put you down nor make you feel inferior to others. You are worthy of God’s best! He has put you on this earth in order that you will have a fruitful and happy life. He says this about you in Jeremiah 29:11:

“For I know the plans I have for you, ‘declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

In Romans 8:31-32, the Bible also tells us:

“…If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

– Luis Josephus

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Doing the first works

Bible_man_reading_1“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works…” – Revelation 2:4-5.

Jesus is speaking to many of us through this letter to the Church of Ephesus who had “lost their first love.” These Ephesians church members were still blood-washed, born-again believers, but they had lost the excitement and devotion they once had for Jesus. Remember when you first got saved; how excited you were about God?

Spiritual backsliding is a common problem in the church. After years of walking with God, many of us may slowly begin to neglect spending quality time with God or even going to church. Our faith becomes lukewarm and we might also backslide morally. The solution for correcting this problem, Jesus said, is to remember therefore from where we have fallen; repent, and do the first works again.

Since the first step is to repent, we need to acknowledge our sins to God and ask Him to forgive us. He is always merciful and faithful to forgive us, and to cleanse us, once again, from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Secondly, we must start from scratch in our faith and “do the first works” we once did in the beginning. What are the first works?

  • Studying the Bible daily.
  • Spending quality time in prayer and hearing God’s voice.
  • Going to church regularly and saturating your spirit with sound biblical teaching, and collective praise and worship.
  • Fellowship regularly with other believers.

If you have lost your first love, or drifted away from God, or fallen into immoral sins, don’t give up on Jesus, because He hasn’t given up on you. He still loves you dearly and desires to restore you back to Himself. All He asks is that you Repent, Confess, and “Do the first works” again. He will restore your life with His abundance of peace and joy.

– Luis JosephusRealJesus Logo+75x75

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comment_smComment from Pastor Emeka: “Dear Pastor Luis Yosefus, thanks for your newsletter. I am inspired and encouraged by your messages and revelations of the word of God. I am a pastor of a small fellowship in Corby, United kingdom (People for Christ Ministries).


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God can fix your mess

Mess into a messageAre you in a mess today?

Did you marry the wrong person, get involved in a business matter you should have avoided, or perhaps done something that has gotten you into trouble?

Was God warning you not to do it? Did you ignore His still, small voice inside of you, but you still went ahead and did it? You know you have no one to blame but yourself. You take full responsibility for your mistake. Are you wondering if God can still help you?

Yes He will.

He is a God of mercy and forgiveness. If you will fess up when you mess up and call upon His help, He will deliver you.

The prophet Jonah messed up big time. But the LORD Yehovah delivered him from all his troubles. He testified afterwards, I called to the LORD in my distress, and He answered me. I cried out for help in the belly of Sheol; You heard my voice.” – Jonah 2:2

Jonah in whale bellyGod had called Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach salvation to this evil nation. They were the despised enemies of the Jews so Jonah didn’t want to go. He decided to rebel against God and headed to Tarshish – in the opposite direction. His foolish decision almost cost him his life. A great storm engulfed the ship he was traveling in and he ended up tossed overboard into the belly of a huge whale for 3 days. God miraculously prevented the digestive acids of the whale from harming Jonah. Afterwards, the whale spewed him out unto dry land. God gave Jonah another chance, and he took it.

God is good at saving us from the dumb things we do.

It’s amazing how He can even turn the biggest blunders we make into something that actually turns out for our good. The apostle Paul wrote, And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” – Romans 8:28

If you call upon Him in humility and faith, God can clean up your mess right now. Don’t be too proud or too stubborn to confess your faults to Him. He is very understanding. Pray and admit your were foolish and rebellious; you didn’t listen when He tried to warn you, and did what you knew better not to do. Ask Him to get you out of this mess and give you another chance to get it right. Pray and ask your heavenly Father to forgive you and restore you, in Jesus’ name, amen.

– Luis Josephus

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God has not given up on you.

Spirit-Lifting Thoughts for Today_150 x 150_jpgWho will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies and has given us right standing with Himself.” – Romans 8:33

In the fallen world we live in, it is easy to be hurt by other people with their critical words and judgmental attitudes.

But our heavenly Father is not like that.

He loves us just as we are, despite our flaws and wrongful actions. He understands us better than we understand ourselves. He knows what we struggle with and He doesn’t condemn us when we fall short of perfection.

All He asks of us is to believe in His love, wisdom and faithfulness, and to surrender our lives to His control. He is our Creator; He made us for a special purpose. Therefore, only He knows best what is right for us. We must trust His judgment implicitly in whatever direction He takes us in life. We must pray that His will be done in whatever decisions we make – even when things don’t always work out the way we planned. Yet despite our disappointment, we know God’s ways are always best.

When we rebel against His will, or make sinful choices, we simply need to confess our sins, claim the provision of forgiveness that Jesus made for us on the cross, and receive His cleansing and restoration once again.

Don’t worry about what others may say or think. What is important is what God thinks about us. He still loves us. He has not  rejected us or condemned us for failing. On the contrary, He still wants the best for us. He is still for us, and not against us. He has justified us in Messiah Jesus and has acquitted us of all guilt.

So, if you’re feeling down today, don’t stay there. Encourage yourself in the Lord. Pick up your spiritual feet and keep walking with God. Keep moving forward in faith and try to do better in the future. Although others may condemn and reject you , God will never leave you nor forsake you.

Keep holding on to Jesus’ hand. Jesus is our best friend. Oh, what a friend we have in Jesus. Amen.

– Luis Josephus

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